Faith helped steer astronomy professor who made planet discovery

Apr 28, 2013 by Erik Lacitis

It was a Friday afternoon, Aug. 31 of last year, that Eric Agol, a 42-year-old associate professor of astronomy at the University of Washington, looked at his computer screen and saw something astounding.

The algorithm Agol had put together and run had found an 1,200 away.

It was orbiting its own sun, in a "," nicknamed the "Goldilocks zone," meaning its temperatures are suitable for . And possibly life.

You could say Agol's work puts him at the crossroads of some complex questions, which he answers with faith.

These days, astronomers don't really peer through giant telescopes.

They look at .

This new planet - 40 percent bigger than Earth, with a 267-day year-showed up as a dip in a bunch of dots across the screen. The dip was from a shadow created as the planet crossed the star it was circling.

Agol's finding had been missed by the numerous other scientists studying the from 's orbiting Kepler telescope, named for 17th century astronomer and launched in 2009 specifically to discover stars in our galaxy that are orbited by habitable, Earth-size planets.

Agol is a low-key guy, but he admits, "I definitely was excited."

By the time his results were vetted by fellow astronomers, and a paper was published in the journal Science by the Kepler team of 44 co-authors, it was April 18 of this year.

In all, five planets were found around that star-called the Kepler-62 system because it was the 62nd star where planets had been confirmed. Obviously, the astronomers don't place much weight on coming up with sexy names for their discoveries.

Of those five planets, the one found by Agol, called Kepler-62f, and another planet, Kepler-62e, were in that habitable zone.

William Borucki, the Kepler science principal investigator, would tweet: "I consider Kepler-62e and 62f golden discoveries."

But not wanting to raise expectations about finding an "Earth 2.0," he cautioned, "But, we're hunting for platinum."

Still, in the astronomy world, it was exciting news.

"We only know of one star that hosts a planet with life, the sun. Finding a planet in the habitable zone around a star like our sun is a significant milestone toward finding truly Earthlike planets," a news release from NASA stated, quoting Thomas Barclay, a Kepler scientist.

Faith in science, GodFor Agol, the search for a habitable planet has him pondering philosophical matters.

He is a man of faith.

Faith in science, and good at it, having received a Faculty Early Career Development award from the National Science Foundation.

And he has faith in a higher power. Agol and his wife, Esther McKean, and two young sons, who live in Edmonds, attend a nondenominational Christian church pretty much every weekend.

He knows that makes him a bit unusual.

"Certainly for Seattle," says Agol, referring to this area's reputation for being relatively unchurched. "And among scientists."

According to a 2009 Pew Research Center poll, 95 percent of the general public believes in some form of deity, but only 51 percent of scientists do.

But the way Agol sees it, big leaps of faith have to be taken in science, too.

"It's a big leap of faith to believe there are particles called electrons, and they are the same everywhere in the universe, billions of light years away, the same as the ones we are studying in a laboratory," he says.

"There is evidence to indicate that's correct, but, nevertheless, it's a belief that you can't prove."

And so Agol is comfortable believing that a higher power created the universe, even if, "I don't think religion can answer that by giving you a detailed scientific answer."

These days, Agol keeps running his computer program, searching for more planets in that prized habitable zone.

By his calculations, there are 242 other stars like Kepler-62 in our Milky Way galaxy that have a planet similar to the one he discovered that Friday afternoon last year.

And, he says, the Kepler spacecraft is only looking at about one-four-hundredth of the sky, which means there are 400sets of stars it's not observing.

So multiply 242 times 400, and that's nearly 100,000 stars in our galaxy with planets like Kepler-62f.

He says the potential for life on 62f is improbable, but if the odds were a million to one with other found, "this one might be 10,000 to one or 100,000 to one."

Meanwhile, he keeps the faith.

"There's lot that science can't answer," says Agol. "In fact, never will be able to answer."

Explore further: Young binary star system may form planets with weird and wild orbits

Journal reference: Science search and more info website

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210
1.7 / 5 (12) Apr 28, 2013
Faith, indeed. People who dont have it, dont know what it is, and people who have it, DO!

" The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. "
Dark Matter, Dark energy, the Higgs Boson, antibiotics, pastuerization, and on and on, and on and people with their inner sight that vision that cannot be described except in dutiful zeal...it is.....heartwarming.

