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Author Topic: Religion...and SCIENCE! (Nee - Re: Oh..those people at westboro baptist are at it again! o3o)  (Read 13302 times)

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Offline Brandon

Here's a pretty extensive listing of attempts made to undermine evolution and/or replace it with intelligent design or young-earth creationism in the schools.  It seems to have been a failure in at least most of the cases, but it demonstrates an effort by religious personalities to cause a conflict.  So, as Pumpkin asked earlier, "Where then does this supposed conflict gain momentum then?"  It doesn't seem so "supposed" here, and it's pretty clear who's stirring up the pot.

The Wedge movement is pretty bad, I agree.  It doesn't help the case for people who claim that most Christians are reasonable people.  It also doesn't help that none of these more reasonable, moderate Christians come out in a public way against things like The Wedge.  It makes it tough for people on the outside to make any distinction (or at least it does for me).
Ahaha.

As I mentioned earlier Athiests dont seem to stand up against Anti-theists either. Youre perpetuating a double standard there will.

Offline Will

Atheists aren't always in a position to make a public statement.  They still aren't fully accepted in our society; I wasn't raised a fundamentalist Christian at all, but "atheist" was a dirty word in my house.  And in my school, and everywhere else for that matter.  An atheist making a public statement and outing him or herself as such would have been akin to a person publicly admitting to being into BDSM, or having a deep love for cocaine and hooker-sex.  He would be looked at funny for the rest of his life.

Maybe that's just because of where I'm from; I don't know.  But it's a problem.  Moderate Christians don't have that problem.  No one is going to ostracize them for speaking out (besides the fundamentalists, of course).

Offline Brandon

Frankly I dont care what the cultural or political view points on atheists are. If you believe "extremists" (probably not the best word but its what Ill use for now) should be fought against by the majority of the religion then the same needs to apply to everyones religions. Especially yours. Try living by your own example before you dictate how someone with seperate beliefs should act

Offline Will

Not caring about a problem doesn't make it go away.

Should a person be willing to risk losing custody of their children just to make a political statement?
« Last Edit: July 17, 2010, 12:47:04 AM by Will »

Offline Lithos

Frankly I dont care what the cultural or political view points on atheists are. If you believe "extremists" (probably not the best word but its what Ill use for now) should be fought against by the majority of the religion then the same needs to apply to everyones religions. Especially yours. Try living by your own example before you dictate how someone with seperate beliefs should act

They are usually fought against by the majority, even if it is normal civil group and not a religion. If we look at people in general, I would say that "extremist" atheists would be defined in how they want to deal with the religious lot. True extremist atheist like extremist, lets say, christian if I took some writing at Seattle Catholic for example, would want completely atheist declared state, with forced removal or religious people from society.

Most atheists are sane though, and believe that only the really dangerous organizations should be disbanded, and people should not be introduced to how world really works by education instead of violence, which is much more humane way to reach same goals. Real extremists in both religious societies and not are usually more or less insane, and outside any real help. They tend to support things that are violent and in nearly every way illegal. They can and need to be fought in every social group.

Personally I have no problem with people having their own personal beliefs as long as they are kept personal. Organized religion should be rooted out from society I believe, but it will take education and a lot of time to get to happen. I see no reason to hurry that process, it will happen soon enough on its own weight at least in more civilized parts of the world without any need to hurry it up.

Beautiful thing about truth and reason is that time is always on its side, even if it will take tens of years still, reality has already won.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2010, 12:49:39 AM by Lithos »

Offline Brandon

Youre right the problem doesnt go away but its also Irrelevant. Morality and ethics are applied throughout a persons life. They are constant and fluid. They dont get to take a day off because of cultural outlooks. Take a look at me for example. I have spoken to preists, monks, and the bishop in my state about homosexuality and why I believe it is a natural occurance in mankind. As you can imagine its not a popular viewpoint. I've been insulted and even been threatened with excommunication once but I wont give in. Im risking a very important thing in my life that has shaped my principles and my humanity and I do it because its the right thing to do.

Someone once said "Anything worth achieving is not easily obtained". This means you have to work for what you want but it also means you have to risk yourself sometimes to do what is right. Now I realize a lot of people arent that strong (and I dont mean that as an insult) but before you stand there and say that all Muslims should "chastise" their extremists you better be doing the same thing yourself as well as working toward the same goal in your religion. Otherwise you are perpetuating a double standard and I would even go so far to say youre being hypocritical

@Lithos: That isnt the same as saying the majority of the same belief should fight the minority.

