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Thread: A civil conversation...

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    spydertl79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Statler Waldorf View Post
    Spyder and I have decided to start a new thread for our conversation about the existence of God (YHWH). I have posted his first response to my questions below. If anyone else would like to jump in please do, let’s keep this discussion cordial and civil though. I think it should be a lot of fun.

    Here is Spyder’s response to my questions about what he meant by evidence and if we’d be able to know anything at all if God didn’t exist.



    My response…

    1. I am not sure the question of whether God exists or not is something that could be answered in a laboratory, I can’t really conceive of a “test for God” you could conduct in any such environment. As for a courtroom, are you saying that we the people as the jury determine whether or not God exists and as long as a majority or consensus of us believe He does exist then He does? I guess I am not quite following you on that one either. I agree with your last criteria though, I think that a rational person could arrive at the belief in God without being indoctrinated. In fact, I think a very strong case could be that rationality requires a person to believe in the God of scripture, a case that I hope to make throughout our discussion.
    2. A. Addressing your points about the Human brain; how do you know the human brain functions in a manner that accurately reflects reality? More precisely, how do you know that what you sense to be real is indeed real and your ability to reason accurately discerns what is true? In a Universe that is purely natural and material I do not understand how you can have any confidence that your brain has evolved in a manner that accurately depicts reality. As a Christian I can have confidence that my brain depicts reality because I am the creation of a rational God who desires for me to learn about Him and His creation.
    B. Now about your point about Humans and Fish, I am not aware of any such lineage being traceable; could you be a bit more specific on how a person can trace the evolution of the Human brain from that of a Fish’s? Thanks.
    3. Yes, I believe there is proof for the existence of YHWH as opposed to other gods and Santa. In order to not get off topic though I’d like to store that discussion away for a little bit if you don’t mind and continue to focus on what you believe (naturalism) and what I believe (Christianity). Fair enough?
    Sounds great, looking forward to this. Again, last week was my one week/ year when I'm not living at work but Ill be doing my best to respond in a reasonable timeframe. I'm also typing on an iPad so there will be errors.

    Topic 1, Evidence: Instead of trying to define evidence, which would just lead us away from my point, I will rephrase. how can a rational person who hasn't been indoctrinated believe in a god or, more specifically, a Christian god? If so, wouldn't this person also be inclined to believe in Krishna, Allah, and Santa? The level of evidence (defined as broadly as you see fit) is the same... No reliable eyewitness accounts and no physical evidence of their existence. I argue that only people who are indoctrinated would be able to believe in this. If you do a strict comparison between your god and another god, an unbiased observer with no knowledge of either would not be able to decide which is real and would probably arrive at the correct conclusion that neither of them are. You say that you believe it is possible for a rational person to make this distinction... How? I don't think it's possible to address my question of evidence without drawing a comparison with something that you choose to not believe in despite a similar amount of evidence. My standard of belief is rational because its the same across the board... I hold your god to the same standard as Allah. Believers hold their god to a different standard of proof. This is why a belief in a specific god is illogical. That was the basis of my question. Even if you believe the existence of Yahweh is likely, you certainly can't offer any proof or evidence to sway a non-believer. Your belief is based off of faith alone and your faith is derived from indoctrination.

    Human brain: If you're familiar with evolution, which I assume that you are, then you know that the general idea is that life started with a single cell organism which eventually became a multi cell organism and so on and so forth all the way up to the diverse flora and fauna that inhabit the earth today. There is overwhelming evidence to support this such as the fact that all living creatures share 23 universal proteins and that the fossil record shows this timeline to be true. The first nervous systems were found in jelly fish and if you look at the structure of each creature that followed them in the evolutionary tree, you will see that the nervous systems gradually get more complex, culminating with the evolution of the cerebral cortex in primates. The four step process put in general terms was: centralization, encephalization, addition, and plasticity. The final step is what makes the brain able to conceptualize and think for itself. Only highly evolved mammals have achieved step 4. Lower mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish have all gone through addition of new components, some more than others. Encephalization (concentration of nervous system components to one end of the body) can be seen in any creature with a head... Eyes ears and nose are all close to each other, leading to a more efficient system. The first step, centralization can be seen in the evolution from sea sponges and jellyfish (no brain, just nerves) to fish and then beyond that. What's so beautiful about this phenomena is that if you look at the way that the components of the brain are structured, the most primitive components that we share with lower species can be observed in the brain stem and the most advanced components are found in the front. This structure is common throughout nature. You can see how the brain has evolved and built on itself through hundreds of millions of years of natural selection.

    My brain: I know that my senses are accurate, if that's what you're asking. My sense of sight can be explained by middle school science... Whichever colors in the spectrum are reflected, the human eye's rods and cones can see and whichever are absorbed we can not. Sounds can be explained by frequency, wavelength, amplitude, etc. The physiology of the ear is also pretty simple, relative to the brain. If you're talking about additional dimensions or something of the like then there are theories in quantam science that address this possibility. My brain reflects reality because it has evolved in a manner to maximize the survival of our species. While there are mutations within each species that alter our perception, these traits are naturally selected out of the genetic pool because a creature that possesses a brain that does not accurately perceive threats is more likely to die while one that does is more likely to live and reproduce, passing along the DNA that forms an accurate brain.