I imagine, all higher life forms can bear the trait of having faith, in something, in someone, but being worthy of faith, trust, under all circumstances, that could be where evolution is taking us. A human being that will always rise above petty jealousy, hate, arrogance, and scheming contempt for all around. How can we get to the stars? This fellow and his faith is going to help us get there. Dont be too hard on the tolerant, laboring, loving faithful, they tend to be excellent friends and able partners.

word-to-ya-muthas
kochevnik
3.4 / 5 (9) Apr 28, 2013
There is a lot of faith, and a lot of ideas that can't possibly all be right. And some invisible being pulling your strings for his entertainment while Satan is represented by the goat, symbolizing free will. The superbeing loves you so much he created a fiery pit lest you become estranged
VendicarE
3.4 / 5 (10) Apr 29, 2013
The Christian Gawad of eternal love threatens to perpetually burn his followers in a pit of eternal hell-fire if they divert from the path of freedom specified by their Gawad's loving dictates.

It is a belief that is so irrational on so many levels that you have to take a stream of Sunday morning stupid pills to believe a word of it.

Magical thinking and willful ignorance are some of the fundamental characteristics of the Conservative Christian mind.
djr
4.2 / 5 (15) Apr 29, 2013
210 - "Faith, indeed. People who dont have it, dont know what it is, and people who have it, DO!"

What a bizarre statement to put on a science board.

"Leprechauns - people who can see them can, and people who can't CAN'T."

Now let's all go to church every Sunday morning and worship the great Leprechaun. If you can't see him - you just don't have enough faith. Now we will build a whole system of government around the magic book written by the great leprechaun.

I am very pleased that I DON'T have faith 210.
alfie_null
4.4 / 5 (7) Apr 29, 2013
"Certainly for Seattle," says Agol, referring to this area's reputation for being relatively unchurched. "And among scientists."

Even more rare (thankfully), fundamentalists. Whatever their religious persuasion, fundamentalists give a bad name to their religion. In terms of science, trying to refashion it to better fit their narrow theological views is, well, evil. I certainly didn't sense that, however, with Agol.

If it weren't for fundamentalists making such a hash of things, I wonder if we would be making such a big thing about scientists otherwise practicing their religion.

I object a bit to the article's use of terms like "faith in science". Faith might have a small part to play in coming up with initial conjectures. It doesn't have a part in accepted theory, which is all most of us care about.
Guy_Underbridge
5 / 5 (8) Apr 29, 2013
I have faith that my chair won't suddenly loose all of it's molecular cohesion and leave me abruptly sitting on the floor.
antialias_physorg
4.7 / 5 (12) Apr 29, 2013
It's a big leap of faith to believe there are particles called electrons, and they are the same everywhere in the universe, billions of light years away, the same as the ones we are studying in a laboratory

I'd just call it a working hypothesis. You don't need faith to use the simplest explanation as your first working hyothesis.

Faith, indeed. People who dont have it, dont know what it is, and people who have it, DO!

A bit like a heroin addiction, then.

One should note that Agol didn't pray for his discovery. It came about through the use of science.
PPihkala
2.1 / 5 (7) Apr 29, 2013
I find it much more probable that extra terrestrials have visited earth in ancient times and are the basis of most old religions. Replace god, angels, demons and devil in old texts with ETs and those make much more sense.
panorama
3.5 / 5 (6) Apr 29, 2013
I find it much more probable that extra terrestrials have visited earth in ancient times and are the basis of most old religions. Replace god, angels, demons and devil in old texts with ETs and those make much more sense.


It's called Stargate, ok movie, great show, so so spin-offs.
LariAnn
1.4 / 5 (9) Apr 29, 2013
IMHO, "accepted theory" is similar to the canon of religion; when the majority or the movers and shakers all agree in their beliefs, that is the 'accepted theory" or the canon. In religion, it is very difficult to change the canonical teaching, even when a contradictory "miracle" is presented. It is also true in science with "accepted theory". Anyone who proposes a different explanation that doesn't have ALL the potential discrepancies already worked out to a final, polished work is derided as a crackpot, yet the "accepted theories" did not arrive in such a complete, finished form. Science is not a finished work until the knowledge can be demonstrated to all with irrefutable observable facts, not suppositions, conjecture or assumptions. If I have to believe suppositions, conjecture and assumptions in order to buy into accepted scientific theory, then it is faith I am being asked to have, no matter what else one wishes to call it.
Guy_Underbridge
4.5 / 5 (8) Apr 29, 2013
LariAnn, I can't remember too many instances of someone being lapidated, beheaded or burned at the stake for presenting the scientific comunity an alternative to 'accepted' theory.
Sanescience
5 / 5 (5) Apr 29, 2013
For nearly all of human history the universe, physics, and biology have been not just mysterious, but pretty much "out to kill you". Usually in a messy and painfully slow process. It is kind of amazing that from those beginnings and continued struggles today that anything resembling altruism gained a formal structure.

