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Evolution of Religion


Forums Forums Religion and Secularism Evolution of Religion

Viewing 15 posts - 301 through 315 (of 365 total)
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  • #313590
    TimB
    Participant

    Most of us have lived as religious persons and/or persons with supernatural beliefs.  In some cases, for most of our lives.  If we are too hard on persons who are currently like we were, it may be like the ex-smoker being the most avid anti-smoking proponent.

    #313597
    Genus Homo
    Participant

    I make an attempt to describe what may be real by what is real. I don’t have a key to understand God and yes I spell it with a capital g. I never said most of what I’m being critiqued for in these exchanges. My views are barely recognizable through the comments of others and caricatured by one entrant so offering a point by point rebuttal doesn’t seem worth the time. When discussions aren’t linked by a germane, point and counterpoint dialogue they tend to wander, fracture and with a subject like religion even become charged with animus. I’m not saying this is happening but the perceived need to defend and advance ones own views can evoke defensive reactions. Wayne Dyer in his “101 Ways to Transform Your Life” offers one of them in saying “Remember it’s more important to be kind than right.”

    There is a certain quality of the human mind that explains a lot about why people exhibit their particular personality traits. Once a person buys into a view of the world whether it’s about religion, race or politics any adopted idea whether valid or not pulls the mind in directions that confirm the original thought. How many conservatives believe that liberals are immoral and lack self-control? That notion started perhaps when he or she was a child and heard a parent make a similar remark and an early error in thinking became a life long confirmation bias. No amount of evidence to the contrary will change such a mind that’s learned to willfully disregard any opposing views. People who advocate a message of atheism are on confirmation bias auto-pilot in that they can’t even admit the self-evident possibility that they may be wrong, which is clearly the case. Nobody knows the answer to this question. No one can prove or disprove it’s claim. If disbelief, a thoroughly legitimate point of view has credibility it lives in the agnostic who doesn’t claim the impossible knowledge of atheism. Atheists can be every bit as intractable as the hell fire preaching fundamentalist.

    This question most likely doesn’t fall into the either/or, I believe or I don’t believe category. There is no right or wrong to this question and at a basic level no one knows more any one else. I express my ideas because they may prove helpful or useful to someone else and humans have been doing that since the beginning. It makes me and us human. So I shall continue.      I thank the Center for Inquiry for this First Amendment platform.

     

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 2 days ago by Genus Homo.
    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 2 days ago by Genus Homo.
    #313610
    Lausten
    Keymaster

    People who advocate a message of atheism are on confirmation bias auto-pilot in that they can’t even admit the self-evident possibility that they may be wrong, which is clearly the case.

    That came out of the blue. Not sure what you’re reacting to Genus Homo. The “you can’t disprove it” question is discussed here often, as well as definitions of atheist. I’m pretty sure I can demonstrate to very near certainty that Jesus did not rise bodily from the dead, that’s what it means to be atheist in regards to Christianity. I have no evidence for a universal consciousness. If you want to call that “agnostic” fine.

    Sorry the civil portion of this conversation came to such an abrupt end.

    #313614
    3point14rat
    Participant

    TimB:  Most of us have lived as religious persons and/or persons with supernatural beliefs.  In some cases, for most of our lives.  If we are too hard on persons who are currently like we were, it may be like the ex-smoker being the most avid anti-smoking proponent.

    A good analogy. I’ve never smoked but I think I empathize with why ex-smokers are so zealous in their crusade against smoking.

    My grandpa smoked heavily until he was in his late 50’s. I was in school when he quit (in the early 80’s), but after he did he wouldn’t stop talking about how disgusting it was to see others smoking and how incredulous he was that they were still doing it. Once he became an ex-smoker, he was more aware of the horrors of what he had done (to himself and others) than any lifelong non-smoker , so he was justifiably more concerned than them.

    Ex-smokers are like ex-Christians- they have both seen the other side and feel the need to help others avoid making the same mistakes they did. It’s not that either group are too zealous, it’s that they are the ones who truly understand the dangers and are honestly worried about their fellow humans. Their concern should be more concerning than anyone else’s.

    #313623
    Lausten
    Keymaster

    Page 22 of this thread is having some trouble loading.

    #313625
    Lausten
    Keymaster

    Rarely in my experience does someone ever say “well how can we find out?” as advice.

    The evolutionist is obsessed with conversion and saving just as is the evangelical Christian, they each want to control what others believe.

    I think you need to get out more Sherlock.

    #314639
    Write4U
    Participant

    Sherlock Holmes said,

    “Rarely in my experience does someone ever say “well how can we find out?” as advice.”

    That is because in your world every one already knows the answers. They don’t need to find out anything. You don’t need to find out!

    Remember, it was you who exchanged “atheism” with “rationalism” as your method of gaining knowledge. You are no longer allowed to ask the question “how can we find out”.

