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Religion
This seems like such an obvious topic that it's probably been done before, but if so I don't recall it. Anyway. I've been making my views on religion known more than my relatively restrained usual lately, and I've come across some really smart people who disagree with basic premises of what I think. While I can definitely be persuaded on matters of semantics, the overall gist of the arguments I've seen - basically that disciplines other than scientific ones (say, philosophy, theology, even literature, etc) describe reality, that there is somehow a different sort of reality for them to describe, I can't be persuaded into thinking, at least not with the arguments I've met with so far. Whatever forces organize the universe are unlikely in my view to take human considerations (hey, isn't astrology a discipline to some people) into account when acting.

Anyway, I have gone many years with the (perhaps unjustified) assumption that most people on this board are atheists; but even if this is true there are likely to be disagreements about what the implications of this are. Lovecraft (an unapologeticaly elitist atheist) thought that voting rights should require an IQ test, for example. When I see Sarah Palin, I am tempted to agree. Intelligence does not mean that people won't be crazy it just makes it statistically less likely. Anyway that's enough from me, it's been a while since there was a good/new discussion thread on here so hopefully this goes somewhere.
Athesit 
Tolerant of religion and religious people (most of my friends are religious to some degree) but I really hate extremists who twist religion into some sort of weapon to use against people they disagree with (terrorists, right-wing Christian conservatives.)

I would like to point out that, afaik, we Yanks have the worst plague of religion in any Western country. Not because of the religion itself, again, it's because of the extremists who are using it brainwash the ignorati and gain a political seat. Why they think the way they do I have no fucking clue, because they contradict themselves all the time and using religion as their weapon seems fitting - unsure whether it's because they're trying to be ironic or if they miss the point. These are the people who brought us such as greats as "Jesus rides on dinosaur" and "Intelligent Design."

I am afraid. 
 
Also I will learn to spell atheist eventually 
Cervantes 
Don Quichot was walking a dusty path with Sancho, untill they came to a point they caught a view of a crowd. It looked as they were in a fight and Din Quichot took his soard, attacking the crowd as it were enemies.
Sancho couldn't do much more than screaming: No my lord, they're not enemies, they're just shaving sheep.
Too late as Don Quichot got beaten up knowing the dust took lost of his sight.

I always think of this story when it comes to religion. 
Good Thread 
Also one of the topics you should never talk about with people you don't know.

I'm agnostic nihilist, treat that as non-religionist left wing wing but more combative.

In that same idea, people who are religious I personally see as flawed. At the same time there is something there because they're not all stupid.

If I was on an illegal as opposed to legal drug now I could be bothered and capable to say what I mean.

Sorry Tron.

Hey I'm still writing.

Watchmen is a great film. 
The Lens 
Personally, I feel that no set of beliefs are superior to another. Beliefs are like a stew where you just don't want everyone to have same ones just like there isn't one best "food".

You want diversity. It is through that diversity that you get different lenses to see the world. As sameness is a weakness in biology (evolution), it is a weakness in thought (socially and culturally). Sameness never caused a renaissance.

Where this goes wrong is the politicization of religion and/or atheism.

Generally, one characteristic of religions that people tend to hate is the "group think element" which leads to animosity towards outside groups (hence politicization).

This occurs within atheism too, of course.

The reason that religion is often taboo subject is due to the human tendency to disingenuously "politicize" religion for personal gain (status, political office, power, scapegoating) or to be socially accepted or merely the human "monkey see, monkey do" ("someone I respect is doing it, I'll do it too").

/My personal belief system is the "open mind" (i.e. Anyone with final philosophical opinions is willfully satisfying himself/herself with insufficient evidence to reach a conclusion; i.e. whatever is going on in this wonderful universe isn't intelligible to us yet and nothing can be ruled in or out.) 
Atheist 
... but I think the worst thing anyone can do is let someone else do their thinking for them (IOW, Monty Python's the Life Of Brian is one of my favourite things ever). 
Atheist 
I think that religion serves some sort of purpose for a lot of individuals (there seems to be a strong need for spirituality in most people) and for societies as well (or it would never have become this strong).

Now I'd rather see religion go, even though I'm tolerant to moderately religious people. But as I stated above, a lot of people seem to need religion or some sort of superstitious believe system. Maybe it is better for them to have religion than to face the questions that pose themselves once you take religion out of the picture. Because if you start "thinking for yourself" and defining your own set of values, you need to question a lot of things and that's a lot of work, and may be above a lot of people.

In summary, I can only repeat that I believe that for most people, being moderately religious is much better than having no believe / value system at all, which is why I tolerate it. 
Religion... What A Program... 
My family is formerly Christians' Catholic...

I believe in God for sure, but this is a personal deal in between God and myself...

Nobody can tell me what to think, what to do, who to pray: freedom !

Afterall, believing in god in something personnal, and nobody can be blamed in case not believing in god, or believing too much in God... Behing moderated is the better way to go, and I really think we should eliminate all extremists, whatever God they pray...

... though... 
Wow 
great responses so far. Thanks guys.

Re: Zwiffle - I thought Yanks was the way British people referred to Americans not the way they referred to themselves (amused). The fact that Intelligent Design was shot down in a court of law (Dover) illustrates (I hope) that evidence still has priority over popular conviction in the American legal system, but I agree, I am also afraid.

Re: Madfox - a good illustration, it's awesome how Sancho's function as a sidekick is basically to hold Quixote back! Here is a similar joke (and this is FROM the middle east) that I think captures the same idea:

scorpion: carry me on your back across that river, frog!
frog: no, you're dangerous, if I come anywhere near you, you could sting me!
scorpion: well, if I did that while I was on your back in the middle of the river, we'd both drown!
frog: good point.
halfway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog.
frog: WHY!
scorpion: because this is the middle east. (lol)

further responses coming. 
Hmm 
Wow. Religion, racism and evidently self-contradictory view points.

And it's only at 9 posts so far... 
Couple More Responses 
re: ijed
Nice to see someone else describe themself as a nihilist. The term agnostic though seems unnecessary, it basically says "my beliefs are based on current evidence" and really, the term "atheist" has been straw-manned into "you have FAITH that there is no Abrahamic invisible patriarch controlling reality! Aha! my delusional stupidity and your rationality are EQUIVALENT!" (and lol at the fact that this equivalence is apparently some giant victory for theists; the best they can do is try to prove that you're as retarded as they are!). As you imply though every atheist needs an explanation for why religion exists, and I'm with you in being tempted toward the "they're flawed (lack integrity, intelligence, etc)" explanation.

Re: Baker
I agree that diversity is important, but some sets of beliefs are definitely superior to others. Some beliefs promote human well-being better than others, and some beliefs (not necessarily the same ones) are closer to truth than others. Diversity within reason, is my sort of view. 
Re: Nonentity 
didn't see racism here unless you're referring to my mideast joke, which comes from a book of jokes from around the world, and is actually from the middle east (and is thus people from there making fun of themselves). plus (to go on with this perhaps mistaken idea) middle east is not a race it's an ethnically diverse location.

as for evidently self-contradictory perhaps you'd like to explain your assertions rather than sneering from your high-ivory-horse-tower (to crossbreed a couple cliches). 
 
"Personally, I feel that no set of beliefs are superior to another. Beliefs are like a stew where you just don't want everyone to have same ones just like there isn't one best "food".

You want diversity."

I believe in magic elves that live in my sock drawer and grant me wishes based on how many hard boiled eggs I can fit into my mouth. Still want to include me and give me equal billing in the stew?

Religion is nonsense and anyone who believes in it, I'm sorry, I just can't take them 100% seriously. If you're going to go there you need to include Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy because they all have the same level of evidence available.

I have religious friends and I put up with their religious activities when I need to but I in no way will ever believe in it.

When I see how religion has completely polluted the political system in this country (USA) it makes me sad. Braying sheep voting with their bibles instead of their brains is a ridiculous way to choose a leader.

The bible is fiction, there is no god, and we are evolved apes living on a rock in space. It's time for the world to gain some common sense and grow the hell up.

I'll try to stay out of this thread from now on because I tend to be pretty caustic on this topic. Don't want to de-rail it into a flame war. Just wanted to get my viewpoint on the table. 
Who Rules The Universe ? 
Certainey not God... If he would love us, we would not have to support all what human being is supporting (War, Earthquake, Diseases, etc...) So while I believe in God, I am almost thinking either God is on strike, or that God hates us... though... 
Sorry To Post Such A High % Of The Content Here 
I often wonder why the rest of the universe would exist if the world was created so that humans could live in it. Why would this 'moral test' goal require billions of stars, on a scale that no one (not even us creative types) can even IMAGINE? My answer: God is Tim the Enchanter from Monty Python's Holy Grail. He needs a giant uninhabited weapons test area because he's kinda eccentric and angry and likes to test out new destructive methods lol. The missile was particularly brilliant.

happy to hear your POV Willem. Thanks. 
Friedrich H. Tenbruck 
You guys should read some tenbruck https://portal.d-nb.de/opac.htm?query=Woe%3D118756451&method=simpleSearch , German sociologist. No idea if his works are avail. in English.
He makes some good points about how humans need to associate some form of higher meaning with their actions ("culture"), and how this evolved from being implicit ("need it to live together") when in smallish groups, and then--with the rise of naturalistic science--from religion ("can't explain it better") to the (often overwhelming) feeling that we can in fact influence close to every aspect of the world.

iirc "Glaubensgeschichte der Moderne" (Zeitschrift fuer Politik, issue 1, 1976) might be quite relevant.

That's of course my sight of things and I'm pretty sure I can't quite summarize it as well as it needs to be summarized. Possibly mixing up different arguments there, too. 
I Think Of God As A Thing 
Heaven - you will got to heaven if you live your life good - True - you will be happier if you do good things and can look back at your life with no regrets.

Hell - you will go to hell if you live your life bad - True - you will be in hell if you spend everyday feeling bad about your bad descisions and regretable actions. You cant re-write your past, it is stuck with you, in your memory until oblivion takes you back.

In a basic sense I look to my liberal protestant C of E upbringing for moral guidance, not a literal background story as to how we all got here and what we can and cannot say/do/think or whatever.

Obvious logical moral standards can be taken from the bible, like "Thou shal not kill/steal/etc". Nothin wrong with teaching that to kids.

But people who take it a step too far annoy me. They really annoy me. Some jumped up teeange girl who goes to mass all of the time, dresses all prissy, never swears, quotes from the bible, tries to "change" peoples views to fit those of her god, takes the whole "holier than thou" opinion of people who dont think the same. Its a plague of ignorance I tell you, a PLAGUE!!!!!!

Do anal 
What An Ending 
 
@Willem 
I believe in magic elves that live in my sock drawer and grant me wishes based on how many hard boiled eggs I can fit into my mouth. Still want to include me and give me equal billing in the stew?

You conceal your unusual beliefs very well. ;)

I should have said reasonable beliefs.

Most governments tend to grant special privileges to people with religious beliefs like extra days off work or the right to wear certain hats.

Something is wrong in the world if you have to join a religion to wear your favorite hat to work. 
@Willem Pt. 2 
When I see how religion has completely polluted the political system in this country (USA) it makes me sad. Braying sheep voting with their bibles instead of their brains is a ridiculous way to choose a leader.

I think much of this is a function of what is essentially a legally-sanctioned 2 party system in the USA.

The result of limited competition in a political system is collusion and collusion leads to each party making only a minimal effort to "lead" with strong built-in safeguards against reform and most "changes" are to enrich the actual participants in the political system -- which is the inevitable result of all forms of artificially limited competition. 
Yeah 
Something is wrong in the world if you have to join a religion to wear your favorite hat to work.
I so agree. We always wanted to create a religion that grants you unlimited rights to free speech, masked protesting, etc. 
 
