Hey Biblical Literalists, Stop Disparaging Darwin

Feb 12, 2015

By Herb Silverman

February 12, 1809 must have seemed like an ordinary day to those alive at the time, but we now know it was the day that two giants of humanity were born: Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. Lincoln ended slavery in the United States in the nineteenth century, and Darwin made one of the greatest scientific discoveries of the nineteenth century.

But the same people vilified both of these great men, often for the same reason: biblical literalists found scriptural reasons to promote slavery and denigrate the theory of evolution.

Lincoln is now revered for what he accomplished — the humanist principle that it is morally wrong for one person to own another is commonly accepted. But moral issues are more easily understood than scientific ones, which is why so many Americans today who reject slavery still cling to a creationist worldview.

When young Charles Darwin set sail on the Beagle in 1831, he was a firm creationist. But he was open to changing his mind when he observed evidence that proved the contrary. We wouldn’t have expected pre-scientific biblical writers who lived thousands of years ago in a small corner of the Mediterranean world to have described the theory of evolution (or DNA or any discovery of modern science), and, of course, they didn’t.

Creationism should no more be taught as an alternative to the theory of evolution by natural selection than “stork theory” should be taught as an alternative to sexual reproduction.

However, here’s a distressing statistic: even though we are living at a time of so many important scientific discoveries, 42 percent of Americans believe God created humans in their present form less than 10,000 years ago — a bit of Bible-based dogma promoted by scientifically ignorant biblical literalists who disparage Darwin.


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183 comments on “Hey Biblical Literalists, Stop Disparaging Darwin

  • Why do people believe creationism? It is not because of its brilliant explanation of the facts. It is because mom threatened her toddler with being burned alive if he did not at least pretend to believe it. That is a trauma, possibly even an PTSD-deep trauma.

    What do we do to “deprogram” people captured and brainwashed by cults? That kind of abuse is not likely to be cured by a list of facts.

    Perhaps we need subversive cartoons to alleviate the fear in very young children before it takes deep root. The theme would be moms say terrible things and make threats they do not really mean.



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  • Ewan Feb 12, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Why is that statistic distressing?

    It means that 42% are scientific illiterates, who know nothing about geology, astronomy, biology, or the physics of radiometric dating!



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  • Meanwhile the new evidence just keeps coming!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-31425720

    .The most extensive genetic study ever conducted of Darwin’s finches, from the Galapagos Islands, has revealed a messy family tree with a surprising level of interbreeding between species

    It also suggests that changes in one particular gene triggered the wide variation seen in their beak shapes.

    Scientists in Sweden and the US used genome sequences of 120 individual birds from 17 different species to perform their analysis.

    One of the things that the team looked for, after a detailed comparison of 120 individual genomes, was genetic changes that could explain the diversity of beak shapes.

    They did a particular comparison of two pointed-beak species and two blunt-beak species. Differences in one specific gene, called ALX1, were associated not only with beak differences between species, but also differences within one species: the medium ground finch, which has previously shown rapid beak changes in response to drought.

    “What we discovered is basically two variants of ALX1,” Prof Andersson explained.

    “One is associated with pointed beaks – that is the ancestral form. Then there is a variant associated with the blunt beaks. That’s the derived form.

    “The blunt beak version is a genetic innovation that occurred on the islands.”

    However, he emphasised that this does not mean ALX1 – a gene also linked to facial defects in humans – controls beak shape on its own.

    “There are multiple genes that contribute. But we think that ALX1 is one of the most important, if not the most important factor that has changed on the island.”

    The study also revealed a surprisingly large amount of “gene flow” between the branches of the family.

    This indicates that the species have continued to interbreed or hybridise, after diversifying when they first arrived on the islands.

    The work appears in the journal Nature.

    This “most singular group of finches” appeared in Charles Darwin’s famous journal from the voyage of the Beagle. Darwin collected specimens which were later classified by the ornithologist John Gould, back in London.

    “Darwin was amazed by the beak diversity in species that were otherwise very similar,” said the new study’s senior author Prof Leif Andersson, from Uppsala University in Sweden.

    Only about 1.5 million years ago, these species started branching out from a common ancestor, which colonised the relatively young Galapagos archipelago – thrust from the ocean by volcanic activity.

    According to Darwin’s now-famous theory of natural selection, the birds rapidly adapted to the different food sources that were available in their new home, where they faced little competition from other birds. Chief among these adaptations were different beak shapes: stronger, blunter beaks for cracking tough seeds or insects, for example.
    ‘Genetic innovation’

    Prof Andersson set out to trace the genetics behind that diversity with a team of colleagues including Professors Rosemary and Peter Grant of Princeton University, who have spent 40 years studying the iconic finches.

    They sequenced the genomes of multiple individuals from all 15 species of Darwin’s finches, one of which inhabits the rather more distant Cocos Island, along with two related bird species that live on the South American mainland and the West Indies.



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  • Understanding science protects us from future calamity eg.AGW, allows us to discover cures for diseases, allows us in the case of evolution to understand ecosystems (which we are part of) better, has allowed us to understand better how to use anti-biotics and why their overuse is dangerous, it allows us to see ourselves as we are reliant on our environment to sustain us, and I could go on but that gives you a flavour. Can I suggest you pick us Richard’s book ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ you’ll gain a few things 1) you’ll be filled with wonder and awe 2) you’ll understand why we might be worried.



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  • But these things don’t require everyone to understand science. Most humans throughout history have managed to get by without a detailed (or even any) understanding of how humans came about.



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  • My father used to tell me not to read too much. He said he knew of a man, who tried to become an accountant, who went mad through reading too much. Nice one Ewan, the best example for the old saying of ‘ ignorance is bliss’ so far.



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  • Religious people that reject the “Theory of Evolution” are under the mistaken impression that, if not for evolution, creationism would win out by default. The truth is that if evolution were found to be fallacious, the fall back would not be creationism, but a better scientific model. But in a realm where any new finding could falsify the theory, and where only supporting evidence has been found in hundreds of years of searching from numerous vantage points, evolution is on very firm ground.



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  • But these things don’t require everyone to understand science. Most
    humans throughout history have managed to get by without a detailed
    (or even any) understanding of how humans came about.

    Sends shivers down my spine. My father all over again. I would say that MORE humans will manage throughout history because people now understand how humans came about.



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  • People tend to be interested and knowledgeable about some things and uninterested and ignorant about others. It’s fairly normal, isn’t it?



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  • If normal is a man holding his son back because he thinks education will make him go mad then I reject the condition. There is nothing that knowledge harms…..except belief in things that do not exist. Lobotomy is the short cut.



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  • Ewan:

    Why is that statistic distressing?

    Maybe Ewan is happy that 42% of Americans believe the Earth to be 10,000 years old. It distresses me that such a large number of people ignore the findings of science, but are very happy to reap the benefits of the same process. At least the Luddites had real reasons to destroy the new machines, but the modern American Christian absolutely depends on science. Maybe I only hear about the crazy ones who run their businesses on Jesus Juice and the rubbishing of modern science ?

    To be fair to the YECs like Ray Comfort, their worldview is just as absurd as the OECs who had to wait some 13.82 billion years for Jesus to appear. For them the problem is how God “intervened” to guide evolution, whilst also allowing some 99% of all known species to die out, whilst animals still ripped each other apart to live themselves.



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  • 15
    Jeffrey says:

    I think there are many who were like myself, it wasn’t a fear of hell or being watched by some invisible man in the sky. I began to question early but didn’t walk away from it until my late 20’s. I had my doubts about much, but what held me back was the realization that everyone that I know, many of them very intelligent and some well educated are religious, along with about 3 billion other people on this planet. I couldn’t help but wonder, am I wrong. The evidence for the truth was always there for me to see and learn, you can’t deprogram these people, this is something that for most must be personally realized.



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  • Ewan:

    What benefits do people reap from knowing when humans first appeared?

    Maybe Ewan is happy not to know, but people like me, are very interested in how we came to be. Science has done a pretty good job so far in giving explanations, – unlike the various priests over the ages, who mostly got it wrong.

    The day I learn nothing new is a day wasted. Learning something new is a “benefit” to me.



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  • Ewan Feb 12, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    What benefits do people reap from knowing when humans first appeared?

    There is no fixed time when humans first appeared. The transitions in evolution are gradual.

    However the issue you are actually raising is how does evolutionary genetics work? – The answers to which question, provides us with and understanding of how to breed animals, plants, bacterial cultures and fungi to produce medicines, how to treat hereditary diseases and cancers, and pretty well how all living things grow and survive.

    We live in a technical society where in order to be productive members, we need understanding and competence in the construction and use of technologies, tools, and the environment.
    Having a lot of uneducated brain-dead voters making, or obstructing, key decisions, can drag any country back into the dark ages of ignorance and poverty.



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  • Ewan Feb 12, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    Maybe they just have different priorities.

    Maybe if you studied, you would have some idea what we are talking about!

    What benefits do people reap from knowing when humans first appeared?

    If you want to know where and when humans first appeared in particular places, there is a discussion, and there are maps here.
    The link also explains the changes in climate and sea-levels which allowed them or prevented them from using routes at certain times.

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2015/01/skull-fossil-offers-new-clues-on-human-journey-from-africa/#li-comment-167361



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  • Isn’t getting by the priority for living things? First you try to survive; then, when that is sorted, you move on to more interesting, but less essential things – such as persuading others to agree with your world view.



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  • Perhaps this will not help Ewan at all, but I think it is wonderful site. Thank You for discovered it to me. I like psychology. Since I have a friend that have OCD, I came to conclusion while back, how praying must be some form of OCD, and it seems that it is.
    Thank You for this link.



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  • Life according to Ewan:

    First you try to survive; then, when that is sorted you move on to more interesting, but less essential things – such
    as persuading others to agree with your world view.

    HAHAHAHAHAHA….



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  • Ewan Feb 13, 2015 at 1:59 am

    Isn’t getting by the priority for living things? First you try to survive; then, when that is sorted,

    The uneducated usually spend most of their lives struggling to survive, and trying to avoid catching diseases or being dragged lower, by their fellow uneducated. Sometimes they get lucky and acquire some technology, knowledge and resources, from people who have been educated. Other times, whole communities face strife and starvation.

    you move on to more interesting, but less essential things – such as persuading others to agree with your world view.

