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Evolution Debate

Time for debate to evolve

I think you must be an atheist Ezra, for no Christian could possibly reach the conclusions you do without reading the threads a little more carefully.  (Feb 3, 2008 | post #180)

Evolution Debate

Time for debate to evolve

I am not an atheist. Many scientists are christians, or believe in other religions. If you think that all scientists are atheists you are more of an idiot than I believed possible.  (Feb 3, 2008 | post #178)

Evolution Debate

creation verses big bang

Are you absolutely sure about this? Where is the evidence that there was no universe pre 15 billion years ago? You extrapolate a theory, which you state with absolute certainty to be fact. In doing so you are promoting an irrational belief of a similar nature to one who takes the bible literally.  (Feb 3, 2008 | post #8)

Evolution Debate

Does free will exist?

It doesn't require an adaptive trait to emerge. I'm curious to learn why it would increase in frequency in a population, and to what extent it may occur in other animal species. It is easy to say that it is beneficial because it is has evolved, and to analyse what those advantages may be, but to do so without tautology and a biased hindsight is rather more tricky. There may disadvantages for an instinctive response, or a reflex, to over-ride free will decisions. For example the inhalation reflex when falling into icy water. It is interesting to see that these responses can be over-ridden through conditioning, or training and practice, for example the way a boxer can stop the blinking reflex when an object is moving towards the eye. Similarly, disadvantages must exist for free will over-riding an instinctive response. Even a momentary analysis of a situation could be the difference between life and death. It may be completely speculative, but how would this influence a predator-prey arms race like leopards and early hominids? I'm also interested in learning how a theist who believes in an omnipotent and omniscient god can balance this with their own free will. For them, how does the choice between 'good' and 'evil' sit with a God who knows everything and hence all their future decisions? Thus, is the "idea of free will as an illusion of perspective" as Pagan and Proud suggests correct, or are those theists prepared to admit that their God does not in fact actually know everything after all?  (Feb 3, 2008 | post #8)

Evolution Debate

was Wallie X evolved from a donkey?

I think some of Wallie's points are fair in that the Atheistic views of Dawkins are religious and not rational (Scientism). For example see his post: http://www.topix.n et/forum/news/evol ution/TJIHV363H0NC C0HHU/p6#c107 A more considered, rational, and SCIENTIFIC viewpoint would be as Bob of Quantum-Faith suggests: http://www.topix.n et/forum/news/evol ution/TIGVIKP295LI CNTOO/p8#c172 The most rational viewpoint will claim no certainties, and Science is based on probabilities. I think some scientists often lose sight of this and claim that their theories supported by the observed facts are definitive and absolute. It is difficult to promote the evolutionary argument when one of it's main proponents holds an irrational belief. Worse still, this makes it is harder to sway an irrational creationist who may be ignorant of much of this theory. I for one admire Wallie's intelligence for his delicate and sparkling way with words, even if they are at odds with some of my own opinions.  (Feb 3, 2008 | post #5)

Evolution Debate

Time for debate to evolve

It's kinda scary the way the creationist agenda is spreading into the rest of the world, see http://www.newscie ntist.com/channel/ opinion/mg19726415 .500-comment-let-u s-celebrate-darwin .html There are state funded schools teaching creationism starting up in UK, e.g. see http://observer.gu ardian.co.uk/magaz ine/story/0,11913, 1258506,00.html  (Feb 3, 2008 | post #174)

Evolution Debate

Time for debate to evolve

I agree, you are right. The most rational viewpoint will claim no certainties. Science is based on probabilities. I think some scientists often lose sight of this and claim that their theories supported by the observed facts are definitive and absolute. This sometimes does not help when arguing against an irrational creationist.  (Feb 3, 2008 | post #173)