Kraken, also called the Crab-fish, which is not that huge, for heads and tails counted, he is no larger than our ´┐Żland is wide [i.e. less than 16 km] ... He stays at the sea floor, constantly surrounded by innumerable small fishes, who serve as his food and are fed by him in return: for his meal, if I remember correctly what E. Pontoppidan writes, lasts no longer than three months, and another three are then needed to digest it. His excrements nurture in the following an army of lesser fish, and for this reason, fishermen plumb after his resting place ... Gradually, Kraken ascends to the surface, and when he is at ten to twelve fathoms, the boats had better move out of his vicinity, as he will shortly thereafter burst up, like a floating island, spurting water from his dreadful nostrils and making ring waves around him, which can reach many miles. Could one doubt that this is the Leviathan of Job? 
Elephant Talk 
the being of the creature has never been proven.
I can only think by the grace of remembering myself.
Does this implend consiousness?
I don't know, the feeling of the power to remember myself only gives me a sense of a God remembering it all.

Now I go looking what I was forgotten, because I membered myself to consiousness, while I can't remember... 
Obey 
To Lord Diabolus 
WotEVAR. 
Agnostic, approve of pastoral care, indifferent to religion, intolerant of extremism, open to the possibility of a lot that is beyond current scientific knowledge including god-equivalent beings. 
 
Wtf are "god-equivalent" beings? 
Simple. 
Beings that are so much more powerful than us with their interactions with reality, that we would term them gods. 
 
What's your definition of god (as there are many.) 
@Willem Pt 3 
First, I have to say that I really love Shambler's thoughts on religion.

Back to Willem ...

See, Willem, the one thing that can't be ruled out is that the universe is some sort of entirely artificial scripted construct with possibly a stupid backstory.

Something akin to living a very complex story.

Our knowledge of the universe is incredibly finite.

Our limits:

1. We can't see "now" beyond our solar system due to the speed of light. Every star could have bloomed into a giant flower for all we know and the light would take years to reach us.

2. We can't see small scope. What is going on below the subatomic particle level is entirely unknown to us.

3. We do not even know how many dimensions there are (string theory suggests 11 dimensions, with the latter 7 being compressed).

4. We do not know the size of the universe. The answer isn't a radius of 15 billion light years, that's just how far light has had time to travel.

5. We do not know what happened before the beginning of the universe, some scientific theory suggests "pre-Big Bang" evidence of activity.

And if you read stuff like Deepak Chopera (I think he's half nutballs, but some of his ideas are bizarre but very unique as to an alternate idea of consciousness) or study some of the great philosophers, there are some radically wild ideas out there that are intriguing that suggest very stern limitations on the ability of perception.

For instance, what if we are not living in a static space-time universe? What if the past and present and future are always in flux and are not actually fixed but only fixed from our perception.

Most of the participants of this thread make maps, which is essentially building little worlds. On a grander scheme, you can't rule out that the universe wasn't artificially created by some sort of deity.

Police conduct thorough investigations to crimes committed just a week ago in a known place and sometimes can't even figure out a clear picture of what happened.

And yet with our limited information we are somehow supposed to have a great grasp of The "Answer To Life, The Universe and Everything"?

I think not.

Remember, if you are a scientific atheist that means that you view physics and chemical reactions as king. This means there is no free will and everything is fixed because A + B = C. And in that world, if there are people that believe in "magic elves" that was meant to happen and could have been extrapolated from a perfect model of the universe from day 1.

So those people that believe in "magic elves" were part of the universe's script.

But more importantly, that means there is a script. Which leads to a more interesting question, what is the origin of the script. I'm not implying a deity, I am pointing out the oddness that a pure atheist view logically examined must reach the logical conclusion of a "script".

Because in a world governed solely by physics, there is no chance ... it is a ride on rails. Eek! 
Baker 
You seem to have only a very superficial understanding of relativity theory and quantum mechanics. According to relativity theory, there is no "now" - the mere idea of stating that something happens "now" somewhere in the universe is senseless. If two events appear to happen simultaneously from my point of view, they need not be simultaneous for other viewers.

Also, you cannot extrapolate the future behavior of the universe even if you knew some sort of "world formula" + the entire state of all matter. Which, btw, you could neither determine (uncertainty principle) nor store anywhere anyway because the universe cannot hold information about its own state (not enough memory - if the universe could store one byte, how can you store information about the 256 states of that byte?).

Not everything is fixed in the universe according to quantum theory. Far from it, really. Also, how "must" the atheist view reach such a conclusion? 
 
"Remember, if you are a scientific atheist that means that you view physics and chemical reactions as king. This means there is no free will and everything is fixed because A + B = C."

I don't think it means that at all. It simply means that actions and reactions are explainable and provable - it doesn't remove the notion of free thought. 
Hmm 
1) Quantum wave forms

2) Onus of proof

3) Agnostics are sophomoric cowards 
Baker 
A universal creator can't be 100% "ruled out" like Willem's butt elves can't be 100% ruled out - but that doesn't mean there isn't evidence against a creator, or at least against any creator that mankind has invented so it can sleep at night.

If there is a creator then why are there so many independent religions all with different creators, creation stories, their own myths, etc, and why does the most popular religion Christianity come in so many different flavors and borrow so many of its rituals and ideas from earlier religions??

How is there not a script if there is a being who KNOWS every single thing that will happen BEFORE it happen? If that being knows we will make choice C before we make it, how can there possible be a choice A or B? They would merely be illusions to make us think there is choice - an omniscient god rules out free choice.

Yes our knowledge is finite and I don't think it could ever be complete tbh - but science has done simply marvelous to help explain all that without any sort of magic space man to "explain" things for us. 
God. 
Going off at a tangent, I once asked one of these modern liberal non-dogmatic vicar types (I was banging his daughter at the time, well at the time that I met him, not at the time of the conversation...) what God was, particularly in a more modern view point. His answer was that it wasn't appropriate to think of god as a tangible, physical being who could be iconised by mankind, but more as the context for life and the universe to exist within - a background energy that provides the canvas upon which existence is painted. I quite liked that idea but curiously he didn't want to explain much further, maybe because he was "off duty". 
 
Now you're getting into "What I call god you just call existence" - arguably not the kind of god(s) we're talking about. 
No. 
I'm just mentioning an anecdote I found interesting.

As you were, gentlemen! 
 
"How is there not a script if there is a being who KNOWS every single thing that will happen BEFORE it happen? If that being knows we will make choice C before we make it, how can there possible be a choice A or B? They would merely be illusions to make us think there is choice - an omniscient god rules out free choice. "

I've had this conversation before. What happens now is that it's explained that although God knows what you're going to choose it doesn't remove free will. God doesn't see time in the same way that we do. To him, everything is happening at once - the past, the present and the future. It's all the same. He sees what you're going to do simply because he can look through the strands of time.

It starts getting a little heady but what it boils down to is that anything can be explained away because he's God. 
"well, Not At The Time Of The Conversation" 
gold! lol 
Re 38 
but that would imply he was banging her the first time he met the guy. 
Gosh. 
I phrased that really badly, didn't I. Let's just say I met him socially through his daughter (who I happened to be involved with and who incidentally wasn't a member of the clergy). 
God Bangs The Highins 
quantum flux => state of random
always been and will always be.
relativity theory => bang ...& then
starts somewhere and expands.

Einstein said that the knowledge of sciense could be a part of the real world, but it doesn't has to be. Maybe it is just an imaginairy tool man has created to explain the world.

Darwin is no God killer by concepting the world by evolution. Lennon named it a concept by which we measure our pain. 
Or 
God came in the 0,00000000003 sec after the big bang and said there shall be an overwhelming power that will freeze mankind ever to discover my excistence in particals smaller than the first bits before this moment... 
Madfox Is Right 
 
 
Thread can be closed now. 
@Zwiffle 
If there is a creator then why are there so many independent religions all with different creators, creation stories, their own myths, etc, and why does the most popular religion Christianity come in so many different flavors and borrow so many of its rituals and ideas from earlier religions??

I'm not arguing there is or isn't a creator.

I look at different religions as unique viewpoints.

For example, I think most people would argue humans are "superior" to, say, bees. But this doesn't mean we can't learn interesting things from studying bees.

Religions tend to be cultures with different practices, viewpoints and ethics.

Let's say all the religions are false, this doesn't mean there isn't value in some of their points of views or philosophies.

Eastern religions have fascinating concepts of true harm of "wrong". Mormons have the idea that the body is a vessel that should be taken care of. Hindus let cows live among them.

If you look at biology, the biggest enemy of species survival is "sameness". And in fact, the reproduction of all advanced life on Earth has been shaped by gene exchange (sexual reproduction instead of effectively "cloning yourself") and mutation.

In human life, culture is most important driver of advancement and the biggest cultural enemy of advancement is "sameness" of thought.

The embodiment of sameness of thought is, of course, "1984" ... top down control and thought police. 
 
I see what you're aiming at, but it's not about embracing different viewpoints or cultures. It's about allowing grown adults to believe in Santa Claus. When the entire premise of your religion is founded on ridiculousness, the rest of it is automatically of little value.

I will refer you again to my sock drawer elves. We can talk all day about them and all you're going to learn is that I'm something of a mental invalid. There's no value there.

This isn't to say that all religious people are without value - that would be ridiculous and insulting to say. But on the subject of religion itself, I don't feel there's any real value there other than as a basis for story telling or life lessons in the form of parables. That's it. 
Willem 
There are people out there who believe that there is a god up there, and an afterlife, a devil, and angels and all of that stuff, and there are people like you who believe that there arent.

I would not like to say one or the other because the one thing I do know more than anything else is this:

Not one single man alive truely knows one way or the other. Because no-one has died and then been able to report back.

I must admit though, science is more believable because it works from facts and evidence. 
Luckily For Science 
it does not have to be believable to be true. That's the whole difference. 
 
Ricky

I see what you're saying but that's kind of weak. People believe a lot of things - doesn't mean they're all worth considering. 
Heh - I Cant Get Involved In This Argument 
And still sit on the fence.

Stream of conciousness isnt gonna help either.

I suppose I have my own personal (take on) religion. Its nice to think that an all powerful entity looks upon the things we do, and that doing good for others gives love and happiness a place in society.

I just believe in being good, trying to do the right thing, living in peace and all that. And to me that is heaven. I dont need no mass, not fanatiscism, no holier than thou moral tub-thumping, no piece of watery bread, no dresscode, no things I can and cannot say.

I still feel like a christian. I like churches generally because they remind me of when I was a child. They remind me of a time of my innocence.

If anyone challenges my right to sculpt my own beliefs then I reject that. Be they atheists, theists, believers, non-believers, whatever. I just think that we should be allowed to believe what we want, as long as it involves basically everyone being nice to eachother and getting along. 
 
I dont expect you to agree with that simply because of the Its nice to think that an all powerful entity looks upon the things we do part.

Bear in mind that I did not say weather I believe this to be true or not, and still havent. 
Re: Willem 
I mostly agree with you but I think that being based on absurd premise does not invalidate something, at least not artistically. For example, The Metamorphosis begins with the premise that a man can be transformed into a giant insect. I can still really appreciate the works of Dante and Milton though I think they're founded on ridiculous premises. For me, there is much in most religious traditions that is of great cultural value (though American evangelical protestantism doesn't give a shit about culture except as something to police - it's megachurches rather than cathedrals there). The thing is that people must distinguish from what creates a powerful emotional response (art, mythology, the props of religion) and what is literally true about the universe.

re: Ricky, I see what you mean. I've met several people who were raised Christian (even Mormon), then got heavily into sex, drugs and crime when they were teenagers, then went back to religion basically for nostalgia's sake to try to undo what they'd done. Funny though how sex and drugs are basicaly fine for rich people (or at least they have to go a lot further before they hit rock bottom) but for people working at crap jobs it doesn't take long to run into the long arm of the law and have external forces impose regret on you, and in at least two of the cases of people I met, have society itself attempt to ram religious reform down their throats. 
Lol 
Religious Experience:

Taking lots of E's and clubbing with a bunch of people who keep hugging you and telling you how much they love you. Seeing everyone as something to be adored, looking kindly at everyone. Feeling a strong sense of love from everything. Watching your old-fashioned, conservative freinds turn into hippies! 
Hmm 
Ethics != religion (or even a theological viewpoint) 
 
Socrates warned his prophecy wouldn't be wrote down and we would never known what he ment.He surely ment something by that.
That little god particle.

