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#269503 - 14/11/2005 23:13 Re: My take... [Re: visuvius]
JeffS
carpal tunnel

Registered: 14/01/2002
Posts: 2858
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Quote:
2) And this is the point of my post, I don't understand why the two can't co-exist. Why can't evolution be a part of God's plan? And the larger question I have is regarding the actual creation of the universe.
For the Christian it comes down to the doctrine of origional sin and the notion that there was no death in the world until humans introduced it via our sin. This is what does not jive with theistic evolution. If the Muslim faith would take issue with creation through evolution, I don't know what it would be (not being well versed in the Muslim faith beyond a few basic elements).
_________________________
-Jeff
Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings; they did it by killing all those who opposed them.

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#269504 - 14/11/2005 23:30 Re: My take... [Re: JeffS]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3716
Quote:
For the Christian it comes down to the doctrine of origional sin and the notion that there was no death in the world until humans introduced it via our sin. This is what does not jive with theistic evolution.

Thought experiment: if everything the evolutionary biologists say were "true" beyond any doubt, then how would the various forms of evangelical Christianity reconcile this with their beliefs? Would they take a position comparable to the Vatican (i.e., that Adam and Eve are a parable rather than being literal truth)? Certainly, evolution doesn't require the evangelical Christian to deny their basic belief system. Does it?

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#269505 - 15/11/2005 00:21 Re: My take... [Re: visuvius]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5370
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
Mainly, what was there before the big bang?

Nothing.

Literally nothing. Not time. Not space. Not anything in our normal range of understanding.

By the very nature of our brains and perceptions, we are confined to thinking of the universe in the three dimensional framework that we personally observe.

It is not easy for us to visualize a state of existence that is so far removed from our day to day observations of what we consider to be reality.

tanstaafl.
_________________________
"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

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#269506 - 15/11/2005 00:30 Re: My take... [Re: DWallach]
JeffS
carpal tunnel

Registered: 14/01/2002
Posts: 2858
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Quote:
Thought experiment: if everything the evolutionary biologists say were "true" beyond any doubt, then how would the various forms of evangelical Christianity reconcile this with their beliefs? Would they take a position comparable to the Vatican (i.e., that Adam and Eve are a parable rather than being literal truth)? Certainly, evolution doesn't require the evangelical Christian to deny their basic belief system. Does it?
My personal opinion is that it would not deny my basic belief system if man were created by evolution. In fact, I don't know that the story of Adam and Eve need to be made a parable to synergize the two. The seven days obviously couldn't be seven literal days, but I've also understood that the words translated as "seven days" could be interpreted as "seven time periods", and that is how the "old earth" theologians interpet it. In this view there is time for evolution to occur and the idea of forming humans "from the dust" could mean creation through evolution.

In fact, while you normally hear about "young earth" Creationists who believe in a literal 7 days, there are plenty of "old earth" Creationists who believe that the events of Genesis 1 took much longer. Both views are acceptable under orthodox Christian teaching and could be termed a "literal" reading of scripture- though some young earth proponents would disagree. However, most of the serious theologians I've heard talk on the subject make room for both sides, even if they tend toward one or the other. I leave this mostly as an "in house" debate among Christians.

The bigger issue with creation through evolution is death existing in the world before sin- meaning that there was death in God's ideal world (before we messed it up). This is a much thornier issue than trying to synergize the account of Adam and Eve with evolution because it strikes at the very heart of the consequences of sin and the need for redemption.

That being said, the most basic thing I know about my faith is that I am a sinner in need of grace that only God can provide. If it were proven to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that man was created via evolution I would be very surprised, but it would not destroy my faith. If, however, it was proven that Jesus did not rise from the dead the very core of my beliefs would be destroyed.
_________________________
-Jeff
Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings; they did it by killing all those who opposed them.

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#269507 - 15/11/2005 01:29 Re: My take... [Re: JeffS]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Quote:
If it were proven to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that man was created via evolution I would be very surprised, but it would not destroy my faith. If, however, it was proven that Jesus did not rise from the dead the very core of my beliefs would be destroyed.


But what would you consider proof? Isnīt faith based on the unseen, not the seen?

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#269508 - 15/11/2005 01:42 Re: My take... [Re: visuvius]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7868
Loc: Seattle, WA
Quote:
How far back does physics/science take us?


