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  1. #91
    . Blank's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Magic (Poriferan)...that is a view I could have entertained when I was younger and less concerned or compelled by that side of life. What I would say is that there's more strange and unbelieveable or beyond belief stuff in quantum physics or the outer reaches of science, to me, than there appears in religion.
    I can appreciate such thoughts and they're very fair to say. Very few people understand or even have any hint of what wonders are contained in quantum physics and higher echelons of scientific learning. It's fair to say that science could be completely wrong--it very well may be, for now. However, I don't (and I'm sure many don't) view science as a religion, but as a best-fit description of the world.

    When I compare science and religion in best-fit descriptions of the world, I personally choose science since it is grounded in empirical evidence I could potentially falsify through my five senses. With religion, I feel no opportunity to do the same and when I meet something that seems to contradict religion's description, I have no way to cope with the discrepancy other than to deny it. With science, the description can change to better-fit the world, and it fits better with me.

    It is entirely possible for me to be ignorant of one or more larger aspects of the world if they are not physical in nature, but since I haven't experienced them, I can't make a value statement to confirm or deny them either way...but they don't best-fit the world as I experience it. Thus I stick with science.
    Ti = 19 [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Te = 16[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Ne = 16[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Fi = 15 [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Si = 12 [][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Ni = 12 [][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Se = 11[][][][][][][][][][][]
    Fe = 0

    -----------------
    Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
    Man got to sit and wonder why, why, why;
    Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
    Man got to tell himself he understand

  2. #92
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    I don't have a religion because it seems worldview-limiting. I'd like to choose my beliefs without an external dissonance-creating-mechanism biasing me towards certain ones.

    I have never seen any evidence that the world (including our thoughts and feelings) cannot be explained in physical, deterministic terms.

    Also, I was raised Jewish, and I was always really weirded out by everyone saying some prayer in Hebrew -- 95% of them obviously didn't have any idea what they were saying, so how could I have seen it as anything other than a brainwashing mechanism? I don't think there's an evil motive behind it, but I do think it's so far removed from our current issues that it's a huge waste of time. And it's kinda scary that people just follow the pack so easily.

    I was always that annoying atheist that questioned everything in Hebrew school.

  3. #93
    Senior Member King sns's Avatar
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    Religion has seriously impeded my understanding of how the world is/ what God could be. Things are easier to internalize for me without the religion.
    06/13 10:51:03 five sounds: you!!!
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    06/13 10:51:57 shortnsweet: (cries)
    06/13 10:52:19 RiftsWRX: You two are like furbies stuck in a shoe box

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  4. #94
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blank View Post
    I can appreciate such thoughts and they're very fair to say. Very few people understand or even have any hint of what wonders are contained in quantum physics and higher echelons of scientific learning. It's fair to say that science could be completely wrong--it very well may be, for now. However, I don't (and I'm sure many don't) view science as a religion, but as a best-fit description of the world.

    When I compare science and religion in best-fit descriptions of the world, I personally choose science since it is grounded in empirical evidence I could potentially falsify through my five senses. With religion, I feel no opportunity to do the same and when I meet something that seems to contradict religion's description, I have no way to cope with the discrepancy other than to deny it. With science, the description can change to better-fit the world, and it fits better with me.

    It is entirely possible for me to be ignorant of one or more larger aspects of the world if they are not physical in nature, but since I haven't experienced them, I can't make a value statement to confirm or deny them either way...but they don't best-fit the world as I experience it. Thus I stick with science.
    I think there's the same evidence for true religion as there is for scientific theories, honest seekers after truth will seek to constantly affirm the veracity of both, rather than simply accept either. The scientific method itself is not much besides suspending belief until evidence is available, therefore it cant prove or disprove something like the main tenets of most religions, neither would it seek to proceed from the false certainty that most athiests do (and I certainly dont confuse atheisms with science per se). There's also enough empirical evidence to support belief as doubt if you care to look for it.

    Although like I said something like string theory or the multiverse really makes merely positing the possibility of an after life seem modest.

  5. #95
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    I don't have a religion because it seems worldview-limiting. I'd like to choose my beliefs without an external dissonance-creating-mechanism biasing me towards certain ones.

    I have never seen any evidence that the world (including our thoughts and feelings) cannot be explained in physical, deterministic terms.

    Also, I was raised Jewish, and I was always really weirded out by everyone saying some prayer in Hebrew -- 95% of them obviously didn't have any idea what they were saying, so how could I have seen it as anything other than a brainwashing mechanism? I don't think there's an evil motive behind it, but I do think it's so far removed from our current issues that it's a huge waste of time. And it's kinda scary that people just follow the pack so easily.