    That question is reserved for scientists only…..:)

     

    p.s. two popes have declared evolution to be true, based on the knowledge gained from the Pontifical Academy of Sciences……. 🙂

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 2 days ago by Write4U.
    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 2 days ago by Write4U.
    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 2 days ago by Write4U.
    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 2 days ago by Write4U.
    #314643
    Lausten
    Keymaster

    Funny thing is, we spent a page or so on this discussion earlier, when I linked to the “Dear Emma” letter by PZ Myers. PZ not only explains how to ask questions, he answers the question that the young lady asked with sarcasm. It’s a letter that is referenced all over the web as an example of how to respond when someone is that confused. He goes into detail about how to “find out”.

    I’ll assume you’re actually interested in knowing how they figured out the age of the rock, so I’ll try to explain it to you.

    #314647
    Write4U
    Participant

    Write4U said,

    “p.s. two popes have declared evolution to be true, based on the knowledge gained from the Pontifical Academy of Sciences…….”

    It’s interesting to note that a couple of centuries ago, such declarations were causal for getting burned at the stake of our religious rationalists.

    You want empirical proof of that?

    Hypatia

    Following the lead of Peter, a reader for the church, the Monks of Nitria pulled Hypatia from her seat and dragged her through the city to Caesarium, the Church of Caesar. There, they stripped her naked, and beat her with broken pieces of pottery and scraped the skin from her body. Even though she was now dead, they were not yet finished. They tore her body, limb from limb, and took it to a place outside the city called Kinaron. There, they burned the remains of this noble lady upon a great pyre.

    No person was ever punished for this brutal murder. But humankind paid dearly. The end of ancient science is symbolized by Hypatia’s death. Although the decline had been in progress for several centuries, for the next one thousand years after Hypatia there was only chaos and barbarism. These were the Dark Ages.

    Hypatia was an extraordinary woman for her time. It has been said that she is the most famous of all women scientists until Madam Marie Curie, and that she was the Ralph Waldo Emerson of her day. Where would we be today had her science and philosophies been allowed to survive and flourish?

    http://www.womanastronomer.com/hypatia2.htm

    I have never heard of a group of scientists murdering a religious person.  They would first try to figure out what makes a religious person tick…: )

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 2 days ago by Write4U.
    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 2 days ago by Write4U.
    #314650
    3point14rat
    Participant

    I like PZ Myers (about a decade ago I read his blog once in a while) and use the internet but I had never heard of the “Dear Emma” letter until you linked to it. It’s a valuable item to point to in cases like this.

    Here’s another good blurb for the pile:

    Evolution is an explanation.  It claims to give us the mechanism explaining how life got to be the way it is.  The best evolution can hope for is to become a theory, and it has done so.  The same is true for germ theory, another explanation, which has also reached that pinnacle and can’t become anything better.

    By contrast, a scientific law is a description—how motion works (F = ma) or how gravity works (F = Gm1m2/r2) or how gasses work (PV = nRT), for example.

    […]

    A theory doesn’t graduate to become a law.  They’re two different things.  And as for the “beyond the shadow of a doubt” thing, science is always provisional.  Nothing is ever certain.  A sliver of that shadow of doubt hangs over our most established scientific conclusions.

    http://crossexaminedblog.com/2011/10/07/bungling-the-facts-behind-evolution/

    How that small piece of text doesn’t clear everything up is a mystery. The last paragraph alone is worth it’s weight in gold.

    #314728
    Genus Homo
    Participant

    I’m continually impressed by the level of thought behind these postings. I get the distinct notion that if all who post on this website lived in the same neighborhood word would get out among door to door salesmen of cheap overpriced vacuum cleaners to stay away.

     

     

