Video of My Creation Museum Speech

I gave a speech at the Rally for Reason the evening before the Creation Museum opened.

I wrote about the Rally when it happened, but I just recently received the video of my speech (courtesy of Michigan Atheists).

It’s posted below. Enjoy!

If you’d like to follow along, here’s a transcript of what I’m saying (or meant to say, anyway):

Who knew there would come a day when Intelligent Design would be seen as a step up from anything?

Unfortunately, here we are, at the opening of this Creation Museum. Apparently, this is a museum full of hard facts and evidence. In fact, listen to what Answers in Genesis co-founder Mark Looy said in Friday’s Columbus Dispatch when asked how the Tree of Life portion of the Garden of Eden exhibit came about, since there’s no fossilized evidence revealing what the Tree actually looked like.

“We just made it up,” Looy said.

Facts. Lots of facts.

I’m offended by this museum for a number of reasons.

As a high school teacher, I’m upset that students might consider this a worthy source for information since it’s a “museum” and it has the support of a handful of people with the letters Ph.D. after their name.

As the chair of the Secular Student Alliance, I’m shocked that a fringe religious group can claim that their world-view is a legitimate alternative to science and be taken seriously by the media that doesn’t know any better.

As a science advocate, I’m sad that there will be young kids lacking critical thinking skills who will be suckered into thinking any of these exhibits actually reflect current scientific thought.

As a person who appreciates honesty, I’m distressed that museum visitors are essentially being told that the scientists who talk about fossils that are millions of years old and biologists who write peer-reviewed papers in support of Darwinian evolution are lying to you.

As an Indian-American, I’m shocked to find out that, according to the museum, my people didn’t exist 6,000 years ago.

There is an up-side to all this, though. We can use this museum to our advantage. Educated science teachers and professors need to be willing to take their students on a field trip to this museum, walking them through the building and explaining everything that is wrong with the exhibits.

It may need to be an overnight trip.

We need someone to create a podcast of a walking tour through the museum. This way, people can download the mp3 for free before coming here, and they can listen to proper scientific responses to the garbage they’re seeing.

Let’s create a handout for students so that if they have to come here, they have a list of scientific facts in front of them, and a list of difficult questions to ask their tour guides.

As the headline from a Scientific American blog posting noted, the one piece of accurate information you do learn after a trip to this museum is that Creationists have lots of cash. But that’s where the justifiable information stops.

We know this is bad science, but it’s even worse religion. I hope that Christian pastors and leaders across the country will help us in denouncing this museum to their congregations. There are plenty of Christians out there who manage to reconcile faith with science. This museum is as much of a travesty to their beliefs as it is to ours. If they support the truth, they cannot simply stand back and watch the rest of us protest. This can’t be an atheist-only rally. It needs to be a multi-faith demonstration. Christians need to be on the front lines, too.

We’re all here because we support scientific truth and we know that young people would be in awe of science if only they had a proper understanding of it. As one blogger put it, “How many of these children might have become groundbreaking scientists were it not for the constant stream of anti-evolutionary propaganda overwhelming them since before they ever start school?“

This museum takes childlike curiosity about the world and rips it apart by telling children (and uneducated adults) lies about how the Earth and our bodies came to be. If we care at all about the future, we can’t let this museum get away with calling itself an educational institution.

Let’s get one thing straight. This is not a demonstration against the Bible. It’s not a rally against Christians’ right to literally believe what the Bible says. It’s a rally calling for people to educate themselves at a real museum. Run by real scientists. Who rely on all pieces of evidence, not just those that fit neatly, or can be forced, into the Biblical story.

Real scientists know that there is always more work to be done and so much more to be discovered. We don’t know everything, and we’ll admit that, but we have a damn good method to find the answers.

I dare you to show me one place in the Creation Museum where there’s an unanswered question. These people pride themselves on the idea that the book of Genesis tells them everything they ever needed to know about Creation. That’ll be their ultimate downfall… if we can shed light on it.

But unless we have scientists, bloggers, Christians, students, and teachers explaining exactly why this museum has nothing to do with science, and everything to do with the whims of a few fundamentalist religious people, there’s no way we will overcome this mess.

Let this museum be a wake up call to educators everyone that we need to do a better job of teaching science.

If we are spurred to do that, maybe this museum won’t be a complete waste of money. And won’t it be an amazing day when we can tell students to check out the Creation Museum because their final exam will include an essay question where they have to discuss all the mistakes they found in the science?

[tags]atheist, atheism, Intelligent Design, Creation Museum, Answers in Genesis, Mark Looy, Columbus Dispatch, Tree of Life, Garden of Eden, Secular Student Alliance, evolution, Indian-American, Scientific American, Creationist, Christian, Bible[/tags]

  • Mriana

    *Mriana applauds* Great speech, Hemant! :) Don’t tell me, all the Flintstones were white? If so, my children’s other 1/2 ancestors didn’t exist either 6000 years ago. :( So, here then are the questions that aren’t answered by the ignorant Creationists (mind you I’ve not been to the museum)… Where did all the Indians, Africans (my sons’ other ancestory), Native Americans (part of mine and my sons’ ancestory too), Asians, etc come from then if everyone was white? If we did not come out of Africa and our bodies adapt to other climates, then where was the Garden of Eden? If Jesus was from Israel, why isn’t he dark skinned, dark hair, and brown eyes, like say, oh an Arab or Egyptian?

    :lol: Need I go on? Oh boy! :roll: They would not like me at all, would they? I’m so bad. :lol:

  • Maria

    great speech!

  • mike brown

    Interesting speech, I found it very interesting that you called upon christians to defeat this “unscientific” position. I have a question: considering your dislike for mixing philosphical positions with “science” how did you feel about Richard Dawkins “The God Delusion?” He provided very little scientific evidence for his position and yet he mixed his philosphical materialism with his evolutiary biology? Could it be that this propensity to mix philosophy with “science” isn’t simply a “fundamentalist christian” problem?

  • mike brown

    Mriana

    You wrote:

    “Where did all the Indians, Africans (my sons’ other ancestory), Native Americans (part of mine and my sons’ ancestory too), Asians, etc come from then if everyone was white?”

    I don’t think creationists are saying that they came out of thin air. Isn’t that kind of a straw man argument where you ask a question based upon something you think they might say?

    Mind you I’m not “defending” them as much as questioning your use of logic? (ie unless one believes native americans came over here 30k years ago one doesn’t believe Jesus was “dark skinned” or “arab”… Not following the connection)

  • Mriana

    They come up with strawmen all the time, so I don’t see any reason why I can’t have them answer that question. If they want to come up with strawmen, then they need to be accountable for all of them, IMHO.

  • Mriana

    Oh and besides that, there is a very good possibility they are saying JUST that. My grandfather believed “The Mark of Cain” was being turned into a Black person. So, no, it’s no more of a strawman than what they normally come up with on a regular bases and again, they need to be accountable for them ALL! Including the stupid idea of “The Mark of Cain” when it was just a freakin’ story, not a means to legitamize racism.

  • Kate

    I’d stand up and cheer but I’m in the library so…yeah (that’s also why I had to read the speech, I’ll have to run the audio once I’m home).

    Good job! :)

  • TXatheist

    mike brown, do you have an example from the god delusion where Dawkins supports science with philosophy?

  • TXatheist

    mike brown, I think what Hemant was referring to was that Spanish/Native American/Indian people were in the USA 6000 years ago contrary to what the museum says. Mriana has some ancestory that is not white and also puzzled at how the museum could honestly say her ancestors didn’t exist. I am pretty sure the creationists are saying that Adam and Eve came out of thin air(dust/ribs) 6000 years ago when god sparked them into existence.

  • Karen

    Nice job, Hemant! You’re an excellent speaker. :-)

    One question: You issued a stirring and rather inspirational invitation to Christians, specifically, to join us in speaking out against the disinformation in that museum. What response – if any – has there been from the Christian, or even the religious, community?

  • mike brown

    Once again, I’m not defending the museum I’m simply questioning the logic involved in stating that the museum is saying they came out of thin air.

    “Mriana has some ancestory that is not white and also puzzled at how the museum could honestly say her ancestors didn’t exist.”

    Well once again I’m not saying they are saying this…. because I honestly don’t know… but instead of thinking they are saying they came out of thin air perhaps they are saying they were here… but not as long ago as “science” says.

    As to Richard Dawkins heres a pretty good quote. It’s in chapter one of Dawkins God Delusion.

    “An atheist in this sense of philosophical naturalist is somebody who believes there is nothing beyond the natural, physical world, no supernatural creative intelligence lurking behind the observable universe, no soul that outlasts the body and no miracles.”

    Now while he’s not “per-say” supporting science with his philosophy he IS attributing his “scientific” view to his philosophical naturalism. I would like you to notice as well his words. He says: “a philo. nat. is somebody who BELIEVES…”

    This is the proper use of the word belief. He has little or no proof he simply holds onto the philosophical position. I for one applaud his honesty. However, is it possible that his “philosophical naturalism” affects the way he views the “evidence?” Once again I’m not saying it does… I’m asking is it possible?

    If you read the first chapter of Dawkins book he cites a religous man who said that faith and reason were in disconnect. While I can disagree or agree with him… Dawkins down speaks down to the man by calling him an intellectual and moral coward. The implication being that he “richard Dawkins” is not an intellectual nor moral coward by being a philosphical naturalist. Now where is his evidence that the man is a coward even using a common definition? Where is his evidence that the natural world is ALL that there is? It is certainly all that science can prove but all that shows is that our method is good for only physical things… even then I question. I have to go I’ll be back later

  • http://undiscoveredfuture.blogspot.com Rebecca

    Wonderful! I enjoyed that immensely!

  • Siamang

    An atheist in this sense of philosophical naturalist is somebody who believes there is nothing beyond the natural, physical world, no supernatural creative intelligence lurking behind the observable universe, no soul that outlasts the body and no miracles.

    Now while he’s not per-say supporting science with his philosophy he IS attributing his scientific view to his philosophical naturalism.

    …This is the proper use of the word belief. He has little or no proof he simply holds onto the philosophical position

    You’re quoting from the first chapter of God Delusion online. Have you read the entire book? Because the quote given, out of context, doesn’t provide enough support for your assesment of it.

    The quote you give doesn’t connect the dots. He’s not saying “I choose to believe there’s nothing but a naturalistic universe, and my scientific worldview springs from that.”

    The passage you quote is not from part of the book where he’s constructing a logical case. He has reason to come to philosophical naturalism. You have perhaps ommitted or ignored those reasons to argue with the end result. Dawkins has good reasons (he asserts) to go with philosophical naturalism. Why not address those reasons rather than assert that he has merely chosen to believe in philosophical naturalism as his starting-point?

    Dawkins down speaks down to the man by calling him an intellectual and moral coward. The implication being that he richard Dawkins is not an intellectual nor moral coward by being a philosphical naturalist.

    The cited passage is here. I assume you’re talking about the man who wrote to Einstein saying:


    We respect your learning, Dr Einstein; but there is one thing you do not seem to have learned: that God is a spirit and cannot be found through the telescope or microscope, no more than human thought or emotion can be found by analyzing the brain. As everyone knows, religion is based on Faith, not knowledge. Every thinking person, perhaps, is assailed at times with religious doubt. My own faith has wavered many a time. But I never told anyone of my spiritual aberrations for two reasons: (1) I feared that I might, by mere suggestion, disturb and damage the life and hopes of some fellow being; (2) because I agree with the writer who said, ‘There is a mean streak in anyone who will destroy another’s faith.’ … I hope, Dr Einstein, that you were misquoted and that you will yet say something more pleasing to the vast number of the American people who delight to do you honor.

    Dawkins takes the unnamed writer to task not for saying that faith and reason were in disconnect… but for writing Einstein and telling him to SHUT UP about it, lest he destroy someone’s faith

    Context, Mike Brown.

  • mike brown

    Siamang:

    First you ask me to provide you a quote that demonstrates his commitment to philosophical naturalism. I provide such a quote and then you claim I am taking it out of context. Are you saying Richard Dawkins is NOT a philosophical naturalist (personally I think he is best described as a materialist but that’s quibbling over simantics) and that his naturalism has NO impact upon his work?

    If you noticed my question I asked the following:

    “Could it be that this propensity to mix philosophy with “science” isn’t simply a “fundamentalist christian” problem?”

    Are you agreeing or disagreeing that Dawkins has mixed his philosphical naturalism with his biological evolution?

    “Dawkins takes the unnamed writer to task not for saying that faith and reason were in disconnect… but for writing Einstein and telling him to SHUT UP about it, lest he destroy someone’s faith.”

    I can only assume you agree with Dawkins statement. I disagee with your assessement of what Dawkins is saying, but thats unimportant. So I ask: Does the unknown author display “intellectual cowardice” by telling Einstein to “shut up” or “moral cowardice” and what are you understanding that to mean?

  • Mriana

    Mike Brown, they are saying THEIR people came out of thin air via God. They need to be accountable for how and why they say that and yes, it is a strawman- on THEIR part, not mine. And if they reply with the “Mark of Cain” like my grandfather did when I asked him how God made so many different coloured people, why is Jesus white when he lived in Israel, are you sure Adam and Eve were white, how do you know?… As a child, I decided my answer was better- “God likes colours, therefore that is why everything is all different colours.” That was my child answer, so even then I thought my grandfather was full of sh*t and the Mark of Cain was racists, but as I child I didn’t think those exact words, it was more like, “Grandpa’s stupid.”

    Thus the Creationists need to be accountable for all their strawmen and I bet you that is where they are coming from too. The question is, will they be stupid enough to admit like my grandfather was?

    I bet Pastor Mike can give us a better answer to what the “Mark of Cain” really was than that lame stuff. Not that we will think it logical or reasonable, but from what I gather of his thinking, I doubt he would say something dumb like that. I know, Bishop Spong would not say anything like that either, but rather, he would probably pass it off as a story to explain this or that and it would have nothing to do with what people look like or what people are, which is the most logical and reasonable answer.