Currently, only to about a few seconds after the big bang, and then with that, only with really new theories from string theory and it's derivatives. I have a feeling that our understanding of the big bang will really only increase once we manage to get out into space more. While observation from things like Hubble has helped a lot, we still can't see much near the fringes of the universe to understand it.
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Tom

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#269509 - 15/11/2005 01:47 Re: I support* Intelligent Design, let's fight. *kind of [Re: JeffS]
Ezekiel
pooh-bah

Registered: 25/08/2000
Posts: 2413
Loc: NH USA
Quote:
I did not mean to say that schools shouldn't teach evolution- rather that they should not teach that evolution is how we arrived on the scene.


Now, if you take the 'arrived on the scene' point of view, at what point did man become self aware enough so that the concept of right and wrong caused him (and her) to feel bad about it (guilt)? That, to me, is an far more interesting question than a 'poof!' man/woman exist, (god blows smoke off of finger) vs. evolution kind of argument. (sorry if this seems flip, just kidding with the smoking finger, but it's how seriously I take literal creationism as a theory of creation of the universe)

When did humanity begin to contemplate the species' collective navel deeply enough to begin religion, philosophy? Why don't monkeys, or snails worship idols/concepts/god(s), or do they and we're just to numb to see how? Those are interesting questions with one foot in the biological and one foot in the philosophic arenas.

What makes a human a human? When did that start? Was that the 'creation'?

Unfortunately, I don't think that's what you really mean by your statement about 'arrived on the scene'.

I am glad though that you're not taking the position that man's non-evolving. It would be hard to take you seriously if you took that position (and I do take you seriously, I can admire faith, even if I don't share it).

-Zeke

EDIT: Jeff - I didn't read your prior posts well enough last night, my apologies. I think you take a very sensible postion in reconciling your faith and science, even though I disagree about your position on the teaching of evolution in schools. -Z


Edited by Ezekiel (15/11/2005 12:17)
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#269510 - 15/11/2005 01:54 Re: I support* Intelligent Design, let's fight. *kind of [Re: Ezekiel]
Ezekiel
pooh-bah

Registered: 25/08/2000
Posts: 2413
Loc: NH USA
[Aside]

How arrogant are we, thinking that we have the capacity to _really_ understand what happened at the beginning of time? Hell, I don't _really_ understand 99% of the things that are within arms' reach.

Here's a nice teaser to illustrate how small our brains are:

Imagine a tree, in the middle of grassy field - any tree you like. Now try imagining it from two different perspectives, hold that image in your mind, now three, now four. Can you? I can't Now, in _reality_ there are an infinite number of viewpoints from which to view that tree that exist all at once, all the time. That's just a one tree.

We are an awfully proud little sacks of protoplasm aren't we?

[/back to your originally scheduled thread about Life, the Universe & Everything]

-Zeke
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#269511 - 15/11/2005 02:54 Re: My take... [Re: ]
canuckInOR
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/02/2002
Posts: 3153
Loc: Portland, OR
Quote:
But what would you consider proof? Isnīt faith based on the unseen, not the seen?

Faith isn't based on "the unseen", so much as it's a belief that doesn't rely on having "seen". If what's "seen" aligns with your belief, it can serve to strengthen your faith. Contrarily, if what you see directly refutes your faith, you have to discard your faith -- if you're as rational as Jeff shows himself to be, since it will strike at whatever premises that the faith is based on. Holding on to a belief after it is demonstrated to be false is no longer faith -- it's delusion.

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#269512 - 15/11/2005 03:30 Re: I support* Intelligent Design, let's fight. *kind of [Re: FireFox31]
FireFox31
pooh-bah

Registered: 19/09/2002
Posts: 2491
Loc: East Coast, USA
I should have disclaimed more that I don't care for ID and this "god as the building block" is just a passing thought I throw around once every year or so. I'm less trying to proove anything or convince anyone, and more just striking up conversation (akin to striking a match at a gasoline refinery).

Today, I was shown this concept which further stoked my fires. A few simple rules and a simple building block can create vast complex variation. Maybe this all-pervasive god-particle has only a few rules... created by an intelligent designer?

Quote:
Mainly, what was there before the big bang?
Quote:
Nothing.


Ultimately, this is my point. While the other stuff I said is passing nonsense, I do believe this: Science ultimately boils down to faith. You have to believe that this deep science is actually true because it has gotten just to complex to handle.

