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“Evil” does not exist?
Posted: 22 August 2013 04:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 286 ]
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science is the work of fallible and biased men and women.

The one thing that science and religion have in common.

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Posted: 22 August 2013 05:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 287 ]
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LilySmith - 22 August 2013 03:17 PM

Why should I give up my faith in God for a belief in man trying to figure out our awesome existence but getting it wrong time and again?  I have no problem accepting scientific fact, but understand science is the work of fallible and biased men and women.

Because in the thousands of years of human history, theistic belief has not contributed one speck of knowledge or produced even one advance in science. That is because it is not objectively grounded, being grounded instead on subjective faiths of which there are many. As a result, these theologies have sometimes led to wars and other conflicts and at other times have provided cover for them. In other words, ethics, morality and spirituality aren’t just about any one of us. They are about the effects of belief systems on the world. Theism’s effects are dreadful, and that’s probably not a strong enough word. Instead of lifting us up to higher ground, theism encourages and glorifies intellectual self-indulgence and personal irresponsibility - because after all, if you have license to believe anything you want, you can justify anything, as has often happened in the name of “God.” That’s why you should give up your unfounded belief in what you call “God.”

Illustrate the point this way: Michael Jordan missed thousands of shots as an NBA player. I’ve never missed even one shot in an NBA game. To use LilySmith’s logic, an NBA coach should prefer to have me as a player instead of Michael Jordan in his prime.

Lausten succinctly and correctly laid bare the glaring fallacy contained second sentence above in post 286.

[ Edited: 22 August 2013 07:36 PM by PLaClair ]
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Posted: 22 August 2013 05:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 288 ]
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Lausten - 22 August 2013 04:29 PM

science is the work of fallible and biased men and women.

The one thing that science and religion have in common.

Except flaws in science eventually get corrected through discovery. Flaws in scripture remain the same forever, because there is no inquiry and correction permitted as that would invalidate the “literal word of god”.

In the views of theists, atheists are heretics and possessed by that Evil being. Theism is an exclusive belief system which clearly states that “Thou shalt not have any other false gods before thee” AND considers all other gods (or beliefs) to be false gods.

It just occurred to me that religion is very much like the military.

The religion sets these rules:

a) you serve without question
b) you follow orders without question
c) refusing authority is punishable
d) leaving without permission makes you AWOL
e) disobeying during (holy) war is treasonous, punishable by death

In Game of Thrones these are called the “Unsullied”.  I am referring only to “fundamentalists”.

[ Edited: 22 August 2013 05:39 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 23 August 2013 10:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 289 ]
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Write4U - 22 August 2013 04:11 PM

Not quite correct.
In science there are some truths which are proven beyond reasonable doubt. Yes, in theoretical science people have been proven wrong because they neglected or purposefully chose to ignore evidence which did not fit their “propositions”. But theoretical science deals with that which is still unknown.

Thank you for the clarification.

If a “proposition” (paradigm) is accepted by consensus, only then has it earned the title “scientific theory”. But this is after confirmation by experiment and falsification. No such rigor exists in theism. The “notion’ of a god cannot be tested and therefore must remain in the state of “proposition”, a primitive attempt at theoretical science without any foundation in reality.

Not a primitive attempt at theoretical science, not science at all.  I don’t need scientific proof that God exists, and no scientific proof will be offered.  It is my faith; my belief.  If you don’t know there is no God, then I would hold back on judging my belief as having no foundation in reality.  I think this is where you go too far.  To say you are agnostic on the existence of God is one thing, but to say you know God does not exist but have no proof is your assumption that may or may not be true. 

No one can disprove God, true. But after hundreds of years of research into the nature of the Universe no honest scientist can say that the absence of proof or falsification (lack of knowledge) leads to the conclusion that a god must exist.  But theists do this and this is where reason breaks down.

No one is saying science must conclude God exists.  Theists are not saying without proof that God doesn’t exist, God must exist.  All I’m saying is that you cannot conclude as fact that God does not exist.  Therefore if you are an atheist, rather than an agnostic, you are making a conclusion without knowledge. 

However if we change the word “God” to the word Potential we have a truth, because the word Potential and it’s properties are known and functions exactly as defined by every scientific discipline.

I don’t think you have to change God to Potential.  You have to say proving the existence of God has potential.  It is a possibility.

We know how Potential works, it is a latent excellence which may become reality. This applies to all things, including the beginning of reality itself.

If God exists, he isn’t going to become a reality because man proved his existence.  The potential is only about your knowledge of whether God exists or not, but doesn’t change the reality of whether God exists or not—if I’m reading what you’re saying correctly.

