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  • Creationism and such things

    I've noticed that religion often comes up within the threads in the Boiler Room. Obviously, a very controversial topic. Since there are a number of Christians/loosely believe in God/Jesus/Holy Spirit, who frequent this forum, it is usually Christians vs. atheists.

    After beginning a riveting (I mean that with NO sarcasm!) conversation with EvilVampire on the value - or in his opinion, lack thereof - of teaching creationism in school, I thought of opening up a topic on religion in general. He suggested that perhaps I narrow the topic down a wee bit.

    I don't want to limit it to just "should Creationism be taught in school"...because honestly, I don't mind terribly if it isn't (so I wouldn't put up much of a fight). I can understand that introducing religion should be left up to parents. Plus I agree with something you mentioned, EvilVampire...if we were to teach creationism in school, every other religion would want their particular "story" told as well. Chaos ensues.

    So here are some of the things that I am interested in discussing...and I'm not worried if we wander off topic...

    1) Why does Creationism have to be completely at odds with evolution? I do not believe that humans evolved from animals, or bacteria. I do believe however that God's "7 days of creation" may have stretched over thousands, even millions of years. I think that HE is the divine being who drove the process...certainly, we evolved....but we didn't evolve just because that's science and that's what happened.

    2) Since when do science and God not interact? If God created the world, and every being in it, then clearly he created every minute scientific process and all the minute to enormous properties that make up this world.

    3) Why do I get the feeling that atheists sometimes think that believing in God means that either a) you are inferior mentally or b) you want an easy way out of "figuring the world out"?

    4) The old argument of "If you believe, and it turns out to not be true, you lose nothing. If you do not believe, and God exists...you are going to hell for eternity."

    5) What made you (if you are an atheist) decide to believe only in science? If you believe in God, what made you take that leap?

    Now, to answer some questions that EvilVampire asked me directly..

    1) Why did you choose to believe that humans didn't evolve from other animals?

    I guess that first I chose to believe in God and what the Bible teaches. It teaches that we were created separate and special from animals, to rule over and take care of said animals. That was how I came to believe that humans have always been humans. I believe that there are a lot of ways to get around the supposed progression of fossilized "animal-to-human" remains. For one, they could certainly be extinct creatures. Two, humans have very likely changed enormously from what Adam and Eve looked like. For instance, people in early Old Testament could live hundreds of years...clearly not the same as us.

    2) Before you chose to believe that humans didn't evolve from other animals, what did you believe about the matter? Did you ever believe that humans evolved from other animals - and, going back in time sufficiently, bacteria?

    No, I became a Christian when I was quite young. However I always disagreed with the way that some Christians draw a line between religion and science. I agree with many of the findings in the theory of evolution. But I will never agree that humans are/were the same as intelligent animals.

    To answer another question that you asked me, EvilVampire...no, I'm really not a debater...not on purpose anyway. I just believe so strongly in faith that I cannot let some things lie.
    I have loved you. - Ser Jorah Mormont

  • #2
    First off, I'm not an atheist. I'm actually a Lutheran but frankly I'm unsure in what I believe so....


    2) Since when do science and God not interact? If God created the world, and every being in it, then clearly he created every minute scientific process and all the minute to enormous properties that make up this world.

    If God created everything, than who created God? That's the main flaw I have with the theory that God created everything. Because frankly, I have yet to hear a good enough argument to answer that question. I always get, "well, he just came to be." I'm not having any of that.

    4) The old argument of "If you believe, and it turns out to not be true, you lose nothing. If you do not believe, and God exists...you are going to hell for eternity."

    I guess I'll be taking my chances. No, I'm an impartial on whether or not I believe. I can't just have "blind faith" as it's called because I don't work that way. I want facts. I want proof to back up a theory, and some book that a bunch of guys wrote back in the day sure as hell doesn't do that for me. I mean, look at Oprah's book club! How many people has she had on now that have completely lied about their lives/non-fiction books?! There's been a lot. People make up stuff all the time, never in a million years will I believe that people weren't making stuff up back then. At least science gives me facts and explanations on how things have happened.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by BloodyHell
      After beginning a riveting (I mean that with NO sarcasm!) conversation with EvilVampire on the value - or in his opinion, lack thereof - of teaching creationism in school, I thought of opening up a topic on religion in general. He suggested that perhaps I narrow the topic down a wee bit.
      Yep, I did; I think that might keep the focus better, but your call.

      As I mentioned in a PM, I would recommend this website as a good source of information, including creationist arguments and counterarguments, and oriented to people who aren't biologists.


      Originally posted by BloodyHell
      I don't want to limit it to just "should Creationism be taught in school"...because honestly, I don't mind terribly if it isn't (so I wouldn't put up much of a fight). I can understand that introducing religion should be left up to parents. Plus I agree with something you mentioned, EvilVampire...if we were to teach creationism in school, every other religion would want their particular "story" told as well. Chaos ensues.
      I wouldn't use quotes in "story" , but the point is that creation stories are religion, not science, and there's no reason to teach them in biology classes.

      Originally posted by BloodyHell
      1) Why does Creationism have to be completely at odds with evolution? I do not believe that humans evolved from animals, or bacteria. I do believe however that God's "7 days of creation" may have stretched over thousands, even millions of years. I think that HE is the divine being who drove the process...certainly, we evolved....but we didn't evolve just because that's science and that's what happened.
      The degree to which Creationism is at odds with science (biology, geology) depends on the version of Creationism.

      For instance, Young Earth Creationism (YEC) usually holds that the Earth is about 6000-10000 years old, and that species didn't evolve from other species (though they seem to accept some changes withing species, or "kinds", or whatever; there are plenty of variants).

      On the other hand, Old Earth Creationism (OEC) accepts that the Earth is about 4.55 billion years old, so the conflicts with science are fewer - but still, it's in conflict with science as well.

      There's a set of Creationist variants called "Intelligent Design" (ID), some of which elements are more difficult to debunk, but it's still not science - there's really no controversy in science about these matters, not two or many theories, but one, with discussions on the details, added information, etc.

      However, the "guided process", at least in the variants I've seen, is either not a plausible theory, or a theory at all, in the scientific sense, and no supporter of ID publishes peer-reviewed articles in biology (of course, unless they forget about ID in order to publish, and do biology instead ).

      ID apparently gives up on trying to understand the universe from a scientific perspective since, as an explanation for the evidence of evolution, it posits an entity of which we know nothing and of which apparently nothing can be learned, scientifically speaking, as the cause of certain phenomena. It seems to be a way of saying "it's mysterious", which is the antithesis of science.

      It looks to me like some version of the "God of the Gaps"...