I find the very notion of abolishing organized religion to be little mroe then a statement meant to discriminate against people with strong beliefs and at worst IMO its hate speech. Why not just wipe out Republicans and democrats while your at it?

Offline Will

Even when there are other people that count on you, Brandon?  You would risk them?  If so, then I am well and truly speechless.

Offline Brandon

Even when there are other people that count on you, Brandon?  You would risk them?  If so, then I am well and truly speechless.

I have the "luxury" of being alone beyond a few close friends and the women I date (and the one Im seeing now is a Wiccan so I couldnt really use her as an example anyway). While I could answer that question I think if I did my own views now would cloud what I might do in that situation so I cant honestly say yes or no.

However, you said that such a situation would be akin to embarrasment. Why would that effect people that count on you? If your mom was sick would she stop letting you care for her? Would you loose your job? Would you be harrased or beaten?

Well guess what? Thats what the law is there for, to protect people from the latter crimes or see them punished for them. As to the sick mom idea, I can only say its more her loss.

However, that doesnt change anything from what I said earlier. If you cant live by your own standards in your cultural/social groups then you have no right to tell someone else to live by them.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

I think a breather is advisable at this point.

Offline Will

I think you missed my edit, Brandon.

Should a person be willing to risk losing custody of their children just to make a political statement?

That's what I was referring to.

Offline Jude

Worrying about anti-theists is kind of pointless anyway, they have no political or social power whatsoever.  Even if they are extremists, what's the worst they've done besides hurt your feelings, Brandon?  And how are they different from any other religion out there?  It's not like Christianity or Hinduism are particularly in agreement about things.

As Dawkins likes to say (but with the word Atheist replaced with Anti-Theist because that's really what he is), the only difference between an Atheist and a Monotheist is that an Atheist goes one god further.

I think it's also fair to say that you can be an Anti-Theist and not an extremist.  Christians obviously think that the world would be a better place if the entire world was Christian.  How is that any different than an Anti-Theist saying that the world would be better without religion?  Those are equivalent statements:  "if everyone thought like me the world would be a better place," there's no real difference.

The thing is, Anti-Theists are angry and insulting to you Brandon, and I can speak from personal experience, because they're very much oppressed by religious influence.  They've had their family and friends pressure them to accept it.  Every time they look on our currency there's "in God we trust."  At the end of their speeches, every President in recent history has ended with "God Bless America."  People often insinuate that you cannot be moral without God, thus it goes beyond a mere belief, into a total reflection of character based on a philosophical viewpoint.  Try and put yourself in their shoes, imagine "In Mohammud We Trust" on our currency, not getting Christmas off, but there being an official holiday for Ramadan.  What if only Muslims got to write off on their taxes for donating to their mosques?

Our society is so incredibly Christian-centric, and I find it just amazing that people who are Christian don't even realize all of the tenets of religious oppression we have going on.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Evolution is in fact a theory.  A theory is comprised of observations, quantified data and typically several testable hypotheses.  That is about as near the definition of a theory as one can go short of copying and pasting from the dictionary.  This is the term used by scientists and in science textbooks across the world.  That a theory is not held up as truth and can be disproven at any time is one of the hallmarks of science.  So quickly are people to turn around and say that calling a theory this is propaganda and falsehood.  That is the definition and those are the rules that science uses.  If you do not understand them, then I suggest familiarizing yourself with them before entering a debate regarding those same rules.  So the definitions change when inconvenient? 

If someone wishes to point out that evolution can be disproven, I do not dispute that claim.  I simply invite them to disprove the theory with their own experiment.  I do not attempt to assert that while evolution is called a theory, it is in fact a law and truth.  Hiding that simple distinction is rather insidious though I would think any child could figure out that theories can be disproven, so the Theory of Evolution can be disproven.  Far be it for any group to tell them that truth.

So this list of failed attempts to change laws is evidence that religion is going to usurp science?  If you read what I said, I made note that there are few if any pervasive figures that are going to mount that usurpation.  I suppose people can look at the “Wedge Strategy,” but if the strategy can prove the existence of God scientifically then how exactly did science lose anything?

Does this argument now degenerate into self-pity and tantrums?  Do I get sympathy for having someone stat in a “civil discourse” that they wish for my religion to be rooted out of society?  Not think I will have much sympathy there, so pardon me if I do not extend the same courtesy.

Offline Noelle

Evolution is in fact a theory.  A theory is comprised of observations, quantified data and typically several testable hypotheses.  That is about as near the definition of a theory as one can go short of copying and pasting from the dictionary.

So let's copy and paste it from the dictionary, then.