    I was always that annoying atheist that questioned everything in Hebrew school.
    And you no doubt revelled in the final point, I sometimes think that once atheism becomes less of the rebellious, roguish position it is today people will be lost, when you've torn down everything what then?

    Anyway, I dont see religion as creating or causing cognitive dissonance, the reality is that if you've got an entirely open mind its the same as having an entirely open front yard or car, people can, often will, dump their junk and rubbish there.

    I'd be more persuaded by someone suggesting that you keep an open heart and a closed mind than vice versa.

  6. #96
    Member Skip Foreplay's Avatar
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    Reasons I don't have a religion:

    1) There are none of them that I think are true. There are none that I wish were true for that matter, and for that I am fortunate. My existence would be dissonant otherwise, and I may sacrifice my intellectual integrity in favor of an ideal.

    2) "There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your [religion]." I don't even have the capacity to conceptualize that which is. It's enough to keep me busy.

    3) The ultimate explanation of the universe must be a naturalistic one. This is true whether we know the explanation, don't know it, can't know it, or can't know if we could know it. That that is so defies the possibility of the supernatural, which means that if Jesus walked on the surface of water, I am far more concerned with the surface of the water, and the bottom of his feet, than anything he had to say. (This conclusion is supported briefly in the thread I made half an hour ago called, I think, Naturalistic vs Animistic Explanation.)

    4) The religions I am most familiar with are those monotheistic ones of the Judeo-Christian God. Frankly, I find the lies that fill the pages appalling. It does no good to say they are merely metaphors - they were never taught as such - and if one is happy to know that they are mere metaphors, he has science alone to thank.

    5) Religions have always, and will continue to stultify knowledge, reason, and discovery. The Catholic Church banned any theory that taught that the earth moved (i.e. Copernicus' Heliocentric model published 1543) until 1835, and only then because it was too ridiculous to continue. Today, there are young-earth Creationists walking among us, and some of them fight to keep evolution out of public schools. Because that fight is impossible to win (every court case has been lost), many are trying to get Intelligent Design, a watered-down Creationism more compatible with modern science, taught alongside evolution. Every court case of this type has been lost. Knowledge and belief are confounded in such people, and the possible consequences of this indiscriminate psychology are frightening.

    6) Humility. What makes science so beautiful is that, because it is incapable at arriving at total proof for propositions, it doesn't try. The enterprise is a progressive whittling away at that which is false, and it accepts revision with open arms. Religion is also incapable of demonstrating total truth, but it tries to, which is only made worse by the fact that it is not progressive.

    7) Ethics. Moral systems that are based on authority, if they are ethical, are ethical incidentally, and not by virtue of their authority. Thus, the morality of an ethical system may be judged by reason, for it is just as easy for an immoral man to call himself 'good' as it is for a man who is morally sound. Gods are no different in this respect. If a sadistic God created the universe, and he were to give us ten commandments that were designed for the sole purpose of causing human harm, I would not understand what someone meant if you they to call these commandments 'moral.' There are people who do not understand this, and they are the ones who would follow their creator faithfully.

    8) Ethics II. Since the morality of an action may be judged by a rational person, I declare that none of the religions have it totally right. Religious people usually know that this is true, but they pretend that it is not. Consider: If a woman ran into your house bloody and terrified, and she asked you to hide her quickly, I believe you would. When moments later, an irate man with an axe knocks on your door and asks if a woman has entered your house, would you bear false witness? I sincerely hope that you would. Every Christian that I have ever heard answer this question with honesty has said, "yes," and there is hope for anyone who gives that answer. The reason they would choose to bear false witness is because, in this particular situation, it is clearly the moral thing to do. But how could they know that, when God is the sole arbiter of morality? Surely, there is not an eleventh commandment that I have not heard of - one that says, "You can ignore any of the above commandments if you think it's the right thing to do." No, that isn't it at all. The reason that these Christians would be willing to contradict their religion, though few would admit it, is because they stand on their own two feet where their religion breaks down. They are right to do so. The only mistake that they make is to credit God for their integrity. Their justification may be, for instance, "I know what the commandment says, but my God is a Good God, and I know he would not have wanted me to allow that woman to come to harm." They are thus trying to satisfy both ends of a dilemma. On one side, they have a God who is all-loving and all-knowing. On the other side, they have a God who has commanded them to carry out some pretty poor advice. It is a dilemma that cannot be reconciled. What I don't understand is why these people, armed with the knowledge that they are capable of deciding what is right and what is wrong, would pull out all the stops in order to deny themselves such a beautiful gift.

    That does it for authoritative ethics. I'll give it a rest for now.