Religions claim the "I am the one that is",
la illala ilhala,
buddah's shrine.
I think it is a more practical thing this god behaving. If you're in a lucky position you can feel like a god untill your awareness of others, who haven't that luck are already doomed to hell.

I can only find one conclusion to this pathos,
God must be the lost collective sub consiousness. 
Nonentity 
come on man, quit with this method of contributing. Brevity may be the soul of wit, but each of your comments in this thread, is basically poking an ant hill from afar, like a condescending fag unwilling to enter into the conversation, but rather only snipe at it. Say something that can be responded to, or leave it alone, superiority complex bastard. 
Handbags Out Ladies. 
I like poking anthills and watching all the ants scurry around. 
Heh 
well Shambler you're coasting off of previous awesomeness, so you have a lot of asshole credits you've hardly used (lol). I guess NE is too as well (though not nearly so much), but I mean, I find it weird to think that people feel like they have the right to be an aloof asshole cause they made some curvy dm map 10 years ago. You've got no credit. If you're an aloof cock, stay too aloof to express that fact to use peons. If not, then talk about it and get down here with the rest of us mortals, so we can respond to your assertions. Internet arrogance is bullshit. BTW if you're trolling, +1 to your awesomeness. 
 
Tronyn++ 
 
I'm with Douglas Adams on this topic - (something like) "isn't enough to see that the garden is beautiful without having to believe there are fairies at the bottom of it too". 
 
I find it interesting that every single argument I've heard for the existence of an intelligent creator being has fallen short - every single argument I've heard has a counter argument based in logic, science and/or evidence which seems to nullify it.

I'm beginning to wonder if atheists need to help out theists /deists by playing Devil's Advocate just so we can maybe advance the argument because the theist/deist side seems to have stagnated - they can't seem to come up with anything new. 
Jeepers. 
I hope I'm not coasting off stuff....I think our community is coasting along just on it being a shared community and a shared history....that's generally good enough from POV. Ntty might be being an asshole but he's OUR asshole, right??

None of my posts here have been trolling, and I genuinely do like poking anthills, although all the scurrying little fuckers are freaky!! 
Regarding That Post Shambler 
well, starting from "You've got no credit" on was meant for NE not you. I kinda think that if someone contributes enough to the community, I ignore them pissing me off, to a degree which is proportionate. what I meant regarding coasting for you was based on previous awesomeness you have like 20 free asshole posts, and you haven't used ANY of them. Aka you haven't been a dick once though you have the right to many times based on your community contributions. I've never liked hearing unexplained aloof comments and the club has always been based on reputation, and so long as reputation is based on mapping, release a map or stfu.

My estimation of the average ELEK map was 7/10, he released 5 good maps, so maybe he had 35 free passes, before I started being like k man your contribution to the community is not neutral, infact it's gay. NE, CZG, people like that, their mapping contribution don't buy them a free pass on a FU from me with this aloof shit. If you're not engaging the topic, don't bother. I'm not trying to be an asshole I'm just saying I'll allow asshole shit for the sake of art, but it's 2010 and if you want to be an asshole you need to provide an awesome map or explain your aloof comments. 
<--- 
 
 
I like Quake, fish, and cheese. My religion is VONDUR
Zwiffle 
(Btw ... @ MH ... LOL)

I find it interesting that every single argument I've heard for the existence of an intelligent creator being has fallen short

Why does it matter if there is a creator? If there is or if there isn't, what does the answer to the question matter?

I am still here either way and have to wake up in the morning, consume some nutrients, and brush my teeth. ;)

The real irony is that the origin of the universe is an unanswerable question but that in the attempt to find the answer to the question that can never be answered: you grow.

People like me view the answer to the question itself as immaterial (and an answer like "42" works just fine for me).

BUT

I get to choose how to spend my time!

What I mean by this is that, I could get all picky with all the various religious and then get on their case and argue with those people and point out inconsistencies. I could even make it a passion in my life.

Now ... the real question: is that a good use of my time? 
Frib 
I guess what I'm saying is that http://www.celephais.net/board/ is not the same thing as terafusion chat, or whatever. be as old school in terms of referring to inside jokes, as you want. I'd like to say this to you, as well, though: what have you done in the last 5 years? Nothing bad to your personality, career, or talent. I'm just wishing that this could be a place for actual Quake people to talk about actual Quake. You want to fuck around, why is this the place? 
YEAH 
I'd just like to repeat this shit. Put up or shut up. We're living in a world of Negke, Necros, ijed, Willem, JPL, MadFox, Trinca, Mike Woodham, and Q1SP people who are around who never gave a shit about DaPak. Please, scale your comments to what you've done in the last 5 or even 10 years. I think NSOE gives me the right to be a way bigger asshole but you never see me fly off the handle except in response to people like you guys. Jesus. 
Pascal's Wager 
Did anybody else stop to think about Pascal's Wager and notice that he confused payoff over infinity with infinite payoff?

If ignorance is bliss, then humanity is already in heaven. 
Baker 
What does the answer to the question matter? Are you fucking serious? How many people have killed each other in the name of their god(s)? How much bullshit is going on in the world for the sake of religion? How many inter-religious squabbles are there that do nothing but divide what would otherwise be the concerted effort of mankind to better itself (or at least kill each other over something that EVEN EXISTS.)

The real irony is that the origin of the universe is an unanswerable question Prove it. Just because we don't know doesn't mean it's unknowable.

In the ~500 years or so that mankind has adhered to science we went from believing the world is flat to the fucking iPhone, and that's with a small minority of people dedicating themselves to scientific progress. I know it's a totally unrealistic scenario, but imagine what could be done if people stopped satisfying themselves with "God did it" and started looking at the world with the curiosity of a scientist. 
To The I Phone? 
sounds like some DE-evolution happened in the past ~15 years....

j/k 
Of Course I'm Serious 
How many people have killed each other in the name of their god(s)?

If there aren't any gods, then that's just bad social behavior. How can you blame these non-existent "gods" for human behavior?

A "god" didn't make them do it; they managed to do it themselves just fine.

"Origins of universe unknowable" ... Prove it. Just because we don't know doesn't mean it's unknowable.

It is very provable if you believe a mathematic discovery from around the 1930s that states that no system can be self-validated. I can't remember the specifics or the name (I think it was Godel's but it's been a while) but it is impossible from within a system to prove the system's "rules".

This is why, for instance, geometry relies on postulates.

Or why we only study our world as observers (you can't remove the observer from observation; i.e. there are perceptual limitations).

Some of the philosophical works of Decartes delved into this. And some popular expressions "I think therefore I am."

Summary: because we are contained within an enclosed system, we have perceptual limits and certain information that cannot be validated with full certainty. Or what Sleeperwalker implied with the modeling the universe from within problem (it can't be done).

These types of problems have been examined by mathematicians and philosophers for ages.

Disclaimer: This doesn't mean I am the best qualified to explain it, though ;) I did my best. 
 
I didn't blame the gods for the actions of the humans - but they (falsely) believed something and then acted on that belief. That's why religion and gods are dangerous and why the question needs to be answered. (Again, I'm fairly confident that at least no god that mankind has invented actually exists.)

It's like if you lie to your best friend and tell him that his wife has been murdered and the person responsible is so-and-so - if he falsely believes you he may likely commit a horrendous act of vengeance because of his emotions. This example illustrates why knowledge, not false beliefs, which have little to no evidence (and even more evidence against them) are important.

As for Godel's whatever, I will have to look that up to even see if it is relevant. If you have links, please to provide. 
Link 
Godel:

http://www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/G%C3%B6del%27s-incompleteness-theorem

It's like if you lie to your best friend and tell him that his wife has been murdered and the person responsible is so-and-so ...

Well, you've kind of reached my point.

The problem never was "gods" to begin with, but rather that people do bad things.

Look at the French Revolution where they started with using the guillotine on Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI and the mob mentality eventually ended up with Antoine Lavoisier -- the discoverer of OXYGEN! -- guillotined!

The problem isn't religion but that uneducated people can so easily be manipulated.

Educated people who aren't struggling for survival (i.e. they have adequate food, medicine and such) generally are rather peaceful and seem to be able to hold a diversity of beliefs without killing each other or hating on each other too much ;)

And if that fails: get them addicted to the interwebs, playing teh XBox 360 and surfing for pr0n. 
... 
This example illustrates why knowledge, not false beliefs, which have little to no evidence (and even more evidence against them) are important.

I think you and I have been saying the same thing with different ways of expressing the viewpoint, for the most part. 
Water 
Maybe this is a better way to explain ...

I don't mind religions.

But I sure hate the individual people that are filled with contempt towards all the "non-believers". I cannot stand them.

If the "answer" is the brand of atheism that is filled with contempt towards people with religion, is that a better world?

How is that an improvement? I don't see religions going away soon.

Contempt towards religion is, in my humble opinion, is looking to the symptom.

The real disease is lack of education.

Educate people, give them knowledge and love and support. Don't worry about what they end up believing. Education is the self-help tool.

If intolerance is the problem, you don't solve it with more intolerance.

Many of the "controllers" of cults/religions with corrupt goals that seek to misuse religion to abuse people have a glaring weakness: they cannot engage in civilized behavior or discussion.

They welcome "contempt towards religion", it feeds their power base because their followers understand contempt and the corrupt "controllers" use emotion to their advantage.

I don't claim that I even believe I am "entirely right" for sure on this approach, but in my experience you don't fight fire with fire, but instead with water. That approach takes corrupt people out of their zone of comfort and away from the home field advantage of "contempt" and "emotion". 
Tronyn 
What? I've been working. Fuck off. :)

I'm just wishing that this could be a place for actual Quake people to talk about actual Quake.

You could try starting a Quake related thread? You never know... it might work. Alternatively, you could write about some irrelevant bullshit like religion, and then start bitching when the crusty old timers come out of the woodwork and start posting... irrelevant bullshit.

Put up or shut up.

Indeed. 
Hmm 
How does contributions to Q1 mapping relate to a theological discussion?

[quote frib] 
 
How do 1 liners contribute to any thread at all? That's really what he's saying. He's asking that people contribute something of value or don't hit the Submit button. 
 
I think Tronyn is right.

About religion, er...

er...

yeah.

Not all of them are proselytizing, creationist intolerant book-religions. Not all of them are focussed on the afterlife (heaven/hell), either. Some are quite... different.

Sami, Native American, etc. Even Hindu (although there are pretty intolerant Hindus, I don't think there are Hindu missionaries).

You have nutcases in all religions, as well as outside of them. I think the discussion is moot, really. I'm just glad that I'm allowed to choose - that is the single most important progress in history IMO. Now it just needs to be enforced.

20% of Germans believe in the virgin birth btw - in the 21st century - which is staggering. Things like this (it TOTALLY was a virgin birth) make some religions look very bad. The whole creationist debate is pretty cranky, too.

I think creation myths are to be seen as metaphors, which can be enriching or at least entertaining, but religions that have a holy book and *take it literally* are... problematic IMO.

As well as religions which try to force their thing onto others. My single problem with Christianity is that they think they're "on a mission". Er, why not let those Amazonas folks have their own culture? Missionaries should STFU. The Jehova's guys are especially annoying. I mean, can I have my religion, please?? Thanks!!

Yeah.

