Death anxiety prompts people to believe in intelligent design, reject evolution: research

Mar 30, 2011

Researchers at the University of British Columbia and Union College (Schenectady, N.Y.) have found that people's death anxiety can influence them to support theories of intelligent design and reject evolutionary theory.

Existential anxiety also prompted people to report increased liking for Michael Behe, intelligent design's main proponent, and increased disliking for Richard Dawkins

The lead author is UBC Psychology Asst. Prof. Jessica Tracy with co-authors Joshua Hart, assistant professor of psychology at Union College, and UBC psychology PhD student Jason Martens.

Published in the March 30 issue of the journal , their paper is the first to examine the implicit psychological motives that underpin one of the most heated debates in North America. Despite scientific consensus that theory is inherently unscientific, 25 per cent of high school biology teachers in the U.S. devote at least some class time to the topic of intelligent design. And in Canada, for example, Alberta passed a law in 2009 that may allow parents to remove children from courses covering evolution.

British evolutionary biologist Prof. Dawkins, like the majority of scientists, argues that life's origins are best explained by Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection. However, intelligent design advocates such as Prof. Behe, a U.S. author and biochemist, assert that complex biochemical and cellular structures are too complex to be explained by evolutionary mechanisms and should be attributed to a supernatural creator.

"Our results suggest that when confronted with existential concerns, people respond by searching for a sense of meaning and purpose in life," says Tracy. "For many, it appears that evolutionary theory doesn't offer enough of a compelling answer to deal with these big questions."

The researchers carried out five studies with 1,674 U.S. and Canadian participants of different ages and a broad range of educational, socioeconomic and religious backgrounds.

In each study, participants were asked to imagine their own death and write about their subsequent thoughts and feelings, or they were assigned to a control condition: imagining dental pain and writing about that.

The participants were then asked to read two similarly styled, 174-word excerpts from the writings of Behe and Dawkins, which make no mention of religion or belief, but describe the scientific and empirical support for their respective positions.

After going through these steps, participants who imagined their own death showed greater support for intelligent design and greater liking for Behe, or a rejection of evolution theory coupled with disliking for Dawkins, compared to participants in the control condition.

However, the research team saw reversed effects during the fourth study which had a new condition. Along with writings by Behe and Dawkins, there was an additional passage by Carl Sagan. A cosmologist and science writer, Sagan argues that naturalism – the scientific approach that underlies evolution, but not intelligent design – can also provide a sense of meaning. In response, these participants showed reduced belief in intelligent design after being reminded of their own mortality.

Tracy says, "These findings suggest that individuals can come to see evolution as a meaningful solution to existential concerns, but may need to be explicitly taught that taking a naturalistic approach to understanding life can be highly meaningful."

Similar results emerged in the fifth study, carried out entirely with natural science students at graduate and undergraduate levels. After thinking about death, these participants also showed greater support for the theory of evolution and liking of Dawkins, compared to control participants.

The researchers say these findings indicate a possible means of encouraging students to accept evolution and reject intelligent design.

"Natural science students have been taught to view evolutionary theory as compatible with the desire to find a greater sense of meaning in life," says Tracy. "Presumably, they already attain a sense of existential meaning from evolution."

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dogbert
1.5 / 5 (16) Mar 30, 2011
Sagan argues that naturalism the scientific approach that underlies evolution, but not intelligent design can also provide a sense of meaning. In response, these participants showed reduced belief in intelligent design after being reminded of their own mortality.


Naturalism is, of course, as effective as other religions in providing comfort to its adherents and Carl Sagan was a very persuasive speaker.

---

There are thousands of articles about people's supposed reaction to thoughts of mortality (something we are all constantly aware of), but few studies examining people's reaction to thoughts of immortality (a far more frightening proposition).

It would be interesting to prime people with thoughts of immortality and examine their reactions.
Bigblumpkin36
1 / 5 (13) Mar 30, 2011
It will be a debate that will last forever until we die, so in reality dont worry about it unless its ur job. We all from a retarded monkey fish frog man bear pigs
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.9 / 5 (16) Mar 30, 2011
After going through these steps, participants who imagined their own death
Indeed. Truth hurts. And I think I've pointed this out many times before, that it is our unique abilities to remember the past and to synthesize our futures, which can drive us to the insanity of religion? We know we are going to grow Old and die like our parents. This dilemma is described in the BIBLE:

"10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end." ecc3

Eternity in the human heart. We know we all had a beginning and we know we will all end; a great burden indeed. Biologically we respond as any animal would to the perception of confinement and threat, with anxiety. Along comes a scam artist with a book, and says he knows of a way out. How easy it is to suspend reason and embrace the immense relief that this lie can provide. The Epiphany.
PinkElephant
4.8 / 5 (17) Mar 30, 2011
@dogbert,
Naturalism is, of course, as effective as other religions
Huh? Religion by definition asks its adherents to believe in things outside of natural experience: in things unprovable and undetectable (and made up out of whole cloth...) Naturalism treats as real only that which demonstrably is part of reality; everything else is unfounded and idle (not to mention, almost always anthropocentric and anthropomorphic) speculation.

Yes, of course there's the old canard that equates lack of religion to religion. That's like saying that since trees don't have wings, they are also aircraft.
immortality (a far more frightening proposition)
If that were so, adherents of Abrahamic faiths would be terrified of going to "heaven"...
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.4 / 5 (11) Mar 30, 2011
More?

"4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of DEATH, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
...
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever." psalm23

-Valley of the shadow of death- that would be a description of our lifetime, with the reality of our eventual demise ever-present. Note the assurance in the final verse, of the exceptional rewards that come with allegiance and surrender.

We accept the staff of Leadership and the rod of punishment willingly, for they remind us of our reward for obedience at the end of this life and the beginning of a much better one. Egyptian gods carried the crook and flail, another unmistakable link to the judeo/Xian philosophy.
dogbert
1.8 / 5 (26) Mar 30, 2011
Naturalism treats as real only that which demonstrably is part of reality; everything else is unfounded and idle (not to mention, almost always anthropocentric and anthropomorphic) speculation.

No, Naturalism is the view that Nature is God. Nature becomes a substitute God to those who reject God. This is why you hear about Nature' bounty, Nature's blessings, etc. as if Nature were a God dispensing blessings. That is also why when disaster strikes, such as an earthquake, tsunami, volcano, hurricane, tornado, etc., people talk about Nature's wrath, as if Nature were an avenging God. Almost everything coming out of Hollywood describes an avenging Nature, dispensing justice to man for harming Nature's environment.

immortality (a far more frightening proposition)


If that were so, adherents of Abrahamic faiths would be terrified of going to "heaven"...


I suspect you have not thought much about immortality if you don't find the concept frightening.
PaulRadcliff
5 / 5 (3) Mar 30, 2011
Theism and science. Apples and oranges. One should not be used to support or deny the other. Its like trying to understand the question/answer nonsense in a Netflix radio commercial. (Sorry, USA specific reference). While this study has merit, it clearly demonstrates the malleability of the average human being's attitudes and perceptions, through different views of nature and/or Creation and different influences. We are gullible sheep, in other words. Realizing this a long time ago, I refuse to be suckered in by TV ads, news media with obvious, (to me, anyway) political bias, leading questions, etc.... even preaching the Gospel, has to be a very persuasive story telling schtick, to elicit such strong faith and trust in a Supreme Being, as this does provide spiritual comfort and serenity, a valuable and desirable mental state, in these unsettling times.
The other side is that everything was brought about by time, materials available, energy and nature. Belief by environment.
RobertKarlStonjek
2.8 / 5 (9) Mar 30, 2011
Even though I'm somewhat atheistic, Mr. God and I have a lot in common.
For instance neither of us believe in a higher power that created us...
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.5 / 5 (13) Mar 30, 2011
Hey dogburtt
"Naturalism (philosophy) is any of several philosophical stances wherein all phenomena or hypotheses commonly labeled as supernatural, are either false or not inherently different from natural phenomena or hypotheses."

-It is nature without god. I think you are thinking of something else but don't know what it is or what it is called. People who like to use terms with accepted definitions for other uses are often called obtuse or other things.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.4 / 5 (16) Mar 30, 2011
Theism and science. Apples and oranges. One should not be used to support or deny the other.
-And thereby free theism from rational scrutiny? Bullshit.
strong faith and trust in a Supreme Being, as this does provide spiritual comfort and serenity, a valuable and desirable mental state, in these unsettling times.
People who accept this particular fantasy are prone to irresponsible actions ie reproducing beyond their means, blaming their resultant poverty and strife on others, and making war on them as a result. Watch tv and see what religion is doing to the middle east. The cost of this particular palliative is way too high.

You want comfort, accept the world for what it is, not what you may want it to be.
theskepticalpsychic
3.1 / 5 (8) Mar 30, 2011
People don't like Dawkins and his disciples because of their overt contempt for non-materialists and non-scientists, a contempt that is reflected in many of the posts on this page. Dawkins et al frequently come across as arrogant self-appointed philosopher-kings. If apostles of the life of reason are persons without demonstrable empathy for the suffering of others, no wonder such preachers have little success in converting unbelievers. Of course this doesn't mean that the materialist view of humans as accidental products of chance processes is in error. But fear of death, and psychological mechanisms for coping with that fear, have survival value for the individual and the group, and proponents of rationalism had better learn to work with these psychological realities than moan and groan about how illogical the serfs are. Just saying.
6_6
1.4 / 5 (21) Mar 31, 2011
No such "theory of intelligent design" exists. there is only Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, and the first hand accounts provided from the bible. God and Christ were there when it happened. Darwin was not. If I had to choose which one I'll put any faith in, it's an easy choice..
orsr
3 / 5 (4) Mar 31, 2011
Researches like this one show how easy it is for people to abandon rationality in their quest for the "meaning of life". It is far more easier to accept that kind of "meaning" provided by a thousands of years old religious ideology in exchange for submision to a deity, than to find this "meaning" using one's reason.
kevinrtrs
1.6 / 5 (29) Mar 31, 2011
Despite scientific consensus that intelligent design theory is inherently unscientific,

Religion by definition asks its adherents to believe in things outside of natural experience: in things unprovable and undetectable (and made up out of whole cloth...)

Essentially evolutionary theory is unprovable and unfalsifiable. No one can go back in time to observe and confirm that all life did indeed descend from just a single ancestor. Evolutionists are using all kinds of scientific means to show that the physical evidence they've uprooted supports that philosophy. But no matter how hard they try, it always remains disputable and in fact the physical evidence can be shown to also support special creation.
So what it boils down to is that the theory that we all descended from one ancestor is essentially a religion. You may blow hot and cold and go blue in the face about that FACT but you cannot change it. You can only go about denying people the right to say it, to soothe yrslf.
kaasinees
3.3 / 5 (26) Mar 31, 2011
Essentially evolutionary theory is unprovable and unfalsifiable.


There are atleast a dozen projects around the world that have proven Evolution which means it is justified. And religion has been falsified by many historians.
A little digging in science articles will give all the prove you need if you don't believe me.

Everyone just use the "report abuse" button on kevinrts and the other religious nuts. Morons.
dogbert
1.6 / 5 (22) Mar 31, 2011
There are atleast a dozen projects around the world that have proven Evolution which means it is justified.


No, there are numerous projects which have confirmed selection -- something which has been known for thousands of years. Selection may result in evolution and it may not.

Notice how you capitalized the word Evolution? The common practice is to capitalize the reference to your god. Should we follow your advice and use the "report abuse" button on your posts because you have identified your religion?
kaasinees
3.1 / 5 (22) Mar 31, 2011
No, there are numerous projects which have confirmed selection -- something which has been known for thousands of years. Selection may result in evolution and it may not.

So you admit that Evolution exists.

Notice how you capitalized the word Evolution?

I capitalized it because it is the name of the theory. If i talk about Evolution in context i will not use a capital. (Yes in the english language we capitalize names, it has nothing todo with religion)
dogbert
1.4 / 5 (21) Mar 31, 2011
So you admit that Evolution exists.

I like the concept. Since evolution has not been demonstrated, I do not admit that it is more than a theory.

You capitalize Evolution because it is more than a theoretical process to you. Do you say "Things fall because of Gravity" or do you say "Things fall because of gravity". I'll bet you have never capitalized the word gravity like you capitalize the word Evolution. Are you prone to talk about Nature too?

Its OK to have a religion. Don't feel bad about it.

kaasinees
2.9 / 5 (20) Mar 31, 2011
I like the concept. Since evolution has not been demonstrated, I do not admit that it is more than a theory.

A theory is demonstrated, otherwise it would be a hypothesis.

Do you say "Things fall because of Gravity" or do you say "Things fall because of gravity".

Gravity is not a theory, it is an observed phenomena. If we talk about gravity theory wise you would indeed capitalize it.

Its OK to have a religion. Don't feel bad about it.

I don't have a religion unless you define Theravada a religion.
dogbert
1.6 / 5 (19) Mar 31, 2011
A theory is demonstrated, otherwise it would be a hypothesis.


There are many definitions of the word "theory". A hypothesis is merely a conjecture. A theory is a hypothesis in which one has some measure of confidence from observation (such a selection being a part of the theory of evolution). Selection was already known to exist. As a part of the theory of evolution, that portion can be said to have been demonstrated. But no one has demonstrated evolution.

I agree that we have no understanding of the cause of gravity. We do have models for the behavior of gravity. Newton's model cannot be said to be a theory, but Einstein's can, in that Einstein's theories provide for a cause (a bending of space-time in the presence of mass).

Ethelred
3.5 / 5 (15) Mar 31, 2011
Naturalism is, of course, as effective as other religions
Lie. Naturalism is a reasonable scientific way of thinking that has NO religious qualities at all.

The Supreme Court agrees with me on this. OK it was Secular Humanism but for you that is the same thing.

No, Naturalism is the view that Nature is God.
Lie. Why do you up things like that?