What if one of the equations is slightly wrong? Then every equation based on that is wrong. What if subatomic particles are actually shattered fragments of protons, neutrons, and electrons? What if gravity and magnetism are actually forces from higher order dimensions which are physically impossible for humans to observe?

I don't mean to chastise my own kind, but maybe the scientists are padding science to support their desired result: their faith in the existing equations and laws. Regardless, it's all beyond my grasp, so all I can do is place faith in a chosen explanation. (yuck, and the more I was typing the original post, the more I realized it sounded like theatens. I should probably abandon the idea...)

Quote:
How arrogant are we, thinking that we have the capacity to _really_ understand what happened at the beginning of time?

Exactly! While I really hope humanity does figure EVERYthing out, I can't trust that they're right due to our limited observational ability. Maybe there really are the 26 dimensions suggested by string theory, but those higher order dimensions are likely just beyond our observational ability. Yes, awfully proud chains of carbon we are.
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FireFox31
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#269513 - 15/11/2005 06:29 Re: I support* Intelligent Design, let's fight. *kind of [Re: FireFox31]
bonzi
pooh-bah

Registered: 13/09/1999
Posts: 2401
Loc: Croatia
Quote:
Today, I was shown this concept which further stoked my fires. A few simple rules and a simple building block can create vast complex variation. Maybe this all-pervasive god-particle has only a few rules... created by an intelligent designer?

Ah, old news . Several yaers ago this Wolfram guy mounted a nice PR campaign announcing his new book on Life, the Universe and Everything, claiming that it contained 42. It pretty much fizzled.

As for 'only a few rules', they are generally known as 'fundamental constants'. If things like light speed, Planck's constant, elemenatary charge, rest mass of elementary particles were a tiny bit different, we wouldn't be here. There are generally two school of thought about this: Someone made sure the Universe is compatible with and leads to evolution of intelligent life, or there are many (infinite number of) universes, and some of them are life-friendly (relatively speaking). Or Someone made sure there is an infinite number of universes, in which case He could just sit back and enjoy - life would be bound to appear somewhere. See Anthropic Principle. (BTW, accidentally making a brand new Universe in one's laboratory is a favorite topic for physicists turned SF authors.)

Quote:
Science ultimately boils down to faith. You have to believe that this deep science is actually true because it has gotten just to complex to handle.

You mean, can I personally verify that COBE indeed did corroborate Big Bang theory, and was not just a part of a complex conspiracy? Well, I can't...

Quote:
What if one of the equations is slightly wrong? Then every equation based on that is wrong. What if subatomic particles are actually shattered fragments of protons, neutrons, and electrons? What if gravity and magnetism are actually forces from higher order dimensions which are physically impossible for humans to observe?

I don't mean to chastise my own kind, but maybe the scientists are padding science to support their desired result: their faith in the existing equations and laws.

The good thing is, in science one doesn't get 'rich and famous' (OK, make it just famous) by upholding existing worldview, but tearing it down, or at least improving on it. There is no shortage of cosmological conjectures that avoid dark matter or dark energy you linked to (the one quite popular now draws from apparent anomaly in Pioneer spacecraft trayectory). The trouble is, none of them is rafined or corroborated enough as yet to be a simpler explanation for the observed universe than cludges we currently use.

Quote:
Quote:
How arrogant are we, thinking that we have the capacity to _really_ understand what happened at the beginning of time?

Exactly! While I really hope humanity does figure EVERYthing out, I can't trust that they're right due to our limited observational ability. Maybe there really are the 26 dimensions suggested by string theory, but those higher order dimensions are likely just beyond our observational ability. Yes, awfully proud chains of carbon we are.

You don't have to go to cosmology to venture past intuitive understanding (take, for example, functioning of a tunneling diode or a Josephson junction). As Doug said, intuitive thought evolved to solve everyday problems of getting food and avoiding predators. To reach further, we had to invent things like mathematics. We describe and model the deeper, more exotic layers of reality using it, but I think nobody expect us to be able to visualize them (except as crude analogies, which often are obstacle, rather than aids, in understanding).
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#269514 - 15/11/2005 07:28 Re: My take... [Re: JeffS]
Cybjorg
addict

Registered: 23/12/2002
Posts: 652
Loc: Winston Salem, NC
Quote:
If the Muslim faith would take issue with creation through evolution, I don't know what it would be (not being well versed in the Muslim faith beyond a few basic elements).


