The religious right and "smart" people...

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absentia

Fidel wrote:

Religion may be outdated, but its principles and teachings contributed to forming modern society. We don't generally accept murder and other crimes as societal norms, and mainly because of old religious dictums that have endured through time.

Do you really think most primitive tribes approved of murder until a god revealed himself to them and said: "Stop killing one another. Go kill the other tribe instead!"? Not likely. As different as religions are, they all have some basic principles in common, and those are the precepts which predate religion. As for other crimes,  every religion has invented some - that is, made certain quite normal and harmless activities illegal, which the priests explain only as "an abomination" or "unclean". I doubt it would do society any harm to go with a rational process of law-making.   

6079_Smith_W

@ absentia

I don't believe there is a god, actually. I was just responding to the claim that there is no evidence of anything supernatural. There are plenty of sightings, photographs, and things that people have perceived that are unexplained, and while I don't assume all or even most of it is true, there is still plenty of it for which we have no explanation.

And not only do the oppressive practices you mention not have anything to do with belief in ghosts (as an example), they also aren't supported by all religious people, even among the laity of churches where that is the official doctrine.

I agree there are some pretty vile things in religious texts, but alongside that they also deal with questions of morality and philosophy that are still relevant today.

Fidel

[url=http://www.torontosun.com/news/world/2010/06/13/14373276.html]People not smart enough to understand God's creation: scientist[/url]

Quote:
Lord Rees made the comments to the Sunday Times in London in response to the fact that scientists have been yet unable to create a unifying theory to describe how the universe works.

He suggests that the idea of multiple parallel universes, human consciousness and the very idea of reality may be simply beyond our understanding.

Hold the line! Perhaps in a mere one-thousand years of human evolution and tech advances, give or take, man will declare God alive and well.

Fidel

hsfreethinkers wrote:
Fidel, you put a lot of effort into this.  Are you struggling with the question of whether there is a supernatural?  Well, there's no evidence for it. Sorry.

Well at first glance, those in the 19th century would have thought so. Some scientists then believed that everything knowable was known to them. Today's theoretical scientists speak of the nature of reality and matter in ways that approach the mystical(Tom Harpur, Life After Death, 1992). One Cambridge physicist describes a theoretical universe where information is a key part of the universe. In his mind, our thoughts and actions have consequences for the creation of new universes with every choice we make and for every action we pursue. For David Deutsch, the Hugh Everett's other worlds theory is true in addition to Darwinian evolution. For him, it's the only way to explain the amount of matter in this expanding universe since its creation. According to David Deutsch, a self-described atheist, new worlds are created all the time and infinity has no bounds. For another, Brian Greene of New York, our entire world and existence is merely a hologram of light dancing back to us from Planck boundaries at the edge of the universe and projected toward focal points in this locale. the result of two dimensional data that exists somewhere in another universe. Some people might be reminded of the Apostles description of many mansions prepared for us by God.  In the biblical narrative Jesus said to his apostles, If it were not so, I would have told you. And for physicists like Fritjof Capra, the supernatural is not the far fetched. Capra theorizes that we derive our creativity and intuition from interaction with other worlds on a daily basis. In his view, the human mind is intimately connected to alternate universes at levels of intuition, creativity, dream state, and even on psychic levels. And some anthropologists will tell us that ancient peoples have believed similar things for a long time. For some ancient peoples, shamans and medicine men and women were the first scientists. They believed they were tapping into the spirit world by deep meditation of the mind by isolating themselves in caves and deep underground where sounds and light from the ambient world could not reach. Shamans and medicine men experimented with drugs in order to induce altered states of consciousness. Meditation, rhythmic drums in combination with the right spiritual places were key to accessing the spirit world. Infinite reality is an old idea that seems to be shared by human cultures around the world and transcending time and even scientific points of view.

Sineed

Fidel wrote:

Religion may be outdated, but its principles and teachings contributed to forming modern society. We don't generally accept murder and other crimes as societal norms, and mainly because of old religious dictums that have endured through time.

With regard to religion keeping us moral, I came across this post by Joe My God

Joe My God wrote:
Over the last seven days...