So what if people embrace some kind of mythology that gives them hope and purpose. Yea sometimes they are hypocrites and fail their embraced ideals. It is far better than the psychopaths who only consider the "math of success".

And who knows, maybe the structure of the universe is circular and what we are do now and into the future might build a fully consistent with the laws of physics ability to reach back and measure all the poor souls who had to suffer building the future and give them their private version of their afterlife as thanks.
antialias_physorg
4.3 / 5 (6) Apr 29, 2013
It is kind of amazing that from those beginnings and continued struggles today that anything resembling altruism gained a formal structure.

Why? Altruism seems a pretty straight forward selfish impulse.

Living in a society -as opposed to fending for yourself- has very obvious advantages (security, mating selection, care when sick/disabled, added care and protection to your genetic offspring... ).
It is also very obvious that if you want to benefit from those advantages then a stable society is in your own best interests. So acting in a manner that benefits society (even though it doesn't directly benefit you at that moment) DOES benefit you eventually.

Altruism is 'just' delayed egotism. (And there's nothing bad about that!)
kochevnik
3.4 / 5 (5) Apr 29, 2013
@Sanescience And who knows, maybe the structure of the universe is circular and what we are do now and into the future might build a fully consistent with the laws of physics ability to reach back and measure all the poor souls who had to suffer building the future and give them their private version of their afterlife as thanks.
Yes indeed. It is called composting!
210
1.4 / 5 (9) Apr 29, 2013
210 - "Faith, indeed. People who dont have it, dont know what it is, and people who have it, DO!"

What a bizarre statement to put on a science board.

"Leprechauns - people who can see them can, and people who can't CAN'T."

I am very pleased that I DON'T have faith 210.

But you do! You took it on faith, miserable and luckless faith, that your eyes would open to see the next day, or that you would close them in slumber and open them again. Life is not guaranteed to you or anyone, least of all those who think life owes them life...no, you have faith, you just dont know what you are worth!

word-to-ya-muthas
210
1.4 / 5 (9) Apr 29, 2013
There is a lot of faith, and a lot of ideas that can't possibly all be right. And some invisible being pulling your strings for his entertainment while Satan is represented by the goat, symbolizing free will. The superbeing loves you so much he created a fiery pit lest you become estranged

Your facts are miss aligned; The fire is your 'light' source in a place where, " ..the flame and the worm die not.." But the article spoke of another kind of faith, one that lifts the burdens of imposed or supposed human limits and our friend discovered something and he selflessly shared it with you and me. Now, I have a bigger world because someone else had a bigger VISION of himself than just becoming , as you note, 'fiery-pit-fodder.' Our friend in the article has vision and I have faith now in that vision. A new world, far away, just like a better humanity, still far away, BUT...on its way!

word-to-ya-muthas
210
1.4 / 5 (9) Apr 29, 2013
The Christian Gawad of eternal love threatens to perpetually burn his followers in a pit of eternal hell-fire if they divert from the path of freedom specified by their Gawad's loving dictates.

It is a belief that is so irrational on so many levels that you have to take a stream of Sunday morning stupid pills to believe a word of it.

Magical thinking and willful ignorance are some of the fundamental characteristics of the Conservative Christian mind.

Vendi...I know you. In your world, in your mind, YOU are supreme. I find this tempting, but I resist the temptation. I resist becoming YOUR God, yes, I could do it, but, heck, you would keep bringing me the wrong kind of sheep to the sacrifices, murder virgins when in fact I commanded you to bring me virgin OLIVE OIL with the RIGHT kind of sheep...you would get it wrong, again, WE BEEN THERE, DONE THIS. I am not sending you to hell Vendi, all that darn shouting between you and Satan would upset MY angels. U go 2 The Bronx!
word-
210
1.5 / 5 (8) Apr 29, 2013
LariAnn, I can't remember too many instances of someone being lapidated, beheaded or burned at the stake for presenting the scientific comunity an alternative to 'accepted' theory.

Or being forced to drink Hemlock? DO a little more reading, the list is freaking enormous!
Humans HATE on both sides of any conflict...the older generation rejects the new one and the new one rejects the old....try again....
210
1.4 / 5 (9) Apr 29, 2013
"Certainly for Seattle," says Agol, referring to this area's reputation for being relatively unchurched. "And among scientists."