Here's the layman's definition, as Jude spoke of earlier.

Quote
a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.

Well-established propositions just so happen to be what theories in science tend to be.

Also from the dictionary, and equally appropriate:

Quote
A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.


The branch of a science or art consisting of its explanatory statements, accepted principles, and methods of analysis, as opposed to practice: a fine musician who had never studied theory.

Quote from: Jude
You know what else has a theory supporting its existence?  Gravity, Magnetism, Electricity.

Let's talk about how theoretical those things are instead of evolution, shall we?
« Last Edit: July 17, 2010, 03:45:44 AM by Noelle »

Offline Brandon

Wow slanted much? sorry man but that blog shows a lot of familiar trends with religion bashing blogs. Now maybe some of its true, maybe it all is, but the trends are there. Instead of making religion out to be some evil controlling empire or turning atheists into the victum he should have done his legal research and found out what I mention below

Look I know this probably isnt well known (I probably wouldnt know about it myself if I hadnt seen it happen with a family friend) but there are boards that oversee judges in legal aspects. If there is resonable doubt that a judge will be unbiased in a case because of religion, sex, political standings, or anything of the sort the lawer can call the board together and move to have the judge removed from the trial (and thus appointing a less biased one). However this needs to happen before courts start. Once hearings start, well its to late because you already gave your approval for that judge by not seeking to have them removed (theres a word for removing but I dont recall what it is off the top of my head).

A judge ruling against you solely because of religion (or lack there of) is illegal and you can fight it. If your lawer is unwilling to, or doesnt know how to then you need to get a new lawer

Going back to my first statement about double standards and hypocrisy. It seems to me you have 3 choices. You can continue what you've been doing and be a hypocrite (and I will point out that hypocrisy). You can start living by what you preach and earn the right to critisize other groups. Last, you can say nothing, do nothing, and let things go on as they are.

@Jude: The absolute worst I have seen was a pair of men beating a homeless man after he began praying out loud and Ill say this much, thank god that were living in the age of cell phone cameras because I got both their faces on film which put them away for several years. I have also seen and heard of fist fights and Private property damage done by anti-theists, seemingly for no other reason then they were churches and nativity scenes. Now that said, I am not nor have I ever advocated religious or anti religous charged violence. Doesnt matter what religion you follow if you assault someone or destroy private property. Its just as wrong. Im not looking to demonize anti-theists (although I know it might come off like that at times) but I want all groups to be treated equally especially in the social group called Elliquiy. No hypocisy. no double standards. I just want good old true equality around here

Offline Jude

I don't doubt that there are anti-theists who do stupid things in the name of their religion/philosophy, whatever you want to call it.  The cases you mentioned seem horrific, Brandon, and I can guarantee you that any mainstream antitheist or atheist would denounce it give the chance.  The problem is, we don't have any sort of mouthpiece from which to actually give statements.

There is no atheist church, there are very very few atheist political officials (none on the national stage that I'm aware of and in some local areas there are laws that prevent nonbelievers from taking office), so there really is no central authority that has a public venue.  All I can really do is give you links to communities which atheists and anti-theists frequent so you can see the content of their character for yourself (if you're interested).  I find that when it comes down to it, atheists and anti-theists are pretty much like everyone else.  I haven't experienced more or less nastiness amongst them.

I think also, at some point, in this discussion what exactly was being said got confused.  I wasn't trying to denigrate religion and relegate it to a lesser position in life.  I think religious thoughts from time to time even though I'm a self-proclaimed agnostic.  I wonder what it's like when you die, I am concerned about morals (though from a philosophical viewpoint), and every now and then I do think of the concept of god as the master clockmaker that was popular during the enlightenment (especially in relation to mathematical constants oddly enough).

What I took issue with was the comparison of science to religion.  I'm not saying that the ways in which science is used to attack religion should be encouraged, I don't believe that at all, I just think it's not fair to compare the two in terms of solidity.  Religion is a subjective experience for most, it's a personal thing, but what we need as a society is something rigorous and objective to help us establish a group of agreed-upon facts to make policy and day to day decisions with.  I am discouraged when people substitute their superstitions, religious beliefs, or other types of magical thinking for hard empiricism.

To be perfectly clear, I do not believe that science is superior to religion in all things.  When it comes to establishing agreed-upon fact for decision making, I think it is.  When it comes to understanding the routine processes in the world around us, yes.  But science cannot comfort you when you think of your mortality, it cannot explain why humanity is here, and it certainly can't be applied in every situation.  It's far too complex, time consuming, and rigid.  Religion is a very important part of the majority of people's lives in the world, and I wouldn't change that even if I could.