Italy: Father Pierino Gelmini charged with molesting twelve underage boys.
Wisconsin: Pastor Travis Gandy arrested twice in one week for two separate sexual assaults on a children.
Florida: Imam Yasser Mohamed Shahade pleads guilty to child molestation.
Michigan: Four Christian activists arrested for disorderly conduct after attempting to convert Muslims at the International Arab Festival.
Michigan: Pastor Christopher Settlemoir charged with child molestation.
Texas: Pastor Hezekiah Stallworth charged with molesting a seven year-old girl. Stallworth reportedly lured young girls into his office with offers of candy. He is 75.
California: Pastor Melissa Huckaby sentenced to life in prison for murdering and sexually assaulting an eight year-old girl.
New Jersey: Rabbi Eliahu Ben Haim confesses to $1.5M money laundering scam.
Massachusetts: Pastor Simeon Stefanidakis charged with multiple felony counts of possessing child pornography.
New York: Televangelist Samuel Solanky pleads guilty to scamming $3M out of his followers via a phony gemstone business.
Israel: An unnamed rabbi has been arrested for the rapes of multiple underage females.
North Carolina: Pastor Robert Lee McQueen convicted on multiple felony counts of heroin distribution.
Ontario: Pastor Fred Hanson convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor.
Texas: Pastor Pastor Tracy Burleson charged with hiring his son to murder his wife. Both the pastor and his son were having a sexual affair with the same woman.
New York: Rabbi Baruch Lebovits accused of molesting more underage boys. Lebovits was sentenced to 10-32 years in prison for child molestation in April.
California: Cardinal Roger Mahoney didn't search for the victims of a confessed pedophile priest because they were only the children of "illegal aliens." Big deal.

This Week's Winner
Finland: Pastor Francois Bazaramba has been sentenced to life in prison for taking part in Rwanda's 1994 genocide of Tutsis. Finland had refused to extradite Bazaramba to Rwanda because he faced the death penalty there. Eyewitnesses told the court that Bazaramba had provided weapons and led gangs of Hutus in their killing spree.

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Fidel

Well I guess if the Church was eliminated, it should finally put an end to child abuse for all time. There should be no more corruption of people anywhere, and the world would live happily ever after. I imagine this is what the smart people are saying.

Sineed

The weight of history is rather against the idea that religion makes us moral.  Some would say it makes people behave even worse.  I believe it's probably a wash.

hsfreethinkers hsfreethinkers's picture

Smart people are saying: "Kids need protection from ads - and Bible Bashers". It wouldn't put an end to child abuse, but it would certainly help if adults didn't indoctrinate children.

Fidel

What if child abuse by Catholic and Anglican priests is only a small percentage of the total sexual and other abuse perpetrated against children?  What if it was true that most children are in far greater danger of being molested by uncle Herman, aunt Brumhilda, or uncle-boyfriends than the local priest? What if it's like this all over the world? What would smart people say then?

absentia

Fidel wrote:

Well I guess if the Church was eliminated, it should finally put an end to child abuse for all time. There should be no more corruption of people anywhere, and the world would live happily ever after. I imagine this is what the smart people are saying.

Naw... People will still behave badly. They invented religion (as well as money, aristocracy, blood sports, prostitution, patriarchy, etc.) to give bad behahiour a legal protective framework. Eliminate religion, and you deprive bad behaviour of one hiding place, that's all.

Fidel

I say let's congratulate the federal Liberals for not making daycare a national priority in Canada. We really do need more dreg'alated private daycares in this country where anybody can be hired part-time and without too many benefits to mind the shy little boy or girl next door so many hours a day. The private sector can do it better and cheaper, right?

absentia

6079_Smith_W wrote:

@ absentia

...... And not only do the oppressive practices you mention not have anything to do with belief in ghosts (as an example), they also aren't supported by all religious people, even among the laity of churches where that is the official doctrine.....

Jews not circumsizing their sons? Good news. Catholics, not telling their daughters they'll go to confession or burn in hell - your choice? Excellent! Fundamentalist Christians letting gays get married and unwed teenagers have abortions and terminal cancer patients get suicide assistance? What a pleasant surprise! Okay then; we're making progress. 

Quote:
I agree there are some pretty vile things in religious texts, but alongside that they also deal with questions of morality and philosophy that are still relevant today.

Of course. Those things have always been with us, in all societies. They won't go away the minute we stop believing that a kind, generous God needed his only son horribly killed, so he could forgive the people misbehaving.

Fidel

And there would be no more profiting from terrible wars or suffering in general!! All we have to do is make sure the NDP never governs federally!! It's really easy.

Stargazer

Atheism is extremist? There are not enough smiley faces to put here. Religion is good. God is great,. Non-belief in God is what, exactly?

Unionist

Stargazer wrote:

Non-belief in God is what, exactly?

Enough to get an NDP MP [url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/story/1999/06/09/bc_mp990608.html]banished to the back benches[/url]:

Quote:

Yesterday, Robinson stood in the House of Commons and presented a petition calling for the removal of any references to God in the Constitution. Today, Party leader, Alexa McDonough banished Robinson to the back benches. "My colleage advanced a position which was not the position of the party, not the position of the caucus," she said. Robinson will retain his role as a party critic in foreign affairs and human rights issues.

