Hey skeptics...

If it's not covered by one of those other categories, you should probably talk about it here. Be nice.

Postby Hardcoregirl » Wed Oct 25, 2006 12:08 pm

DarkVader wrote:Stop being jerks.

Don't make me lock this thread.


DarkVader, I should have known that a thread like this was asking for trouble. I guess adults can't debate without getting ugly. I am sorry a thread for the skeptics evolved into a thread about religion. Adults can debate and discuss without getting ugly, so maybe everyone can try that. We could actually have some good discussions.
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Postby Bigun » Wed Oct 25, 2006 12:33 pm

5.....
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Postby Hardcoregirl » Wed Oct 25, 2006 12:48 pm

I should not have said "creationists are inbred" because that is offensive but I was joking. That would make me inbred because about 90 percent of my family aside from my dead atheist grandpa believes in creation. I was just kidding around.

I don't know Asher very well but so far I stick her in the "good camp" of Christians which so far in my life total about 10 percent.


I generally use the term agnostic over atheist because I don't think I could possibly say "there is no god" without feeling a little skeptical of myself. It seems thats having blind faith in an other direction. But the more I read the more I get the idea that agnostic doesn't sum it up properly because I do think more things point to the absence of a god than the presence of a god. I've read non-theist is more appropriate.

I have had someone tell me that those who don't believe in god are extremely selfish people. Which I find humorous because in the end I hope to help people somehow in this life. I get preached at all the time by my aunts who have gone from catholics to southern baptists. I think sometimes I don't mind religion as long as it doesn't affect me, but then I think of the children that are being brainwashed from birth to believe certain things and I think thats wrong. If you tell a kid god exists from birth thats going to be their worldview until they become brave enough to question it. I think its wrong to give your children beliefs that you have concluded in, not let them figure out their own path. I mean, I wouldn't stand for children being physically or emotionally abused and I think in that manner they are being intellectually abused in a way.

Something else I hate is this self righteous pity Xtians have for atheists. They seriously don't need your pity or your prayers, they are find and dandy without it.

Anyways, I'd request that this thread not escalate and get locked while I'm at work today. I've found it very interesting and maybe some people have learned something (I have).



Asher, I find it interesting you believe what you believe so you an sleep at night. Its the same for me. I couldn't sleep knowing there was a creator who let all the attrocities of the world go on. Do you believe in a literal translation of the bible, like the earth is only a few thousand years old and was created all in 6 days. Or just that it was created by a god?
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Postby TiredUnhappy » Wed Oct 25, 2006 1:45 pm

vertigo25 wrote:TUH> I think there's been just as much misinterpretation on your part as there has been on mine.

Oh. And thank *you* for cluing me in on the ins and outs of how internet message boards work. I really appreciate your help with that. I'm really very new to all of this.

What is it all you internet super users say? "Noob?" Is that right?

Ha ha. That stuff just cracks me up.

Maybe you could give me some links to places that could tell me more about the 'net.


I have a habit of over explaining, it wasn't meant as an insult to your intelligence. The same as you weren't trying to insult me with the "alot" thing. I used to be anal about the same things, trust me. Whenever someone says your in place of you're my eye still twitches a bit.

I am sarcastic, and it is difficult to interpret how people mean things on the internet. In other words, I've never meant you or anyone else any harm.
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Postby vertigo25 » Wed Oct 25, 2006 3:31 pm

TiredUnhappy wrote:I've never meant you or anyone else any harm.


Nothing a lawsuit, congressional bill, and a constitutional amendment won't fix. :D
The firemen came and broke through the chimney top. And me and Mom were expecting them to pull out a dead cat or a bird. And instead they pulled out my father. He was dressed in a Santa Claus suit. He'd been climbing down the chimney... his arms loaded with presents. He was gonna surprise us. He slipped and broke his neck. He died instantly. And that's how I found out there was no Santa Claus.
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Postby vertigo25 » Wed Oct 25, 2006 5:17 pm

Hey Morgan:

Richard Dawkins presented by City Arts & Lectures

Description
Thirty years ago, British scientist Richard Dawkins set out to explain the newest and most thought-provoking theories of evolutionary biology to a wider audience. Written with clear and vivid prose, Dawkin's groundbreaking book The Selfish Gene reignited Darwinian theory and synthesized broad ideas on natural selection, influencing both his peers and the public. Throughout his prestigious writing career in books including Unweaving the Rainbow, A Devil's Chaplain, and The Ancestor's Tale, Dawkins has exposed many common misperceptions of evolutionary theory. A rationalist and vocal atheist, Dawkins asserts the irrational belief in God in his most recent book The God Delusion. Dawkins firmly roots The God Delusion in historical arguments for a divine being, from St. Augustine onwards, and negates influential theologians. His impassioned rebuttal compellingly shows how religious fervor fuels wars, compounds bigotry, and perpetuates oppression in human society. One of the most influential scientists of our time, Dawkins is the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University.

