SCIENCE VS RELIGION

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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Ezra Lb.
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Postby Ezra Lb. » Wed Jun 13, 2007 8:25 am

Like Universal movie monsters, and Soap Opera villains, Intelligent Design advocates always come back from the grave. Fortunately, so far, there has been a Van Helsing for every Count Dracula...

Go here http://richarddawkins.net/article,1271, ... w-Republic and read Jerry Coyne, in the New Republic, meticulously dissect ID/Creationist Prof Michael Behe's "argument" in his new book, The Edge of Evolution. And the article also functions as a dang nice little primer on molecular biology for those of us who are not specialists.

I am most assuredly not a specialist and I've learned that the only way to crack the nut of an argument is go through the material over and over until I "get it". For some smart people that will be the first time, for others the fifth. But it hardly matters if you take the time and do "get it".

And once the light bulb goes off and you understand the utter emptiness of the ID position, you see how pathetic it is.



Aaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwww.....fellows, can't we just make nice?

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Postby Davey C » Wed Jun 13, 2007 9:09 am

You know, I think I'm gonna select this space right here to be where I Come Out as an atheist.

MOI: "Hi, my name's David, and I'm an atheist."
GROUP: "Hello David."

I've kept it secret for years...since puberty, really. I can't point to any defining event that MADE me an atheist; was I born this way, or did I choose it? I dunno. All I can say for sure is that with every kinked, snarled, cat-snagged fiber of my being, I know that god & religion are all a ridiculous lot of superstitious mumbo-jumbo, that the only significant differences between Orthodox Judaism and Roman Catholicism and Islam and Scientology and Flying Spaghetti Monster Pastafarianism are the lengths of time they've had to percolate through human consciousness, that the concept of a created universe is (or should be) difficult & frightening to contemplate not because of its size, but because it's a fucking retarded concept.

There are a lot of people in my life, though, who I love, who I like, who I respect, maybe who I just enjoy seeing happy, who have deep religious convictions of one stripe or another, and who'd be saddened, infuriated, deeply insulted, or in a couple cases profoundly shattered by my admission. This is therefore not a conversation I propose having with any of them.

That's really where my big problem is, though: how do you get along with people who know that you think something they believe and cherish with all their heart is stupid, delusional, and more than a little bit insane? I suppose it helps somewhat to bear in mind they they're probably thinking the same thing about you...but damn, is that any way to build strong and fulfilling relationships? You're Fun To Hang Out With Even Though You're A Bit Of A Kook And Not In A Good Way, But Rather In A Way That's Destroying Us All?

Somehow I suspect I should have chased down this line of personal philosophy in my twenties instead of now.
aaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!! My nipples!

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Postby Moderator » Wed Jun 13, 2007 9:25 am

"The trouble comes not from religion as a personal spiritual journey, but from the intentional infliction of that journey upon others."

>

"My values must be your values. There is no other way into heaven."

>

"So, you're saying that only those who believe exactly as you do will go to heaven?"
"Yes."
"Sounds like hubris to me."
*Shrug* "It's what the Bible says."
"Also sounds like you're sentencing five billion people to Hell because they don't agree with you."
Second shrug. "It's in the Bible."
"Ah. So it's hubris AND poor reading skills?"

>

"So all this, every bit of the universe, was put here for mankind?"
"Yes."
"And the universe is only 10,000 years old?"
"Yep."
"Your god is very wasteful."

>

"I think your interpretation is kind of like going to a symphony, but only listening to the oboe for two minutes and declaring it the totality of the composition. The universe is a far greater and magnificent achievement than you seem willing to allow your god to take credit."

>

"Wow. It's shocking we're still such good friends..." (Him to me)




These, and other comments, could be heard in my backyard a month or two ago.
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The religious 'debate'

Postby Onlooker » Sun Jun 17, 2007 11:12 pm

in a nutshell:

"I believe."
"I don't."
"I could be persuaded to believe...or not."

There. Saves a lot of unnecessary words, because if there's one thing that is a waste of time it's trying to argue with a godbotherer. Might as well bang yer head into a wall until you pass out. Logic and rationality mean nothing to blind bland faith. I just ignore these morons and keep on keepin' on. Life's too short to argue with maniacs.