      Originally posted by BloodyHell
      2) Since when do science and God not interact? If God created the world, and every being in it, then clearly he created every minute scientific process and all the minute to enormous properties that make up this world.
      You mean, he indirectly created that - by creating entities that would do science?

      My point was, in this case, much more modest: Creationism makes claims that are in conflict with current science (specifically, biology and geology).

      Originally posted by BloodyHell
      3) Why do I get the feeling that atheists sometimes think that believing in God means that either a) you are inferior mentally or b) you want an easy way out of "figuring the world out"?
      If you mean that some atheists think that, you're probably correct.

      But I think atheists are in a better position to use these kinds of arguments:

      3') Why do I get the feeling that some theists think that not believing in Yahweh, Allah, or some other entity means that one or more of the following is true?

      a) You're mentally inferior.

      b) You're evil, and want to do evil things without consequences.

      c) You deserve to be punished by death, if you're an apostate.

      d) You deserve to be tortured for eternity, either by burning in inexhaustible flames, or perhaps by suffering a less vividly-describable form of torture.

      e) You will be tortured for eternity, either by burning in inexhaustible flames or perhaps by suffering a less vividly-describable form of torture.

      The answer to that question is: because some theists actually believe one or more of the above.

      Originally posted by BloodyHell
      4) The old argument of "If you believe, and it turns out to not be true, you lose nothing. If you do not believe, and God exists...you are going to hell for eternity."
      That's a particularly bad argument.

      a) Suppose that the entity Gad that sends people to Heaven and Hell does not want people to believe without evidence, and since it doesn't provide any evidence, it only tortures theists.

      b) It has the problem that it supposes that we choose what to believe; perhaps, some people have that capability for self-delusion; I don't, and I don't think people generally choose.

      As I said in a PM, I don't choose to believe that, for instance, Athena, Thor, Zeus, Odin, Shiva, or for that matter, Buffy and Glorificus, do not exist. If someone with a reliable lie detector seriously offered me a billion dollars to choose to believe that one of them exists, I wouldn't be able to get that billion. I suspect neither could you.

      Now, the same applies, in my case, to my belief that Yahweh does not exist, or that Hell does not exist.

      c) Even for someone with such capability for choice, the wager seems to be irrational:

      Suppose A is a person who can make that choice.

      Suppose A believes that, say, Allah does not exist. Why would A"choose to believe" in Allah, given that A feels no threat whatsoever from the non-existent Allah?

      So, it seems the choice only works for someone who is in doubt and can somehow "choose" to eliminate that doubt as a result of a calculation over the consequences. Of course, there's always the problem of choosing the wrong Hell, since Gad would torture believers

      Originally posted by BloodyHell
      5) What made you (if you are an atheist) decide to believe only in science? If you believe in God, what made you take that leap?
      I just happen to believe that Zeus, Ares, Thor, Athena, Odin, Shiva, Enki, Yahweh, Coyolxanuhqui, Tepeu, Gucumatz, etc., different kinds of vampires, ghosts, demons, werewolves and all sorts of other entities, do not exist.

      I think that that's the usual belief based on intuitive judgments of probability applied to any such extraordinary and unsupported* claims; I would also say that Russell's teapot, Sagan's Dragon in The Garage, etc., do not exist, and so on.

      * Of course, others disagree on whether the claims are supported, but I want to prevent an "absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence" argument; we usually do disbelieve such claims, based on intuitive probability judgments, which are perfectly fine by the way.

      Originally posted by BloodyHell
      Now, to answer some questions that EvilVampire asked me directly..

      1) Why did you choose to believe that humans didn't evolve from other animals?

      I guess that first I chose to believe in God and what the Bible teaches. It teaches that we were created separate and special from animals, to rule over and take care of said animals. That was how I came to believe that humans have always been humans. I believe that there are a lot of ways to get around the supposed progression of fossilized "animal-to-human" remains. For one, they could certainly be extinct creatures. Two, humans have very likely changed enormously from what Adam and Eve looked like. For instance, people in early Old Testament could live hundreds of years...clearly not the same as us.
      But my question is why did you choose to believe that?
      By the way, I do not believe that you ever chose to believe any of the above, even though I believe you believe it. I don't think people generally choose to believe (if ever).

      But since you believe that you do choose to believe, my question is: why did you make such choice?

      Incidentally, here you can find some of what science (paleontology, genetics, etc.), knows about human evolution.

      Originally posted by BloodyHell
      2) Before you chose to believe that humans didn't evolve from other animals, what did you believe about the matter? Did you ever believe that humans evolved from other animals - and, going back in time sufficiently, bacteria?

      No, I became a Christian when I was quite young. However I always disagreed with the way that some Christians draw a line between religion and science. I agree with many of the findings in the theory of evolution. But I will never agree that humans are/were the same as intelligent animals.
      But I'd like to know what was your belief on the matter, before making a choice to believe in Christianity?

      I mean, someone told you about Christianity, and you make a choice to believe - or so you seem to suggest.

      So, why would you make that choice?

      It can't have been to avoid Yahweh's hellfire, since that would require you to believe already. So, why was it?

      Originally posted by BloodyHell
      To answer another question that you asked me, EvilVampire...no, I'm really not a debater...not on purpose anyway. I just believe so strongly in faith that I cannot let some things lie.
      Okay, then I guess this debate has the potential to last for a very long time.
      Last edited by EvilVampire; 04-03-09, 10:41 AM.

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      • #4
        It makes me think of Atheists Anonymous, where they give you a telephone number to call--- and nobody answers.

        I always liked Doubting Thomas, because he looked for the evidence.

        Another favorite character of mine is the Prodigal Son:

        (Hi everyone, I'm home! Where's the fatted calf then? And I wouldn't say no to a G and T.....hello?.........Dad?)

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        • #5
          To preface my comments, I classify myself as an agnostic. Sometimes I want to believe in something, but only because I want to feel like there's something protecting me and my family from the random dangers of the universe. In general, I feel like there is no way of knowing, but that a) if the bible or most versions of christianity are true, I'd rather go to hell than believe, because I am so against what they say and stand for, and b) if there is a god and it actually cares about whether or not I believe, or cares about me at all, then the universe is really stupid. Mostly I don't think there's anything out there, but I can be supersticious (sp?) so I sometimes don't like to say that too loud.

          Oh, and I went to a catholic university, so I have sudden and unexplained pockets of knowledge about the bible.