    If science is wrong and our bodies/ brains did not evolve, but were created by god, then wouldn't one expect a better design? I would have designed a symmetrical heart and a much more efficiently routed laryngeal nerve. Evolution embraces these flaws in our bodies and can even identify the chain of evolutionary events that caused them. It's impossible to justify this if you believe in an infallible, omnipotent creator.
    Last edited by spydertl79; 01-04-2013 at 12:08 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob19 View Post
    1) God is necessary for knowledge to exist, despite there not being a single shred of evidence to back such a claim
    2) Now that I've established this claim with absolutely no evidence to back it up;
    3) God exists

    Don't you get it NY???
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob19 View Post
    "You don't know how the universe was created, so this POSSIBILITY that I choose to believe MUST be the correct answer".
    Quote Originally Posted by rob19 View Post

    Not how proof works, sorry dude.


    You’re totally misrepresenting my position “dude” and I hope it’s not intentional... Where did I say anything about the creation of the universe, the problems for the naturalist are far deeper than that. How can you have immaterial and yet universal laws that discern truth in a purely natural and material universe? How can you have any confidence that future trials will yield the same results under identical conditions? How can you have any confidence your senses accurately depict reality? That your memory is reliable? How can you have any confidence in your ability to reason? You can’t make sense of any of these things in a purely natural universe and yet these questions are totally simple for a Christian to makes sense of. All of these things must be true in order for you to argue against the existence of God and yet if God didn’t exist you couldn’t make sense of any of these things, that’s the point- your argument presupposes God.

    Quote Originally Posted by DisturbedShifty View Post
    I think so, yes. Religions as as a whole started by word of mouth. So all you have to do is stop and back track where it all came from and you have a better idea of what is "truth" and what was added on.


    Judaism, Islam, and Christianity all believe that a donkey talked to a man, a fish swallowed a man for three days, and that the Earth was covered by a global flood, given your above statement these things must have actually happened because these three religions share those beliefs right?

    Quote Originally Posted by spydertl79 View Post
    Sounds great, looking forward to this. Again, last week was my one week/ year when I'm not living at work but Ill be doing my best to respond in a reasonable timeframe. I'm also typing on an iPad so there will be errors.


    Yes, I am excited as well, I like your style; although I do not envy you having to type all of this on an iPad, that’s for sure : -)

    Topic 1, Evidence: Instead of trying to define evidence, which would just lead us away from my point, I will rephrase. how can a rational person who hasn't been indoctrinated believe in a god or, more specifically, a Christian god? If so, wouldn't this person also be inclined to believe in Krishna, Allah, and Santa? The level of evidence (defined as broadly as you see fit) is the same... No reliable eyewitness accounts and no physical evidence of their existence. I argue that only people who are indoctrinated would be able to believe in this. If you do a strict comparison between your god and another god, an unbiased observer with no knowledge of either would not be able to decide which is real and would probably arrive at the correct conclusion that neither of them are. You say that you believe it is possible for a rational person to make this distinction... How? I don't think it's possible to address my question of evidence without drawing a comparison with something that you choose to not believe in despite a similar amount of evidence. My standard of belief is rational because its the same across the board... I hold your god to the same standard as Allah. Believers hold their god to a different standard of proof. This is why a belief in a specific god is illogical. That was the basis of my question. Even if you believe the existence of Yahweh is likely, you certainly can't offer any proof or evidence to sway a non-believer. Your belief is based off of faith alone and your faith is derived from indoctrination.


    Ok, we can start here. Are you claiming that every Christian in the world only believes because they were indoctrinated? So no atheist has ever converted to Christianity later in their life? I can think of quite a few off of the top of my head that indeed have, of course as a Christian I believe this is because of supernatural reasons and not simply because they found the evidence more compelling one way or the other. I believe your position has two more errors. First of all, I believe it falsely assumes that a person can “stand on” neutral ground and fairly weigh the evidence for each god and decide for themselves whether those gods exist or not. I think what you will find is that it is logically impossible to have neutral ground to stand on, a person either starts at the position that there is no god and reasons from there or starts with the position that there is a god and reasons from there. My argument is that starting at the Christian God and reasoning from there yields a consistent view of reality whereas no other starting point does. I think your last mistake is that you ascribe an attribute to evidence it doesn’t possess, you act as if it in itself supports one position or the other. Evidence requires interpretation, this is why you could use one piece of evidence to support your position (the Grand Canyon for instance) and I could use the very same piece of evidence to support my position. That is why I feel the question is much deeper than that, we have to figure out whose position can explain the very concept of proof and evidence to begin with.

    Human brain: If you're familiar with evolution, which I assume that you are, then you know that the general idea is that life started with a single cell organism which eventually became a multi cell organism and so on and so forth all the way up to the diverse flora and fauna that inhabit the earth today. There is overwhelming evidence to support this such as the fact that all living creatures share 23 universal proteins and that the fossil record shows this timeline to be true. The first nervous systems were found in jelly fish and if you look at the structure of each creature that followed them in the evolutionary tree, you will see that the nervous systems gradually get more complex, culminating with the evolution of the cerebral cortex in primates. The four step process put in general terms was: centralization, encephalization, addition, and plasticity. The final step is what makes the brain able to conceptualize and think for itself. Only highly evolved mammals have achieved step 4. Lower mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish have all gone through addition of new components, some more than others. Encephalization (concentration of nervous system components to one end of the body) can be seen in any creature with a head... Eyes ears and nose are all close to each other, leading to a more efficient system. The first step, centralization can be seen in the evolution from sea sponges and jellyfish (no brain, just nerves) to fish and then beyond that. What's so beautiful about this phenomena is that if you look at the way that the components of the brain are structured, the most primitive components that we share with lower species can be observed in the brain stem and the most advanced components are found in the front. This structure is common throughout nature. You can see how the brain has evolved and built on itself through hundreds of millions of years of natural selection.