Offline Noelle

Wow slanted much? sorry man but that blog shows a lot of familiar trends with religion bashing blogs. Now maybe some of its true, maybe it all is, but the trends are there. Instead of making religion out to be some evil controlling empire or turning atheists into the victum he should have done his legal research and found out what I mention below

You're just as guilty of slant, aren't you? I'd also like to point out that in the process of saying not to make atheists the victims, you've turned around and made Christians the victims with your examples and general points, at least that's how I see it. You're kind of getting borderline victim-blaming there -- you're right, people should do legal research, but that doesn't change the fact that that is blatantly an abuse of religion. You're ignoring the fact that a lack of religion was held over someone's head and caused them to lose their children -- I'm not a parent, and I don't think you are either, but it's not a stretch to say that that's a devastating experience. Legal research or no, that outcome is horrific, you really can't deny that.

Yes, you can research a judge, you can appeal for a new one if you can prove their bias. Meanwhile, while you're trying to figure out how to not only somehow measure the level of a judge's bias based on their religion, but find a judge who is somehow not biased in the same way (if you boil it down to Christianity alone, have fun finding an atheist/non-religious/non-Christian/whatever judge), your children are still out of your custody.

I get the feeling that if the roles were reversed -- if it were a Christian mother having her children taken away because an atheist didn't want them brainwashed, you might be singing a different tune. I highly doubt society would think the same of a Christian mother being wronged by an atheist as they would the other way around.

I'm also curious to know how you knew the homeless man was being beaten specifically for his religion and not any other motivation.



Also: Like Jude, I'm not against religion and I'm not trying to say that science is the answer to everything ever. Simply trying to point out perspective on the matter.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2010, 04:13:59 AM by Noelle »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

This is where you actually do reach a problem though.  One of the foundations that people use when comparing science against religion is how much science can be disproven and readjusted.  Currently you are beginning to make the claim that this is not true.  Evolution is not the truth and is not fact so far as science is concerned.  Evolution is a theory which is well supported and accepted, but still not undeniable.  Scientific theories in fact have to be falsifiable.  So the statement still stands true that evolution is a theory, not a fact.

Also, you just listed two forces and electricity might be a force but not sure.  There are a lot of theories surrounding those areas, many of which are being tested continuously and reformed as new evidence is found.  So yes, they are highly theoretical.

And I am glad we actually agree Jude.

Offline Noelle

So where are their stickers inside science textbooks? If those stickers are just innocuous things that are just stating facts, why aren't we labeling those, too?

Theories may be falsifiable, but that is not for certain. That's the point of constant testing. For example, I imagine you probably take things like gravity as a pretty solid idea. Why is that? It still could have a hole in it somewhere, it is, after all, just a theory, but why is gravity so reliable and evolution is so railed against? Why does one require a sticker to qualify it as "just" a theory (thereby marginalizing it), but the other doesn't need such a disclaimer?

Offline Jude

I agree that evolution is falsifiable (as all scientific concepts must be) and that it's a theory.  But a scientific theory, which is different from a theory as used casually in the English Language.

Example of scientific usage:  Einsteain's theory of general relativity is difficult to understand.
Example of normal usage:  I have a theory that my sister is the one eating all of the cookies out of the jar when I go to bed at night; now I just need proof.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2010, 04:20:29 AM by Jude »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Gravity is a force, not a theory.  I already pointed that out.  For someone that was making such wonderful use of the dictionary before this should not be difficult to look up.  As for why there are strickers inside of textbooks, I cannot even guess.  I do not assume to know.  Already I have stated that the purpose was more than likely related to religion, but that is simply assumption.  The issue though is how this is part of some grand scheme to usurp science from the classroom. 

Also, who is toying with words now?  May be falsifiable, but since it hasn't been disproven then its true!  Poor scientific method and rationale there. 

Offline Nyarly

Atheists aren't always in a position to make a public statement.  They still aren't fully accepted in our society; I wasn't raised a fundamentalist Christian at all, but "atheist" was a dirty word in my house.  And in my school, and everywhere else for that matter.  An atheist making a public statement and outing him or herself as such would have been akin to a person publicly admitting to being into BDSM, or having a deep love for cocaine and hooker-sex.  He would be looked at funny for the rest of his life.

Maybe that's just because of where I'm from; I don't know.  But it's a problem.  Moderate Christians don't have that problem.  No one is going to ostracize them for speaking out (besides the fundamentalists, of course).
Note everywhere. In Germany and especially in Saxony, where I come from, no one raises an eyebrow, when you are saying you are an atheist.

