Politics (formerly Election 2012)

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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Paxen » Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:14 pm

Nooska wrote:On agnosticism, it cannot be a form of atheism, as theism is the belief in something divine - a-theism menas you believe there is nothing divine, while agnostics believe there is something divine, they just canøt know what it is, by its very nature.


But that's not what those who say they are atheists but you think are agnostics believe. If they had believed there is something divine, but they can't know what it is, then they wouldn't have called themselves atheists. (Well, most of them wouldn't. Some people are weird.)

This is getting rather close to some of the discussions I've seen on vegetarianism/veganism, where one "belief" group says others are not vegetarians for example because they consume dairy and eggs (animal products, while not consuming animals).


But it's not. You're saying that agnosticism is on a different spot on the believer-nonbeliever axis. I say that atheist-theist and agnostic-whatever (absolutist?) are different concepts. You can be an agnostic atheist as well as an agnostic theist.

It's just that a lot of people feel uncomfortable if they're lumped in with the more vocal atheists, and so they call themselves "agnostic, not atheist", and thereby attempt to give new meaning to the phrase "agnostic".
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Klaudandus » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:12 pm

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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Koatanga » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:33 pm

Nooska wrote:"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" is a scientific tenet - its not a formal law, no, but if you practice science and ignore that tnet, then your science is unsound and you draw unsound conclusions.

But nor is it evidence of presence. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. The statement that the universe and everything in it was created by intelligent design rather than natural processes is an extraordinary claim, which therefore requires extraordinary proof. There is no proof whatsoever to back up this extraordinary claim.

If scientists had to chase down the possibility that the variance in their experiment was due to residue from an unseen flying spaghetti monster, the hand of an unseen deity, the influence of orgone energy, or myriad other mythical entities and forces, scientific advancement would screech to a halt.

In order to operate effectively, scientists must adopt an agreed-upon set of physical laws, such that they can safely operate within the constraints thereof without having to spend all of their time chasing wild geese. If one scientist wants to expand the set of rules to include God, or orgone enrgy, or pasta-based lifeforms, then that scientist needs to provide conclusive proof to the community at large that such a thing not only exists, but influences the physical or theoretical world.

Religion told us the earth was flat. Religion told us that the earth was the center of the solar system and that sick people were possessed by demons. Brilliant men were imprisoned and killed because they dared to challenge religious doctrine. In the science-vs-religion debate over the centuries, religion has been wrong every single time. It has slowed the advance of scientific progress, killed scientists, and destroyed research.

So yes, extraordinary proof will be required before any scientist considers the existence of God in any of his very sound conclusions.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Paxen » Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:27 pm

Koatanga wrote:Religion told us the earth was flat. Religion told us that the earth was the center of the solar system and that sick people were possessed by demons. Brilliant men were imprisoned and killed because they dared to challenge religious doctrine. In the science-vs-religion debate over the centuries, religion has been wrong every single time. It has slowed the advance of scientific progress, killed scientists, and destroyed research.


While I do agree completely with you point about extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary proof, I do think the history of religion and science isn't quite as black and white as you put it here.

It's all true, about religious authority repressing knowledge and sticking to old ideas even in the face of old knowledge, but there's also quite a bit of overlap between religious institutions and scientists, especially in christian europe. Many of the most famous early scientists where monks or priests, for one thing. For one thing they were the ones with the time to dedicate to gathering knowledge about the world. A lot of the source of misinformation in medieval times have their roots in Aristotelian science. But that may also be connected to the reverence people had for scripture. Aristoteles held so much sway because he was regarded as the greatest scientist that had ever lived, and his writings were taken as literal truth without question. I'm not sure if Aristoteles is to blame for that. It was a failure of methodology - when observed events came into conflicts with written truths, the observed phenomen were discarded and people stuck to the old writings. That's not directly the fault of religion, but I do believe it may have been related.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Koatanga » Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:01 pm

Paxen wrote:While I do agree completely with you point about extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary proof, I do think the history of religion and science isn't quite as black and white as you put it here.

It's all true, about religious authority repressing knowledge and sticking to old ideas even in the face of old knowledge, but there's also quite a bit of overlap between religious institutions and scientists, especially in christian europe. Many of the most famous early scientists where monks or priests, for one thing. For one thing they were the ones with the time to dedicate to gathering knowledge about the world. A lot of the source of misinformation in medieval times have their roots in Aristotelian science. But that may also be connected to the reverence people had for scripture. Aristoteles held so much sway because he was regarded as the greatest scientist that had ever lived, and his writings were taken as literal truth without question. I'm not sure if Aristoteles is to blame for that. It was a failure of methodology - when observed events came into conflicts with written truths, the observed phenomen were discarded and people stuck to the old writings. That's not directly the fault of religion, but I do believe it may have been related.