    Yes, I have been instructed on the theory on numerous occasions, but I would like to ask you a few questions about what you wrote above.

    1. How do you know that all living creatures sharing 23 universal proteins is evidence for a single common ancestor and not evidence for a single common creator? After all Volkswagens and Porsches have similar components but that is not because they share a common ancestor but rather because the same man designed the two, couldn’t it be the same with life on Earth?
    2. How complete is the “evolutionary tree”? How many intermediate forms would have been necessary for the evolution of the nervous system from simple to complex? How many examples do we have today?
    3. Would the amount of genetic information have to increase or decrease in order for the nervous system to develop into its more complex forms?

    My brain: I know that my senses are accurate, if that's what you're asking. My sense of sight can be explained by middle school science... Whichever colors in the spectrum are reflected, the human eye's rods and cones can see and whichever are absorbed we can not. Sounds can be explained by frequency, wavelength, amplitude, etc. The physiology of the ear is also pretty simple, relative to the brain. If you're talking about additional dimensions or something of the like then there are theories in quantam science that address this possibility. My brain reflects reality because it has evolved in a manner to maximize the survival of our species. While there are mutations within each species that alter our perception, these traits are naturally selected out of the genetic pool because a creature that possesses a brain that does not accurately perceive threats is more likely to die while one that does is more likely to live and reproduce, passing along the DNA that forms an accurate brain.


    1. Did you have to use your senses in order to learn about how your senses work in Middle School? So you are actually appealing to your senses in order to justify the reliability of your senses? That seems to be a bit circular.
    2. If you were the creation of a rational God who wanted you to learn about Him and His creation I could see you having reason to trust your senses, but in a purely natural universe where all that exists is matter in motion I do not see any justification for a person to trust their senses. Natural selection doesn’t “select” for reliability or accuracy, it merely selects for survival advantage and I can think of quite a few ways that having unreliable senses could still provide a survival advantage, so I do not believe that evolution alone is enough to justify us believing our senses are reliable.

    If science is wrong and our bodies/ brains did not evolve, but were created by god, then wouldn't one expect a better design? I would have designed a symmetrical heart and a much more efficiently routed laryngeal nerve. Evolution embraces these flaws in our bodies and can even identify the chain of evolutionary events that caused them. It's impossible to justify this if you believe in an infallible, omnipotent creator.

    I see you have read Dawkins’ “Greatest Show on Earth”, I believe he tries to make this same point in that book. Well Christianity does hold to a fall which rendered all of creation to be corrupted which can explain certain imperfections we find. That being said, I do not believe the circuitous route taken by the laryngeal nerve is necessarily a bad design at all, we now know that the nerve helps to supply parts of the heart, windpipe muscles and mucous membranes, and the esophagus. The pathway taken by the nerve is also a result of the movement of the cardiac system during our embryonic development. Like the appendix, the more we learn about it the more we learn that it is not a vestigial ruminant at all but does serve a very good purpose in our bodies.

    Good discussion and I am looking forward to your response!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Statler Waldorf View Post
    Judaism, Islam, and Christianity all believe that a donkey talked to a man, a fish swallowed a man for three days, and that the Earth was covered by a global flood, given your above statement these things must have actually happened because these three religions share those beliefs right?
    I never said it wouldn't be exaggerated. That is what happens when you pass stories on by word of mouth. But then again aren't you kinda proving Syder's point about proof? All those things were to have happen because there is a God right? But in your question it sure sounds like you are question whether or not those things happened.

    Like I said, all the Religions have a piece of the puzzle. It just takes calm minds and a LOT of patience to figure out what is accurate and what isn't. And in my opinion science will be the key to finding this higher power.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Statler Waldorf View Post

    You’re totally misrepresenting my position “dude” and I hope it’s not intentional... Where did I say anything about the creation of the universe, the problems for the naturalist are far deeper than that. How can you have immaterial and yet universal laws that discern truth in a purely natural and material universe? How can you have any confidence that future trials will yield the same results under identical conditions? How can you have any confidence your senses accurately depict reality? That your memory is reliable? How can you have any confidence in your ability to reason? You can’t make sense of any of these things in a purely natural universe and yet these questions are totally simple for a Christian to makes sense of. All of these things must be true in order for you to argue against the existence of God and yet if God didn’t exist you couldn’t make sense of any of these things, that’s the point- your argument presupposes God.



    Judaism, Islam, and Christianity all believe that a donkey talked to a man, a fish swallowed a man for three days, and that the Earth was covered by a global flood, given your above statement these things must have actually happened because these three religions share those beliefs right?



    Yes, I am excited as well, I like your style; although I do not envy you having to type all of this on an iPad, that’s for sure : -)



    Ok, we can start here. Are you claiming that every Christian in the world only believes because they were indoctrinated? So no atheist has ever converted to Christianity later in their life? I can think of quite a few off of the top of my head that indeed have, of course as a Christian I believe this is because of supernatural reasons and not simply because they found the evidence more compelling one way or the other. I believe your position has two more errors. First of all, I believe it falsely assumes that a person can “stand on” neutral ground and fairly weigh the evidence for each god and decide for themselves whether those gods exist or not. I think what you will find is that it is logically impossible to have neutral ground to stand on, a person either starts at the position that there is no god and reasons from there or starts with the position that there is a god and reasons from there. My argument is that starting at the Christian God and reasoning from there yields a consistent view of reality whereas no other starting point does. I think your last mistake is that you ascribe an attribute to evidence it doesn’t possess, you act as if it in itself supports one position or the other. Evidence requires interpretation, this is why you could use one piece of evidence to support your position (the Grand Canyon for instance) and I could use the very same piece of evidence to support my position. That is why I feel the question is much deeper than that, we have to figure out whose position can explain the very concept of proof and evidence to begin with.