    Educating the community and the next generation, to stop them dragging the rest of us down to bronze-age, or stone age levels, does not seem “less essential” to me.



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  • When young Charles Darwin set sail on the Beagle in 1831, he was a firm creationist.

    is this true?

    I’ve read The Voyage of the Beagle and nothing in his writing suggested to me he was a creationist. He may have used the term “creator” in his writings but from memory, his description of fossils of long extinct quadrapeds etc gave me the impression he was at least already aware of evolution, even if a more god-directed type of lamarckism



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  • SaganTheCat Feb 13, 2015 at 8:48 am

    *When young Charles Darwin set sail on the Beagle in 1831, he was a firm creationist.

    is this true?

    It sounds a bit far fetched! He was brought up as varieties of Christian as were educated people in those days.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Darwin#Early_life_and_education
    He was the fifth of six children of wealthy society doctor and financier Robert Darwin, and Susannah Darwin (née Wedgwood). He was the grandson of two prominent abolitionists: Erasmus Darwin on his father’s side, and of Josiah Wedgwood on his mother’s side.

    Both families were largely Unitarian, though the Wedgwoods were adopting Anglicanism. Robert Darwin, himself quietly a freethinker, had baby Charles baptised in November 1809 in the Anglican St Chad’s Church, Shrewsbury, but Charles and his siblings attended the Unitarian chapel with their mother. The eight-year-old Charles already had a taste for natural history and collecting when he joined the day school run by its preacher in 1817. That July, his mother died. From September 1818 he joined his older brother Erasmus attending the nearby Anglican Shrewsbury School as a boarder.



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  • The implication of evolution that terrifies Christians and disturbs all human beings to a degree on existential grounds is the question of “purpose,” or put more personally, “The Meaning of Life.” Evolution has operated on random pressures of natural selection and mutation over several billion years. 99.99% of all species came into existence only to vanish into extinction and continue to do so without purpose. Anyone who studies evolution seriously reaches the inescapable conclusion: We live and die as animals -no different from a rat or a jackal- without a purpose that transcends our biological life spans informed by contingencies we deem manifestations of “good fortune” or “bad fortune.” Worse, because our species has evolved the ability to acquire and use language, we can conceptualize not only death, but also the process of physical decline and decay. The aging body, viewed in the full length mirror, accompanied usually by disintegrating cognitive function delivers an appalling blow to our vanity. We hear someone’s father on his hospital death bed proclaim, “I’ve had a good life over these 94 years, rewarding career in aerospace engineering, beautiful daughter with a prestigious law degree, two successful beautiful grandchildren…” In the next bed a 50 year old factory worker who never smoked is dying of lung cancer (20% of lung cancer victims are non-smokers) with a once attractive but now estranged daughter living on the street afflicted with schizophrenia, a toothless hag with 3 abandoned children by different fathers. Both outcomes emerge from the same source. Pure chance.

    Christians can offer pseudo-comfort from the theology of their faith tradition. God made “us” in “His” image. We are not mere animals. Our essence is an immortal soul wrapped in a mortal coil. Whatever our trials and tribulations in this life, whatever suffering and misdeeds precede our death, we are redeemed by the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the simple generous condition of believing “on him.” Thereafter our souls will enjoy everlasting life. (Not believing on him conjures up an ungrateful wretch whose alternative afterlife is too harsh to imagine)

    In debates, faith in the supernatural Supreme Being dwelling in a supernatural paradise provides a false yet psychologically appealing answer to the question: What is the Transcendent Meaning of life for a creature subjected to senseless suffering and death? We have various secular-atheist answers but Jean Paul Sartre reminds us that living in good faith we can neither deny nor escape the agony of the absurd.



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  • Is there not also something psychologically appealing and pseudo-comforting in the idea that life has no purpose beyond itself?

    It means, for instance, that individuals have no responsibilities other than those arising from their own wishes and desires. Handy for those who like to avoid commitment to others.



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  • Some life, with its poetry, versus an infinitude of it is a pretty big ratio, true. But even now I know that this mind of mine is not built for infinitudes. Only the newly incarcerated and the newly freed truly appreciate freedom.



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  • Ewan Feb 14, 2015 at 2:36 am

    Is there not also something psychologically appealing and pseudo-comforting in the idea that life has no purpose beyond itself?

    It means, for instance, that individuals have no responsibilities other than those arising from their own wishes and desires. Handy for those who like to avoid commitment to others.

    Not at all! It means that they have to take responsibility for managing lives, and looking after the planet, because they recognise that imaginary gods are not going to do it for them!

    Unlike these faith-befuddled idiots -elected to positions of power:-
    Congressman Broun, a member of the House Space, Science and Technology Committee, called the Big Bang Theory and evolution “lies straight from the pit of Hell”.
    Representative John Shimkus rejected carbon emission regulations because God promised Noah in Genesis 8:21 that there won’t be a flood, so it’s heresy to worry about rising sea levels. “Man will not destroy this Earth. God’s word is infallible, unchanging, perfect.”
    Senator Inhofe, the next Chairman of the Senate’s environmental oversight committee agrees with Shimkus on God’s protection, and denies that Man is changing the climate.

    There are those who study the science of how things work, and there are mental infants, who think a daddy god is going to do it for them while they sit in ignorant denial of reality!



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  • Obviously people can choose to concern themselves with the state of the planet if that’s what they wish; but I’m not sure why they should “have to” if they consider their life to have no purpose beyond itself.



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  • Ewan Feb 14, 2015 at 5:06 am

    Obviously people can choose to concern themselves with the state of the planet if that’s what they wish; but I’m not sure why they should “have to” if they consider their life to have no purpose beyond itself.

    Unlike gods in individual heads and those concerned about booking themselves an imaginary afterlife, those who are concerned about the planet, are thinking of the communities which are going to be affected around them, in remote areas of the world, and future generations, – who will have to cope with the consequences of the recklessness of those who have no interest in understanding the consequences of their actions on the future of the planet and its inhabitants. – They have read “The Bible” and know-it-all!

    The actions and opposition to constructive actions, by those religious representatives of selfishness, are having, and will continue to have, dire consequences, far into the future.

    Towns and massive areas of coast will have to be abandoned all over the world, while huge areas of farm-land turns to desert!

    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2015/02/climate-change-economics/florida-coast-map

    If all the ice on Earth melted, the sea level would rise 216 feet. … The entire US Atlantic seaboard would vanish, along with Florida and the Gulf Coast. – Not that that is going to happen soon.

    Antarctica and Greenland are both losing overall ice mass at about 120 gigatons of ice per year as it melts and raises sea-levels.

    The nations of the world cannot be competently planned or run by people whimsically CHOOSING what they want to believe.
    Physical reality punishes mistakes, whether it comes from letting the village idiot service an aeroplane, or letting a Noah fundamentalist manage coastal flood defence!



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  • You seem to be suggesting that individuals do have a purpose that transcends their own individual life spans. I would agree with that.



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  • Ewan Feb 14, 2015 at 5:50 am

    You seem to be suggesting that individuals do have a purpose that transcends their own individual life spans. I would agree with that.

    Of course Humanists and atheists have purposes and objectives in their lives, but they think them out for themselves, – rather than being spoon-fed dogmas, along with being discouraged by priests from doubting dogmas and thinking for themselves.

    It is a myth put about by preachers, that those who reject the preached dogmas are left with nothing!
    They are left with the need to think about their actions, rather than being dependent on being told what to do by know-it-all, paternal priestly or godly figures.



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  • It might surprise you to learn that believers think things out for themselves too. It’s a myth put about about by some antitheists that they live out their lives as puppets with their strings being pulled by others.



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  • Hi Ewan

    It might surprise you to learn that believers think things out for themselves too

    This is patently false. 99.9% (not the actual figure but in that range) of children born to Christian parents choose Christianity as their own religion later on life. Ditto for Muslims, Jews etc. If believers actually did think for themselves their choice of religion would be random across the globe would it not?

    Of course, other things run in families too like being a doctor or lawyer, or voting Democrat. But no acquired characteristic comes close to choice of religion in offspring.

    Telling little kids they will burn in hell if they don’t believe a, b or c has a powerful coercive effect.



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  • Your argument would seem to suggest that atheists born of atheist parents don’t think for themselves.

    Some of them probably don’t, at least not enough to think religious claims are worth investigating. But John was referring to the percentages suggesting that those brought up by religious parents are very likely to choose the religion of their parents but those brought up by atheist parents do not become atheists in such a large proportion.

    The way religion is taught to children at such an early age makes it difficult to call this a choice in many instances. Atheist parents don’t tend to have the religious doctrine to pass on to their children, but you have the crazy claim by some of the religious that an education in the sciences and skeptical reasoning is in itself the doctrine of the atheist ‘religion’.

    You may find this article interesting:

    Why Aren’t Atheist Parents Raising Atheist Children?

    It’s more about the retention rate (in US) of religions compared to atheism. Atheism has the lowest retention rate. I would say that’s because religions make more use of indoctrination and often discourage questioning, eg. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” You would probably say it’s because atheism is wrong.



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  • I don’t know about discouraging questioning. I work in a faith school and developing the pupils’ thinking and questioning skills is an important part of the work we do.

    Believers think a lot about their faith. It can be a challenging way to live. The idea that we simply follow orders from above is, frankly, sloppy thinking.



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  • Ewan Feb 14, 2015 at 11:46 am

    I don’t know about discouraging questioning. I work in a faith school and developing the pupils’ thinking and questioning skills is an important part of the work we do.

    The problem is, that when doubt is a thought-crime, thinking is almost invariably circular! – or fallacious!

    http://www.logicalfallacies.info/presumption/begging-the-question/
    An argument is circular if its conclusion is among its premises, if it assumes (either explicitly or not) what it is trying to prove. Such arguments are said to beg the question. A circular argument fails as a proof because it will only be judged to be sound by those who already accept its conclusion.



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  • Doubt is a fairly normal part of faith.

    Of course it’s not. Faith is your weapon against doubt. Doubt in your religion, caused by evidence that contradicts religious doctrine or proves it wrong, is countered by faith. It is faith that helps you to ignore the doubt and continue believing without evidence.