    Sorry, I just take issue with Evangelical Fundamentalists’ thinking, in part because I have heard some of the stupidest things they can say long before I was grown and even then I passed it off as stupidity and came up with my own ideas that seemed, at the time, a whole lot more logical. And if I did believe in that god today, believing that He loves colours would be preferable, regardless if it is Biblical or not. Oh, I had my own answers concerning god, as a child, when the adults made no sense- which was more often than not and if I was told I was wrong or “that’s not Christian”, I kept my thoughts to myself. I was no dummy and soon realized, but the time I was a teenager, my god was not their God. Don’t ask me how it happened that I developed my own opinions and thoughts, maybe because when I was little we rarely went to church unless we were with my mother’s family. I don’t know, but I managed it.

  • Siamang

    First you ask me to provide you a quote that demonstrates his commitment to philosophical naturalism.

    That wasn’t me, it was TXatheist. And he didn’t ask you to provide a quote that demonstrates Dawkins’ commitment to philosophical naturalism, he asked you to provide a quote where “Dawkins supports science with philosophy”. This is after you asserted that he mixed the two. You seem to be moving the goalposts around quite a bit.

    Are you saying Richard Dawkins is NOT a philosophical naturalist

    That question is immaterial to your unsupported assertion that the quote you use shows Dawkins attributing his scientific view to his philosophical naturalism. In fact, in this passage, Dawkins does not attribute philosophical naturalism (his or anyone elses) to anything, as he’s not using this passage to construct an argument for or against PN. Furthermore, he says nothing in this passage about his scientific view whatever, nor whether or not it rests upon his PN.

    You have shown nothing. I’ll ask again: have you read the entire book, and if so, can you address the arguments Dawkins uses in support of his philosophical views rather than assert that he believes them with little or no proof?

    Can you show where in the book (or other writings of his) where he supports science with philosophy? Otherwise, I get the distinct impression that you do not have anywhere near an accurate understanding of what Dawkins does and does not assert.

    Are you saying Richard Dawkins is NOT a philosophical naturalist …and that his naturalism has NO impact upon his work?

    Wow… I guess if you can’t support your argument with a positive assertion, you challenge me to support the negative? No thanks, I won’t take the bait. You haven’t proven your case, we’ll leave it at that.

    Are you agreeing or disagreeing that Dawkins has mixed his philosphical naturalism with his biological evolution?

    I do not understand that question. What does biological evolution have to do with philosophical naturalism? You might as well have asked if Dawkins has mixed up his philosophical naturalism with his differential calculus.

    I can only assume you agree with Dawkins statement.

    You assume wrong. I’m not in the business of supporting other people’s arguments for them. If you have questions about what Dawkins means, you can ask him.

    I recommend reading his whole book first, however. After all, he may have made it quite clear in the following chapters.

    He may well do all the things you accuse him of. But you have yet to show it.

  • Siamang

    Hey Hemant, you wrote:

    We know this is bad science, but it’s even worse religion. I hope that Christian pastors and leaders across the country will help us in denouncing this museum to their congregations. There are plenty of Christians out there who manage to reconcile faith with science. This museum is as much of a travesty to their beliefs as it is to ours. If they support the truth, they cannot simply stand back and watch the rest of us protest. This can’t be an atheist-only rally. It needs to be a multi-faith demonstration. Christians need to be on the front lines, too.

    Has this happened at all? Surely with the vast majority of Americans being Christians, Christians who accept and are passionate about science should outnumber atheists 10 to 1, right? Right?

    We need someone to create a podcast of a walking tour through the museum. This way, people can download the mp3 for free before coming here, and they can listen to proper scientific responses to the garbage they’re seeing.

    Let’s create a handout for students so that if they have to come here, they have a list of scientific facts in front of them, and a list of difficult questions to ask their tour guides.

    Has this happened? Here’s another question, if one of these exists, was it created by a Christian?

    Where is the Christian People’s Front for Science anyway?

    “That’s him over there.”

    “SPLITTER!”

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant

    I have a question: considering your dislike for mixing philosphical positions with “science” how did you feel about Richard Dawkins “The God Delusion?” He provided very little scientific evidence for his position and yet he mixed his philosphical materialism with his evolutiary biology? Could it be that this propensity to mix philosophy with “science” isn’t simply a “fundamentalist christian” problem?

    I didn’t know there was any scientific position for Dawkins to defend. His point is that since God would interfere with a natural world governed by scientific laws, it is up to the religious to show that God does precisely that.

    One question: You issued a stirring and rather inspirational invitation to Christians, specifically, to join us in speaking out against the disinformation in that museum. What response – if any – has there been from the Christian, or even the religious, community?

    There were a handful of Christians at the Rally, which was nice. But I haven’t heard too many of them (especially the Christians who have a large audience) speaking out against the museum. Too bad.

    We need someone to create a podcast of a walking tour through the museum. This way, people can download the mp3 for free before coming here, and they can listen to proper scientific responses to the garbage they’re seeing.

    Let’s create a handout for students so that if they have to come here, they have a list of scientific facts in front of them, and a list of difficult questions to ask their tour guides.

    Has this happened? Here’s another question, if one of these exists, was it created by a Christian?

    I do know some atheists who are working on this. I don’t know of any Christians doing the same.

  • grazatt

    You are a good speaker, have you ever given any thought to politics?

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant

    You are a good speaker, have you ever given any thought to politics?

    Thanks :) But I’m an atheist, so for now, that dream is farfetched.

  • Mriana

    I’d vote for you, Hemant, as I’m sure others here would too. :D

  • mike brown

    “I didn’t know there was any scientific position for Dawkins to defend. His point is that since God would interfere with a natural world governed by scientific laws, it is up to the religious to show that God does precisely that.”

    The more “obvious” something seems the more it relies upon a basic assumption. In other words the more something seems “undeniable” the closer and more basic an assumption it is. It seems “obvious” that our universe is governed by universal laws. But where are these laws? They are not physical. There is nothing you can point to that IS a universal law. What we mean when we say that is that there are regularitory “forces” in the universe that are undeniable. But this view is a mechanistic view of the universe in short it stems from a philosophy that has it’s roots in the 17th and 18 centuries. This mechanistic view provides the framework to develop such “laws of gravity” In other words the belief that the universe “makes sense” and operates according “rational discoverable” laws come PRIOR to the discovery of such laws.

    Why do you think the Aztec’s didn’t develop the “law of gravity”? They were extremely bright and mathmatically intellingent people why no “Laws of nature”?

    It’s because they didn’t have a mechanistic view of the universe.

    Now how does this relate to proving God? I’m not trying to “defend” God I’m questioning your statement that the onus is on the Christians to prove his existance. In other words you have assumed “laws of Nature” are real and are by definition “law’s” which are inviolable. Now I’m sure you going to question me about gravity and whether we’ll fly off the earth. I would question how you know the “Law’s of nature” are actually true verses not incompatiable with the “Truth” There is a difference you know between being true and not being incompatiable.

    “I do not understand that question. What does biological evolution have to do with philosophical naturalism?”

    This question assumes that there is no connection between fields. According to many “scientists” evolution is a law of nature as inviolable as the law of gravity. As such it is based upon a philosophical model of a mechanistic universe.

  • Siamang

    Hey, mike brown,

    Care to support or withdraw your previous assertions?

    You’re going on about universal laws and mechanistic universes…

    Have we moved on to new topics now? What happen, you get bored with trying to prove your assertions so you’re going to make some new ones?

    I’m actually interested… can you cite Dawkins doing what you said he did?

  • Mike B

    Actually what I did was question whether Christian fundamentalist are the only ones guilty of mixing philosophy with “science”. That was my origional question. Now if you want to not discuss this and rather pick apart what I said we may. I will however admit… a couple of things to allow this conversation to “move along”

    A. I would like to read Dawkins books. I have not. You have caught me. I appologize for making the erronous assertion concering the God Delusion.

    B. I really don’t have to read too much of it however, because unless Dawkins has changed his fundamental position he is still an philosophical materialist / naturalist. And that I can prove with other quotes.

    C. I am familar with Dawkins arguments in this work however: Essentially everything boils down to a physiological condition that is explained by biological “factors” The universe is explained by amazingly enough “laws” that regulate everything. Now I wish I had the time to read everything put out by everybody… I can not. However, there is very little new in this argument that I havn’t heard. Essentially Dawkins is a determinist. Free will is an illusion, choice is an illusion. The most creative thing that I have heard coming out of his work is (and this is what makes me want to read it) that the mind (our ability to frame thought into a coherent pattern) is biologically determined.

    I felt pretty safe to claim that Dawkins is a philosophical naturalist. Thank you for catching my carelessness. Rest assured I will not make the same mistake with you Siamang. Now that I have answered YOUR question would be be so kind as to answer mine: Are christian fundamentalist the only ones guilty of mixing philosphy and “science” together?

  • Karen

    MikeB:

    A. I would like to read Dawkins books. I have not. You have caught me. I appologize for making the erronous assertion concering the God Delusion.

    Well, thanks for being truthful. In future, you’ll do much better if you refrain from criticizing something until you actually familiarize yourself with it.

    This goes for books, movies, TV shows, etc. I can’t even count how many times I’ve seen people (usually motivated by religion) vociferously criticizing something, trying to get it banned, or pulled or boycotted – who upon later scrutiny admit that they haven’t actually read it, heard it or watched it!

    The typical response is, “Oh, I don’t have to read/watch it, I already know what it says. My pastor/favorite Christian author told me it was wrong, so I don’t want my children to read it either.” This is sloppy, sheep-headed ignorance and it won’t fly for a minute with a group of freethinkers. (Not referencing you personally here, MikeB, just to make that clear. I know you are not talking about book banning or boycotting, etc.)

  • Siamang

    Hi mike, thanks for getting back to this.

    You write:

    I am familar with Dawkins arguments in this work however: Essentially everything boils down to a physiological condition that is explained by biological “factors” The universe is explained by amazingly enough “laws” that regulate everything.

    I don’t think he makes this assertion. Again, I think you could do well by reading what he writes rather than assuming that you know the reasoning by which he arrives at his philosophy. As far as I recall, he doesn’t suppose laws explaining the universe… he comes at it from the opposite direction, looking at the universe and being parsimonious about his tentative conclusions based on available evidence.

    However, there is very little new in this argument that I havn’t heard. Essentially Dawkins is a determinist. Free will is an illusion, choice is an illusion.

    I don’t think he makes this argument. If he did, I missed it in my reading of his book, and he didn’t go over it in the lecture I attended.

    The most creative thing that I have heard coming out of his work is (and this is what makes me want to read it) that the mind (our ability to frame thought into a coherent pattern) is biologically determined.

    That’s hardly earth-shattering. Why is that creative at all? The brain is the part of the body that thinks. The stomach is the part of the body that digests food. We can see the brain thinking, and we can observe it when it’s damaged and see the resultant diminishment of its abilities. To suggest that there’s some invisible thing other than the brain REALLY doing the thinking is unparsimonious, and a claim that would require some evidence. In the absense of this evidence, it is prudent to set that claim aside as it is currently superfluous. Unless someone is able to show that the assumption of a super-mind makes predictable, falsifiable impact on the Theory of Mind, and makes predictions that are borne out by experiment, then it is should be without regard.

    Believers in such things are free to present their evidence. But until the day that the world of brain-surgery is turned upside-down by the earth-shattering notion that the brain isn’t doing the thinking after all, it’s best to be conservative about such notions.

    Now that I have answered YOUR question would be be so kind as to answer mine: Are christian fundamentalist the only ones guilty of mixing philosphy and “science” together?

    Nope. Islamic fundamentalists do it too!

    (Kidding!)

    People mix stuff all the time.

    I have criticisms of Dawkins doing just that… but, I’ve read the book and met the man and heard him speak. The criticisms I have are similar to the criticisms I have of your assertions… Dawkins may very well be right, but he hasn’t made his case, so I remain unconvinced on certain assertions of his.

    But you don’t seem to have a clear enough grasp of the arguments that Dawkins does make, and you’re tilting at arguments he doesn’t make.

  • Mike B

    Qualifying this with: I havn’t read the God Delusion I can say pretty surely that Dawkins is a determinist. I found this quote by him:

    http://www.edge.org/q2006/q06_9.html

    This is as clear a case for “philosophical materialism” as I can find. We shouldn’t “punish” people for things they can’t control…? Like criminal behavior is like diabetes. If that isn’t determinism can you point me to a better quote?

    This is where it gets back to the idea that Dawkins is guiltly of doing that which you so gerviously condem the “creationist” of perpertrating. Now one MIGHT make the case, mind you I’m not here. One might make the case that it is such “philosophical voodo” is what the creationist “percieve” as threatening.

    Examine Carl Sagon, Dawkins, ect. some of the greatest “minds” in science don’t feel content to remain in astrophysics or biology but to wax elequently about metaphysics.

    Here’s another quote by Dawkins

    “An atheist before Darwin could have said, following Hume: “I have no explanation for complex biological design. All I know is that God isn’t a good explanation, so we must wait and hope that somebody comes up with a better one.” I can’t help feeling that such a position, though logically sound, would have left one feeling pretty unsatisfied, and that although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”

    What does this mean? Well I for one would like to know which is more important to Mr. Dawkins? Is being an “intellectually fulfilled athiest” more important than than finding the “Truth”?

    This MIGHT be what creationists point towards when they claim evidentional bias or philosophical posioning. I’m not saying Dawkins IS that I am saying that statements like the above sure make a great case that the “outcome” has been predetermined.

    Saimang: Are you familar with Thomas Kuhn and his historical study of Science?