I don't deny that a lot of past and current scientists are men of faith of a variety of religions. I freely admit it. What I am saying is that where religion and science have had disagreements, religion has always been proven wrong. I am also saying that no scientist ever made an important discovery by rejecting physical laws in favor of Holy ones.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Dantriges » Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:47 pm

Why are the failures of religion, specifically of the catholic church relevant for the question if God exists? If he exists it seems rather obvious that he isn´t involved in the management of all these different churches claiming to speak in his name.

You can take that as a proof that he doesn´t exist, that he doesn´t care, that he has a hands off policy in human affairs or that he approves but well the last point is a bit difficult to reconcile with three different religion with all their sub branches.

But well if you want to put the blame on God for the bad treatment of scientists, well it was the medieval catholic church. IMO their deeds are theirs alone, not commandments from the maker.

So well why should the opinion and the past deeds of a religion enter into the debate? We don´t even know which religion if any is actually the most correct one.

I can understand if someone says, we have no proof and our scienctific models work perfectly without the existence of a supreme being. Yeah ok, that sounds logical.

I can also understand if someone says that the whole omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent stuff puts a deity so far beyond our capabilities that we will never get evidence, because we simply can´t understand it.

And well I recently met a guy who said he felt God very directly in his life. You can call that delusional and there is no physical evidence but in his mind he got proof. You won´t shake that with a statement that we got no scientific evidence. No idea if he´s delusional or right, never had such an experience. It fills some need for him and well AFAIK he won´t turn into a menace for society, so who cares.

IMO I probably find out when I die. Either there is nothing and I simply cease to exist and won´t care about that or there is an aferlife, ok fine, surprise. Let´s see what´s the real deal.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Koatanga » Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:14 pm

Dantriges wrote:Why are the failures of religion, specifically of the catholic church relevant for the question if God exists? If he exists it seems rather obvious that he isn´t involved in the management of all these different churches claiming to speak in his name.

You can take that as a proof that he doesn´t exist, that he doesn´t care, that he has a hands off policy in human affairs or that he approves but well the last point is a bit difficult to reconcile with three different religion with all their sub branches.

But well if you want to put the blame on God for the bad treatment of scientists, well it was the medieval catholic church. IMO their deeds are theirs alone, not commandments from the maker.

So well why should the opinion and the past deeds of a religion enter into the debate? We don´t even know which religion if any is actually the most correct one.

I can understand if someone says, we have no proof and our scienctific models work perfectly without the existence of a supreme being. Yeah ok, that sounds logical.

I can also understand if someone says that the whole omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent stuff puts a deity so far beyond our capabilities that we will never get evidence, because we simply can´t understand it.

And well I recently met a guy who said he felt God very directly in his life. You can call that delusional and there is no physical evidence but in his mind he got proof. You won´t shake that with a statement that we got no scientific evidence. No idea if he´s delusional or right, never had such an experience. It fills some need for him and well AFAIK he won´t turn into a menace for society, so who cares.

IMO I probably find out when I die. Either there is nothing and I simply cease to exist and won´t care about that or there is an aferlife, ok fine, surprise. Let´s see what´s the real deal.


Religions provide the claims by which god is said to have taken part, such as the creation of the universe and all it contains.

If you toss out religion, then you have nothing to either prove or disprove, because you have nobody saying what an alleged god has or has not done.

It also becomes irrelevant whether or not god exists, because it is unknown if we are to worship him or not, or what form such worship should take.

If god exists but has never done anything to influence anything in this or any other universe, then what is the difference between god existing and god not existing? Nothing. He might as well not exist at all.

There must be people telling us of what god did or didn't do, how to serve him, etc. in order for him to have a relevant existence. Religions serve that purpose. They have books and stories and beliefs and practices that reflect their god's wishes.

For the purpose of the discussion of whether an absence of proof of existence is sufficient to reasonably deny existence, religion is therefore quite relevant.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Klaudandus » Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:23 pm

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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Dantriges » Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:51 pm

Koatanga wrote:Religions provide the claims by which god is said to have taken part, such as the creation of the universe and all it contains.


I think we can be pretty sure that they are wrong or only metaphors

If god exists but has never done anything to influence anything in this or any other universe, then what is the difference between god existing and god not existing? Nothing. He might as well not exist at all.


I think most belief systems in that direction mean some kind of architect, not a non involved guy. So more or less, everything is a miracle but don´t wait for an angel to save you.

For the purpose of the discussion of whether an absence of proof of existence is sufficient to reasonably deny existence, religion is therefore quite relevant.


AFAIK there is still a relevant portion of the populace in my country who believes in a god but doesn´t follow a particular religion. So perhaps it´s not relevant in your country but seems some people can live quite fine with that.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Passionario » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:05 am

Koatanga wrote:Religion told us the earth was flat.