Hell, the majority of people here are probably atheists.

Also, Creationism and Intelligent Design is the same thing. The only difference is, that ID attempts to sound scientific.

I find the very notion of abolishing organized religion to be little mroe then a statement meant to discriminate against people with strong beliefs and at worst IMO its hate speech. Why not just wipe out Republicans and democrats while your at it?
That's something I never understood: Faith is a purely personal thing. So, why do you need organized religions?
« Last Edit: July 17, 2010, 04:31:59 AM by Nyarly »

Offline Jude

When did I say evolution is true or proven?

Also, gravity is part of a theory (everything in science is)--it's existence is just a theory, in other words.  Equally as solid as evolution, was the point.

You seem to be ignoring my point over and over again about the fact that the statement that "evolution is just a theory" being misleading because of the two definitions.  It's getting kind of frustrating.

Offline Noelle

Gravity is a force, not a theory.  I already pointed that out.  For someone that was making such wonderful use of the dictionary before this should not be difficult to look up.  As for why there are strickers inside of textbooks, I cannot even guess.  I do not assume to know.  Already I have stated that the purpose was more than likely related to religion, but that is simply assumption.  The issue though is how this is part of some grand scheme to usurp science from the classroom. 

Also, who is toying with words now?  May be falsifiable, but since it hasn't been disproven then its true!  Poor scientific method and rationale there.

You're being rather hostile. I think it's time for a breather, as you suggested earlier.

Offline Will

Whether you want to think of it as a "grand scheme" or just a general effort, I do believe it's real.  All the attempts made in the link I posted are evidence of it.  As I noted in that same post, they were pretty ineffective, but I wasn't claiming otherwise.  I was only showing that the conflict of religion vs science is real, and that people with religious agendas were making an effort to displace science.

However, now we seem to have moved on to semantics and stonewalling.  That's pretty much the end of every thread. -_-

Offline Brandon

You're just as guilty of slant, aren't you? I'd also like to point out that in the process of saying not to make atheists the victims, you've turned around and made Christians the victims with your examples and general points, at least that's how I see it. You're kind of getting borderline victim-blaming there -- you're right, people should do legal research, but that doesn't change the fact that that is blatantly an abuse of religion. You're ignoring the fact that a lack of religion was held over someone's head and caused them to lose their children -- I'm not a parent, and I don't think you are either, but it's not a stretch to say that that's a devastating experience. Legal research or no, that outcome is horrific, you really can't deny that.

Yes, you can research a judge, you can appeal for a new one if you can prove their bias. Meanwhile, while you're trying to figure out how to not only somehow measure the level of a judge's bias based on their religion, but find a judge who is somehow not biased in the same way (if you boil it down to Christianity alone, have fun finding an atheist/non-religious/non-Christian/whatever judge), your children are still out of your custody.

I get the feeling that if the roles were reversed -- if it were a Christian mother having her children taken away because an atheist didn't want them brainwashed, you might be singing a different tune. I highly doubt society would think the same of a Christian mother being wronged by an atheist as they would the other way around.

I'm also curious to know how you knew the homeless man was being beaten specifically for his religion and not any other motivation.



Also: Like Jude, I'm not against religion and I'm not trying to say that science is the answer to everything ever. Simply trying to point out perspective on the matter.

I know you probably arent used to debating with me, but one of the major arguments I make is equality. Something I say a lot is "equality means being equal, not a little better then the other guy". If one group cant do it then no one can. If one group can critisize another they have to be living by their standard. I enjoy pointing out hypocrisy because like irony its one of those delicious spices of life so to speak.

That said, you're right I did overlook the horror due and focused on the legal aspects. That doesnt change the fact that it happening to anyone is wrong and illegal. I may not fight as fiercly for non-catholic beliefs but I still fight for them so youll have to pardon my emotional attachment when I see a few "letters" making christianity out to be some kind of evil society.

As to your last two points, no I dont have kids. At least none that I know of (dont look at me like that). As someoen who would like to one day have them, but probably never will, I have to say I think that I would put my kids first and myself second. At the same time I would expect my visitation rights, and anyone that screwed with that would find their ass in court very fast.

As to why those men were beating that guy, its what he told me afterwards. He has come to the same shelter I volenteer at and always seemed honest and open so I have no reason to doubt him

For the record, Im not really here to debate the whole science vs religion thing, I think its a stupid and meaningless argument in the first place as they both have their places in our culture. I only intend to get involved when I see hypocrisy or discriminatory/hate fueld statments against religion