Even more rare (thankfully), fundamentalists. Whatever their religious persuasion, fundamentalists give a bad name to their religion. In terms of science, trying to refashion it to better fit their narrow theological views is, well, evil. I certainly didn't sense that, however, with Agol.

If it weren't for fundamentalists making such a hash of things, I wonder if we would be making such a big thing about scientists otherwise practicing their religion.

I object a bit to the article's use of terms like "faith in science". Faith might have a small part to play in coming up with initial conjectures. It doesn't have a part in accepted theory, which is all most of us care about.

The drive to fight for new scientific truth abides in the mind, the character of a being, Faith, faith in oneself, in a bigger picture than the one others gave you.
word-
210
1.5 / 5 (8) Apr 29, 2013


One should note that Agol didn't pray for his discovery. It came about through the use of science.

YOU, are not him! You are you! You dont know WHAT he prayed for. Even if he prayed, he still did the work that others had 'stumbled' over and found what they had missed. Clearly work was involved, but he had faith that it was there...there waiting to be found and worth working to find. Did he SEE IT in the beginning nope! Does faith connect us to powers of concentration that goad us to fight on when all others have failed? OFTEN! Faith, clearly has a much bigger definition in the FAITHFUL than in those, whose purpose for life MUST be evident from the very start...not really your Christopher Columbus type - who was also a man of FAITH! Look, use it right, it has merit and value and elevates human existence. Throws off fear, doubt, and unreasoning bias - REAL FAITH does that. Yeah, hypocrites are everwhere, but the hero in our story IS THE REAL MCCOY! I like him...
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210
1.5 / 5 (8) Apr 29, 2013
IMHO, then it is faith I am being asked to have, no matter what else one wishes to call it.

Faith composes us. We are beings that can affect so very little in the chain of events that made up the world we are born into. Yet what we do matters always. No, the issues of right and wrong are not always, BLACK AND WHITE, but they still depend on what we do! "To be or not to be" is STILL the question. FAITH asks us to answer honestly and try to find honest answers. WE humans progress by fault. We get up after falling down. They searched the heavens with advanced machines and missed the truth, ONE human, a man with his personal driving, faith, refused to just give up because someone with a bigger title or more 'respected' degree said quit or gave up! NO, this is faith REAL faith, it has power to motivate, activate, rejuvenate and I want all of it I can get. Science is truth, but ONE human has a limit to what all he can see! We fight these limits TOGETHER, believing!
word-
word-
210
1.9 / 5 (9) Apr 29, 2013
There is a lot of faith, and a lot of ideas that can't possibly all be right. And some invisible being pulling your strings for his entertainment while Satan is represented by the goat, symbolizing free will. The superbeing loves you so much he created a fiery pit lest you become estranged

OH NO your kochevnikness...the guy IN THE goat suit is IS, pulling YOUR strings. All those banks you robbed, all those children you left without support, NO, you and the pitch fork guy did that crap. Dont be coming here and blaming God for the fact that you like red goat suits and hot peppers. Just chill! Ya know, that IS a first, someone actually saying, " God made me do it..." CHEV, if God made you do anything, you WOULD be front page news. Most of us give satan the nod and move on...but you oh no, you are going to wipe your feet on Gods rep! Okay everybody! Watch the news/papers real close next few days, see who gets turned into a pillar of salt, named Kochevnik - front page news!
word
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.3 / 5 (12) Apr 29, 2013
And so Agol is comfortable believing that a higher power created the universe
What an ass.
But you do! You took it on faith, miserable and luckless faith, that your eyes would open to see the next day, or that you would close them in slumber and open them again
What an ass.

I assume youre a xian. How do you reconcile this faith of yours with the FACT that some very well-educated and yet very religious people have been digging throughout the holy land for the last 100 years, desperately searching for some confirmation that their bible stories might be true... and found only evidence that these things never happened?? Mountains of it.

A book written by god, tells stories about things which the world he created tells us DIDNT HAPPEN. Reexamine your faith. It is based on lies.

So what else can it be but self-deception?

You dont pray - you wish. With all your might. Because it makes you feel so good to do so.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (10) Apr 29, 2013
NO, you and the pitch fork guy did that crap
Another one of the many LIES which comes from religion. The huge guy who created everything must where morality comes from. But as his book is full of LIES, how can this be? Which would be more evil if he existed - a devil who honestly claims to be evil, or a lying god who says he is not?