Evolution Debate

Time for debate to evolve

Post 1.5 of 2 [apologies again] Bob of Quantum-Faith continued: "If, on the other hand, you could point to COMPLETELY NEW religious development, totally apart from any recognized religion, then your hypothesis might have merit. "Or, if your "conversion experiences" ALWAYS pointed to the SAME, EXACT FLAVOR of religion, then again, your hypothesis would have merit. "But neither is the case. The "conversion-r esults" can ALWAYS be traced to some influence the "convertee " had prior to the "conversion "." The logical conclusion to this is that throughout our history, human beings have always believed in god. I do not think this is the case. Do you really think all our pre-historic ancestors believed in god or came from a culture that did? Religion or belief in god has NOT always existed. It must have started somewhere. I think only a religious fundie could disagree with this. talorg wrote: "In this way, their belief does not always precede the evidence." Bob of Quantum-Faith responded: "Incorrect. See above." I disagree. See above. talorg wrote: "A follower of the scientific method understands the logic and objectiveness behind their methods." Bob of Quantum-Faith responded: "Incorrect. This is not always the case." Are you being a bit picky here? You call my statement incorrect. If this is because because you interpret it as a generalization, please re-read it. I hope this is not deliberate. talorg wrote: "A follower of theism has a conviction in the supernatural. " Bob of Quantum-Faith responded: "Or, at least his/her PERCEPTION of that-- it all boils down to the culture's influence that had the most weight in the mind of the "convertee "." Same difference?  (Jan 31, 2008 | post #171)

Evolution Debate

Time for debate to evolve

Part 1.0 of 2 [I apologize for the order in which these were uploaded, this was not intended] talorg wrote: "Hi Bob of Quantum-Faith. I understand your meaning, but still object to a few things. I agree with you that there are differences in the types of faith relied upon in science and religion. The scientific faith is based on a logic which is testable objectively, whereas the religious faith is based on subjective emotion or gut feeling. However, both can still be defined as faith, and therein lies the problem." Bob of Quantum-Faith responded: "Disagree. Not the same thing at all, unfortunately. Such is the flexibility of language." I think you are actually agreeing with me here! You stated in an earlier post that religion and science were based on different types of faith. I am agreeing with you on this point, and trying to point out this flexibility of language causes confusion between religious and science fundies! talorg wrote: "However, I do not agree that the origins and evolution of a belief in god and religion and can be explained in the way you suggest. A faith in the supernatural often comes as a result of experiences which cannot be explained according to current rational thought." Bob of Quantum-Faith responded: "But. They are ALWAYS interpreted through whatever culture the person finds him/herself in." I agree with your statement, [no need for buts]. talorg wrote: "These occur to 'non-believers' as well as 'believers', and may result in the conversion of those 'non-believers'. " Bob of Quantum-Faith responded: "See above. Such conversions are ALWAYS controlled by the cultural experiences of the so-called "non-believer ". "Thus, if a "non-believer " has an experience in a predominantly Christian culture, surprise-surprise, the "conversion " is always Christian or some variant of that. If the "conversion " takes place in a predominantly Muslim culture, the "conversion " is Muslim or some flavor thereof. "Patterns that to not fit the above, are likely as result of local, specific variant cultures that the person has experienced prior to the "conversion "." I think to generalize in such a way (e.g. with regards to a conversion in a Christian culture always becoming a Christian or variant thereof) does no favours when counterbalanced with a caveat. I will largely accept your point but ask you to bear in mind for example the conversion of Cat Stevens. I personally know others who similarly have bucked the trend and gone outside of the local and predominant cultures.  (Jan 31, 2008 | post #170)

Evolution Debate

Time for debate to evolve

Part 2 of 2 talorg wrote: "If one does not believe in or accept the other as a suitable school of thought, then debate may rage, and discord and bigotry may follow. It is natural for these people to extend their belief into the other." Bob of Quantum-Faith responded: "Perhaps. Except that logic can and often is, totally OBJECTIVE. Not based on subjective feelings. "Thus, it is far more rational." This appears contradictory to your comment below regarding the die-hard scientific atheist. The logical and rational conclusion of objectivity is there is no god. I am therefore somewhat perplexed as to how you fit your description of the die-hard scientific atheist as being a religionist and irrational with this. Unless you are suggesting there is a spectrum of rationality, which is in fact circular, so that the extremes of each are rather similar cf. the political spectrum. talorg wrote: "An outcome of this is vehement rejection of the other belief, but without accepting there is a difference in style and logic behind them." Bob of Quantum-Faith responded: "Incorrect. There is zero logic behind belief in religion, regardless of the flavor. It is a completely subjective experience, and varies from individual to individual. "Therefore, it is far from rational." I think you are misinterpreting me here. I never meant to imply that a religious belief was logical. I admit I should have written the sentence more clearly, but the meaning intended was that science has a logic which is different from the style of the religious belief. talorg wrote: "This polarizes the debate in an unhealthy way." Bob of Quantum-Faith responded: "Perhaps. You'll find that scientists are, for the most part, content to just do their scientific work." I think you will find that the silent majority of religious believers behave likewise; at least this is my experience for every place/country I've been fortunate enough to visit. Bob of Quantum-Faith continued: "It's only when the irrational religionists encroach on that work, with an attempt to FORCE people to comply with their irrational beliefs, that the "debate" ensues." There are some scientists who attempt to force their way of thinking on others too. Can you see there is a circle here of 'you attack my beliefs/values: I attack yours' etc. which draws in more and more people. Not too dissimilar from a cycle of violence and response to threat. If it wasn't for them pesky activists eh! This is the point from which the debate must evolve!! talorg wrote: "The die-hard scientific atheist will instantly rule out those gut-feelings which alter one's perception of the surrounding world, and the die-hard theist will not consider the elegant logic behind the scientific process." Bob of Quantum-Faith responded: "Except, that a "die-hard scientific atheist" is ALSO a religionists, and not any more rational than a "die-hard theist". Neither has a RATIONAL leg on which to base their claims. BOTH views are subjective." Hmmmm... talorg wrote: "The resulting impasse is a shame." Bob of Quantum-Faith responded: "Agreed. Irrational behavior is the mark of an unsocial animal." It is irrational not to accept freedom of thought in others. Nice to agree on something though ;)  (Jan 31, 2008 | post #169)