In conversation with Roy Eisenhardt

SPECIAL EVENT

Monday, October 30, 2006
** at the Palace of Fine ArtsTheatre


Man, I wish I could afford the $19.00. Not just for Dawkins, but also because it's being held at the Palace of Fine Arts, which is one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture in the US:

Image

That image is hotlinked, so if it doesn't work, go here.
The firemen came and broke through the chimney top. And me and Mom were expecting them to pull out a dead cat or a bird. And instead they pulled out my father. He was dressed in a Santa Claus suit. He'd been climbing down the chimney... his arms loaded with presents. He was gonna surprise us. He slipped and broke his neck. He died instantly. And that's how I found out there was no Santa Claus.
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Postby iblis » Wed Oct 25, 2006 6:44 pm

Hardcoregirl wrote:Aw shucks.
I'm so proud.
I'm attached to Iblis's posts.

I'd like to thank the Academy...

in that case, i'll use it on every board i'm on, and link to your profile here. :mrgreen:
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Postby Asher » Wed Oct 25, 2006 7:09 pm

HCG,

For me personally, i feel pretty ok about a God who allows free will. And while there are some really shitty things that happen..and yeah have happened to me too..like lots of peeps..i also have the freedom to become a good person inspite of it. Well..as good as possible..i guess. i still think im a jerk more often than not lol. I dont think id like it so much if i was a literal puppet on a string..that is of course..only one way to look at it.

As for time frames..what is a day to God..hell it could have been a million years, which i truthfully believe was. I have no explanation for where God came from..and really..i dont know... i guess maybe this is where i fall into that 'retard christian' category becuase i -like- believing in something that isnt entirely provable..like love..if that makes any sense. I need the world to have some magic and mystery and for me..this satifies that need.
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Postby Coor » Thu Oct 26, 2006 12:39 am

I agree that we should question things, but one must think...

How can something that no one has ever seen guide the lives of billions of people over thousands and thousands of years?

it has to be more than human stupidity...

Just my opinion.
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Postby Francesca » Fri Oct 27, 2006 3:29 pm

Paladin656 wrote:We can prove that G/god(s) exist. Lets kill everyone and see where we all end up. :D


Heh, heh, heh... that's fuuuuunnnny! ;)

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Postby vertigo25 » Sat Oct 28, 2006 1:44 am

Coor wrote:I agree that we should question things, but one must think...

How can something that no one has ever seen guide the lives of billions of people over thousands and thousands of years?

it has to be more than human stupidity...

Just my opinion.


Coor:

This is commonly Known as the "Argument from Popularity," or "argumentum ad populum."

There are deeper things involved here, too. Like the fact that over those "thousands and thousands" of years, the actual beliefs and practices of those "billions of people" have changed... a lot... many times... so much so, that it's even a stretch to say that it's the same belief system as it was when it started.

Now, it's also important to remember that other religions lasted for thousands of years even before the rise of Judaism. There are also religions practiced today that do not believe in monotheism that are older than the Judaic or Christian faiths. There are even animist religions which may be considerably older which have been passed down only verbally, yet still survive.

It's not stupidity that has made religion survive for so long. It is memetics.

Consider Christianity. Remember that it was basically a small cult of "dangerous Jewish fanatics" for a long time. The earliest we can even say that a formalized church existed for Christianity is the late 3rd century. Even then, most people in the world thought it was a bunch of crazies and heretics.

After the Romans adopted it, it started to really take off. But think about it for a minute. Was this due to "popularity," or was it influenced by the fact that for centuries the Roman Emperor was considered a God himself, and that there were active endeavors to not only *spread* Christianity, but to *impose* it? I think a mixture of the two, but more the latter than the former.

In the middle ages, the imposition of church rule is undeniable.

By the time we got to the point of the printing press and a decent level of literacy, most people were far too afraid of persecution to actually question faith. Fear has played a large part in the spread of most religions. Even when the fear is only of a social nature... your friends will stop being your friends if they think you're a sinner... it is an extremely powerful thing.

There have been many, many things that have influenced the persistence of the belief in God or gods. This just simply does not make it true, or even give it some kind of merit in the form of "billions of people can't be wrong." There have just been far too many things which the majority of the Earth's population has been wrong about (even outside of religion) to believe that popularity or persistence of an idea makes it valid.

The short, not so well thought out, modern examples that come to my mind:

Millions of people think that Britney Spears is a talented singer.

The majority of parents check their children's Halloween candy for tampering. The only known case of someone actually putting needles (or any other "dangerous" object) into halloween treats happened 6 years ago, and was most like *inspired* by the decades old urban legend. All other cases have turned out to be either pranks pulled by a sibling, or a hoax played by attention grabbing parents. There has never been a single case of anyone ever drugging or poisoning Halloween treats (oh... except for people intentionally poisoning themselves or their own children (no trick-or-treats, though)). Remember what I said about fear? This one is so persistent that even people who *know* it's never happened still check their kids' treats, and will only ever say, "better safe than sorry." Fear. It's what's for dinner.