It would probably parallel the thoughts of the Christian issue of creation through evolution. Both religions share the same ideas on the creation aspect of human beings.

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#269515 - 15/11/2005 07:36 Re: I support* Intelligent Design, let's fight. *kind of [Re: FireFox31]
Cybjorg
addict

Registered: 23/12/2002
Posts: 652
Loc: Winston Salem, NC
Quote:
While the other stuff I said is passing nonsense, I do believe this: Science ultimately boils down to faith.


I agree. Both theories (creation by ID and/or evolution) were not directly observed and cannot be replicated or proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. Thus both demand a certain amount of faith to accept.

This is why I see such a conversation such as this as relatively useless. I highly doubt any arguements stated will cause any of the participants to change their minds. So in otherwords, arguing (or debating, to use a friendlier term) about this subject is like competing in the Special Olympics...

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#269516 - 15/11/2005 08:41 Re: My take... [Re: JeffS]
peter
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/07/2000
Posts: 4146
Loc: Cambridge, England
Quote:
the notion that there was no death in the world until humans introduced it via our sin

You've mentioned this before, and it was a surprise to me then, too. This is an extrabiblical tradition, presumably? I can't find any suggestion of it in Genesis (Yahweh's blistering curse in Genesis 3 includes saying to Adam "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken", but it's not clear that this "returning unto the ground" is new information, especially as he doesn't mention it to either Eve or the snake).

After all, if there had been any deaths of humans before that point, we'd not be here to hear about it, as there'd've been no breeding stock and no humankind. And what about deaths of non-humans? What were lions and tigers eating at this point? (We don't hear about a second wave of animal creation with all the carnivores.) Come to that, what were Adam and Eve eating? Even if meat were off the menu, with most vegetables need you to kill the plant to gather the food. It's "recorded" that they ate the fruit of the trees in the Garden of Eden -- so if aborting a foetus is the moral equivalent of killing a person, why isn't eating a walnut the moral equivalent of killing a walnut tree?

Peter

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#269517 - 15/11/2005 10:44 Re: My take... [Re: peter]
JeffS
carpal tunnel

Registered: 14/01/2002
Posts: 2858
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Quote:
You've mentioned this before, and it was a surprise to me then, too. This is an extrabiblical tradition, presumably?


No, or at least I don't think so. In the OT Genesis says that humans will die once they eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Gen 2:17: but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.

And then in the NT in Romans Paul speaks about death entering through Adam in order to illustrate Christ's victory over death by which he brings eternal life. Even while we still must suffer physical death because of Adam's origional sin, Christ offers us eternal life and regeneration if we are justified by His sacrifice.

Rom 5:12: Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—

Rom 5:17-18: For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.

Rom 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The strong implication is that death is only in the world because of man and man's choice to defy God.

To answer the rest of your questions, I think that Eden was far different than what we have now where we must experience death. Adam and Eve are only ever referred to eating from the plants, not killing animals and eating them (or sacrificing them or anything else). Eden was creation as God intended us to live, without death or decay. When man fell and sin entered the world, that fundamentally changed us and nature around us, leaving us with an imperfect replica of what was origionally intended.
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-Jeff
Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings; they did it by killing all those who opposed them.

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#269518 - 15/11/2005 10:48 Re: My take... [Re: peter]
JeffS
carpal tunnel

Registered: 14/01/2002
Posts: 2858
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Quote:
It's "recorded" that they ate the fruit of the trees in the Garden of Eden -- so if aborting a foetus is the moral equivalent of killing a person, why isn't eating a walnut the moral equivalent of killing a walnut tree?
That is a very good question- and one I don't have the answer to at the moment. Not that killing a walnut tree is the moral equivalent of killing a person; however if there is NO DEATH then you have a point. My only immediate response is that God definitely gave permission to eat of the plants and trees, but I'll have to look into this further.
_________________________
-Jeff
Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings; they did it by killing all those who opposed them.

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#269519 - 15/11/2005 11:01 Re: My take... [Re: ]
JeffS
carpal tunnel

Registered: 14/01/2002
Posts: 2858
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Quote:
Isnīt faith based on the unseen, not the seen?
No, faith is not BASED on the unseen- the unseen is the objective of the faith.