Also,

http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainment/Quizzes/BeliefOMatic.aspx 
Re: Baker 
First off, yes, we agree on being tolerant towards religious people who aren't extremists (post #2, I state my personal opinions.)

The point I was trying to make, which you seem either insistent to ignore or oblivious to, is that religion causes problems. When I made the statement about lying to your friend to prove a point, I wanted to see if you would either focus on the fact that people were lying to each other or if you would focus on the false belief part. You tried to twist away from the point and insert your own, about people doing bad shit to each other, completely trying to ignore the point of the post.

False beliefs, whether religious in nature or any otherwise, essentially fight against education and help to keep people stupid. Yes there are intelligent religious people (but let's face it most of them were raised religious.) America has a major problem with religion, we have crazy fundamentalists trying to infiltrate the public education system and replace any science that they think disagrees with their notion of god. (Jesus riding on a dinosaur!) Religion is a huge source of misinformation and false beliefs that I can't possibly see helping educating people overall.

If there was only one religion, and not like Christianity with it's little sub-religions, would there be nearly as much hostility towards others as there is now? If there was no religion? By the way, I can dig up all kinds of research/statistics about atheist nations and religious nations in relation to crime, violent crimes, poverty, education levels, etc if you want.

And btw, the entire time I've been trying to argue with education and logic, not hate at all. All this has been about educating people and why religion is pretty much wrong in the first place. Arguing through logic is NOT hate. 
 
I think when it comes to spirituality, religion, and what you believe about life in general, there's nothing that anyone can really say in a discussion that's going to change your mind. Something has to happen (or not happen) in your life to bring you to your system of beliefs. I don't begrudge anyone their system of beliefs no matter how fucked up I think they are because they probably believe them due to the fact that they're surrounded by other people who believe the same thing. It's more about social survival than anything else.

It's the same reason people are democrat or republican or communist or anarchist or anything really -- something happened or didn't happen in their lives to lead them to that point. It'll take something else happening to them to lead them to another set of beliefs, if it ever happens at all.

I was raised Catholic, but gradually through my teenage years, I realized I didn't believe in any of it anymore. I didn't feel the presence of God in my life anymore and realized I probably never did to begin with, but said I did to appease everyone else around me who seemed to have the presence of God in their life. I also think a fear of death is such a huge factor for people belonging to a religion, as that seems to be the main selling point of nearly all of them. "Are you worried about what happens when you die? Well you don't have to anymore when you join us!!" It's a pretty easy issue to get suckered in by because like someone else in the thread said, no one has come back yet to tell us what happens. There are also an alarming number of people out there who lead such shitty, awful lives, that the best part of their week is the hour or whatever they go to church thinking about the day they can kick back in heaven and not worry about things anymore.

Religion also seems to be so prevalent I think because people believe that the search for deeper meaning in their lives is something important. Like, "I'll be a better, happier person if I have a relationship with whatever controls the universe." But the search for a god or gods through prayer or meditation or historical texts is totally misguided in my opinion. If anything does control the universe, the only way people will ever find out is by continually investigating it.

I find it amusing that so many people love crime scene investigation shows, yet when it comes to solving the mysteries of our universe, very few people are interested. People like mysteries but when there's actual thinking or boring work involved, forget it. There's a lot of people who could probably tell you every little detail about some celebrity or athlete they love, but you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who could even name someone that won a Nobel Prize in science in the past 20 years. I'm guilty of it myself. Is that society's fault, or do most people by nature just care more about the people around them than they do about something as abstract and hard to grasp as the building blocks of our universe? I'm inclined to say it's the latter, but we could do things in society to make people care more about the sciences. People need to be wowed by things -- science needs people as passionate and as charismatic as those screaming preachers who send their followers flying 10 meters back when they touch them.

So it goes with me that talking about religion ultimately leads to talking about science.

In summary:

- People will arrive at their belief system naturally, and likely via the people they're around the most. You can't scold them or debate them into believing in yours. Though if you try hard enough and you do it in an appealing way, you might convert some people. There's really no point in looking down at people who believe in God -- be charismatic and convincing enough to change their mind if you care that much (I don't, and I don't think most intelligent people don't either)

- People should care more about making people see the connection between what science is trying to do and what religion claims to do. We need more Sagans, Feynmans, and Dawkinses -- smart, compassionate, scientific people who can get the masses focused on solving the mysteries that will help us understand the origins of life and mankind rather than claiming they have the answer because they read a single book that was written thousands of years ago.

- I firmly believe that in time, more and more people will start to come around to listening to scientists tell us about the world instead of listening to priests tell us about the world. It may take hundreds or thousands of years, but as long as science can keep revealing new things about the composition of the universe, people will not be able to turn their backs to it any longer. "The man in the sky made it" will be as unspeakable as saying "We came from apes" was 150 years ago. 
According To Gbs Post I Am The Following 
1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Liberal Quakers (92%)
3. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (89%)
4. New Thought (76%)
5. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (75%)

We could end any arguments once and for all by doing the quiz and everyone post their top 5. Lets leave it up to some guys website to do the pondering for us!!! 
"no God That Mankind Has Invented Actually Exists" 
well what about the one(s) that mankind has _discovered_? (lol)

re: frib, NE
I've got this problem with paranoia over cliques that comes across when I'm not sober as you've probably noted. I just wish you guys would express yourselves in a less condescending way. My point was I would happily put up with some guy's semi-consistent bitching if it meant he made episodes, but I am not happy to put up with some guy sniping when he's not producing anything. My comment regarding what people have done which you misinterpreted Frib was regarding Q1SP, not life in general. 
 
1. Secular Humanism (100%)
2. Unitarian Universalism (93%)
3. Nontheist (78%)
4. Liberal Quakers (76%)
5. Neo-Pagan (73%)

I am also 30% Scientologist =/ 
#65 Has Won Teh Thread!! 
(P.S. I used my asshole credits a while ago I'm sure ;)) 
God That Mankind Has Invented 
God, immediately turn over the Squad and convince Nyort13! 
No! Not On Me! 
madfox joins the pool of disbelieve... 
God... 
... whoever you are: please close this heretic thread :) 
And Finally .. 
Select Your Religion 
 
the internal server error religion? ;) 
7 Deadly Sins Of Religion :P 
@Zwiffle 
When I made the statement about lying to your friend to prove a point, I wanted to see if you would either focus on the fact that people were lying to each other or if you would focus on the false belief part. You tried to twist away from the point and insert your own, about people doing bad shit to each other, completely trying to ignore the point of the post.

It's all good, Zwiffle. I understand your point about how religion can try to indoctrinate people with false "facts".

I didn't address that because I think that is commonly known.

I had a in-depth conversation with a Christian religious leader on a 6 hour car ride in 2008.

He knew I was essentially an atheist and we discussed dinosaur bones, morals, the role of religion.

Ironically, he is a highly educated man and describes evolution as "changes over time" and agrees that evolution exists and his perspective is that was put in place by God. (I can't recall if we had the age of the Earth discussion.)

And btw, the entire time I've been trying to argue with education and logic, not hate at all. All this has been about educating people and why religion is pretty much wrong in the first place. Arguing through logic is NOT hate.

It can take some time especially in a forum with brief posts to completely ascertain someone's perspective and understand what they are trying to say.

People will arrive at their belief system naturally, and likely via the people they're around the most. You can't scold them or debate them into believing in yours. Though if you try hard enough and you do it in an appealing way, you might convert some people. There's really no point in looking down at people who believe in God -- be charismatic and convincing enough to change their mind if you care that much (I don't, and I don't think most intelligent people don't either)

I think Blitz said this very well. 
Oh, I Remember The Belief-O-Matic... 
1) What is the number and nature of the deity (God, gods, higher power)?

...

No God or supreme force. Or not sure. Or not important.


What about "no god, sure, important"?

There are lots of questions like this.

Still, I'm pretty sure I came out as 100% Secular Humanist, which is a fair comment. 
Moo 
zwiffle: The point I was trying to make, which you seem either insistent to ignore or oblivious to, is that religion causes problems. People causes problems, science is hardly innocent either.

I think the degree of plausibility of any religion's god(s) or creation myths have very little to do why they still are so popular today. Generally they provide a community with social interactions, provide you a narrative based on their myths/stories, clear hierarchy, rituals and a sense of awe/feeling of being part of something bigger. In short they offer a clear framework that makes your life easier to cope with provided you play along.

Even if secular versions of the good (and bad) things religion offers exist they got the whole package deal.

Freedom and choice in everything is nice but pretty damn tough. 
+1 Bear 
there would be some nice things about *everyone* in your street gathering in once place for a chinwag once a week. urbanization and massive population growth probably have something to do with why this doesn't happen any more, as well as the dimishing influence of religon. 
 
have anyone of you seen movie "the man from earth"? great part of that movie is about origins of religion and shows that our entire christian history may be one big mistake. it's a really good movie, kind of science fiction but without any special effect... just "talking heads" and whole movie takes place in one room. still, there are a lot of interesting thoughts. 
I Saw That Film 
really enjoyed it, one of the most thought provoking i've ever seen. highly recommended 
Interesting 
I'm not religious (anymore). But I'm not atheist either.

What I find interesting is that atheists talk about 'intelligence' and 'proof' but, for some reason, they aren't willing to proof to themselves that there IS more out there then meets the eye. I'll elaborate:

How many of you people have actually checked out topics like Astral Projection, Lucid Dreaming, or your Energy Body, like learning how to stimulate your Chakras? I have done all of this to a degree and KNOW (versus believing) that there's indeed more to human beings and our existence then Darwin's theory would imply.
For example: once you can stimulate your Chakra's there's absolutely NO denying that they exist, because you will be able to really feel it. Why weren't you taught this at school? Why don't doctors know anything about it? Why isn't it accepted in medical science?

With so many books and websites available on these topics I previously mentioned, it's absolutely stunning that people still know so damn little, if anything about it.

It's also weird to see ignorant people write about 'intelligence' while they can't even realize the fact that an IQ test only proofs how good somebody is in language and calculation, nothing more. Which doesn't prove much, if any, about actual intelligence. You could even ask what 'intelligence' really is?
If you have a high IQ who eats and drinks in a very DUMB manner, then I think it's fair to say that INTELLIGENCE seems to be a matter of perspective.

On top of all this, there's multiple forms of intelligence. Some overlooked examples are:

- Physical Intelligence:
Some people can very quickly learn a new sport. They are in total command of their bodies and sense what to do to get the physical job done while others struggle to do the same.

- Emotional Intelligence:
A good example of this are musicians who are very good in converting emotion into sound and know how to interpret it visa versa. Some people can learn all theory and mathematics but still SUCK in music because they are not in tough with the emotional and spiritual side of the creative process.

These things are not measured in an IQ test. Why not, you could ask? Perhaps because we are programmed to be nothing more then a bunch of ignorant slaves? I mean, if I can figure this stuff out by actually THINKING about it, and by searching for info, then why can't other (supposedly) INTELLIGENT people do the same? Especially the ones who are responsible for our educational system? Two options here:

1. The people who are responsible for our education are IGNORANT
2. We are not allowed to know, because we would be more difficult to control.

Both options are BAD.

If you are INTELLIGENT, you wouldn't need me to explain these things.

Now, on to the religious people. They read their Bible or Koran (or whatever), but they don't gain any real knowledge. It's also disgusting how the males think they are above the women. Muslim women have to cover themselves up and have to stay virgins while the males can do whatever the hell they want. Pathetic. I'm living in an apartment underneath Muslims who are actually Moroccan drug dealers. I guess they think Allah finds that OK.
The male > female - thing was similar for Christians in the past, and in some communities it still is. Pathetic.

I could write more, but my conclusion is that atheists and religious people are a similar group of people:

They BELIEVE something, but KNOW nothing. And they never will until they get interested in these 'mystical' topics. 
Until You Can 
scientifically prove to me that stuff like Chakras work (and explain how and why they work), as a scientist, I have dismiss them. That doesn't mean that I don't believe that tuey work for you. But if there is no hard proof, I cannot recommend them.