          Originally posted by BloodyHell View Post
          1) Why does Creationism have to be completely at odds with evolution? I do not believe that humans evolved from animals, or bacteria. I do believe however that God's "7 days of creation" may have stretched over thousands, even millions of years. I think that HE is the divine being who drove the process...certainly, we evolved....but we didn't evolve just because that's science and that's what happened.
          If you can accept that some things in the bible are a metaphor or an exaggeration or have different meaning that that which we would instinctively attribute to them, why not creationism? I mean, God created animals first...if you've already accepted that he did so over thousands/millions of years, why not accept that he created them first so that they could evolve into humans? And then gave men dominion over them by having him name them. And then created women and gave men dominion over them by having him name them, grumble grumble I really don't like the bible and its rampant sexism, grumble.

          2) Since when do science and God not interact? If God created the world, and every being in it, then clearly he created every minute scientific process and all the minute to enormous properties that make up this world
          .
          This is more an argument for a religious person who doesn't believe in science than an atheist who doesn't believe in god. Religion and science have pretty much NEVER gotten along, ever since science stopped being mysticism. And yet it MOVES!!!

          3) Why do I get the feeling that atheists sometimes think that believing in God means that either a) you are inferior mentally or b) you want an easy way out of "figuring the world out"?
          I'm with EvilVampire on this one. They started it! (nanny nanny poo poo)
          4) The old argument of "If you believe, and it turns out to not be true, you lose nothing. If you do not believe, and God exists...you are going to hell for eternity."
          But...that's assuming there's only one option! Christianity says to do one thing to be saved...other religions say to do another! And even within christianity there is an enormous amount of controversy over which specific beliefs/actions lead to salvation. How could I simply choose to believe one and be saved?

          Also, I kinda think that's a huge cop out and I thought it was crap when I heard about it at univeristy...who was it, Pascal maybe? Anyway, I have respect for people who believe. I've known an awful lot of truly good, truly religious people in my life. A lot of my friends from college are such. But to take some kind of selfish safe-bet on religion seems to invalidate the sometimes good that I see in it. When it's not the cause of war, intolerance or violence, that is!
          5) What made you (if you are an atheist) decide to believe only in science? If you believe in God, what made you take that leap?
          Well, let's see. Even from a young age, when I went to church intermittently with my parents and such, I never believed what I was being told. But I can't say I was told much about creationism anyway. However I guess...I learned (a very simplified version of the) idea of evolution at some point around 8 or 9, and it made sense, and so I accepted it. And the more I learned, the more sense it made, and the more I accepted it.
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          • #6
            The faith thing is difficult. I don't believe in an all powerful god, I know that much but when it comes to science, I still do't think that provides all the answers either. Any and all explanations of how the universe came to exist seem on the fa fetched side to me wether it be an eternal omnipotent being who just is created it or that first there was nothing and then that exploded (Oversimplifying like mad there obviously.)

            In everyday life I suppose I come down on the side of science. If I have a headache I take a headache tablet that has been scientifically designed to alleviate that headache rather than pray and I trust that observable, repeatable experiments will work most of the time. When it comes to the big questions though I don't think we have any way of knowing , nor do I think that we will anytime soon but that's not a problem for me personally. I'm fine with amitting that I doin't know how we all came to be and I don't think it matters too much because to the best of my abilities to percieve, we do so why don't we just get on with it.

            I think there would have to be a huge shift in the way I see the world though, to believe in an all powerful being who is also all powerful. There's just too much craziness, horror and sadness about for me to believe that any supreme being isn't just a little bit on the cruel side. It's not a choice though, as it is sometimes painted. I cannot choose to believe in a god; I either believe or I don't it's as simple as that. Belief isn't rational it's something to be felt and I just don't feel it.

            The other problem for me is, as EV mentioned, that even if I did accept an all powerful controlling force how would I know it's identity, how would I know which religion is the right one?

            As to what should be taught in schools: I think Science should be taught in the science class along with tthe widely accepted scientific theories of life the univers and everything and religions should be discussed in R.E bu that that should encompass the full range of belief systems and not just christianity. I don't think creation myths should be a taboo subject because some of them are actually interesting stories.
            Last edited by tangent; 04-03-09, 01:16 PM.
            JUST ENOUGH KILL

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            • #7
              I'm an agnostic. I was raised with the knowledge of God and the knowledge of evolution. I was given the choice, even when I was young, to choose for myself what to believe in. I believe in evolution; however, I am open to the existence of a god. If the only way I can believe in God is to believe in the words of the Bible (even loosely interpreted) that I guess I am screwed.

              On the topic of creationism in school. I do not believe that creationism should be taught in school. Unless you go to a religious school, like a Catholic school, religion should not be brought into the classroom. Schools are for teaching facts and the skills needed to for the outside world when they graduate. People can argue all day that it should be taught alongside evolution but evolution is part of a science. Creationism is part of a religion and should be taught in a religious setting like church or taught at home. I moved to the South in about the 8th grade. Culture shock. Anyway, I was distraught when sections of the science book were skipped through. The science teacher was a baptist and did not believe in evolution. He also would not teach it. So he skipped what he would not teach. He stated that "Evolution was fake. Dinosaur bones and the other remains of ice age man were tricks of the devil." So if teachers are allowed to skip evolution because it conflicts with their beliefs, would children be allowed to skip the creationism sections if it were taught in school?

              I always hate the whole "if you believe in God and it all is false you have lost nothing, but if you don't believe and it is true you are going to hell" statements. Living in the South is like a bombardment of faith and religion. They treat you like a parasite if they find out you have "issues" with faith. Like a person is a complete nutter if they do not believe in God or if you have belief issues with religion. Generally put, if you don't believe in God you are going to hell. However, it looks like that is the only thing that would keep you from being put there. Cause every Friday all the little Bible-thumpers (sorry if that is offensive to anyone, its what they are called in the South) load up in their pickup trucks, go get drunk, high, and have sex. Saturday night, this is repeated. However, Sunday morning they are in church. They acted like just because they showed up in church, they were more moral than someone who didn't do all those things but also didnt share their beliefs.

              I think there was a question in this thread "why do you believe in science or why do you believe in God". I believe in science because they have shown proof. Skeletal remains and research. As my husband says, I'm not going to get "proof" in God...I have to have faith. Well my mine just doesn't work like that. You could say I have the potential to believe in a higher power, but it is going to take alot more than the Bible to push me all the way.

              Maybe we should have a thread where the Christian people and/or people of other faiths could answer questions...cause I have loads...lol.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by BloodyHell View Post
                I've noticed that religion often comes up within the threads in the Boiler Room. Obviously, a very controversial topic. Since there are a number of Christians/loosely believe in God/Jesus/Holy Spirit, who frequent this forum, it is usually Christians vs. atheists.
                And agnostics! Don’t forget us! Agnostics unite – What do we want? We’re not sure! When do we want it? At some unspecified time in the future or possibly not at all!