Ask yourself this. If a supremely evil being did indeed exist, would he announce the fact? Or would he instead pretend to be the kindest, most loving, most caring god that ever was? Would he be appearing to different groups in different guises, telling them that the others cannot be anything but evil because they dont believe in him the right way?

The god of evil would be dividing the people up and setting them against one another as the very best way of spreading suffering. And he would be promising them outrageous nonsense like wish-granting and immortality to keep them committed.

Your god does these things. Your god is the source of evil.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.1 / 5 (10) Apr 29, 2013
If I have to believe suppositions, conjecture and assumptions in order to buy into accepted scientific theory, then it is faith I am being asked to have, no matter what else one wishes to call it
You are confusing faith with confidence. Scientists develop increasing confidence based on accumulating evidence that they are on the right track. Religionists maintain their faith despite increasing evidence that they are on the wrong track.

See the difference? Faith is belief DESPITE evidence. It is lunacy.
Humans HATE on both sides of any conflict...
And what institutions are better than any other at generating this hate? RELIGION. The most successful of them and the only ones which remain, are the ones which are most effective at this. Hatred is essential to outgrowing and overrunning the enemy.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
4.5 / 5 (11) Apr 29, 2013
Is this an anti-science propaganda article? Science is the exact opposite of religion, it is in the business of replacing belief with fact, while religions are in the business to replace observable fact with their different unsupported beliefs. If Agol used the same skepticism in religious matters as he uses in other empirical matters he would have no religion.

And in fact, very few scientists are religious according to statistics, those tend as Agol to stay as technicians at best.

@210: "Faith, indeed. People who dont have it, dont know what it is".

You are completely disregarding the statistics that most non-believers were originally believers. The reason they are non-religious are precisely because they eventually understood what religion is.

It is very obvious that _you_ don't understand how religion works.
Q-Star
4.2 / 5 (10) Apr 29, 2013
It is very obvious that _you_ don't understand how religion works.


Or science. He's missing something in both. I'm thinking that most theologically minded people over apply what the word faith might refer to.

I have faith in science and in most of the scientists I know, but by that I mean no more than: I have confidence it what they do, and trust the way they do it. That's not religious faith, that comes from the experience of seeing their results, and witnessing the success of their methods.

The age of the "polymath genius" who can test every question for a complete answer is long past, if it ever existed at all. Aristotle thought he was one, and time has proved him more often wrong than right. As Newton said: "Blah, blah, blah,,,,it's because I have stood on the shoulders of giants."
djr
5 / 5 (8) Apr 29, 2013
210 - "But you do! You took it on faith, miserable and luckless faith, that your eyes would open to see the next day"

No I don't. Stop putting words in my mouth. Take responsibility for your own bullshit, and I will do the same. I don't have FAITH that I will wake up tmrw morning. I am fully aware that I may not. A friend recently went to bed one night, his wife heard an odd noise in the night - and found that he was dead. Life is fickle. He was not a Christian - so according to my mother - a loving god - who is all powerful - left his wife alone - and sent him to burn in hell for eternity. No FAITH that I am interested in.
OckhamsRazor
4.4 / 5 (7) Apr 29, 2013
If you were truly devout, you'd simply be happy with that fact and not feel the need to jump on everything you deem to be "proof" to ram it down the throats of us terrible, despicable people who have turned away from it (I was raised 7th Day Adventist and I gave it up in my early teens).

Whatever Agol turns to in his hours of need, he made an important and fascinating scientific discovery, so all this discussion of religion is irrelevant.

210 - If you are striving this hard to prove your belief to everyone, then I would certainly advise that you heed previous suggestions to re-examine your faith. You are the one who is coming across as uncertain and lacking in belief. We're all pretty comfortable with our own choices, and you should be also - if you were truly happy with it.
210
1.4 / 5 (9) Apr 29, 2013
Is this an anti-science propaganda article? Science is the exact opposite of religion, it is in the business of replacing belief with fact, while religions are in the business to replace observable fact with their different unsupported beliefs. If Agol used the same skepticism in religious matters as he uses in other empirical matters he would have no religion.

And in fact, very few scientists are religious according to statistics, those tend as Agol to stay as technicians at best.

@210: "Faith, indeed. People who dont have it, dont know what it is".

You are completely disregarding the statistics that most non-believers were originally believers. The reason they are non-religious are precisely because they eventually understood what religion is.

It is very obvious that _you_ don't understand how religion works.