The NDP MP for Kamloops, Nelson Riis, says his fellow New Democrats are angry, embarassed and disgusted by Robinsons behaviour. He says the demotion is the ultimate gesture of disgrace. Today in the House of Commons Alexa McDonough read a statement supporting the references to God in the constitution.

And not a minute too soon. The Almighty was about to strike her dead with a bolt of lightning - no, worse - reduce her polling numbers!

No one ever apologized to Svend Robinson and the Canadian people for this medieval McCarthyite atrocity.

 

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Sineed wrote:
  

Wow! I read it, going back to the last week of 2009. Frown

Fidel

Stargazer wrote:
Atheism is extremist? There are not enough smiley faces to put here. Religion is good. God is great,. Non-belief in God is what, exactly?

No one in this thread says that non-belief in God is an extremist point of view. You're not an extremist if you simply don't believe and citing a lack of empirical evidence for or against. Or in some cases, it's weak or negative atheism. Positive or strong atheists are adamant in their belief that there are no gods or deities or supernatural entities and citing no scientific evidence as the sole basis for their strong beliefs. It's a subtle difference. Negative atheists might also be considered agnostics ie. they declare that they simply do not know based on a lack of evidence either way. What both have in common is a need for empirical, measurable evidence within a material, atomic based end of the universe that comprises approximately 4% of all matter in existence. And I think this is partly why Lord Rees has said recently that we are not smart enough to understand the universe. Not only is the universe, or some might suggest "God's creation", more than we can know, it's stranger than we can possibly understand. Or at least, it's more than and stranger than we can know at this point in human evolution. Maybe we need to grow bigger brains, or create a form of AI or big brain computer capable of accessing information in parallel universes ie. quantum computers.

Stargazer

Thanks unionist. I had no idea the NDP were big on that ol' time religion.

Fidel

Yes, and they are making friendly with Muslim terrierists, too. I can believe the garbage people attack the NDP with.

Tommy_Paine

Those 3.3 percent must be the ones who realize that atheism is an extremist point of view as far as science is concerned.

 

No one in this thread says that non-belief in God is an extremist point of view.

 

I must strenuously object, Fidel.  All these years I have read your contributions to this message board and found them full of spirit, information and occasional wisdom. 

 

I will not stand for anyone saying you are "no one"-- not even you.

 

I think the salient point of religion and cases of child abuse and child sexual abuse is that it is institutional in nature in a way that the "Uncle Hermans" of the world are not.   It puts a nasty edge on things, and personally, I think whatever nasty comments slung at the various religions who have become parties to these attrocities and more deserve every missive fired their way and count themselves damn lucky that's all that is being fired at them.

But, they are not the only institution that has been known to do this.   In the past years I tried, pretty much in vain, to draw attention to the Cornwall Inquiry where we saw our own institution of justice behave in a similar manner.   

It's not a major story because, I don't doubt, our legal establishment called their PR buddies to call editors to make sure the story ran on page 16 below the fold. Which is what the church used to do when it could.

 

But as the people who keep following me everywhere keep saying, maybe I shouldn't be so paranoid.

Fidel

Tommy_Paine wrote:
Fidel wrote:

No one in this thread says that non-belief in God is an extremist point of view.

I must strenuously object, Fidel. All these years I have read your contributions to this message board and found them full of spirit, information and occasional wisdom.

I will not stand for anyone saying you are "no one"-- not even you.

Well it wasn't even all of what I said about atheism, so perhaps we can cut me some slack? I don't consider "non-belief" to be an extremist point of view.

But non-believers who then declare that there is no god or deities, or something along the lines of a supernatural based on zero scientific evidence against this being the case, is an extremist point of view.

Main stream scientists would not consider donating their lives to proving or disproving the existence of God or any other supernatural entities. Why not? Because it is unknowable. Fool's errand. Enter James Randi.

And for the record, Sir John Carew Eccles was a believer. Sir James Jeans was a believer. Adolf Portmann, Wilder Penfield, Carl Jung, and Roger Penrose? - believers of a sort.

Charles Sherrington, the founder of modern neurophysiology, said that he had to conclude that, "A radical distinction has... arisen between [physical] life and mind. The former is a matter of physics and chemistry - the latter escapes chemistry and physics" Sherrington was convinced that humanity has two separate and distinct elements, mind and matter.