Druid

What IS the secret of Silbury Hill?

Better to make your own  (Jan 29, 2008 | post #14)

Pagan/Wiccan

Do we have free will?

Thanks Pagan and Proud, I like your views and find them very interesting. Especially your "idea of free will as an illusion of perspective" if one believes in an omniscient God. I'm personally undecided on this and you've given me much to consider. I find it hard to reconcile free will with a destiny, a path of design, involving meeting particular people, like a twin-soul or soul mates, visiting certain places, or following a particular career, or belief. I'm currently of the mind that there may be key reference points through which a person's life will be guided. I get confused with methods of divination in reference to this, especially in the way which a reading will influence the decision making of a person, and hence change the probability of the way one will turn. Also how more than one reading taken at intervals before a key event will change. I'm probably thinking about it too much though! :)  (Jan 29, 2008 | post #3)

Evolution Debate

Time for debate to evolve

I agree that within the scientific method, there must be a testability and repeatability to any observation for it to be considered as verifiable. I think though that the foundations on which this is based are rather more shakey for reasons above.  (Jan 29, 2008 | post #163)

Evolution Debate

Time for debate to evolve

Hi Bob of Quantum-Faith. I understand your meaning, but still object to a few things. I agree with you that there are differences in the types of faith relied upon in science and religion. The scientific faith is based on a logic which is testable objectively, whereas the religious faith is based on subjective emotion or gut feeling. However, both can still be defined as faith, and therein lies the problem. However, I do not agree that the origins and evolution of a belief in god and religion and can be explained in the way you suggest. A faith in the supernatural often comes as a result of experiences which cannot be explained according to current rational thought. These occur to 'non-believers' as well as 'believers', and may result in the conversion of those 'non-believers'. In this way, their belief does not always precede the evidence. A follower of the scientific method understands the logic and objectiveness behind their methods. A follower of theism has a conviction in the supernatural. If one does not believe in or accept the other as a suitable school of thought, then debate may rage, and discord and bigotry may follow. It is natural for these people to extend their belief into the other. An outcome of this is vehement rejection of the other belief, but without accepting there is a difference in style and logic behind them. This polarizes the debate in an unhealthy way. The die-hard scientific atheist will instantly rule out those gut-feelings which alter one's perception of the surrounding world, and the die-hard theist will not consider the elegant logic behind the scientific process. The resulting impasse is a shame.  (Jan 29, 2008 | post #162)

Q & A with talorg

Headline:

mae gen i anghenion arbennig

Local Favorites:

mountains, beaches, woods, lochs, rivers

I Belong To:

God, the universe and everything

When I'm Not on Topix:

I'm climbing, reading, dreaming, talking, working, fishing, golfing, sleeping, eating, cooking, doing yoga and martial arts or something else..

I'm Listening To:

Birdsong, Bach, Bloc Party

Read This Book:

John Muir's Wilderness Journeys

Favorite Things:

Life, Love, Laughter

On My Mind:

everything and nothing

Blog / Website / Homepage:

too lazy!

I Believe In:

God, Science, Humanity, Magic, Nature, Truth