FAITH...I know how FAITH works. You have been exposed to an idea, and never got over or around it. NO, I am talking about faith and what was found.
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210
1.4 / 5 (9) Apr 30, 2013
210 - "But you do! You took it on faith, miserable and luckless faith, that your eyes would open to see the next day"

No I don't. Stop putting words in my mouth. Take responsibility for your own bullshit, and I will do the same. I don't have FAITH that I will wake up tmrw morning. I am fully aware that I may not. A friend recently went to bed one night, his wife heard an odd noise in the night - and found that he was dead. Life is fickle. He was not a Christian - so according to my mother - a loving god - who is all powerful - left his wife alone - and sent him to burn in hell for eternity. No FAITH that I am interested in.
You Do want to wake up tomorrow dont you? You want to! You need to!! But doing it, or not, is NOT up to you. You just have faith that you will and you'll get to shave someday! Wife all alone? really! On a planet full of people all who ARE going to die?? Nope, she does not have to be alone, no! Go on, B A friend, help her, dont fear the reaper!.
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210
1.4 / 5 (9) Apr 30, 2013
If you were truly devout, you'd simply be happy with that fact and not feel the need to jump on everything you deem to be "proof" to ram it down the throats of us terrible, despicable people who have turned away from it (I was raised 7th Day Adventist and I gave it up in my early teens).

Whatever Agol turns to in his hours of need, he made an important and fascinating scientific discovery, so all this discussion of religion is irrelevant.

210 - If you are striving this hard to prove your belief to everyone, then I would certainly advise that you heed previous suggestions to re-examine your faith. You are the one who is coming across as uncertain and lacking in belief. We're all pretty comfortable with our own choices, and you should be also - if you were truly happy with it.

FAITH little Ocky, FAITH. Belief in ones self that exceeds the boundaries imposed by any conspiring fate. Faith to discover what all others have given up on - its BEAUTIFUL! Get some today..!
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djr
5 / 5 (7) Apr 30, 2013
210 - "You Do want to wake up tomorrow dont you? You want to! You need to!! But doing it, or not, is NOT up to you. You just have faith that you will"

You cannot read 210. Look carefully at the words in my comment. I DO NOT HAVE FAITH THAT I WILL WAKE UP TMRW! It is quite possible that I will not wake up tmrw. I do not mind not waking up tmrw. You are correct in stating that it is not up to me. You are WRONG in stating that I have faith. I understand that there are several meanings to the word faith - but which ever meaning you choose to focus on - I DO NOT HAVE FAITH. Now - a simple construct that I tried communicating before and clearly failed. You take responsibility for your bullshit, and I do the same. Should not be too difficult - but I suspect it really is way beyond you.

"dont fear the reaper!." - trust me - since freeing myself of the shackles of religious thinking - I no longer do fear the reaper.
kochevnik
4 / 5 (8) Apr 30, 2013
At the core of faith such as 210's lies the assumption that god and devil are separated by some constant, and moreover god stays on one side while the devil stays in an opposite corner. Not only is their model linear, but it is static and unchanging. No different than their paintings in the chapel which only grow dark over the centuries

Any real dialectic system allows each pole to assume the opposite sign, thereby exchanging roles. In that way god does something bad to presumably enact a greater good, and the devil a greater bad. However I observe that REAL poles often form an alliance against an outside force. They cojoin and become indistinguishable. The xtian folly can't grasp this more complex cooperation of opposites in an open system. They spin fallacious debacles, vainly hoping to preserve the polarization that maintains their dogma
JustinInOz
3.7 / 5 (6) Apr 30, 2013
This article is one of the lamest trite articles that I have read in a very long time. It is like writing that a scientist is steered by the peanut butter sandwich they had for lunch. It is simply a non sequitor. The two events are completley unrelated. The author should return to writing about cats stuck up trees.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (6) Apr 30, 2013
"dont fear the reaper!." - trust me - since freeing myself of the shackles of religious thinking - I no longer do fear the reaper.

Why would a believer even fear the reaper? It's not part of the christian mythology (but a thoroughly pagan concept)

As for us non-believers: Mythical stuff? Meh.
djr
5 / 5 (3) Apr 30, 2013
antialiias - "Why would a believer even fear the reaper? "

There is always the possibility that you have committed the unforgivable sin - and will be damned anyway. Fear was a major part of the whole package - kept you in line.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (5) Apr 30, 2013
I think the fear of death predates religion. And a major concept of religion seems to be to invent stories that say that one can beat the system (afterlife, heaven, reincarnation, nirvana,... whatever)
Of course religions then had to reintroduced fear (limbo, hell, purgatory, ... ) as a means of control - because they suddenly found that people were voluntarily comitting suicide. If your life is all squalor and the afterlife is so great - why wait?
(And religions can't have that. People who suicide don't pay tribute. So an anti-heaven had to be invented)
210
1.6 / 5 (7) Apr 30, 2013
"dont fear the reaper!." - trust me - since freeing myself of the shackles of religious thinking - I no longer do fear the reaper.