Tommy Paine wrote:
I think the salient point of religion and cases of child abuse and child sexual abuse is that it is institutional in nature in a way that the "Uncle Hermans" of the world are not. It puts a nasty edge on things, and personally, I think whatever nasty comments slung at the various religions who have become parties to these attrocities and more deserve every missive fired their way and count themselves damn lucky that's all that is being fired at them.

I'm in total agreement. I think the Church needs a trade union and a lot better vetting process. Children shouldn't be afraid of going to Church, or when uncle Herman comes to visit, or of being dropped off at that private daycare where the rates are cheap and they cut corners when hiring the best workers. And they are workers whether daycare workers, summer camp leaders, hockey or ringette coaches, gymn teachers, English teachers in public-Catholic and public-secular schools, or priests who are entrusted with the care of children.

And you're absolutely right, Tommy. People everywhere need to speak up and blow the whistle on improper conduct wherever they see it happening. I think our capitalist economies tend to drive people apart, isolate them in ways that are unhealthy, and discourages people from having a sense of civic mindedness in our lives. When we don't care about other people, there's something wrong.

6079_Smith_W

absentia wrote:

6079_Smith_W wrote:

@ absentia

...... And not only do the oppressive practices you mention not have anything to do with belief in ghosts (as an example), they also aren't supported by all religious people, even among the laity of churches where that is the official doctrine.....

Jews not circumsizing their sons? Good news. Catholics, not telling their daughters they'll go to confession or burn in hell - your choice? Excellent! Fundamentalist Christians letting gays get married and unwed teenagers have abortions and terminal cancer patients get suicide assistance? What a pleasant surprise! Okay then; we're making progress. 

Quote:
I agree there are some pretty vile things in religious texts, but alongside that they also deal with questions of morality and philosophy that are still relevant today.

Of course. Those things have always been with us, in all societies. They won't go away the minute we stop believing that a kind, generous God needed his only son horribly killed, so he could forgive the people misbehaving.

Look. feel free to talk about those abuses of religion all you want; I agree with you that they are wrong. But I am not sure what sort of argument you are looking for, because your first response (and your post before it) has nothing to do with the point I was making. And I mean no offense, but I have no idea what you are trying to say with your second statement.

If you want to try again, I am interested to know what you mean (though I likely won't be able to respond until  tomorrow evening as I am in transit).

Unionist

Fidel wrote:

 I can believe the garbage people attack the NDP with.

Huh?

What do you have against the garbage people?

They perform a vital service in our communities.

 

absentia

6079_Smith_W wrote:

absentia wrote:

6079_Smith_W wrote:

@ absentia

...... And not only do the oppressive practices you mention not have anything to do with belief in ghosts (as an example), they also aren't supported by all religious people, even among the laity of churches where that is the official doctrine.....

Jews not circumsizing their sons? Good news. Catholics, not telling their daughters they'll go to confession or burn in hell - your choice? Excellent! Fundamentalist Christians letting gays get married and unwed teenagers have abortions and terminal cancer patients get suicide assistance? What a pleasant surprise! Okay then; we're making progress. 

Quote:
I agree there are some pretty vile things in religious texts, but alongside that they also deal with questions of morality and philosophy that are still relevant today.

Of course. Those things have always been with us, in all societies. They won't go away the minute we stop believing that a kind, generous God needed his only son horribly killed, so he could forgive the people misbehaving.

Look. feel free to talk about those abuses of religion all you want; I agree with you that they are wrong. But I am not sure what sort of argument you are looking for, because your first response (and your post before it) has nothing to do with the point I was making. And I mean no offense, but I have no idea what you are trying to say with your second statement.

If you want to try again, I am interested to know what you mean (though I likely won't be able to respond until  tomorrow evening as I am in transit).

I don't particularly want to talk about 'abuses of religion'. The things i mentioned (not child molestation by Catholic priests - that was mentioned by other people) are integral to the practice of specific religions. If infant genital mutilation, or fear of hellfire, or honour-killing, is going out of style among the believers in this or that doctirine, i'm glad, but it's not relevant. That those practices were enshrined in those doctrines in the first place argues - at least to my mind - against the goodness of the philosphy and morality that religion is supposed to have given the human race.

Also, specific dogma is relevant to the original question. I was referring to the infringement and/or curtailment of other, non-religious, people's civil rights by the fundementalist Christians right. I advocate for a secular state, where laws are made by reasoning jurists, rather than preachers of any denomination - until it can be established, beyond a reasonable doubt, 1. that there is at least one god, 2. that s/he/t cares what humans do and 3. which particular things s/he/t wants done.