    Time, there’s something about time. Time is a riddle. Do we exist in time? Of course we do, one might say or else we wouldn’t be here. That’s true but time can be separated into past, present and future because yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet so we can’t say we exist in the future and we don’t exist in the present either. We are in a real sense at least partially out side of time suggesting that part of us is timeless and timelessness is eternal. Any conception of the soul usually depicts it as something  eternal  and deathless. To have those attributes it must exist immune from the sweep of all changing time. This idea might be dismissed as too speculative  but if we consider the idea from another perspective we might think differently. My reason for saying we don’t exist in the present moment is based on the following; time has a forward moving cutting edge that sharply delineates  what is past and what is coming in the future. That cutting, forward moving edge of time  we call the present but what is the present moment because the present moment in the very instant we perceive it has already moved into the past even if by the slightest imaginable span of linear time.   Human comprehension is a process and every process has a beginning, something afterward and an end and that sequence takes time. If we look at the clock and when the second hand says precisely 9 PM and simultaneously clap our hands and say now! by the time our brains have processed this event, it’s already residing in the past. Consciousness lags behind the cutting edge of forward moving time because it’s dependent on  physical processes in the brain that enable human comprehension. One might say that this idea is splitting hairs to a point of absurdity because the time spans are so short. Yet, if we could imagine a second taking an entire year to pass time takes on a very different meaning. This is the world of “Planck Time” where time is measured in smaller and smaller units. Theoretically the smallest unit of time is the time needed for the fastest thing in the universe (the speed of light) to travel across the smallest object in the universe which use to be the diameter of an atom, but even smaller units of matter have since been discovered. This almost infinitely short measure of time constitutes what can be thought of as the “present” because every thing that come after it becomes the past. What we call the present is infinitely brief and in human terms of thought and comprehension is already the past. Our consciousness is never in the present moment. It’s always lagging behind the cutting edge of linear time. Hence, part of who we are is disjointed and separate from the present. Is there something beyond the leading edge of forward moving time. I think so. I once heard a theologian make the statement that “God is in the future inviting humanity into its own destiny.”Is time being pulled along with all reality into the future by something that’s timeless and eternal? I think so. It’s interesting; could this be why cosmologist see the universe’s outward expansion getting faster?

    If God can be conceived (at least in part) as a form of energy and we ourselves as a web of energy as all matter is including our own bodies, and if we conceive of God as being timeless and eternal and that human consciousness or a very real part of it is disjointed from the immediate flow of moving time, does that suggest a connection?

    #314731
    3point14rat
    Participant

    Genus Homo, we have memory. That’s what connects the present to the past and allows us to function. If our brains only processed ‘now’, continually replacing each ‘now’ with the next, we couldn’t function the way we do. Fortunately we can process many previous ‘nows’ and use that information to live. For example we can read because we keep the information of the words we’re reading in our heads, letting us incorporate each word into a larger whole with meaning. Same as making supper or mowing the lawn or brushing our teeth or thinking about the riddle of time- it’s all done as a continuous stream that uses the past to make sense of ‘now’.

    I see ‘now’ as a two-dimensional plane moving forward. It has height and width but no thickness (Plank time is probably the thickness of my imaginary plane, but for practical purposes I call it zero), and ‘now’ is the transition point between what’s in front (future) and what’s behind (past). Everything exists in that zero width. If you simply look at the plane as though it were a screen, you’d see things moving and changing (and if fact you are always doing that, because the universe is that plane, just popped out into three-dimensions for your viewing pleasure.) We can’t see around the plane and we can’t look behind us, but it is possible to keep a hazy record of what’s behind us within our memories.

    There’s no practical need to worry about the fact we can’t clap at exactly 9:00. We can be off by any amount that doesn’t cause us to die, and it’s all good. Physicists and thinking people find these topics interesting, but there isn’t an everyday need to know that our actions are never ‘now’, as long as they’re close enough to keep us alive. Until humans thought about it nothing has ever cared about this question, and life’s been rolling along on earth for billions of years, so it’s more ‘want to know’ than ‘need to know’.

    As for the God thing, anyone can imagine it to be anything they want. Not to sound dismissive, but wondering about the nature of God is as useless as wondering about the nature of ghosts or auras. I’d rather talk about characters in The Lord of the Rings than any in the Bible (I just started Return of the King last night, so feel free to let me know what you think of Sméagol or Sam or Faramir).

    #314732
    Lausten
    Keymaster

    3. covered that pretty well. Thank you. Genus, your ending paragraph asks, “if we conceive”. As a thought experiment, that’s great. It’s an improvement over “I believe”. For me, it becomes an exercise in giving existing things different names. I’d rather just stick to the scientific terms. As for your thoughts on time, I can see they are in your own words, but I wonder if you’ve looked for what others say about that, some of what you are asking has been thoroughly discussed. One of the first really break-out popular TED talks was this one by a neuroscientist who had a stroke and experienced living in the now as she recovered.

     

    BTW, that vacuum cleaner salesmen thing was priceless.

    #314736
    3point14rat
    Participant

    Lausten:  3. covered that pretty well.

    Did I? This kind of stuff is not what I read about. Those ideas are what popped into my head when reading Genus’s post, so I really have no idea if they make sense to others or are even close to being right.

    I never watch the videos people post, but I’ll try to watch the one you posted some time today.

    #314784

    Worth highlighting

    π wrote:

    Until humans thought about it nothing has ever cared about this question, and life’s been rolling along on earth for billions of years, so it’s more ‘want to know’ than ‘need to know’.

    As for the God thing, anyone can imagine it to be anything they want. Not to sound dismissive, but wondering about the nature of God is as useless as wondering about the nature of ghosts or auras.

    It’s nice to hear others say things that fit right into my perspective…  hmmm,  so I’m not totally off my rocker.   🙂

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