Nature becomes a substitute God to those who reject God.
Lie. On two counts.

One It is exceedingly difficult to reject that which does not exist.

Two Naturalism is simply assuming that there is a natural, as opposed to religious, based answer to scientific questions. It doesn't require Atheism just a reasonable attitude towards finding out how things work.

This is why you hear about Nature' bounty, Nature's blessings,
Not from me you don't. Nature should not be personified outside of fiction.

More
Mayor__Dooley
3.7 / 5 (9) Mar 31, 2011
Oh dear, Dogbutt and Kevin posturing with their conical hats again?
Ethelred
4.1 / 5 (14) Mar 31, 2011
That is also why when disaster strikes, such as an earthquake, tsunami, volcano, hurricane, tornado, etc., people talk about Nature's wrath,
Most people are religious. In the US mostly Christian. Go tell you fellow Christians to stop personifying nature. Quit making silly claims that Atheist and Agnostics do that.

I suspect you have not thought much about immortality if you don't find the concept frightening.
Disturbing. But less disturbing than dying.

Oh since you are telling fairy stories about science I am going to ask you about the fairy story you believe in.

When was the Flood?

Ethelred
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (10) Mar 31, 2011
I suspect you have not thought much about immortality if you don't find the concept frightening.
There's no immortality for Abrahmic adherants. From Dust to Dust... Everything has it's season...

And all that jazz.
No, Naturalism is the view that Nature is God.
No, that's pantheism.
Nature becomes a substitute God to those who reject God.
No, that's not accurate either.
There are many definitions of the word "theory".
In science there is only one.
Since evolution has not been demonstrated, I do not admit that it is more than a theory.

Demonstrated multiple times, including in humans. You do know what different haplogroups have corresponding different immune systems, don't you? For example, the Northern European haplogroups show increased resistance to viral and bacterial infection when compared to the African haplogroups. The African haplogroups show increased immunity against parasites.
PaulieMac
4.6 / 5 (14) Mar 31, 2011
Selection was already known to exist. As a part of the theory of evolution, that portion can be said to have been demonstrated. But no one has demonstrated evolution.


So... You are admitting 'selection' but dispute 'evolution'...

So presumably, you dispute genetic change/mutation? Because that is what evolution boils down to; mutation + selection.

Do I read your stance correctly, out of curiosity?
orsr
4.6 / 5 (9) Mar 31, 2011
Could it be that dogbert and kevintrs have permanent death anxiety?
PaulieMac
4.7 / 5 (15) Mar 31, 2011
Essentially evolutionary theory is unprovable and unfalsifiable.


Completely aside from the fact that this statement is utterly false, it is pleasingly ironic that a creationist should make this particular argument. You believe in a magic invisible sky fairy and a 6,000 year old earth; do you expect *anyone* to be taken in by your transparent pretense of being concerned in the slightest with falsifiability or the scientific method?

No one can go back in time to observe and confirm that all life did indeed descend from just a single ancestor.


No-one can go back in time and observe that my great-great-grandfather had sexual conact with my great-great-grandmother.

But. He. Obviously. Did.
PaulieMac
4.6 / 5 (9) Mar 31, 2011
Evolutionists are using all kinds of scientific means to show that the physical evidence they've uprooted supports that philosophy.


Oh, no, not 'scientific means'! Heaven forbid :)


in fact the physical evidence can be shown to also support special creation.


Well go ahead, I'm listening. Tell us how :)
Ethelred
3.3 / 5 (13) Mar 31, 2011
People don't like Dawkins and his disciples because of their overt contempt for non-materialists and non-scientists,
I see. Since your psychic you can speak for everyone. Or is just that by working as a psychic you are say silly things so often it has become a bad habit.

I have never seen Dawkins act with contempt. I doubt that he has any disciples either because that is religious phenomena.

a contempt that is reflected in many of the posts on this page.
I suspect the contempt some here have is due to years of being repressed by the religious.

Then again Kevin and Dogbert lie a lot so I don't see anything to respect in either of them.

Which is not the same as contempt. Perhaps the distinction escapes you but it is real.

Dawkins et al frequently come across as arrogant self-appointed philosopher-kings.
That is largely your perception and not Dawkin's doing.

More
Paljor
2.6 / 5 (5) Mar 31, 2011
perhaps. but elthred (i am not against you in the slightest) it is just i wonder if you could find something other than the flood you have used that in countless posts. it's getting a little old...
Ethelred
3.3 / 5 (9) Mar 31, 2011
He does go over the top occasionally but frankly he has had a lot of provocation by people that tell lies about him. And the ever popular sentence out of context in a bizarre attempt to prove the world is young.

If apostles of the life of reason are persons without demonstrable empathy for the suffering of others,
They would be someone other than those you are ranting about.

no wonder such preachers have little success in converting unbelievers.
They don't preach but they do change minds with REASON. Its rare since so many people have difficulty using reason. So far you seem to be rather short on it.

Of course this doesn't mean that the materialist view of humans as accidental products of chance processes is in error.
But you don't believe it anyway or you wouldn't be straining reality in this post to the degree that you are.

More
Paljor
3 / 5 (2) Mar 31, 2011
elthred your ignoring me.
Ethelred
3.5 / 5 (10) Mar 31, 2011
But fear of death, and psychological mechanisms for coping with that fear, have survival value for the individual and the group
Some people do have trouble coping with reality. Lots of humans do not believe in an afterlife. The early Jews didn't. I don't. I am pretty sure that I have yet to commit suicide.

and proponents of rationalism had better learn to work with these psychological realities
Why? I, for instance, can deal with this by example. I clearly don't have a belief in an after life, though it sure could nice if there was one. Dawkins seems to be living a nice life. I think that is example enough for those that are not governed by fear. Not much can be done for those that are. They must learn to deal with the real world on their own. All the rational can do for them is to keep exposing them to reality.

than moan and groan about how illogical the serfs are.
What serfs? Now THAT is a sign of contempt.

No you are not just saying. You are preaching.

Ethelred
Ethelred
3.4 / 5 (12) Mar 31, 2011
elthred your ignoring me.
Someone on another thread thinks I have an ego problem. Perhaps he was thinking of you.

It's only been eight bleeding minutes. Hold your water. Patience is a virtue but it needs to be exercised. I am Exorcising Demons here. They can't wait.

wonder if you could find something other than the flood you have used that in countless posts.
It chases off demons. Which how we know that Kevin is a demon but Dogbert just has a strange handle. Kevin is banished by the incantation and Dogbert stays.

The flood is a real problem for Creationists of the second type. The Old Earth Creationists. Since it banishes Kevin and Dogbert refuses to clarify his thinking I will continue to use it.

It works.

it's getting a little old...
How old? When was it? That is a pertinent question. If it bothers you more than it does Dogbert you could just skip over it.

Now are you going to contribute or just complain?

Ethelred
kaasinees
2.3 / 5 (12) Mar 31, 2011
They are probably Jehova Witnesses.
They are forced to preach by their religion.
JW are the new christians, and are extreme like islam.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (7) Mar 31, 2011
Death anxiety prompts people to believe in intelligent design, reject evolution


Non-sequitir. I believe in intelligent design and evolution. Go fish somewhere else for your controversy.

OTOH I have no "death anxiety"...maybe that why *rolls eyes*.

I have never seen Dawkins act with contempt. I doubt that he has any disciples either because that is religious phenomena.


I've never seen him act otherwise...

We are talking about the quite gaunt, thin faced English chap with bad teeth and a "smile" that freezes liquid nitrogen aren't we?

Oh and uh, trust me "discipleship" IS NOT unique to religion. You're a very smart person Eth but that is an incredibly naive and ignorant attitude.
Ethelred
3 / 5 (8) Mar 31, 2011
As Richard Dawkins put it - you're essentially a good for nothing, purposeless piece of scum. So accept it.

On the other hand if you were created by the Almighty God and accept His salvation you have eternal love to look forward to.
Your choice


No Kevin. It isn't a matter of choice. It is a matter of dealing with reality or hiding behind an ancient book written long ago by ignorant. Unlike you they had no choice about being ignorant. The Universe does not respond to the choices we make. It is what it is and it NOT a mere 6 to 10 thousand years old.

Ethelred
Paljor
not rated yet Mar 31, 2011
What is Jehova? (thats my contribution)
kaasinees
1.9 / 5 (14) Mar 31, 2011
I believe in intelligent design and evolution.


Where did the design start?
Chemistry is subject to Evolution, for my part ofcourse, i dont know how other poeple think about.
kaasinees
2.2 / 5 (16) Mar 31, 2011
What is Jehova? (thats my contribution)


I was talking about the Jehova Witnesses. Jehova is suposed to be the name God.

watchtower.org/e/jt/index.htm

Just read those words, its social engineering, they want to make believe they are the nicest people you have ever known, that is how they want to convert you but read between the lines and you will find out how extreme they are.
Paljor
1 / 5 (2) Mar 31, 2011
Explain light speed, if a God created the universe than what created him, if there was nothing how did he think of imagination, how can one create a universe in 7 days (think 400 bil. galexies (spelling) 400 bil. stars in each with 3 or 4 planets orbiting most of them with a couple moons orbinting most planets and an incalculable amount of asteroids and dust), why pick a planet that is in a backwater midsized galaxy and in a backwater average part of that galaxy in a minute and an unimportant solar sysytem? (i want reasons for all.) and i thought the christain name for god was yaweh (spelling)
Modernmystic
2 / 5 (12) Mar 31, 2011
I believe in intelligent design and evolution.


Where did the design start?
Chemistry is subject to Evolution, for my part ofcourse, i dont know how other poeple think about.


Where did the evolution start?

Chemistry alone can't properly explain how life began. If you have an explanation I and the rest of the world await with baited breath...

I think design was necessary for the origins of life, there is irreducible complexity there that simply can't be credibly accounted for any other way.

I also think that perhaps a nudge here and there happen occasionally as well, though even if it doesn't it's unnecessary to the concept of intelligent design. In fact even if the origins of life can someday somehow be explained credibly by evolution and chemistry alone it still doesn't negate intelligent design.

If you're an intelligence beyond all human understanding and you want to bake a cake...well all you have to do is mix the ingredients and start the oven. You'll get a cake
Modernmystic
2.3 / 5 (9) Mar 31, 2011
What is Jehova? (thats my contribution)


I was talking about the Jehova Witnesses. Jehova is suposed to be the name God.

watchtower.org/e/jt/index.htm

Just read those words, its social engineering, they want to make believe they are the nicest people you have ever known, that is how they want to convert you but read between the lines and you will find out how extreme they are.


If people said this about fascist Islamists you'd call them racists, or bigots I'll wager :)

If you tell me I'm wrong I honestly won't believe you...

Not that I'm a fan of JWs I had one trying to convert me for a loooong time. Finally I asked her "If I believe something that the church doesn't can I still be a JW?"

Never heard from her again... :-)
Paljor
1 / 5 (1) Mar 31, 2011
Well why don't you use your intelligant design to explain all my questions (above) if it is so reliable?
kaasinees
2.4 / 5 (15) Mar 31, 2011
Where did the evolution start?

It never started, it's like asking when did PI start.
It's a set of conditions and variables.

Chemistry alone can't properly explain how life began.

You are correct. It's a combination of chemistry and favorable coniditions, sounds like Evolution to me.

If you have an explanation I and the rest of the world await with baited breath...

There are already a dozen hypothesises about how life has started.

I think design was necessary for the origins of life, there is irreducible complexity there that simply can't be credibly accounted for any other way.

So back to the question, when/where did it start?
Paljor
1 / 5 (1) Mar 31, 2011
And experiments in which scientists made a primordial soup of their own and one may have created life itself (see arificial life on google)
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.1 / 5 (11) Mar 31, 2011
fear of death...have survival value for the individual and the group
All animals have instincts for self-preservation but only humans live with the certain knowledge that no matter what they do they will eventually die. They can picture it in their minds. There is no survival value in this.
first hand accounts provided from the bible. God and Christ were there when it happened. Darwin was not. If I had to choose which one I'll put any faith in, it's an easy choice
Your ability to make rational choices is overwhelmed by your dread of growing old and dying. Darwin examined evidence. Biblical fanticists did not.
On the other hand if you were created by the Almighty God and accept His salvation you have eternal love to look forward to.
Your choice.
People like you pander to people whose fear of death has left them vulnerable to the wonderful fantasies you sell. I assume you make a living doing this? Why not do something a little less ruinous like selling fireworks to kids?
kaasinees
2.1 / 5 (13) Mar 31, 2011
If people said this about fascist Islamists you'd call them racists, or bigots I'll wager :)

No i wouldn't, it has nothing todo with races.

If you tell me I'm wrong I honestly won't believe you...

Wrong about what? You don't know me, how can you judge me?

Not that I'm a fan of JWs I had one trying to convert me for a loooong time. Finally I asked her "If I believe something that the church doesn't can I still be a JW?"

I have had experiences with JW to, they are extreme, they just hide it behind a nice facade.

Never heard from her again... :-)

Because she knows its pointless.
Paljor
not rated yet Mar 31, 2011
I am guessing Elthred made kevin go away... shame i was enjoying the word war you guys were having...
Modernmystic
2 / 5 (8) Mar 31, 2011
No i wouldn't, it has nothing todo with races.


Fine a bigot then. Some people are silly enough to think only Arabs are Islamofascists.

Wrong about what? You don't know me, how can you judge me?


From what I've seen you post on the board. You honestly don't think people can make judgments based on things people say? How did you survive past the first grade?

I have had experiences with JW to, they are extreme, they just hide it behind a nice facade.


Bull****. They in no way shape or form are as extreme as Muslims. They don't strap bombs to kids, start wars, and go out of their way to kill innocents. Muslims do this as a matter of course.

Because she knows its pointless.