                I don't want to limit it to just "should Creationism be taught in school"...
                I think there are two separate questions here. 1) Should creationism be taught in school? And 2) Should it be taught in science lessons. I have no objection to 1 – I think encouraging debate around the issue is really useful. But I don’t agree with 2. It should be taught in religious studies or perhaps history of science, at university more though (eg if we’re talking about the impact of creationism on scientific debate, where you could explore the scientific arguments surrounding it).

                I’ll come back to say more on the general stuff though, just busy at work for a bit!

                EDIT: Have come back now it's lunch

                This thread’s very topical, actually – a religious think tank have done a study, reported here (nb the Guardian is a very secular, leftie newspaper, so you might want to look into the study further, but it was done by a religious group, so I don’t think there’d be secular bias there!):

                http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009...lligent-design

                Back to the general questions of the thread:


                1) Why does Creationism have to be completely at odds with evolution? I do not believe that humans evolved from animals, or bacteria. I do believe however that God's "7 days of creation" may have stretched over thousands, even millions of years. I think that HE is the divine being who drove the process...certainly, we evolved....but we didn't evolve just because that's science and that's what happened.
                I think because a fundamental part of evolution is that process from tiny single celled thingees to what we are now, so you can’t really pick and choose which parts of evolution you believe where that’s concerned – it’s like Catholicism Though perhaps you could be a cafeteria Darwinist? Or something with more alliteration? A Dandified Darwinist? (Because dandies are fussy and prissy).

                2) Since when do science and God not interact? If God created the world, and every being in it, then clearly he created every minute scientific process and all the minute to enormous properties that make up this world.
                If God is the uncaused self-caused cause, then, yes, the scientific processes are a part of god. It’s religion and science that clash, rather than science and God.

                3) Why do I get the feeling that atheists sometimes think that believing in God means that either a) you are inferior mentally or b) you want an easy way out of "figuring the world out"?
                About a) It depends on how you believe in God, and what aspects of religion you adhere to. If someone parrots stupid nonsense, then I will think they’re stupid. It’s not because it’s religious nonsense – ignorance comes in so many flavours. Plenty of people who write the Daily Mail aren’t at all religious. I’ve probably had more experience with a certain kind of stupidity from religion than from the secular world – especially in a work context, which I should not get started on or I will never stop…. – but I’ve also had wonderful experiences with religious people as individuals, or as groups also, and I’ve had many experiences of secular idiots.

                b) On the whole I don’t think religion gives easy answers at all – I think God poses more questions than it solves. So I wouldn’t say religion is the easy way out at all. Most religious people have all kinds of struggles with their faith and belief system, just as secular people do.

                4) The old argument of "If you believe, and it turns out to not be true, you lose nothing. If you do not believe, and God exists...you are going to hell for eternity."
                I don’t think I can believe in a benevolent, interventionist god – I can believe in a presence that suffuses things (or I could if I did have faith) but not one that actually takes action on purpose, as that would make God seem cruel, because of the suffering in the world. Or inept, given the flaws in the world. (Puppies with cancer? Meanie!)

                If god will send me to hell for not believing, or for any other behaviour that I don’t think is morally relevant (homosexuality, not believing in the right kind of Christianity), then…well, that’s awful. But if heaven is hanging out with a god who doesn’t like what I am, then I can do without that. In fact, I don’t think I could believe in a God that allowed hell to happen. God should realize that humans only get a part of the picture, that we are weak. God, if it’s the sort of God I’d want to believe in, should always forgive and be the bigger not-exactly-a-person-but-you-know-what-I-mean.

                5) What made you (if you are an atheist) decide to believe only in science? If you believe in God, what made you take that leap?
                I don’t believe only in science per se – I believe in many human endeavours and realities. I believe in spiritual experiences, as valid. I believe they’re brain events, but I also believe they mean something to the people having them. They’re not “just” neurons firing, they’re part of the whole person, the mind, the experience of the world. I don’t believe in scientific reductionism.

                Re God, I just don’t believe (at the moment). I don’t know why – perhaps I’d always be too skeptical of my motives for belief? As in, I’d be believing because I don’t want to die. I couldn’t believe in the specifics of the Christian god anyway – it’s all too flawed and specific and sexist and all those things. I think I could get behind some kind of mystical religion that doesn’t try to explain too much. Once you start explaining, you enter into the world of the rational and, for me, that’s where it all falls apart.

                I do have beliefs about what we owe to one another, about how humanity should live. I don’t necessarily live by them (as in live up to them) but I do believe there’s *value* in the world. IE I’m not a nihilist despite not basing my beliefs on a single being. I believe in the mass of humanity, and the duty we owe one another. Not sure why, I just do. Maybe it’s because I think that’s what would make for the best world, if everyone believed in that – that is, I’m essentially a utilitarian, but part of that utilitarianism leads me to think on a subconscious level that holding a belief in the value of humanity will, in the end, maximize happiness. I can’t get outside of that framework and justify it. That’s where my buck stops – the world and its people are worth saving on some level, even if I’m too lazy to do any of that saving beyond trying to be nice to people.
                Last edited by Wolfie Gilmore; 04-03-09, 02:01 PM.


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                • #9
                  Sorry, I was a bit flippant this morning owing to a hangover. It was the second glass of sherry before dinner that did the damage, as ever.

                  I believe in God in response to the fundamental metaphysical question. Are minds the accidental products of an essential mindless and pointless material process that appears to have begun out of nothing 15 billion years ago? Well, yes they could be.

                  Or is matter the product of mind? Is mind the ultimate reality driving this universe and maybe others? I like this one much better, because it gives weight and point to our moral struggles and our creative labors. It can give hope to the broken hearted.

                  You have no need to tell me that mine is an emotional response, not an intellectual one. Of course it is. C.S. Lewis once said that a rational faith should go beyond reason, otherwise it would not be faith, but it should not contradict reason: it should not be manifestly and obviously ridiculous. I think this kind of theism, which probably goes back to Plato and Aristotle ,is tenable without having to bring in specific divine revelation.

                  Faith is not the same thing as knowledge. I can probably be a Catholic by faith while remaining ,technically, an agnostic. Nice one.

                  One more quote for now, this one from J.R.R.Tolkien : "Unless it is an inherited habit, religious belief must take root in the imagination and grow there. If you can imagine it, then you can believe it."