(That actually brings up another good point: consider the persistence of urban legends, email chain letters, hoaxes... These are not due to stupidity, so much as they are an inability to critically examine things.)

Millions of people spend millions of dollars every year on "anti-aging" creams and products... which have no greater effect than a placebo. Fear and marketing... just like God.
The firemen came and broke through the chimney top. And me and Mom were expecting them to pull out a dead cat or a bird. And instead they pulled out my father. He was dressed in a Santa Claus suit. He'd been climbing down the chimney... his arms loaded with presents. He was gonna surprise us. He slipped and broke his neck. He died instantly. And that's how I found out there was no Santa Claus.
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Postby faeryrealm » Sat Oct 28, 2006 1:54 pm

There have just been far too many things which the majority of the Earth's population has been wrong about (even outside of religion) to believe that popularity or persistence of an idea makes it valid.

The short, not so well thought out, modern examples that come to my mind:

Millions of people think that Britney Spears is a talented singer.


HAHAHAHAHA! Good one!

Interesting topic!

I'm with Asher. My faith works for me. It's not borne out of blindness but years of searching, researching, and personal experience. It's not the destination but the journey that matters...and there are good things to be learned from all realms of thought, all forms of faith or belief. ("Belief" being a blanket term for one's own philosophies, not necessary anything mainstream or organized. I sound about as clear as mud, don't I?) If you learn something, whether from outside or inside experience and research, and it benefits both you and your fellow man, then why should we (humanity as a whole) feel so negatively about it? It all goes right back to the herd instinct for so many people, which strikes at the very core of most everyone on this board, if you think about it. No sheeple 'round these parts!

One could take absolutely anything and overdo it, turn it into something harmful, which is what has happened over the centuries with religion and its opponents, philosophy, rationalism, skepticism, everything. Sad. I cannot share some of my own aspects of Christianity with some of my friends, which makes me all the more determined to follow my own path. In the end if I should find that there is no God, yet my searching has made me a better person, then still it would have all been worthwhile.

Scientifically, there can be nearly infinite articles of proof of one point of view (taken as "fact"), but it takes only one thing to disprove it. Everything we believe is transient, applicable to the here and now. We cannot say for certain that there is or is not a god, evolution, creationism, dinosaurs, unicorns, or an atom's worth of talent in Britney Spears. So much is left to individual perception, and 500 years from now or a thousand or a million something might surface to contradict current thought.

Although the fact that 500 years fro now someone might still think Britney Spears is talented, scares me.
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Postby vertigo25 » Sat Oct 28, 2006 3:05 pm

faeryrealm wrote:One could take absolutely anything and overdo it, turn it into something harmful, which is what has happened over the centuries with religion and its opponents, philosophy, rationalism, skepticism, everything. Sad. I cannot share some of my own aspects of Christianity with some of my friends, which makes me all the more determined to follow my own path. In the end if I should find that there is no God, yet my searching has made me a better person, then still it would have all been worthwhile.


Maybe I'm naive or overly biased, but what harmful things have happened due to or in the name of skepticism and rationalism?

faeryrealm wrote:Scientifically, there can be nearly infinite articles of proof of one point of view (taken as "fact"), but it takes only one thing to disprove it. Everything we believe is transient, applicable to the here and now. We cannot say for certain that there is or is not a god, evolution, creationism, dinosaurs, unicorns, or an atom's worth of talent in Britney Spears. So much is left to individual perception, and 500 years from now or a thousand or a million something might surface to contradict current thought.


I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to say here...
The firemen came and broke through the chimney top. And me and Mom were expecting them to pull out a dead cat or a bird. And instead they pulled out my father. He was dressed in a Santa Claus suit. He'd been climbing down the chimney... his arms loaded with presents. He was gonna surprise us. He slipped and broke his neck. He died instantly. And that's how I found out there was no Santa Claus.
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Postby Hardcoregirl » Sat Oct 28, 2006 3:25 pm

Andy, I want you to read this weeks Metropulse cover story paranormalcy. See if the things they said about skeptics piss you off as much is it did me. I've been reading them for years and this is the only time I've considered writing them a letter.
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Postby faeryrealm » Sat Oct 28, 2006 3:30 pm

Maybe I'm naive or overly biased, but what harmful things have happened due to or in the name of skepticism and rationalism?