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  • Hello everybody. Greetings from Iran!
    I am a Shia Muslim. I know this discussion is primarily about Bible, but here is a fun fact. did U know that Quran, while its goal isn’t talking about “Darwinism” or ” the theory of Evolution”, is 100 % compatible with it? U can not mention a thing in quran which is against that but in fact there are some verses increadibly compatible with it. Same goes about “the theory of Big Bang”.
    I have never heard of a Muslim who is against Evolution or BB on the basis of Quran. in fact the opposite is common between Muslims and they even take the advantage to prove scientific miracles of Quran which, I as a Muslim, don’t agree with them doing so, usualy.
    I am always wondering how some Christians and those 42 % mentioned above can endure these scientific theories. Boy their faith is strong!!!
    As a Believer I think these kinds of discoveries helps my belief. How? I tell U. I have believed in existence of God because i was wondering about the design of a tiny flower, now I have the whole universe or even multiverse to enjoy. That’s how.
    Does it seem wrong? Cuz 2 me it doesn’t.
    Love for all my new friends, especialy those who will reply me.



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  • The Catholic Church has no problem with the Theory of Evolution either. (And, of course, the Big Bang theory was first proposed by a Catholic priest.)



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  • Hi my dear new friend Ewan.
    Thank U 4 Ur reply . But what I said was:
    “some Christians and those 42 % mentioned above”
    and that is actually true. But I did not know that a catholic priest proposed BB. Is that right? Wow! I need 2 do a quick research and then I’ll be back soon.
    Love U.



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  • Ewan:

    Doubt is a fairly normal part of faith.

    Indeed it was Darwin’s exposure to the inherent cruelty of nature that led him to doubt and eventually to discard his Christian faith. The early geologists went looking for the evidence of Noah’s flood, but soon came to realise the Earth was much older than the age of 6000 years given by the Bible. Evidently they had to doubt, at least that part of, the Bible’s message. They were honest people and accepted reality for what it was, but there are plenty of dishonest religios throughout the world who will not allow any doubt at all. I’m thinking of the likes of William Lane Craig, Ken Ham, Ray Comfort , mouth foaming mad mullahs, ranting rabbis etc, who would consider “doubt” a sin. In the light of modern information, these people have no excuse for rejecting the findings of science.



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  • Ewan:

    The Catholic Church has no problem with the Theory of Evolution…

    Or at least their “God guided” version !

    (And, of course, the Big Bang theory was first proposed by a Catholic priest.)

    That’s right Lemaitre if memory serves. The trouble is it leaves nearly 14 billion years of God doing nothing to explain !



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  • Dear Ewan. first I thought U mean Edwin Hubble was a priest. Now I found a new guy named Georges Lemaître which, they say, has discovered Laws and Constants of the theory before Hubble, and he was a priest. Although there’s a controversy about it, thank U 4 Ur information.



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  • Ewan Feb 14, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    The Catholic Church has no problem with the Theory of Evolution either.

    Actually, the Roman Catholic Church has a huge problem with the SCIENTIFIC THEORY of evolution.

    It has no problem with its own pseudo-science “theory” of “Theistic evolution, APART FROM: – the fact that “theistic evolution” (that is evolution by god-did-it-for-his-own-purposes) is NOT SCIENCE and is not a scientific theory!

    The RCC approach to the scientific theory of evolution, has varied over the years, from the anti-science rantings of Pope Pius IX, to the modern dishonest pseudo-science which claims that “faith-thinking”, (belief without evidence or proof), is compatible with, and equivalent to, evidenced science, when it is in fact, the diametric opposite of the scientific methodology of reasoning based on objectively repeat-tested evidence.

    It does however allow those who see no conflict, due to their personal ignorance of theology and science, to avoid the more fundamentalist knee-jerk opposition to the study of the scientific theories seen in Young Earth Creationists in places like AIG.



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  • Hi Mr DArcy. Glad 2 meet U.
    Someone talked 2 Mohammad about his very deep doubts in his faith, like If God created human, who created God? Here is what Mohammad said as a response:
    “I swear to Allah, this is the exact actual Faith”
    So, if U consider Mohammad’s words “Religion of Islam”, which I do, not even the Doubt is a part of it, but to begin with Doubt is the Exact way to get to a true Faith.
    BTW Ur Avatar is so creative!



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  • Nice to meet you too, and thanks for the compliment ! My avatar is straight from the internet, but represents me well enough !

    My point was that doubt leads to questioning and disbelief, you appear to to have the opposite view.

    One of the Gospels even has Jesus doubting. “My Father , why have you foresaken me ?” You would think He would know considering that He was God, or a part thereof !



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  • Ewan Feb 14, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Ignoring it tends not to be an option for those assailed by doubt.

    Theists don’t “ignore doubts”, when their dogmas and teachings are refuted by science. They invent mental semantic contortions, and misleading vague obfuscations, to try to square their triangular circles, to rationalise away the evidence! – as with the pseudo-theory of “Theistic Evolution” – which is misleadingly asserted to be “acceptance” of “the scientific theory of evolution” (by way of natural Selection) !

    The Church’s stance is that any such gradual appearance must have been guided in some way by God, but the Church has thus far declined to define in what way that may be. Commentators tend to interpret the Church’s position in the way most favorable to their own arguments.

    Science on the other hand, has thousands of peer-reviewed evidence based studies confirming the detailed observations of biological evolution.



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  • I’d seen Ur avatar before on internet but it’s nice anyway.
    My friend, Like I said before I am a Shia Muslim let us put the issue of Gospels aside.
    But If I tell U my story it will be fascinating 4 U, I think.
    I have been raised as a Muslim in a Muslim community. There were Arguments and Discussions around, but not enough 4 me. While I was parying five times a day and fasting on Ramadhan month and… I wasn’t “Muslim Inside” enough.
    Then I started to Doubt. It was scary as hell first! But I thought 2 myself, this Doubt thing, is like a sea, I don’t know what is awaiting me other side, but I have 2 swim in and try 2 pass it. I should not stay in the sea cuz it will get me exhausted and drowned and dead, instead I have 2 keep swimming. I said it would be one of these two probablities:
    1. If on the other side I see Islam as truth, I will be a more reasonable Muslim.
    2. If the opposite is true, I will be free of darkness of a wrong Idea.
    So it’s a Win-Win game 2 me. I took off every clothing of Islam, got totaly naked, and dove in, head first!
    Although the first probablity happened 2 me, I promised myself never 2 stop using the Doubt 2 get 2 the truth. U know why? Cuz it was the sweatest thing ever happend 2 me in my relationship with God. Cuz now I know that I wasn’t Muslim before. Cuz now I know Islam in a different way than other people. And I have done it alot since the first time. Even right now I am desperately looking for a Sea of Doubt 2 swim in.
    So my dear friend, Doubt as Mohammad said and I experienced, is the exact actual basis of my Faith.
    Love and best wishes from Reza.



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  • I wouldn’t wish to speak for other Christians but my Church, the Catholic Church, has no problems with the Theory of Evolution and sees no conflicts between the theory and its teachings.

    As far as doubts go, many believers are assailed by them at different times. They tend not to be about specific and particular aspects of faith; rather they assail faith at a very basic level and they can be deeply troubling.



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    The discussion seems to be getting quite a long way off the subject of the thread, and some of the posts above could be interpreted as preaching, which is not permitted by our Terms of Use.

    There’s a link to the Terms of Use at the foot of each page, if any users need to remind themselves.

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  • Ewan Feb 14, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    I wouldn’t wish to speak for other Christians but my Church, the Catholic Church, has no problems with the Theory of Evolution and sees no conflicts between the theory and its teachings.

    I suggest you read the links I have provided, as anyone who knows what a scientific theory is, will recognise that the RCC explanations of “theistic evolution”, are not The Darwinian theory of Evolution by way of Natural Selection, and are not based on scientific methodology, as ALL scientific theories are.

    Scientific theories, explain how the mechanisms of nature work, so theologists reshuffling scientific words to accommodate their doctrines, makes zero difference to the actual mechanisms of physical reality or the soundly evidenced scientific models of how they work.

    The supposed Catholic explanations of how “theistic evolution” is supposed to work, are either non-existent, or are merely a semantic façade of double-talk, in which the Vatican pretends to be able to redefine science as being “trooo science” which is consistent with dogma.

    Asserting dogma is consistent with science which contradicts it, does not make that true!



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  • The discussion seems to be getting quite a long way off the subject of the thread, and some of the posts above could be interpreted as preaching,

    But doubt in religion/God and how Darwin dealt with it compared to Christians or Muslims today is sort of on the subject of the thread. Disparaging Darwin is how some deal with doubt caused by Darwin’s theory.



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  • What’s that word that physicists use, “decoherence” ? Something to do with the collapse of the wave function whenever God is mentioned ? IMO Reza just crossed that boundary.



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  • The Catholic Church has no problems either with the Theory of Evolution or the scientific methodology. Neither conflict with its teachings.



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  • Ewan Feb 14, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    The Catholic Church has no problems either with the Theory of Evolution or the scientific methodology. Neither conflict with its teachings.

    Scientific methodology starts with objective observations and repeat tested experimental evidence, and then proceeds to logical reasoning to formulate theories, which continue to be subject to the on-going testing of their predictions.

    Catholic “faith” starts with the ASSUMPTION that god-did-it, and then goes around in circles, trying to cobble together a heap of words which sound plausible in the context of current scientific understanding – fighting a rear-guard action as science demolishes its earlier claims.

    Scientific methodology and the presuppositions of “faith” are total opposite ways of thinking! As I said earlier, pretending they are compatible is trying to square the triangular circles. – The words flow but are meaningless nonsense, illustrating cognitive dissonance.

    Neither conflict with its teachings.

    . . . . But only in the minds of those whose minds can accept contradictory statements as having the same meaning, due to a denial of logical reasoning. – Another of the Catholic Church’s re-definitions of words.

    Yes! They deny logical reasoning too and pretend that the presumption of faith can also trump, not only evidence, but also logic!

    “10. Not only can faith and reason never be at odds with one another but they mutually support each other, for on the one hand right reason established the foundations of the faith and, illuminated by its light, develops the science of divine things; on the other hand, faith delivers reason from errors and protects it and furnishes it with knowledge of many kinds.” (Vatican Council I)

    “Faith” does not of course “trump” logical reasoned deductions, and evidence based reason, CAN debunk dogmatic claims, regardless of how inconvenient the Vatican finds this!