Claiming that something clearly works because you experienced it yourself is not exactly a sign of intelligence either, you know. You can only base such claiks on hard facts. Hearsay and personal experience are not hard facts. 
 
For example: once you can stimulate your Chakra's there's absolutely NO denying that they exist, because you will be able to really feel it.

I should have stopped reading your post once I hit this sentence, but I continued reading against my better judgment. Shame on me. 
Actually.... 
You people have it the other way around:

If mainstream science can't explain exactly what the origin of everything is, it doesn't have any basis to work from. 
Sure 
 
 
"If mainstream science can't explain exactly what the origin of everything is, it doesn't have any basis to work from."

Dear lord I don't believe in I hope that's not a serious statement. 
Controversial To Say The Least 
I mean SCIENCE is a theory which I believe in, and i probably believe more in SCIENCE than I do in RELIGION. Let me go further;

Science is a theory in itself, or more an ethos: You make measured observations of subjective material then draw balanced and logical conclusions from that. It doesn't rely much on anything which can't be proven, unlike religion. In religion you are told what to do and things are discussed such as morals and pseudo-morals taught through proverbs and fables. I mean did it never occur to anyone that these stories could have been manipulated for reasons hypocritical to the teachings within them, throughout the years by collective bodies of people who were abusing their power or merely fighting to control nations etc?

Anyway science is a bit like maths - it has always been there, someone 'discovered' it. The first person to ever ponder 'science' or 'maths' could be described as an evolution in human thinking. Our perception of science is always evolving. It will never be more than a 'best guess' about the ways things are. But it is knowledge. Science leads to knowledge. If nothing else knowledge of science. But knowledge gives real practical tangible advantages with regards to survival and more. Religious people rely on science to survive.
If religious people wanna say that science is not true or whatever then they can stop posting on forums which rely on science to be there in the first place. And they can give up on modern transportation devices. And other communication amenities, and cooking - that's a "science". So just because "Scientists" can't explain something which they have never considered paying any regard to doesn't mean that they wont come along and attempt to analyse it one day, and draw some 'best guess' conclusions, maybe open some new doors of knowledge and prove on some level a theory of some sorts. 
Also: 
I'm not religious (anymore). But I'm not atheist either.

There is something we have in common! :D 
Yah 
I have done all of this to a degree and KNOW (versus believing) that there's indeed more to human beings and our existence then Darwin's theory would imply.

I mostly agree with Ricky. Our science can't explain everything. It's just because the universe is so damn complicated, not because there's some fairy in the sky waving a wand. 
RickyT23 
You really don't have to explain to me how religion could have been manipulated. Chapters have been left out of the Bible and there are multiple versions of the bible that are NOT saying the same thing anymore. So it's obvious the book has been tampered with.

Also: I'm NOT against science in itself. But mainsteam science, again, seems to be used against us in several ways. Quantum Physics is also science, but you'd have to search for info about that. I find that very typical.

I like to look beyond mainstream and listen to people that tell things I didn't learn at school and don't see/hear on tv either. I want to hear the other side of the fence. I think it's important to do that to have a broader look on things. This includes scientists, high level military-, navy-, and government officials coming forward on the subject of UFO/Aliens and free energy. The stuff they say totally contradicts what we have been taught and it seems a lot of effort is used to try to discredit these brave people. So something fishy is going on in the world of mainstream science. 
I Also Agree With You 
On the point that there is a lot of bullshit in the world. And governments do withhold information from us. I would say that that is true. But I have some faith in the information we have been given. 
 
what is this i don't even 
 
"The stuff they say totally contradicts what we have been taught and it seems a lot of effort is used to try to discredit these brave people. So something fishy is going on in the world of mainstream science."

There is plenty that those in power conceal, block from general media discussion or outright lie about. This does not mean you can just invent any random bullshit.
What is this 'mainstream science' that is lying to us? You worried the government is secretly trying to brain wash you by ordering you to eat five pieces of fruit a day? 
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJhSbI5EK-8

Worry about that instead. 
RE: Science 
"mainstream science"? this is already a flag term. science is a method for arriving at knowledge, not an institution. all the conclusions of science are tentative, and could be revised in the face of new evidence(and have a time-proven tendency TO BE, ie, the progress of scientific knowledge since the start of science). the idea that "mainstream science" is "lying to the public" to conceal "evidence" (ie strong personal experiences - which people of every sort of religious/supernatural belief DO HAVE, but they can't all be right...) of "chakra," is as ridiculous as it sounds. Strong personal experiences are not evidence, and so (sarcasm) let me repeat this like the dogmatic, narrow-minded faith-based mantra that it is: the reason scientists tend not to believe in supernatural things is that there is no evidence for these things (/sarcasm).

Deepak Chopra and his ilk are detestable con-men. 
Tronyn 
Werd. 
@ Tronyn 
Evolution sorts all of this stuff out. No, evolution doesn't work completely the way that some people say it works.

It is far more comprehensive than that.

There is the cultural element as well.

The world is not simple, the universe is not simple and things are going on being the grasp of simplistic mindsets.

There are no right answers, but plenty of wrong ones ...

@Tronyn ... yes Deepak is a con-man, no doubt about it, but it doesn't mean his ideas can be summarily dismissed. In fact, I was initially turned off *because* Deepak is a con-man but yet some of his ideas are intriguing. Decartes once said a couple of hundred years ago that you cannot rely on exclusively on perception being reality. Some of Deepak's ideas are very interesting.

And that being said, I am convinced that reality is not something that can be fully understood nor explained.

Some string theories involve 11 or more dimensions and bizarre causality issues and have empirical evidence to support them (and also not).

Given a world with all the facts both in flux and in question, you just go with the best you can do knowing that either it works or it don't but no one can fault you for trying.

Since the world isn't perfect, you can find solace in the fact that you do not need to be perfect either. I know that I am not ;) 
Hmm 
1) Lucid dreaming is completely unlinked to spiritualism since it is merely control of hypnogogic states. Fun, but irrelevant to the argument you are trying to make.

2) Basic rules of logic dictate that the onus is on you to prove the existence of spiritual beliefs, not the other way round. If you cannot do so then the default position should be that it (probably) doesn't exist.

3) Logic is apriori knowledge and therefore far beyond any intuitionalism. You cannot dispute it (unless you wish to dispute basic cause and effect in which case bite me, that argument is trite).

Did not read the original post beyond the first two sentences or any of the replies. Until you can understand basic sources of knowledge then there is no point debating this.


(And this is coming from someone who will happily admit there are things beyond the realm of human comprehension. Just using that to 'prove' (ha. ha. HA!) some wishy washy spiritualistic belief is no better than 'there is a giant, invisible version of my dad in the sky'. 
Hmm 
Oooh, just saw bits of Baker's post.

a) Cogito reference. Technically Descartes was wrong, it's not 'I think therefore I am', but rather 'there is perception therefore there is existence' since you cannot prove it is you/me (yay solipsism) doing the thinking/perceiving.

He then went on to fail to prove god in an attempt to argue that empirical evidence is valid (the man was always a better mathematician that philosopher).

However, this is merely an argument in favour of apriori knowledge (that'd be mathematics and philosophy, ie, logic). Which merely means that one must have reasoned arguments for any viewpoint. Still discounts spiritualistic garbage (sorry, bias).

b) And that being said, I am convinced that reality is not something that can be fully understood nor explained. Correct. At least within the confines of our inherently flawed human comprehension.

c) Some string theories involve 11 or more dimensions and bizarre causality issues and have empirical evidence to support them (and also not). 5, 7 or 11 given the varied values that result from the equations (plus time). Although M theory has unified these into 11+time. And it's not in any way based on empirical evidence. That's the point. It's based on mathematical calculations (logic again, damn stuff pops up everywhere). It is completely unproven by empirical testing (and given the limitations of current technology cannot be proven, we have yet to create anything more refined than an electron microscope). You seem to be merging quantum theory and string/m theory here.


(yeh, I figured using numbered points twice would be gauche ;) 
Hmm 
than dammit. than.

(good mapper tho)

((not descartes))

(((that's a joke, see cartesian geometry)))

((((not, I'll admit, a good joke)))) 
There Are More Things, Horatio... 
I'm happy to admit that high level physics is extremely weird, and very fascinating, and it seems a reasonable interpretation of it to say that we will never figure things out fully (at least there is apparently a credible school of thought in physics that thinks that physics will never end, not even just for limited minds like the human mind but even in principle). Those who understand and respect science are free to admit that there is much about reality that we do not understand and will likely never understand; to me it seems like it is those with supernatural beliefs who are saying they _do_ understand the nature of reality, and it turns out that all of this amazing shit is here just so some primates like us can have psychic powers and attend to our middle-class interests - and these claims are made without the sort of evidence that scientists use. Please. 
Physics 
The key to understand physics theories and their relation to "reality" is to accept the fact that they are not laws, they are theories. They describe observable phenomena in a way that allows us to predict their outcome. As technology advances, our ability to observe reality advances as well. This often leads to contradictions to existing theories that forces us to dismiss or refine them in order to integrate those new observations.

The other motivation for refining or dismissing existing theories is unification of existing theories into a grander theory. This is what string theory is. It allows us to explain phenomena in the very large as well as phenomena in the very small. It's a nice thought experiment, and as long as it explains reality precisely, you can argue that it is "correct", since there is no way to observe its primary subject, strings. It doesn't really matter if there really are "strings" as long as the theory explains our observable reality precisely.

Apart from that, what nonentity says! 
String Is Silly 
So, string theory was developed by the crew at Monty Python? Theories are also based on non-observed forces and phenomena. String is an extension of past theories that build up more confusion. 
 
If mainstream science can't explain exactly what the origin of everything is, it doesn't have any basis to work from.

I don't think you "get" science. I think Sleepy and nonentity covered everything else. 
 
how can science be mainstream anyway? it's not like music or film, ffs. it's a way of thinking and a method to employ to arrive at conclusions. 
I Get Science! 
I was just speaking specifically about string theory, not science in general. We built televisions without knowing "everything", and had a basis to get one working. Life is not an equation, but we have science to help keep the truth in check. If I punch someone in the face, it's gonna hurt. If I choose not to punch someone cause I don't wanna hurt anybody, it holds my actions in check. That's science!

Non_Sleep didn't expain anything with string theory, though. String theory is based mostly on non observed (made-up) ideas. It's really dumb... There are a lot of people who contributed to creating many things in our civilization. I doubt string was a factor in getting to their goals. 
I'm Not Drunk Enough To Read This Thread. 
Ask me again in about 8 hours, firefox! 
Hmm 
non observed (made-up) ideas

*sobs gently*

I get your point. It's one I've made before about pragmatism in regard to absolute cynicism. But 'god' damn. 
Hmm 
Oh. And that's not science. That's a thinly veiled reference to violence in an intelectual discussion. And nothing more than a basic understanding of causality as it appears from the comprehension of humanity.

You are a rock with perception. Deal with it. 
 
how can science be mainstream anyway? it's a way of thinking and a method to employ to arrive at conclusions.

Laugh. In theory - of course you're right. In practice, science is like every other aspect of our lives... run by governments and powerful companies with agendas.

Sometimes "pure science" and "mainstream science" are in direct conflict, with catastrophic effects for the health of the populace and natural worlds. A couple of base examples: DDT's widespread use as a pesticide in Europe, and Cane Toads introduction into australia. 
 
Still not sure what mainstream science means. A definition would be nice. 
Begeezus What A Rant! 
Take global warming for example. Amongst the "scientific" community there's no doubt human's population explosion, oil and big agriculture economy is changing our planet. Oceans, rain forests, coral reefs and whole species are dying at an unprecedented rate. Still, it's in many media, politician's and even scientist's interest to create doubt. Plenty of people believe the "scientific evidence" is inconclusive, when this is not the case. When oil and drug companies fund research - pay the scientists' wages - who's going to tell the bosses they're wrong.