Perhaps, but more to the point I was trying to communicate with her about her own beliefs more than I was making a statement about the likelihood of my conversion.
Modernmystic
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 31, 2011
And experiments in which scientists made a primordial soup of their own and one may have created life itself (see arificial life on google)


Not even close, you can safely be ignored on the topic until you get a HEAVY dose of self education...

A very FEW amino acids that are required to make a single cell are NOT life. Just like a micro-chip and a pressure valve sitting on a launch pad don't make an Atlas Rocket...

Moreover, where do you think the scientists trying to make "artificial" life get 99% the blueprint they're using from? :)
Ethelred
2.6 / 5 (5) Mar 31, 2011
I've never seen him act otherwise...
You don't seem to have seen the same videos I have. I think you might be sticking to the ones on Religion. Or the short bits taken out of context by the religious. They do that a lot.

We are talking about the quite gaunt, thin faced English
No. I am talking about a guy that isn't gaunt.

chap with bad teeth
That covers almost all Brits.

and a "smile" that freezes liquid nitrogen aren't we?
No. You might be, but I have seen his lecture for children. The rest of the time he doesn't smile much.

I think you are reading things in that aren't there.

Oh and uh, trust me "discipleship" IS NOT unique to religion.
Its a matter of definition. He has fans. Mostly Atheists that were hiding the closet. I don't do that myself.

If I was to have a mentor in my lack of religion, a British mentor that is, it would be Dr Jonathan Miller.

More on Miller next
Ethelred
3 / 5 (6) Mar 31, 2011
http://www.youtub...rpok9KPA

He is the guy sitting on the stairs.

http://www.youtub...=related

And there he is talking about evolution.

http://www.youtub...=related

And that one is about Atheism. And he said that he didn't expect to see the end of the century.

Still around though.

You're a very smart person Eth but that is an incredibly naive and ignorant attitude.
As usual when people make silly remarks like that it strikes me that they are projecting.

You seem to be under the delusion that I am overly enamored with a guy I have said overdoes it.

Ethelred
kaasinees
2 / 5 (14) Mar 31, 2011
From what I've seen you post on the board.

It is impossible to bind a stereotype or personality by just looking at the posts i made on the board, made sure of that. No social engineering me.

You honestly don't think people can make judgments based on things people say?

Is that how Hitler got so much power? Yeah you are so logical buddy.
Bull****. They in no way shape or form are as extreme as Muslims.

They both are on a convert-frenzy. Islam is more succesful with it because of Socal Acceptence/Rejection and Islamic governments plus their numbers.
They don't strap bombs to kids, start wars, and go out of their way to kill innocents.

This is more of a problem with their eastern society. Also there have been Christian extremists etc. It has nothing todo with religion other than the "i am going to heaven"-disorder.
I was making a statement about the likelihood of my conversion.

And adds what to the discussion?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (9) Mar 31, 2011
But fear of death, and psychological mechanisms for coping with that fear, have survival value for the individual and the group, and proponents of rationalism had better learn to work with these psychological realities
This is an interesting point. Most people deal with this fear through a rejection of reality. They retreat into fantasy or overwork themselves and break laws in order to accumulate things they don't need, or to placate some obviously nonexistent deity. These people throughout history have routinely been enlisted to suffer and die for the cause of war. They populate the prison system. They overconsume and generate Thruput, thereby driving technical and medical innovation.

These actions obviously do not increase their survival rate but they do benefit the species by separating them from those who are better able to cope with mortality. More evidence that we are a domesticated species and a Work in progress. 'The lord [the Leader] is my Shepherd.'
Modernmystic
1.4 / 5 (9) Mar 31, 2011
It never started, it's like asking when did PI start.
It's a set of conditions and variables.


Cop out.

You are correct. It's a combination of chemistry and favorable coniditions, sounds like Evolution to me.


Doesn't sound like anything to me but Brownian motion.

There are already a dozen hypothesises about how life has started.


None with more credibility than "God did it in six days"...

So back to the question, when/where did it start?


Give me an answer to the question I asked you that isn't a cop out and I'll give you mine.

Until then my cop out answer is "When/Where God said it started"...
Modernmystic
1.4 / 5 (9) Mar 31, 2011
As usual when people make silly remarks like that it strikes me that they are projecting.


That's funny I thought the EXACT same thing about you when you claimed discipleship was exclusive to religious circles...

RE Dawkins: Yes the guy is a condescending prig (my opinion)...like most atheists I've met. You (in general) aren't one of them, though at times you can be.

But then again very VERY few aren't...

And adds what to the discussion?


See above on my comments about how you people come across and usually act...

If you want someone to actually LISTEN to what you're saying the best way isn't condescendingly smashing them in the forehead telling them they're extremist morons and have the intellectual capacity of children...no really I'm serious...
Ethelred
3.3 / 5 (12) Mar 31, 2011
They don't strap bombs to kids, start wars, and go out of their way to kill innocents. Muslims do this as a matter of course.
Most Muslims don't do that either. What they also don't do is protest against that behavior except on rare occasions. Tends to get the protestor killed.

The JW's aren't violent but they are pretty extreme. The two concepts are not identical. The don't kill people that quit. They just shun them. Even their own family to a large extent. They are pretty carefull to avoid discussing their past errors as well. Just ask one how many times they predicted the end of the world. The correct answer is seven. Five if you pretend the unoficial predictions were unoficial even though it was in the Watchtower.

New copies of the old issues have had the predictions expunged. In other word they lie to the newbies which is why they won't be able to give you the correct answer. Then again as an unbeliever it is OK to lie to you.

Ethelred
Ethelred
3.2 / 5 (11) Mar 31, 2011
That's funny I thought the EXACT same thing about you when you claimed discipleship was exclusive to religious circles...
Then you need to get a clue about what the word means.

You (in general) aren't one of them, though at times you can be.
Speaking of people with attitudes.

RE Dawkins: Yes the guy is a condescending prig (my opinion)...like most atheists I've met.
Yep thats an attitude.

I know of an Atheist that has that same bad attitude about Agnostics. I read his books anyway.

See above on my comments about how you people come across and usually act...
You really need to look at the their position. They live in a society that wants to banish them. We had a President that said I am not an American because I am not a believer. Bush and it was the moderately competent one at that.

Ethelred
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (10) Mar 31, 2011
Continuing my last post...
So we can see that people like Kevin do serve a vital Purpose in the continuing Refinement of the species, by serving as collection points for all those unable or unwilling to choose reality over fantasy. Our memories and the ability to synthesize and project have left most of us in terror of the future, and this conundrum threatens our survival. But religion offers a way of correcting this.

Keep separating wheat from chaff Kevin. You're doing the Lords work. And us antireligionists will keep showing how lame you all are, for those who are able to appreciate it. Two sides- one coin. Takes 2 to tango and all that.
Modernmystic
2.5 / 5 (8) Mar 31, 2011
Most Muslims don't do that either.


But a very large fraction approve of such actions. If you don't believe me watch the most popular television shows in the Arab world for FIVE minutes...

RE JWs: I've actually had a lot of "success" just talking to them like they're people. I don't belittle them I just listen and talk. I'm honestly curious about what makes them tick. If I'm not busy doing something I usually invite them in and talk to them. I never challenge them directly on their beliefs, but I do find occasion to challenge their epistemology and do so at every opportunity. Make them think...puts hair on their chest :)

The older I get the more I just like talking to people...just for the sake of talking. JWs/religious types aren't the boogey men. They're just people like you and me. Atheists I admit I have a hard time relating to because they are EXTREMELY judgmental and bigoted and it's hard for me to take for very long. Buddhists are the most fun for the opposite reason.
Modernmystic
1.9 / 5 (12) Mar 31, 2011
Then you need to get a clue about what the word means.


"Psychological projection or projection bias is a psychological defense mechanism where a person unconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, such as to other people."

I'm saying YOU are a disciple and the evidence for this is your projection of that attribute on religious people only. I know what the word means.

What was I saying about condescension before? That isn't attitude...you provided the evidence.

I know of an Atheist that has that same bad attitude about Agnostics. I read his books anyway.


Good for you?

You really need to look at the their position. They live in a society that wants to banish them.


So their response is to be arrogant bastards to everyone? My response is GROW UP. Most adults understand that what people do is about THEM, not about you...friggin egotists.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.4 / 5 (9) Mar 31, 2011
Bull****. They in no way shape or form are as extreme as Muslims. They don't strap bombs to kids, start wars, and go out of their way to kill innocents. Muslims do this as a matter of course.
No but they're pretty good at selling and doing martyrdom, which is the same thing. Violence is violence whether doing it to others or inviting it on your own person.
Modernmystic
1.8 / 5 (10) Mar 31, 2011
Bull****. They in no way shape or form are as extreme as Muslims. They don't strap bombs to kids, start wars, and go out of their way to kill innocents. Muslims do this as a matter of course.
No but they're pretty good at selling and doing martyrdom, which is the same thing. Violence is violence whether doing it to others or inviting it on your own person.


True. The best martyrs BY FAR in this society are atheists though...

There isn't enough wood in the world to build all the crosses they'd like to nail themselves to. And you sir are the epitome, the absolute PERFECT example of such. You've got the word VICTIM carved into every atom of your being...
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.5 / 5 (8) Mar 31, 2011
Bull****. They in no way shape or form are as extreme as Muslims. They don't strap bombs to kids, start wars, and go out of their way to kill innocents. Muslims do this as a matter of course.
No but they're pretty good at selling and doing martyrdom, which is the same thing. Violence is violence whether doing it to others or inviting it on your own person.


True. The best martyrs BY FAR in this society are atheists though...

There isn't enough wood in the world to build all the crosses they'd like to nail themselves to. And you sir are the epitome, the absolute PERFECT example of such. You've got the word VICTIM carved into every atom of your being...
How so, o grand mufti?
Modernmystic
2.2 / 5 (10) Mar 31, 2011
How so, o grand mufti?


Ever ask yourself why you're so psychotically fanatical about your views on religion?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (8) Mar 31, 2011
How so, o grand mufti?


Ever ask yourself why you're so psychotically fanatical about your views on religion?
Yes. What's that got to do with victimiAfion (don't text and drive)?
Ethelred
3 / 5 (10) Mar 31, 2011
They're just people like you and me.
They wish. Have you ever met one that was much above average inteligence? I did once, online. He was in a quandry about joining reality and his family's reaction to it. Math major.

They have one thing going for them. The concept of the Trinity simply isn't supportable in the Bible and I have yet to meet a believer that could explain the idea or the reason for it. I can explain the idea. They can't. I can't explain the reason for the idea being part of the dogma though. Best I can tell it came from a desire and perhaps a political need for Jesus to be a deity.

I admit I have a hard time relating to because they are EXTREMELY judgmental and bigoted
YOU are judgemental. At least when you get irritated.

I don't see anything wrong with judgeing things but painting all Atheists with the same brush is overdoing it. Try those links I posted. Miller had John Clease of Monty Python do Shakespeare for the BBC.

Ethelred
Modernmystic
2.1 / 5 (7) Mar 31, 2011
Yes. What's that got to do with victimiAfion (don't text and drive)?


Noting at all...never mind Otto. Introspection is not something you're capable of and I apologize for even wasting your time because I knew this prior to asking the question. So never mind *these aren't the droids you're looking for*.

They wish. Have you ever met one that was much above average inteligence?


What has that got to do with anything? Are they subhuman or not worth speaking to because of this? I don't think you really believe this but this is how you make yourself SOUND.

So help me understand the real reason this is important to you....

YOU are judgemental. At least when you get irritated.


I am with Muslims yes. This is something I'm working on, I'm having a hard time finding evidence to not be though.

Atheists? No not so much. (cont)
Modernmystic
1.9 / 5 (13) Mar 31, 2011
I'm not judgmental in that I don't care that they (atheists) don't believe in God. My aversive attitude towards atheists has nothing at all to do with their BELIEFS. My attitude has to do with their ACTIONS toward and TREATMENT of fellow human beings.

I don't think they're baaaaad or eeeeeevil people because they don't believe in God. I wouldn't let an Atheist babysit my kid because I'd be afraid of the devil bursting out of his chest. I wouldn't allow it because I wouldn't want my kid belittled and devalued simply because of his BELIEFS. And EVER SINGLE "western" atheist I know just can't resist the chance to do this...especially to kids of theists.

I understand that ALL atheists aren't like this. In fact most/all of the Buddhists I know could be categorized as atheists and I love them all to death. I'd rather any of them watch my kids than ANY of my fellow Christians.

So is there some generalization there? Yes. Is it without reason? No.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (12) Mar 31, 2011
I wouldn't let an Atheist babysit my kid because I'd be afraid of the devil bursting out of his chest.
HEY LOOK
Actual footage of an atheist meeting
http://www.youtub...a_player

They got the benediction wrong I guess
SCVGoodToGo
3.3 / 5 (7) Mar 31, 2011
Dear God, save me from your followers!
Modernmystic
2 / 5 (8) Mar 31, 2011
Dear God, save me from your followers!


Dear God, save me from inane overused cliches from excruciatingly unimaginative bores.
ereneon
4.5 / 5 (4) Mar 31, 2011
I see Buddhism is getting referenced, which is pretty interesting. To me, it's sort of like religion without belief. It has all the deep meaning and philosophical goodies that people want (getting over fear of death, why we should be good to each other, etc.), but applies only rational methods and hence does not conflict with science. I like the overview that this site gives for Buddhism:
http://www.katink...t/tibet/
I think there is something innate in humans or culture that twists things into a belief based religion though. When you look around at many of the "Buddhists" in the world you see a lot of believing in crazy gods and bowing at statues that just don't make sense if you think about what Buddhism is really about.
Modernmystic
2.1 / 5 (7) Mar 31, 2011
I wouldn't let an Atheist babysit my kid because I'd be afraid of the devil bursting out of his chest.
HEY LOOK
Actual footage of an atheist meeting
http://www.youtub...a_player

They got the benediction wrong I guess


You misunderstood what I wrote I guess...
Modernmystic
2.1 / 5 (14) Mar 31, 2011
Thinking I might have gotten Dawkins wrong I did some checking. I was right:

Some condescendingly priggish Dawkins quotes...