For instance, you placed your faith in the chair you're sitting in when you sat down. Until you sat down, you believed that the chair would hold you. You based your faith, at least in part, on what you could see- a chair that you evaluated with your eye was at least strong enough to hold you. You didn't, I presume, sit on a house made of cards.

Now you probably had pretty good reason to believe that the chair would hold you based on your observation and past experience with chairs (possible even the one in question), but you weren't actually exercising faith until you sat down. At that point the rubber met the road and you found out if your faith was misplaced. If there was a weakness in the chair that your observeation didn't detect, the chair might have broken and you'd have found your faith misplaced.

Faith is not believing blindly in something against reason. It is taking what you do know, through observation and experience, and trusting in what is not seen based on that knowledge. Or in other words, it is trusting in the unseen based on what is seen.
_________________________
-Jeff
Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings; they did it by killing all those who opposed them.

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#269520 - 15/11/2005 11:38 Re: My take... [Re: canuckInOR]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Quote:
Quote:
But what would you consider proof? Isnīt faith based on the unseen, not the seen?

Faith isn't based on "the unseen", so much as it's a belief that doesn't rely on having "seen". If what's "seen" aligns with your belief, it can serve to strengthen your faith. Contrarily, if what you see directly refutes your faith, you have to discard your faith -- if you're as rational as Jeff shows himself to be, since it will strike at whatever premises that the faith is based on. Holding on to a belief after it is demonstrated to be false is no longer faith -- it's delusion.


Perhaps some people can see what others canīt.

But as others have mentioned, no one was there to witness the dawn of time. Youīre just putting your faith into todayīs scientists.

So far weīve come up with a theory that lots of chemicals, strings, and bangs magically formed life. So where did the strings in your theory come from, Drakino? How can something begin if nothing existed beforehand to create it?

But now tfabris will step in any minute and mention that the same logic applies to God. Where did he come from? How could God exist without being created by something else? Whether we were created by a swirling magical concoction of gas and strings or by a magical guy with a smoking finger, something had to have created whatever created us.

The entire situation is a paradox. To exist, something has to be created from something else. You need raw materials and you need a catalyst. So when there is nothing, how could there then be something?

The difference between the theories is that the big bangīs answer is purely scientific, but thereīs no room for paradoxes in science, is there? The only answer is that there is a higher being, or at least a higher understanding, where thoughts and comprehension are completely different, and basic principles to us like time, matter, energy, and 2+2 are all just part of a giant curtain pulled over eyes, hiding our incredibly simple minds from comprehending the real truth.

A chicken has a brain the size of a pea. This animal is so fucking stupid, it canīt even figure out that its purpose in life is to be our dinner. And yet, itīs one of the cockiest animals on earth. I bet every damn rooster thinks heīs got it all figured out, but here we are looking down at them bobbing their heads, and we know that they donīt understand a damned thing. If we could somehow hear a chickenīs thoughts and ideas about how and why it exists, we would all have a great laugh, wouldnīt we?

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#269521 - 15/11/2005 15:43 Re: My take... [Re: JeffS]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Quote:
Gen 2:17: but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.

That certainly implies that humans would not have died without breaking that rule, but it says nothing about any other life forms.

Quote:
Rom 5:12
Rom 5:17-18
Rom 6:23

I know you have this notion of Biblical infallibility, but even so, these are the letters of one man's interpretation of Christianity, with no more real weight behind them than John Milton or Thomas More or C.S. Lewis other than that he (supposedly) knew Jesus personally.

One of my problems with your faith is that you claim that you feel some personal revelation that God exists, which I think is weird, but that's beside the point, and that you have this suppsedly personal relationship with him, but then you believe everything that everyone else has written. You're not just taking God on faith, you're taking on faith that every piece of literature written about it is also accurate, even when you know that the people involved were not divinely inspired. I can understand the first part, sort of, but I cannot begin to understand the second.
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Bitt Faulk

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#269522 - 15/11/2005 16:39 Re: My take... [Re: wfaulk]
Cybjorg
addict

Registered: 23/12/2002
Posts: 652
Loc: Winston Salem, NC
Quote:
One of my problems with your faith is that you claim that you feel some personal revelation that God exists...and that you have this suppsedly personal relationship with him...