    Modern Catholic “belief” in “evolution”, is now often because they have been spoon-fed the church’s “authority” to believe in “evolution”, NOT because they have understood evolution by studying the development of related species in a scientific manner.

    In the same way in Darwin’s time Catholics, disbelieved in evolution, because that is what their priests told them their “faith” required.

    That is the difference between the presuppositions and circularity of “faith thinking”, and the starting with objective evidence in science.



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  • There are many scientists who are also believers. They find no conflict between their work and their faith; the two are not the opposite ways of thinking but different ways of thinking. And scientists who are believers find the two ways of thinking both compatible and necessary.



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  • Do atheist scientists leave their atheism at the door?

    It’s not the lack of belief due to insufficient (or no) evidence that’s the problem, in fact that’s part of the scientific method. It’s the belief despite evidence to the contrary (faith).



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  • Ewan Feb 14, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    There are many scientists who are also believers. They find no conflict between their work and their faith;

    They can only do this by compartmentalising their thinking to keep the contradictions apart.

    the two are not the opposite ways of thinking but different ways of thinking.

    This is simply irrational and wrong. There is no rational way of starting with presuppositions, that can be equated with scientific methodology, starting with objective evidence and measurements.

    Only the Vatican fumble-brained circular pseudo reasoning, ( I linked earlier) can allow this fallacious belief.

    And scientists who are believers find the two ways of thinking both compatible and necessary.

    No they don’t – regardless of if some ignorant priest says they do!
    Nobody uses theistic evolution in working science, and no competent scientist uses presupposition in place of objectivity and testing, in practical science work.

    Theist scientists simply keep their faith-thinking and their scientific thinking compartmentalised, where they are used separately in church and in the laboratory.

    Faith thinking does not work in the real world!
    It has done no better than random chance, on every test of its practical predictive capabilities.
    In the real physical world, it is an epic fail!
    That is why we ask rocket scientists (not priests) how to land on Mars, why we ask doctors (not priests) for medical treatments, why we ask chemical engineers, (not priests) how to make fuels for vehicles, and why we ask astronomers (not priests) about the structure of the galaxy.



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  • Ewan Feb 14, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    Do atheist scientists leave their atheism at the door?

    Atheism (lack of belief in gods), nor lack of belief in fairies, nor lack of belief in leprechauns, has any effect on the objectivity of scientific methodology.

    Faith-belief in the face of contradictory evidence, and in denial of the evidence does change decisions which lead to errors.

    If an aircraft requires a certain quantity of fuel to cross the Atlantic, no amount of re-jigging the wording to pervert the calculation and produce the appearance of a different meaning, is going to change the fact it will fall into the ocean if the quantity is less than is needed.
    It may cause an accident if stupid wish-thinking people use a “faith claim that it will be OK” instead of the scientific checks and calculations.



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  • I think the reference to “practical science work” is key here.

    For believers, faith encompasses the whole of existence; there are no areas which are outside its bounds. Science, on the other hand, deals with particular areas. It is limited to areas in which its methodology applies; “reasoning based on repeat tested evidence”.

    Take a question such as “Should I flirt with my workmates?” It’s the sort of question, dealing with our relationships with others, which lies at the heart of faith but to which the scientific methodology really doesn’t apply. However, what the scientific methodology can do is to provide large amounts of evidence about flirting at work and interpersonal relationships which can inform the religious consideration of the question.

    There’s nothing contradictory about using the scientific method in the consideration of questions which are outside the remit of science. On the contrary, it is a vital and powerful tool to help the believers understand better the workings of God’s Creation.



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  • Ewan Feb 15, 2015 at 3:41 am

    I think the reference to “practical science work” is key here.

    The whole of life is “practical work”, as the universe is governed by the laws of physics.

    For believers, faith encompasses the whole of existence; there are no areas which are outside its bounds.

    This is the imaginary world of the god-delusion.
    It is however a fantasy world totally disconnected from material reality.

    Science, on the other hand, deals with particular areas. It is limited to areas in which its methodology applies; “reasoning based on repeat tested evidence”.

    Science is the understanding of the entire universe, including the biology of living organisms. It is work in progress, but there are no limitations to its potential scope.

    Take a question such as “Should I flirt with my workmates?” It’s the sort of question, dealing with our relationships with others, which lies at the heart of faith but to which the scientific methodology really doesn’t apply.

    This is nonsense. The answer is within, social population behavioural science, and psychology.
    “Faith” can offer nothing of use unless it is based on confidence in learning, based on observable practical outcomes.
    As with “theistic evolution”, bits of real science can be copied, mixed with whimsical notions, and dressed up as “faith” to pretend faith works.
    The bits which were copied from science will work.

    However, what the scientific methodology can do is to provide large amounts of evidence about flirting at work and interpersonal relationships which can inform the religious consideration of the question.

    That is the only basis for predictable consequences. Inputs from past experience of objective observations, and reasoning to compare the situations, to see what is relevant to the current situation. This is scientific methodology.

    Making “moral decisions” can be done by balancing individual and group interests, or by slavishly applying dogma. There is no religious monopoly on moral decision making.

    There’s nothing contradictory about using the scientific method in the consideration of questions which are outside the remit of science.

    There are no areas “outside the remit of science”, consistent with reality, which can be answered better by any other methods.
    There is the physics of the universe, some of which is known and some of which is unknown.
    The god-of-gaps sellers, pretend that they have exclusive knowledge of the unknown!

    On the contrary, it is a vital and powerful tool to help the believers understand better the workings of God’s Creation.

    The study of science, shows that the universe does not require any gods in any of its workings.
    Faith-thinking is called “The God Delusion” for good reason. It is the prime tool of self deception and group-deception, which laughably and egotistically puts its self at the centre of the universe. It has simply been repositioned slightly since the time of Galileo and geocentricism.

    It gives an illusion of having answers in all those gaps in personal knowledge. It is the universal gap filler, which obstructs individuals from researching real knowledge, and motivates them into doggedly defending their ignorance of many subjects, for which scientific knowledge is already available.



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  • I think it’s a case of, let’s find a mountain, climb it, stick a flag on it and claim it for God. Nothing to do with corporate rules that go back to scientific rules that make a society tick. Scaremongering. Let’s not have the reasons that it may be beneficial to all to not flirt at work, or indeed the individual, let’s just rely on faith and pass ignorance on to our children.



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  • Ewan,
    I would like to ask you, what is wrong with flirting at work?

    There are situations in which some might consider flirting at work to be wrong (for instance, flirting which involved those in committed relationships; flirting with young people; flirting with someone for whom one had managerial responsibilities.)

    There are also situations in which many might consider flirting at work to be wholly unexceptional.

    It’s one of those questions which science can’t really answer, though it can provide plenty of evidence for those considering what the answer might be for them.



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  • Ewan Feb 15, 2015 at 7:39 am

    There are situations in which some might consider flirting at work to be wrong (for instance, flirting which involved those in committed relationships; flirting with young people; flirting with someone for whom one had managerial responsibilities.)

    There are also situations in which many might consider flirting at work to be wholly unexceptional.

    You have just given answers evaluating potential conflicts of interest and reasoned predictable outcomes. (Reasoning based on objective observations and potential outcomes – ie. science)

    It’s one of those questions which science can’t really answer,

    Then you make the unfounded assertion that science “can’t really answer”, simply because the situation is complex, the data incomplete, and the outcome not 100% predictable.

    though it can provide plenty of evidence for those considering what the answer might be for them.

    Science can only provide partial answers, with some uncertainties, but it certainly achieves greater accuracy than any alternative thinking processes.

    Sowing uncertainties in science, does nothing to suggest any merit in any other thought processes.
    A case would have to be made for those, on assessing their own historical results of predicting outcomes.
    Where this has been done, “faith” has proved an epic fail, with its predictions no more accurate than random effects!



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  • Science can’t really answer the question, not because the situation is complex, the data incomplete, and the outcome not 100% predictable but because the question isn’t governed by the laws of physics and any answer is subjective.

    To put it another way, the question is outside the remit of science.



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  • Science can’t really answer the question, not because the situation is complex, the data incomplete, and the outcome not 100% predictable but because the question isn’t governed by the laws of physics and any answer is subjective.

    To put it another way, the question is outside the remit of science.

    Subjective information, feelings, cognitions, aesthetics and behavioural heuristics (morally I tend to do this, she prefers to do that…) need to reside somewhere. Information demands energy (it is, in effect, formalised energy) and to issue subjective reports to the outside world needs an interface involving energy exchanges. There is nowhere else other than brainstates for these things to hide. We could watch for the thermodynamic breaches else and know souls were at work rather than energy.



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  • Ewan Feb 15, 2015 at 8:24 am

    Science can’t really answer the question, not because the situation is complex, the data incomplete, and the outcome not 100% predictable but because the question isn’t governed by the laws of physics and any answer is subjective.

    Nope! Human brains and human thinking, operate and are subject to, the laws of science!
    http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/synapse.html

    That is how drugs can alter decision making processes.

    To put it another way, the question is outside the remit of science.

    Nope! A lack of personal understanding of the connection, does not alter the reality.

    Neither does a lack of understanding of the connection, default to the gapology of “god-did-it-by-magic”, anywhere other than in the thinking of the believer.



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  • Ewan,

    To put it another way, the question is outside the remit of science.

    This and to answer your other reply to me. I am not a scientist but when a question needs to be answered, the last place I turn to are the ‘bibles’. It has never come down to me ever getting to the last place because there have been sufficient answers elsewhere. The internet is a wonderful place of knowledge if you are streetwise (in cyberspace) and can pick your way through the misinformation. That in it self is a science. The reasons on this site are based on law which has a scientific basis in itself. There is no mention of religion. The examples you gave of why it might be wrong, or more precisely, unwise to flirt in certain situations is again based on evolution and science. Flirting if you are married could end in divorce which then makes it harder (not impossible) to provide for offspring. All other examples have the same science based answers. The fact that output might be effected when in corporate positions is still the science of production. It has no moral basis at all in a religious sense.