My problem is with the idea that morality comes from religion, originates in religion. Of course the language of god-fearing is still present in our laws and state documents: the Christian church had political control of Europe for 1800 years. That doesn't mean there was no law or philosophy or morality or social contract before Christianity. Pre-Christian, even pre-Judaic, societies had rules of behaviour. All of the civilazions we know about had rulas; many had laws carved in stone. Fairly similar laws, as one would expect: don't kill your neighbour, don't cheat your customer, don't take another guy's ox - like that. Pre-civilized societies, who didn't write stuff down, also had similar rules of behaviour. Did they all have religion, as well? Very likely. Does this prove that religions, however different from one another, yet produce similar morality? Or can we infer that morality is an integral part of human society, and religious doctrine is one way to codify that morality?

Looking farther back, to pre-human societies, we find rules of social behaviour - but no religion. So, i conclude that morality predates religion by several million years. Therefore, gods can't take the credit for decent behaviour among primates.... but they each have to take the blame for the specific bad actions they demand of their believers. So, i think, excluding them from our law-making wouldn't be a net loss.     

6079_Smith_W

@ absentia

 

quick answer, because I am out the door.

Thanks for the clarification. I think you and I actually agree on more than we disagree. I did not mean (nor did I specifically say) that morality was created by religion, but it is a fact that many of the people who developed religion also started asking and codifying questions about what it means to be a good person and how to treat others.

Though I do think ritual, belief and religion have always been with us in some form. It is just how we are.

And while I know that organized religion has been used to commit some of the worst oppression and atrocities in the world, it is a two edged sword. I won't actually haul down o bible and start quoting it (I don't think I need to). If you have any knowledge of it at all you will know that there are a few bits of good advice in there.

And really, if we erased all the religions in the world, it wouldn't get rid of the evil. People can always find a new way to oppress others.

absentia

Yes, in general we do agree.

Religions have served peoples more or less well - the main purpose being tribal/national cohesion through ritual and taboo. This was fine, as long as the tribe, city-state or nation was monolithic - all one little gene pool. Whenever these discrete groups came into contact with one another, they faught or traded. The more xenophobic their religions, the more likely one was to wipe out or enslave another. So, it worked better for strong tribes than weak ones. The bible's full of it.

Anyway, the amount of evil in the world is not determined by institutions, but institutions can be a means of entrenching and protecting certain evils. Like stock markets protect greed and aristocracy protects oppression and religion protects hypocrisy. As an institution gains political clout, it becomes untouchable, it resists reform: greater and greater quantities of evil can take refuge inside it, and it can wield the coercive mechanism of the state against its victims, critics or reformers.

But even that isn't the main problem for us, now. The main problem is that we have a heterogeneous society, which a single religion is determined to control. I suspect a bad outcome for many citizens, includining the believers themselves. 

 

Tommy_Paine

But non-believers who then declare that there is no god or deities, or something along the lines of a supernatural based on zero scientific evidence against this being the case, is an extremist point of view.

 

Well, no it's not.   There's simply just no need to invoke the idea of a supernatural being to explain anything, no evidence to suggest one or ones exist, so it's really not extremist at all not to believe in one.

 

It's rather normal.

 

 

Stargazer

Thanks Tommy. I concur. I am so tied of religious people whining about oppression.

 

And to those of you who stated that religion has been both good and bad - clearly you are not a female. Get back to me when women write a book about the lowly status of men (as ordained by "God") then we can talk. Until then - religion can kiss my ass. Those books have been used for centuries to justify the second place status of women.

 

 

E.P.Houle

God, religion and church are three different things. I've always found one of the problems of atheism is that it's too difficult to gather once a week in a quiet room and witness births, marriages and the passing of friends in a community that has a steady continuity. Church dinners, the ageing of your teachers that in my case taught me Henry James and then Berti Russel. The joyful crafting of logic, debate amongst equalls with the background of poetry, light and music. It's a good thing to bring those things together with the passing seasons and the tides of history. One could say that "atheists can't dance". Churches might well be all that's left of union in the post neo-con age. Churches are a kind of union, grange, bund and a source of community policing and morals. Or they can be.

Fidel

Tommy_Paine wrote:

But non-believers who then declare that there is no god or deities, or something along the lines of a supernatural based on zero scientific evidence against this being the case, is an extremist point of view.

 

Well, no it's not.   There's simply just no need to invoke the idea of a supernatural being to explain anything, no evidence to suggest one or ones exist, so it's really not extremist at all not to believe in one.

 

It's rather normal.

 I was talking about the way scientists regard the issue in general. They don't know and are not in the habit of trying to disprove the existence of God. Most scientists will tell you it's a fool's errand. Most scientists don't discuss the issue with any kind of authority, like you're attempting to do here.