  • Mriana

    The truth is, there is no Zeus playing god and intervene with anything in the universe. No invisible hand comes down and does anything to the universe. Natural law, which even our fore-fathers understood, does everything on it own and humans help to mess it all up when it is said and done. Now if you don’t believe me, go spend some time out in nature or on a farm. While you are there, enjoying the quiet and beauty of nature take a science book to read and read it during the most quiet times. Now THAT is biology at it finest.

  • Siamang

    This is as clear a case for “philosophical materialism” as I can find. We shouldn’t “punish” people for things they can’t control…? Like criminal behavior is like diabetes. If that isn’t determinism can you point me to a better quote?

    It’s certainly a determinist viewpoint. I’m not, however, certain that he himself subscribes to the view. He is happy to raise the question for a panel where he has been asked to raise uncomfortable questions. By the way, I don’t think he supports the view very well here. I’ve read 4 or more of Professor Dawkins’ books, and when he’s making a case for something serious, he generally is a great deal more thorough about it.

    I could raise the question “What if God exists after all?” and I could argue it quite well. That doesn’t make me a theist.

    Examine Carl Sagon, Dawkins, ect. some of the greatest “minds” in science don’t feel content to remain in astrophysics or biology but to wax elequently about metaphysics.

    Can I assume that you are a metaphysian by trade yourself? Or are you waxing eloquently outside of your field as well? If we are not allowed to do this, I must beg out of this conversation now, as I am not by any means a professional theologian.

    What does this mean? Well I for one would like to know which is more important to Mr. Dawkins? Is being an “intellectually fulfilled athiest” more important than than finding the “Truth”?

    HA! AGAIN with the quotes out of context! Dawkins has said and always advocates the finding of truth above all else. He’s said over and over again that he’d embrace God belief in a heartbeat if the evidence was there.

    Here’s a BBC interview where he talks about “truth” and open-mindedness.

    One of the things that recurs when you are spoken of, Richard, is the way that you’re regarded by the religious in our society, who see you as a bogeyman – a fundamentalist, a scientific Puritan. You have this reputation quite widely – do you feel responsible for it?

    I don’t particularly mind being a bogeyman – I do mind being a fundamentalist. I think a fundamentalist is somebody who believes something unshakeably, and isn’t going to change their mind. Somebody who believes something because it’s written in their holy book. And even if all the evidence in the world points in the other direction, because it’s in the holy book they’re not going to change. I absolutely repudiate any suggestion that I am that. I would, like any other scientist, willingly change my mind if the evidence led me to do so. So I care about what’s true, I care about evidence, I care about evidence as the reason for knowing what is true. It is true that I come across rather passionate sometimes – and that’s because I am passionate about the truth. Passion is very different from fundamentalism.

    So it sounds like he’s the opposite of what you’re describing, Mike. He’d follow the evidence wherever it led him, even if it led him to theism.

    In the quote you quoted from him, he’s not even talking about weighing the truth-value of a prospect against intellectual fulfillment. He’s merely talking about having an intellectually fulfilling (and quite satisfactory) answer for the question of “okay if there is no God, where did people come from?”

    I don’t think you’re good at quoting Dawkins…. read the book… there’s valid criticisms to be made… As I said, I have my own criticisms of his case. But base your criticisms on the CASE he makes, not a quote where he’s talking about something else and you try and catch him… he actually may support the idea quite well in the rest of the book.

  • Mike B

    “Or are you waxing eloquently outside of your field as well? If we are not allowed to do this, I must beg out of this conversation now, as I am not by any means a professional theologian.”

    If you noticed my point was that the “creationist” are accused of mixing philosophy with “science” and that was the “athiest” criticism of the creation museum. Please take MY quotes in context as well.

    Now as to Dawkins: You seem to be quite adept at saying what Dawkins is NOT. He’s not a philosphical materialist, he’s not not advocating determinism.

    Just what is Dawkins standing for or is he only standing against?

    “HA! AGAIN with the quotes out of context! Dawkins has said and always advocates the finding of truth above all else.”

    First off.. what are we junior high HA, you caught me… what does that mean?
    Yes I’m quite sure Dawkins believe that “truth” comes first. However, he did make that quote. In context or out of context. His statement is that Darwinism allowed athiests to be “intellectual fulfilled” My question is still legitement. And my point was NOT that he’s doesn’t say he searches for the “truth”. My point was that in his mind Darwinism is a critical link for atheism. Just as it is a critical link for philosophical materialism. He freely admits this. My question is what happens when the two come in conflict. How does that imply something illogical or ilrational?

    Secondly, what do we do with those who have examined the evidence and belive there is enough for God? Are they wrong? Who’s supposed to judge what’s rational?

    “He’d follow the evidence wherever it led him, even if it led him to theism.”

    What I think is amazing here is that while anything I say about Dawkins is suspect but you seem to be able to speak for him pretty freely… Why is this the case?

    Secondly, This quote displays a whole lot about your mindset and perhapse his as well… While I certainly believe Richard Dawkins would say he would follow the evidence to theism. I highly doubt that would happen. I asked you earlier if you had read any works by Thomas Kuhn. How familar are you with post modernism, Michael Foucault, Derrida, Nietzche and some other philosophers?

  • Siamang

    If you noticed my point was that the “creationist” are accused of mixing philosophy with “science” and that was the “athiest” criticism of the creation museum. Please take MY quotes in context as well.

    I think it’s perfectly fine to mix your science into your philosophy. I think it’s utterly wrong to mix your philosophy into your science. Can you show where the latter has occurred in Dawkins’ science writing?

    Just what is Dawkins standing for or is he only standing against?

    Read his books and find out.

    In context or out of context. His statement is that Darwinism allowed athiests to be “intellectual fulfilled” My question is still legitement.

    But your attack isn’t. He’s not discussing the truth value of the proposition of atheism in your quoted passage, so it’s pointless to knock him for valueing “intellectual fulfillment” over “Truth.” If you want to knock him on his disregard of the “Truth”, you’d best attack passages of his writing that actually show that. Where in his arguments can you show a disregard for “Truth”? I can show places where he disregards arguments that I think he should address. I can show places where he doesn’t fully support ideas he proposes. I can show places where he’s positively boneheaded about communicating his ideas. I have yet to find somewhere where he disregards truth in the quest for intellectually fulfilled atheism.

    My point was that in his mind Darwinism is a critical link for atheism. Just as it is a critical link for philosophical materialism.

    But that doesn’t mean that it goes the other way and distorts the science. If it does, you have yet to show it.

    My question is what happens when the two come in conflict.

    Good question. What happens when religious belief comes in conflict with science. We know that answer: usually the religious people deny the science.

    Now, if you have some scientific discovery that is evidence for the supernatural, I’d be mighty pleased to see that, as, I’m sure, would the Nobel Committee, the Templeton Foundation, the Discovery Institute and various other groups with deep pockets. Until you DO, however, atheism and science are not in any conflict that I’m aware of.

    Secondly, what do we do with those who have examined the evidence and belive there is enough for God? Are they wrong?

    I can only speak for myself when I say that when I ask these people to show me their evidence I have as yet found it far from compelling. Perhaps you’ve got a miracle to show me. Perhaps you can walk on water or part the red sea or turn a person into a pillar of salt. But so far I have only gotten “PHENOMENAL COSMIC CLAIMS…. ittybitty evidence.”

    What I think is amazing here is that while anything I say about Dawkins is suspect but you seem to be able to speak for him pretty freely… Why is this the case?

    I’ve read his books and met the man. I have a pretty good grasp, I believe, of his arguments. You aren’t really addressing his arguments. Rather you’re lumping views of his together in a way that I don’t see him doing. You see him as being an evolutionary biologist and a materialist and an atheist… all of those are true. But you seem to think that by necessity his atheist views interfere with his understanding of biology… and you haven’t shown that to be the case (I actually think some of his pet ideas seperate from atheism interfere with his understanding of biology…)

    But again, you’re not addressing his arguments… you seem to be unaware of them and merely asserting that his atheism is muddled up in his science.

    Further, I AM an atheist, so I’m a little familiar with the reasoning behind atheism. You seem to be attacking a view of atheism that is very different from what I or any atheists I know believe.

    While I certainly believe Richard Dawkins would say he would follow the evidence to theism. I highly doubt that would happen.

    Pardon if I don’t respect your ability to predict Richard Dawkins’ internal struggles with belief.

    But closer to home, I also would follow the evidence to theism if such evidence was brought to my attention. Many other people here have said the same. Do you doubt it for us as well? Can you see into my mind? Before you predict, read my story.

    I asked you earlier if you had read any works by Thomas Kuhn. How familar are you with post modernism, Michael Foucault, Derrida, Nietzche and some other philosophers?

    I’m unfamiliar with them. I’m of the opinion that post-modernism is a bunch of navel-gazing pseudointellectual claptrap… a fad that thought it was a lot more serious than it turned out to be… It seems to have found a home in religion, where no idea, no matter how useless, ever gets discarded.

    Sorry, I’m being unduely nasty tonight. I’m not normally so negative. Apologies.

  • Eliza

    Mike B, you asked Siamang “Are you familar with Thomas Kuhn and his historical study of Science?”

    Why don’t you go ahead & lay out what you were thinking w/ that reference, so as not to keep us in suspense? Were you referring to The Structure of Scientific Revolutions? (Since that’s Kuhn’s best known work, and the reason that each of us is familiar with the idea of paradigm shifts, which he followed through the history of science. Perhaps you were going to bring the idea of different paradigms into this conversation?)

  • MB

    “I think it’s perfectly fine to mix your science into your philosophy. I think it’s utterly wrong to mix your philosophy into your science.”

    Can you show me the difference between the two? for example: to study lets say the biology of cells don’t you have to assume a few things: Like first, our universe acts according to “rational laws” that the human mind can understand? How about assuming that everything I see with my eyes is absolutely true. Don’t we have to have these “mental set” in place prior to conducting “science”. Doesn’t our belief in “natural laws” drive us towards finding them? In other words if we belived that the universe was governed by the god’s on mount olympus wouldn’t we “seek to know the god’s will” instead of trying to find “natural laws”?

    I’m done talking about richard Dawkins I’ve appologized about using him with out reading him. You’ve beaten me into submission on that issue. However, asking a question is not “attacking” him. That’s a very grevious assumption on your part, unless you think Galieo was “attacking” the churches perception of the universe by questioning the earth centric view?

    “I can only speak for myself when I say that when I ask these people to show me their evidence I have as yet found it far from compelling.”

    I’m not proposing to provide evidence of any kind. all I have done is ask questions. Why do you assume 1: that I’m a christian and 2: that I am here to prove anything about God?

    “But you seem to think that by necessity his atheist views interfere with his understanding of biology… and you haven’t shown that to be the case.”

    Actually I’m more interested in your perception of how people view the truth. This statement is more revealing than you know.

    Eliza, why do you think I have anything to propose? I am simply questioning. I’m not here to propose anything to you. I want to know what and how you think. I suppose you could say I’m questioning you.

    Eliza, why don’t you, for the sake of saving an argument for me, discuss the concept of scientific paradigm shifts for our good friend Siamang? If I try to discuss it it will seem like I’m making an argument. (trust me this happens nearly everytime I bring up anything to athiests along this line. I am speaking, so I must be making a case FOR God. To agree with me on anything would be to betray the sacred athiest code.) So for me, Eliza, please lay out Kuhn’s argument.

  • Siamang

    Can you show me the difference between the two? for example: to study lets say the biology of cells don’t you have to assume a few things: Like first, our universe acts according to “rational laws” that the human mind can understand?

    I think you’re confusing methodological naturalism with philosophical naturalism. MN is a tool that has provided us with good results in the past. If you can show better results another way, the floor is all yours.

    How about assuming that everything I see with my eyes is absolutely true. Don’t we have to have these “mental set” in place prior to conducting “science”.

    I don’t think so. I’m merely assuming that methodology that has been fruitful in the past will continue to be fruitful in the future. If it ceases to be fruitful or if another approach proves more fruitful, we can chuck the previous methodology to the wastebucket. But it is up to you to show a method that works better than methodological naturalism. Land any rockets on the moon or wiped smallpox from the face of the planet using trance-channelling or solipsistic “Law of Attraction” wish-fulfillment? No? Well then, the status-quo is the best we’ve got so far. Not saying it’s perfect. By all means it’s not. But until you’ve got better, I’m sticking with my allopathic medicine and leaving the dead chickens and the energized water to the witchdoctors.

    How do we know this? Because other people in the past have made contrary assumptions and have not shown results. What you seem to think is a philosophical starting point is actually an end point of thousands of years of fruitless pursuits like alchemy, astrology, dream-travel, trance-channelling, etc… Everyone is of course free to use any other method and please show us the results. Please, feel free to go do some cellular biology without making any particular assumptions about “natural laws” and give me a call when you cure Leukemia.

    However, asking a question is not “attacking” him.

    Fair enough.

    I’m not proposing to provide evidence of any kind. all I have done is ask questions. Why do you assume 1: that I’m a christian and 2: that I am here to prove anything about God?

    I merely asked you if you had evidence to provide. If you have none, then how can you complain when I said that I find the supernatural claims of Christians less than compelling? If I assumed you were a Christian (you know, it’s a safe assumption around here), I don’t think I stated it. And if so, why would you care, is it insulting to you to be mistaken for a Christian? None of my arguments rely on your being a Christian anyway.

    “But you seem to think that by necessity his atheist views interfere with his understanding of biology… and you haven’t shown that to be the case.”

    Actually I’m more interested in your perception of how people view the truth. This statement is more revealing than you know.

    Care to let anyone in on your insight, or are you merely content to cluck your tongue and intone darkly that I have somehow unwittingly revealed myself?

    Can we go back to a question I had a ways back where I wrote:

    I also would follow the evidence to theism if such evidence was brought to my attention. Many other people here have said the same. Do you doubt it for us as well?

  • mike brown

    “I think you’re confusing methodological naturalism with philosophical naturalism.”