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Postby Ezra Lb. » Mon Jun 18, 2007 10:34 am

Onlooker, your essential point is probably correct. It is not possible to reason with someone whose ideas are not arrived at rationally. BUT, we're in a situation in which some bad ideas must be responded to simply because they are so destructive. It's just not enough to dismiss your opponents as "morons". Ad Hominem is NOT an argument.

For example, see http://www.pamd.uscourts.gov/kitzmiller ... er_342.pdf


Davey C wrote

There are a lot of people in my life, though, who I love, who I like, who I respect, maybe who I just enjoy seeing happy, who have deep religious convictions of one stripe or another, and who'd be saddened, infuriated, deeply insulted, or in a couple cases profoundly shattered by my admission. This is therefore not a conversation I propose having with any of them.

That's really where my big problem is, though: how do you get along with people who know that you think something they believe and cherish with all their heart is stupid, delusional, and more than a little bit insane?


I hear you. I was born and raised in a small Georgia town by a family of religious fundamentalists. Most of my family think I'm an infidel destined, as one cousin so piquantly expressed it, to "bust hell wide open". So why self-identify as an atheist and cause yourself endless grief? Because I couldn't live a schizophrenic life, denying my real self just to spare the feelings of people who should love me and except me no matter what.

So how do you get along?

By showing them the compassion and tolerance they claim to have but rarely show to others. My perception is that it's more difficult for the religionist to be friends with the atheist than the other way around. Why? Because to the religionist, atheism is not just being mistaken, it is spiritual corruption. Atheists are BAD people, by definition.

Steve Barber, I've had some of that conversation myself. One of my best friends in the world, a man I've known since High School, is a Minister. He considers me a "seeker" and doubtless has some hope that one day I will come to "belief". He knows I'm no fool and he is certainly no moron. I just think he is wrong and what's more I can go along way towards explaining why I think he is wrong. I guess loving him as a brother forces me to that. Respect for him forces me to that.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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Postby Moderator » Mon Jun 18, 2007 11:08 am

Ezra Lb. wrote:Steve Barber, I've had some of that conversation myself. One of my best friends in the world, a man I've known since High School, is a Minister. He considers me a "seeker" and doubtless has some hope that one day I will come to "belief". He knows I'm no fool and he is certainly no moron. I just think he is wrong and what's more I can go along way towards explaining why I think he is wrong. I guess loving him as a brother forces me to that. Respect for him forces me to that.


That's kind of the position I'm in. The difficulty comes in how limiting the conversation becomes in many ways. Case in point: My friend is interested in different cultures. Today there was an item in the news regarding 80,000 year old beads found in Morocco.

If you truly believe the universe whomped itself into existance 10,000 years ago, how can you possibly discuss cultural discoveries that precede that date? His response is a shrug and insistance that the scientists are wrong because the Bible tells him so. (It's narrow-minded enough that I'm torn between laughter and wanting to club him one. This guy is my closest friend -- other than my wife of course -- but I don't believe he realizes how much it colors my opinion of his intellect.)

I should add that I believe in God. A God. My God. My God is not based upon the teachings of a single text (the Bible is not literal, it's metaphorical -- hence the use of allegorical and metaphorical language. If it were literal, it wouldn't be subject to interpretation -- would it???

("On the first day -- it was a Monday -- God woke up, hit the alarm clock and created the universe. It took him only 24 hours. He created it from the schmooze that had been collecting on his bathtub drain for the last -- well, just take our word for it. It'd been collecting for a long time before anyone actually invented time. Ignore the obvious question of where God came from. On the second day...")

Religious fervor in the face of abject reality is astounding. Denial of demonstrable facts because you're told that a book says something different is brainwashing of the most horrific sort. And further, because he teaches his children to believe as he does, he ultimately does them a disservice when it comes to their decisions about their lives (suppose, for instance, that his son might evince an interest in studying biology. A disbelief in Evolution kind of makes that a non-starter in the eyes of most scientists. Similarly, someone interested in studying the historical record finds a 10,000 year old universe to be a much narrower topic than is a 13Billion year old universe.)