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                  • #10
                    Young Earth Creationism is a drastically minority view amongst Christian fundamentalists. The prevailing insight of Christian study is "theistic evolution" -- that A) the Big Bang, geology, biology, and "variation and change through natural selection" (the original title of Darwin's theory) all evince the created universe, and that B) the human soul is specially created by God apart from any of His creatures.

                    I think that Intelligent Design (of which theistic evolution is one example, as is the giant spaghetti monster) and "macroevolution" are basically the same thing -- metaphysics. Neither one can be put to testing that complies rigorously with the scientific method. My answer to this in education is that biology classes, around the time that they discussion Darwin's theory of variation and change through natural selection (which is laboratory science), that macroevolution and ID be discussed at the same time over a few days, allowing kids to discuss what they think the science of biology tells them about the world they live in -- whether it tends to support the idea that the world was designed, and why, or whether it improves incrementally by chance alone.

                    Epicurus' riddle has been dispensed with by better apologetics than I hope to be, but sufficed to say, the short version is that God created man with free will and that evil is the absence of the divine presence in the form of grace.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Wolfie Gilmore
                      And agnostics! Don't forget us! Agnostics unite ? What do we want? We're not sure! When do we want it? At some unspecified time in the future or possibly not at all!
                      Lol

                      On that note, I think that terms like "atheist", "agnostic" (even "Christian" to some extent) are used to refer to people of widely different beliefs, and even though they're useful to indicate at least some of the beliefs of a person, they're quite often misunderstood in the sense that readers might infer from from them than originally intended, if there isn't sufficient context.

                      For instance, when you say you're an agnostic, someone might believe that you're wondering whether Yahweh actually exists - though in your case, your posts makes it clear that you believe he does not exist, but then some Christians would just label you an atheist.

                      Originally posted by KingofCretins
                      Young Earth Creationism is a drastically minority view amongst Christian fundamentalists. The prevailing insight of Christian study is "theistic evolution" -- that A) the Big Bang, geology, biology, and "variation and change through natural selection" (the original title of Darwin's theory) all evince the created universe, and that B) the human soul is specially created by God apart from any of His creatures.
                      Are you talking about Americans in particular, or world-wide?

                      Do you have any statistics on that?

                      If you're talking about Americans, according to several Gallup polls, support for YEC is about 44% (latest poll) among the general public, whereas some form of ID has a 36% support, but it requires God to have interfered in the process directly, so I'm not sure it's what you described here.

                      This source also mentions other polls: for instance, a 2005 ABC news poll shows 44% for YEC among the general public. A Pew Research 2006 poll gives 42% to YEC (among the general public).

                      While there are discrepancies in other parts of the polls (as the source explains), that seems to be the case because of how people interpret some of the other options, but the numbers for YEC are quite consistent, over time and in different polls.

                      Then, a 2006 CBS poll gives 55% to "humans didn't evolve" (by any means), which includes YEC and perhaps OEC (Old Earth Creationism), and 27% to God-guided evolution.

                      According to this source "60 percent of Americans who call themselves Evangelical Christians, however, favor replacing evolution with creationism in schools altogether, as do 50 percent of those who attend religious services every week."

                      Granted, polling is an imprecise business, but still, and data for other countries isn't so easy to find, but at least in the US, all the statistics I can find seem to indicate that YEC is the most supported view among the general public. If you have any statistics showing that this is not the case among conservative Christians, please post a link.


                      Originally posted by KingofCretins
                      I think that Intelligent Design (of which theistic evolution is one example, as is the giant spaghetti monster) and "macroevolution" are basically the same thing -- metaphysics. Neither one can be put to testing that complies rigorously with the scientific method.
                      There's consensus among biologists that macroevolution is a fact - it is mainstream science.

                      There are tons of evidence available, but most articles are in specialized journals, as is to be expected. Still, some non-technical articles (which provide of course technical sources) are available; for instance, this one is a good starting point, refuting anti-macroevolution claims, and this one provides a ton of evidence (of the many tons that do exist).

                      If you have counter-evidence, please present it.

                      Originally posted by KingofCretins
                      My answer to this in education is that biology classes, around the time that they discussion Darwin's theory of variation and change through natural selection (which is laboratory science), that macroevolution and ID be discussed at the same time over a few days, allowing kids to discuss what they think the science of biology tells them about the world they live in -- whether it tends to support the idea that the world was designed, and why, or whether it improves incrementally by chance alone.
                      You can't put black holes or galaxies in a laboratory, either. That doesn't mean that theories about galaxy and black hole formation are metaphysics. They're science.

                      If ID is to be discuss in science class, why not the Flying Spaghetti monster that you mention? If they're not science, they shouldn't be taught in science class at all. But then again, macroevolution is in fact science.

                      There's a reason why court cases, one after another, are won by the supporters of evolution - and when the courts have to ask the experts in the field, the verdict is clear: macroevolution is mainstream science; ID stuff doesn't even make it in peer-reviewed journals.

                      That aside, the idea of "improvement" seems to imply evolution is a teleological process; it's not. The world doesn't necessarily improve by evolution. That's our evaluation, but evolution might as well result in a new parasite that causes terrible pain and death.

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                      • #12
                        For instance, when you say you're an agnostic, someone might believe that you're wondering whether Yahweh actually exists - though in your case, your posts makes it clear that you believe he does not exist, but then some Christians would just label you an atheist.
                        No, I don't believe in the Christian God inasmuch as He appears in the Bible, or in formal religious teachings. I'm still open to some variation on "his" theme, though, and can see myself having faith in the future, as I did in the past. To an extent, believing and not believing don't make all that much difference, when the God I could imagine would be very much different to anything a human could understand or have a relationship with. Though I suppose it might carry with it a promise of life after death... but probably in such a way that I wouldn't really be "me" anyway, so does it make any difference?

                        Hard to say, as this is all hypothetical at the moment. But I'd never define myself as an atheist - or by "never" I mean "I can't imagine it". Because faith is what I struggle with - faith in any worldview, in any absolute, certain truth. There's always a sense that everything could shift, potentially. So I can't state "There is no God." All I can say is "I don't think at the moment that there is one, but who's to say what I'll think tomorrow - and I don't think you can prove anything either way."

                        Hmm, I wonder if any French people define themselves as "bof" instead of agnostic. I suppose that is my position

                        That aside, the idea of "improvement" seems to imply evolution is a teleological process; it's not. The world doesn't necessarily improve by evolution. That's our evaluation, but evolution might as well result in a new parasite that causes terrible pain and death.
                        As with everything, it's cui bono (or "coo-ee, Bono! Over here!"). The "perfection" of the lion is probably not something its lunchmeat animals would applaud as the latest in new fangled biological awesomeness.
                        Last edited by Wolfie Gilmore; 05-03-09, 12:19 AM.