Whether you realize it or not, you do advocate extreme views wrt the supernatural, Tommy. You are not satisfied to simply disbelieve based on a lack of evidence. You claim to know what science does not. Do you have any empirical, measurable physical proof for us? Lord Rees and a number of sicentists, as well as billions of people, would like to know. And here you are holding out on us with the goods in hand. Please share. I'm not saying you are a fool, Tommy. I think you're really an agnostic, or a non-believer due to a lack of measurable evidence. In other words, you simply don't know. And that is what is considered normal.

But claiming to know what no other person can possibly know is extraordinary. It's an extreme point of view not so different than the religious right who declare that God exists absolutely, and that he supported crazy George Dubya in doing his part for imperialism. They are extremists, too.

Fidel

I think there are meetings for enthused atheists. I'd be less inclined to label them whackos along the same lines as the religious right. But I won't be joining them anytime soon either.

[url=http://www.buffalo.edu/news/8732]Scientists May Not Be Very Religious, but Science May Not Be to Blame[/url] Buffalo University study

Quote:
"Our study data do not strongly support the idea that scientists simply drop their religious identities upon professional training, due to an inherent conflict between science and faith, or to institutional pressure to conform," Ecklund says. [...]

Ecklund and Scheitle concluded that the assumption that becoming a scientist necessarily leads to loss of religion is untenable.

Apparently scientists hold a range of views on various subject matter, including religious faith. Who knew? The study says a little more than half of scientists surveyed declare no religious affiliation. Younger scientists with families are more likely to attend church services, and people from non-religious families tend to self-select into scientific professions. Apparently there have been long-running tensions between religious institutions and the scientific community. Go figure.

Tommy_Paine wrote:
After having read Dawkins I am assured what makes him an "extremist" isn't what he is saying-- there is nothing extreme in his views-- but that he is saying it

Dawkins is a clever man. And he does advocate extreme points of view concerning religious faith. What he can be absolutely sure of is that increased sales of his books will result in personal monetary gain in this world. Besides writing about science, Dawkins also desires to make his personal opinions pay off for him. He's also a celebrity figure for atheists everywhere, and apparently he's discovered something almost as rewarding as scientific discovery itself - that there is money in atheism when the science alone doesn't appeal to so many purchasers of his books. An old Chinese proverb says that the naive and their money are soon parted. Yes, Dawkins really is a clever man.

hsfreethinkers hsfreethinkers's picture

Fidel wrote:

Tommy_Paine wrote:

But non-believers who then declare that there is no god or deities, or something along the lines of a supernatural based on zero scientific evidence against this being the case, is an extremist point of view.

 

Well, no it's not.   There's simply just no need to invoke the idea of a supernatural being to explain anything, no evidence to suggest one or ones exist, so it's really not extremist at all not to believe in one.

 

It's rather normal.

 I was talking about the way scientists regard the issue in general. They don't know and are not in the habit of trying to disprove the existence of God. Most scientists will tell you it's a fool's errand. Most scientists don't discuss the issue with any kind of authority, like you're attempting to do here.

Whether you realize it or not, you do advocate extreme views wrt the supernatural, Tommy. You are not satisfied to simply disbelieve based on a lack of evidence. You claim to know what science does not. Do you have any empirical, measurable physical proof for us? Lord Rees and a number of sicentists, as well as billions of people, would like to know. And here you are holding out on us with the goods in hand. Please share. I'm not saying you are a fool, Tommy. I think you're really an agnostic, or a non-believer due to a lack of measurable evidence. In other words, you simply don't know. And that is what is considered normal.

But claiming to know what no other person can possibly know is extraordinary. It's an extreme point of view not so different than the religious right who declare that God exists absolutely, and that he supported crazy George Dubya in doing his part for imperialism. They are extremists, too.

Fidel, I agree with Tommy. From your response, it appears that an aspect you are ignoring is probabilities. Given that there is no evidence for a supernatural and the probability that there is is extremely low, you are the extremist. It is extremist to live your life according to a worldview that is based on the remote possibility of a supernatural. Of course, many people claim it isn't remote and that there actually is a supernatural (and they point to anecdotal evidence, "miracles" and whatnot). They're misguided.

Fidel

hsfreethinkers wrote:
Fidel, I agree with Tommy. From your response, it appears that an aspect you are ignoring is probabilities. Given that there is no evidence for a supernatural and the probability that there is is extremely low, you are the extremist. It is extremist to live your life according to a worldview that is based on the remote possibility of a supernatural. Of course, many people claim it isn't remote and that there actually is a supernatural (and they point to anecdotal evidence, "miracles" and whatnot). They're misguided.