"By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out."

"I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world."

"You cannot be both sane and well educated and disbelieve in evolution. The evidence is so strong that any sane, educated person has got to believe in evolution." (wow, there's some dogma for ya)

"It is absolutely safe to say that, if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that)."

"To an honest judge, the alleged convergence between religion and science is a shallow, empty, hollow, spin-doctored sham."

PinkElephant
4.3 / 5 (9) Mar 31, 2011
[Buddhism]...applies only rational methods and hence does not conflict with science.
'scuse me? Reincarnation and spirits do not conflict with science? What about the prana/chi/whatever magic? What about transcendence? Yeah, really rational of them.
When you look around at many of the "Buddhists" in the world you see a lot of believing in crazy gods and bowing at statues...
No kidding. That's the rational foundation, for you. And that's not even mentioning all the self-deprivation and self-mutilation...
Modernmystic
1.3 / 5 (12) Mar 31, 2011
[Buddhism]...applies only rational methods and hence does not conflict with science.
'scuse me? Reincarnation and spirits do not conflict with science? What about the prana/chi/whatever magic? What about transcendence? Yeah, really rational of them.
When you look around at many of the "Buddhists" in the world you see a lot of believing in crazy gods and bowing at statues...
No kidding. That's the rational foundation, for you. And that's not even mentioning all the self-deprivation and self-mutilation...


LMFAO, you've been hanging around the wrong "Buddhists"...

Honestly though it's a very "ill-defined" group of people. Not a single one I've talked to believes in reincarnation the way most people understand it, and they're all agnostic.

And on a deeper note this is EXACTLY the kind of attitude I was alluding to earlier. Being around atheists for more than an hour is enough to make you physically ill sometimes.
PinkElephant
4.3 / 5 (9) Mar 31, 2011
they're all agnostic.
So they don't believe in Karma? If that's the case, they can only at best be described as "Buddhists" (with quotation marks.)
Being around atheists for more than an hour is enough to make you physically ill sometimes.
So, maybe you can employ some of that famed self-professed empathy of yours, and figure out how it feels for an atheist to be surrounded by religious demagogues like yourself.
Modernmystic
1.5 / 5 (8) Mar 31, 2011
they're all agnostic.
So they don't believe in Karma? If that's the case, they can only at best be described as "Buddhists" (with quotation marks.)


I'm sure your narrow minded attempt to define them really bothers them....actually no I'm bull****ing. None of them are here to ask, but I can say for sure that they could care less :)

Honestly how do you Übermensch tolerate the rest of us at all? It must just be so difficult for you...

Need some planks for a cross?
PinkElephant
3 / 5 (2) Mar 31, 2011
Need some planks for a cross?
You had some left over after you finished yours?

Also, hint: crosses don't mean squat to atheists. Now, garlic and silver, on the other hand...
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (4) Mar 31, 2011
You had some left over after you finished yours?


I never had to be on one myself.

Hint: Crosses do mean squat to Christians, namely we don't have to get on them ourselves...oddly enough Buddhists seem to have the same general attitude...
PinkElephant
4.3 / 5 (8) Mar 31, 2011
I never had to be on one myself.
Time for a bit of that famous introspection that you so like to prescribe for everyone else: why are you spending so much time and energy writing comments on this site and on this topic -- particularly seeing as the site was not intended for the topic in the first place? I'm sure there are TONS of more appropriate and more pleasant sites out there where religious twits engage in endless mutual mental circle-jerks.

Why subject yourself to all this atheistic unpleasantness that "is enough to make you physically ill sometimes"?
Modernmystic
1.6 / 5 (7) Mar 31, 2011
Time for a bit of that famous introspection that you so like to prescribe for everyone else: why are you spending so much time and energy writing comments on this site and on this topic -- particularly seeing as the site was not intended for the topic in the first place? I'm sure there are TONS of sites out there where religious twits engage in endless mutual mental circle-jerks.

Why subject yourself to all this atheistic unpleasantness that "is enough to make you physically ill sometimes"?


The same reason I talk to the JWs, only they're far more tolerant human beings and more pleasant to talk to...

Did you read the whole thread or just decide to jump in the middle and piss all over everything with your oh so superior grade of urine?

Notice how atheists even attempt to make people feel guilty for even SPEAKING about religion even on a thread under a header of ID which they EQUATE with religion...just an interesting and repeated observation.
PinkElephant
3.6 / 5 (5) Mar 31, 2011
The same reason I talk to the JWs
Just how many crosses DO you bear?
Did you read the whole thread
Yup.
piss all over everything with your oh so superior grade of urine
Damn straight it's superior. Your urine is a miserable nothing next to mine.
Modernmystic
1.6 / 5 (7) Mar 31, 2011
Just how many crosses DO you bear?


None...how many do you?

You must bear a LOT of them if talking to people is "bearing a cross" for you. Do you live in a cave in the hills?
Yup.


Just poor reading comprehension then...

Damn straight it's superior. Your urine is a miserable nothing next to mine.


Of COURSE it is, it was rhetorical. Nothing about atheists is sub-par or inferior to anyone who has religion *snicker*.

How do you get through doors with that inflated head?
james11
5 / 5 (4) Mar 31, 2011
Seriously kevin, I wanted to believe that there is a god and an afterlife but even though I wanted that really bad I still don't believe it. If there is a heaven is it limited to humans only? Where do you draw the line? Does a chimp go to heaven? A squirrel? Bacteria? If not then god is pretty messed up. Look at the way wild animals die. They are eaten alive, seriously, have you ever watched an animal getting eaten alive slowly? It is extremely disturbing and obviously immensely painful. If we didn't EVOLVE so well then many of us would still be getting eaten. Why would a god let beings suffer such awful deaths? Face it, you are not going to change the minds of anyone who is smarter than you, I am not saying that I am smarter than you but many of the people that come to this site are without a doubt. I want no part of a god that lets good hearted innocent beings suffer painful tortured deaths.
PinkElephant
3.6 / 5 (5) Mar 31, 2011
You must bear a LOT of them if talking to people is "bearing a cross" for you.
I'm not the one who started complaining about how physically sick this discussion was making them. Or do you have multiple personalities?
Nothing about atheists is sub-par or inferior to anyone who has religion *snicker*.
Especially and particularly their penises.
How do you get through doors with that inflated head?
I don't. They construct and tear down buildings around me, instead.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (4) Mar 31, 2011
I'm not the one who started complaining about how physically sick this discussion was making them.


I never said JWs make me sick. Can you please learn how to follow a conversation.

Especially and particularly their penises.


I wouldn't know about that like you (apparently) would. I play for the other team.

I don't. They construct and tear down buildings around me, instead.


And why wouldn't they, you Übermensch superstar you...
PinkElephant
3.5 / 5 (4) Mar 31, 2011
I never said JWs make me sick.
When did I say I was a JW?
Can you please learn how to follow a conversation.
After you.
I play for the other team.
You mean, piss for the other team?
you Übermensch superstar you...
Are you jealous?
ereneon
5 / 5 (4) Mar 31, 2011
The comment about reincarnation and karma are exactly what I was talking about in my earlier post on Buddhism. There are many different schools of thought on these things, many of which don't really make much sense. Here is a definition of karma and reincarnation that I think captures it well:

Karma: Basically cause and effect. The idea is that you should try to do things that have a good effect. There really isn't much more to it than that I think. The sort of supernatural definition of Karma comes from old India philosophies that were around at the beginning of Buddhism, but if you look at Buddhism in other places, like Zen in Japan, the idea of supernatural Karma is missing.

Reincarnation: At every instant of time, you have to live with the effects of what happened before, but you also have sort of a fresh start to do something else. Literal reincarnation is also a leftover of Indian philosophy from the beginning of Buddhism, and is also absent in Zen.
Modernmystic
2 / 5 (8) Mar 31, 2011
When did I say I was a JW?


AFAIK never...but you insinuated that I was carrying a cross for talking to them. Again focus and follow the conversation.

You mean, piss for the other team?


No, do you not understand the connotation? I can explain it for you, but I assumed you were over fifteen...

Are you jealous?


LOL not in the LEAST. It took a lot of time and effort to rid myself of the myriad of hang ups you're displaying to the world here...oh no I'm very happy with me.
PinkElephant
3.8 / 5 (5) Mar 31, 2011
No, do you not understand the connotation?
Oh, I do. Though I suspect you've been overdoing it with your testosterone supplements.
I can explain it for you, but I assumed you were over fifteen...
Well, I assumed you were familiar with sarcasm. But apparently you take me, and yourself, far too seriously for that.

Now, go do penance for all that un-Christian behavior you've been displaying here today.
THE_ANTIPHILO
1.3 / 5 (8) Mar 31, 2011
And on a deeper note this is EXACTLY the kind of attitude I was alluding to earlier. Being around atheists for more than an hour is enough to make you physically ill sometimes.
Feels kind of like... withdrawal, eh godder? Where would you be without all that mutual belly-rubbing?

Cold turkey is always best I hear. Put it down and do not pick it up. One day at a time. Let go and let god... go.
PinkElephant
4.5 / 5 (8) Mar 31, 2011
Otto, is that you? Have you died and reincarnated again? It's almost enough to make one a Buddhist...
soulman
4.3 / 5 (15) Mar 31, 2011
My aversive attitude towards atheists has nothing at all to do with their BELIEFS.

Atheism is the lack of a belief system.

My attitude has to do with their ACTIONS toward and TREATMENT of fellow human beings.

You should be far more concerned about how the various religious factions treat others than those that aren't subject to dogma.

I wouldn't allow it because I wouldn't want my kid belittled and devalued simply because of his BELIEFS.

A babysitter is an invited guest to your home. That a sitter, religious or not, would do something like that is just poor manners, regardless of their belief systems. Would you hire a Sikh babysitter?

And EVER SINGLE "western" atheist I know just can't resist the chance to do this...especially to kids of theists.

Perhaps they're showing a kindness, trying to introduce the child to rationalism to help them see the world the way it is. Why would you be threatened by that?
soulman
4.3 / 5 (13) Mar 31, 2011
I think there is something innate in humans or culture that twists things into a belief based religion though.

Yes. I have a hypothesis about that. Religion and superstition is a necessary price that must be paid by any creature of sufficient intelligence, such as ours.

Saddled with a large, complex brain that has exquisite pattern matching abilities, symbolic processing, inference and memory storage and retrieval capabilities, it becomes inevitable that false associations will be made in the absence of true knowledge to make sense of the world. The superstitions will gain currency in a society of such individuals and will be reinforced as a culture develops.

Lower animals don't have the mental faculties to concoct these belief systems. In fact, they could be said to be more scientific because their behaviors are based on real stimuli and real experiences. They react to the real world.
soulman
4.4 / 5 (16) Mar 31, 2011
Of course humanity's mental capacities also allow them to gain real knowledge of the world, and over time, largely overcome the early superstitions. But the power of the brain is still very much open to false patterns and influences, and therefore must be trained (critical thinking) from an early age so that if functions correctly.
kaasinees
2.5 / 5 (15) Apr 01, 2011
When you look around at many of the "Buddhists" in the world you see a lot of believing in crazy gods and bowing at statues that just don't make sense if you think about what Buddhism is really about.


Those are not really Buddhists, the deities have been made up and has destroyed real Buddhism, i blame Brittain for it.
The original Buddhist counsils did not believe in any deities. Luckily Theravada has become more populair, although i dont agree on their views about reincarnation(i have a more scientific explenation of reincarnation).
There have also been Buddhists that are purely basic Buddhist, purely rational, nothing about reincarnation or deities, kinda like me.
Ethelred
3.5 / 5 (8) Apr 01, 2011
What has that got to do with anything?
Well for one thing the title of the article. The other is that JW's are short on reasoning ability.

Are they subhuman or not worth speaking to because of this?
Would you care to not put words in my mouth.

I don't think you really believe this but this is how you make yourself SOUND.
No. Its how you hear things when you get upset. If I had not discussed things with a the math major JW it would have been rather hard to tell if he hand any brains. It was partly those discussions that lead him to the conclusion that The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society was somewhat faulty in its thinking. I think going to college the major reason.

So help me understand the real reason this is important to you....
What real reason? I was replying to what you said. I was pointing out that they ARE extreme. Then you said

They're just people like you and me.
Which simply isn't true.

More paragraph continues
Ethelred
3 / 5 (10) Apr 01, 2011
They are people like Kevin only less aggressive. And they can't count. They think that only so many people can go to heaven. There are more JW's than that number. I am pretty sure that most are exactly as aware of that as they are of the failed predictions of the end of the world. Some are aware. I know because I asked. Then again they may not have been aware before I asked.

I am with Muslims yes. This is something I'm working on
The problem is that Islam is inherently a rather nasty piece of work. So the people involved in it have to make a lot more adjustment than Christians have had to.

My attitude has to do with their ACTIONS toward and TREATMENT of fellow human beings.
Generally Atheists and Agnostics are not guilty of what you accuse them off. This is the NET lots of people blow off steam on the NET. You don't seem to have a problem with the President of the US saying that I am not an American. And that wasn't the Net.

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Ethelred
3 / 5 (10) Apr 01, 2011
I wouldn't allow it because I wouldn't want my kid belittled and devalued simply because of his BELIEFS.
You are not a kid.

And EVER SINGLE "western" atheist I know just can't resist the chance to do this...especially to kids of theists.
You need to hang out with another crowd. Of course you aren't bothered by Christians preaching at Atheist's children. I say that because you just passed over the money remark.

You misunderstood what I wrote I guess...
I don't think so. It was funny.

I was right:
No. You still look at the world with funny colored glasses.

"By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out."
That is a very reasonable remark. What do have against it? Look at all the idiots claiming I should open my mind and insert stupid ideas that deny the entire Universe.