Therein lies the rub. There are many who don't understand the concept of personally knowing God. At the same time, the claims are unrefutable. After all, if a person came to me and claimed to talk to aliens, I don't have to believe him, but I can't prove otherwise either. But I'd better think twice when millions of people around the world start claiming that they have interaction with aliens. And I would think three times if many of these "fanatics" were willing to face mockery, persecution, and even death for their testimony. After all, not to many people would pay the ultimate price for a lie.

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#269523 - 15/11/2005 17:51 Re: My take... [Re: Cybjorg]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
I'm not refuting it. I personally think you're crazy, but that's my problem, not yours. My problem is that you claim to have this personal relationship, but then base it on everything everyone else -- everyone who's not a part of that relationship -- says. If you feel certain moral obligations, I can understand. If you want to argue that people shouldn't have abortions, fine. But basing it on a 2000 year old book of questionable authenticity seems silly from my point of view and doesn't seem to jibe with this personal relationship you supposedly have. Do you have a manual for how you and I interact? Was it written by someone you don't know?
_________________________
Bitt Faulk

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#269524 - 15/11/2005 20:14 Re: My take... [Re: wfaulk]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Quote:

you believe everything that everyone else has written. You're not just taking God on faith, you're taking on faith that every piece of literature written about it is also accurate, even when you know that the people involved were not divinely inspired.


And youīre taking on faith that every study and every theory on the big bang and evolution that youīve read a summary of is accurate.

Quote:
But basing it on a 2000 year old book of questionable authenticity seems silly from my point of view and doesn't seem to jibe with this personal relationship you supposedly have.


Iīm just curious - would his beliefs have more validity if he had them 2000 years ago when the book wasnīt so old? Does this mean your beliefs wonīt be valid 2000 years from now? That last part is probably true. The beliefs of science constantly change and evolve over time, and itīs almost guaranteed that your current scientific beliefs will be disproven by new and improved theories sometime in the near future, but the beliefs of christianity have remained the same for almost 2000 years.

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#269525 - 15/11/2005 20:30 Re: My take... [Re: Cybjorg]
jpt
new poster

Registered: 10/11/2005
Posts: 35
Quote:
At the same time, the claims are unrefutable. After all, if a person came to me and claimed to talk to aliens, I don't have to believe him, but I can't prove otherwise either.

You've hit it on the head. When someone makes a claim that is by definition irrefutable, that statement is utterly worthless for demonstrating truth in either direction. Truly scientific claims make predictions that can be tested -- meaning that you can design a test for me to perform and pick a particular result from this test that, were it to occur, I would know your statement was false. For instance, I can't prove 100% that humans and chimpanzees descended from common ancestors, because I obviously wasn't there. But I do know that if someone were to discover a fossilized human skeleton in the same rock strata that contain trilobite fossils, that would prove quite conclusively that humans and chimpanzees did not descend from a common ancestor. The fact that there have been hundreds or thousands of experiments, many of which I could reproduce myself, and all of which could, but do not, disprove a particular hypothesis does serve to strengthen my suspicion that it is true.

By contrast, when some people propose "experiments" to test religious dogma, they come out something like "If X happens, God did it. But if Y happens, God did it. And if neither of those things happen, then, well... God did it!" This type of "experiment" can never provide any useful information, no matter how many times you do it.

Quote:
But I'd better think twice when millions of people around the world start claiming that they have interaction with aliens. And I would think three times if many of these "fanatics" were willing to face mockery, persecution, and even death for their testimony. After all, not to many people would pay the ultimate price for a lie.

Unfortunately, too many people would and do pay the ultimate price for lies. This "one hundred million deluded dupes can't all be wrong" type of argument is singularly unconvincing.
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#269526 - 15/11/2005 20:39 Re: My take... [Re: Cybjorg]
bonzi
pooh-bah

Registered: 13/09/1999
Posts: 2401
Loc: Croatia
Quote:
But I'd better think twice when millions of people around the world start claiming that they have interaction with aliens. And I would think three times if many of these "fanatics" were willing to face mockery, persecution, and even death for their testimony. After all, not to many people would pay the ultimate price for a lie.