    Thats an interesting twist. So what your saying is that while methodolgically your acting according to the “rules” of naturalism your still not “philosophically” acting according to the “rules” of naturalism? Can you tell me the difference between acting methodologically according to naturalism and acting philosophically according to naturalism? This seems to me to be a splitting of hairs. For example: If I were to act according to “methodological alchemy”(trying to use the methods of alchemy to turn lead into gold) its ok as long as I don’t act “philosophically” upon alchemy I’m alright?.

    “What you seem to think is a philosophical starting point is actually an end point of thousands of years of fruitless pursuits like alchemy, astrology, dream-travel, trance-channelling, etc.”

    end point? What do you mean by the term “end point” are you implying that we have arrived at the “ultimate” methodology?

    Where do you think alchemy, astrology, dream travel, trance-channelling came from? By the way it is a grevious error to think we have passed through each of these like their phases. Those “methods” arose out of a belief about the world around them. Astrology was much more prevelant in the Middle East which was further advanced than the “ignorant” west. Alchemy, was popular in the west but not dream channeling. These are all different cultures various methods through out time to “understand” and “manipulate” the world around them. They arose out of their world view so to speak. You speak of them like they were phases of “ignorance” that we passed through to “arrive” at the “end point” At least that is how I am understanding your use of that term.

    You seem, I am assuming here, to have bought into Hegel’s dialectial approach to history. His view was that our “understanding” is growing more and more towards the “end” of history it’s self. In other words that “science” is superior to any other view that has come before (now I use the term superior to mean more true; NOT more effective).

    “I’m merely assuming that methodology that has been fruitful in the past will continue to be fruitful in the future.”

    So, in other words you dont’ know that it’s true you only know that it works. Is that what you are saying? Let’s try something. Go ask a Doctor how often CPR actually works on bringing a person back from the dead and continue to live. (I have family in the medial field they says it’s about 50%) So 50% of the time it works and 50% of the time the person ends up dying and it doens’t work. Now I’m not assuming that you shouldn’t do CPR on a person who’s had a heart attack. What I’m pointing out is that because of the way we think about the world, the first thing in our minds to do with a person suffering a heart attack is CPR. This is regardless of the success or failure rate. If (mind you I’m not saying I believe this I’m using logic here) we believed that chickens had a great power, or believed in the power in the blood and a person was suffering a heart attack we would think about throwing blood on the person or sacrificing a chicken first, this would be regardless of the success or failure rate. Now what if 30% of the time the person recovered would that reinforce the impression? Of course it would.

    Success in something we expect a methodolgy to succeed in is both fulfilling expectations AND reinforcing the world view. Now throwing a chicken on a man suffering chest pain would certainly not be OUR first method of choice. But it might be for others.

    Now you can say “Yes, but we KNOW science is true and blood from chickens is false and I’ll prove it with our methodology.” fine but we havn’t shown it to be true we have only shown it to be more “effective”. You said this your self:

    “If it ceases to be fruitful or if another approach proves more fruitful, we can chuck the previous methodology to the wastebucket.”

    So does this mean you think that philosphical naturalism is true or more effective? The two are not necessarly the same.

  • Siamang

    Thats an interesting twist. So what your saying is that while methodolgically your acting according to the “rules” of naturalism your still not “philosophically” acting according to the “rules” of naturalism? Can you tell me the difference between acting methodologically according to naturalism and acting philosophically according to naturalism? This seems to me to be a splitting of hairs. For example: If I were to act according to “methodological alchemy”(trying to use the methods of alchemy to turn lead into gold) its ok as long as I don’t act “philosophically” upon alchemy I’m alright?.

    Not even close.

    Lots of Christians can and do actual science experiments where they do not postulate miraculous occurances. THAT’s methodological naturalism. Who gives a shit what God they worship as long as they don’t require invoking magic to explain the results of their clinical trials?

    end point? What do you mean by the term “end point” are you implying that we have arrived at the “ultimate” methodology?

    I mean “end point” as in the end point of the fruitless pursuits of alchemy, astrology etc. Did you read the entire sentence, or the rest of the post for that matter? I think I strongly stated that the floor is open to superior methods if they can be demonstrated.

    So, in other words you dont’ know that it’s true you only know that it works. Is that what you are saying?

    That depends on how you define “True”. Something gives me the feeling you’re pretty slippery about such notions.

    If you’re going to ask me that question, you’d better define the word for me, and I’ll tell you if I know it or not.

    Go ask a Doctor how often CPR actually works on bringing a person back from the dead and continue to live. (I have family in the medial field they says it’s about 50%) So 50% of the time it works and 50% of the time the person ends up dying and it doens’t work.

    This is a useless statistic unless you also tell me the success/failure rate of people who don’t get CPR performed on them. What if 50% of the people who get CPR die, but 100% of the people who don’t get it die? You better do the CPR then.

    If (mind you I’m not saying I believe this I’m using logic here) we believed that chickens had a great power, or believed in the power in the blood and a person was suffering a heart attack we would think about throwing blood on the person or sacrificing a chicken first, this would be regardless of the success or failure rate.

    Which is why we have science, to check what the success or failure rate is regardless of what our impressions or beliefs in power are. We “believe” in science’s “power” because of its utility.. a utility that trance-channelling and palm-reading sorely and starkly lack. Now I know that the chicken-wavers of the world would LOVE to have the gravitas of science, but it isn’t going to happen. But envy on the part of the witchdoctors isn’t reason enough to redefine “Truth” to emcompass all possibilities. Such a definition defines the word “truth” away, and we’re left with a word that means “truthandfalsehoodsandwhateverthehellyouwanttobelieveistrueforyou”.

    Now what if 30% of the time the person recovered would that reinforce the impression? Of course it would.

    But if you look at it against the survival rates of … doing nothing, doing CPR, giving them a nitroglycerin pill, using a defibrilator on them, waving a chicken… and run that study across thousands of patients, then we have a scientific study.

    Results rule. Propositions without results can either go back to the drawing board and come back when they land a man on the moon, or more likely be reincarnated as a religious belief and we can all oooh and aaahhh over it and decide it must be respected.

    Now you can say “Yes, but we KNOW science is true and blood from chickens is false and I’ll prove it with our methodology.” fine but we havn’t shown it to be true we have only shown it to be more “effective”.

    More effective means “probably true enough to go with for now, but don’t stop trying to improve it.”

    So does this mean you think that philosphical naturalism is true or more effective? The two are not necessarly the same.

    I make no claim on the universal effectiveness or truth value of philosophical naturalism.

    His view was that our “understanding” is growing more and more towards the “end” of history it’s self. In other words that “science” is superior to any other view that has come before (now I use the term superior to mean more true; NOT more effective).

    That depends on how you define the word “true”. I think it’s more effective, and as such, closer to what is likely to be an accurate understanding of the universe limited only to claims that can be tested by utility.

    What have you got that’s better… testable by utility, of course. Unless you can make truth claims outside of utility, and as such, can you really call that “truth”?

    And for the third time… just to keep it current, here’s that question again:

    I also would follow the evidence to theism if such evidence was brought to my attention. Many other people here have said the same. Do you doubt it for us as well?

  • Siamang

    One more point:

    His view was that our “understanding” is growing more and more towards the “end” of history it’s self. In other words that “science” is superior to any other view that has come before

    This line of thinking… if it’s going where I think it is… needs a little bit of preventative Isaac Asimov:

    The young specialist in English Lit, having quoted me, went on to lecture me severely on the fact that in every century people have thought they understood the universe at last, and in every century they were proved to be wrong. It follows that the one thing we can say about our modern “knowledge” is that it is wrong. The young man then quoted with approval what Socrates had said on learning that the Delphic oracle had proclaimed him the wisest man in Greece. “If I am the wisest man,” said Socrates, “it is because I alone know that I know nothing.” the implication was that I was very foolish because I was under the impression I knew a great deal.

    My answer to him was, “John, when people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.”

  • mike brown

    “Lots of Christians can and do actual science experiments where they do not postulate miraculous occurances. THAT’s methodological naturalism.”

    There is a difference between holding a metaphysical position concerning the existance of a God and not being “naturalistic”. For example a person can claim to believe in God but also believe in Law’s that govern the universe. (actually one could make the claim that it was a theistic principle of “God being reasonable” that provided the ground work for “natural laws”) The two are NOT mutually exclusive. However, to say that because a “theist” can conduct empirical investigations therefore NO philosphical bias has entered the method does not logically follow. A thiest could be a believer in God and follow empirical methods using “methodological naturalism” and STILL be influenced by his perspective. It’s NOT that he does or does NOT believe in God’s thats important it’s the fact that he brings his particular perspective (theistic naturalism) into the discussion. In this case “naturalism”

    As to Asimov: the quote is not about “the earth is flat”. The young man makes an interesting point the problem is NOT that “empiricism” hasn’t been useful. The issue is that people take what they believe and turn it into what they KNOW. The problem isn’t that the earth is flat or round it’s that the ability of science to obtain the objective truth is under question.

    What do I mean by “objective truth”. Objective is that which is non biased or completely neutral. By the truth I mean the highest reality one can attain. (If this seems like a concept it’s because it is)

    The problem isn’t that the earth is flat or round it’s what is the “meaning” of it? What is the pure objective, meaning of the earth is round?

    Now unless you think that is “stupid philosophy” “.
    You yourself have made value judgements concerning the truthfulness or falseness of the claims. Why else would you cite “world is flat” vs “world is round” So information is never neutral it influences and pulls people. Finally, as far as the ancient’s could tell the earth WAS flat, everything in their expirence confirmed it. the “Truth” for them was that the earth WAS flat. Just like the truth for us is that it is “round”.

    The lit specialist wasn’t questioning whether the earth is round or flat, he was questioning the WAY we use the concepts: KNOW, and TRUTH.

    The world is as it is. Kant displayed, in the Critique of Pure Reason, that it is nearly impossible for us to get at objects as “they really are” verse “as we percieve them”.

    Asimov’s flaw was that he apparently didn’t realize Kant’s critique applied to him as well as to everyone else.

  • Siamang

    However, to say that because a “theist” can conduct empirical investigations therefore NO philosphical bias has entered the method does not logically follow.

    You often quickly jump to announcing that the negative cannot be disproven. That doesn’t mean you’ve proven the positive.

    A thiest could be a believer in God and follow empirical methods using “methodological naturalism” and STILL be influenced by his perspective.

    Yes. But the scientific results are measured by a method that has shown quite a lot of utility in the past. It’s why we have double-blind testing, and why we have disinterested and often competing bodies attempting to repeat methods and see if the results are borne out. Science is (among other things) quite useful in winnowing out “observer bias.”

    Do you understand the difference between philosophical naturalism and methodological naturalism, now?

    What do I mean by “objective truth”. Objective is that which is non biased or completely neutral. By the truth I mean the highest reality one can attain. (If this seems like a concept it’s because it is)

    Define “objective” then, please. How can I understand something that’s truely objective in your view, since once an idea enters my mind it becomes part of me and thereby partially subjective, right? What does “highest reality” mean? By what method do you determine what is a “higher reality” than another? Who decides? How do you know when you have found one? If something is the “highest reality one can attain” do you mean for that individual? For all time? Or is this some type of an unattainable idealized highest reality? Can a thing be a falsehood at the same time that it’s a truth? If so, do those words mean anything at all?

    The problem isn’t that the earth is flat or round it’s what is the “meaning” of it?

    If you don’t know the meaning of the word “round”, I’m not sure I can help you. The scare-quotes around the word “meaning” are worrying me, though.

    Now unless you think that is “stupid philosophy”

    Or at least a load of solipsistic circularity.

    You yourself have made value judgements concerning the truthfulness or falseness of the claims. Why else would you cite “world is flat” vs “world is round”

    Heck yes. That you DON’T is the freaky part.

    If someone asks you what color the sky is, do you answer “That depends on your personal concepts of “sky” “color” and what your definition of is, is”?

    So information is never neutral it influences and pulls people.

    Yes, I admit that when my brain gets the “information” that the baby is crying, I’m pulled to give her a bottle. Your point?

    Finally, as far as the ancient’s could tell the earth WAS flat, everything in their expirence confirmed it. the “Truth” for them was that the earth WAS flat. Just like the truth for us is that it is “round”.

    So being wrong is the same as “Truth”? What’s falsehood then? Does it just boil down to “whatever you think is true is true, whatever you think is false is false?” I’m smelling solipsism.

    The lit specialist wasn’t questioning whether the earth is round or flat, he was questioning the WAY we use the concepts: KNOW, and TRUTH.

    Yeah, because it’s much easier to redefine the word “truth” in a philosophy forum than it is to actually invent and discover things and make a judgement like: “hell yes, dentistry WITH novocaine IS better than banging rocks against our teeth.” All I’m saying is “okay, you think you’ve got a better idea, then be my guest and invent the internet your way… We’ll see if it’s better or not.” But I guess, “seeing” and “better” are just concepts… and up might mean down this week.

    The world is as it is. Kant displayed, in the Critique of Pure Reason, that it is nearly impossible for us to get at objects as “they really are” verse “as we percieve them”.

    How do you know that Kant is right? Aren’t you making a judgement that his thoughts are of value here? How can you make that judgement?

    While we’re at it, how do you make any judgement that any action you take is preferable to any other action you take?

  • Siamang

    And for the fourth time… the question I just keep asking is:

    I also would follow the evidence to theism if such evidence was brought to my attention. Many other people here have said the same. Do you doubt it for us as well?

  • Pingback: Friendly Atheist » Creation Museum # 3?

  • mike brown

    “I also would follow the evidence to theism if such evidence was brought to my attention. Many other people here have said the same. Do you doubt it for us as well?”

    since this is bothering you sooo much I will respond… sure… I’ll believe you. does that make you feel better?

