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Old 04-10-2008, 12:37 AM   #46
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It is not true beyond doubt, that is the point of science, there is always room for doubt and adjustment. The philosophy of science is different than the philosophy of religion. It is that science is self-correcting and has the capacity to change that negates the arguments that it is a religion. It is faith that allows a religious believer to accept that the truth revealed in their religious text is from God and absolute. It is not faith to reduce the goings on of the world to explanations that fit the evidence and hold those positions at a variety of confidence thresholds that can never reach certainty.

That you suppose man is created in the image of God is an initial assumption, if you believe this to be the case then it must temper your view of evolution even though there is nothing to support the initial assumption.

In the case of evolution the bones of the theory such as variation of offspring and heritability of traits were tested. That the model itself fits the real world observations only provides further strength and improves the confidence level of the theory. The nuances of evolution are discriminated from the natural world with observation and experiment.

That one can see the evidence for evolution and weigh up the odds is what removes it from faith, I am not certain of evolution but I think that it is a very strongly supported theory that has a higher confidence level in my mind than the big bang or standard model. I take no leap of faith in that assessment other than some of the fundamental assumptions about reality that mean what is being measured is real, and that form of assumption is a step apart from supposing an infinitely complex creator deity that may well be an interventionist for which there is no evidence to point to or explanation for the existence of.
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Old 04-10-2008, 12:55 AM   #47
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My practical atheism is conditional, it is a possibility that God created the universe; but there is no reason to suppose it in the absence of evidence. The mere fact that the dominant model for the origin of the universe points to inflation from an undefinably small point (a model which has it's own holes and flaws) does not mean God exists. It simply suggests that the universe progressed from a point source, how that originated may have an explanation beyond what we consider to be the universe; higher dimensions of existence. At this point in time it is beyond the scope of investigation, we lack the tools; but that does not mean you can pull God as an answer like a rabbit out of a hat and say that it explains anything at all. It is just as valid as me saying that I invented the universe in my room next year then sent it backwards in time 13.7 billion years to trigger the big bang. In each case you can't verifiably disprove it, the claims are utterly unfalsifiable and in each case apologists can throw out make believe reasons why it can't be disproved (obviously I can't show you how I made the universe again because it would destroy the fabric of reality etc.).

The universe is as though energy is condensed into matter which is stable as particles which become atoms and join to make molecules and that interactions are mediated with energy. In which the means of interaction are restricted and behave in a fashion that can be described mathematically. There is room for the apparently weird and a complete model has not been nailed out, but do not mistake weird things like the supposed dark matter to be supernatural.

That the world is material and that evolution is a mechanical process acting upon any varying replicator (even in computer simulations of evolving "organisms") is a reasonable fit of the universe from what is understood and known to a high confidence level. Whatever fundamental assumptions one makes they are a step aside from ones that suppose a creator.

The last final flaw that the creation assumption suffers is the what created God problem. Now you may say that God is eternal and that as time is a dimension of the universe it does not effect him as he exists outside our 4D reality. But that explanation of the exterior cause not being subject to the laws of time and neccessitating a creator is just as valid for some normal process in a higher dimension. There is nothing to identify what the process may be and a God one at that level throws up a lot of problems in terms of how a consciousness could exist; problems that in the absence of evidence are inherently unanswerable (but not neccessarily if evidence was found and a model could explain it).

The false equivalence generated by many believers and agnostics alike that God or no God is a 50-50 proposition and that to think either way is a leap of faith is flawed. If we were to be anally literal then I am agnostic but it would be 99.9999 ad infinitum against the existence of God without and I would hope without any thoughts that I wouldn't abandon if faced with a superior explanation.
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Old 04-10-2008, 01:10 AM   #48
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Onto a pertinent matter which is that you feel evolution cannot explain morality in man that is where unfounded belief cannot reconcile to evidence. There is no reason to think that there is an immaterial soul. The brain is a material organ made up of neurons. That we are starting to be able to see the workings of the active mind with imaging technology points to it as a seat of conciousness without any supernatural spark. That other animals live and function using a nervous system fits well with man being no different. It is not as if a soul gives man the capacity to live or to think. Animals are capable of rudimentary thought processes as well as complicated behaviour patterns for Darwinian ends (signalling in mating games would be an obvious example). These processes are required to survive and enable offspring to both be bred with your genes and to survive. Animals demonstrate traits such as reciprocal altruism as well as acts of kin selection where a truly altruistic behaviour is done for a relative.

That humanity has a brain that has exploded in size over a rapid period of time in what may have been some sort of social evolutionary arms race can frame aspects of human behaviour well. It accounts for some of the very best aspects of humanity and can encompass the most vile without the need of invoking a soul hypothesis that is both untestable, lacks any evidence and produces contradictions (the problem of evil for example).