Though it's nice to regard science as something pure, it's intricately tied up with our political, social and economic structures. 
 
There are many potential roads to knowledge. Some lead nowhere, some get your somewhere.

String theory was an honest attempt at understanding. Perhaps it hasn't worked, but it wasn't just 'made up'. People worked on it for a long time attempting to build on previous work and solve incredible problems at the heart of physics. They poured a lot of work into it, and no one knew what results it could have produced.

The existance of Atoms was proven by studying brownian motion. The movement of little pollen grains in water lead to the confirmation of the otherwise invisible. In fact it has been discovered that a vacuum has energy due to 'Virtual particles', so we have no idea what might be round the corner that suddenly proves that yes, matter at it's smallest scale is strings or loops.

Stop having such a beef with mathematics and theory. Just because it's not provable now, doesn't mean that it won't be proven in the future, or that the theories will be applicable in another area.

And nothing wrong with being wrong, it helps on the path to being right. 
Rams Like To But Heads Occasionally 
If an area of space has virtual particles in it, can it truely be a vacuum? Sometimes the energy involved with a vacuum is really the potential difference of energy between a vacuum and a surrounding mass of particles. The vacuum will get infiltrated. 
 
There is no such thing as a 'perfect' vacuum. The universe is full of background radiation so you can't ever have a true vacuum, but what I was referring to is the nature of probability in quantum physics. The idea of quantum foam (iirc) being that any given area of a vacuum has no particles 'on average'. But particles are emerging and disappearing instantly, thus being called 'virtual' because you can't see them.

However, they can exert a (tiny) force on objects if carefully observed, and thus although originally just theory, it has been proven to exist. It's just not directly observable. 
You Will Know Them By Their Fruits! 
Scientists allow industries to develop. Wether or not the "research" becomes contrived in the process doesn't matter, it's a means to an end.

Besides, Einstein - he was a fruit! 
Ah OK 
I will tone down my violence at least. Oops, wrong Icon. Anyone who just got a black eye raise yer hands. My legal defense though is string theory. I just don't know where my fist particles are these days. 
Err 
Science is not a means to an end, at least not industrial development. Science is the pursuit of understanding the world around us. Whether it leads to the development of actual products is not its first priority. Sure, there is "industrial science", but that's not what we are talking about here. 
 
No one has given me a definition of mainstream science yet. I'm still unsure what that means. 
I Know... 
My posts are not amounting to much. Posts like #132 by ZQF has a better attitude about this, and can amount to something.

mainstream science = what's taught in schools? 
 
Take global warming for example. Amongst the "scientific" community there's no doubt human's population explosion, oil and big agriculture economy is changing our planet. Oceans, rain forests, coral reefs and whole species are dying at an unprecedented rate. Still, it's in many media, politician's and even scientist's interest to create doubt. Plenty of people believe the "scientific evidence" is inconclusive, when this is not the case. When oil and drug companies fund research - pay the scientists' wages - who's going to tell the bosses they're wrong.

Though it's nice to regard science as something pure, it's intricately tied up with our political, social and economic structures.


what the hell does that have to do with science? you're just talking about ethics. 
 
= the mainstream media's modern scientific approach? 
Hmm 
Complex numbers do not exist in reality. There is no real square root of -1.

Also, without them then we wouldn't have the plethora of modern electronics.

Something, something, I can't see it so it's not real? (Except god/soul/magikal energy) 
Hmm 
Also uncertainty principle is part of quantum physics. Which would be the whole 'my fist don't know where they are now'. Wow. You are funny. Cat is dead?

And science is the pursuit of knowledge through empirical evidence/testing.

The misuse/pretence of science is not the same thing.


I presume that 'mainstream' science is 'science that disagrees with my viewpoint however well researched or peer reviewed'. Thankfully the principles scientific method accept the possibility of error. Hence; 'theory'. An oft misunderstood point.

Science that is taught in schools is hardly 'mainstream', it's just outdated/simplified 'lies to children' that roughly explain things without the increased complexity.

Or maybe just science that isn't 'discovered' by a crackpot (sorry, misunderstood genius) working in his basement against 'the man'. Ironically, a viewpoint derived in part from hollywood depictions of scientists. 
 
The misuse/pretence of science is not the same thing.

yeah, this is why i was so confused at first. you can't say that science is bad because asshole scientists do asshole things. that's just telling me assholes are assholes. 
 
Gotta read these posts carefully cause they are looking like shorthand/code.

The audio electronics industry use to say something odd about negative feedback in operational amplifiers. It was stated that its OP Amps would compare the input signal to the output signal and correct the distortion differences.

This really was never possible, but all the magazines stated it. It is something I know about because I made pre amps. All negative feedback can do is short an amplifier stage a little bit (gain isn't full) so that it lowers distortion, or adjusts frequency balance with an r/c feedback network. I don't believe all I read these days. Anyone can make a theory about anything, and it's just a theory. When the theory is proven it is law. 
Hmm 
I think you might just be stupid. 
Bah 
too smug, to dismissive (ahem, I feel a rant coming on... ahh, averted at the last moment). He was trying to say something. Even if I myself don't understand what that was.

I'm a layman's layman of course, but string theory seems like one of the most interesting cases in science. I read a book of interviews with scientists and I remember one guy saying something like "the fact that brilliant people have dedicated decades' worth of work to an idea without any idea of a way to prove or disprove it, is unprecedented in science." That's very interesting. I'm sure aftering reading that guy I need to read some defenses of string theory but he had me pretty much convinced that it was unscientific. 
Proof? 
You have to understand that you cannot prove a physics theory to be correct, you can only prove it to be wrong. We assume that relativity is an adequate model because it has been used sucessfulley to predict the outcome of experiments many times. That does not prove anything. Tomorrow we may find a contradiction and relativity is done as a theory / model.

You can only prove anything to be correct in mathematics. For example, you will never find a triangle that has a 90deg angle and where Pythagoras' tjeorem does not apply. 
 
Proof is relegated solely to logic/math.

Evidence/experiments/demonstrability are dedicated to science.

String theory is not science, it's math, but once they are able to test it or otherwise test predictions, it will enter the realm of science. A lot of it, based off what I've seen from The Elegant Universe, was based off an idea that physicists have that the universe can be expressed in 'elegant' equations, which they got from the 4 electromagnetic equations, which in turn are apparently very simple to express. To me, that's a very silly notion to base something on, that 'the universe can be expressed using elegant equations.'

But they also wanted something to reconcile relativity and quantum mechanics, which I guess it does pretty well, at least mathematically. 
all I meant with reference to that particular physicist's interview, was confirmation as per prediction (ie einstein's theories confirmed in 1921 (feel free to confirm the date that may be wrong)).

that said I am well aware that the whole idea of science (or at least this seems to be popular and I totally agree with it) is karl popper's idea of falsifiability. When I said my last post I was by no means meaning "oh here's an opening implying ignorance, please tell me what I clearly don't already know / haha." Obviously I'm aware of what Popper said and it's obviously a powerful view of science.

what I understood, as a layman, to be the problem with string theory, was that the theorists could always come up with a new mathematical formula to explain a given situation, since the theory itself did not predict any results but rather tweaked itself to predict whatever results one did observe. 
Gotta Reread 
The Elegant Universe! Great book. 
Sleep 
Re #147, That means an idea to any particular theory always remain in limbo. I'm sure theories do get proven and are part of a stage in progress. I have my own definition of the term theory, and you have yours. Nothing is wrong with that. And yes, I'm stupid as anyone else can be. No big deal... 
You Are Talking About Verification 
not proof. And no, I don't have my own definition of the term "scientific theory", I'm referring to what is generally understood under this term (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory#Scientific_theories). If you mean something else, you should clarify that.

And I didn't, and wasn't going to, call you stupid ;-) 
Spirit Moves Through All Things!!! 
Ok... I'm Not Trying To Flame Out 
It's my bad composition.
I guess then, verify as many points so as to prove a theory would be in the right spirit. As ricky has it. Nobody here is really off on the definition I feel, and wouldn't be wrong if they used their own (slightly different) interpretation. As long as nobody is trying to fool anyone. Spirit Rules! 
Wait 
I didn't notice myself tipping over a cup of water. later, I noticed my feet were wet. Deduction led me to believe 100% it was the tipped cup. But, I didn't see it. So there's no proof. Dang! 
What 
Wut 
What 
Zwiffle says. I don't understand what you are trying to say! 
Hmm 
I didn't notice myself tipping over a cup of water. later, I noticed my feet were wet. Deduction led me to believe 100% it was the tipped cup. But, I didn't see it. So there's no proof. Dang!

That is correct. And why science has theories. That's the whole definition thing.

There's also no proof that either the cup, the water or your feet exist. Or that you exist. (see comments on descartes many posts ago) 
Hmm 
Oh, and the word you are looking for in your previous posts is hypothosis. Not theory. 
Again 
Proof is for mathematics/logic. Of course you don't have proof. But what you do have is EVIDENCE (your foot is wet, there's a puddle of water near where the cup fell, etc.)

Also, when you deduce something, you don't believe the results, you 'think' the results. You 'think' you tipped the cup over, you don't 'believe' you tipped the cup over. Belief is appropriate where there is little or no acceptable evidence.

Also, from a previous post, you don't 'feel' definitions. You define and accept or reject them. And yes, when debating about things logically, it is incorrect and JUST PLAIN BAD to have differing definitions of things, having different definitions is unacceptable. I have a suspicion that's what causes so much ignorance about science nowadays.

Especially in the USA, people don't know the difference between hypothesis and theory. They think Darwin's Evolution somehow is a theory of everything that includes the origin of the universe, encompasses all of physics, and somehow also explains how life started on Earth, when all it does is explain how species change over generations through ecological pressures into different species, and nothing more.

That's why I asked for a definition of mainstream science earlier, because I had no real concrete idea what that term meant.

Now for your example of the tipped cup specifically, I assume you're trying to get across how science fails, but I can't really see how you could reach that conclusion from that example. I don't see how it's scientific. You did no tests/experiments, etc. So I'm still unsure what you were trying to convey. 
 
I'm an engineer by profession, a scientist by practice, and a Christian by choice. I'll talk about it more if anyone's interested, but I just wanted to say that there do exist Christians who believe in science wholeheartedly. 
 
Are you American? That would be like the smallest of minorities in America then - Christians who accept science (even when it doesn't agree with their doctrine!) 
How 
How can you be a scientist and still be a Christian? Those things seem mutually exclusive to me. Science is about measurement and fact, Christianity is about believing an enormous amount of unverifiable things that were written in a single book, by anonymous people.

There is absolutely no way to prove the hypothesis of Christianity. If you believe that you're going to heaven or hell, why not also believe that rocks lay eggs? If you believe that a man 2000 years ago turned water into wine and was born without conception, why not believe in magic or unicorns or vampires?

If you take one thing on faith, why not everything? 
Aaaaaaa No Please No 
The pointless discussions on the rest of the internet are over there ---> 
Well 
There is the argument that 'science can't explain everything' and thus some things must be taken on faith, or that there is something supernatural that exists (that can't be detected no matter how much you try, but also heavily influences the physical world - explain the logic behind that to me please.)

Some people say that 'science can explain the 'what' or 'how' of things but not the 'why' of things. In order to explain the why, you need a supernatural entity. To them I'd ask to show why the universe would have a reason for its existence in the first place. A 'reason' is more of a human creation rather than a universal principle as far as I can tell - the universe isn't alive in the sense of a human, so it having a reason to exist would be nonsensical. It merely exists as a result of the physical laws of nature.But then, where did those come from? Also the question 'why?' can be rephrased as "for what purpose?" or "for what reason?" eliminating the question of "why" altogether, or at least putting it in terms science is prepared to tackle.