    Now as to your long questions. I have not proposed anything. I am not proposing to “KNOW” anything (I take that back, I did propose to believe I know what Kant meant in COPR). I am simply asking questions. I’m not on a christian site asking christians to defend what they believe. I’m not on a muslim site asking muslims to defend what they believe. I’m not on a world is flat site asking them to defend what they believe. I am on an ATHIEST site (a person who claims to KNOW that there is no God) asking an athiest what they believe. What “over arching “truth” have I proposed” I’m asking YOU what YOU believe. What does that have to do with what I believe?

    This is a perfect example of “I don’t know so I’m going to attack you with questions of my own.” If you want to get on someone elses site and ask them all those questions… go right ahead. But I am here. On a site that proposes to know a whole lot about the world around us and what I get for answers is: “I smell solipisis”, “What’s your anwer for a better methodology?” and “duhh, we all know the world is round not flat.”

    I have pretty good idea how “Christians” would respond to Kant. I have a pretty good idea how “Muslims” would respond to immanuel Kant. I have a pretty good idea of how the “average joe” would respond to Immanual Kant. I want to know how Athiests respond to the criticism of Immanual Kant in his Critique of Pure reason and some other developments in the field of philosophy.

    Now if the best you have for rejecting some of these questions is: “I don’t like to think about that.” Well good. That puts you with “average joe” or “Christian” and I’ll move along to someone else. I just thought it would be easier to find a “thinking” person here than anywhere else.

  • Karen

    I am on an ATHIEST site (a person who claims to KNOW that there is no God)

    Couple of problems right here, mike brown.

    #1 – “atheist” is the correct spelling. It means without-god belief, i.e., a-theist.

    #2 – ties in with #1. Most/all a-theists on this site do not hold a belief in god. We don’t claim to KNOW there is no god; we just don’t see enough evidence to hold any belief in him/them. Very few a-theists claim to have enough knowledge about the universe to make the positive claim that there is NO GOD. Even Richard Dawkins does not make that claim.

    As for your desire to discuss the philosophy of Immanuel Kant and how it relates to atheism, in order to be successful with that I suggest that you first ask if anyone’s sufficiently well-acquainted with his philosophy to discuss or debate it in great detail; and then if anyone here is interested in such a discussion. The feeling I get around here is that most of us are not huge on philosophy – I took an introductory course in college and it nearly bored me to tears. ;-)

  • mike brown

    “Very few a-theists claim to have enough knowledge about the universe to make the positive claim that there is NO GOD.”

    Interesting, so what do atheist’s stand FOR? I’ve been on this site long enough to see what you’re against. That’s pretty obvious. What do you stand for Siamang? You have kept pounding me with “show me a better system than science”. Yet you feel no onus to propose a system and then defend it. When I push you to defend what you believe you fall back onto “what better system is there?” Then you turn and want me to “answer” all your questions as if you have answered mine. From a site that claims to be “rational” and “free thinking” I thought there would be better rational.

    I AM asking if there is a better system and the first step to that question is “is the current system answering our questions”? I think that is a fair and balanced question to ask. Don’t you? Is it fair that the bible and koran and other “holy books” get scrutinized under “historical criticism” and that “science” get a free pass because we happen to have the same “methodological naturalism”? Is that just? Is that fair? More importantly is that logical and rational?

    So Kant is boring. So what? I think biology is boring does that mean I dismiss survival of the fittest? I too think a lot of philosophy is boring but I understand it’s importance and try to deal with it’s conclusions. Whether Kant, Kuhn, Foucault, Derrida are exciting or not is irrelevant. Are their criticism’s valid? You have no way of knowing since you have found it “boring” and hence ignored any developments in the field. However, the developments in that field have a direct impact. You sited Isaac Asimov and his retort to the literature specialist. So philosophy has affected you and you have “dismissed” the position based upon what? Did you do the research? Have you listened to anyone who has? What’s more do you really understand the lit specialist critique and how flippant Asimov’s response is to that argument?

    (This is just a side not: this is why I struggle with Dawkins. I have yet to hear anyone in the science field like Dawkins admit there there are philosophical struggles with science and then address them seriously. Most scientists point and say: look at the cool gadgets we can make aren’t we better off than we were before? That’s not taking the arguments seriously, that’s saying my gun is bigger than your gun so you better back down. At least thats what it says to me.)

  • Miko

    Interesting, so what do atheist’s stand FOR?

    “I wish to propose for the reader’s favourable consideration a doctrine which may, I fear, appear wildly paradoxical and subversive. The doctrine in question is this: that it is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true.”
    – Bertrand Russell

    We stand for reality.

    Is it fair that the bible and koran and other “holy books” get scrutinized under “historical criticism” and that “science” get a free pass because we happen to have the same “methodological naturalism”?

    Take a look into the peer review process for publishing science in any respectable journal. We’ve got about the furthest thing from a free pass that’s imaginable.

    What’s more do you really understand the lit specialist critique and how flippant Asimov’s response is to that argument?

    It’s flippant to demonstrate how pathetic the original argument was. There’s really nothing in the argument to understand. It’s just a case of using invalid inductive techniques coupled with a caricature of a false dilemma so grotesque that it’s embarrassing to to imagine that the lit specialist could believe it in the first place. To put it in perspective, theists often object to the argument “{List of previous religions from Greek mythology onward} are now thought to be false, so {religion of the theist} is probably wrong too.” The argument in this case is thousands of times worse, since at least in this case the words ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ actually have clear meanings.

  • mike brown

    “We stand for reality.”

    Really? Is that what you really stand for? Reality? Holy COW Batman. All this time I thought atheist stood for lies. Well, (wipe sweat from brow) that sure makes me feel better.

    Reality: The way I see the world, is the way that the world really is. Wow, now thats, a deep concept. One tiny little question. What if the way you see the world isn’t what is really real? Would it still be reality or does “reality” have to wait until you have voted collectively for it?

    Of course EVERYBODY thinks they stand for “reality”. Is that really an answer?

    Here is what you stand for according to Miko:

    “that it is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true.”

    In other words we stand for nothing other than tearing things down. That’s great. Accorinding to our friend Siamang here if we tear things down we have to “have a better replactment”. Or did that only apply to critiques of “science”. I’ve been around this site long enough to notice that people suppose and proclaim lots of things. What seems to be a constant is that no one want’s to “committ” to a positive position or at least one that is coherent. I ask again. What do atheist’s stand FOR?

    Miko your whole site is about “knowing the truth”, “standing up for the truth”, being objective, and rational, and “open minded”. But here I am asking questions, very few of which applies to religion, and somehow that’s a bad thing. I thought “open minded” people would be open to anything. Or am I misinterpreting what you meant when you called the argument that I “supported” an

    “invalid inductive techniques coupled with a caricature of a false dilemma so grotesque that it’s embarrassing to to imagine.”

    Did you ever think it was possible that Asimov “misrepresented” the lit specialist critique?” I’ll bet that thought never entered your mind did it? Asimov said it… it must be true.

    “Take a look into the peer review process for publishing science in any respectable journal. We’ve got about the furthest thing from a free pass that’s imaginable.”

    Well Eliza was supposed to help me out with Thomas Kuhn and apparently she didn’t want to. If you wish, you could read some of my other posts concening this issue. The bottom line is that the Quran and bible and other “holy books” are scrutinized by a system that they were NOT written under. For example the World view of those writting the Quran was different from those who write “historical criticism” of the Quran. However, those who write “historical criticism” are criticized by those who write and think in terms of “historical criticism”. In other words you have 5th grades grading 3rd graders work but those who are “checking” the 5th graders work… are 5th graders. The criticism is NOT the same. Of course they are going to agree on what they “see” they are “seeing” the world the same way.

    This argument is a little more complicated than, solipicism, and narcistic nehilism.

  • Mriana

    Why are we arguing about what stands for what and who stands for what? How about reason and compassion? Does there really need to be anything more to stand for? And is it really worth fighting over?

  • Darryl

    Actually what I did was question whether Christian fundamentalist are the only ones guilty of mixing philosophy with “science”. That was my origional question.

    Mike, your tactic is one familiar to all well-healed atheists: level the playing field by showing that your opponent is just like you, and you have deprived him of his rhetorical weapons. The science that Mr. Dawkins prefers is nothing like the silliness of the Creationists, philosophies notwithstanding.

    If you noticed my point was that the “creationist” are accused of mixing philosophy with “science” and that was the “athiest” criticism of the creation museum.

    I don’t know what atheists are making this accusation, but for my part, it’s not philosophy but religion that I accuse the Creationists of injecting into their science.

    Siamang makes a good point:

    I think it’s perfectly fine to mix your science into your philosophy. I think it’s utterly wrong to mix your philosophy into your science.

    The question is, what is leading our investigation of the universe, science or philosophy? Science can and ought to inform philosophy, and deserves to do so because it has proven itself as the best evidence gathering and processing method we have.

    You have been throwing around the words ‘Truth’ and ‘Laws.’ Those are old, outmoded philosophical concepts that are unneeded by science or philosophy for that matter. They don’t pertain to a discussion of Science versus Creationism except insofar as someone may try to obfuscate the central issues by using them as you are.

    What do you stand for Siamang? You have kept pounding me with “show me a better system than science”. Yet you feel no onus to propose a system and then defend it. When I push you to defend what you believe you fall back onto “what better system is there?” Then you turn and want me to “answer” all your questions as if you have answered mine. From a site that claims to be “rational” and “free thinking” I thought there would be better rational.

    Mike, the onus is on you because you’re the one that made a claim against Dawkins. Saimang made no claim that requires a defense. Just because you picked a fight with someone smart, don’t now try to turn the tables by acting as if Saimang is obligated to demonstrate anything.

    this is why I struggle with Dawkins. I have yet to hear anyone in the science field like Dawkins admit there there are philosophical struggles with science and then address them seriously. Most scientists point and say: look at the cool gadgets we can make aren’t we better off than we were before? That’s not taking the arguments seriously, that’s saying my gun is bigger than your gun so you better back down. At least thats what it says to me.

    Whether Dawkins or any other scientist addresses the philosophy of science to your satisfaction won’t change the facts: science has proven itself the most reliable way to gather information about our universe–useful information, life-preserving, life-enhancing information. When the superstitions and fantasies of religion have so often stood in the way of human progress, science has provided pathways to help for humanity. If philosophizing is your thing, then fine, but why should anyone else care?

    The bottom line is that the Quran and bible and other “holy books” are scrutinized by a system that they were NOT written under. For example the World view of those writting the Quran was different from those who write “historical criticism” of the Quran.

    If you’re trying to make an argument for cultural relativism or historical relativism, you’re wasting your time. I’m with Saimang on this one: post-modernism can’t be taken seriously.

  • Mriana

    What do you stand for Siamang? You have kept pounding me with “show me a better system than science”. Yet you feel no onus to propose a system and then defend it. When I push you to defend what you believe you fall back onto “what better system is there?” Then you turn and want me to “answer” all your questions as if you have answered mine. From a site that claims to be “rational” and “free thinking” I thought there would be better rational.

    Not to perpetuate the argument, but in support of rationalism, as a child, I reasoned we were related to chimps, gorillas, and orangatangs. It’s so obvious that even a Gorilla et al can figure it out- forbes. Apes have fingers, humans have fingers. Apes have faces like ours and they have feet like us. The list of juvenile reasoning goes on and on, but the final analysis was that science is right, humans are apes. We look a lot like them only with a lot less hair. All of this from an elementary kid. There is no other species, except apes that look like us, but apes are our closest cousins, so the idea of humans evolving from the same species of primitive ape is not far fetched.

    Does it really take that much to reason out what science tells us? No disrespect, but it takes a whole lot more mental gymnastics to figure out how Adam and Eve, which even some ministers admit to being a myth, populated the earth all by themselves. Something I questioned highly as a child and never could get a straight and reasonable answer from adults. If an elementary kid can use observation to deduce that science is correct and we are indeed related to apes, then there is no mental gymnastics there. Just plain simple reasoning. Elementary, my dear Data.

    Science 1 the Bible 0 Need I continue with rudimentary reasoning?

  • Mike

    Mirana wrote:
    “Apes have fingers, humans have fingers. Apes have faces like ours and they have feet like us. The list of juvenile reasoning goes on and on, but the final analysis was that science is right, humans are apes.”

    You know it was this kind of thinking that lead to the idea that Africans were “closer” to Apes than those of European descent. Since your “juvenile reasoning” lead you towards “science” would the same “juvenile reasoning” lead you towards racism?

    Secondly, the entire point of calling a certain type of reasoning “juvenile” is that it’s NOT developed nor advanced. Are you saying that non-advanced and under developed thinking leads toward the conclusions of science?

    Thirdly, I have never posited how we got here in the first place. Why have you (a) assumed I believe in adam and eve? (b) assumed I expected you to do ANY mental gymnastic to believe anything? (c) that my questioning of “science” is a proof of anything positive about God?

    Mriana wrote:
    “Science 1 the Bible 0 Need I continue with rudimentary reasoning?”
    Actually since you didn’t use “scientific reasoning” but only “juvenile reasoning” it would actualy be: Juvenile thinking 1 the Bible 0(which I never brought up anyway)

    Darryl wrote:
    “Saimang made no claim that requires a defense. Just because you picked a fight with someone smart, don’t now try to turn the tables by acting as if Saimang is obligated to demonstrate anything.”

    Actually Darryl, on Sep 20 Siamang wrote:
    “I’m merely assuming that methodology that has been fruitful in the past will continue to be fruitful in the future.”

    And it was his contention that a person could arrive at the truth using “methodological naturalism” while remaining untainted by “philosophical naturalism”

    I simply asked him to demonstrate how methodological naturalism was different than philosophical naturalism. He has made claims darryl, I am simply asking him to clairify his position.

    Darryl wrote:
    “science has proven itself the most reliable way to gather information about our universe–useful information, life-preserving, life-enhancing information.”

    Reliable is an interesting choice of words. Reliable implies that is it is sure, consistant unwavering. Reliable implies that is surefooted. Well, lets try that theory on for size.