Why would a believer even fear the reaper? It's not part of the christian mythology (but a thoroughly pagan concept)

As for us non-believers: Mythical stuff? Meh.

Because we start life AS CHILDREN. We LEARN fear before we understand Faith, or personal integrity, or lasting value(s). We have to learn our worth and unlearn all those things that make us accept the many doctrines meant to control us and make us conform. Algol, wants to see the bigger picture. He wanted to see what others had ignored because they were supposed to, HE was supposed to, but he had faith, vision, and skill. All to his credit and he refused to let it be wasted. WE should do the same! Faith beckons us to our individual and collective greatness. This kind of faith IS worth the risk and the work - no matter who hates us for it!
word-to-ya-muthas
210
1.6 / 5 (7) Apr 30, 2013
210 - "You Do want to wake up tomorrow dont you? You want to! You need to!! But doing it, or not, is NOT up to you. You just have faith that you will"

You cannot read 210. Look carefully at the words in my comment. I DO NOT HAVE FAITH
"dont fear the reaper!." - trust me - since freeing myself of the shackles of religious thinking - I no longer do fear the reaper.

But, you HAVE to have faith, to live your dreams! You...you...do have dreams dont you? Ambitions, desires for a better life or world. A trip to the Olympics, that great dream of mental victory in discovery or achievement all lies in tomorrow. Something or someone you toil to make a part of your lasting days. A mountain to climb, a beach to walk on?? If any of this is to take place, you must have faith that it will, OR, IT WILL NOT! You work? IS your work your dream? Probably not. There is something you want in life and if you cant believe, have FAITH you'll get it - why do you keep going? Faith, is us!
word-
210
1.6 / 5 (7) Apr 30, 2013
210 - "You Do want to wake up tomorrow dont you? You want to! You need to!! But doing it, or not, is NOT up to you. You just have faith that you will"

"dont fear the reaper!." - trust me - since freeing myself of the shackles of religious thinking - I no longer do fear the reaper.

Oh, really, you are NOT afraid to die...then, so be it!
But before you go, find something worth dying for, be a part of something that matters, like Algol! The whole cheering, massively educated MOB was convinced there was NOTHING left to find in all that research and data and little old Algol, thumbed his nose and said, "YES I CAN!" Your fight is NOT with me. I am waiting to cheer for you just like I am cheering for Algol (I wonder if that is his real name?!) FAITH, we humans have a vital and useful facility for it FAR beyond the common dogma that wreaks right out of a TV or radio or website. It IS a useful tool for the fulfillment of only the greatest deeds! Dont just dismiss it, use it!
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210
1.6 / 5 (7) Apr 30, 2013
I think

YOU think.....auntie-alias......Yep, I knew if I lived long enough, I'd witness a miracle on this site!

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antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Apr 30, 2013
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Nah. Leave you're mother out of this. I'm getting sick enough reading your posts without having to remember that.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.7 / 5 (7) Apr 30, 2013
You Do want to wake up tomorrow dont you? You want to! You need to!! But doing it, or not, is NOT up to you
You believe that this is up to god because your book says it is. But your book also says there was a flood and an exodus and a genocidal joshuan rampage, and we know these things are lies.

Evidence on the other hand says we will most likely wake up tomorrow. Which would normal people tend to believe?
planet full of people all who ARE going to die?? Nope, she does not have to be alone, no! Go on, B A friend, help her, dont fear the reaper!
The most evil lie in the religious pantheon... believe the way we tell you and you will live forever! Your most merciful and loving lovegod will nevertheless torture you for eternity if you don't.

John 3:16-21. You xians should always quote it in its entirety. 'For god so loved the WORLD, that he would promise the people and also THREATEN them with absolutely ANYTHING in order to save IT from THEM.'
OckhamsRazor
5 / 5 (4) Apr 30, 2013
210 - I find the world around us (and even further than that) beautiful without having any faith of a religious nature. If you'd read the bible like I have, you'd know that your God and your religion do not encourage you to look beyond the 'facts' and stories that you are given, and those that do are branded as heathens. When I read your posts, I can't help but picture a wirey-framed little man with bulging eyes, jumping up and down and using the words 'wow' and 'incredible' excessively. You spout nonsense but I like you. You're like an excited puppy without the street-smarts.