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                        • #13
                          The point you're missing is that the Spaghetti monster is ID. ID is only a codeword for YEC in the terms of those hostile to discussing it. As for the science -- those elements of physics you refer to are things that are demanded by mathematics. The type of longitudinal study necessary to provide scientific proof of the sort of self-improving, self-organizing force of chance in nature such that amoebas will become algaes will become fish will become primates would by its nature needed to have started before humans did.

                          More succinctly is this -- I wasn't there and neither were you. I wasn't there 6,000 years ago *or* 4 billion. Anybody who is going to tell you with absolute empirical certainty what happened when is selling you on something.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by EvilVampire View Post

                            You mean, he indirectly created that - by creating entities that would do science?
                            No. I mean that he created all beings, all natural elements, etc. Science does not exist because people research...it exists in natural phenomena. He also created the biology of how everything works, ecosystems suited to individual species, etc. IMO of course.

                            My point was, in this case, much more modest: Creationism makes claims that are in conflict with current science (specifically, biology and geology).
                            And my point is that humans always think that they have all the answers...and I believe they are sadly mistaken in many cases, to their extreme detriment. What is so scary about the unknown? Why must everything be explained and every mystery debunked? Because it is safe. It makes humans feel safe to know that everything is just so, and that there is an explaination for everything.

                            But my question is why did you choose to believe that?
                            The assurance that there is a reason for why certain things happen, that there is One that knows me more intimately that I know myself, who I can tell my absolute most shameful secrets with no fear, who will forgive me for the worst I may do if I only ask, who will never tell me one thing and then do another, is unchanging, and loved me before I loved Him....all of these things and many, many more are what drew me to become a Christian. I guess it comes back to safety again. I think it is human nature to seek reassurance (whether that be through science, God, etc.)...I chose God. Since I believe all of that, and I am told that the Bible is infallible and absolutely true, I cannot believe that humans came from apes/bacteria.

                            Originally posted by Wolfie Gilmore
                            I think because a fundamental part of evolution is that process from tiny single celled thingees to what we are now, so you can’t really pick and choose which parts of evolution you believe where that’s concerned
                            Well, then I guess I would say that I believe that we (and by "we" I mean humans, animals, plant life, etc.) are evolving, but that I don't jive with evolution. One issue that I have is that I don't exactly subscribe to a titled, coil-bound theory. I'm a Christian. Scientific evidence exists too. Put them together and...

                            God, if it’s the sort of God I’d want to believe in, should always forgive and be the bigger not-exactly-a-person-but-you-know-what-I-mean
                            God does forgive. Always. But the problem is that most people do not believe that they need forgiveness! When we do things that are not according to God's plan for us as humans (sin), we require forgiveness. If we do not ask, we don't recieve.

                            Originally posted by Risa
                            The science teacher was a baptist and did not believe in evolution. He also would not teach it. So he skipped what he would not teach. He stated that "Evolution was fake. Dinosaur bones and the other remains of ice age man were tricks of the devil."
                            Oh I agree, that is ridiculous. Teachers should certainly differentiate between their beliefs, and what they are supposed to be teaching. I think it is fine if they state that personally, they do not believe in evolution, but saying things like that science teacher did makes all Christians look bad. I certainly don't think that dinosaur's were a "trick of the devil".

                            Cause every Friday all the little Bible-thumpers (sorry if that is offensive to anyone, its what they are called in the South) load up in their pickup trucks, go get drunk, high, and have sex. Saturday night, this is repeated. However, Sunday morning they are in church.
                            Yes, this is hypocrisy. One of the things that - according to the bible - God hates the most. In fact, it is said that he hates lukewarm "Christians" (those who claim to be saved and are not) worse than those who do not believe at all. Unfortunately churches are full of them. But surely you recognize that there is a huge difference between those that go to church and those that actually practice what they preach. Don't misunderstand me though...as others have pointed out, just because I consider myself saved and a Christian, that does not mean that your problems go POOF! and that suddenly life is peachy. I just have different coping skills.
                            Oh and Risa...if you have questions for Christians - bring them on! I'm not afraid to have a discussion, and I'll try not to avoid the tough questions.

                            Another question for agnostics, atheists, etc. What do you belive happens when you die? Nothing? If so, how do you feel about this?
                            Last edited by BloodyHell; 05-03-09, 12:32 AM.
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                            • #15
                              What is so scary about the unknown? Why must everything be explained and every mystery debunked?
                              Surely though, both Science and religion are railing against this position. Surely they are both at their heart attempts to explain things we don't understand. It's one thing that they have in common, supplying a degree of certainty to people in an uncertain world.

                              Just a quick question for those that would like to see creationism taught alongside evolution. Which Creation would you want teaching? Purely the Christian mythos or would you throw it open to say the Hindu or the Buddhist Creation story?

                              I think that's one reason I would split the two into seperate lessons. The bridge could be made when evolution is discussed in science simply by explainin that there are other theories, and that these will be discussed in RE.
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                              • #16
                                2 Peter 3:9 -- "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance."

                                Therein lies the explanation for hell -- hell, after all, is nothing more than eternal life apart from God. The all-loving and all-forgiving is made express in the fact that He could draw all His purposes to a close with barely a thought but does not, for the sake of all those that he loves.

                                Asimov's complaint proceeds from a common mistake assumption -- that there is anything in human existence or behavior that, on its own, can demonstrate worth to God. There's not. The most moral human could be the Earth, and the most evil the moon, and God's own worth is somewhere that only the Hubble telescope can see. Big deal to us, not as big a deal to him. That's why justification through faith is essential, because it carries with it the acknowledgement that we can't go out and get God, we can only accept God reaching out for us. If one wants to embrace the concept another way, consider what Angel says in "Power Play" about a good ant or an evil ant still being exactly nothing more than an ant.
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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by KingofCretins
                                  The point you're missing is that the Spaghetti monster is ID.
                                  I'm not missing that point. It's parody ID, but ID nonetheless. You seem to be missing my point. The FSM isn't science, and neither is YEC, or theistic evolution, and shouldn't be taught as science.

                                  If macroevolution weren't science, it shouldn't be taught as science, either. But it is, and I provided evidence for my claim.

                                  Originally posted by KingofCretins
                                  As for the science -- those elements of physics you refer to are things that are demanded by mathematics. The type of longitudinal study necessary to provide scientific proof of the sort of self-improving, self-organizing force of chance in nature such that amoebas will become algaes will become fish will become primates would by its nature needed to have started before humans did.