    Darryl, do you believe in morality? Is it real or an illusion?
    (I don’t know how you’ll answer but I’m going to assume that you think morality is real, I admit it is an assumption.)
    If morality is real, empirically demonstrate “good” or “bad” either one.
    Can you empirically demonstrate what is “good” or what is “bad”?
    Notice here I am NOT, MIND YOU NOT making a moralistic claim about atheits, or that this implies anything about God. I just want to know if you can empirically demonstrate “good” or “bad”?

    “When the superstitions and fantasies of religion have so often stood in the way of human progress, science has provided pathways to help for humanity.”

    Like the Atom bomb? Is that an example of “progress”? How about the ethno centric belief that all raw materials are here for our “consumption” and “use”? How about the belief that its “ok” to kill frogs by the millions because high school juniors need to “know biology”?

    You can complain accurately that “religions have slowed human progress” but is it possible that “science” no long knows how to “slow down”? While we certainly have “gained knowledge” and “control of the universe”, has science taught us how to use it better? Has science even taught us how to integrate it into our whole view of life?

    My question Darryl, is while you can argue that science has given us some great advances has it also come with a price that we didn’t realize we would pay?

  • Mriana

    You know it was this kind of thinking that lead to the idea that Africans were “closer” to Apes than those of European descent. Since your “juvenile reasoning” lead you towards “science” would the same “juvenile reasoning” lead you towards racism?

    You know, you are insane, as well as unobservent! There are white chimps too. :roll: Orangatangs have white skin too. In otherwords, furry apes come in as many skin shades as we do and anyone comes up with that stupidity doesn’t observe other animals very well. Look at their faces next time you go to the zoo and if there is enough variety you will see they are as varied as we are. Or check out Jane Goodall shows.

    I’ll tell you another secret- white cats have pink skin like white people and black cats have dark skin colour. So they are no different either. Dogs are the same way and if you can get close enough to a cow, its the same story. That statement you made is B.S.

    Secondly, the entire point of calling a certain type of reasoning “juvenile” is that it’s NOT developed nor advanced. Are you saying that non-advanced and under developed thinking leads toward the conclusions of science?

    It can lead to advance science if it is not drowned in other things. However, if it is not nutured, it leads to superstition and/or buying into bogus crap like I.D.

    Thirdly, I have never posited how we got here in the first place. Why have you (a) assumed I believe in adam and eve? (b) assumed I expected you to do ANY mental gymnastic to believe anything? (c) that my questioning of “science” is a proof of anything positive about God?

    You were knocking rationalism and science.

    “Science 1 the Bible 0 Need I continue with rudimentary reasoning?”
    Actually since you didn’t use “scientific reasoning” but only “juvenile reasoning” it would actualy be: Juvenile thinking 1 the Bible 0(which I never brought up anyway)

    Observation IS part of scientific reasoning, even if it is on a juvenile level. Especially is if one is into Human and animal behaviour. The whole of Empirical testing is 1. Theory 2. test the theory 3. OBSERVE results 4. Is the test repeatable with the same results? 1. Theory we are related to other apes 2. test via observation in this case. 3. of course the observations are repeatable because every zoo has apes that are the same unless they are born with a deformative.

    Even children have to start some where. There is only so much an elementary student can do scientifically and most of what they do is observing.

  • Mriana

    Oh and BTW, the human apes I gave birth to are both Black and White. Even they could tell at an early age we human apes are related to furry apes, solely on observation alone. They were not stupid enough to buy into racism either, because they also saw the skin colour varieties too. :roll:

  • monkeymind

    That racism remark was well out of order. Good comeback, Mriana.

  • Mriana

    Thank you, monkeymind. I’ve heard that remark before and I find nothing but utter stupidity as well as ignorance.

  • Mike B

    Mriana, please with the name calling, is that any more “enlightened” than being racist? I wasn’t calling you a racist, I was asking a question. Now as to observation. Do you really think it’s as easy to “observe” as “look, I see a black cow.”
    Observation comes with training. Take a kid outside and try it some time. You have to be trained to observe. This obvious observation isn’t as obvious. For example give a kid from africa who’s never see a TV and ask him to observe two kids playing a video game. He would’nt understand what was happening. You would have to sit down next to him (assuming he understands english) point to “things” on a screen and describe to him what was happening.

    If observation is so basic to human nature than why do we have to have “scientists” be trained in observation? To truely observe one must take in ALL information unfiltered, un bridled, This is not the case. Good observation must know what your looking for and discard the rest. This requires training, and education. I ‘m not talking about a school degree, but the type of education that happens from birth to death. That’s training that’s learning.

    To say that as a child you “knew” apes were relative of humans, only goes to show that you learned to “think like that” at a young age.

    Mirana wrote:”You were knocking rationalism and science.”

    Is this really an answer?

    Why did you assume I wanted you to belive in God, that I believed in Adam and eve and that I had made any positive statement about God? Mirana’s answer I knocked rationalism and science.

    So what your saying is that “science” and “rationalism” stand against religion?

    Would that mean that philosophically science and rationalism are at odds with people of different faith?

    Lastly, Mriana wrote:

    “It can lead to advance science if it is not drowned in other things. However, if it is not nutured, it leads to superstition and/or buying into bogus crap like I.D.”

    So what your saying is that non advance and undeveloped thinking leads to “scientific thinking?” But you also said it might be drowned out with “crap” You have placed a “value” judgement on views other than your own. How do you know that to develop into a non scientific thinking person is to develop into a crap thinking person.

    Haven’t you poisoned the value of thinking differently? IE unless you think like me (scientic thinking) your thinking is crap. How do you know this? Secondly isn’t this arrogant?

    Lastly I would like to know what happend to siamang and Darryl they were much more interesting and more coherent.

  • Mriana

    I did not say you were ignorant or stupid. I said that was ignorant and stupid. There is a difference. And yes, it is easy to be that observant. I did it many times as a child. In fact, I got very close to cows, bull calves, and bulls all the time and without fear. Nor was I harmed by them. You see, if you raise bull calves with the human touch, they will not be mean spirited when they are older. I bottle fed the bull calves, thus I had no problems getting close to them nor did anyone else.

    I did not have to train my sons to be obeservant. It came naturally to them, but only because I did not stunt their curiousity. Children are naturally curious if left to their own explorations, with guidance of course. You would not want them to explore an electrical outlet.

    Most adults have to be retrained to be observant, esp if they go into science, but if children are left to their curiousity of non-dangerous things, then they will not loose this natural curiousity of observation.

    For most Evangelical Fundamentalists, yes, rationality and science are contrary to their beliefs.

    So what your saying is that non advance and undeveloped thinking leads to “scientific thinking?” But you also said it might be drowned out with “crap” You have placed a “value” judgement on views other than your own. How do you know that to develop into a non scientific thinking person is to develop into a crap thinking person.

    IF one is allowed to develope curiousity about the world around them, then yes, it can lead to scientific thinking. If suppressed by religious dogma, then no it won’t be. Value judgement? Hardly. I have seen religious extremist refuse an education on the basis that it would destroy their faith.

    I’m not saying you have to think like me, it’s just I do not buy into how you seem to twist statements into something they are not meant to be.

  • Mike

    Mirana wrote:”I’m not saying you have to think like me, it’s just I do not buy into how you seem to twist statements into something they are not meant to be.”

    What exactally did I misunderstand about this statement?

    “However, if it is not nutured, it leads to superstition and/or buying into bogus crap like I.D.”

    Did you not mean that I.D. (whether I agree with it or not) is crap thinking?

    Did you not mean that curbing a childs natural development is by definition to buy into “superstition”? Please if I have misrepresented you or misunderstood you correct it now.

    This is how I have understood your point. That unless one buys into “scientific thinking” one has had their “observation skills” curbed and they have been forced into “superstitous crap thinking”.
    If I have misrepresented your “point” please let me know I would love to be corrected.

    Mirana also wrote:
    “For most Evangelical Fundamentalists, yes, rationality and science are contrary to their beliefs.”

    So if all children are born with a “bend for rational thinking” (interpretation of your phrase) than how did superstitious and irrational thinking develop?
    for: If ALL children are born with a “bent for rational thinking” and All children grow into adults Than ALL adults should have a “bend for rational thinking”.

    If ALL adults have a bend for rational thining than how do we get “superstitous” or “crap” thinking?

    Is it possible that instead of it begin “superstitous” or “crap” thinking it should be termed “different” or “non scientific” thinking?

    Mirana wrote:”Most adults have to be retrained to be observant, esp if they go into science, but if children are left to their curiousity of non-dangerous things, then they will not loose this natural curiousity of observation.”

    First, how do you know “natural curiousity” lead towards “scientific thinking”?

    Secondly, are you claiming that other people from other cultures who do NOT think “rationally” (as we define it) are lacking “natural curiousity”?

    How do untrained children “develop” into “rational scientific thinkers” without an education/training?

  • Mriana

    Did you not mean that I.D. (whether I agree with it or not) is crap thinking?

    It is crap thinking- if I must put it in your language. It is not thinking that is natural to the child and it is a way of thinking that is imposed on someone. Not science.

    Did you not mean that curbing a childs natural development is by definition to buy into “superstition”?

    Religion/superstition is a means of curbing the child’s natural desire to explore the world.

    This is how I have understood your point. That unless one buys into “scientific thinking” one has had their “observation skills” curbed and they have been forced into “superstitous crap thinking”.

    In essences, yes. So, what of it?

    So if all children are born with a “bend for rational thinking” (interpretation of your phrase) than how did superstitious and irrational thinking develop?

    Lack of knowledge. When people can’t find an answer, they resort to superstition. Many a primitive group of people have resorted to superstition before science became common. Also there was the Darkage in which the Church told people what to believe and in the process, superstition developed, esp with the lack of education. Curiousity was suppressed instead of honed. I have met many Evangelical Fundamentalist who has suppressed their child’s curiousity about the world in favour of their religious beliefs.

  • Mike

    “It is not thinking that is natural to the child and it is a way of thinking that is imposed on someone. Not science.”

    How do you know what is “natural to a child”? There are lots and lots of people who claim lots of things about children are this and that. How do you know that “scientific thinking” is natural thinking and that “superstious” thinking isn’t?

    It seems to me that you have assumed that “scientific thinking” IS natural and have infered that “unscientific thinking” is therefore unnatural. So you have assumed what you are trying to prove, in order to prove what is natural.

    Mirana wrote:
    “In essences, yes. So, what of it?”

    Umm if you remember you accused me of twisting your words and making you say things you really didn’t say.

    I asked you “Haven’t you poisoned the value of thinking differently? IE unless you think like me (scientic thinking) your thinking is crap. How do you know this?

    Mirana’s response: “I’m not saying you have to think like me, it’s just I do not buy into how you seem to twist statements into something they are not meant to be.”

    I then listed your points….the points YOU made and asked you again: Doesn’t your calling of “non scientific thinking”: “crap” and “superstious” posion the value of those who think differently? Because YOU said that those who do not think like you (scientific thinkers) are “crap” thinkers and “superstious”.

    And Mirana’s response: Yes So what of it? So you DO think that unless one thinks scientifically or like you they are crap thinkers? Than how did I twist your words to say things you don’t mean? Why are you accusing me of twisting things that I didn’t twist?

    Secondly, was Plato a crap thinker? How about Aristotle? Budda was he a crap thinker too? The Dali Lama, is he a crap thinker too? Moses was he a crap thinker? How about Jesus of Nazareth? Pliny the Younger? How about Philo? Because I would highly doubt that there are many people who think THESE people fall under the catigory of “scientific thinkers”.

    Mirana wrote: “Lack of knowledge. When people can’t find an answer, they resort to superstition.”

    Would superstion be what one resorts to when one doesn’t know things? Have you read Plato’s works or Pliny the younger, the Dali Lama? If you haven’t- have you resorted to what you have heard other people say about “those unscientific thinkers”? In short havn’t you become “superstious”?

    Now I have asked you how you know “unscientific thinkers” are crap thinkers and you have responded with accusations not valid arguments like the following:

    “Religion/superstition is a means of curbing the child’s natural desire to explore the world.”

    There is no argument here; it is a statment of fact. (a fact you haven’t proven by the way only asserted). You are welcome to throw such assertion around if you would like. If you are trying to logically “prove” that “unscientific thinking” is crap and you claim that R/S is a means of curbing a childs natural desire to explore, you have only reworded your initial accusation. Some questions your “assertion” have not aswered:
    How are superstition and religion the same thing?
    How does religion “curb” natural curiosity in a way that “scientific” training does not?
    How do you know what is “natural” to a child is always good?
    How do we know that the “desire to explore the world” is superior to the desire to “worship/pray”? (not that I am advocating this but your implying that some desires are superior to others: exploring over contemplation/prayer)

    Lastly Mirana wrote: ” I have met many Evangelical Fundamentalist who has suppressed their child’s curiousity about the world in favour of their religious beliefs.”

    So because “Many” EF supress their childs curiousity therefore ALL religous people “suppress” a childs curiousity. That’s a pretty big logical leap that I don’t think I can follow. That’s just bad or should I say “crap” logical thinking.

  • Mriana

    How do you know what is “natural to a child”? There are lots and lots of people who claim lots of things about children are this and that. How do you know that “scientific thinking” is natural thinking and that “superstious” thinking isn’t?

    You are talking to a person who prefers the Piaget school of thought when it comes to honing a child’s curiousity about the world.

    I asked you “Haven’t you poisoned the value of thinking differently? IE unless you think like me (scientic thinking) your thinking is crap. How do you know this?

    Poisoned? I gather you have not taken any courses in Psychology, much less Child Psychology? When you have we’ll talk about poisoning psychological development of an individual.