'You evil rationalist. You have a closed mind. You won't accept that the world is twenty days old just as Rev. BillyBob told us last week.'

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Ethelred
3 / 5 (10) Apr 01, 2011
"I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world."
I did say he overdoes it sometimes. But Buddhism is that and Kevin sure fits that.

The evidence is so strong that any sane, educated person has got to believe in evolution." (wow, there's some dogma for ya)
Well you are sane, educated AND you believe in evolution. Kevin is something else entirely. Either ignorant or he refused to accept reality. An inability to perceive reality is pretty much the bog standard for insanity. That he CHOOSES to act as a person that can't perceive reality does not really change the results.

But unlike schizophrenics he CAN change. Which is why I keep trying to get him discuss his delusions. Think of me as his therapist.

t is absolutely safe to say that,
For long range values of safety. That was in an interview. Most of the people that don't believe in evolution are ignorant. I think he was just covering all the bases.

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Ethelred
3.2 / 5 (10) Apr 01, 2011
To an honest judge, the alleged convergence between religion and science is a shallow, empty, hollow, spin-doctored sham.
Pretty much true. Not entirely but mostly true. Religion does not converge with science and some beliefs are antithetical to science.

In Islam you would be subject to a fatwa if you were to accept the reality of evolution. Wouldn't even have to be from the same country. I think Islam frightens Dawkins a lot. Which is actually a sign of sanity.

My problem with Dawkins and religion is that he makes the same error many Christians do. Not all religions are Abrahamic. Thus he is engaging in a false dichotomy.

Now go watch the Jonathon Miller stuff.

Oh yes at the moment you and PinkElephant need to calm down and reread each others posts. Then you might both engage in some sort of re-education to avoid such behavior in the future.

I could have sworn you both had gotten out of junior high but those posts are at the level of rubber and glue.

Ethelred
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (8) Apr 01, 2011
Otto, is that you? Have you died and reincarnated again? It's almost enough to make one a Buddhist...
Unlike Buddhists, Otto can transmogrify at will. I could even become a buddhist... but I dont want to.
Those are not really Buddhists
Uh huh. According to them they are, am I right?

Where have I heard this before? Ah thats right, from adherents of every religion known to man. And since your very souls depend on whether or not youre doing it right, and whether or not others are angering the powers that be, youre allowed to fight to the death over it.

One religion = the next religion. All must end. Any can destroy us all. Accepting any one of them means enabling all of them.
ereneon
1 / 5 (1) Apr 01, 2011
That is a pretty sweeping generalization of religions, and though it could be argued to apply in some cases, it clearly doesn't in others. There are not really any "powers that be" in Buddhism, nor is there really a soul (and probably some others as well, though I am no religion scholar). Nor have I ever heard of Buddhist ethnic cleansing or crusades (except for a few cases of isolated nuts on a small scale). Of course there are some nuts in religions, as there are nuts in every group. A few atheist nuts that come to mind: Mao, Stalin, Hitler (arguably). Also, the "exterminate the unbelievers, the are all the same" attitude above is the very thing being criticized, which just makes atheism look like another religion.
If you want to discredit something it is better to learn about it so that you don't make obvious mistakes when talking about it, which automatically makes anyone who holds that view reject yours.
ereneon
5 / 5 (1) Apr 01, 2011
I think the real problem is not so much religion, but the nuts and idiots that can turn either religion or atheism into an excuse to cause problems for everyone else.
*hoping I didn't make any obvious mistakes in the above post which would make me look like a total ass...*
PinkElephant
3 / 5 (4) Apr 01, 2011
@Ethelred,

It may not have come through very clearly, but at least in my case the asshattery was quite intentional and actually not emotional in the sense you thought (I did snicker and laugh a bit, behind the scenes.) I do this sometimes, with particularly obtuse individuals...

My intention was to put up a mirror in front of MM, and let it reflect in an unflattering light whatever infantile insults he/she was going to throw at me. He/she didn't seem to get it for the longest time, but it seems in the end the light bulb finally came on. Of course, the eventual coup de grace regarding un-Christian (or more precisely, hypocritical) behavior, was the ultimate point of the whole exercise from the very beginning; it's just that the build-up took considerably longer than I expected...
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (7) Apr 01, 2011
That is a pretty sweeping generalization of religions, and though it could be argued to apply in some cases, it clearly doesn't in others. There are not really any "powers that be" in Buddhism, nor is there really a soul (and probably some others as well, though I am no religion scholar). Nor have I ever heard of Buddhist ethnic cleansing or crusades (except for a few cases of isolated nuts on a small scale)
India used to be full of buddhists. Buddhism started there. But millions of them were slaughtered or driven out in the name of religion. AGAIN, martyring oneself is every bit as violent as martyring someone else. All religions invite their constituents to either kill or be killed. And as they make growth by forced reproduction or proselytism mandatory, religion is the main source of violence in the world today.

Legitimizing even one enables every one of them to persist in all their many bizarre, cruel, and intractable forms. "For the world to live, religion must die." maher
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (8) Apr 01, 2011
the "exterminate the unbelievers, the are all the same" attitude above is the very thing being criticized
So again, you think there might be a universal, socially acceptable way of discerning which religion is good and which is bad, and then outlawing only the bad while keeping the good but at the same time ensuring somehow that they don't turn bad at some point, which they all have a propensity to do?

And what is bad? Teaching kids that infidels or scientists are evil is bad. Encouraging people to produce more children than they can support in the belief that god will provide, is bad. All religions do these things or have the potential written into their books, to be resurrected whenever they're needed or wanted. Will this UN Enforcement Committee force them to edit the word of god?

You are naive and know too little about religions. All bigotry is bad- society has decided this and we make it illegal in all it's forms. All of superstition can similarly be rejected.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (8) Apr 01, 2011
I think the real problem is not so much religion, but the nuts and idiots that can turn either religion or atheism into an excuse to cause problems for everyone else.
It was nuts and idiots who wrote the religious books in the first place. They were written to compel nuts and idiots to do whatever is necessary to preserve and spread their religion against all opposition. What did you expect?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (8) Apr 01, 2011
You are naive and know too little about religions. All bigotry is bad- society has decided this and we make it illegal in all it's forms. All of superstition can similarly be rejected.
-And as most all superstition has it's roots in intertribal animosity (The spirits favor US! God is on OUR side! Are you hatfield or mccoy? Etc) which is the source of bigotry, this shouldn't be too hard to do. Maybe I am also naive.

"18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of Gods one and only Son." john3

-Funny how born-again xians love to quote 3:16 but always leave off the more ominous caveat. Us and them- religions could not survive without another group to be better than. The bulk of their books deal with what to do about enemies.
GordonHide
3.4 / 5 (5) Apr 01, 2011
Our results suggest that when confronted with existential concerns, people respond by searching for a sense of meaning and purpose in life, says Tracy. For many, it appears that evolutionary theory doesn't offer enough of a compelling answer to deal with these big questions.

I think this is not universal and perhaps limited to people who were raised with a religion. I myself am more than happy to be responsible for giving my own life meaning.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 01, 2011
Our results suggest that when confronted with existential concerns, people respond by searching for a sense of meaning and purpose in life, says Tracy. For many, it appears that evolutionary theory doesn't offer enough of a compelling answer to deal with these big questions.

I think this is not universal and perhaps limited to people who were raised with a religion. I myself am more than happy to be responsible for giving my own life meaning.
Have you ever confronted the inevitability of your own death? Have you ever imagined it like the article suggests, and dwelled upon it for any length of time?
PinkElephant
3.9 / 5 (7) Apr 01, 2011
Otto, I don't think there's any living person in command of their faculties and above the age of 4, who hasn't dwelt upon death on numerous occasions and throughout their life.
ereneon
1 / 5 (3) Apr 02, 2011
I actually agree with Otto on this one. I think most people do everything they can to avoid dwelling about death. Maybe some more experienced or educated people think about it, but I think most don't.
No matter how much you support evolution or normal scientific though (I say support, because it annoys me when people say "believe" in evolution, since it is hopefully supported by evidence in their mind, and therefore not just a belief), I don't think it really does much for anyone when they sit back and think "all this is nice and logical, but I'm still going to die and rot in the ground one day".
Religion offers a potential solution to that, which is a powerful enticement. Because of this, when things go wrong you can end up with insane things like suicide bombers.

@Otto
Out of curiosity, what is your definition of religion? I find that it is often surprising how diverse people's definitions are. For example, how is it different from philosophy in your view?
PinkElephant
3.7 / 5 (9) Apr 02, 2011
I don't think it really does much for anyone when they sit back and think "all this is nice and logical, but I'm still going to die and rot in the ground one day".
Well, for one thing *you* aren't going to be rotting in the ground. The body that was formerly yours might (unless it's cremated), but your consciousness will simply be gone the instant you pass out for the last time. As a person, you will simply cease to exist, permanently, upon death -- just as you didn't exist to any appreciable degree until quite late in your gestation.

Some find this unacceptable, as they see no inherent purpose or meaning in such existence or denouement. Newsflash: neither purpose, nor meaning, are inherent to the universe. They are human notions, and the universe is neither anthropocentric, nor anthropomorphic.

Yet most people feel a need to INVENT some kind of purpose for their being: so consider what effects your life has upon the world and civilization around you -- i.e. your legacy.
ereneon
3 / 5 (2) Apr 02, 2011
I agree that religion causes many problems, but if religion were gone, would most of the world's problems be gone? I think not. Most of the biggest problems in the 20th century (Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc.) were actually problematic partly because of their overzealous secularism.
Whenever anyone thinks they have the absolute power to outlaw the "bad", it usually gets ugly, whether they are religious or not. I agree that in general bigotry is bad, but bigotry against all religious people, even when many are not particularly bigoted themselves (though admittedly many are), is just hypocrisy, and no better than the bigotry of some religious people.
My point about Buddhism is not to say it is the "one true religion", but to show that many of the assumptions made about religions (souls, holy books, gods, etc.) are not universal, and it is fallacious to lump all religions together. Should I lump all atheists/secularists in with Hitler, Stalin, and Mao? Of course not.
ereneon
not rated yet Apr 02, 2011
@ pink
I agree with a lot of your statement, I was just making the point that most people avoid thinking about death because of fear, which drives them to religions which offer a quick fix.

I did not intend my statement to have any real philosophical rigor. The quote was supposed to be from the point of view of a person who had not thought too deeply, and approached things form a very materialistic perspective (the type of person who could easily be drawn into a religion).

I agree that the definition of "you" is important here, and that the piece of meat rotting in the ground is not really "you". I think what exactly "you" is, even when "you" are alive, is a hard question though. Actually, the very concept of "you" is an anthropocentric idea created by humans, so there is no guarantee that "you" is not just an inconsistent idea that doesn't really exist at all.
PinkElephant
3.7 / 5 (9) Apr 02, 2011
many of the assumptions made about religions (souls, holy books, gods, etc.) are not universal
Ok, at this point I think you're redefining the very word "religion". I draw the line separating philosophy from religion where it begins to invent and dwell on anything "supernatural" -- i.e. anything manifestly or principally outside the rules and structures of the tangible, observable, objective reality.

Basically, I draw the line at magic, rituals, miracles, prayer, spirits, psychics/shaman/witches/mages/priests, and patently acausal postulates (like astrology, or numerology.) You can't call something a religion unless it espouses "faith" in at least one "supernatural" entity or phenomenon.
dogbert
2.1 / 5 (16) Apr 02, 2011
PinkElephant,

The problem with your definition of "religion" is that it is based on a supposed certain knowledge of what is, in your opinion, "natural" versus what, in your opinion, is not "natural".

Do you think, as some scientists do, that there is a reality outside of this universe which can create universes? There are many who believe in the possibility of a "multiverse" -- a multitude of universes. If you do and you define "nature" as the mechanisms and contents of this universe, then the larger reality must be supernatural.

If instead you define "nature" as only the contents and mechanisms of this universe, supposing that there is nothing else, then you may be limiting your capacity to perceive reality.

If you prefer to define "nature" as this universe + anything else, you have just expanded the meaning of "nature" to include "supernature".
Ethelred
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 02, 2011
The problem with your definition of "religion" is that it is based on a supposed certain knowledge of what is,
I don't think so. I think he goes the same as I do on this. There laws for our, or any, universe. Things that violate those laws count as supernatural. Creating matter or energy looks to be supernatural at the moment, except for short periods of time. FTL transportation. Reversing entropy above the atomic level. Doing things without a input of energy to a system that is equal to the change in energy of a system.

I think that should cover raising the dead without a copy of the brain and the memory that was in the brain for an instance of a miracle.

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Ethelred
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 02, 2011
Do you think, as some scientists do, that there is a reality outside of this universe which can create universes?
I don't for the way you expressed it. There is a possibility that any Universe can spawn more child universes. Also I don't see the principles of logic and math as a Universe but I do think that those might be enough for a universe to simply begin to exist but begin isn't a good word when the time is imaginary.

If you do and you define "nature" as the mechanisms and contents of this universe, then the larger reality must be supernatural.
No. That is still natural for me. We can imagine laws that are mathematically valid that do not fit our Universe. Doing something that is not mathematically valid WOULD be supernatural in my view. Obviously I don't think that can happen.

And yes I have got pushback on this but I have yet see any LOGICAL reason against it. Just people getting upset. It takes time to change minds.

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Ethelred
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 02, 2011
supposing that there is nothing else, then you may be limiting your capacity to perceive reality.
That I agree on. But I need to point out that it is very similar, I think identical logically, to the reasons for not assuming a god is involved when doing science.

If you prefer to define "nature" as this universe + anything else, you have just expanded the meaning of "nature" to include "supernature".
Poor choice of words as people usually mean that violate the laws of nature for supernatural. Going with the concept makes some word choices useful and other choices would be counterproductive.

To give an example. You way would have the Meta logic in Godel's Proof called superlogic which again brings unwanted connotations. Uber and super are just not good choices in comparison to meta. Then again we do have the terms 'superset' and 'subset' but I don't think that fits with 'nature' anywhere near as well.