It's damaging, and damaging in a "blinder over the eyes" sort of way.

It isn't a matter of faith, it's a matter of denial -- and that's a huge difference.
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Well, you know,

Postby Onlooker » Mon Jun 18, 2007 1:23 pm

I'm Scottish, European, and thus coming from a post-religious society to a place where fun-damn-mentalist gibberjibberjabber middle ages shite is still believed has been somewhat of a culture shock. America is a young country that has not had time to grow out of its infantile afterlife-wish fantasies. Then again, this whole sack of shit Christian belief thing came from places like Scotland and England to America, so mea culpa, at least a wee bit.

I just got these books to review:

http://www.amazon.com/Where-Science-Mee ... 842&sr=1-5

and I'm sure they will be very interesting and educational. To me, at least. However. It's IMPOSSIBLE to teach a Christian anything about anything cos, well, they know it all - it's GOD'S WILL! Sigh. Thus I will read these books for myself and try a wee bit better to understand the worthless middle ages beliefs that godbotherer morons hold. I think I will read some scientific facts about chemical composition and whatnot that will make me view these pathetic fascistic nutcases in a slightly more sympathetic light. But it will not make these lunatics stop trying to impose their pathologically worthless relief-from-existence beliefs on anybody else, and I will just keep walking on and shaking my head in fear and wonder at what these loons are capable of.

But that's something else that's impressed itself upon me since I came to this deluded country. The godbothering psychotics gather and actually DO stuff in their communities, they petition government etc, whilst the Democrat weak liberals do nothing and complain about how they get treated by maniacs. Well, ya know, what doesn't go around comes around. These idiotic Jesus freaks get more out of the country cos they put more into it; plain facts of the matter. Unfortunately.

Now. I am not a Republicunt, or a Democrap, or any other group. I am a simple single person looking at life through my own set of prides and prejudices and perversities. And always will continue to do so. But I no longer truly waste time trying to figure 'religious logic', which is an oxymoron anyway. I just get on with my life. I guess people like me, who just want to live their lives without imposing their beliefs on others, are a complete anomaly.

Good.

The masses are always wrong.

Onwards,
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PS:

Postby Onlooker » Mon Jun 18, 2007 1:45 pm

Should I even need to add this, I'm an atheist. But I don't even like the term 'atheist' cos, well, it's like saying "I'm a non-Easter-bunnyist" or "I'm a non-Toothfairyist." God is a three-letter word, a Biblical charcter and I believe we are here for no reason and always will be here for no reason. Why the urgent need to impose meaning on meaningless? And yes, I know people suffer beyond belief and want to believe their suffering is all for some reason. But, well, it's not. You know a line I like? It's from the Manic Street Preachers:

"I know I believe in nothing, but it is my nothing."

Pretty much sums it up, to me.

What a beautiful degraded insane amazing thing life is.

Sigh.

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Postby FrankChurch » Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:44 pm

But let's not forget that in America, most people's ideas are manufactured, not original, so it is no surprise that religion is such a bone these people chew on. You ring the bell and Pavlov's dogs just come with mouths soppin with foam.

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Postby Ezra Lb. » Wed Jun 20, 2007 8:06 am

Yeah Onlooker I can see where America might be a bit of a culture shock for you. It might have helped had you been Irish. But even they're slowly but surely shrugging off Mother Kirk as Spain did before them.

Your attitude is perfectly understandable but try not to judge us too harshly. We're not beyond hope. I refer you back to my previous post containing the link to Judge Jones' decision in the Dover case which basically cut the Creationist movement off at the knees. Here was an American who saw and thought clearly. And while it won't prevent the boobs from believing the crap it does establish a legal framework destroying the fundamental legal basis for requiring Creationism to be taught. They're through in the courts anyway.


Steve Barber wrote

And further, because he teaches his children to believe as he does, he ultimately does them a disservice when it comes to their decisions about their lives...