  7. #97
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    And you no doubt revelled in the final point, I sometimes think that once atheism becomes less of the rebellious, roguish position it is today people will be lost, when you've torn down everything what then?
    Forgive me for being rebellious from age 8-15! I didn't take the position to be an asshole; I took the position because everything else seemed completely wrong-headed.

    It's true that I was pretty angry when I was younger -- I felt like this absurd stuff was being forced down my throat, so yes, I was sarcastic in religious school. But my belief system wasn't wrong. I've spent my whole life working on it.

    I have no vested interest in tearing things down; it seems like you think atheism was a function of my anger instead of anger being a function of my atheism.

    Religious people may think I'm overly pessimistic, but I'm really not. I think lots of stuff is beautiful. But I acknowledge that it's all some particles following some physical laws, including my perception of beauty. I think freeing ourselves from the prison of an external moral system is the first step towards embracing the self.

    Unfortunately, every time I have this debate, I always get strawmanned into the position of some hateful cynic. But maybe I always strawman my opponent into a position of a lazy thinker who has to subscribe to someone else's understanding of reality. Hmm.

    Anyway, I dont see religion as creating or causing cognitive dissonance, the reality is that if you've got an entirely open mind its the same as having an entirely open front yard or car, people can, often will, dump their junk and rubbish there.

    I'd be more persuaded by someone suggesting that you keep an open heart and a closed mind than vice versa.
    I don't get what you mean here.

  8. #98
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    Forgive me for being rebellious from age 8-15! I didn't take the position to be an asshole; I took the position because everything else seemed completely wrong-headed.

    It's true that I was pretty angry when I was younger -- I felt like this absurd stuff was being forced down my throat, so yes, I was sarcastic in religious school. But my belief system wasn't wrong. I've spent my whole life working on it.

    I have no vested interest in tearing things down; it seems like you think atheism was a function of my anger instead of anger being a function of my atheism.

    Religious people may think I'm overly pessimistic, but I'm really not. I think lots of stuff is beautiful. But I acknowledge that it's all some particles following some physical laws, including my perception of beauty. I think freeing ourselves from the prison of an external moral system is the first step towards embracing the self.

    Unfortunately, every time I have this debate, I always get strawmanned into the position of some hateful cynic. But maybe I always strawman my opponent into a position of a lazy thinker who has to subscribe to someone else's understanding of reality. Hmm.



    I don't get what you mean here.
    Perhaps I misjudge you but I know a lot of people who where atheists because it was easy and they liked to think of themselves as trouble makers, a lot of my time at school was spent arguing with the same mindset, I found it lazy, much as you've said you've found the position of believers lazy. Belief asks a lot of people, I dont mean ignorance or any of the other things which are used as strawmen of belief either, I mean real belief, which requires thinking, judging and responding to new evidence which doesnt always vindicate, reinforce or support past opinion. Atheism and disbelief doesnt ask anything. Neither in the mind, nor in actions or deeds either.

    You could be entirely right about the self but I'm not convinced that embracing the self is sufficient or the be all and end all of life, I dont think that religious precepts which I do believe are somehow non-physical or unreal or anything of that kind.

  9. #99
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Perhaps I misjudge you but I know a lot of people who where atheists because it was easy and they liked to think of themselves as trouble makers, a lot of my time at school was spent arguing with the same mindset, I found it lazy, much as you've said you've found the position of believers lazy. Belief asks a lot of people, I dont mean ignorance or any of the other things which are used as strawmen of belief either, I mean real belief, which requires thinking, judging and responding to new evidence which doesnt always vindicate, reinforce or support past opinion. Atheism and disbelief doesnt ask anything. Neither in the mind, nor in actions or deeds either.
    Atheism doesn't ask anything and neither does belief in deities. They're starting points. The difference I see is that when you build up from atheism, you aren't limited by someone else's notions of good or bad, whereas with a specific religion as a starting point, you either agree with someone else or are forced to come up with convoluted justifications for why the religion actually should be interpreted your way.

    I am confident my moral system asks at least as much of me as any religion asks of its followers. And I had to come up with it on my own.

    You could be entirely right about the self but I'm not convinced that embracing the self is sufficient or the be all and end all of life, I dont think that religious precepts which I do believe are somehow non-physical or unreal or anything of that kind.
    So how are the precepts real or physical? I'm not trying to be a dick; I'm really interested.

    Also, how is the self not the be-all end-all? It is the basis of everything you will ever experience.

  10. #100
    Senior Member Beargryllz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shortnsweet View Post
    Religion has seriously impeded my understanding of how the world is/ what God could be. Things are easier to internalize for me without the religion.
    Doesn't it provide many useful examples of what a god could be?

    I would consider the religions of the world to be more inspirational and less harmful.

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