Well, not quite around the world. You will notice that particular religions are rather geographically clustered, and that, for example, Christianity was spread through human effort of missionaries. I know of no traces of personal 'contact' with Christian God by pre-Columbus Americans. Religions appear, grow, spread through some region, stagnate, be supplanted by others, die. And they are, by their very nature, mutualy exclusive. So, the only logical explanation is that they are all (or, if we want to be logical nitpicks, all but possibly one) social artifacts in the first place.

I don't want to offend anyone, but this genuinelly puzzles me:

If one 'talks with God', one is usually categorised in one of three groups:
  • If the God in case is 'ours', the person in question is deeply religious
  • If it is some other established religion's God, especially one prevalent in countries we are at odds with at the moment, the guy is a religious fanatic or something similar
  • If nobody ever heard of the God in question, the chap has nice chances of ending up in a psychiatric institution

    And yet, I don't see any difference.

    So, the question for those believers who are ready to grant legitimacy to religions other than their own: doesn't the first Commadment require exclusivity (and other religions have someting similar)? For others: what makes your particular religion more, for lack of a better word, probable (or true) than others?
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    #269527 - 15/11/2005 20:40 Re: My take... [Re: ]
    jpt
    new poster

    Registered: 10/11/2005
    Posts: 35
    Quote:
    And youīre taking on faith that every study and every theory on the big bang and evolution that youīve read a summary of is accurate.

    Actually, you can reproduce a number of the simpler ones yourself with telescopes (for cosmology) or petri dishes and jelly jars (for evolution). Don't knock evolution till you've seen it in action over a few generations of fruit flies.

    Quote:
    Iīm just curious - would his beliefs have more validity if he had them 2000 years ago when the book wasnīt so old? Does this mean your beliefs wonīt be valid 2000 years from now? That last part is probably true. The beliefs of science constantly change and evolve over time, and itīs almost guaranteed that your current scientific beliefs will be disproven by new and improved theories sometime in the near future, but the beliefs of christianity have remained the same for almost 2000 years.

    This is a strength of science and a weakness of religion, despite your attempt to cast it in the opposite light. Even twenty, let alone two thousand, years without progress in any other field would be considered laughably pathetic. I doubt you can name a single piece of 2000-year-old technology you use in your daily life (nope, not even the food you eat is grown anything like the same way -- if it were, we'd all starve). But you still cling to the same outmoded fairy tale book like it's the only thing that matters. Perhaps the only reason religious beliefs could survive so long at all is because they're almost completely irrelevant.

    Bonus trivia question: how many years after the death of Jesus the Nazarene did the doctrine of his divinity become generally accepted?

    Super Double Bonus trivia question: When was the town of Nazareth founded, and by whom?
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    #269528 - 15/11/2005 20:45 Re: My take... [Re: jpt]
    DWallach
    carpal tunnel

    Registered: 30/04/2000
    Posts: 3716
    Do not feed the troll...

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    #269529 - 15/11/2005 20:45 Re: My take... [Re: bonzi]
    jpt
    new poster

    Registered: 10/11/2005
    Posts: 35
    Quote:
    So, the question for those believers who are ready to grant legitimacy to religions other than their own: doesn't the first Commadment require exclusivity (and other religions have someting similar)?

    I'm an atheist but I can still answer this question. In Exodus, the commandments were given specifically to the Jews. There were other laws meant for non-Jews that were less stringent.
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    #269530 - 15/11/2005 20:51 Question [Re: bonzi]
    jpt
    new poster

    Registered: 10/11/2005
    Posts: 35
    How prevalent are creationism and related anti-science in Europe and other civilized parts of the world? My only personal experience is in America and Israel (the Jewish universities generally take extremely liberal interpretations of the bible in order to reconcile it with the science they teach).
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    #269531 - 15/11/2005 20:52 Re: My take... [Re: DWallach]
    jpt
    new poster

    Registered: 10/11/2005
    Posts: 35
    Quote:
    Do not feed the troll...

    Hey, i bought my empeg last week (thanks Dylan!), my post count will go up soon enough.
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    #269532 - 15/11/2005 20:53 Re: My take... [Re: jpt]
    bonzi
    pooh-bah

    Registered: 13/09/1999
    Posts: 2401
    Loc: Croatia
    Quote:
    I'm an atheist but I can still answer this question. In Exodus, the commandments were given specifically to the Jews. There were other laws meant for non-Jews that were less stringent.

    Hm, yeah, 'chosen people' and all that. But does that mean that Jahve was willing to coexist with other peoples' gods?
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