    As I keep telling my children Ewan, there is no excuse for ignorance any more. There is no need to throw up your hands in desperation only to bring them back together in prayer.



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  • Hi Ewan

    Your argument would seem to suggest that atheists born of atheist parents don’t think for themselves.

    You’re making the mistake of equating atheism to other religions; a false equivalence which invalidates your proposition. Atheism is not a religion.

    Here’s a narrative to help. In a village live three families. The first family believes there are leprechauns at the bottom of the garden. They’ve never seen the leprechauns, but they are still convinced they exist. Their grandmother used to tell them a story about great uncle Paddy, who saw them one night on the way back from the pub. And so they raise their children to believe in the leprechauns, and tell them stories that have been passed down through the ages about the little folk.

    The second family doesn’t believe in leprechauns. They think believing in leprechauns is silly. Instead they believe in an invisible magic dragon that lives in the sky. Like the first family, they pass this fantasy on to their children. You must understand that, to them, this is not a fantasy, it’s deadly serious. One day the dragon is going to come down from the sky and incinerate those who don’t believe in him. So it’s really important to teach the children all about the dragon.

    The third family believes neither in dragons nor in leprechauns. They believe in the scientific method, that anything and everything should be questioned and that there are no sacred cows, (or goats or chickens for that matter). Like the other two families they bring up their children following this path.

    Now I hope you can see why I make the claim that religious people cannot be rational – at least in matters concerning their own religion.



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  • Ewan Feb 15, 2015 at 8:58 am

    So what’s your science based answer to my question of whether I should flirt with my workmates, Olgun?

    I already explained that in your earlier comment, you have started on a science based process here:-

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2015/02/hey-biblical-literalists-stop-disparaging-darwin/#li-comment-169084

    You could follow up on filling in the details of interpersonal relationships, looking at codes of conduct, and contracts of employment.

    Why ask Olgun, when you are the one who has the detailed data, and could think it through rationally, following up on my comment addressing the practical issues?

    Repeatedly pretending you have some mystical thought process which is “beyond science”, is no answer at all, unless you can show such a process works independently of science, logical reasoning, and physics of brain chemistry.

    Given that many people have tried and already consistently failed, that only leaves misleading cherry-picked claims and subjective wishful thinking.



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  • Alan4discussion

    you have started on a science based process here

    As pensioners shout in many revamped cinema halls…BINGO! 😉



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  • Hi Ewan

    Do atheist scientists leave their atheism at the door?

    No, since there is nothing to leave. You are again trying to equate atheism to a religion. Atheism is instead characterized by a lack of preconceived ideas – admirable qualities for a scientist.



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  • Atheism is instead characterized by a lack of preconceived ideas – admirable qualities for a scientist.

    What about the idea that there is no God?



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  • Ewan Feb 15, 2015 at 9:22 am

    What information about my situation would you need to provide a science based answer to the question for me, Olgun?

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2015/02/hey-biblical-literalists-stop-disparaging-darwin/#li-comment-169093

    You could follow up on filling in the details of interpersonal relationships, looking at codes of conduct, and contracts of employment.

    Why ask Olgun, when you are the one who has the detailed data,



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  • What information about my situation would you need to provide a
    science based answer to the question for me, Olgun?

    Are you married?

    Are you happy?

    Do you like your job?

    Have you read the company policy?

    Will your life improve by flirting?

    Are you breaking the law?

    Etc…..

    All have answers based on your situation with a scientific process that will give you the best possible outcome better than throwing the dice.

    I have no problem with you having a faith Ewan but facts are facts. The only answer you can give me that I have no answer to regarding your choice is, ‘I want to’.



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  • Are you married?
    Are you happy?
    Do you like your job?
    Have you read the company policy?
    Will your life improve by flirting?
    Are you breaking the law?
    Etc…..

    Once you had used that information to give me an objective, science-based answer to my question, how could other scientists check whether it was the correct answer?



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  • Ewan Feb 15, 2015 at 9:27 am

    Atheism is instead characterized by a lack of preconceived ideas – admirable qualities for a scientist.

    What about the idea that there is no God?

    Did you have a particular preconceived god in mind, or do you simply accept on their “faith”, the existence of all the thousands of gods, preconceived by other indoctrinated people.

    What about the idea that there are no leprechauns?
    I’m sure most Japanese have never heard of them!

    An absence of other people’s preconceived ideas, is not a preconceived idea its self.



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  • Once you had used that information to give me an objective,
    science-based answer to my question, how could other scientists check
    whether it was the correct answer?

    It is not down to me to give you the answer Ewan. As Alan has said, you have the exact details so you make the decision. As to whether it was the correct answer is to look at the result. Ask the same questions again. That is after the event but you could go to an expert before hand and ask advise, go through the process of cognitive science.



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  • Ewan Feb 15, 2015 at 9:41 am

    Once you had used that information to give me an objective, science-based answer to my question, how could other scientists check whether it was the correct answer?

    It is a confused theistic notion that there are “correct answers”, to decisions made on personal preferences.
    There are possibilities and possible predictable outcomes, but the emotional responses will be yours, and with limited data and the current level of neuropsychology the answers are uncertain.

    There are however potentially disastrous consequences to answers leading to decisions which turn out poorly in terms of your (or other people’s) future happiness.

    As I have already pointed out, the limitations of science, (such as inadequate data) in no way suggest that it is other than the best methodology for providing sources of information available to us, or that some other process is available which can skip the need for sufficient data.

    It is as silly an assertion as claiming, the cost of your weekly groceries, is “beyond mathematics” because you don’t have a shopping list or a price list available!



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  • Indeed. They are beyond the remit of science.

    They didn’t come out of this air Ewan. Your past experiences have made links in your brain that is purely down to evolution and science that help you make your decision.



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  • David Feb 15, 2015 at 10:42 am

    How about “knowing little” instead of “knowing nothing”??

    In the case of Young Earth Creationists, they know less than nothing!
    They “know” and assert, perverse denials of evidence-based knowledge, and collect misleading nonsense from dishonest and scientifically illiterate pseudo-scientists to attempt to confuse the uneducated and those challenging them with real science.



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  • They can certainly help me answer the question; what they can’t do is answer it themselves. Science can answer many questions, but that’s not one of them.



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  • @Ewan

    What about the idea that there is no God?

    Or to phrase it more properly

    What about no idea that there is god?

    Our culture offers up many hypotheses , some serious and some whimsical. Most of these ideas simply fail to take a hold as they have no basis in fact or are insufficient in whimsy.

    There is nothing to carry into the lab for most scientists. No idea at all. Though there is plenty for the cultural historian to work with.



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  • Ewan Feb 15, 2015 at 9:45 am

    Did you have a particular preconceived god in mind,

    You appear to have a preconceived idea that gods are conceived ideas.

    They usually pre-date the birth of those indoctrinated to believe in them, so ARE preconceived by other people who are passing on the memes – sometimes going back many generations. Such a conclusion can be arrived at simply by studying history! Why the evasion?

    You don’t seem to have answers to the questions I put to you about your perceptions, presuppositions, or lack of presuppositions, about all the other preconceived gods!



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  • There is nothing to carry into the lab for most scientists. No idea at all.

    What about the idea that it is important to answer this question (whatever the question might be)? Cultural historians might be interested in working out why they felt that.



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  • They usually pre-date the birth of those indoctrinated to believe in them, so ARE preconceived by other people

    There you go again with your preconceived idea that gods are conceived by people.



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  • Science can answer many questions, but that’s not one of them.

    Are you saying that Ewan could never be modeled by some hyper intelligent (but non godly) mega beings? That they could not conceptually construct identical brain and body machinery containing the structural and brainstate residuum of all your experiences? That they could not propose the “flirting” hypothetical to this virtual Ewan II and get the same answer as from the original Ewan?

    What is different? Is Ewan II like a receiver without a connection or a service contract? (Genuine question. Remember, Ewan II will think he has a connection and service contract.)



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  • Take a question such as “Should I flirt with my workmates?”

    It’s just another plus point for science that it doesn’t even attempt to answer such poorly formed questions. Yes, you can come up with a silly question for which there is no scientific answer, but if you are going to claim there is another method (eg. faith) to answer these questions, then you need to demonstrate this.

    There are situations in which some might consider flirting at work to be wrong (for instance, flirting which involved those in committed relationships; flirting with young people; …….

    Ah, but now you are answering a different question. If you had asked “are there situations in which it would be wrong to flirt at work” then you shouldn’t really need to ask a scientist, but I’m sure they could give you plenty of examples just as you have done above.

    Or are you claiming that there is a correct answer to your initial question which only faith can provide? If so, tell us the answer and explain how your faith provided that answer.



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  • To be honest, I think that one of me is more than enough for the world to have to put up with.

    (And to answer your question, I doubt it. Twins are good models of each other but they don’t always provide the same answers.)



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  • They can certainly help me answer the question; what they can’t do is
    answer it themselves. Science can answer many questions, but that’s
    not one of them

    I think you are confusing scientist with science here Ewan? You are science. Without it you would not exist. Scientists are trying to find answers to the why but as Alan and others have told you, it is not exact. It is one thing more than religion though and that is progressive. Religion is a static dogma.

    I have an apology to make to you. I stopped talking to you because I thought you were being facetious but it seems that you don’t just get it and thats much better in my book. When I look at the sky, I see clouds that fit into shapes that are formed in the air by many forces and in turn by the clouds themselves. I see layers as the atmosphere gets thinner and colder and so on. I see no difference in people forming shapes and colours as different pressures and forces evolve through millions of years. My world is far different to yours and it does not need some magic to make it whole.



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  • It’s just another plus point for science that it doesn’t even attempt to answer such poorly formed questions.

    That’s an interesting point of view. Should I do this? is the sort of question which most people ask themselves on a regular – almost continuous – basis. And it’s the sort of question which science isn’t in a position to answer.



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  • I’m new to the forum, Olgun. I’m still getting to know the mores. If my responses occasionally seem crass or inappropriate please put it down to social incompetence rather than deliberate unpleasantness.



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  • Ewan Feb 15, 2015 at 11:35 am

    They usually pre-date the birth of those indoctrinated to believe in them, so ARE preconceived by other people

    There you go again with your preconceived idea that gods are conceived by people.