    Yes, I have been instructed on the theory on numerous occasions, but I would like to ask you a few questions about what you wrote above.

    1. How do you know that all living creatures sharing 23 universal proteins is evidence for a single common ancestor and not evidence for a single common creator? After all Volkswagens and Porsches have similar components but that is not because they share a common ancestor but rather because the same man designed the two, couldn’t it be the same with life on Earth?
    2. How complete is the “evolutionary tree”? How many intermediate forms would have been necessary for the evolution of the nervous system from simple to complex? How many examples do we have today?
    3. Would the amount of genetic information have to increase or decrease in order for the nervous system to develop into its more complex forms?

    1. Did you have to use your senses in order to learn about how your senses work in Middle School? So you are actually appealing to your senses in order to justify the reliability of your senses? That seems to be a bit circular.
    2. If you were the creation of a rational God who wanted you to learn about Him and His creation I could see you having reason to trust your senses, but in a purely natural universe where all that exists is matter in motion I do not see any justification for a person to trust their senses. Natural selection doesn’t “select” for reliability or accuracy, it merely selects for survival advantage and I can think of quite a few ways that having unreliable senses could still provide a survival advantage, so I do not believe that evolution alone is enough to justify us believing our senses are reliable.


    I see you have read Dawkins’ “Greatest Show on Earth”, I believe he tries to make this same point in that book. Well Christianity does hold to a fall which rendered all of creation to be corrupted which can explain certain imperfections we find. That being said, I do not believe the circuitous route taken by the laryngeal nerve is necessarily a bad design at all, we now know that the nerve helps to supply parts of the heart, windpipe muscles and mucous membranes, and the esophagus. The pathway taken by the nerve is also a result of the movement of the cardiac system during our embryonic development. Like the appendix, the more we learn about it the more we learn that it is not a vestigial ruminant at all but does serve a very good purpose in our bodies.

    Good discussion and I am looking forward to your response!
    Well, I believe that society can be a source of indoctrination even if one's parental guardians are non believers. It's certainly the convenient thing to believe in American society and many others. I have lied before about my views because I knew that someone would find my beliefs offensive. Aside from that, I think we can agree that a vast and overwhelming majority of Christians are lifelong believers from our own observations. Those few outliers don't damage my original assertion and I feel that theres a good chance these people never truly denied the existence of God anyway.


    You can "start" at a belief in god if you wish, but that is not a logical viewpoint, and here's why. Atheism is not a belief system, it is the lack of believing. I do not believe in your god for the same reason that I don't believe in unicorns- I have absolutely zero reason to believe it.


    Example: What if I were to say that I believe that life was created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster 10000 years ago. I just know this is true in my heart of hearts. Surely using my personal, illogical viewpoint as the starting point for a discussion on the creation of life would be ridiculous, right? The only difference between this belief and your own is that more people have been indoctrinated with your belief system than with my hypothetical one. For any reasoned discussion, one must start at nothing and build their views based off of scientific evidence. To do otherwise is ridiculous.

    Despite what you may think, many people are able to stand on neutral ground and weigh the evidence... Those people are atheists or agnostics.

    To keep this relatively on track, I will say that these three paragraphs answer most of your questions. I'll try to address your specific questions regarding biology that I don't feel that this statement covers.

    The body itself has hundreds of bad designs, the heart and laryngeal nerve are simply the two most famous examples. Wisdom teeth, tailbones, appendix, poor sinus drainage, etc. I'll give you that the human body is amazing, because it is, but Im glad you admitted that it is not perfect. Could you further explain the verse about the fall please? I believe this leaves you with two possibilities: either god is fallible or god intentionally inflicts these terrible diseases and genetic mutations on our species.

    To tie this into the "matrix" argument, I also believe that our senses evolved via natural selection to be very good, but again far from perfect. We can not see the entire color spectrum or hear many sound frequencies, but neither of these would serve a survival advantage that I can think of and so this is explainable by natural selection. This also ties into my statement of only believing in things that have no reason to believe in. Unless there is a reason to believe that what you say is true about us lacking the ability to process evidence of gods existence (at least that's what I thought you meant) then I won't believe in it. I know that quantam physics explores the possibility of additional dimensions but there is still no reason to believe in magic just for the sake of believing in magic.

    I don't believe there is an answer to your question of whether more or less genetic data would be required for the brain to evolve. Each case is different... You have to keep in mind that different mutations would be happening simultaneously, including deletion of unnecessary genetic data (i.e. flagella in the jellyfish->fish example).

    Lastly, please don't make the old intermediate forms argument against evolution. It's simply untrue as many intermediate forms have been found and we continue to find more and more.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DisturbedShifty View Post
    I never said it wouldn't be exaggerated. That is what happens when you pass stories on by word of mouth. But then again aren't you kinda proving Syder's point about proof? All those things were to have happen because there is a God right? But in your question it sure sounds like you are question whether or not those things happened.

    Like I said, all the Religions have a piece of the puzzle. It just takes calm minds and a LOT of patience to figure out what is accurate and what isn't. And in my opinion science will be the key to finding this higher power.
    No, I brought those things up because I Knew that you don’t think they happened, I have no problem with God making a donkey talk to someone; in fact I think it’s consistent with His quirky sense of humor.

    Science? So if you are using science to validate and invalidate all of these religious teachings then what are you using to validate your use of science?