No I'm saying the odds are about even,  50-50, and that I'm not going to live my life based on a world view of reality that was popular in Thomas Huxley's time under the sun. Whether I choose to believe or not, I do realize that a leap of faith is required. And that really doesn't come into play for me until a time when the end of me occurs. It's very personal, but I will not be preaching a world view that doesn't exist anymore. Scientists today are saying that the universe is much more complex than either Isaac Newton or Thomas Huxley were aware of. It's not proof of anything, but the possibilities are more obvious now than ever. My views are not those of an extremist. I don't claim to know either way. I'm thumping neither a bible nor a science text when I say that I am a possibilist. It's the most neutral point of view I can have without forcing my personal opinions on anyone else. And if anyone does tell you that they know better, I think you should tell them to speak to the hand.

6079_Smith_W

This is not a discussion you are going to solve. Like I said, atheism, deism,and belief in the supernatural are not extreme ideas per se. People have their own beliefs, and so long as they are not hurting others it is no one's business.

What is extreme is when people try to force their beliefs on others, and make false assumptions about what others believe, and why.

The fundamentalists are guilty of that, and so is Dawkins, even though he is correct in many other things.

Fidel

Well hsfreethinkers says there is no evidence for the supernatural. I don't know about that. He's right in that there has been no unifiying field theory proven correct so far. But scientists today are very excited about discoveries that should be made at CERN and other labs around the world concerning reality and what they think will be the discovery of new forces of nature. So I sort of liken people who try to tell what is and what is not possible to a kind of Spanish inquisition of a bygone era. They seem to want us to believe that nothing is possible, and that we must worship at the temple of Richard Dawkins or some such.

[url=http://bigthink.com/ideas/20340]Dr. Michio Kaku on Buddhism, Christianity, Einstein, and bubbles[/url]

Stargazer

You do realize Fidel that the real Fidel would want no part of this thing you defend called "religion". You need to change your name. Nor would Fidel advocate fighting against the system while promoting adherence to it.

Fidel

I'm not defending religious instituitions or their sins past or present. I'm defending that which is not known and the right to personal spiritual beliefs, or iows, belief in things that are supernatural in general. As I was saying before, humans haven't always been so clever that we have striped toothpaste and mass produced plastic widgets. No, and not so long ago, scientists assumed many things that were wrong. We haven't always had boats that travel under water, air travel, radio, television, and space travel. These things were once considered to be in the realm of the supernatural. And there were revolutionary advances made in science and technology since then. Perhaps one day there will be amazing advances made in the understanding of human consciousness, human biology, interstellar travel, and perhaps things that we can only imagine in our wildest dreams today.

And in Cuba, there are Catholic church services, priests and nuns. They just can't collaborate with the CIA to overthrow  the government, like they tried to do in 1961.

Viva la revolucion!

absentia

Remind -

if and when you do talk to the old snowbird, the conversation doesn't have to be about religion. Because that isn't all that average people think about - in fact, they rarely think about religion at all: they simply have it as a framework for all the other things on their minds, like what to cook for company and when to go for a checkup and where they left the car keys. Discussion with an average person can be about any of their corcerns - which are very like our concerns - which is what you need to get across.

Because those 'pastors' have done a terrific job of disconnecting the mass of people from social/political leadership, by demonizing intellectuals and enshrining 'averageness' (by which they mean gullibility) as the only democratic virtue. Now they're trying to isolate and insulate their flocks from even casual contact with inhtelligent relatives and friends. It's working, too. They shun us; we give up on them. Thus, we hand over more and more of the mass mind to the extreme right.

By all means, if you can look at this relative as a human being in need of rescue, talk to her about democracy in general or any specific social issue. The main thing is to stay on topic... if only to prove that one smart person can.

 

hsfreethinkers hsfreethinkers's picture
hsfreethinkers hsfreethinkers's picture

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6079_Smith_W

@ Stargazer

Castro might not have believed in it, but there are plenty of revolutionary thinkers and workers who had religion (even big bad catholic religion) as their foundation.

I don't think the anabaptists and quakers were too interested in adhering to the system. Neither were religious fools who stood up to oppression in Central America, Vietnam, Myanmar and Tibet, or who fought to defeat slavery, racism, and poverty, and bring in medicare.

Same thing for the many religious people who work to reform their churches, and refuse to follow dogma which serves to oppress, like Italian Catholics who have largely supported a woman's right to abortion since that country's referendum in the 80s.

And it was a couple of devout religious people in power who brought in medicare and who told the state to get out of our bedrooms.