Ethelred
ereneon
1 / 5 (2) Apr 02, 2011
I think that is the most common definition of religion that I have seen (religions must do something illogical or have beliefs not based on evidence) and for the purposes of what we have been debating, I think it is a pretty good definition. Though to play devil's advocate, what counts as "belief" or "evidence" can be pretty subjective. Religions cite things like miracles, intelligent design, etc. and claim these as logical evidence.

By this definition, however, not all "religions" are really religions. For example, some people do not consider Buddhism a true religion, because it lacks faith and belief (maybe some other "religions" do too, but my knowledge is only in Buddhism).

Also, much of what people consider culture can fit into this definition. Why do we do silly rituals like easter egg hunts or hanging shiny things from trees in winter or the many silly wedding traditions? These things aren't really part of the religions they came from anymore, but part of the culture.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (8) Apr 02, 2011
I don't think it really does much for anyone when they sit back and think "all this is nice and logical, but I'm still going to die and rot in the ground one day".
Plus our unnatural imaginations can see this happening at any given moment. The Shadow is always with us.
but your consciousness will simply be gone the instant you pass out for the last time.
But we are egoists and our minds simply cannot accept it.
Out of curiosity, what is your definition of religion?
I'm not feeling especially clever today but lets see... Tribal leaders usually had favored allies, those whose hogans or mats were closer to his than the others. They were accorded special dispensation in return for support, and could also lose status at any time.

A leader found he could take credit for things that he did not necessarily cause, ie a good harvest, victory against an enemy, etc. This is an aspect of politics. As a leader though, he could also be blamed for things which werent his fault.
==>
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (7) Apr 02, 2011
At some point someone realized that a leaders friends could maintain their special status while at the same time enabling the leader to both take credit for prosperity and avoid blame for hardship. A leader could simply confer leadership on something beyond himself, and claim that this 'other' favored him and his friends. They could become priests.

Further, the rest of the tribe could also gain the favor of this 'other' by continuing to serve its designated representatives, those being the leader and the priests. If things went wrong then they were obviously deficient in their service.

This god meme is inextricably bound to the management of populations. It has evolved like any meme to become more efficient and more effective over time. It is based on the belief that special status or dispensation can be gleaned from service to something whose existance cannot be proven. It is a wildly successful sociopolitical mechanism.
==>
Quantum_Conundrum
2 / 5 (8) Apr 02, 2011
A theory is demonstrated, otherwise it would be a hypothesis.


Evolution IS a hypothesis. Nobody has ever "demonstrated" evolution, certainly not macroscopic evolution.

We can know and demonstrate that lots of different types of cats or dogs exist, etc, but we have nowhere demonstrated "evolution" in any textbook sense. The selective breeding we have demonstrated is done with intentional, INTELLIGENT intervention by man, and works only with the addition or removal of existing traits and genes. With the exclusion of GM, selective breeding is not "producing" new genes or traits, it only works with existing genese or traits.

Mutation and evolution, regardless of scale, do not and cannot disprove intelligent design or creation.

I don't think any creationist, whether Christian, Deist, or any other, actually says "nothing changes," that would be absurd to say.

Most "creationists" do not believe in common ancestry, and certainly not a "single" common ancestor.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Apr 02, 2011
Religions can be tailored by Leaders to specific regions, peoples, and goals, usually in concert with the need to conquer and consolidate those outside Their sphere of influence.
For example, how is it different from philosophy in your view?
Both are based on an inaccessible metaphysical realm. Both give adherents the idea that the 'knowledge' of of this realm gives them an advantage over others. Both have been used to compel people to commit crimes against the uninitiated for sociopolitical Purposes, as in Manifest Destiny. Both rely on esoteric incantations which only a priesthood can truly discern the meaning of, thereby ensuring their continued employment.

Both intertwine superficial logic, science, and history with gibberish to simulate veracity and authority. I think they are the same phenomenon configured for different audiences. Religionists are simply more numerous than philos. Are nazi or communist philos any less dangerous than other fundamentalists? No.
Quantum_Conundrum
1 / 5 (8) Apr 02, 2011
continuing...

I do not believe that cats and dogs have a common ancestor. It's not that I reject science, it's that the science simply does not prove that.

It may be that there were originally only one or two species of "cat", but it certainly has not been shown that "all mammals have a common ancestor" nor has it been shown that "all birds have a common ancestor" nor any other similar connection. It certainly hasn't been shown that "all life has common ancestor" in spite of the claims.

Evolution is most certainly NOT a theory. It is a hypothesis, and we might add that it has far less factual evidence than special creation.

Likewise, Abiogenesis is most certainly NOT a theory. It too is a hypothesis, and we might add that it too has far less supporting evidence than special creation.

Study the nature of information itself, and to study the nature of the interaction of complex machines and simply realize things don't work when you randomly add and remove parts.
Quantum_Conundrum
1.7 / 5 (11) Apr 02, 2011
See, in the THEORY of Relativity, we can test it over and over and realize that even though it definitely isn't 100% correct for all phenomenon, it's extremely good.

With the THEORY of Quantum Mechanics, we can also test it over and over again and realize that it too is at least on to something,e ven though it also is not 100% correct.

With evolution, we cannot test anything at all, and we don't have a time machine, so it cannot be a theory.

Morever, information technology and logical analysis based on real world experiences as well as the complexity of man-made machines reveals that complex machines cannot and do not randomly organize themselves spontaneously from less organized raw materials, UNLESS forced into doing so by a pre-existing template or mechanism which was itself designed by intelligence (human engineer).

An example of this is "self assembly" in computers and nanotech, which is actually a misnomer, because it is always controlled by a man-made system.
kaasinees
2.7 / 5 (14) Apr 02, 2011
A theory is demonstrated, otherwise it would be a hypothesis.


Evolution IS a hypothesis. Nobody has ever "demonstrated" evolution, certainly not macroscopic evolution.


You are wrong.
There are a few projects.
One particular experiment that has always been printed in my mind was the decades long russian study which they used wolves to breed. They selected them carefully and after decades you would call them rather dogs not wolves. They started changing shapes and colors, and even behavior.

As for a more short-term experiment use fish, any fish breeder will know what i am talking about.
dogbert
1.6 / 5 (14) Apr 02, 2011
Selection for traits is not the same as evolution. Man has been selecting for traits, plants and animals, for as long as there are records of human activity.

Selection favors particular traits which are already present. Evolution proposes to account for the diversity which lends itself to selection. Evolution may actually account for that diversity, but we have not demonstrated it.
kaasinees
2.4 / 5 (14) Apr 02, 2011
No dogbert you are wrong. These wolves did not have these "traits" when they started. Also i do not really see the difference. There are different causes for evolution.

Fish breeding is very sensitive, if you dont maintain the environmental conditions they have evolved in their organs can change.

Genetic stress.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.4 / 5 (10) Apr 02, 2011
I do not believe that cats and dogs have a common ancestor. It's not that I reject science, it's that the science simply does not prove that...See, in the THEORY of Relativity, we can test it over and over and realize that even though it definitely isn't 100% correct for all phenomenon, it's extremely good.
You express your admiration of using experiment and evidence to support theory, and at the same time youre willing to CONCLUDE the existance of god with absolutely no evidence to support it??

WHY is that QC? You have some sort of fundamental(ist) cognitive disconnect or something? You think its ok to suspend empirical investigation in special circumstances such as when the future of your SOUL is concerned?

Because there is absolutely no evidence to support that either. And MUCH evidence to support the idea that both were conjured up to make you and your buds do backflips on command.
dogbert
1.6 / 5 (14) Apr 02, 2011
kaasinees,
No dogbert you are wrong. These wolves did not have these "traits" when they started.


If so, how were the continual and massive mutations initiated and how were they directed so that most of the animals did not die of the mutations?

Of course those traits were already in the DNA but not necessarily expressed. As particular traits were expressed, they were amplified by selection. As a cursory examination of the varieties of dogs will show, selection can result in very large differences in size, color, hair, function, etc., all acting on diversity which was already in the DNA.
kaasinees
2.2 / 5 (13) Apr 02, 2011
So dogbert, you are claiming that dogs and wolves are the same species?
dogbert
1.8 / 5 (15) Apr 02, 2011
kaasinees,
So dogbert, you are claiming that dogs and wolves are the same species?


Good way to change the subject. I don't care to argue about speciation. The word "species" is broad and poorly defined. It generally is whatever anyone wants it to be.

Do you still assert that those wolves mutated rather than having been selected for pre-existing traits?
PinkElephant
3 / 5 (8) Apr 03, 2011
@dogbert,
your definition of "religion" is that it is based on a supposed certain knowledge of what is, in your opinion, "natural" versus what, in your opinion, is not "natural".
My definition of "natural" is simply that which is detectable or demonstrable. That is, any intelligent civilization would over time independently converge upon the existence and mechanisms of all natural phenomena after sufficient study.

Whereas with religion, there is no underlying reality to converge upon. There is absolutely no basis for selecting the "correct" religion from the thousands actually in existence on our planet alone; never mind all the ones that can be theoretically concocted by a monkey on a typewriter given infinite time. The quantity of possible religious doctrines is infinitely large. Coupled with lack of any basis for testing or selection, this makes the explanatory value of any particular religion mathematically zero.

Religious inquiry is literally a waste of time and energy.
PinkElephant
3 / 5 (8) Apr 03, 2011
you may be limiting your capacity to perceive reality.
Let's consider the meaning of the word "perceive". Sensory perception is inherently an act of detection, measurement, quantification. So, we can't perceive anything with which we fundamentally can't interact (e.g. it's in some theoretical parallel universe that is inaccessible to us.)

Can we intellectually deduce the existence of something which we cannot perceive via our senses either directly or via intermediation of sensor instruments? It's not possible. Deduction can only operate on a set of pre-existing premises. And the only kind of premise that can objectively be taken as axiomatically true, is one that is empirically grounded and experimentally verifiable.

So if we can neither detect nor deduce the existence of some concept, mechanism, or entity, then we cannot rationally or objectively gain any knowledge of such.

Yes, we can SPECULATE. Mental masturbation may be pleasant, but it is not a source of knowledge.
PinkElephant
2.7 / 5 (7) Apr 03, 2011
The most plausible objection to the above that I can think of would go along the lines of "we might be able to detect a pattern, such that parts of it are manifestly observable, while the remainder -- even if it doesn't intersect with our accessible reality -- can be derived via interpolation or extrapolation of the pattern's overall structure."

This is the only scenario I can think of that might allow us to, at least intellectually, transcend our "sandbox" -- if there is indeed a sandbox to break out of. Nonetheless, even such a scenario begins with a lot of observation, and deduction based on observables. It would probably require us to first develop a deep understanding of all the fine structure and functions of our tangible reality. Mathematics would probably be the key to both detecting and analyzing any patterns that might hint at phenomena beyond the tangible.

And even then, neither interpolation nor extrapolation are particularly effective at inspiring confidence.
PinkElephant
3 / 5 (8) Apr 03, 2011
@Ethelred,
I don't see the principles of logic and math as a Universe but I do think that those might be enough for a universe to simply begin to exist
I would strongly disagree. Our rules of logic and math are not arbitrary. They are derived from the known/observable properties of the natural world.

An example: in classical logic, we reject the possibility of something being true and false at the same time (we call it a paradox). Yet in quantum mechanics, superposition allows something to be in a state that is classically paradoxical.

Another example: in arithmetic, we accept that 1+1=2 because we can take 1 apple, put it next to another apple, count them together, and arrive at 2 apples. Similarly, when you start with 2 apples and take one away, you have one left. Thus, we get 2-1=1. But are these rules absolute? Mathematicians have invented all sorts of "exotic" numbers and algebras. In some of them, 1+1=0. In others, 2+1 is not equal to 1+2.

ctd.
PinkElephant
3.7 / 5 (9) Apr 03, 2011
My point is that the sort of mathematics that we find helpful in describing our reality, is precisely and only helpful because it is DERIVED from our direct observations and interactions with that reality in the first place. It has no particular meaning or weight in absence of reality.

In fact, mathematics in the abstract is really quite uninformative. At its root, it consists of a set of axioms and rules. From these building blocks, one can derive more complex statements by combining and manipulating the axioms in accordance with the rules.

However in absence of empirical constraints, just as is the case with religion, there is no fundamental limit to the quantity or complexity of possible variations of axioms and rules, even if we restrict them to only those that produce self-consistent mathematical systems (but why, fundamentally, should we rule out self-contradictory systems? That would merely assume yet one more axiom, which doesn't HAVE TO BE the case...)
PinkElephant
3.5 / 5 (8) Apr 03, 2011
@ereneon,
what counts as "belief" or "evidence" can be pretty subjective.
Subjective evidence is no evidence at all. Most courts reject it (rightfully) as hearsay. Evidence must be objective -- meaning that any unbiased, dispassionate observer is able to independently discover and perceive the evidence.
Religions cite things like miracles, intelligent design, etc. and claim these as logical evidence.
Most if not all of the alleged "miracles" contradict known laws of nature. Unless you presume that nature is fundamentally inconsistent, and therefore you deem it reasonable to include self-contradiction as an acceptable outcome within your system of "logic", then you cannot claim miracles to be "logical" in any sense.

As for "intelligent design", it ignores abundant empirical evidence and rejects deduction based upon it and known laws and processes of nature. Moreover, it assumes its conclusions (a logical fallacy known as "begging the question".)
PinkElephant
3.5 / 5 (8) Apr 03, 2011
Why do we do silly rituals like easter egg hunts or hanging shiny things from trees in winter or the many silly wedding traditions? These things aren't really part of the religions they came from anymore, but part of the culture.
Rituals can be religious or social in nature. They are religious if they are intended to evoke some sort of a magical outcome. They are social if they are merely traditions, with no expectation or implication of mysticism attached. One can transform into the other and back (since in numerous instances this has obviously happened.)