No, it didn't, that's 19th century anti-clerical propaganda.

Koatanga wrote:Religion told us that the earth was the center of the solar system and that sick people were possessed by demons. Brilliant men were imprisoned and killed because they dared to challenge religious doctrine. In the science-vs-religion debate over the centuries, religion has been wrong every single time. It has slowed the advance of scientific progress, killed scientists, and destroyed research.


To be fair, science once told us that earth was the center of the universe and that sick people had an imbalance of four principal humours. And brilliant men were imprisoned and killed for challenging the dominant paradigms of all kind, not just religious ones. When Ignaz Semmelweiss invented antiseptic procedures, it was not the priesthood that hounded him into depression, illness and death, but his fellow doctors. When Soviet geneticists were arrested and executed for supporting Mendelian theories of inheritance, it was not the Orthodox Church that ordered the purges, but the Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

My point is that it's not religion that is the problem, it's stupidity. A stupid person in a position of authority is a danger to everyone, regardless of whether said authority is religious, governmental, corporate, academic or otherwise.

Dantriges wrote:No idea if he´s delusional or right, never had such an experience.


I did, it was great. :)
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Paxen » Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:24 am

I'm not really against religion because it "oppresses science", because that's nothing close to a universal truth. My opposition centers around two things:

- The logic doesn't hold up. Many people feel that there is something larger in the universe, a deeper meaning, a mystical element to life. I don't think they're stupid or ignorant when they believe that, many of them are very smart people. It's just that I don't feel anything like that, and that there's not much else religion has going for it these days. (Well, I do feel it sometimes. But I disregard it because:) The feelings of mystery and greatness and such are better explained, in my opinion, by how the human brain works, not that these feelings have to correspond to something that's real outside our own minds. The brain is a master of tricking itself. But that's my opinion. Plenty of people disagree, and I respect that.

- The focus on revelation and scripture as sources of knowledge. It's just a bad way to gather knowledge about the universe, again IMO. Revelation by it's nature is not something that can be repeated, checked or controlled, you just have to take the word of the person claiming it. See above why I think people that have revelations can be totally honest and still totally wrong. Scripture is the worst kind of appeal to authority. "This is the truth because it is written" leads to stagnation and outright untruths. That's not limited to religious texts, though. Aristoteles had a comparable stature in early medieval science.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Nooska » Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:35 am

Apart from doing the courtesy of letting you know I'm stepping out of the discussion for a few days (I'm having some irritability and anoyance, and I don't want that to influence what I say or write), I just want to remind the discusser that we do not have "3 religions" with subbranches. There are several other theistic systems than the judao-christian 3 variations.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Passionario » Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:47 am

Paxen wrote:The feelings of mystery and greatness and such are better explained, in my opinion, by how the human brain works, not that these feelings have to correspond to something that's real outside our own minds. The brain is a master of tricking itself.


Personally, I would love to have a good and proper scientific explanation for my moment of divine revelation. The closest I've found is Wilson/Leary's Eight-Circuit Model of Consciousness, which would classify it as 'spontaneous positive imprinting of neurosomatic and quantum non-local brain circuits' (which, admittedly, doesn't roll off the tongue as easily as "I saw and felt the presence of God throughout the multiverse").
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Klaudandus » Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:06 am

I just find God to be as fallible as Joe Pesci when it comes to answering prayers.

And I'll leave it at that.

No wait... Actually, my family became a clusterfuck once my zeyde died... my grandma became a full blown crazy SBC lady... so did several of my relatives, with my uncle becoming a SBC pastor that preaches that we should blow Iran in the name of Jesus.

But more importantly, my mom and I lived under their thumb for several years. My mom being the youngest of her siblings, and I being the youngest of the cousins... and born to a catholic father... making things worse, my grandma eventually forced my mom into the divorce.

My mom and I took a bunch of abuse from them... all in the name of Jesus...

According to my uncle, the best way for me to make up for the fact that I was born to a catholic dad was to become a pastor myself and i was being groomed to join a seminar since I was a kid...

Luckily, my mom and I pretty much fled the family... after several years of abuse...

So, forgive me if I have something against religion... and I find more comfort in the coldness of science.

It's been almost 20 years since that happened and I still find it hard to talk about it...


The closest thing I've seen to divine intervention in my life was the 2004 Red Sox winning the world series...
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Sagara » Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:21 am

Although, in pure honesty, the blame lays more in the human being wielding the religion than the faith itself (I wouldn't even use the word "religion" as the hand of Man is found everywhere on it).

