Defining Christianity

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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby Chunes » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:51 am

gtechman wrote:True origin of the term "lab monkey"? :D

Bible also places animals on earth before man. Interesting...

Chunes wrote:
Vanifae wrote:You can be skeptical and still believe in a higher power they are not mutually exclusive values.


I would disagree, but let me clarify. If you are truly a skeptic, then you require solid, scientifically testable evidence of something in order to believe it. Even then, I wouldn't even use "believe" in the same way that a religious person "believes" in their god.


Do you believe in Love?

Mu, that is to say, "unask the question"

The question is a trap. If I say I do believe in love, then my argument above is invalidated. If I say I do not, then all the lovey dovey shit I say to and about my fiancee is invalidated. So my response is Mu.

I have felt, experienced, observed and received love. I guess in its simplest terms, love is a subroutine or program that our brains run, the input being the object of our desire or affection and the output being our actions or sentiments towards them or because of them.

That doesn't mean that love is a simple or trivial thing. Our most learned physicists and mathematicians have shown us that a great many things can be reduced to simple terms and formulas. It doesn't make the underlying reality being described by these things any less beautiful, significant or amazing.
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby Epimer » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:54 am

theckhd wrote:We know that we evolved from apes through various mutations and adaptations, and there's a very clear fossil record to document it


I don't wish to derail the discussion with pointless nit-picking, especially while it's proceeding so healthily, but I did feel the need to jump in on the bolded section. It is more correct to say that modern humans and modern apes evolved from a common ape-like ancestor (or, from a modern ape's point of view, a common human-like ancestor :) ). Just a small clarification to hopefully prevent any muddying of waters as the discussion continues.

TL;DR in b4 "if we evolved from apes, why are there still apes?"
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby gtechman » Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:01 am

Yeah, sorry for the obvious trap. I started to use on someone else earlier in this convo but held back.

I am just pointing out how folks try to use scientific measuring stick to define a religion.

Theck says it lots better than me. He seperates the science and religion rather gracefully. He types out novels that work over every detail of an arguement (trust me...been playing D2/WoW with him forever). I am a Southern Redneck though and do good to string 2 sentences together (engineer..so math good..writing bad). He is like the fine drill compared to my sledgehammer.
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby theckhd » Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:02 am

Epimer wrote:
theckhd wrote:We know that we evolved from apes through various mutations and adaptations, and there's a very clear fossil record to document it


I don't wish to derail the discussion with pointless nit-picking, especially while it's proceeding so healthily, but I did feel the need to jump in on the bolded section. It is more correct to say that modern humans and modern apes evolved from a common ape-like ancestor (or, from a modern ape's point of view, a common human-like ancestor :) ). Just a small clarification to hopefully prevent any muddying of waters as the discussion continues.

TL;DR in b4 "if we evolved from apes, why are there still apes?"


A fair criticism of my ambiguous wording. I guess the question is whether the ape-like ancestor was more ape-like than human-like? In other words, did we jump off the "ape" tracks and form our own branch/species, or did apes jump off the "human" track to form their own branch? Or maybe a little bit of both?

The prevailing notion that we evolved from apes implicitly assumes that we're the more evolved species (arguably true) and thus we "grew out of" our ape background. I'm not enough of an expert on the topic to know whether the fossil record agrees with that interpretation though.

Either way, "evolving from a common ape-like ancestor" is a more accurate way to put it.
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby Chunes » Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:04 am

gtechman wrote:Yeah, sorry for the obvious trap. I started to use on someone else earlier in this convo but held back.

I am just pointing out how folks try to use scientific measuring stick to define a religion.

Theck says it lots better than me. He seperates the science and religion rather gracefully. He types out novels that work over every detail of an arguement (trust me...been playing D2/WoW with him forever). I am a Southern Redneck though and do good to string 2 sentences together (engineer..so math good..writing bad). He is like the fine drill compared to my sledgehammer.



Yeah I get you. I, for the most part, have been able to keep my "beliefs" and my "logic/empiricism" pretty well quarantined from one another since they are incompatible fundamentally from my experience.

To bastardize another quote: "those who try to measure science by religion or religion by science do not truly understand either."
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby theckhd » Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:04 am

gtechman wrote:He is like the fine drill compared to my sledgehammer.

I totally almost slipped into guild-chat thinking for a second there. I had to resist the urge to type out a "that's what YM said last night" joke before Arg could beat me to it.

Although I'm not sure being the "fine drill" instead of the "sledgehammer" is actually a complement in that mindset. :P
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby Chunes » Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:06 am

theckhd wrote:
Epimer wrote:
theckhd wrote:We know that we evolved from apes through various mutations and adaptations, and there's a very clear fossil record to document it


I don't wish to derail the discussion with pointless nit-picking, especially while it's proceeding so healthily, but I did feel the need to jump in on the bolded section. It is more correct to say that modern humans and modern apes evolved from a common ape-like ancestor (or, from a modern ape's point of view, a common human-like ancestor :) ). Just a small clarification to hopefully prevent any muddying of waters as the discussion continues.

TL;DR in b4 "if we evolved from apes, why are there still apes?"


A fair criticism of my ambiguous wording. I guess the question is whether the ape-like ancestor was more ape-like than human-like? In other words, did we jump off the "ape" tracks and form our own branch/species, or did apes jump off the "human" track to form their own branch? Or maybe a little bit of both?

The prevailing notion that we evolved from apes implicitly assumes that we're the more evolved species (arguably true) and thus we "grew out of" our ape background. I'm not enough of an expert on the topic to know whether the fossil record agrees with that interpretation though.

Either way, "evolving from a common ape-like ancestor" is a more accurate way to put it.