    You still have not answered my question, as where you think all the notions of thousands of preconceived gods came from, or why you would think they were not preconceived and passed down the generations, by the peoples in the cultures where they exist, of have existed.

    Disputing or evading my comment is no answer at all!

    .. Or do you seriously think thousands of gods with conflicting requirements for their followers, actually exist?



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  • is the sort of question which most people ask themselves on a regular – almost continuous – basis.

    Not that I’ve noticed. I’ve seen similar questions from religious apologists, but most people understand that they need to ask a clearly defined question if they expect an answer.

    I note you ignored my question, so I’ll repeat it:

    Are you claiming that there is a correct answer to your initial question which only faith can provide? If so, tell us the answer and explain how your faith provided that answer.



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  • What about the idea that it is important to answer this question (whatever the question might be)?

    If this is an idea about a question about a god, why would such an idea exist if you had no thought to the existence of a god in the first place?

    Cultural historians might be interested in working out why they felt that.

    Cultural historians will be interested about ideas of gods and their relationships to their respective cultures. They may well try and carefully use their own experiences as data, but the first thing that smacks them firmly in the eye is the astonishing tendency to religious solipsism and the geographical discreteness of unfolding godly cultures. They will note as a corollary to their inevitable mooted theories that gods are cultural artifacts, that the most primitive and isolated hunter gatherer tribe so far discovered is atheist, with no built in sense of gods to trigger ideas and questions about them. Read about the Piraha tribe in former Christian missionary, Daniel Everett’s books and the various programs about the both.

    Ideas of evil spirits/gods probably first sprang into existence with the invention of sophisticated language during the Aurignacian when old folk suddenly increased in numbers by some 400% (Caspari and Lee 2005). Old folk became useful in passing on wisdom and so were fed. Running out of material for good hunting and gathering tips, they probably entertained with made up stories. Marginal existences need cautious folk with an over sensitive agency detector (mistaking sticks for snakes, so much safer than the reverse). Stories about malign agencies near dangerous places would do very nicely. Later, appeasable gods for group working and divided labour with agriculture then monotheisms for nation building…

    Cultural historians have a wealth of hypotheses of their own to work with quite before their own parochial cultural inputs come to unduly press on them. But as with Daniel Everett they may find they need to clear the decks and take a step back from these cultural inputs to take in what they are actually seeing…



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  • Yes the 23rd October 4004 BC ! There had been several other attempts to date the Earth before that with a Jewish one coming in with an Earth hundreds of years younger than Ussher’s chronology, using the same source ! Where did those ‘extra’ years come from ?



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  • @Ewan

    To be honest, I think that one of me is more than enough for the world to have to put up with.

    I dunno. I suspect given the number of comments your fielding you are possibly multiply cloned already….

    (And to answer your question, I doubt it. Twins are good models of each other but they don’t always provide the same answers.)

    But my thought experiment is for identical. Twins have separately grown brains and bodies (the genetic plans are plans of building processes not of built entities and the tolerances aren’t great) and they have distinct cultural inputs if only from serendipity when young and a huge amount of semi-permanent brain wiring is done and values conferred or modified. When I say identical, I mean we do way better than genes. We copy everything down to the last calcium ion at each identical synapse. Theoretically advanced enough science could do that.

    Will Ewan I and Ewan II agree on say a moral issue, or is there more to us in your book than the meat? If so is it the God connection or some immaterial soul? Or is it that science cannot reveal our values? Or is it that moral values are absolute in some Platonic realm? Why can’t science, in theory at least, get to your decision making?

    Sorry, work for Ewan III and IV.



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  • I remember when I was a child reading the title of an upcoming Sunday sermon posted in front of a local church: “Is Darwinism of the Devil?” References to “Darwinism;” to Charles Darwin rather than the science of evolution carry an unfortunate connotation. It’s far too easy for biblical fundamentalists to pose as critics of Darwin’s personal opinions, speculations and bias -his eccentric “theory” if you will. Darwin was a great scientist and he practiced as a scientist not as a person with a spiteful agenda out to “disprove” the Bible.

    Integral to studying the science of evolution, like any science, is strict adherence to the objective scientific method indifferent to subjective opinions on religious, political or moral matters. The question of “Doubt” will be engaged through hypothesis subject to the gathering and measuring; analysis and synthesis of empirical evidence. Lawrence Krauss once said words to the effect that the scientist loves to be proven wrong because falsification teaches that answers lie elsewhere. She does not invest a hypothesis with her desire to be right. She gathers evidence and accepts the findings of experimentation wherever the chips may fall consistent with pertinent regularities of the natural phenomena under examination.

    The science of evolution will obviously feature the seminal findings and experiments of Charles Darwin derived from the mountain of evidence he gathered throughout his life. (Alfred Wallace and other key contemporaries and predecessors will also deserve mention). The conclusions Darwin drew from meticulous examination of this evidence have been corroborated by subsequent findings conducted by scientists in fields Darwin knew nothing of; especially DNA, the decisive discoveries of genome and genotype. Recent discoveries in genetic science since the 1950s indicate that, beyond a reasonable doubt. primate humans and primate chimpanzees evolved from a common ancestor – and beyond that single case, rewinding the chemical-genetic clock to the primordial time of biological origins, every living creature evolved from a common ancestor.



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  • Even if momentarily identical, wouldn’t the two models immediately become non-identical because they would exist in separate – and therefore different – environments?

    I can imagine a future where thoughts can be captured and displayed. I’m not so convinced of the possibility of recreating them. It would be like trying to create identical clouds.



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  • Even if momentarily identical, wouldn’t the two models immediately become non-identical because they would exist in separate – and therefore different – environments?

    We can simulate an identical envrionment for you, Ewan II.

    I can imagine a future where thoughts can be captured and displayed. I’m not so convinced of the possibility of recreating them. It would be like trying to create identical clouds.

    So moral judgments are chaotically fickle?

    Even the weathermen can predict the cloud types from the very crude data they work with. Impossibly good 2km grid data can predict weather structures of size only 10km small…. Big ideas like yes or no attitudes to a risky behaviour are surely not so labile or so spurious?

    If complexity were not an issue (and if it were then, simply, chaos rules us), why can’t science go there?



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  • Ewan Feb 15, 2015 at 10:08 am

    “the emotional responses will be yours”

    Indeed. They are beyond the remit of science.

    Nope! Emotional responses work by biochemistry and physics!

    http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/chnt1.html

    Communication of information between neurons is accomplished by movement of chemicals across a small gap called the synapse. Chemicals, called neurotransmitters, are released from one neuron at the presynaptic nerve terminal. Neurotransmitters then cross the synapse where they may be accepted by the next neuron at a specialized site called a receptor. The action that follows activation of a receptor site may be either depolarization (an excitatory postsynaptic potential) or hyperpolarization (an inhibitory postsynaptic potential). A depolarization makes it MORE likely that an action potential will fire; a hyperpolarization makes it LESS likely that an action potential will fire.

    There are many types of chemicals that act as neurotransmitter substances. Below is a list of some of them.[see link]

    Dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine are a group of neurotransmitters called “catecholamines”. Norepinephrine is also called “noradrenalin” and epinephrine is also called “adrenalin”. Each of these neurotransmitters is produced in a step-by-step fashion by a different enzyme.

    You really should stop making stuff up and pretending your personal ignorance of science, implies that scientific knowledge of subjects is unknown to science specialists, or “beyond science”.
    Nothing in the known universe has been shown to be “beyond science”. The personal incredulity, is merely about subject areas “beyond the understanding of people who have not studied science” trying to pretend that their personal made-up opinions are equivalent or superior to expert scientific opinion based on solid evidence!
    There are also associated claims made, to pretend that unevidenced dogmas cannot be debunked by science, – frequently AFTER they have already been debunked by science.



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  • Wouldn’t it be interesting having an identical model of yourself? Before making decisions, you could get it to try out things so that you could see the outcome.

    Though, of course, it wouldn’t be identical to you because it wouldn’t have an identical model of itself…



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  • Nothing in the known universe has been shown to be “beyond science”.

    Do you not think that some aspects of reality TV are beyond all human understanding?



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  • Wouldn’t it be interesting having an identical model of yourself? Before making decisions, you could get it to try out things so that you could see the outcome

    But, indeed we have a model of ourselves in our heads. We use it everyday to rehearse those big moments. To flirt with that new woman in accounts…. This is what I’d like to do. but will I have the courage to carry it through? Is it the right way to get her attention? Surely winning her attention with some restraint and dry witty banter would be better. Darn! I can’t really do dry witty banter. Women make me stammer. Maybe, I won’t like her? I think I could get bored if she doesn’t like Heavy Metal. Lets go check some things out first…

    The crassness of modern reality television is all too susceptible to scientific analysis. This shaming little dopamine reward button is the first, lamest, brainest button we encounter in analysing the show contents….the pleasure of schadenfreude and the social disgrace of others. A Great Victorian, Bazelgette, improved the quality of life for all Londoners by pumping sewage out of every home. His great grandson Bazelgette undid it all by bringing us Big Brother and pumping it all back in again.



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  • I’m new to the forum, Olgun. I’m still getting to know the mores. If
    my responses occasionally seem crass or inappropriate please put it
    down to social incompetence rather than deliberate unpleasantness.

    Noted Ewan.

    @Phil,

    Love both parts of your post.



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  • Ewan Feb 15, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    Nothing in the known universe has been shown to be “beyond science”.

    Do you not think that some aspects of reality TV are beyond all human understanding?

    Irrational media stunts have nothing to do with science, or any requirement for coherent intelligible presentations!

    Your diversions, in the absence of answers to questions put to you, seem to be rambling all over the place without addressing the substance of the topics.

    This is a site for evidence based rational debate of science and religions. It is not a chat room.

    Unevidenced repetitive assertions, evasions, or contradictions, are not rational arguments, and while repetitive chants may reinforce the beliefs of church congregations, they are a total waste of time as attempts at a reasoned argument, in scientific debates.



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  • Do you not think that it would be an appropriate tribute to adopt a Darwinian – rather than a “We have always done it this way here” – approach to this thread?



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  • Do you not think that it would be an appropriate tribute to adopt a Darwinian – rather than a “We have always done it this way here” – approach to this thread?