                                  More succinctly is this -- I wasn't there and neither were you. I wasn't there 6,000 years ago *or* 4 billion. Anybody who is going to tell you with absolute empirical certainty what happened when is selling you on something.
                                  I don't know what "absolute empirical certainty" is, but it seems to be used by theists, not by scientists.

                                  You seem to miss all my points on this.

                                  Yes, no one was there. No one was during the American Civil War, but we believe it happened. We have evidence, like documents. In the case of macroevolution, we have plenty of evidence too.

                                  No one was there when the Solar System was formed, or when Earth coalesced billions of years ago.

                                  No one was there when the galaxy was formed. No one can actually see a quark or a graviton, and so on.

                                  That doesn't mean that theories about those things aren't science. They're based on what we have actually seen. They make testable predictions about some other stuff we should find. And we do find that other stuff.

                                  There's plenty of evidence for macroevolution and common descent. I provided a lot, but there is a lot more. There's plenty of evidence that mutation rates would be sufficient for speciation over time. There would have to be a force to stop macroevolution in order for it not to happen, but that is not science.

                                  But it's not just about posting links, since non-biologists aren't the best suited to evaluate the merits of some theory, except by asking scientists.

                                  Again, why is it that evolution wins court cases?

                                  How do non-scientists decide the state of science, in physics, biology, etc.?
                                  Usually, by consulting the experts. Unless you have good reason to believe they're all mistaken and you're right, the opposition seems baseless. But then again, what would that reason be? That we weren't there? As I argued, that's not a reason.

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Enisy
                                    At any rate, I'll take faith in the Christian God or Spinoza's God or the Flying Spaghetti Monster over materialism/nihilism, any day. I don't know how these people can get up in the morning, with the belief that they're nothing but a walking expiration date, whose life is just a pointless sequence of pointless events.
                                    See, but it is not pointless. The people who believe that everything ends when you die are living in the moment right now! They're the ones trying to better lives, NOW. To me it seems like the people living a life of pointless events are the ones that believe you go to heaven or hell and then that's when your life is meaningful. Why would believing in a god make your life any different than the non-believers? To say that non-believers lives are pointless is actually really offensive.
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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by BloodyHell
                                      No. I mean that he created all beings, all natural elements, etc. Science does not exist because people research...it exists in natural phenomena. He also created the biology of how everything works, ecosystems suited to individual species, etc. IMO of course.
                                      If you believe so, then that's no reason for opposing science.

                                      There's plenty of evidence that humans evolved from other primates. If an entity (let's call it God) created some stuff, that's no counter-evidence. On the other hand, if some book claims that God created the world about 10000 years ago, or that humans didn't evolve from other primates, there's plenty of evidence to show that book wrong.

                                      By the way, even if some entity (let's call it "God") exists, it didn't create everything, since it existed before it created anything, and so would any place where it may have dwelt.

                                      Originally posted by BloodyHell
                                      And my point is that humans always think that they have all the answers...and I believe they are sadly mistaken in many cases, to their extreme detriment. What is so scary about the unknown? Why must everything be explained and every mystery debunked? Because it is safe. It makes humans feel safe to know that everything is just so, and that there is an explaination for everything.
                                      Actually, the question is why deny the evidence. Clearly, we don't know everything. We do know (that is, we have sufficient information to know) that humans evolved from other primates.

                                      Originally posted by BloodyHell
                                      The assurance that there is a reason for why certain things happen, that there is One that knows me more intimately that I know myself, who I can tell my absolute most shameful secrets with no fear, who will forgive me for the worst I may do if I only ask, who will never tell me one thing and then do another, is unchanging, and loved me before I loved Him....all of these things and many, many more are what drew me to become a Christian.
                                      But that's a reason for wanting some such entity to exist, not for believing he exists.

                                      For that matter, why Christianity, instead of a more benevolent entity that doesn't engage in endless torture?

                                      Originally posted by BloodyHell
                                      I guess it comes back to safety again. I think it is human nature to seek reassurance (whether that be through science, God, etc.)...I chose God. Since I believe all of that, and I am told that the Bible is infallible and absolutely true, I cannot believe that humans came from apes/bacteria.
                                      But that tells me you would ignore all the evidence that humans evolved from other primates/bacteria, because you want something else to be true.

                                      And it seems that because of what you want, you imply that scientists who have worked very hard in researching the origins of humans are plain wrong - one and a half century of good science would be completely, utterly mistaken...but there is no evidence of that.

                                      As I said, I don't think you can choose like that, but even if you could, I don't think there would be any good reason to choose to believe what you don't believe - and if you already believe it, you're not choosing.

                                      Still, if you "choose to believe" in such a way, how about a comforting belief that does not conflict with science?

                                      Originally posted by BloodyHell
                                      God does forgive. Always. But the problem is that most people do not believe that they need forgiveness! When we do things that are not according to God's plan for us as humans (sin), we require forgiveness. If we do not ask, we don't recieve.
                                      I disagree.

                                      People don't require forgiveness not to be tortured - let alone tortured endlessly.

                                      People don't deserve that fate. If Yahweh does that, I would say Yahweh is evil - more than, say, Palpatine, Ares, Lex Luthor, or The Master, etc., who don't inflict nearly as much pain.

                                      Furthermore, people who don't believe in the existence of Yahweh, of course won't ask him for any sort of forgiveness, so they get tortured for not believing?

                                      But then again, based on the evidence available to them and their psychological dispositions, they cannot believe; some never heard of Yahweh; some did, and concluded he's as non-existent as Ares, Athena, Odin, Shiva, Enki, Thor, etc.

                                      Originally posted by BloodyHell
                                      Oh I agree, that is ridiculous. Teachers should certainly differentiate between their beliefs, and what they are supposed to be teaching. I think it is fine if they state that personally, they do not believe in evolution, but saying things like that science teacher did makes all Christians look bad. I certainly don't think that dinosaur's were a "trick of the devil".
                                      If a science teacher said that humans didn't evolve from other primates, that would also make him (and probably other Christians) look bad in the eyes of non-Christians.

                                      Originally posted by BloodyHell
                                      Another question for agnostics, atheists, etc. What do you belive happens when you die? Nothing? If so, how do you feel about this?
                                      Yes, there's no evidence suggesting otherwise. When I die, I cease to exist. But then, I'm a vampire and will try not to be staked.

                                      No, seriously, I think one of the causes of people's getting attached to their religion is the need to cope with their mortality - believing that they're immortal (in one form or another) is a way of doing that. That said, I do not believe that that's a conscious decision. It's just a common human psychological trait.