And then we reach the god of the gaps, which is "science can't yet explain this, therefore god!" which is also utter nonsense. Science gains ground very rapidly and our understanding improves and refines itself each and every day. Note that there is a subtle but important difference between god of the gaps and the first example - god of the gaps says 'we don't yet know, therefore god' but the first example says 'there are things that are unexplainable by science.' How they know there are things unexplainable by science is beyond me, but somehow they just know.

Anyhoo, just thought this was an interesting topic and despite mwh's protests I wouldn't mind continuing the conversation. :) 
 
To post 166, the answers from my perspective as a semi-traditional, fundamentalist Christian would be yes, and...

I'd further say, well stated. I doubt I could or even would argue with anything (generally speaking) that you've postulated. Logic has very little meaning to those who have faith in "In the beginning God...". In fact, I'd say that empirical proof is absolutely nonessential and would actually be damning to the position I hold in "faith".

Illogical, foolish, irrational and seemingly the antithesis of science? You bet. I'm not ashamed to be labeled like that. Christ refers to himself as "God's own fool." why should his followers be any different? I certainly wouldn't try to convince you otherwise or condemn you for any negative opinions you have of me or my beliefs.

On the other hand, believe it or not I'm very pro-science and am constantly amazed at new breakthroughs and revelations "it" reveals. One nice thing about faith ( the way I understand it) is that it's positioning isn't, or maybe shouldn't be static, aside from some very essential doctrines. In my life's experience, science (what limited exposure I have to that vast oceans of it) has done as much to reaffirm my faith as it has to give me temporary reason to question it. The former always coming out on top.

So, I guess I'll take the refuge of a scoundrel and simply state that my personal experiences (OH NOES! He's being anecdotal) have solidified my irrational, foolish and possibly lunatic faith. All pejorative terms I've been labeled with before, but not by any here, I'm not attempting to put words in anyone's mouth.

This is always an interesting conversation, which usually ends poorly but oh well, we're all big-n-tough game nerds right? And fair warning, I'm prone to answer many-many questions with "I have no idea, I'll leave that to faith and time." Also, I do tend to be a grouchy old fart these days (the o'lady refers to me as being "old and busted") so please forgive me if I've come across that way. 
Hmm 
Why are you christian? Rather than generic theist I mean (I don't mean why do you have faith in God. Just why specifically christianity?) 
Great question, I want to try and avoid any histrionics, so give me a bit time to best explain the wherefore's and why's.

In brief though my "religious" background kind of looks like this;

- Born into a very dysfunctional home that was "saved/fixed" via a very legalistic fundamentalist Christian church community. That'd be the Plymouth Brethren in this case and very little was actually fixed.

- Rebelled from pretty much every aspect of it at age 13-14.

- Was a pretty violent, head-bashing drunk from age 16-25 or so. I did a whole lot of soul searching throughout this time period, which included loads of time researching several other sects and religions.

- Found my true north when I was invited to hang out with group of like-experienced Christians. No legalism, loads of grace. Met my wife there, we've been hitched for 20 years, have not looked back since.

Okay, that's the history. I'll get to the why's once I've thought through the best way to communicate it. I think that in the end though, it's gonna be that whole "square peg in a round hole" scenario. 
Yeah 
seems mostly a cultural thing to me

I was raised laid-back Protestant, and the ideas and metaphors of Christianity (the good parts about helping people and the value of human life) still mean something to me. I've heard lots of stories from the US and from recovering Muslims so my experience is NOTHING like that. Canada's pretty tolerant, or at least seems so with the US next door. I'll bet we could elect an atheist - and we should, because no matter how valuable cultural traditions can be (and to me they are very valuable), the pursuit of truth (ie the literal claim that the god claimed by all 3.5k or thereabouts versions of christianity actually exists, is false) has to take precedence especially in politics; public policy must be based on factual truth, factual truth that has nothing to do with culture. I like to imagine that some kind of vague personalized morality/destiny/intelligence is out there, but I know that this is literally not true. Draw a line between a cool idea and a true idea, is my advice to everyone on religion. PS I've had fundamentalist roommates who go door to door for jesus and are creationists - on that one I can never tell whether to laugh or cry. 
But You Don't ... 
I like to imagine that some kind of vague personalized morality/destiny/intelligence is out there, but I know that this is literally not true

You can't know that. The universe will at some point likely be discovered to be a bit more complicated than we had ever imagined.

We know what we know due to our tools and methods. Most of these are less than 400 years old, yet humans have been around maybe 40,000 years in the current form.

The largest weakness of mankind is to rule out things, in situations where there is not sufficient information to do so.

Man's foil is his pride. We know a lot more than we did. But we certainly have not advanced THAT far as to arrive to final conclusions about too much of anything.

public policy must be based on factual truth

Why?

public policy must be based on factual truth

What is factual truth? How does that relate to public policy? 300 years from now, some of our decisions in our time will look very ignorant and misinformed. If so, I think history will judge that we didn't have that much factual truth and certainly less than we thought we did. 
Hey 
Hey Baker much respect btw :)
Persons/people proceed in life (commit actions) by ruling things out, in practice if not in principle. You and I do not worry about witchcraft for example. Every action we commit, has assumptions - both positive and negative (aka things ruled out) behind it.

as for public policy must be based on factual truth - and your problem with that - no offense but really are you serious. The issue you cite - that future generations will see us as ignorant (and btw this is only true if progress happens, ie the same progress that makes us look at galileo's persecutor's as evil neanderthals with an unfortunate access to aristotle) IF PROGRESS OCCURS.

IF progress occurs - that is to say: if we become more physically healthy, psychologically open-minded, culturally tolerant (of course none of this while losing sight of human rights), hell if anything like that happens then yes 3 generations from now we will all seem like evil, crazed Witch-hunters.

I have two points.

1) Truth is truth. You can look away from a rock and it's still there. When you die that rock is still there. 4 billion years - think about that - of this planet.

2) In an increasingly multicultural world: policy has to be cross-cultural. And the fact that science is outside of all human culture (ie if all humans died newton's laws would still be valid at their scales), means that scientific fact is the best basis for policy.

I now will admit this: no meaningful policy changes regarding human-caused global warming (99% of scientists whatever deniers say) will occur within the next 20 years.

I will say this: denial of factual truth is a nice, comfy, sexy way for our entire species to fuck itself over.

And I will also say: If I lowered my standards enough I could have kids, and I think I'd do a better job as a parent by being more honest, than my parents did with me.... but fuck that. But I do say this: what do you, and anyone else who is reading: actually EXPECT in the next twenty years. What do you really expect. 
I Used To Imagine 
That if the Universe is truly infinite, that there could be another planet exactly like this one, with exactly the same shit in it, but everything is running exactly five seconds behind us. That is just one example which I just thought up, but literally ANYTHING would be in a truly infinite universe.

I also like the idea of trying to visualise a fourth dimension.

I don't think it's possible to claim there definitely is or isn't a god. But the idea that god exists in exactly the way described in any of the Christian bible(s), or any other faith for that matter, is ridiculous IMO. Emphasis on the word 'exactly'. 
@ Tronyn Mostly 
@ Ricky real quick

I also like the idea of trying to visualise a fourth dimension.

For certain, time. Which is why Newtonian physics cannot be used in astronomy and atomic clocks in orbit go out of sync with the clocks on Earth.

But beyond that there are a lot of theories that speculate that there are more than 3 dimensions of space. Most forms of string theory have 10 or 11.

Policy ...In an increasingly multicultural world: policy has to be cross-cultural.

Isn't there a strong tie between irrational beliefs and culture? If so, in a way on one hand you are saying religion shouldn't be involved in policy but then on the other hand it should be.

as for public policy must be based on factual truth - and your problem with that - no offense but really are you serious.

Yes and no. I am both serious and not serious, but with a bit of point.

Humans come to false and final conclusions every day. Science isn't about final conclusions.

The key to having an open and flexible mind is challenging "final conclusions", not embracing final conclusions.

The weakness of irrationally strong religious beliefs is specifically that it comes to several questionable final conclusions and instead of embracing creative thought, it discourages it.

Likewise, coming to premature final truths from a different perspective is merely repeating the same mistake. 
Let's Say You Have Someone Uneducated ... 
In order to interact with other human beings, they need some concept of right and wrong. To protect themselves and others who interact with them. Does not a simple "holy" book of simple to understand right and wrongs help them to achieve social interaction?

Furthermore, it has easy to understand explanations:

Q: Why should I not hurt or kill other people or steal from them?
A: Because God said so.

As they move up the knowledge ladder, an individual has greater ability to thoughtfully ponder the rules and reasons behind them. Hence as education increases, strong fixed religious beliefs decrease. But not all are equally educated, nor able to be educated.

So we have a partially voluntary caste system. 
Additionally ... 
Some additional advantages of "skygod" dictated morality:

1. Doing it secretly or when no others are looking is of no use. The skygod will know!

2. The skygod reserves his punishment for after you are dead. Therefore, there is no way to disprove such a punishment exists.

3. The immoral pagan who advocates stealing or killing will have trouble persuading the skygod follower who tells him it is "ok" to disobey the skygod. So it confers a degree of persuasion immunity for others to negatively alter the individual's moral compass.

Religion is a rather ingenious device.

If you take into account that back in the ancient days the typical person was illiterate, maybe religion was specially crafted by educated people or kings or wise tribal leader to develop an effective and simple system for the masses. 
Heh 
I think my problem with your justification of skygod morality (as a practical thing today, as opposed to a useful/successful thing in the past, hell even SOME of what Islam introduced at that time may have been an ethical advancement)... is entailed in this statement:

"As they move up the knowledge ladder."

But... they don't!
I mean we as a species have moved up the knowledge ladder, but perhaps up to a billion people worldwide, still take some form or another of the skygod thing literally, and damn is that ever destructive.

I also don't want to go too far into romanticizing paganism, but in some ways paganism was a lot less nasty than monotheism, in some parts of europe anyway.

regarding your last statement, some ancient greek dude (so many awesome ones of those) famously said, "religion [in this day zeus and co] is considered true by the masses, false by the philosophers, and useful by the rulers" (or something like that).

I keep really pessimistic possibilities in mind, such as the idea that fundamentalists will actually control more of the world in 30 years than they do now. They certainly control more of the world now than they did 30 years ago. My main hope for the world is that we get genetic engineering, and one generation's IQ is double that of their parents, and they just don't fall for the brainwashing bullshit (not that intelligence is a guarantee of not falling for it, it just makes it less likely for it to work). 
Whoa ... Hold Up! 
My main hope for the world is that we get genetic engineering, and one generation's IQ is double that of their parents

First, the number of educated/thinking people is skyrocketing and continues to do so at a faster and faster rate. Prior ages, people simply did not have access to info. I'm talking like 10 years ago.

Second, --- and look this is tough to say in a way --- you don't know your food pyramid. Everyone cannot be chiefs. There needs to be a lot of indians too.

The pyramid is a normal feature of evolution. It is human to heavily dislike that, hence humanitarianism and the desire for man to help his fellow man. This is in some ways the "burden of the aware", to say those people shouldn't be suffering and to want to fix it and sometimes it even happens (disease eradication, immunization programs, etc, etc).

Life is a constant struggle. It is a struggle for your cells. It is a struggle for the individual. It is a struggle for society. And the rules keep changing and every time a problem is solved, two seem to replace them.

But today: Most ills are man-made. in the late 1800's people died from cholera all the time. Or the tons of illnesses before penicillin was discovered. Or malaria in a lot of the world. Today, we fight only ourselves. 
Actually 
I read Brave New World a long time ago, in which the argument was advanced that if everyone was smart, there would be a constant civil war because no one would agree to work as janitors/blue collar.