    OK. This is kicking the thing into touch. You don’t want a reasonable debate, but something Darwinian. Well, as you know, that takes more time than I and Alan and Olgun have got. Eternity isn’t ours.

    We are a bit starved of intelligent religious input here. We have a lot of questions and it is probably unfair to expect responses to all our diverse queries. But I think its a tease to say things like “science can’t go there” on a site devoted to science and reason with no intention of supporting the assertion. A simple response of I don’t know, or I’m not qualified, or X said it better, or give me a week for that one.

    There is a wonderful study about the value of group working and whether the group can out-perform the sum of the individual parts. Mostly it doesn’t, but when people give honest appraisals of the state of their own knowledge (I think this, but I can’t be sure if I’m right OR I know this for a fact. I got it from X), then the group become disproportionately more problem solving than the individuals. All contributions help, even the uncertain ones, but they must be honestly given about the state of their provenance. This is something I urge on my co-workers and indeed my kids, to great effect. Opinions are fine, just flag them or give provenance automatically or when requested.



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  • Good Catholic that I am, I shall follow the example of Mary and ponder your words in my heart.

    But surely a Darwinian approach doesn’t necessitate vast periods of time? Isn’t it an accumulation of tiny events?



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  • But surely a Darwinian approach doesn’t necessitate vast periods of time? Isn’t it an accumulation of tiny events?

    Possessing a mind (somehow) means you can accomplish 3.5 billions years of evolutionary work in six days. Intelligent design has its attractions.

    In fact, the generation of thoughts in our own brain quite possibly is Darwinian. And cultural interactions may very well have an evolutionary aspect though it will be very messy like early pre-cell evolution. So we probably are entirely evolutionary here already, with the advantage that things don’t have to die and free up resources to ratchet forwards.

    But still, for we atheists, time presses and a little pro-activity helps.



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  • Ewan

    If my responses occasionally seem crass or inappropriate please put it
    down to social incompetence rather than deliberate unpleasantness.

    Phil

    little pro-activity helps.



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  • Ewan Feb 16, 2015 at 2:13 am

    Your diversions, in the absence of answers to questions put to you, seem to be rambling all over the place without addressing the substance of the topics.

    This is a site for evidence based rational debate of science and religions. It is not a chat room.

    Unevidenced repetitive assertions, evasions, or contradictions, are not rational arguments, and while repetitive chants may reinforce the beliefs of church congregations, they are a total waste of time as attempts at a reasoned argument, in scientific debates.

    Do you not think that it would be an appropriate tribute to adopt a Darwinian – rather than a “We have always done it this way here” – approach to this thread?

    What on Earth is this confused nonsense supposed to mean?

    Are you incapable of looking up, citing, or quoting references to reputable academic publications, or engaging in reasoned debate, discussing referenced links and quotes of information you have been given?

    Darwin used the scientific methodology of reporting objective observations of evidence from field biology, rational consideration and the study, of correspondence from all over the world, and lectures and papers from other scientists.

    That IS the way WE do it here on this site with evidence based debate, – although we recognise that you just throw in whatever comes into your head.

    “We have always done it this way here”

    That has to be an ironic joke, when we look at the history of the Vatican and the blind acceptance of its edicts by its followers.

    Good Catholic that I am,

    Scientific reasoning is not a mirror image of your faith-thinking processes, of habitual back-reference to core dogmas, or cherry picked biblical bits, from antiquity. It involves on-going rational critical evaluation of objective evidence, from field-work and experiments.

    Darwinian evolution is science, because it can be observed consistently working in the real world and is the basis of biology and genetics.

    Theistic “evolution” is nonsensical pseudo-science, because it is a load of fudge, where some cardinals tried to mix dogma into conflicting real science, in an attempt to add credibility to the dogma.

    They were forced into this rearguard action, when total denial of the strength of the scientific evidence was so strong, that as with Galileo and geocentricism, further persistence in denial, was going to have people laughing at them, the way modern educated people laugh at Young Earth Creationists, who think Bishop Ussher knew how to calculate the age of the Earth better than modern scientists!



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  • As I have already pointed out, the limitations of science, (such as inadequate data) in no way suggest that it is other than the best methodology for providing sources of information available to us, or that some other process is available which can skip the need for sufficient data.
    It is as silly an assertion as claiming, the cost of your weekly groceries, is “beyond mathematics” because you don’t have a shopping list or a price list available!

    Wouldn’t the cost of your weekly groceries be beyond mathematics if everything you bought had already been paid for?

    I wonder if the essential difference between scientific and religious thinking is that the former starts with questions and the latter starts with answers…



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  • That IS the way WE do it here on this site with evidence based debate, – although we recognise that you just throw in whatever comes into your head.

    Is that not a form of evidence? Unless you’re arguing that things can come into our heads out of nowhere…



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  • Ewan Feb 16, 2015 at 7:01 am

    As I have already pointed out, the limitations of science, (such as inadequate data) in no way suggest that it is other than the best methodology for providing sources of information available to us, or that some other process is available which can skip the need for sufficient data.
    It is as silly an assertion as claiming, the cost of your weekly groceries, is “beyond mathematics” because you don’t have a shopping list or a price list available!

    Wouldn’t the cost of your weekly groceries be beyond mathematics if everything you bought had already been paid for?

    No! The calculation would have already been done using mathematics.

    Why do you persist with this confused evasive rambling?
    Are these questions really topics you DON’T WANT TO THINK ABOUT?

    I wonder if the essential difference between scientific and religious thinking is that the former starts with questions

    Evidence > questions > experiment > rational deductions and calculations > hypotheses, theories, and facts!

    and the latter starts with answers…

    Which brings us back to the topic of: preconceptions, unevidenced assumptions, and the fallacious circular thinking, you have been dodging around for several comments!

    Circular reasoning is fallacious because reasoning and justification must start with the known and then determine the unknown – in the case of circular reasoning, it starts with the known and ends up with the equally known, thus it proves nothing.



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  • No matter what you buy, the cash register shows a total of zero. It costs you nothing. Essentially, the idea of cost becomes meaningless in such a situation and mathematics has nothing to apply its mighty tools to.

    Religious thinking does start with the known; the knowledge that God exists. The unknown is what that means for the believer’s life. Thus begins a journey of discovery…



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  • Ewan Feb 16, 2015 at 7:17 am

    That IS the way WE do it here on this site with evidence based debate, – although we recognise that you just throw in whatever comes into your head.

    Is that not a form of evidence?

    No!
    It is personal opinion – most of which seems to be made-up on the spot.

    Unless you’re arguing that things can come into our heads out of nowhere…

    Any random collections of words is not evidence, other than evidence of your ability to speak or type!

    Surely I don’t have to show you how to use a dictionary?

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/evidence
    evidence

    a. A thing or set of things helpful in forming a conclusion or judgment: The broken window was evidence that a burglary had taken place. Scientists weighed the evidence for and against the hypothesis.
    b. Something indicative; an indication or set of indications: saw no evidence of grief on the mourner’s face.
    Law
    a. The means by which an allegation may be proven, such as oral testimony, documents, or physical objects.
    b. The set of legal rules determining what testimony, documents, and objects may be admitted as proof in a trial.



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  • No matter what you buy, the cash register shows a total of zero. It
    costs you nothing. Essentially, the idea of cost becomes meaningless
    in such a situation and mathematics has nothing to apply its mighty
    tools to.

    An aeroplane flies through the air but gravity is meaningless? Come on Ewan, What?



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  • evidence
    a. A thing or set of things helpful in forming a conclusion or judgment

    I would have thought that using personal opinions to help draw conclusions was a fairly commonplace practice.



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  • Ewan Feb 16, 2015 at 7:46 am

    I am aware that god-delusions block, the ability to learn reasoning skills, and block the ability to acquire scientific and mathematical knowledge.

    Religious thinking does start with the known; the knowledge that God exists.

    That is why circular thinking is called “Begging the Question”! – It starts with the answer it wants to believe, and the then goes round, and round, in circles!

    I see you still have not given any thought, to my questions about all those other gods which have been claimed to exist by their followers.

    You must have some basis other than “Mamma and the priest told you they were ‘wrong’ and the stories THEY told you were ‘right’ “, for believing all these millions of people all over the world, are wrong to use the similar faith-thinking processes as yourself, and then come up with wildly different answers!

    After all! Their mammas and priests, probably told them you were wrong – if they actually knew you existed!



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  • Ewan Feb 16, 2015 at 8:06 am

    evidence

    Still on the dodge???

    I would have thought that using personal opinions to help draw conclusions was a fairly commonplace practice

    Personal opinions are only valid as evidence if the are based on evidence – whimsicality + circular thinking is : – well fallaciously -tangled more complex whimsicality!

    Trotting out the first thing which comes into your head is not reasoned argument or debate!

    You seem to be just trolling nonsense and evasion, without any effort to think about the topic raised.

    We understood that you believed in a version of a god, from your first posts, just as we understood that Reza (Muslim Who Loves Truth), believed in a different version of a god, and different “truths”.
    You don’t seem to have added much to the debate since then, and have shown little or no sign of thinking about the issues raised!



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  • I need an example of that please Ewan?

    “I didn’t enjoy the first episode of that new TV series. I don’t think I’ll watch any more of it.”

    A personal opinion used to draw a conclusion.



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  • Ewan Feb 16, 2015 at 8:39 am

    “I didn’t enjoy the first episode of that new TV series. I don’t think I’ll watch any more of it.”>

    A personal opinion used to draw a conclusion.

    A conclusion about a personal preference about a TV. story, is not evidence of anything except your personal preferences in fiction!

    You are rambling all over the place again, side-tracking and evading issues!



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  • Ewan Feb 16, 2015 at 8:56 am

    Since I was directly answering a direct question from Olgun, I’m puzzled that you see that as evidence of me evading issues.

    Perhaps you have already forgotten the the start of this chain of posts, and the issues you are evading?

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2015/02/hey-biblical-literalists-stop-disparaging-darwin/#li-comment-169169
    What on Earth is this confused nonsense supposed to mean?

    Are you incapable of looking up, citing, or quoting references to reputable academic publications, or engaging in reasoned debate, discussing referenced links and quotes of information you have been given?



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  • I would have thought that using personal opinions to help draw
    conclusions was a fairly commonplace practice.