You don't need to try and convert anybody here, or you'll only make a pest out of yourself. We're only interested in the cold, hard, logical science behind it all. Put the coffee down and make yourself a nice, hot cup of Horlicks and just remember that Agol has faith and that's nice - it works for him. But it does not work for everybody.
210
1 / 5 (5) May 01, 2013
You Do want to wake up tomorrow dont you? You want to! You need to!! But doing it, or not, is NOT up to you
You believe that this is up to god because your book says it is. But your book also says there was a flood and an exodus and a genocidal joshuan rampage, and we know these things are lies.

Evidence on the other hand says we will most likely wake up tomorrow. Which would normal people tend to believe?
planet full of people all who ARE going to die?? Nope, she does not have to be alone, no! Go on, B A friend, help her, dont fear the reaper!

Evidence? The evidence for Algol was that there IS a planet or two in the data, the VAST, no, ALL the other people saw nothing! The unmitigated fortitude of this visionary deserves praise, I give it. Algol had the same evidence all others had. Faith is vision, inner vision. The power to see beyond sight. It gives us the subtle impetus to keep going and to exceed all limits.
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210
1 / 5 (4) May 01, 2013
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Nah. Leave you're mother out of this. I'm getting sick enough reading your posts without having to remember that.

but, but auntie...you're still readin' it...cant help yourself...!
210
1 / 5 (5) May 01, 2013
You Do want to wake up tomorrow dont you? You want to! You need to!! But doing it, or not, is NOT up to you
You believe that this is up to god because your book says it is. But your book also says there was a flood and an exodus and a genocidal joshuan rampage, and we know these things are lies.

Evidence on the other hand says we will most likely wake up tomorrow. Which would normal people tend to believe?

GASP-of-OTTO, if it is not real, why are you bothering to repeat it? And for someone who does NOT believe biblical history, you are full of it!
ALgol has faith, it served him well, and I applaud it. Quoting scripture is not my bag - its yours. All that good-old-hate-baggage you carry for God and His, is just coming out. Alright. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, me and Algol are building REAL science cause we refuse to be stopped by the status quo who dictate terms of endearment in the science community.
"There IS more of Heaven and earth than dreamt of..."
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210
1 / 5 (6) May 01, 2013
210 - I find the world around us...

little Ockey-Razor, if you, YOU, find anything, it has got to outshine the Sun and be bigger than reality, or your ego...is that even possible?, No, no...I think that's miracle number two...shucks man, keep goin'

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TheGhostofOtto1923
3.4 / 5 (5) May 01, 2013
Algol had the same evidence all others had. Faith is vision, inner vision. The power to see beyond sight. It gives us the subtle impetus to keep going and to exceed all limits
Ahaaa what a crackpot. What about all the many discoveries made by non-superstitious people? Statistics and evidence tells us that miracles do not happen. If your god exists he is incapable of breaking the laws he himself created.
Quoting scripture is not my bag - its yours
Of course not - you don't care what it says, only what it's supposed to say. That's why you guys like to pick and choose the good stuff and ignore the bad. Because the bad confirms that your god was invented by people for wholly human reasons.
good-old-hate-baggage you carry for God and His
You bet. I hate lies and liars. Especially when they seek to suppress the truth. Especially when they are as dangerous and ruinous as is religion and the people who peddle it.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (6) May 01, 2013
You don't need to try and convert anybody here
Yeah he does it says so in his book.
And for someone who does NOT believe biblical history, you are full of it!
I dont believe because evidence says it didn't happen. What, you think your god destroyed all the evidence and substituted overwhelming contrary evidence, perhaps to test your faith maybe?

Destroying evidence is a crime. Ask any ricin-maker. Its a crime because it is meant to deceive investigators.

Does your god LIE to you in order to find out how much you TRUST him?? Who could believe in a god who would do that? How could such a god be the source of truth, goodness, morality?
OckhamsRazor
5 / 5 (1) May 01, 2013

little Ockey-Razor, if you, YOU, find anything, it has got to outshine the Sun and be bigger than reality, or your ego...is that even possible?, No, no...I think that's miracle number two...shucks man, keep goin'

My ego is fantastic, yes. I also like where you stopped reading. Good boy! Get the stick, boy!

However, what was miracle number one?