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Posted: 23 August 2013 10:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 290 ]
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Write4U - 22 August 2013 05:18 PM

Theism is an exclusive belief system which clearly states that “Thou shalt not have any other false gods before thee” AND considers all other gods (or beliefs) to be false gods.

It just occurred to me that religion is very much like the military.

The religion sets these rules:

a) you serve without question
b) you follow orders without question
c) refusing authority is punishable
d) leaving without permission makes you AWOL
e) disobeying during (holy) war is treasonous, punishable by death

In Game of Thrones these are called the “Unsullied”.  I am referring only to “fundamentalists”.

Judaism teaches one God and the commandment of having no other God’s before Him.  Christianity agrees, and so does Islam.  Hinduism, however, is also theistic but has many avatars, and Paganism can be polytheistic.  I think to conflate Theism with Christianity, and particularly Christians who believe in the fundamentals of their faith, is a inaccurate use of the word.

Your religious set of rules are nonsense.  I have no idea what you’re talking about there.  Protestant and Evangelical Christians absolutely questioned authority.  It’s called the Reformation.  We follow the teachings of God, but we are all brothers and sisters.  No one has military like authority.  The only “punishment” is if you insist on continuing in sin, you are asked to leave the church.  Anyone can leave at any time.  There are no holy wars in Christianity.  There is no army, no generals, no weapons.  I honestly don’t know what you’re talking about.

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Posted: 23 August 2013 10:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 291 ]
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Science has been responsible for abominations past and present.  There are more to come, guaranteed.

Hiroshima, thalidomide, Nazis experimentation on jews, the Tuskegee experiment, Bikini Atoll….

It is neither fair nor rational to condemn religion for the fallibility of human beings engaged in the finite dualistic entanglements of the relative universe.

There are tens of thousands of years of wholesome enrichment of the human experience resulting from our instinctive intuition of the divine.  We have called it supernatural because that is the framework available.  There is no harm it that.  The term “supernatural” is not the source of the problems being cited as conclusive evidence of the inferiority of theistic world views.

First start with a fair and honest assessment of what God might be.  Write4U has graciously re-introduced the term Potential.  This is the beginning of a journey that both science and religion can undertake together.

In the beginning, “The Word”.
In the beginning, “Emergence from Potential”.

I will now suggest an image from intuition that at the beginning the primordial “Emergent” phenomena is undivided “Awareness”, having the nature of it’s origins in the singularity of infinite potential.  It is now the the ground of infinite potential otherness.  From this primal potential of otherness cascades the Universe of relativity.  This would be an honest conception of God that science can work with.  All stages, aspects, and derivation must be considered as the Entirety.  The eternal present moment.

Working from both ends towards the middle gives everybody something to do.

[ Edited: 23 August 2013 11:33 AM by brmckay ]
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Posted: 23 August 2013 11:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 292 ]
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Write4U, I think that you are mainly in opposition to organized religion.  Why do you call this atheism?  It’s seems more political than philosophical.

Do these same arguments apply to a zen monk sitting in zazen, learning to still his “monkey mind”?  Or, to a contemplative hermit cultivating a direct relationship with the infinite?

If I conceive of Existence as Divine, Alive and not other than Self; what harm do I cause the purpose of science?

[ Edited: 23 August 2013 11:28 AM by brmckay ]
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Posted: 23 August 2013 12:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 293 ]
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PLaClair - 22 August 2013 05:01 PM
LilySmith - 22 August 2013 03:17 PM

Why should I give up my faith in God for a belief in man trying to figure out our awesome existence but getting it wrong time and again?  I have no problem accepting scientific fact, but understand science is the work of fallible and biased men and women.

Because in the thousands of years of human history, theistic belief has not contributed one speck of knowledge or produced even one advance in science.

Fascinating but not surprising that Smith and McKay completely ignore this crucial point and all that follows from it.

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Posted: 23 August 2013 01:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 294 ]
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brmckay - 23 August 2013 11:18 AM

Write4U, I think that you are mainly in opposition to organized religion.  Why do you call this atheism?  It’s seems more political than philosophical.

Do these same arguments apply to a zen monk sitting in zazen, learning to still his “monkey mind”?  Or, to a contemplative hermit cultivating a direct relationship with the infinite?

If I conceive of Existence as Divine, Alive and not other than Self; what harm do I cause the purpose of science?

None if you keep it to yourself or to your fellow believers. But when you proselytize to non believers or use your religion to promote a political agenda, it is harmful. It’s also harmful if you expect your religion to be taught in public schools. It is harmful and disrespecful to people who have different faiths or no faith.  The harm is in actions done in the name of religion.