                                      As for how I feel, I usually don't feel anything in particular, probably because I don't perceive death as imminent. However, if I think about it, of course I would like to live forever - not with someone like Yahweh, who to me is the ultimate imaginary villain, alongside Allah, but still, I could definitely make up some nice scenario where we all live happily ever after, with all sorts of superpowers.

                                      Of course, I can't choose to believe in some scenario I imagine only because I like it - even if I could choose to believe, I wouldn't; I wouldn't deliberately acquire false beliefs if I had the means to do so.

                                      Originally posted by Enisy


                                      EvilVampire
                                      , so I know where you're coming from... are you an absurdist/atheistic existentialist?
                                      Nope.

                                      I'm just an ordinary evil guy , who happens to believe that entities such as Zeus, Ares, Thor, Athena, Odin, Shiva, Enki, Yahweh, Coyolxanuhqui, Tepeu, Gucumatz, etc., different kinds of vampires, ghosts, demons, werewolves and all sorts of other entities, do not exist.

                                      Originally posted by Enisy
                                      Wikipedia excerpt on Isaac Asimov: "If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul." The same memoir states his belief that Hell is "the drooling dream of a sadist" crudely affixed to an all-merciful God; if even human governments were willing to curtail cruel and unusual punishments, wondered Asimov, why would punishment in the afterlife not be restricted to a limited term? Asimov rejected the idea that a human belief or action could merit infinite punishment.
                                      I'm with Asimov on this, but I actually go further - a good entity wouldn't create people who suffer horrible disease, for instance, or predation.

                                      All the theories made by theists to explain Yahweh's behavior only add more implausibilities to an already completely implausible scenario, as far as I can tell. They might as well say that Yahweh is the Evil Creator

                                      And on the subject of Asimov, I like the Dragon in The Garage

                                      Originally posted by Wolfie Gilmore
                                      Hard to say, as this is all hypothetical at the moment. But I'd never define myself as an atheist - or by "never" I mean "I can't imagine it". Because faith is what I struggle with - faith in any worldview, in any absolute, certain truth. There's always a sense that everything could shift, potentially. So I can't state "There is no God." All I can say is "I don't think at the moment that there is one, but who's to say what I'll think tomorrow - and I don't think you can prove anything either way."
                                      I wasn't suggesting you would define yourself as an atheist, but that if you deny Yahweh's existence, some (many) Christians might label you as such.

                                      That said, I guess you can say things like "Thor does not exist", "Aurora does not exist", etc. , so what's the difference with Yahweh?

                                      Originally posted by Wolfie Gilmore
                                      As with everything, it's cui bono (or "coo-ee, Bono! Over here!"). The "perfection" of the lion is probably not something its lunchmeat animals would applaud as the latest in new fangled biological awesomeness.

                                      Not that the lion is perfect, anyway. If biological organisms were the product of design, it would seem as though the designer was not very bright, or not that powerful. Purely for example (I got the following link and example on another forum), consider the human eye.

                                      Added by me: apart from its blind spot, it turns out that human color vision has some polymorphisms, at least one (probably several) genetically-based.

                                      For instance:

                                      http://home.uchicago.edu/~eye1/PDF%2...hapter1097.pdf
                                      Variation in photopigment spectra: Modern molecular biology has defined the protein structure of the genes coding the photopigment opsins. To date there is at least one well documented polymorphism of the L photopigment opsin (either the amino acid serine or alanine at position 180 on the L- opsin gene;
                                      Neitz et al., 1991; Merbs and Nathans, 1992) which changes the peak wavelength of the absorption spectrum by a small amount (~3?5 nm). Sanocki, Shevell, and Winderickx (1994), using a technique which eliminates in
                                      large part inter-observer differences in prereceptoral filtering and photopigment optical density, show reliable small differences in color matching in the red?green spectral region for observers having the two different alleles. The same allele pattern also is present for the M-cone photopigment but at a low frequency and it is probable that there are other polymorphisms capable of modifying extinction spectra by small spectral shifts. There is now accumulating evidence that individuals with normal color vision exhibit small variation in the absorption spectra of the photopigments in their L and M cones.
                                      Even if it usually doesn't happen since the differences are minor, what's the point of designing people who will disagree about colors as a result of having inherited different genes?

                                      Confusion for the fun of it?

                                      That said, supporters of design will find reasons that they will find compelling.

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by KingofCretins
                                        2 Peter 3:9 -- "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance."

                                        Therein lies the explanation for hell -- hell, after all, is nothing more than eternal life apart from God. The all-loving and all-forgiving is made express in the fact that He could draw all His purposes to a close with barely a thought but does not, for the sake of all those that he loves.
                                        Patient?

                                        He doesn't forgive at all (it should be clear but it's needed clarification in the past, but here and later, when I'm talking about Yahweh's actions, etc., I talk about him as I can talk about the Senior Partners, Sylar or Darth Vader. I don't have to believe he exists in order to comment on, speculate on, or judge his actions as those of an imaginary entity).

                                        People who don't believe in Yahweh's existence cannot sincerely ask for forgiveness, and when they die, they go to Hell anyway.

                                        Furthermore, eternal torture is horrible in the eyes of many people in today's world; some Christians insist in a Hell of fire. So do Muslims.

                                        Catholics believed so for many centuries, and approved of the actions of the infinite burner, but it seems nowadays at least the leadership downgraded Hell to "eternal life apart from God".

                                        That doesn't sound bad, does it?

                                        But alas, the Catholic answer is a way of having the cake and eating it as well. They still say it's a horrible punishment that never ends - they just avoid the vivid images of burning flesh that are so offensive to many people today.

                                        The point remains, the Catholic Yahweh too engages in endless torture.

                                        It's just not a torture with fire, but he puts people in a place where they will suffer horribly, without the possibility of escape, and he made it that way. He created self-aware entities that would suffer terrible pain in his absence, and then deprived many of those entities of his presence, because, say, they had consensual sex in a way that Yahweh disliked.

                                        So, in my view, the Catholic version of Yahweh is also evil.

                                        Originally posted by KingofCretins
                                        Asimov's complaint proceeds from a common mistake assumption -- that there is anything in human existence or behavior that, on its own, can demonstrate worth to God.
                                        No, there's no mistake, and it's no issue of what the psychological dispositions of Yahweh to value things or entities are.

                                        What Asimov is doing is judging an entity who engages in infinite torture as a punishment for what people did (like having sex in a manner that said entity disapprove of), is evil. So, he's denying the existence of Yahweh, and at the same time judging him evil - as he could judge any imaginary character evil.

                                        If you judge Yahweh to be good, then you seem to have different moral intuitions on the subject, so there's a disagreement between you and Asimov (I'm with Asimov on this, as I said ).

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