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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Klaudandus » Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:42 am

True. But still... It's kinda like Seta Soujiro asking Kenshin where he was when he needed the help...
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Dantriges » Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:50 am

What´s SBC and zeyde?
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Klaudandus » Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:58 am

southern baptist church, zeyde is yiddish for grandpa -- my grandpa was a jewish apostate. he was very progressive for being a jewish, and would not tell anyone what they should believe in, unfortunately, once he died... things became crazy in the religious dept.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Fridmarr » Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:51 am

Sagara wrote:Although, in pure honesty, the blame lays more in the human being wielding the religion than the faith itself (I wouldn't even use the word "religion" as the hand of Man is found everywhere on it).

Exactly! Religion and science are not necessarily mutually exclusive things.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Torquemada » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:14 am

They are not exclusive in much the same way that an orgy and a chainsaw are not mutually exclusive; that is, that they have nothing to do with each other and attempts to combine them will probably end up in tragedy, bloodshed, or a trainwreck that is brilliant to watch as long as you aren't a part of it.

That said, many notable religious people have furthered human understanding in myriad ways either by simply trying to understand and question, or to understand their faith. I have yet to see a single person in this threat as it has been hijacked by religion (And I am guilty as anyone in the last 4 or so pages) fail to note that. My major issue, and I imagine that of others as well is when people assume conclusions and attempt to work backwards, such as using the Bible as proof of the Great Flood then looking for Noah's Ark.

One of the reasons I find myself drawn to science personally is because I try to hold myself open to being swayed by evidence that does not support my paradigm, whether it be in matters of the natural world, politics, religion, etc. I realized that indeed along with stupidity/ignorance, extremism as a branch of that stupidity has been a serious issue at hand. I can accept and respect the opinions of a pro-lifer, but not one who bombs abortion clinics. I can appreciate the religious beliefs of a Muslim, but not a jihadist who attacks innocents. The same goes whether it's the Animal Liberation Front, the IRA, Hamas, Jaysh al-Mahdi, or a militia in the US. I'm even getting tired of the extremist rhetoric from both sides in the political discourse today. I'm not saying everyone should be a moderate, but it's definitely past time to moderate the tone of the discussion.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Klaudandus » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:46 am

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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Paxen » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:50 am

Torquemada wrote:They are not exclusive in much the same way that an orgy and a chainsaw are not mutually exclusive; that is, that they have nothing to do with each other and attempts to combine them will probably end up in tragedy, bloodshed, or a trainwreck that is brilliant to watch as long as you aren't a part of it.


They do have some overlap, they're all methods for discovering how the world works.

For me, the last half-millennia or so has shown that the scientific method is vastly superior for this purpose. A lot of people still seek answers outside what science can provide, and I don't really mind that. I find "we don't currently know" to be a perfectly acceptable answer, but many people don't, and so seek their answers in religion (which provides them). I got no problem with that.

I do think that anybody who accepts religious answers over scientific answers where science does have an answer and they're in direct conflict is a moron. (Creationists and such.)

Passonario, it's only a start, but Apophenia, the ability of the human brain to see patterns in random data, can go some ways towards explaining mystical experiences.

I don't write all this to convince people I'm right (well, except for convincing Nooska that people who self-identify as atheists are in fact atheists, even if they're agnostics too!). Just trying to present my views, and my reasons for holding them, so as to maybe give a little insight into atheism. (I really hate it when people try to claim that atheism is fundamentally logically unsound.)
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Dantriges » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:44 am

Klaudandus wrote:http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/8-million-a-year-thats-modest-says-rbs-chief-8490841.html

This guy should EABODs and DIAF


Yeah seems some people totally lost touch with reality. 8,3 million including a bonus in a year where he screwed up and he calls it low?
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Koatanga » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:22 pm

Fridmarr wrote:
Sagara wrote:Although, in pure honesty, the blame lays more in the human being wielding the religion than the faith itself (I wouldn't even use the word "religion" as the hand of Man is found everywhere on it).

Exactly! Religion and science are not necessarily mutually exclusive things.

They sure seem to be when it comes to Texas textbooks. I cringe to think of children growing up thinking creationism and evolution are equally valid, and that the scientific use of the term "theory" equates to the colloquial use synonymous with "hunch".

But when it comes to religion and the "hand of man" showing up in it, well, it seems to me that everything that is unprovable and pristine is what god did, and everything that gets disproven or abused is all man's fault. Goalposts naturally shift as scientific discoveries prove more of the previously unprovable, such that the newly disproved things become man's hand and not god's hand.

I think it's all "man's hand", because I believe man invented the concept of god to explain that which man was unable to explain.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Paxen » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:30 pm

Klaudandus wrote:http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/8-million-a-year-thats-modest-says-rbs-chief-8490841.html

This guy should EABODs and DIAF


Meh, par for the course. Overpaid executives think they've earned every cent, just because all the rest of the executives are also vastly overpaid.

It doesn't help that execs are popular on the boards of other companies, which means they get to set each others salaries.
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