    Secondly, was Plato a crap thinker? How about Aristotle? Budda was he a crap thinker too? The Dali Lama, is he a crap thinker too? Moses was he a crap thinker? How about Jesus of Nazareth? Pliny the Younger? How about Philo? Because I would highly doubt that there are many people who think THESE people fall under the catigory of “scientific thinkers”.

    Do you REALLY want me to get started on the Jesus Myth? Budha had his falasies too. Moses was a myth too, my dear, but you REALLY don’t want me to go down that road, do you? Now Philo, Plato, Aristotle, contributed to some of the Humanistic thought we see today, but they were actually real people.

    Would superstion be what one resorts to when one doesn’t know things? Have you read Plato’s works or Pliny the younger, the Dali Lama? If you haven’t- have you resorted to what you have heard other people say about “those unscientific thinkers”? In short havn’t you become “superstious”?

    I’ve read some of Plato’s stuff. I didn’t agree with all of it. Nobody does. I could care less about the Dali Lama. No, I have not resorted to superstition. Science is not a superstition. You are pulling strawmen out of your hate with IMHO.

    There is no argument here; it is a statment of fact. (a fact you haven’t proven by the way only asserted). You are welcome to throw such assertion around if you would like. If you are trying to logically “prove” that “unscientific thinking” is crap and you claim that R/S is a means of curbing a childs natural desire to explore, you have only reworded your initial accusation. Some questions your “assertion” have not aswered:
    How are superstition and religion the same thing?
    How does religion “curb” natural curiosity in a way that “scientific” training does not?
    How do you know what is “natural” to a child is always good?
    How do we know that the “desire to explore the world” is superior to the desire to “worship/pray”? (not that I am advocating this but your implying that some desires are superior to others: exploring over contemplation/prayer)

    Pick up a Psychology book why don’t you? Other means I have noticed is observation, but I don’t have to prove anything to one. They just need to open their eyes. Catholics oppress women with their anti-Women Reproductive Rights. Mormons supress young women’s thinking by marrying them off at a young age- a lot of times to an abuser. Amish take kids out of school for fear it will cause their children to be exposed to the real world and therefore will not want to stay “with the flock”. JWs are cult-like in their ways also, which is just as damaging. How many religious sects accept homosexuality as possibly being genetic? I only know of one and that really is a group within a sect- the Episcopal Church U.S.A. Surely I don’t need to continue this list of what various religious sects do to people do I?

    Somehow I get the idea that I’ve just ran into a conservative religious person who easily takes offense and is on a vendetta to prove religion is right or better or something. :roll:

  • Mike

    “You are talking to a person who prefers the Piaget school of thought when it comes to honing a child’s curiousity about the world.”

    Interesting- are you a college student?
    Are you a structuralist like Piaget? Or do you contend that meaning is found ONLY within cultural uses?
    Do you believe that gestalt ends at childhood or do people continue to develop and have many gestalts over their lifetime?

    Mirana wrote: “Poisoned? I gather you have not taken any courses in Psychology, much less Child Psychology? When you have we’ll talk about poisoning psychological development of an individual.”

    Actualy I was using the word “posioned” in a logical sense meaning that: prior to the discussion of a topic(ie, good thinking) the outcome is determined by the definitions employed(a specific thinking is defined outright as “crap” or “superstitous”).

    Actually if you had taken phychology you would also know that models are precicely that. Models. They are useful guidelines for discussing the methods of treatment but any claims to “ultimate truth” are suspect because so many different “models” exist. Sure, when dealing with children it is easier to follow a model for treatment than it is to search for “absolute truth”. However, don’t mistake a model or school of thought as THE definitive work on that topic.

    Mirana wrote: “You are pulling strawmen out of your hate with IMHO.”

    Actually a strawman is to hold up another persons “arguement” and then blast it down as if that was the other persons argument. I never “blasted” your argument I asked you if those people were “crap” thinkers or “superstitous”.

    YOU pointed out that I had correctly reiterated your points. I then asked a question. I have not answered it or blasted it or done anything with it. I asked YOU about YOU position. That is NOT a strawman (perhaps you should stick with child psychology)

    Mirana wrote:
    “Pick up a Psychology book why don’t you?

    Actually I didn’t know we were talking abot psychology. It is generally considered good form to inform a person of a topic shift prior to shifting the topic. I thought we were talking about “superstitious” and “crap” thinkers. Now being that you are a psych major, it helps me to understand you position a little more.

    “I’ve read some of Plato’s stuff. I didn’t agree with all of it. Nobody does.”

    Do you mean that No one in the world agree’s with plato? Or do you mean that no one important to you agree’s with Plato? There is a difference you know. And the question wasn’t wether you agreed with him or not the question was: since he is a non scientific thinking person is he a “crap” thinker?

    Mirana wrote: “Other means I have noticed is observation, but I don’t have to prove anything to one.”

    Actually you claimed quite a bit. You claimed that Catholic hated women, Mormons supress women, Amish supress children, Jehovia Witness are “cult-like” which you consider “damaging” and that failure to agree with Mirana concerning homosexuality is “bad”.

    None of what you posted is an argument FOR “reason”, or “logic” or even “science” all you have given me is reasons to not be “catholic” “amish”, “JW”, “morman”, or “non Episcopalian”.

    You also claimed that “scientific reasoning” was better than “unscientific” or “crap” reasoning.

    I asked how you knew the desire to explore the “natural” world is superior to the desire to “worship/pray”? All of the abuses you mentioned does not make that question go away. Or these.

    How are superstition and religion the same thing?
    How does religion “curb” natural curiosity in a way that “scientific” training does not?
    How do you know what is “natural” to a child is always good?
    How do we know that the “desire to explore the world” is superior to the desire to “worship/pray”?

    These are but a few questions you failed to even attempt to answer.

    Lastly,Mirana wrote: “Somehow I get the idea that I’ve just ran into a conservative religious person who easily takes offense and is on a vendetta to prove religion is right or better or something.”

    Actually, I said what I was after from the start. I said I wanted to know what Atheits stand FOR not what they stand Against. Mirana you haven’t made a case at all for what you stand for. All you’ve done is say. Look at this, look at that abuse look how bad this is… Well that’s not what atheist stand for? WHAT do you stand for? I’m afraid I have run into a person who has defined themselves by what he hate’s not what she believes in.

  • Mriana

    Interesting- are you a college student?

    Yes and no. I’m a graduate with a degree in psychology, but I’ve returned for a second degree not in psychology. I have also worked in the field for a few years too.

    Are you a structuralist like Piaget? Or do you contend that meaning is found ONLY within cultural uses?
    Do you believe that gestalt ends at childhood or do people continue to develop and have many gestalts over their lifetime?

    Does it matter? I made “A”‘s in my classes and did my job well. I just got burnt out and it doesn’t matter what else I am, but I do appreciate Piaget’s work. I don’t know if you can say as much.

    Actually if you had taken phychology you would also know that models are precicely that. Models. They are useful guidelines for discussing the methods of treatment but any claims to “ultimate truth” are suspect because so many different “models” exist. Sure, when dealing with children it is easier to follow a model for treatment than it is to search for “absolute truth”. However, don’t mistake a model or school of thought as THE definitive work on that topic.

    I have the Psych degree on my wall. I know what I did and with two young children of my very own, raising them all by myself. Again, I don’t think you can say the same.

    Do you mean that No one in the world agree’s with plato? Or do you mean that no one important to you agree’s with Plato? There is a difference you know. And the question wasn’t wether you agreed with him or not the question was: since he is a non scientific thinking person is he a “crap” thinker?

    You’re twisting my words again.

    Actually you claimed quite a bit. You claimed that Catholic hated women, Mormons supress women, Amish supress children, Jehovia Witness are “cult-like” which you consider “damaging” and that failure to agree with Mirana concerning homosexuality is “bad”.

    Again, you are twisting my words again. I never said Catholics hate women. I said they oppress women. Actually, if you kept up with what was happening in the Anglican Communion, you would know there is one side that wants civil unions and to ordain gay clergy, while a conservative group of Anglicans want to put a stop to the Episcopal Church doing that. The Episcopal Church just said they were going to continue to support Gay Rights while the Conservatives threw a tantrum about it. If you kept up on things you would know there was a group of Episcopalians AND Anglicans who are Christian/Religious Humanists. That in itself should tell you something that there are some like the U.U. and others like the Fundies as well as everywhere in between.

    If you researched the JWs you would know they were cult-like. If you researched the Amish you would know they went to court so that they did not have to send their kids to public school after the 8th grade. If you researched the Mormans you would know what they do concerning women. If you kept up with what the Catholics were doing you would know they are fighting to not include Women’s reproductive services in their medical insurance coverage for their workers. Obviously you don’t know what is happening among the religious groups and how they oppress and suppress people.

    You also claimed that “scientific reasoning” was better than “unscientific” or “crap” reasoning.

    It is because it is not stuck in dogma.

    I asked how you knew the desire to explore the “natural” world is superior to the desire to “worship/pray”? All of the abuses you mentioned does not make that question go away. Or these.

    How are superstition and religion the same thing?
    How does religion “curb” natural curiosity in a way that “scientific” training does not?
    How do you know what is “natural” to a child is always good?
    How do we know that the “desire to explore the world” is superior to the desire to “worship/pray”?

    Obviously you don’t want to hear the answers nor are you very observant of things that happen which are done by humans to other humans. I think you know the answers, but you don’t want to believe them.

    Actually, I said what I was after from the start. I said I wanted to know what Atheits stand FOR not what they stand Against. Mirana you haven’t made a case at all for what you stand for. All you’ve done is say. Look at this, look at that abuse look how bad this is… Well that’s not what atheist stand for? WHAT do you stand for? I’m afraid I have run into a person who has defined themselves by what he hate’s not what she believes in.

    I already told you that I stand for reason, compassion, human rights, and the dignity of the human. I have yet to see religion give dignity to the human. I have yet to see religion give compassion to humans or even use reason. The closest I’ve seen in any of this is from Religious Humanists. What I have seen is that the religious mistreat others- minorities, women, mentally ill, homosexuals, the list goes on and on. White males get better treatment. With the exception of those like Spong, Cupitt, and others like them (who are actually Christian Humanists), most would refuse to give women, gays, et al any human rights. Just look at Farwell and that bishop over in Africa.

    Therefore, I told you what I believe in and you have ignored it by twisting it into something else.

  • Mike B

    “Does it matter?”
    WEll i guess it doens’t matter. I thought since you were a Peaget fan you would be able to discuss his views. It doesn’t matter but I was hoping you might know a little more than… “duuhhh you don’t know Peaget like I do.”

    “I made “A”’s in my classes and did my job well. I just got burnt out and it doesn’t matter what else I am, but I do appreciate Piaget’s work.”
    Great! Good for you. You got A’s in your classes. Very good.

    “I don’t know if you can say as much.”
    Is this an example of “rational”, “compassionate” atheism? You don’t know ANYTHING about me. Nothing.

    Mirana wrote: “I have the Psych degree on my wall. I know what I did and with two young children of my very own, raising them all by myself. Again, I don’t think you can say the same.”

    What does that matter. I am very glad for you that you were able to get a psych degree. Good job. What does that have to do with Peaget? What does that have to do with me or our discussion about what ATHEIST believe? Nothing it has nothing at all to do with what you contend.

    Mirana wrote: “Again, you are twisting my words again. I never said Catholics hate women. I said they oppress women.” So in your mind there is a difference between a group that “oppresses” and a group that “hates” women?

    Can you explain the difference for me?

    Mirana wrote: “Obviously you don’t know what is happening among the religious groups and how they oppress and suppress people.”

    Actually, I may or may not know what is happening among those groups but that is irrelevant. You seem to imply that because I am challening you to defend your accusation against these groups that I am unaware of what is going on. That implies that I am simply ignorant of what is occuring and that you are going to “educate” me upon these issues.

    Once again we go back to the central issue. Because in your mind I don’t interpret what happens with women in the Catholic church as “oppression” I am therefor ignorant. Doesn’t that imply that unless I think like you I am “ignorant”?
    Secondly, how do you know how I interpret what happens in the catholic church as oppression?
    Thirdly, once again you have not made a case FOR atheism, but leveled alligations AGAINST Catholics, JW, Amish, Non epispocapalians, conservatives, and who ever else you wish to vomit your anger upon.

    Mirana wrote: “Obviously you don’t want to hear the answers nor are you very observant of things that happen which are done by humans to other humans.”

    No, your just not a very good debater. If I don’t WANT to hear the answers than I may or may not be observant. How do you know wether or not I am observant if I WON’T admit what you are saying? However, I could want to hear the answers but according to you I am not observant. So if I am not observant than how do you know that I don’t want to hear the answers? I may not able to observe them, seeing how I am unobservant. Which one am I: unobservant or willfully stubborn? … oh wait. Later on you wrote:

    “I think you know the answers, but you don’t want to believe them.”

    So your saying I don’t want to believe your accusations against these groups?
    So I AM observant but I have chosen to ignore it.
    So are you saying that I observe these “oppressive abusive” actions (which you have NOT specifically mentioned) and choose to ignore them?

    What motivation could I have for ignoring obvious oppressive and abusive actions? How do you know I have such motivation?

    Mirana wrote: “You’re twisting my words again.”
    Actually if you OBSERVE what I wrote I asked three questions: How am I twisting your words when I am asking you to clairify your position?
    You keep accusing me of “twisting your words” please show me an example and EXPLAIN how I am twisting your words.

    Mirana wrote: “I already told you that I stand for reason, compassion, human rights, and the dignity of the human.”

    Is this it? This is what atheists stand for? Wow amazing. Lets’ break it down. You stand for REASON. What exactally does that mean? Who’s reason? Because there are many people who say they “stand for reason” Rush limbaugh a giant among them. If a person says. “I stand for Reason.” is that enough for you to agree with them?
    Secondly what do you mean by reason?

  • Karen

    Mike B, you’ve been here a while now and you keep trying to ask what atheists believe. It’s been explained to you over and over again that atheism is the absence of god-belief, it is not a belief system in and of itself.