    Quote Originally Posted by spydertl79 View Post
    Well, I believe that society can be a source of indoctrination even if one's parental guardians are non believers. It's certainly the convenient thing to believe in American society and many others. I have lied before about my views because I knew that someone would find my beliefs offensive. Aside from that, I think we can agree that a vast and overwhelming majority of Christians are lifelong believers from our own observations. Those few outliers don't damage my original assertion and I feel that theres a good chance these people never truly denied the existence of God anyway.
    I guess I just disagree, if you look at someone like Carl Wieland who was a rather aggressive atheist until he was around 30 years old and converted to Christianity because he was experiencing supernatural things in his life that he couldn’t explain with naturalism I don’t think you can point to any form of indoctrination in his case. Same with the case of someone like Antony Flew who spent the majority of his life arguing against Christianity and in support of atheism who later converted to Christianity. Sure many Christians are raised in Christian homes and taught Christianity from an early age but I am not sure why that matters, it certainly doesn’t mean Christianity is anymore false than any other teaching.


    You can "start" at a belief in god if you wish, but that is not a logical viewpoint, and here's why. Atheism is not a belief system, it is the lack of believing. I do not believe in your god for the same reason that I don't believe in unicorns- I have absolutely zero reason to believe it.
    You’re using a bit of a revisionist definition of atheism there, the word literally translates out to mean “belief in no God” (the “a” modifies “theism” not “ism”) and has always been defined as the positive belief in the non-existence of God or gods. You start with the belief that there is no God, I start with the belief that there is a God, the only way to prove who is right is to examine whose belief system is logically consistent and whose is not. I think what you will find is that atheists/naturalists have to borrow certain beliefs that could only be true if the Christian God exists.


    Example: What if I were to say that I believe that life was created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster 10000 years ago. I just know this is true in my heart of hearts. Surely using my personal, illogical viewpoint as the starting point for a discussion on the creation of life would be ridiculous, right? The only difference between this belief and your own is that more people have been indoctrinated with your belief system than with my hypothetical one. For any reasoned discussion, one must start at nothing and build their views based off of scientific evidence. To do otherwise is ridiculous.
    I don’t think asserting that belief in the FSM is no different from believing in Yahweh is accurate at all. If we lived in a universe created by the FSM all knowledge would be rendered impossible, compare that to the fact that Yahweh makes all knowledge possible and the two are not even comparable.

    I noticed you said that you have to start at nothing and then use science to build from there, what about those things a person must believe before they can use science? How do you validate your use of science in the first place?

    Despite what you may think, many people are able to stand on neutral ground and weigh the evidence... Those people are atheists or agnostics.
    Well neutrality is actually logically impossible and I’ll show you why, scripture says that there is no neutral ground, you are either for it or you are against it (Col 1, Rom 1, Mat 6, Mat 12, etc.). So if you are claiming there is in fact neutral ground then you are also taking the position that scripture is wrong when it says there is no neutral ground; of course taking the position that scripture is wrong before you have even started means that you are not neutral on the matter. The un-believer assumes that scripture is wrong ahead of time and then tries to interpret the evidence in a manner that justifies his assumption.

    To keep this relatively on track, I will say that these three paragraphs answer most of your questions. I'll try to address your specific questions regarding biology that I don't feel that this statement covers.
    Fair enough…

    The body itself has hundreds of bad designs, the heart and laryngeal nerve are simply the two most famous examples. Wisdom teeth, tailbones, appendix, poor sinus drainage, etc. I'll give you that the human body is amazing, because it is, but Im glad you admitted that it is not perfect. Could you further explain the verse about the fall please? I believe this leaves you with two possibilities: either god is fallible or god intentionally inflicts these terrible diseases and genetic mutations on our species.
    Well I believe there is a difference between something that is a “bad design” and something that is a “corrupted version of a good design”. There are several passages that speak of the effect of man’s fall on all of creation (Romans 1-8 for example). God ordains all that comes to pass so I have no problem with Him judging His creation with disease and the like.


    To tie this into the "matrix" argument, I also believe that our senses evolved via natural selection to be very good, but again far from perfect. We can not see the entire color spectrum or hear many sound frequencies, but neither of these would serve a survival advantage that I can think of and so this is explainable by natural selection. This also ties into my statement of only believing in things that have no reason to believe in. Unless there is a reason to believe that what you say is true about us lacking the ability to process evidence of gods existence (at least that's what I thought you meant) then I won't believe in it. I know that quantam physics explores the possibility of additional dimensions but there is still no reason to believe in magic just for the sake of believing in magic.
    So if there is no survival advantage to hearing other sound frequencies then why are other animals able to hear such sound frequencies? Could you also explain how you know that natural selection would only select for those animals that had senses that accurately depicted reality? I don’t believe that survivability and reality depicting senses are necessarily tied together.

    That’s not really what I was trying to say about evidence; I was saying that God’s existence makes the very concept of “evidence” possible. If God’s existence were necessary in order for us to know or prove anything at all wouldn’t you say that is enough “reason” to believe in Him? Do you have any beliefs that are not supported by “evidence”?

    I don't believe there is an answer to your question of whether more or less genetic data would be required for the brain to evolve. Each case is different... You have to keep in mind that different mutations would be happening simultaneously, including deletion of unnecessary genetic data (i.e. flagella in the jellyfish->fish example).
    Well Mammals have over 3 billion more pieces of genetic information than bacteria, and you believe that all mammals came from a single common ancestor which would have more closely resembled bacteria right? So wouldn’t you have to also assume that the amount of net amount of genetic information in animals would have to increase through the generations as they became more complex eventually becoming modern day mammals? Or do you believe the single common ancestor actually had more genetic information than most animals do today?