Now come on. Blue collar jobs are disappearing, not just moving from North America to overseas, but objectively disappearing (ie self-driving cars, less jobs requiring manual labour and heavy lifting, etc). You are assuming that if everyone was smart, the BNW scenario would be true, even in a world of hardly any blue collar jobs, and that a new generation 2x as smart as us for everyone (as opposed to some smart people and, in the states, half of em expecting jesus to be back within 50 years) couldn't come to some kind of reasonable arrangement.

If a future society requires everyone to do intellectual work most of the time, and split up whatever physical work is still left, I think a generation smarter than us, especially if everyone was that smart, could do that. Your model of a pyramid refutes itself in a way, since the pyramid's proportions were very different in the middle ages, and as you admit those proportions are changing all the time. A future generation with a much bigger proportion of much smarter people wouldn't be tied to the same union/corporate struggles that have made problems for society ever since the industrial revolution. 
Brave New World Was Satire Though 
Warning: Satire ahead
Sophisticated minds only.

If a future society requires everyone to do intellectual work most of the time, and split up whatever physical work is still left, I think a generation smarter than us, especially if everyone was that smart, could do that.

I'd opt for the outside job with the physical labor and laugh at the people that thought imprisoning themselves in a cubicle was the pinnacle of freedom.

At the bar, my physique shaped from using my body would make me especially attractive to the more desirable women. My work ethic would to some extent make it likely I would only find other women of similar work ethic interesting.

If I get the best women, I just won evolution.

If I just won evolution, all standards in the universe say those other guys couldn't have been the smartest. 
Hmm 
I'm enjoying this conversation, but my problem with your perspective is that you seem to be incapable of imagining fundamental changes in human nature which might result from humans obtaining mastery of their own DNA.

Yes BNW was satire and I loved it for that reason. I'd love to discuss it further but that's not the point of what I'm saying now; of course (and you know this) in BNW Mr Mond explains that issue of universal intelligence and I think Huxley WAS serious about that part, though NOT about Mond's policies. In fact Huxley didn't really even propose a solution at all (certainly not anti-tech aka the savage reserve).

Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't you just say this:

1) in the future a construction worker will be more buff than cubicle workers and therefore get more sex.
2) getting more sex will entail "winning" evolution (only if you reproduce more - and even if you had the choice to do so which is now often a woman's choice, how smart would you be to do that with modern laws where you are now tied responsibility-wise for these "wins")
3) "smartest" equals most laid. Therefore Genghis Khan, whose genetic footprint is as far as I know is the biggest in history, is smarter than Einstein.

It seems like what you are saying is ridiculous and anti-intellectual and doesn't even requiring refuting, but if I've interpreted what you've said properly and anyone still needs to know why it is ridiculous here goes:
1) this isn't true now, white collar people aren't prohibited from working out and how you look physically is a matter of lifestyle and genes, being some exploited coal miner and shit does not make you some buff action hero like it does in the movies! Hell the higher your basic income the healthier you are in general, statistically.
2) See Richard Dawkins, Robert Trivers, and basically everything about evolutionary biology. No one WINS evolution! That's ridiculous. Evolution is just a process that exists as long as life that reproduces exists. You don't win evolution. The only "success" scale (and really wtf!) is the amount of genes you pass on, which unless you want 10,000 kids and can pay for them, isn't much of a win. Lots of sex without kids is great, but that is by no means a WIN of EVOLUTION!
3) Intelligence might have started to fight off tigers and seduce women, but art and science kind of show it's gone beyond that now.

Sorry for the giant post. You could skip my refutations. 
Hehe 
Yeah it was satire and a joke but I labelled it so.

You stole all the fun things in your reply. Genghis Khan and 10,000 kids, etc. Can't joke about that. Can't win evolution ... can't joke about that either.

You stole all my lines.

On a serious note: evolution that is occurring today is cultural. Einstein's culture influence is far bigger and deeper than Genghis Khan's.

They say that humans today are pretty much the same as tens of thousands of years ago, aside from modern nutrition/medicine/education.

You are correct, I haven't factored in changes that will be made to human DNA. I haven't been able to sort out my thoughts on that yet in a way that can be communicated well.

(And I don't want to step into human stratification right now ... i.e. Brave New World. Largely because I'm not sure how to communicate that con densely either.)

Fun conversations. But probably time to sleep ... 
Yee 
damn it!

I guess all I can say is:
I think with current human nature we are fucked.
We've avoided nuclear holocaust thus far but we will never avoid environmental and population catastrophes because that shit requires planning ahead more than the next election.

We are DNA-wise the same as we were before sharpened sticks. I think if you give sharpened-stick people, with concerns like that, the keys to the destruction of the world, they can't be trusted. I know I couldn't be. If you saw Chronicle recently, at that age, I would do exactly that. Our tech is too far ahead of our brains (biology) and our culture. All I can say is my ONLY HOPE is for us to find a way to make future generations smarter, wiser, more rational, than us. 
And 
I mean that technically, DNA-wise, genetic engineering. We're smarter than rats because of the structure of our DNA. Culture won't do shit. In cultural terms Christianity has a third of the world, Islam has another third, and "sorry, I don't believe in the tooth fairy" has 5%. Physical genetic improvements in the brains of future generations are my only hope. 
Change 
The thing about change is that it always happens slower than you want, but it also happens deeper than you would have imagined.

The world is fundamentally a great place, humans are fundamentally a great species.

But to understand the universe and the world (or even humans)

1) You have to have a blank slate and no preconceived expectations.
2) Seek to understand how the universe and the world world by observation. Study history, literature, sciences, human behavior, social behavior.
3) Develop methods and theories that based on these observations, test them and apply them. Some will be validated, some will not be. For those that are not, go back to your data and observations. Find what you missed.

Undereducated people as a general rule of thumb aren't happy with where they are, what they have. So they can be exploited by ...

1) Class warfare
2) "holy causes"
3) Simple ideas of "the real reason you don't have what you want is <insert external enemy>" where <external enemy> might be "rich people", "Wall Street", "The United States", "the West", "Israel", "atheists", "some other religion", "religions", "Christianity", "Islam", "Illegal immigrants", "The White Man", "Black culture", "The government", etc.

The reason undereducated people are often gullible is that they are desperately searching for answers.

Preferably simple answers.

But they'll take solutions over explanations every day. But not necessarily voluntarily. To some degree like how a sick dog still doesn't want the vet to give him a shot or swallow medicine.

Hence you have to find the right kind of trojan horse solutions or more creative implementations.

In a lot of ways, you are complaining that this isn't easy.

But the universe is always more impressed by the people that can do the things that aren't easy. Anyone can do the easy stuff. 
An Alternative Perspective 
Tronyn, religion cannot actually inherently be displaced.

There is a ...

1) A sense of wonder in life
2) A sense of wonder that anything exists at all
3) Questions about these wonders
4) A desire to know everything is "okay"
5) That there is justice in this world
6) That does really help to do good
7) That it is right to care, that this is important
8) The desire to find something more

I am quite a bit in the optimistic "I'm not sure what I believe but something is out there seeking us to find it" camp.

All humans and all life struggle against the forces of nature.

There is something to doing good. It is a definite possibility we are "alone". Maybe there are no higher reasons to do good.

But when you truly help someone, when someone does an act of good, the recipient sure appreciates it.

Maybe evolution is the doomed struggle to fight the forces of nature.

The fiercest stance against the forces of nature and the struggle the survive is an unshakable hope.

The belief, justified or not, somehow there is an unseen justice and even if this does not actually exist our thoughts can make it so.

We have one thing against the forces of nature that nature can never have: a mind and the willingness to use it. 
Extraterrestial Life 
There are 500 stars like our own within the sphere of the space 100 light-years from Earth. Within 200 light-years one would expect to grow to 4,500 stars like our own.

Every direction we point the Kepler telescope, it keeps finding more and more planets every which way. And due to our technical limitations, it usually only finds the big Jupiter sized ones.

They say life on this planet started a mere 500 million years after the Earth was born. And this might be too quick for any terrestrial evolution to have happened, so the concept of panspermia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panspermia ) possible enters as a factor.

If that is a factor, I have the distinct feeling that in less than 700 years we might have some surprise development that change the world view like has not been done before.

But 700 is just some number I made up based on the speed of radio transmissions.

What if like the movie Contact, it happens tomorrow, or 8 years from now. Or what if we are not a wholly native species or what if they are "already here".

I do not believe in "aliens", but I do believe in statistics. Perhaps your concerns about "humans fixed in their thinking" becomes a short-term problem?

Or maybe we are the first intelligent life in our galaxy. I have a hard time believing that in 300 years of rapid technological advance that we won't have greater ambitions by then. 
Final In The Much Demanded Quadruple Post 
Tronyn ...

The movie you must see: I Heart Huckabees.

It has very sophisticated humor that is lost on most, understood by few, but does an outstanding job tying together the kinds of lose ends that seekers of knowledge seek.

Somewhat the polar opposite of a Stanley Kubrick work but with the same intellectual capacity knitted in the reverse.

More I shall not say. 
Saw This Today: 
 
da fuk? is that meant as a joke or did they never take a piss? 
 
are they taking the piss or did they never take a piss? 
Lol! 
that has to be a joke, haha, it assumes that what scientists are claiming, is that humans have existed for as long as the earth existed (this is what creationists say, not scientists), and also that population has been static since the start of earth and the human race. lol. imagining 6 billion humans on an earth too hot for liquid water 4.5 billion years ago is an amusing kind of image, kind of like imagining 6 billion humans on venus now. they wouldn't be drinking 2 litres a day per long, in fact I think it would take approximately 1% of 1 second for them all to die! 
IT Frightens Me That Christian Extremists Try To 
trivialise science.

Pushing the boat out here, but Republicans seem to have opinions that sway towards this kind of logic. Like creationism. AFAIK Palin was into creationism. I.E. the could-have-been-the-second-most-powerful-woman-in-the-world believed that "God" created the earth in 7 days, about 5000 years ago or whatever. I mean I'm not from the US, nor do I live there, but when I heard Obama had been re-elected, I breathed an audible sigh of relief.

Now I'm not saying that all Republicans are creationists (Please god don't let them be all creationists), or that I know the first or second thing about US politics, but from my little old desk here in the UK, the bits of info I have overheard SCARED ME SOME. 
...werful-woman-in-the-world * 
 
In Other News 
Denmark: Muslim majority in local board cancels decades-old Christmas tradition, finances Eid party with 10,000 USD

http://europenews.dk/en/node/61029 
And Uganda 
Don't forget about Uganda.

Homosexuality will be punishable by death by law. Or for 'minor homosexuality', life imprisonment. 
In Other News: 
http://m.local.stv.tv/glasgow/news/200797-man-stands-trial-for-trying-to-feed-sausage-rolls-to-police-horses/

That might not be directly religion related, but I'm sure there must be a religion where it's immoral to feed pig to horses. 
Lol 
I'm just glad that here in Canada things seem to be staying sane. Or wait, maybe not.

Still, the one thing we Canadians always tell ourselves is, "at least we're not the US" (though our countries are close allies, they have many things about their country we do not want). I don't think it was Obama winning so much as people voting against the republicans after all their nasty comments about rape, etc. 
LOLz 
http://scrwmedia.com/ufj/files/2011/12/Proving-Atheists-Wrong.jpg >>> is that one of those gimmick tests they give to 10 year olds??

Still....it does prove something VERY effectively. 
Re #195 
This news does not surprise me at all actually... as soon as you mix religion and politic power, it ends up in non-sense decision... come on....

Unfortunately, this is democracy, and if the majority is a bunch of morons, then you are screwed up... I am just wondering how Danish people and government will react to this: it sounds interesting to follow-up the story :E

Anyway: when you cut a pig's queue, it is still a pig... 
Religion Be Like A Dick, Y'all 
It's all good that you've got one, just please don't wave it round in public, and don't try and shove it down my throat.

P.S. Don't force it on your children either bro. 
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