Yes this is what makes me fly into a rage still. It's not just my own situation but what my benighted relatives are doing right now to their own beautiful children.

Case in point - A couple of years ago while visiting my brother I looked through a box of books left by one of my cousins who had been visiting earlier. One of them was a fantastic children's book about astronomy that had been given to them as a present for their little son. It was a beautifully designed and drawn pop-up book. The centerpiece of the book was a stunning rendition of the Milky Way. Why did they discard it? Because it referred to the Big Bang which happened billions of years ago, of course. That's not in the Bible! And they're home schoolers.

Poor little bastard doesn't have a chance. Prof Dawkins has stated that he regards this lind of thing as child abuse. I'm not sure he's wrong.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
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Sorry

Postby Onlooker » Wed Jun 20, 2007 2:49 pm

if my language was somewhat intemperate here. Stressfull day; inelegant dementia; Scottish-Irish working class breeding bleeding through; tiredness of an independent-thinking atheist in a wearymaker deluded godbotherer world; call it what you will or won't.

Why can't you get a single roll (ie bun) on square sliced (aka Lorne) sausage with broon (ie 'brown') sauce in this country? Sometimes your ways are very alien to me indeed.

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Addendumb:

Postby Onlooker » Wed Jun 20, 2007 2:59 pm

Forgot to mention this in my previous post. There has been a massive influx of Polish Catholics into Scotland over the last few years after the opening up of the EU, driven out of Poland because of a poor economy and high unemployment. Thus Catholicism has become more of a farcical force (cf: the ludicrous 'Ten Commandments of Driving' I saw mentioned in the news today issued by the Vatican) in Scotland chapels and is starting flex its antediluvian superstitious mindcontrol moneyreaper muscle again. Joy. Middle Ages and Inquisition, here we come again!

To paraphrase Alphonse Karr: the less things change, the more they stay the same.

"I'm sorry. I'm not sorry if you're offended, I'm just sorry if you're Catholic. Boy, that's gotta be the most ludicrous belief system ever - vampire priests sink these twin fangs of fear and guilt into you and suck the joy of life out of you for your whole life" - Bill Hicks tells it like it is.

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Postby Chuck Messer » Wed Jun 20, 2007 7:52 pm

Steve Barber wrote:

"On the first day -- it was a Monday -- God woke up, hit the alarm clock and created the universe. It took him only 24 hours...etc.


I love re-writing the bible. I'd love a telling of Genesis that included:

"And God looked upon it and said, "WHO'S THY DADDY!?"


When looking at some of the more extreme attitudes, I can't tell which is more obnoxious, Holier Than Thou or More Rational Than Thou. The worst of the holier-than-thou types don't want to just condemn us lowly sinners while they do the superior dance, they also want to make their interpretation of the Bible THE LAW OF THE LAND. Most of the more-rational-than-thou types usually stop at the superior dance.

Both seem to come from the same source: animal agression. One monkey dry-humping another monkey to show 'em who's boss.

Not a pretty picture.

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Neither

Postby Onlooker » Wed Jun 20, 2007 9:04 pm

science nor religion will save us. Nothing will. But religious nuts certainly make life one helluva lot more intolerable with their insane gibberish and need to foist their outdated uptight beliefs on everybody else, which atheists tend not to do.

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Postby Ezra Lb. » Thu Jun 21, 2007 10:22 am

Why can't you get a single roll (ie bun) on square sliced (aka Lorne) sausage with broon (ie 'brown') sauce in this country? Sometimes your ways are very alien to me indeed.

Poor lad y'are. Ha' ye not discovered McDonalds then? Might as well start work on that coronary condition as soon as possible.

More Rational Than Thou?

Where are these folks pray tell...?


science nor religion will save us. Nothing will.

That's because there's nothing to save. All is as it must be. No better no worse. Each extreme generates it's opposite. There is only one real "law of nature". The equation balances. Unfortunately for us one inevitable result of that balance will be the extermination of the human race. We take no joy in this but neither must we be saddened by it. The appalling glory of science is that it allows us to contemplate the glint of light on the axe edge and to measure the parabola of its fall.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter


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