    Lastly, please don't make the old intermediate forms argument against evolution. It's simply untrue as many intermediate forms have been found and we continue to find more and more.
    I may have obliged you on this request; however you did use the old spaghetti monster argument above, so I think all arguments are allowed even those that we may perceive as “old and already refuted.” : -) In order to give us the thousands of different animals we have today, wouldn’t millions of intermediate forms have existed in the past? All I am aware of is a handful of disputable examples, this hardly seems to be “overwhelming” evidence considering the huge discrepancy between the numbers of intermediate forms we would expect and the number we may or may not have today.

    I am having a great time with our discussion, and thanks again for keeping things civil :- )
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    spydertl79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Statler Waldorf View Post



    No, I brought those things up because I Knew that you don’t think they happened, I have no problem with God making a donkey talk to someone; in fact I think it’s consistent with His quirky sense of humor.

    Science? So if you are using science to validate and invalidate all of these religious teachings then what are you using to validate your use of science?

    I don't use anything to "validate" science because science isn't afraid to present alternative hypotheses. Religion is very afraid... Hence the murder of scientists who contradicted the church's teachings.

    I guess I just disagree, if you look at someone like Carl Wieland who was a rather aggressive atheist until he was around 30 years old and converted to Christianity because he was experiencing supernatural things in his life that he couldn’t explain with naturalism I don’t think you can point to any form of indoctrination in his case. Same with the case of someone like Antony Flew who spent the majority of his life arguing against Christianity and in support of atheism who later converted to Christianity. Sure many Christians are raised in Christian homes and taught Christianity from an early age but I am not sure why that matters, it certainly doesn’t mean Christianity is anymore false than any other teaching.
    I think the fact that you know these people by name is evidence in my favor. It would be impossible to list all of the people who have either been born into a religion and stuck with it or to count the people born into religion who later "saw the light." They are outliers who don't follow the common trend.

    You don't find it troubling that almost every Christian was indoctrinated? Little kids are gullible and can be molded to believe pretty much anything, makes them easy targets. It takes a free thinking adult to declare themselves an atheist and mean it,.

    [quote]
    You’re using a bit of a revisionist definition of atheism there, the word literally translates out to mean “belief in no God” (the “a” modifies “theism” not “ism”) and has always been defined as the positive belief in the non-existence of God or gods. You start with the belief that there is no God, I start with the belief that there is a God, the only way to prove who is right is to examine whose belief system is logically consistent and whose is not. I think what you will find is that atheists/naturalists have to borrow certain beliefs that could only be true if the Christian God exists.
    [\quote]
    You just don't understand how atheists think. I can't speak for everyone but I only believe that there is no god because I have not been swayed to believe that there is one. I don't believe in the afterlife, spirits, etc because I have no reason to believe. Agnostics are usually spiritual, with a belief in the supernatural in one degree or another. Theists believe, on faith, that their god is real and everyone else's god isn't. Atheism is simply not believing in god, it doesn't mean that you vehemently deny his existence in light of evidence, we leave that to the theists.


    I don’t think asserting that belief in the FSM is no different from believing in Yahweh is accurate at all. If we lived in a universe created by the FSM all knowledge would be rendered impossible, compare that to the fact that Yahweh makes all knowledge possible and the two are not even comparable.
    Why? Because you say so?
    I can't accept that as a more reasonable position than any other unless you can give a better answer than that.
    Let's say I believe that all knowledge is possible through the FSM.

    I noticed you said that you have to start at nothing and then use science to build from there, what about those things a person must believe before they can use science? How do you validate your use of science in the first place?
    Science is not written in stone like holy scripture... As evidence changes, the scientists wil admit they were wrong. It requires no supernatural reason to believe in it because it self-corrects and self-polices. Different branches of Chrisitianity cant even agree on the origin of life because there is no unbiased method of answering those questions. Logic dictates that the scientific method is the best way to explore scientific questions.

    Well neutrality is actually logically impossible and I’ll show you why, scripture says that there is no neutral ground, you are either for it or you are against it (Col 1, Rom 1, Mat 6, Mat 12, etc.). So if you are claiming there is in fact neutral ground then you are also taking the position that scripture is wrong when it says there is no neutral ground; of course taking the position that scripture is wrong before you have even started means that you are not neutral on the matter. The un-believer assumes that scripture is wrong ahead of time and then tries to interpret the evidence in a manner that justifies his assumption.
    I don't claim a neutral viewpoint, I claim a neutral starting point that I use to assess each claim individually.

    Well I believe there is a difference between something that is a “bad design” and something that is a “corrupted version of a good design”. There are several passages that speak of the effect of man’s fall on all of creation (Romans 1-8 for example). God ordains all that comes to pass so I have no problem with Him judging His creation with disease and the like.
    So why does god curse children with spina bifida and leukemia? Hes judging people? That's ****ing terrible,

    So if there is no survival advantage to hearing other sound frequencies then why are other animals able to hear such sound frequencies? Could you also explain how you know that natural selection would only select for those animals that had senses that accurately depicted reality? I don’t believe that survivability and reality depicting senses are necessarily tied together.
    Those animals do need to hear them for survival... A bat with human hearing would be useless.

    You can't just define reality as whatever you want without any given reason and then claim that our senses don't depict reality.

    That’s not really what I was trying to say about evidence; I was saying that God’s existence makes the very concept of “evidence” possible. If God’s existence were necessary in order for us to know or prove anything at all wouldn’t you say that is enough “reason” to believe in Him? Do you have any beliefs that are not supported by “evidence”?
    I believe that the Dolphins could make the playoffs next year, that's about it.