I have no fundamental objection to rituals. Indeed, some of them can be a lot of fun. Others may be effective at relieving stress, or they may facilitate coping with negative events, improve social cohesion, or help to establish a positive mental state.

But I'm not one to confuse or commingle religion with culture or tradition. It's perfectly possible to have the latter two without the former.
Skeptic_Heretic
2.3 / 5 (6) Apr 03, 2011
Rituals can be religious or social in nature. They are religious if they are intended to evoke some sort of a magical outcome. They are social if they are merely traditions, with no expectation or implication of mysticism attached.
Strongly disagree.

If you look at the various religions and the various social customs, one must recognize that all of these conventions are social conventions. I think your secularism is actually creating arbitrary bias on this point. It was a bias I held for quite a long time as well.

Do you still assert that those wolves mutated rather than having been selected for pre-existing traits?
If there were no personality adjusting mutations we wouldn't have had anything to select from. You really do need to understand how selection works.
dogbert
2.1 / 5 (18) Apr 03, 2011


Skeptic_Heretic,
f there were no personality adjusting mutations we wouldn't have had anything to select from. You really do need to understand how selection works.


I do understand how selection works. I grew up on a farm and every farmer selects for traits constantly.

What you should try to understand that in a few decades, the Russian experiment kaasinees referred to could not have generated significant mutations. A mutation level high enough to make significant changes in a few decades would have resulted in total or nearly total mortality in the subject species.
One particular experiment that has always been printed in my mind was the decades long russian study which they used wolves to breed. They selected them carefully and after decades you would call them rather dogs not wolves. They started changing shapes and colors, and even behavior.


Such changes were from selection, not mutation.
Skeptic_Heretic
3.7 / 5 (9) Apr 03, 2011
I do understand how selection works. I grew up on a farm and every farmer selects for traits constantly.
And how do those traits arise... that's right, mutation.
What you should try to understand that in a few decades, the Russian experiment kaasinees referred to could not have generated significant mutations. A mutation level high enough to make significant changes in a few decades would have resulted in total or nearly total mortality in the subject species.
Rate of mutation is directly tied to rate of reproduction. Artificial selection, ie: domestication, accelerates this process as it decouples survival from the equation in lieu of human preference. Beyond that, it's well documented. In 40 years you will have potentially bred over 20 generations of foxes. 20 generations is a lot of change from an evolutionary standpoint. Especially when the selection criterion are so strict.

As I said above, you should learn the terms before you debate them.
dogbert
1.7 / 5 (11) Apr 03, 2011
You just want to argue. You do not believe that the traits selected for in 20 years of breeding wolves were the result of significant mutations during the selection period.

If you do believe it, you don't understand that most mutations are harmful.

Modernmystic
2 / 5 (12) Apr 03, 2011
@Ethelred,

It may not have come through very clearly, but at least in my case the asshattery was quite intentional...


Bullshit. What it was was classic projection. It was the real you whether you know it or not or you care to admit it or not. Even if it wasn't it goes to prove my point all the same, that as an atheist you can't interact with people normally, only from a place of false superiority and very real contempt.

My intention was to put up a mirror in front of MM, ...


So you're really not an egotistical prick, you're just acting like one to try to project this onto me? Again ironic.

He/she didn't seem to get it for the longest time, but it seems in the end the light bulb finally came on.


No He/she got it, and calls bullshit on it. The light bulb was the weekend. I have a life beyond this forum interacting with people...you know those insects you hold with utter contempt and disgust if they believe in things you don't...
Modernmystic
1.4 / 5 (10) Apr 03, 2011
(cont)

My contempt and disgust with you doesn't flow from what you believe or don't, but how you treat and judge people who do simply believe differently than you. It's just hard for me to tolerate intolerance I guess.

Does that make it any more or less legitimate? I think it does...but I've been wrong before...
Modernmystic
1.4 / 5 (11) Apr 03, 2011
Eth

Extremism is really a meaningless moniker. It all depends on where YOU are on the spectrum, it's a completely relative, chickenshit, and overused term to paint people you don't agree with in a bad light.

Let's just cut through all the bullshit here. RE: my infrence that you sounded like you were a bigot and branding JWs as subhuman;

Is your average atheist more valuable than a JW? Why or why not?
Skeptic_Heretic
4 / 5 (4) Apr 03, 2011
You just want to argue.
No, I want you to properly understand what mutation is before you spout off nonsense.
You do not believe that the traits selected for in 20 years of breeding wolves were the result of significant mutations during the selection period.
You think that selection precedes mutation, it does not.
If you do believe it, you don't understand that most mutations are harmful.
No, you don't seem to understand what a mutation is. All biological expression is the result of mutation. Your view that all mutation is detrimental is born of fundamentalist ignorance and misinformation.

The majority of mutations are completely innocuous and have no bearing on the survival of an organism. You also don't understand that all mutations have no benefit or detriment unless they enhance or impede the survivability of an organism.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.2 / 5 (5) Apr 03, 2011
Here's a brief example for you dogbert. Perhaps an animal you can relate to:

Your dog has a litter of puppies. 1 is the perfect dog due to a mutation. Very loyal, very passive, but it's health is poor. One puppy dies at birth due to a mutation that impacts the development of lung tissue. The last puppy is violent, intensely disloyal to humans but intensely loyal to other dogs with excellent health.

Which dog has a higher chance of survival and procreation? The sickly dog that is perfect for membership in a family.

What if there were no people? Well the game changes. The violent dog would succeed.

You cannot judge either of the two survivng mutations outside of the context of their environment. Mutations, unless they cause pre-reproductive death cannot be considered 'bad'.
dogbert
1.6 / 5 (13) Apr 03, 2011
You think that selection precedes mutation, it does not.


No I don't think that and have not said that. Why do you always attribute things to others which they have not said? Does it make your feel brighter to pretend others are dimmer?

Ages of mutations and selection may make for a diverse DNA from which selection pressures can extract many traits. But 20 years of breeding did not create those mutations. Twenty years of breeding only selected for the traits already in the DNA.

Argue otherwise all you want.
Skeptic_Heretic
4 / 5 (5) Apr 03, 2011
Ages of mutations and selection may make for a diverse DNA from which selection pressures can extract many traits. But 20 years of breeding did not create those mutations. Twenty years of breeding only selected for the traits already in the DNA.
In some cases yes, in some cases no. You do know that alelle frequency coupled with environmental pressure can create new species, that's good. What makes you think that new genes cannot occur in short timescales?
No I don't think that and have not said that. Why do you always attribute things to others which they have not said? Does it make your feel brighter to pretend others are dimmer?
No it makes me feel better when people who have a misunderstanding of reality actually start to understand the priciples of said reality with minor prodding. You require more than minor prodding, hopefully, through further questioning, you will be able to discover your own incorrect assumption and self-correct. I can't make you think.
dogbert
1.8 / 5 (16) Apr 03, 2011
Ages of mutations and selection may make for a diverse DNA from which selection pressures can extract many traits. But 20 years of breeding did not create those mutations. Twenty years of breeding only selected for the traits already in the DNA.

Argue otherwise all you want.
Skeptic_Heretic
3.9 / 5 (7) Apr 03, 2011
Argue otherwise all you want.
Then tell us where new traits come from otherwise we'll simply denounce you as a creationist. You're either assuming that mutations don't create new traits, or you're arguing that mutations lose information and that all species at one point were created with perfect DNA and it is in decline.

You're a silly close minded creationist. That's sad.
dogbert
1.8 / 5 (16) Apr 03, 2011
Then tell us where new traits come from otherwise we'll simply denounce you as a creationist.


That is not the argument. The argument made by kaasinees was that there was evidence of evolution in the diversity of wolves through 20 years of breeding. I noted that only selection could account for those traits -- that there was insufficient time for mutation to cause all those traits.

You then chimed in saying I was wrong.

Admit that 20 years of breeding for traits can only work on traits which were already in the DNA (that is, admit you were wrong) and I'll consider discussing something else. Whenever you say something which is not supportable and someone points out your error, you change the subject.

Lets resolve this before discussing something else.
kaasinees
2.8 / 5 (16) Apr 03, 2011
The argument made by kaasinees was that there was evidence of evolution in the diversity of wolves through 20 years of breeding.

Ok first of all where did i say 20 years? The study was atleast 30 years. And i said "decades", thus meaning less than a century. I can see that something in your brain is improperly wired that makes you believe creationist tales and makes up numbers out of nothing.
Second of all i never said anything about diversity, yet something else you are making up.

Seriously have you checked yourself with an MRI?
Skeptic_Heretic
3.7 / 5 (6) Apr 03, 2011
Admit that 20 years of breeding for traits can only work on traits which were already in the DNA (that is, admit you were wrong) and I'll consider discussing something else.
No, because mutations affect the very next generation. Your statement is inherently false and cannot be falsified. It is an argument from ingorance. Simply because you can't see that it is possible for mutations to surface in short periods of time does not mean you are correct.
Whenever you say something which is not supportable and someone points out your error, you change the subject.

I'm not saying I'm correct. I'm saying your flat statement of absolutes is false. If you can't prove your assertion, which you can't, then you are not able to make an absolute statement on genetic variation, especially when you have little to no knowledge of it.
dogbert
1.5 / 5 (15) Apr 03, 2011
kaasinees,
You did say decades. You did not say several decades, so two seemed most probable. If it had been ten decades, the result would still have been selection for traits already in the DNA.
Second of all i never said anything about diversity, yet something else you are making up.


When I said that these traits were already in the DNA and that the study only selected for traits already in the population, you said:
No dogbert you are wrong. These wolves did not have these "traits" when they started.
kaasinees
2.8 / 5 (19) Apr 03, 2011
There is no discussing with creationists...
There neurological disorder doesnt allow it.
It makes them make up lies and numbers and believe them from other creationists.
ereneon
4.8 / 5 (4) Apr 03, 2011
There is no arguing with anyone who is so set in their ways, that they automatically rule out any evidence that goes against their pre-existing beliefs, whether creationist or not. The point of arguing on a site like this should not be to convince others that you are right, but to talk to people with other points of view and try to converge on some kind of truth. That is my view at least.
FrankHerbert
1.4 / 5 (7) Apr 03, 2011
Theists are so cute.
kaasinees
2.8 / 5 (18) Apr 03, 2011
The only truth in disucssing with creationists is that they will put words in your mouth or twist them in such a way to support their non-evidential arguments. Yet another method of conversion or fraud that only works on "stupid" people, yet anoying for anyone with half a brain.
Modernmystic
1.5 / 5 (8) Apr 03, 2011
There is no discussing with creationists...
There neurological disorder doesnt allow it.
It makes them make up lies and numbers and believe them from other creationists.


Yet another method of conversion or fraud that only works on "stupid" people, yet anoying for anyone with half a brain.


Case closed :)

I used to be a creationist. Was it hard to change my mind on that issue? Yeah I guess it was, but it was hardly impossible. It took less than a year of discussion on internet forums similar to this one.

Was it arrogant egotistical jerk offs that changed my mind? No. Big surprise there...

Theists are so cute.


Atheists are so ugly.
kaasinees
2.9 / 5 (17) Apr 03, 2011
I used to be a creationist.

you still are.

Atheists are so ugly.

Yet another person who needs an MRI.
Jotaf
5 / 5 (8) Apr 03, 2011
I think the best way to convince students with creationist inclinations is to ask them, as a school project, to use a genetic algorithm to solve some problem. They'll see that mutation and selection over a good number of iterations can attain solutions of remarkable complexity.

Also if the algorithm allows speciation even better; it avoids local maxima, just like its biological inspiration. These solvers are efficient and borrow many cues from biological evolution :)
ereneon
5 / 5 (5) Apr 03, 2011
Though genetic algorithms are indeed useful in many situations, they are really just another kind of optimization algorithm in the optimization toolbox. They have similar problems with getting stuck in local minima as other methods. I don't think this really weakens their usefulness in thinking about evolution though, since it is clear from the evidence that evolution would not produce only perfect solutions.
PinkElephant
4.6 / 5 (9) Apr 04, 2011
@Modernmystic,
Bullshit. What it was was classic projection.
No kidding? You seem to be a tad angry, and more than a tad "omniscient" in your zeal.
So you're really not an egotistical prick, you're just acting like one to try to project this onto me?
I know you are, but what am I? Your turn... Oh by the way, also I'm rubber and you're glue -- so you can't use that one 'cuz I used it first.
you know those insects you hold with utter contempt and disgust if they believe in things you don't...
Congratulations. You have successfully dehumanized me. You are progressing quite well, as a Christian.
My contempt and disgust with you doesn't flow from what you believe or don't, but how you treat and judge people who do simply believe differently than you.
A very fine and time-honored, Christian response.

You stinking hypocrite.
PinkElephant
3.7 / 5 (6) Apr 04, 2011
@dogbert,

Are you a young-Earth creationist, as well? If you're not, please demonstrate to us -- via an experiment in a lab -- that the Solar System (including Earth) formed from a protostellar nebula roughly 4.6 Billion years ago. Proceed.
dogbert
1.7 / 5 (17) Apr 04, 2011
PinkElephant,

You have problems using a telescope to view the formation of suns and solar systems?

Then make your own demonstration. No one else needs to.
PinkElephant
4.2 / 5 (5) Apr 04, 2011
You have problems using a telescope to view the formation of suns and solar systems?
Invalid, since you can't demonstrate those processes in an experiment. Observations of fossil light don't count.
dogbert
1.9 / 5 (14) Apr 04, 2011
PinkElephant,

Why are you addressing me with your revelations of rejection of scientific processes? I don't care about your difficulties in accepting science.
nada
1 / 5 (1) Apr 04, 2011
... and Adam and Eve rode dinosaurs to church on Sunday.
Ethelred
3.2 / 5 (9) Apr 04, 2011
I wonder, but not much, which wanker is pretending to be me? I am not Valinarus so your wasting your time.