It's not limited to skepticism and rationalism. It's anything. Yes, I have been personally attacked by self-proclaimed skeptics who tried to beat me down, saying my personal beliefs are wrong, wrong, wrong and those who don't think like they do are incorrect. That makes them no different from anyone else who tries to impose their belief system or will upon another. To me, to be rational and skeptic is to be open-minded and say "Hey, if x works for you, that's great. Happy for ya. But I'm still questioning and examining." No name-calling, no arguments, no attacks, just good interesting discussion.

I also think it is possible to be rational and skeptic within your own belief system.

More in a bit...
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Postby faeryrealm » Sat Oct 28, 2006 3:35 pm

Andy, I want you to read this weeks Metropulse cover story paranormalcy. See if the things they said about skeptics piss you off as much is it did me. I've been reading them for years and this is the only time I've considered writing them a letter.


Oh my. I just read the first few paragraphs, and I can't believe that got printed. :shock:
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Postby faeryrealm » Sat Oct 28, 2006 3:52 pm

Scientifically, there can be nearly infinite articles of proof of one point of view (taken as "fact"), but it takes only one thing to disprove it. Everything we believe is transient, applicable to the here and now. We cannot say for certain that there is or is not a god, evolution, creationism, dinosaurs, unicorns, or an atom's worth of talent in Britney Spears. So much is left to individual perception, and 500 years from now or a thousand or a million something might surface to contradict current thought.


I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to say here...


I guess I'm saying that even though at this moment something might be regarded as scientific fact, doesn't mean it cannot be disproven at some point in the future. For centuries it was accepted as scientific fact that the world was flat, and that had been verified by the best and brightest at that time. Although it had been contested many times over, it took only one man to blow it out of the water. (Yes I just used the single most overdone example in history. ARGH) We can be spoonfed facts today just as easily as we can be spoonfed ideals. To take anything as an absolute and be unwilling to change your stance can put one on a slippery slope.

I am thankful for the free thinkers, for those who dare to question and challenge. There should not be any one dominant individual or system. People with similar beliefs tend to band together and over time attrition of reason sinks in and then boom, you have religious or philosophical lemmings.


You have your personal reasons and experiences that have led you on the rational and skeptical path. Most likely you have interesting and positive things to share from your perspective. I have interesting and positive things from mine. It's important to always be open-minded enough to seek and share. :D
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Postby vertigo25 » Sat Oct 28, 2006 4:05 pm

I think the metropulse clap-trap was just meant to be satire, but it was definitely taken a little far. A bit insulting, but I've heard worse. It is, after all *the metropulse.* It's not like anyone is expecting any kind of journalistic skill or integrity... let alone any actual quality to the articles.

faeryrealm: It sounds to me a bit like your proposing that being told you're wrong is harmful. Now, granted, I've heard atheists and skeptics get pretty damn insulting (myself included), but I thought you meant harmful in the *actual* harm towards others... things like physical harm or torture, or death, or rape, or even in a broader sense: oppression of liberties.

Whereas I could entertain the argument that atheists have done some nasty things (although the only one anyone can ever seem to come up with is Stalin... and I have some thoughts on how that was not a direct cause of his atheism), I just don't see it in skeptics and rationalists.
The firemen came and broke through the chimney top. And me and Mom were expecting them to pull out a dead cat or a bird. And instead they pulled out my father. He was dressed in a Santa Claus suit. He'd been climbing down the chimney... his arms loaded with presents. He was gonna surprise us. He slipped and broke his neck. He died instantly. And that's how I found out there was no Santa Claus.
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Postby faeryrealm » Sat Oct 28, 2006 4:41 pm

Whereas I could entertain the argument that atheists have done some nasty things (although the only one anyone can ever seem to come up with is Stalin... and I have some thoughts on how that was not a direct cause of his atheism), I just don't see it in skeptics and rationalists.


Most of the time, no. But there are instances. You may not have encountered such, but it's out there. I personally have encountered it. Do I base my opinion of rationals and skeptics on that? Of course not. There are bad apples in every bunch, no matter what course of thought you pursue. I also believe that their actions were the antithesis of true rationalism and skepticism...just because you label yourself such doesn't mean that you are.

I have a friend who is atheist, and she is one of the nicest sweetest kindest persons around. Are there antagonistical atheists? Sure. I haven't met one yet though, so if I were to base my opinion merely on my own proof, I'd say atheists are the greatest people on earth, but that would be only one aspect, and my opinions aren't that static.

Being told you're wrong isn't harmful, so long as it remains an opinion. And upon what facts would the opinion be based? You may not have personal proof of something...but what if I do? Opinions are never wrong until they cross the line into oppression. Acting upon opinions and the belief that your way is the only way DOES cause harm. People are killed every day in the name of ________ (insert deity, cause, whatever). It is the beauty and necessity of fluid thought that keeps us free.

Now none of this is addressing you and your opinions personally. It is a generalized discussion!
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Postby Hardcoregirl » Sat Oct 28, 2006 9:47 pm

Yay I just found a website that makes me happy.




http://www.skepchick.org
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