I think the last I read, they are discovering that the "common ancestor" was a bit more human like than we would have guessed. I.e. the morphology of the feet/hands/hips etc. I can't remember the source, so take my anecdotal account w/ a large grain of salt.
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby Hayz » Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:21 am

My usual thought to the evolutionary debate when someone tries to sound smart and say "well in Genesis it says he took 7 days, not millions of years we can prove the earth has been around." to which i respond with the scripture (yes i realize its proving religion with religious writing, but meh) "be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." -2 Peter 3:8. I take this to mean as time pertaining to God is not set in the same perspective as human time.

It really seems to me that the entire religious debate is a very large case of Schroedinger's cat. Until we open the box (die/armageddon) we are unsure whether the cat lives (there is a greater power) or the cat is dead (there is no greater power) and there is no way of knowing such before we open the box, so we make speculations, though in reality we can only know that both are equally likely.
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby Epimer » Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:29 am

theckhd wrote:A fair criticism of my ambiguous wording. I guess the question is whether the ape-like ancestor was more ape-like than human-like? In other words, did we jump off the "ape" tracks and form our own branch/species, or did apes jump off the "human" track to form their own branch? Or maybe a little bit of both?

The prevailing notion that we evolved from apes implicitly assumes that we're the more evolved species (arguably true) and thus we "grew out of" our ape background. I'm not enough of an expert on the topic to know whether the fossil record agrees with that interpretation though.


It wasn't intended as a criticism, just a clarification for clarity's sake :)

The general point is that it's a pitfall to think of these questions from a human-centric viewpoint (although only natural - you're only human! Sorry). If a road splits into two minor roads, which is the off-shoot and which is the original road? Well, neither. They're both off-shoots from a common precursor. It's the same deal here.

As for humans being "more evolved" - from a human perspective, yes. But it's a loaded question. From an ape point of view, our species is very poorly suited to living in rainforest in Borneo. We humans are so poorly equipped to live in tree-tops! An ape is not an inferior or lesser human. It's just very good at being an ape, with its own ape niche.
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby Chicken » Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:37 am

theckhd wrote:A fair criticism of my ambiguous wording. I guess the question is whether the ape-like ancestor was more ape-like than human-like? In other words, did we jump off the "ape" tracks and form our own branch/species, or did apes jump off the "human" track to form their own branch? Or maybe a little bit of both?
It's a bit of both if I'm recalling things I've read correctly. One of the big things that separates us from most apes is that we're completely bipedal, but there's evidence that at least some of the early bipedal apes went 'back to their roots' as it were. Modern humans also coexisted originally with numerous other human-like creatures; a popular belief is that Neanderthals are our ancestors, but that's actually not correct for example. Both us modern humans and neanderthals were descended from the same evolutionary 'parent' and coexisted for a while.

It's not entirely clear what actually happened to all the other human-like animals the world once had though. One rather grim theory on the subject is that our ancestors essentially hunted them to extinction, and that that is one of the reasons why we have a disgusted reaction to something that's almost human but not quite there; our ancestors evolved that trait at one point and it was advantageous since, well, less competition for the same food sources that way. A less grim theory is that as far as human-like creatures go, our ancestors happened to hit the jackpot when it comes to traits that were advantageous for a wide range of diets and thus survival in a wide range of locations. So where other human-like creatures would go extinct if their specific food source began to run out, our ancestors could adapt better and move elsewhere.

I'm no expert on the subject though, and there's probably some flaws in my explanation above.
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby theckhd » Fri Sep 10, 2010 12:13 pm

Hayz wrote:It really seems to me that the entire religious debate is a very large case of Schroedinger's cat. Until we open the box (die/armageddon) we are unsure whether the cat lives (there is a greater power) or the cat is dead (there is no greater power) and there is no way of knowing such before we open the box, so we make speculations, though in reality we can only know that both are equally likely.


Except that's a flawed interpretation as well. The question of whether there's a higher power presumably has a definite answer, either true or false. While you can wax philosophical about it, the result is either true or false, we just don't know the answer yet.

With quantum mechanics, the cat is not dead or alive until we open the box. It's not fair to say "well, it's in one of those states, we just don't happen to know which one." It is, in fact, in both states simultaneously as long as we don't do something to force it into one state or the other.

It's the difference between saying "the ping pong ball I'm holding in my hand is either red or blue, and when I open my hand you see it's blue, and you're free to presume it was blue the entire time I was holding it" and "the ping pong ball in my hand is in a superposition of red and blue, and when I open my hands we force it to choose one or the other." In the latter case, the ball wasn't blue all along, it was "purple" in the sense that it could have chosen one or the other when we decided to observe it. The notion that the ball was one or the other all along is a concept called "realism," which is one of the first things you usually have to throw out the window when talking about Quantum Mechanics.
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby Vanifae » Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:55 pm

You can still be a skeptic and still have faith, they are not mutually exclusive. I doubt most people are pure anything, many people blend many ideas and beliefs. But who knows maybe I am generalizing.
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby knaughty » Fri Sep 10, 2010 3:41 pm

Re neanderthals: There's some recent evidence from Europe that there was at least some interbreeding between us and them. Can't cite, since I can't find the New Scientist edition that was quoting the original paper.
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby Fridmarr » Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:03 pm

knaughty wrote:Re neanderthals: There's some recent evidence from Europe that there was at least some interbreeding between us and them. Can't cite, since I can't find the New Scientist edition that was quoting the original paper.

Well if it was anything like Clan of the Cave Bear you can hardly blame them :lol:
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby Chunes » Fri Sep 10, 2010 5:37 pm

Vanifae wrote:You can still be a skeptic and still have faith, they are not mutually exclusive. I doubt most people are pure anything, many people blend many ideas and beliefs. But who knows maybe I am generalizing.



Skepticism contradicts faith.
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