Ethelred
Modernmystic
1.6 / 5 (13) Apr 04, 2011
You're back pink? So which version of it is you this time?

The arrogant prick and yet HONEST atheist?

Or the chickenshit back peddler who realizes deep down just what a small person he is and then tries to project those qualities onto others in a pathetically transparent attempt to save his ego?

I just want to know who I'm dealing with before I respond...

Congratulations. You have successfully dehumanized me. You are progressing quite well, as a Christian.


Nah, you did that all by yourself. I just pointed it out honestly, as any good Christian would.
Ethelred
3 / 5 (7) Apr 04, 2011
I would strongly disagree. Our rules of logic and math are not arbitrary.
Tough. And where did I say otherwise? They are based on preexisting principles that are not dependent on this Universe.

They are derived from the known/observable properties of the natural world.
Do I have to do it again? Guess so.

Any system of logic inherently produces numbers because there has to be more than one statement in the system.

The minimum for a system of logic should at least have

A is
A is not producing statements:

1 and
2

From there the entirety of number theory can be deduced.

1 and 2 implies 3 divide 3 by 2 and you get fractional numbers. The two concepts implies numbers between the rational numbers and square roots produce irrational numbers in any case.

Mapping the numbers on a grid produces geometry.

All this requires is the concept of things either existing or not existing.

More
Ethelred
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 04, 2011
in classical logic, we reject the possibility of something being true and false at the same time (we call it a paradox).
Yes, we do. And

Yet in quantum mechanics, superposition allows something to be in a state that is classically paradoxical.
Which follows from the basic concept of 'that which can happen mathematically does happen. Thus it is not a case of superposition but not knowing which way it went for you till you look.

Mathematicians have invented all sorts of "exotic" numbers and algebras. In some of them, 1+1=0.
Exotic systems make my point for me. They do NOT come from the universe we live in. We find out which universe we live in by experiment.

My point is that the sort of mathematics that we find helpful in describing our reality, is precisely and only helpful because it is DERIVED from our direct observations
No. We can derive many systems as YOU pointed out. We know which is appropriate for our universe from observation.

More
Ethelred
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 04, 2011
It has no particular meaning or weight in absence of reality.
Is that why mathematicians "have invented all sorts of "exotic" numbers and algebras"?

In fact, mathematics in the abstract is really quite uninformative.
Yet the principles are still inherent and they DO inform. They tell us what to look for to see which principles are relevant to us. Euclidean or non-Euclidean, simple observations said euclidean but that was wrong. We live in a non-Euclidean Universe. Both systems are valid but only one is correct for THIS universe.

However in absence of empirical constraints, just as is the case with religion, there is no fundamental limit to the quantity or complexity of possible variations of axioms and rules,
Yes, and how does that make the principles invalid?

More
Ethelred
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 04, 2011
(but why, fundamentally, should we rule out self-contradictory systems?
Universes will break under those conditions.

That would merely assume yet one more axiom, which doesn't HAVE TO BE the case...)
Perhaps there are Universes with contradictions. I doubt that they can develop very far without a disaster.

Ethelred
rgwalther
1 / 5 (2) Apr 04, 2011
1. There no such thing as 'UNintelligent design'.
2. All of reality is a life based force.
3. "Nobody's right when everybody's wrong..."
4. The more we learn the less we understand...So far...
ereneon
5 / 5 (2) Apr 04, 2011
Check out the foundations of mathematics. Most modern mathematicians consider ZFC set theory's axioms as the foundation of mathematics. From less than 10 simple rules that a child could understand (well, maybe if you explained them in the right way), all of mathematics is derived. However, the results are heavily dependent on which axioms you pick. In the early 1900s, there was a big argument among mathematicians about which axioms should be used. The choice of axioms is arguably somewhat arbitrary, so humans tend to choose axioms that make mathematics better fit the world that we observe. In my view, this is not a weakness in mathematics, but a strength, because a new kind of math can be invented to deal with any system you come across, though you do lose some of the feeling of absolute truth.
Thrasymachus
2.8 / 5 (4) Apr 04, 2011
There's a lot we tend to agree on Eth, but I'm gonna have to object to your characterization of math as something that transcends this universe. In fact, we agree on the story you tell, that math is nothing more or less than the logic of statements about quantity.

However, the source of that logic and those statements is the human mind, and the human mind is certainly a part of this universe, and does not transcend it. Math, logic, geometry, and many other similar concepts like morality, certainly transcend human experience, because the synthesizing of sense data those concepts represent are necessary to construct human experience in the first place. But there is a difference between a thing and the experience of that thing. Math transcends any experience of the universe. It does not transcend the universe itself, however.
Skeptic_Heretic
2.6 / 5 (5) Apr 04, 2011
I think I understand Eth's view on this one.

Math, as a framework would exist in any 'reality' as math is simply the abstract rule set that we use to describe a reality. If the Universe ended, and was instantly replaced with another Universe, Math would still exist, however the equations may change.
Thrasymachus
3.7 / 5 (6) Apr 04, 2011
Well, it seems to me that math, as a framework or rule set to describe reality, would only exist in universes that required such a framework or rule set, that is, in universes that had minds.

The issue comes down to whether or not math is something we discover or something we invent. I hold that it is invented, but not all by the same person, which, together with the inability of humans to hold all the valid implications from a statement or set of statements in mind all at once, preserves a sense of discovery within math. What is truly discovered is the application of math to describe and theorize about experience.

We have to be careful about understanding how the "rules" work. Stuff out in the world banging into other stuff isn't following rules, at least not in the sense that people follow rules. There's no cop out there issuing tickets if you violate Equivalence. The patterns of activity exist as rules only in people's minds. In the real world, it's just what happens.
PinkElephant
4.2 / 5 (5) Apr 04, 2011
You're back pink? So which version of it is you this time?
There is only one version of me. It's not my fault that you take everything literally, and are incapable of coping with irony and sarcasm. Probably a side-effect of your religious upbringing.
The arrogant prick and yet HONEST atheist?

Or the chickenshit back peddler who realizes deep down just what a small person he is and then tries to project those qualities onto others in a pathetically transparent attempt to save his ego?
Yet more exemplary Christian self-expression.

Hypocrite.
PinkElephant
4.1 / 5 (9) Apr 04, 2011
@dogbert,
Why are you addressing me with your revelations of rejection of scientific processes?
I haven't rejected the scientific process. You did. I merely apply your own standards and methods of reasoning -- which you bring to bear on evolution.

So please, demonstrate to us that the formation of the Solar System was not an act of "special creation". Please explain to us why you think it followed the same physical laws as the rest of the universe. Then, explain why you think those same physical laws do not apply to emergence and evolution of life.

You claim that science cannot study past events based on evidence they left behind. Basically, you deny the scientific validity of forensics. Now all you have to do, is explain why your denial is so selectively focused on evolution, and yet does not apply to any other area of natural history or cosmology.

Be consistent. Or remain a hypocrite.
PinkElephant
3 / 5 (6) Apr 04, 2011
@Ethelred,
Any system of logic inherently produces numbers because there has to be more than one statement in the system.
That is circular reasoning. Any system of logic is created by us. We are products of our universe. Thus, all systems of logic we create are products of the universe. In them, and in our reasoning methods, are embedded the fundamental properties of the universe.

Our universe appears to be fundamentally computational. It allows discreteness as an emergent property of phenomena within it. It features inertia. So, we end up with discrete objects or processes that can persist over a period of time -- long enough to be counted. But none of that HAS TO BE the case.
Mapping the numbers on a grid produces geometry.
And the grid embeds within it the concepts of continuity, adjacency, distance, linearity, as well as degrees of freedom. All of these are derivative of direct human experience within our universe.

ctd.
Skultch
not rated yet Apr 04, 2011
..., although i dont agree on their views about reincarnation(i have a more scientific explenation of reincarnation).


I would love to hear it. Really. I do like Buddhists, despite the wrong impression you got from me on another thread. I will be joining some kind of weekly meditation group very soon. I was really into it after college, but I need to learn almost everything now.
PinkElephant
3.7 / 5 (6) Apr 04, 2011
Thus it is not a case of superposition but not knowing which way it went for you till you look.
I'll admit that I'm partial to that interpretation; however the odds appear quite good that quantum computers will be built in the next few decades. If they actually function as advertised, then superposition will be proven to be a real state of matter-energy at the quantum level rather than just an illusion stemming from constraints on observation or knowledge. Can you exclude the possibility of this being the case, a priori? What about non-locality and quantum entanglement? These could potentially result in real-life phenomena where 1+1=0.
We can derive many systems as YOU pointed out. We know which is appropriate for our universe from observation.
And that makes MY point for me. There is a potentially infinite variety of mathematical systems. Only a few happen to model our universe with any degree of fidelity.

ctd.
Skeptic_Heretic
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 04, 2011
These could potentially result in real-life phenomena where 1+1=0.
Actually they'd be everything, but realitically the equation might go something like this: 1 + 1 = 1 and 1.
PinkElephant
3.4 / 5 (5) Apr 04, 2011
Yes, and how does that make the principles invalid?
Which principles? We agree, I think, that there is a potential infinity of principles. Among those, only a small, finite subset corresponds to our universe. If, as you say, anything mathematically possible can happen, then why is our universe restricted to such a small subset?

We pick the rules and types of math that match our real-world experiences. Thus, we are engaged in merely describing the structure and functions of the universe. In arguing that description must pre-exist the object that it addresses, you are reverting all the way back to Platonic Idealism. It is a vacuous and unproductive line of thought -- the epitome of armchair philosophy.

Moreover, a description cannot exist all by itself. It has to be encoded or expressed in some way. It needs a substrate.

And, a process cannot begin ex nihilo. It needs an underlying set of pre-existing mechanisms and structures.
Ethelred
3.5 / 5 (8) Apr 05, 2011
If you do believe it, you don't understand that most mutations are harmful.
I understand that is false. Most mutations are NEUTRAL not harmfull.

And there could be quite a few mutations in that experiment as I doubt that dogs have a much lower muatation rate than humans. Most of us have several mutations. Maybe dogs only have one each on average but they have them and they breed faster with more offspring per female which allows for a much faster change especially when survival is decoupled from the natural environment.

Ethelred
dogbert
1.8 / 5 (16) Apr 05, 2011
PinkElephhant,

You claim that science cannot study past events based on evidence they left behind. Basically, you deny the scientific validity of forensics. ... Be consistent. Or remain a hypocrite.


When you have no argument, make up lies and, like a child in a playground, name call.

I never said that science cannot study past evidence. You, however, did:
Observations of fossil light don't count.


Consistency is not one of your strong points, is it?
Deesky
4.3 / 5 (11) Apr 05, 2011
When you have no argument, make up lies and, like a child in a playground, name call.

It is always funny when dimwitted individuals try to take down demonstrably smarter ones.
ubavontuba
1.5 / 5 (16) Apr 05, 2011
@dogbert:

Consistency is not one of your strong points, is it?
Don't bother arguing with Pinkelephant. Fallacious arguments are his style. Maybe he doesn't know that dishonesty isn't science, but rather it's fraud. I suppose he thinks he's quite the sophist, but as you have discovered, his tactics are quite transparent.

It's sad, really. One begins to wonder, can he actually have an honest discussion? His relationships certainly must suffer.
Skeptic_Heretic
4 / 5 (8) Apr 05, 2011
It's sad, really. One begins to wonder, can he actually have an honest discussion? His relationships certainly must suffer.
Many people are wondering the same of you and Dogbert.
Skultch
4.4 / 5 (7) Apr 05, 2011
Don't bother arguing with Pinkelephant. Fallacious arguments are his style. Maybe ....


... Or maybe he's just over your head. Ya know, those sentences he writes that you don't quite understand, 100%?

Pinky, is it possible to dumb it down even further for these guys? Or, should we expect fervent arguers to have taken freshman level reading comprehension and logic by now?

Hey Creationists! Look at yourselves. Is there any way...any way at all... that maybe...just maybe... the confusion lies in you? Naaahhh, nevermind. There's no way. Introspection should always be the last resort. Right?
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (8) Apr 05, 2011
Pinky, is it possible to dumb it down even further for these guys? Or, should we expect fervent arguers to have taken freshman level reading comprehension and logic by now?
I'm fairly sure the majority of them have never taken a logic class. The majority of people have never taken a logic class.
Skultch
3.4 / 5 (5) Apr 05, 2011
The majority of people have never taken a logic class.


You're right. Sad. It should be required high school curricula. Didn't they used to teach philosophy 101 in public high schools? Mine didn't have anything close to that, but we had a dozen AP classes. Ahhh, screw the average student!! Why do we need them to be informed? :rollseyes:

I had to take it in my college freshman year for my history/intelligence analyst degree. It was possibly the most valuable class I've ever taken. That and research methods, maybe.
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (8) Apr 05, 2011
The majority of people have never taken a logic class.


You're right. Sad. It should be required high school curricula. Didn't they used to teach philosophy 101 in public high schools? Mine didn't have anything close to that, but we had a dozen AP classes. Ahhh, screw the average student!! Why do we need them to be informed? :rollseyes:

I had to take it in my college freshman year for my history/intelligence analyst degree. It was possibly the most valuable class I've ever taken. That and research methods, maybe.

Honestly I'd expect it to be something that your parents teach you before you go to school, then again, the average parent doesn't have the time to do so in the majority of families due to workload and poor wages. If anything, the earlier you can introduce someone to logic, the more capable a person they will be in life.
PaulieMac
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 08, 2011
I had to take it in my college freshman year for my history/intelligence analyst degree. It was possibly the most valuable class I've ever taken. That and research methods, maybe.


Agreed. Informal logic was a required course in my first semester, formal logic in my second. Hands down most consistently useful and personally valuable subjects in my whole degree - perhaps in my whole education.

Can't for the life of me imagine why it is not taught universally through high school...

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