    Theism means having a belief in god. A-theism mean having no belief in god. Simple as that. Atheists are not formally united by any structured belief system, though they may form organizations aimed at maintaining separation of church and state or aimed at gaining greater acceptance for nonreligious people.

    You don’t seem to be able to grasp this very important point, and thus you seem to be continually frustrated that you’re not getting the answers you hope for here.

    If you want to know what belief systems non-religious people hold, I suggest you do some research on movements such as humanism, skepticism, naturalism and secular humanism. There are organizations and foundations associated with many nonreligious viewpoints where you could get your questions answered better, perhaps, as well.

    Hope that’s helpful.

  • Mriana

    Mriana wrote: “I already told you that I stand for reason, compassion, human rights, and the dignity of the human.”

    Is this it? This is what atheists stand for? Wow amazing. Lets’ break it down. You stand for REASON. What exactally does that mean? Who’s reason? Because there are many people who say they “stand for reason” Rush limbaugh a giant among them. If a person says. “I stand for Reason.” is that enough for you to agree with them?
    Secondly what do you mean by reason?

    You sir, with all due respect, are being a perverbial spot. You know what reason is and it’s not Rush Limbaugh. I am beginning to think you enjoy going around in circles, twisting people’s words, and in general enjoy giving people a hard time just to get a reaction out of them. IF someone else wants to take up this little mind game of yours, more power to them.

    I get sick and tired of theists who don’t want to believe that atheists stand for something and then acting ignorant and playing mind games when they do get an answer, all because they want to believe that if one isn’t a theist, then they stand for nothing. :roll:

  • Mriana

    Now that I’ve taken a few deep breath, but can’t edit my last post, you mentioned something about a debate…

    No, your just not a very good debater.

    This is not a debate. You asked a question and I tried to answer it. If it had been a debate, then it would not be like the Inquistion and things like “What is reason?”, but rather something like, “I don’t agree with reason because…”

    Debates don’t usually start out with someone asking a question with the assumption that a person wants an answer because they are curious or something.

  • Mike B

    Mirana wrote:
    ” You know what reason is and it’s not Rush Limbaugh.”

    this is amazing Mirana, you are assuming that you know what I mean when I say “reason” and you call me a spot. I asked you to define what YOU mean when you say reason and I’m begin difficult? In ANY discussion how one uses terms is very important. How you are defining “reason” is important because you claim that it is what you trust.

    Mirana wrote: ” I am beginning to think you enjoy going around in circles, twisting people’s words, and in general enjoy giving people a hard time just to get a reaction out of them.”

    How do you know what I’m trying to do?

    I ask once again… How am I twisting your words? You show me how my questions are twisting your meaning? Did you not mean to say that I was willfully choosing to look the other way when you said this:

    “Obviously you don’t want to hear the answers”?

    When you called me “nonobservant” did you mean that or was I supposed to “infer” something else?

    Please show me how I am “twisting your words” You’ve claimed this three times and have failed to produce a single logical demonstration of how I have twisted the meaning of your sentences.

    And this “going around in circles” yea thats called a logic. For someone who proposes to believe in “reason”, “logic” and “science” you don’t seem to be able to recognize it when you’re hit right between the eyes with it.

    I’m NOT trying to twist your words I’m trying to FORCE you to think LOGICALLY(which is really ironic because you claim to be already doing that)

    Either I am willfuly choosing to look the other way OR I am nonobservant. If you have proof that I am BOTH, based upon the limited information that I have provided you, I would like for you to demonstrate how you arrived at that “logical” conclusion.

    Is this difficult? I’m asking a person who claims to believe in “reason” (which we have yet to define) to logically defend her outlandish claims that Catholic suppress women, amish suppress child, JW are cults, Mormans oppress womean, and that only people who “think scientifically” are worth listening too.

    I might be a christian or I might be an atheist. Either way asking you to defend your own words should be hardly considered “twisting” them.

    Now on to Karen:

    Thanks for joining me in my conversation with Mirana. Your points are well taken but I do have a question for you:

    Karen wrote: ” It’s been explained to you over and over again that atheism is the absence of god-belief, it is not a belief system in and of itself.”

    That’s an interesting point. However, as Mirana has pointed out here: by questioning “science” I have some how questioned the “holy grail”
    Siamang, Darryl and Mirana are pseudo offended that I have dared to question that reason and science can lead us towards the truth. If atheism propose no position why is everyone defending “reason”, “science” and “logic”?

    Secondly If Athiest do not have a “belief system” why the lack of diversity? Where are the atheist who DON’T believe in evolution as a theory for species diversity? Where are the Platonic athiests who don’t believe that reality is synomious with “matter”? Where are the atheists who contend that our capacity for “reason” is tainted with our agendas and philosophical perspectives?

    Shouldn’t Mirana and others have to logically denfend their claims or should they get a free pass because they “simply lack faith”? I know you claim that you have proposed “nothing” but if you examine what I have writen you’ll realize all I’ve done is ask people about their OWN assertions. That’s it.

    Thirdly doesn’t it seem to imply that it’s possible to be value neutral? Isn’t it kind of like saying “We atheist here are above taking philosophical positions.” But this is said in the middle of taking philosophical positions. Did you look at Siamangs post? He claimed that it was possible to methodologically act according to the rules of naturalism and yet remain untainted by philosophical naturalism. How can one methodologically act like naturalism is true but yet claim to NOT be affected by naturalism?

    Karen: “You don’t seem to be able to grasp this very important point, and thus you seem to be continually frustrated that you’re not getting the answers you hope for here.”

    I’m not frustrated, not really. When you see assertions like Miranas I simply want to test them and see if they are coming from a place of “reasoned thought” or “emotional anger”. How would you gague her ability to communicate her position so far?

  • Darryl

    Mike B., I get the impression that you just want to challenge people. You may take some perverse pleasure in this anonymous pestering, but some of the folks here tire of it. You ask questions not like one who genuinely wants to learn something, but like a prosecutor—looking for inconsistencies in the witness’s statements so you can pounce upon the guilty. Mriana has you pegged correctly (and, by the way, have enough respect to spell her name correctly).

    You have lumped a few of us together and implied that we all think alike. This is incorrect. If you did more reading and less pestering you might have figured this out on your own. I’ll bet you’re a lousy listener too, aren’t you? I’ve never met Siamang or Mriana, but I’ve read enough of their writing to know that they have minds of their own, and they don’t agree with me about certain matters. Furthermore, you need to go back and reread my responses to your pestering and you’ll see—maybe—that you mischaracterized my views.

    I’m NOT trying to twist your words I’m trying to FORCE you to think LOGICALLY (which is really ironic because you claim to be already doing that).

    Let me add arrogant to the list of your shortcomings (let’s see: pedantic, pesty, proud—I’ve got an alliteration going on here!).

    Now on to Karen:

    Yes, you’re a regular Gary Kasparov taking on 30 chess matches at a time; yes, knocking down adversaries one-by-one, one arm tied behind your back, amazed at your own brilliance, and even more amazed that others fail to recognize it! “Ah, will they ever see the light; will they never think as I do—logically?!”

    If atheism propose no position why is everyone defending “reason”, “science” and “logic”?

    I, for one, refuse to believe that you are as stupid as this question makes you sound. Maybe this is all a put-on and you’re really a very, very dry comic who specializes in routines with atheist straight-men? I can see the humor in that; anyone else?

    Secondly If Athiest do not have a “belief system” why the lack of diversity?

    Hmmm, . . . I’m back to the stupid hypothesis—no comedian would follow on with that. (By the way, are you afraid of overusing the letter ‘s’ or just lazy?)

    I’m bored. This is no fun; no challenge. Read a few books and come back when you’ve got something to add.

  • Mriana

    Hmmm, . . . I’m back to the stupid hypothesis—no comedian would follow on with that.

    ROFLMBO! I like you, Darryl. :)

    I’m bored. This is no fun; no challenge. Read a few books and come back when you’ve got something to add.

    I second that and yes he does need to learn how to spell my name right. I lost count how many times he misspelled it. :roll: It’s right in front of him and he still can’t get it right, but I shouldn’t be surprised since everything else is before his eyes and he can’t figure any of it out to save his life.

  • mike brown

    Mriana:

    I appologize for misspelling your name.
    Darryl. What books would you propose I read?
    Lastly who said I wasn’t learning anything? I’ve learned alot about Mriana, and you as well Darryl. Your compassionate and understanding attitude has certainly opened my eyes to the how consistant you all are with your belief system.

    Thanks

    mike

  • Mriana

    Oh yes, I do feel compassion for you- I feel bad that you can’t grasp a simple concept, apparently can’t use a dictionary, and feel the need to pester people with silly questions, but it might not be your fault. It could be the educational system and/or the higher ups you listen to in your church. Maybe you were taught to be a jerk. Who knows. Whatever the case, I feel you feel the need to give people problems for whatever reason. Maybe you doubt yourself and/or have low self-esteem thus the reason for your behaviour. I don’t know, but you have not learned a thing.

    I would also recommend a book on the Enlightenment era too, maybe even read some of the works by Thomas Jeffereson, Mary Wollstonecraft, Percy Shelly, and others of that time. Then again, even they maybe over your head too.

  • Mike

    I’m sorry that you feel I’m here to pester. I’m just interested in a good discussion, which this has decidedly turned for the worst. Name calling and mocking is hardly “rational” behavior.

    Mriana I asked what you meant by reason becuase I don’t know what you mean. I think I know but the word has been employed in many different ways’ especially here. I’m speaking right now with a person on another post on this site, that believes dogs employ “logic” or “reason” and that balls employ reason as well. I would not consider what dogs do as “reasoning”, but he does. So while you may consider the question pedantic or juvenile the first part of a good discussion is to define your terms.

    As to the enlightenment you may want to read up on the works of Immanual Kant because he instituted a philosophical shift away from “objective” reasoning towards a paradigmatic or “subjective” reasoning world view. His work is usually discussed in philosophy 101 in college so I’m pretty sure you should have heard about him.

    Once again I appologize for sounding like kaspirov or some other mental giant. I merely intended to shift the conversation towards Karen.

    Mriana thanks for at least honoring me with responses to my queries that’s more than Siamang or Darryl have done. Siamang just left and Darryl hops in when its convienant or when he has something smug to say.

    Oh and i don’t mean to be anamyous you can contact me at stonewall1012@netzero.com. I am 33, I live in indiana and am married with three children.

  • Siamang

    Siamang just left

    Yes, sorry for that, but I do have life activities beyond the internets.

    Reading back the rest of this discussion, it seemed to have gotten along fine without me. Or as well as could have been expected, given the direction it had taken before I left.

    Darryl. What books would you propose I read?

    I’ll jump in here and recommend actually reading “The God Delusion” if you want your criticism of it to find purchase.

    One thought in parting, if you want a really good “debate an atheist” forum, I highly recommend the Internet Infidels board. It’s been there, done that for me and a few of us here… but bring your “A game”, because they’d wipe the floor with you if you pulled some of the stuff you pulled in this thread. For extra fun, try a moderated debate, where the rules are strict, and the terms of argument are very clearly defined, and a winner shown. Don’t worry, they’ve also got Christian moderators, so the deck isn’t stacked against you.

    Most of us who used to hang there have left it, in search of a more sharing conversation. If you tire of the debate there, come back here and let’s have the type of conversation that this place was made for. Leave the arguing to the arguers.

  • Karen

    I know you claim that you have proposed “nothing” but if you examine what I have writen you’ll realize all I’ve done is ask people about their OWN assertions. That’s it.

    Yeah, you’ve asked but instead of listening to their answers, you come back in full attack mode with responses like, “IS? How do you define IS?”

    Your introduction just above is the first time you’ve told us anything at all about yourself personally. Yet you’ve been here quite a few weeks, IIRC. That’s too bad.

    You seem to be looking to provoke people into philosophical debates, as you have with Tim on the other thread, and that’s okay. But most of us here don’t have the time nor the stomach for that, as Siamang points out. His suggestion that you try the IIDB is a good one. That venue would likely suit your interest level better.

  • Karen

    Now on to Karen:

    Yes, you’re a regular Gary Kasparov taking on 30 chess matches at a time; yes, knocking down adversaries one-by-one, one arm tied behind your back, amazed at your own brilliance, and even more amazed that others fail to recognize it! “Ah, will they ever see the light; will they never think as I do—logically?!”

    ROTFL! Thanks, Darryl. :-)

    I did feel something like a bowling pin there for a second: “Now on to Karen” Rumble, rumble, rumble … THUNK!

  • Mriana

    Graveyard of the Gods ( http://www.graveyardofthegods.com/forum/index.php ) is a good atheist forum too. They aren’t fond of Humanists, so they are hardcore atheists that I think you would just love, Mike, and they’d love to debate you. Sadly, you probably won’t find any Christians there though. More power to you if you do drop into Graveyard of the Gods and I certainly hope they do not eat you alive, but if they do just remember we are far nicer.

  • mike brown

    thanks for the suggestion

    mike

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  • John Mayer

    Mriana said, way back on September 18, 2007 at 8:20 am
    “My grandfather believed “The Mark of Cain” was being turned into a Black person. …they need to be accountable for them ALL! Including the stupid idea of “The Mark of Cain” when it was just a freakin’ story, not a means to legitamize racism.“

    I’m afraid your grandfather had the science all wrong. Black folks descended from Ham, the third of Noah’s sons, and they were cursed to be slaves on account of the fact that Ham had seen Noah drunk and naked, as I recall. That fact is pretty much the foundation stone of Southern Baptists. Son Shem was the progenitor of the Jews and Japheth of the gentiles (I can’t believe I remember all this). That was the lot of his sons, so there were also no Asians. Possibly Asians aren’t actually human beings, which might explain where Cain found his wife. Research like this is critical to the scientific method.


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