 

Fidel

 

hsfreethinkers wrote:
Fidel, are you [URL=http://stephenlaw.blogspot.com/2010/06/playing-mystery-card.html]playing the mystery card[/URL]?

 

Michio Kaku says that there used to be a joke told in the 1970s that string theorists could be found in unemployment lines.

I think it's possible that Samantha's spit has healing powers in a parallel world where laws of physics may be slightly or radically different.

Law is entirely free to offer his theory of everything to physics journals such as Physical Review D or Nuclear Physics B. Those people will give him the attention he seeks. They're fairly busy with reviewing superstring theories today though.

Freedom 55

remind wrote:

had a evangelical snowbird relative, who just got back from Yuma, explain to me that "smart" people, such as myself, "are social misfits, and do not know what the majority of 'average' people want, and thus we smart people are trying to go against the majority of the people's wishes and that is not very democratic, now is it?".

 

And she knows so "because her pastor explained it all to them in their last sermon".

 

 

I'm not sure what's up with the 'social misfit' comment, but I'm familiar with the too-smart-for one's-own-good argument from evangelical Christians. Sounds to me like her pastor's sermon was based on 1 Corinthians 1:18-31.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+1%3A18-31&vers...

 

I've heard this line before. I've known many fundamentalist Christians who have sought refuge in 1 Corinthians 1:27 - "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise" - when confronted with a rational argument that challenges their worldview. It's a rather convenient get-out-of-argument-free card.

Fidel
remind remind's picture

Freedom 55, think it was/is because  I think she is a fool (putting it nicely) for spending 370k on a motorhome, and that was 'on sale', or even because of my disagreeing with their "snowbirding" for that matter. Oh, and also disagree with her believing that those who get cancers from the oil and gas industry are sacrificing themselves so the rest of us can live well. Plus plus plus of course. Which makes me an "outsider" from the social norm of AB and Yuma AZ apparently.

 

Absentia, I speak my mind and never let a vacuum grow, however, I think maybe that this is a retaliation by their Pastor, as I had thought I was getting somewhere until this last foray down. Perhaps she spoke to them of what I debunked to her. It is going to take me a month to recover from the conversation, but I am going to follow through about  this with  them in August.

 

Now...having said that, I am getting pretty angry with the "educated elite" myself, or at least a portion thereof. As they are pretty much showing themselves to be the guardians of the gate for the 'elite' dominators, through keeping the masses in the trance. In fact, I consider those of the educated elite,  who perform this traitorish to humanity activity, to be exactly the same as the fundamentalist "pastors". Actually perhaps worse.

absentia

remind wrote:

Freedom 55, think it was/is because  I think she is a fool (putting it nicely) for spending 370k on a motorhome, and that was 'on sale', or even because of my disagreeing with their "snowbirding" for that matter. Oh, and also disagree with her believing that those who get cancers from the oil and gas industry are sacrificing themselves so the rest of us can live well. Plus plus plus of course. Which makes me an "outsider" from the social norm of AB and Yuma AZ apparently.

 

Absentia, I speak my mind and never let a vacuum grow, however, I think maybe that this is a retaliation by their Pastor, as I had thought I was getting somewhere until this last foray down. Perhaps she spoke to them of what I debunked to her. It is going to take me a month to recover from the conversation, but I am going to follow through about  this with  them in August.

 

Now...having said that, I am getting pretty angry with the "educated elite" myself, or at least a portion thereof. As they are pretty much showing themselves to be the guardians of the gate for the 'elite' dominators, through keeping the masses in the trance. In fact, I consider those of the educated elite,  who perform this traitorish to humanity activity, to be exactly the same as the fundamentalist "pastors". Actually perhaps worse.

Good for you.

As for the educated elite, the operative word is elite.  (I don't mean the sneer with which this word is applied to perfectly decent sociologists and teachers; i mean the positions that carry real status.) There are several layers of clever people between the masses and the ultra-rich, doing very well from serving the mighty at the expense of the productive. Always. High priests comprise only one such class; administrators, money-changers, generals and scientists are a few more. Hard to tell which are greatest traitors... opinions vary.

PS Sounds as if what the 'average' person wants is some of what the old dear already has - and she doesn't want to know, because she doesn't want to share. That's not very Christian now, is it?

remind remind's picture

Of course the operative word is "elite", though you would not know it, I am 'educated' myself. ;) Have tried hard to stay away from the "elite" though.  :D

 

Interestingly, someone else "gave" her the money, it most certainly was not worked for.

Fidel

You forget though, remind, that you are among the true elite. Those fake elitists are only pretenders.

"Don't underestimate the Force" - Vader

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