    And no, that makes zero sense.
    Well Mammals have over 3 billion more pieces of genetic information than bacteria, and you believe that all mammals came from a single common ancestor which would have more closely resembled bacteria right? So wouldn’t you have to also assume that the amount of net amount of genetic information in animals would have to increase through the generations as they became more complex eventually becoming modern day mammals? Or do you believe the single common ancestor actually had more genetic information than most animals do today?
    A single cell organism would probably have less genetic material, but that wasn't your question.

    I may have obliged you on this request; however you did use the old spaghetti monster argument above, so I think all arguments are allowed even those that we may perceive as “old and already refuted.” : -) In order to give us the thousands of different animals we have today, wouldn’t millions of intermediate forms have existed in the past? All I am aware of is a handful of disputable examples, this hardly seems to be “overwhelming” evidence considering the huge discrepancy between the numbers of intermediate forms we would expect and the number we may or may not have today.
    Replace FSM with "Allah" and then re read if that makes you feel better. It's a valid point and it has not been refuted in my eyes.

    Yes, many many intermediate forms existed... We've found a few of them fossilized. Do you realize how rare fossilization is in nature?
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    Re: A civil conversation...

    If biting the apple was suppose to be the key to knowledge then science is the culmination of that knowledge.

    On the topic of talking donkeys and what not. How come we don't see more of that now a days? Wouldn't that imply God just doesn't care anymore?

    Forgive my spelling. This was sent from my phone.
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  9. -19
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    Quote Originally Posted by spydertl79 View Post
    I don't use anything to "validate" science because science isn't afraid to present alternative hypotheses. Religion is very afraid... Hence the murder of scientists who contradicted the church's teachings.
    You don’t have to validate your use of science? According to whom? I am not sure where you get the idea that simply because scientists will change their beliefs about something you therefore don’t have to validate your use of science. How do you know a person can gain knowledge through scientific inquiry? In a universe created by God that makes sense but in an atheistic universe I don’t see how it can even be possible.


    I think the fact that you know these people by name is evidence in my favor. It would be impossible to list all of the people who have either been born into a religion and stuck with it or to count the people born into religion who later "saw the light." They are outliers who don't follow the common trend.


    I guess I don’t really see your point, I am sure you were indoctrinated with evolutionistic teachings early on in your life (as nearly all evolutionists are) and you seem to have no problem believing in Darwinian Evolution today, so what’s your point?

    You don't find it troubling that almost every Christian was indoctrinated? Little kids are gullible and can be molded to believe pretty much anything, makes them easy targets. It takes a free thinking adult to declare themselves an atheist and mean it,.

    No, I don’t have any problem with “indoctrinating” children with truth, children are indoctrinated with many truths, “2+2=4”, “something can’t be true and false at the same time and in the same relationship”, and “God exists”; these are all truths that children should be taught at an early age.

    You just don't understand how atheists think. I can't speak for everyone but I only believe that there is no god because I have not been swayed to believe that there is one. I don't believe in the afterlife, spirits, etc because I have no reason to believe. Agnostics are usually spiritual, with a belief in the supernatural in one degree or another. Theists believe, on faith, that their god is real and everyone else's god isn't. Atheism is simply not believing in god, it doesn't mean that you vehemently deny his existence in light of evidence, we leave that to the theists.


    You’re not using the definition of atheism then, atheism has always been defined as the positive belief in the non-existence of god or gods. I realize why you are trying to dodge this definition though, if atheism espouses positive belief then it shares the burden of proof which would be very problematic. You can’t change the facts though, that’s how it’s always been defined in philosophy.


    Why? Because you say so?
    I can't accept that as a more reasonable position than any other unless you can give a better answer than that.
    Let's say I believe that all knowledge is possible through the FSM.
    This is why the FSM argument isn’t used very often anymore, because it’s not a proper analogy at all.

    How can the FSM account for our use of science? I can give you a reason as to how the God of scripture makes science possible.

    How can the FSM account for morality? I can give you reasons as to how the God of scripture accounts for morality.

    How can the FSM account for the laws of logic? I can explain how the God of scripture accounts for the laws of logic.

    How can the existence of an FSM give me a reason to trust my senses and memory? I can explain how the existence of the God of scripture gives me a reason to trust my senses and memory.

    The list goes on and on, the existence of a FSM does nothing to explain how we can know anything for certain, the God of scripture does, the two are not comparable.

    Science is not written in stone like holy scripture... As evidence changes, the scientists wil admit they were wrong. It requires no supernatural reason to believe in it because it self-corrects and self-polices. Different branches of Chrisitianity cant even agree on the origin of life because there is no unbiased method of answering those questions. Logic dictates that the scientific method is the best way to explore scientific questions.

    You said that you must start with nothing and build from there using science, so what I am wanting to know is the following…

    How do you know the scientific method works to begin with?
    Science presupposes that nature is uniform, that trials in the future will yield identical results to trials in the past under identical conditions, more precisely that the laws governing nature in the future will resemble those of the past, how can you justify this assumption in a purely natural universe?

    Science presupposes the laws of logic exist, namely that something is what is and is not what it is not, and that “A” and “not A” cannot be true in the same relationship at the same time. How can you account for the existence of these laws in a purely natural and material universe?

    So it’s not starting at nothing and using science to work from there, you do start at something and work from there, I want to know how you can account for that something in a manner that is consistent with your atheism.

    I don't claim a neutral viewpoint, I claim a neutral starting point that I use to assess each claim individually.