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Posted: 23 August 2013 01:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 295 ]
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Science has been responsible for abominations past and present.  There are more to come, guaranteed.

A half truth, which is really the worst kind of lie. Science is responsible for the aquisition and understanding of information. It’s the people who abuse that information to serve truly evil and twisted ends who are responsible for the abominations past and present. The science itself is morally neutral.

The same can’t be said about religions which on one hand claim to serve a moral high ground but if you don’t agree with somr aspect of the creed, it’s leaders take that as a license and even claim divine permission to commit the very worst atrocities in the name of whatever god or gods they believe in, and all that without even a scintilla of testable evidence to support any of their claims.

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Posted: 23 August 2013 01:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 296 ]
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brmckay - 23 August 2013 11:18 AM

If I conceive of Existence as Divine, Alive and not other than Self; what harm do I cause the purpose of science?

That depends on how rigorous or loose you are in your thinking and in your presentation of it. You might not do any damage at all. On the other hand, if you stop looking for scientific answers or use those conceptions to fill spaces science should occupy, you might do considerable damage.

Approximately fifteen years ago, I was attending a Unity church in Manhattan most Sundays. They provided the best communal experience I have ever had; to this day that remains true. They were so good at it that I considered becoming a member, even though I didn’t share their philosophy of neo-Platonic idealism. They claimed that they were just using those notions as metaphors. So I started taking their membership classes. After a few weeks, the minister mentioned what he called “the hundredth monkey syndrome.” In the first place, he had no clue what a syndrome was, he should have been calling it a “phenomenon.” The claim was that when the hundredth monkey began washing some tuber or other, monkeys all over the world started doing it, the sum total of monkey-knowledge on the matter apparently being transmitted to all monkeys on earth from there on forevermore. Skeptical but looking hard for some way to justify what sounded like nonsense, I asked whether there was any scientific research to back up this claim. He said yes, and referred me to a book. So I bought the book. When it arrived, I saw that it was all of maybe sixty pages, and was one of those “books” where a page is more like a short paragraph. I found the description of the so-called hundredth monkey phenomenon on page 6 or so. It ran for about a page (approximately one paragraph) and was nothing more than an anecdotal account of this supposedly miraculous phenomenon. This was his idea of solid scientific research. That is when I concluded that this very nice man had no clue what he was talking about and no grounding whatsoever in science. Yet he was using some of the language of science to make his claims. I concluded that this was more than I could take, stopped taking the classes and pretty much stopped attending there. They had done about as much for me as they were ever going to do. And yes, thinking that way is decidedly harmful because we need a scientifically literate population in today’s world; he was doing violence to that and I could not support it.

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Posted: 23 August 2013 03:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 297 ]
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brmckay - 23 August 2013 11:18 AM

Write4U, I think that you are mainly in opposition to organized religion.  Why do you call this atheism?  It’s seems more political than philosophical.

They are threefold; scientifically, I am opposed to the claim that the properties of God (intentional being) are known., They are experienced. Difference!
                    philosophically, I am opposed to it’s claimed exclusive Truth.  Not proven.  Difference!
                    politically, we only need look back in history of the “benefits” of religions.  Holy wars instead of recognizing our commonality ! 

Do these same arguments apply to a zen monk sitting in zazen, learning to still his “monkey mind”?  Or, to a contemplative hermit cultivating a direct relationship with the infinite?
If I conceive of Existence as Divine, Alive and not other than Self; what harm do I cause the purpose of science?

No they do not, their connection to the Universe (deity) is their personal experience, uniquely only unto themselves. I do it myself as do we all.
And it is true, my main fear is the political power of “organized religion”. I cannot conceive of life in a theocracy that refuses to recognize science and philosophy.

I call myself an atheist because I do not think the popular concepts of God and the philosophical analysis of Potential are the same thing even as they function the same way. We all agree on the concept of an ultimate Wholeness. It is religion that cannot figure out who’s Holy-ness is the Truth, which will be found by science one day anyway, probably applying the principles of Potential. smile

I agree that I am opposed to organized religion. Scary world of entities and motivated supernatural causalities .
Science has an open book of all its discoveries and all “knowledge” about the Universe and it’s origins are in the “light of day”.
Fundamentalist Religions are “shrouded” in secrecy and mysticism.

[ Edited: 23 August 2013 03:30 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 24 August 2013 08:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 298 ]
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LilySmith - 19 August 2013 08:14 AM
Scott Mayers - 18 August 2013 07:13 AM

A theist is not just the simple Deist; it is all of its beliefs about it too. So religion cannot be divorced from theism.

I find it fascinating that your definition of these terms relate to Christianity.  Even the term Deist for you only goes back to the 17th century rise of Deism rather than Deus being the Latin translation of the Greek word Theos. 