    “I didn’t enjoy the first episode of that new TV series. I don’t think
    I’ll watch any more of it.”

    Isn’t that the cart before the horse? You form preferences from previous experiences and then the conclusion of a personal opinion. Its still all science. I ask myself why I used to enjoy XFactor and now I don’t. It is not a personal opinion but a fact that it is now so contrived and the judges are taking the limelight more and more and it stops me enjoying the occasional raw talent that used to pop up. It is a process that ends in an opinion not the other way around. You are doing the same thing below with your register reading zero. That is not what you should be concentrating on. Its bad science. You should be concentrating on the shopping. The physical elements in your basket and working every which way from there. It is a religious concept to work from the point of the register reading in that, everything is already provided for me so the cost doesn’t matter.



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  • I ask myself why I used to enjoy XFactor and now I don’t. It is not a personal opinion but a fact that it is now so contrived and the judges are taking the limelight more and more and it stops me enjoying the occasional raw talent that used to pop up.

    The fact/conclusion is that you no longer enjoy the X Factor. The personal opinion is that it is now too contrived and the judges hog the limelight.

    The personal opinion leads to your conclusion.



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  • You don’t seem to have added much to the debate since then, and have shown little or no sign of thinking about the issues raised!

    It seems to me that the rational response would be to ignore such a poster. “Nothing of interest here, folks, move on!”

    You seem to be just trolling nonsense and evasion

    I would advise reporting posts from trolls.



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  • The fact/conclusion is that you no longer enjoy the X Factor. The
    personal opinion is that it is now too contrived and the judges hog
    the limelight.

    It is a FACT that the judges hog the limelight and it has been designed that way. It is a science that the XFactor team use. They use the ratings to decide which way to go…a science both human and mathematical. Those that miss these facts continue to watch and enjoy. It is not their personal opinion that allows them to do it but blindness to the fact. Ignorance is bliss!!

    BTW, They got it wrong. The ratings are actually going down. They should have used better scientific methods.



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  • Ewan Feb 16, 2015 at 9:27 am

    The fact/conclusion is that you no longer enjoy the X Factor.

    As I pointed out earlier, whenever anyone raises RELEVANT issues of science, Darwin’s biology, reasoning processes, or biblical literalists, you ramble off into side-tracks which have nothing to do with the matters raised!

    Personal opinions – especially poorly informed ones, which are not based on material evidence or scholarly studies, are of no value in debating what is real and what is useful to humanity.



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  • It is a FACT that the judges hog the limelight and it has been designed that way.

    Nah. The fact is that the judges take up a particular proportion of the limelight. The personal opinion is whether that counts as hogging it or not.

    After all, there may be people (troubled people desperately in need of help) who enjoy watching the judges.



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  • So you think that XFactor was built on luck? The judges are picked very carefully in every country that it is on. The science is there to see. They rely on the fact that some people prefer the judges. That does not mean those people are aware of the science.

    My appology was a little tongue in cheek to you Ewan. In places I really do think you don’t get it but your methods on this forum are, ironically, scientific.



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  • Olgun Feb 16, 2015 at 10:29 am
    My apology was a little tongue in cheek to you Ewan. In places I really do think you don’t get it but your methods on this forum are, ironically, scientific.

    I suppose we are discussing reason and science – and examples of the lack of them!!!

    Some are never short of an answer, even if they have nothing of any substance to say!



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  • I see you still have not given any thought, to my questions about all those other gods which have been claimed to exist by their followers.
    You must have some basis other than “Mamma and the priest told you they were ‘wrong’ and the stories THEY told you were ‘right’ “, for believing all these millions of people all over the world, are wrong to use the similar faith-thinking processes as yourself, and then come up with wildly different answers!
    After all! Their mammas and priests, probably told them you were wrong – if they actually knew you existed!

    I’m not sure what questions you’re referring to, Alan, but you seem to have already answered them on my behalf!

    I always find it interesting to meet with and talk to people people of other faiths. What very quickly becomes clear is how much we have in common. Yes there are differences in our beliefs but they tend to be as nothing compared with what we share.

    The search for God “who is unknown yet near” is one which humans throughout history have embarked on. It has taken them in many directions and has resulted in many different religions. But there is goodness and truth to be found in them and that, we believe, comes from God. That common belief binds us together.

    When it comes to other religions, I don’t judge and find them wrong. I would much rather observe and learn and find what is right.



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  • Ewan Feb 17, 2015 at 3:43 am

    I always find it interesting to meet with and talk to people people of other faiths. What very quickly becomes clear is how much we have in common.

    Would that illusion, not be a result of what you are doing here – simply ignoring issues which conflict with your pre-existing beliefs.

    (For example, you wrongly asserted that the RCC “does not have a problem with the scientific theory of evolution”, – and when I linked Vatican records showing conflicts with the science, you simply ignored them, and moved on to fresh assertions about different subjects.)

    Yes there are differences in our beliefs but they tend to be as nothing compared with what we share.

    Really?

    I would have thought that the human sacrifices of the Aztecs to gods who needed blood, the Incas whose gods needed regularly sacrificed child “messengers” to prevent the world ending, the reincarnation as animals of Buddhists, and the various polytheistic religions, were somewhat different to modern Catholicism.
    Admittedly at the time of the inquisition Catholicism was more into human sacrifice.

    Simply making general assertions, and refusing to look at details, does not produce a clear view of reality.

    When it comes to other religions, I don’t judge and find them wrong. I would much rather observe and learn and find what is right.

    Does this mean, you just cherry-pick the bits you agree with, and ignore everything else?

    That appears to be the Vatican approach to evolutionary science, as shown on my links.



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  • Phil rimmer There is a wonderful study about the value of group
    working and whether the group can out-perform the sum of the
    individual parts.

    Hi phil,

    Hope you are around? Have you got a link to this study? Very interested in reading it.
    Thanks in advance.
    Olgun



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  • Modesti Feb 12, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    For example if I were a religious believer, I would find my participation on atheist forum distressing. hahaha…

    Nah! A trrrooo believer would happily look away from any evidence which is presented, and pretend that knowledge of reality is irrelevant!
    God-delusions have no need of it – and in any case, they can always assert that the delusions are, or are compatible with, reality.
    (Circular thinking can confirm this confirmation bias!!)



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  • Ewan Feb 14, 2015 at 6:08 am

    It might surprise you to learn that believers think things out for themselves too. It’s a myth put about about by some antitheists that they live out their lives as puppets with their strings being pulled by others.

    Really?????
    You worked your beliefs out for yourself???
    Perhaps that’s why faith-thinking is called “delusion”!
    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM
    PART ONE: THE PROFESSION OF FAITH – SECTION ONE “I BELIEVE” – “WE BELIEVE”
    SECTION TWO I. THE CREEDS – CHAPTER ONE I BELIEVE IN GOD THE FATHER
    CHAPTER TWO I BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST, THE ONLY SON OF GOD –
    CHAPTER THREE I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT

    Ewan Feb 16, 2015 at 3:25 am

    Good Catholic that I am, I shall follow the example of Mary and ponder your words in my heart.

    .. and see if they are consistent with your indoctrinated dogmas!! ?? – Which you have thought out for yourself??????



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  • … talk to people of other faiths. What very quickly becomes clear is how much we have in common.

    True enough Ewan. This is clinically correct from a neurological perspective.

    Aztecs relied on human sacrifice whereas Catholics have been obsessed with sexual behaviour since the earliest days of the cult. Religiosity and other schizotypal behaviour have certainly aroused the curiosity of cognitive scientists.

    “Religious thinking does start with the known; the knowledge that God exists.”

    Complex partial seizures of temporal lobe origin (seen in epilepsy) replicate such symptoms of religiosity with remarkable congruence, frequently producing hallucinations of gods. Hippocrates called religion “The Sacred Disease” (Riggs & Riggs, 2005) while Luke (9:37-43), who was a physician, claimed that Christ cured epilepsy by casting out demons. The Vatican continues to train priests to do this formally in Rome, calling such practitioners exorcists. Fr. Gabriele Amorth is Chief Exorcist of Rome. Too ridiculous to believe and yet completely true and quite familiar behaviour to anyone privy to the sad and confused reality of the locked wards.

    Darwinism refutes god delusions and consequently threatens biblical belief, whether literalist (as per the long-lost original topic) or those held by canonical Catholics. For those interested in the evidence I can recommend ‘Where God and Science Meet: The neurology of religious experience’ edited by Patrick McNamara in 2006.

    All delusional thinking is reliant on knowing things that more rational folk can’t appreciate. Schizotypal, schizophreniform and religious folk each illuminate the same regions of the brain for scientists to view with fMRI scans. To realize these entities aren’t actually real, outside of their own heads, is functionally impossible. Arguing with schizotypals is also reliably futile because of their odd conversational traits and a strong tendency to derail, as evidenced by this thread. Prolific off-topic, bizarre questions is a classic example of this propensity.

    Didache is the earliest church record of clerical paedophilia and complaints have been raised in every century since.

    see Catholic Church Sex Scandals | The Beast File, available on YouTube. A very concise summary in three minutes.



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  • Have you got a link to this study?

    Sadly, Olgun I don’t have it to hand. If memory serves me right (its mostly reliable except the periods of time have large error bars) it was about four years ago and reported in New Scientist. I’ll try and find it again.

    Though their experiment worked with a limited set of problem solving tasks, I have subsequently found team performances have improved over quite a range of problems now we all offer opinions and knowledge with confidence data. Hunches, wish-thinking and real experience when teased out one from another, have the right weight of attention more often put on them. But even the scraps may prove a trigger especially if there are enough of them lined up from different sources. Nor was training needed, only a habit of doing it oneself.

    This is also part of the virtuous ‘fessing-up paradigm. Feel free to admit mistakes at the level of a suspicion of it and again at the first proof of it. Feel-good rewards await, not least a good night’s sleep. Again this was led by me noting all my mistakes (plenty) and others feeling happy to do likewise.



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  • No problem Phil. I just need to read up on stuff like that for the groups I belong to. I would rather recommended stuff than trawling through the internet having to read absolutely everything.



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  • Thank you Phil. I had hoped someone would find the neurotheological view to be of interest. Cambridge Books Online have just released an affordable paperback edition. You may find the three volumes available at your local university, as I did.



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