    What you claim is still impossible though because scripture says that there is no neutral starting point, so by asserting one exists you are asserting that scripture is wrong even at your starting point; this means your starting point is not neutral at all but rather starts with the position that scripture is not the word of God.


    [QUTOE] So why does god curse children with spina bifida and leukemia? Hes judging people? That's ****ing terrible, [/QUOTE]

    God did not bring the curse upon mankind, mankind did, so the blame for such things rests solely on us.

    Terrible? I find that a bit interesting you used that term; if your atheism were true these children would be nothing more than animals deserving no more dignity than the single-celled organisms they descended from. Moreover, the cancer destroying their bodies would be nothing more than a selective pressure weeding them out because they were not as “fit” as those of us who are cancer free. This life is all they will ever experience, there is no hope beyond it and there is no purpose behind their suffering. In a Christian world they are the creations of a loving and gracious God who despite their rebellion gives them far better than they really deserve through his sustaining and upholding grace. Not only this but He ensures a purpose in their suffering and if they love Him they will be resurrected to new glorified bodies and live on the New Earth where cancer, death, and suffering are no more forever. I’ll take the Christian world any day of the week on such matters of suffering.

    Those animals do need to hear them for survival... A bat with human hearing would be useless.


    You said you couldn’t think of a survival advantage to hearing other frequencies and yet many animals do hear such frequencies, so there must be advantages to doing so. Evolution cannot give us assurance that our senses accurately depict reality nor can it give us assurance that our ability to reason is proper either.

    You can't just define reality as whatever you want without any given reason and then claim that our senses don't depict reality.


    I have not done that at all, I want to know how you define reality, that’s all.

    I believe that the Dolphins could make the playoffs next year


    Amen.

    And no, that makes zero sense.


    Let me rephrase it, if a person could demonstrate that God had to exist in order for us to know anything at all, wouldn’t that justify believing that God exists since we know knowledge is possible?

    A single cell organism would probably have less genetic material, but that wasn't your question.


    Ok, now that we have that clarified, in order for more complex organisms to have descended from that single-celled organism wouldn’t there have to be natural means of increasing the amount of genetic information as life progressed on Earth? What is this information increasing mechanism?


    [QUTOE] Replace FSM with "Allah" and then re read if that makes you feel better. It's a valid point and it has not been refuted in my eyes. [/QUOTE]

    Well the intermediate form problem for evolution hasn’t been refuted in my eyes either, that’s why I brought it up.

    I would have preferred you used Allah rather than the FSM, it’s a bit more serious of an argument, but be that as it may, I don’t believe in Allah because Islam is self-contradictory, it’s not nearly as coherent or self-consistent as Christianity.

    Yes, many many intermediate forms existed... We've found a few of them fossilized. Do you realize how rare fossilization is in nature?


    Wait, so where is your evidence that these millions of intermediate forms did in fact exist? You claim you’re not one to believe in the existence of anything without evidence, so surely you have some right? : )

    As always good conversation! I will reply to your other post in the other thread now...
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    spydertl79's Avatar
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    I'm going to try to merge some of these subjects since we're going in so many different directions here.

    Theists believe in the existence of god, Atheists do not. Any views that an atheist holds beyond that are personal, but not a requirement to be an atheist.

    Existence of god can be proven. Non existence of God can not be proven, because it is not an assertion but rather the lack of an assertion. For example, you can not disprove the existence of an alien planet named Kolob where Abraham Lincoln's soul rules over heaven even though there is a zero percent chance of it existing.

    You've completely lost me on the whole "there wouldn't be science without God" thing. Since I do not believe in said God, this has no meaning to me at all and I am unable to accept or decline your assertion here.

    "If someone could prove that God had to exist in order for us to know anything at all, wouldn't that justify believing that god exists because knowledge is possible?"


    That's not something that can be proven or disproven without first establishing the existence of God, which will never be established.

    If we're arguing about the validity of scripture (implied) then it's really not fair to use scripture to tell me what my views are. I was raised Catholic and was also exposed to evolution. Indoctrination in the sense that Im using it would more closely resemble brainwashing then a mere exposure to an idea. I would argue that every normal person is exposed to both views eventually, but you don't have thousands of people worshipping at the altar of Darwin every Sunday, drinking Darwin's blood, sending their kids to evolution study or evolution school. Surely you understand he difference in methodologies and why that would be concerning not just to someone who doubts the validity of Christianity, but even to someone who simply questions certain parts of Christianity.

    Sick kids. Again, you're misunderstanding Atheism. Most of us are not *******s. There are exceptions on both sides but when I see or hear of a kid stricken with a disability like that, I feel sadness and compassion. I donate money and participate in charity events to try to raise money for research for (atheist) scientists to try to prevent or cure those diseases.

    You know that some people actually use the bible to justify not treating children for sickness, right? They interpret it to say that God's will is going to determine whether they live. Ill stick with the atheists on this one... I've never been one for feeling helpless.

    Islam/ FSM vs Jesus re: contradictions
    http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/Contradictions.htm

    Scripture can be interpreted in any way that people want it to be. The bible is only consistent on a few things.

    Intermediate forms: here's a few thousand, enjoy
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...tional_fossils
    Again, fossilization is extraordinarily rare in nature, especially amongst microscopic organisms, but we've done a pretty good job over the last 50 years in finding some of these intermediate species.

    Reality- The physical universe and all things that can be experienced? That's a really broad term and I know you're just trying to lay some kind of evangelical trap. I bit...
    Last edited by spydertl79; 01-10-2013 at 11:39 PM.
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