I know you think that this world is a Christian vs. atheist world but I assure you that atheism doesn’t single out Christianity. It just happens to be that Christianity is the local stronghold for those of this forum. I’m confused at how or why you think that people must conform to older uses of words? All you seem to be doing is trying to either make our present existence meaningless by forcing us to either BE what your idea of “atheist” really means so that you claim a burden to disprove your views as essential, or that any other definition of ‘atheist’ does not match a one-to-one correspondence to reality to any actual person. That was my point with the cat—if you presume that atheism as we define ourselves is an unreal position, then you do not believe that any animal has the capacity to be absent of knowledge of a god or gods; you’re implying that we are born as natural Christians, knowing God and Jesus, but becoming atheist is a type of rebellious act against it. 

LilySmith - 19 August 2013 08:14 AM

A religious person who is accepted within the law has an ability to absolve their actions, no matter how bad, to be unaccountable should they be acting within the confines of their beliefs; On the other hand, an atheist who acts similarly, is accountable by law according to themselves. Who would you trust better to be in control of a nuclear arms launch missile, an atheist or any arbitrary believer in some god? If, for example, I was religious and had such power, I might be willing to sacrifice my own soul to eternal hell in order to “save” what I perceive to be most innocent by killing them before they have a chance to become evil, thus sending them to an eternal heaven.

That’s the most convoluted thinking I’ve ever heard.  I think you are inventing ways to make Christians suspect.  The truth is Christians are taught to obey the laws of the country in which they live.  They are taught to love others.  They are taught to leave all judgment up to God.  If a Christian decided to “sacrifice” his own soul and do what is abominable to God based on Christian teaching, then he has not acted according to his religion, but has left it.  On the other hand, if a bunch of atheists decide to bring a Communist Utopia to the world and in order to do that they must kill multiple millions of people and suppress all religion—oh wait, they actually did that.

Everything is not always about you (as a Christian, that is). The example I gave is merely one example of how any religious person potentially reasons in a possible scenario. The accountability of a person in this situation is given credit either for being righteous (by those who agree with him and his God, or gods), or allowed leniency for merely being piously mistaken, brainwashed, or insane; on the other hand, should a non-religious person do the same act, they have no excuse for their acts other than that accountable to themselves. How was this suggested possibility considered “convoluted” by you? I know it’s not favorable to you…but that’s beside the point.

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Posted: 25 August 2013 06:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 299 ]
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Lois - 23 August 2013 01:28 PM
brmckay - 23 August 2013 11:18 AM

Write4U, I think that you are mainly in opposition to organized religion.  Why do you call this atheism?  It’s seems more political than philosophical.

Do these same arguments apply to a zen monk sitting in zazen, learning to still his “monkey mind”?  Or, to a contemplative hermit cultivating a direct relationship with the infinite?

If I conceive of Existence as Divine, Alive and not other than Self; what harm do I cause the purpose of science?

None if you keep it to yourself or to your fellow believers. But when you proselytize to non believers or use your religion to promote a political agenda, it is harmful. It’s also harmful if you expect your religion to be taught in public schools. It is harmful and disrespecful to people who have different faiths or no faith.  The harm is in actions done in the name of religion.

I realize that you are generalizing, and also agree with everything except that you have not qualified “actions done” in the name of religion.  I’m sure you are not talking about all action done in the name of religion.

I have not condemned science for it’s shadow side.  Remember all actions taken in the name of any thing in the realm of relativity are by nature aggregates of selfish and selfless.  Foolish and wise.

I know that I harp on this a lot.  It is because I do not detect an adequate consideration of it in many of the comments I respond to.

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Posted: 25 August 2013 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 300 ]
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Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon - 23 August 2013 01:47 PM

Science has been responsible for abominations past and present.  There are more to come, guaranteed.

A half truth, which is really the worst kind of lie. Science is responsible for the aquisition and understanding of information. It’s the people who abuse that information to serve truly evil and twisted ends who are responsible for the abominations past and present. The science itself is morally neutral.

The same can’t be said about religions which on one hand claim to serve a moral high ground but if you don’t agree with somr aspect of the creed, it’s leaders take that as a license and even claim divine permission to commit the very worst atrocities in the name of whatever god or gods they believe in, and all that without even a scintilla of testable evidence to support any of their claims.

Since you have not provided a disclaimer, I will have to assume you are not representing a scientific objectivity in you second paragraph.

You have placed the ideal of scientific method outside of the field of its application.  I have been trying to do the same for religious/spiritual/philosophical inquiry.  This is where I ask the same terms from you. 

“Worst kind of lie”?

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