This fundamental assumption about an immaterial soul is very widely held. But no matter how many people believe it, no matter how good it can make people feel and no matter how much they think it approximates the reasons for human behaviour (Freud had approximations too) it doesn't make it accurate. A naturalistic explanation for human behaviour reconciles the gut feelings of morality and the philosophical grounding of ethics to the real world and it can do it without the assumptions of the supernatural.

We are animals.
We are social animals with elaborate behaviour and the capacity for complex social interaction.
Accepting that we are that type of animal does not make us go against our gut instincts or negate our acceptance of the rule of law that we implicity commit to be engaging with civil society.
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Old 04-10-2008, 03:25 PM   #49
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Ok, as you've returned to a civil tone of mutual respect I'll be happy to respond. And I do respect your positions.
Thank you for your acknowledgment that science can be only agnostic and that some aspects of our existence will always remain undiscoverable, opening the door for philosophy to creep in. This is important for it is for this reason that many otherwise intelligent Americans do not fully embrace evolution. The anti-religious tone. The fear, not without foundation, that Darwinism the science has become a Trojan horse loaded up with philosophies and ideologies which seek to totally secularize society and undermine religion and religion based morality. (Which I argue has served us very well) An attack not just on religious institutions, which no one argues are beyond criticism, but the very bedrock of religion, personal faith. I think it's also safe to assume some, just as scientifically illiterate as the stereotypical mouth-breathing creationist, support evolution for these very same reasons.

I grew up in the Space Age. I read every book Carl Sagan wrote and watched Cosmos when it originally aired while I was attending college. In fact, my roommate and I were the devil's advocates whenever the college proselytizers came calling to the dorm. It was I that argued against a young earth and for evolution! And I'm afraid I wasn't always respectful of them -- often cranking-up AC/DC's Highway to Hell as they were leaving. While I have never been atheistic per se, I do plead guilty to being an agnostic 19 year old asshole.

The point being, I no longer subscribe to the entire theory of evolution (for reasons given earlier) and I now believe in a Creator, but I'm no creationist. I believe all of what you and Dr. Sagan believe about our universe except for what happened the instant before (is there a word for events preceding time itself?) the Big Bang. Then it's metaphysical philosophy time and you have yours and I have mine.

Sagan famously said "The cosmos is all there is or ever was or ever will be."
Genesis reads "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

Not at all compatible and only one can ultimately be true.
So which is more probable?

Well, as much as I might struggle to answer the classic problem of infinite regress in explaining a Creator so to must you struggle with this question about our universe.
Why not nothing?
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Old 04-10-2008, 04:24 PM   #50
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[q]This is important for it is for this reason that many otherwise intelligent Americans do not fully embrace evolution. The anti-religious tone. The fear, not without foundation, that Darwinism the science has become a Trojan horse loaded up with philosophies and ideologies which seek to totally secularize society and undermine religion and religion based morality.[/q]


isn't this what ID does?
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Old 04-10-2008, 05:20 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally posted by INDY500
.

Sagan famously said "The cosmos is all there is or ever was or ever will be."
Genesis reads "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

Both are correct.
As far as our beginning in this realm on earth we are to concern ourselves only with God who authored the Creation with the matter that always existed and what his only Son did for us to get right with Him and back to His presence from where our souls once sprang.

The tricky or fun part in this existence is exercising our free will to be most intune with all of the things He created; therin lies happines and the most joy for man to hopefully achieve.

dbs
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Old 04-10-2008, 06:03 PM   #52
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Interesting conversation.

Is there only what is?

By this question I mean, is the world only material? I notice an awful lot flying back and forth here about religion/philosophy and science. When it comes to reality, is this a false dichotomy?
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Old 04-10-2008, 06:26 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally posted by nathan1977
Interesting conversation.

Is there only what is?

By this question I mean, is the world only material? I notice an awful lot flying back and forth here about religion/philosophy and science. When it comes to reality, is this a false dichotomy?
No the world existed spiritually even before God started creating it, and matter existed before that.

Yes our reality is a false dichotomy, and the life is but a blink of an eye compared to how long your soul had lived with God before the earth was even constructed and how long it will continue to live.

A good book to read re the false dichotomy or sphere we're now living in is :

The Four Agreements.

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Old 04-10-2008, 07:51 PM   #54
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Originally posted by diamond


No the world existed spiritually even before God started creating it,
<>
Then you cannot say "The cosmos is all there is or ever was or ever will be."

The universe is either a closed materialistic system with a naturalistic cause for it's creation or it's not.
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Old 04-10-2008, 07:57 PM   #55
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Old 04-10-2008, 08:43 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
[q]This is important for it is for this reason that many otherwise intelligent Americans do not fully embrace evolution. The anti-religious tone. The fear, not without foundation, that Darwinism the science has become a Trojan horse loaded up with philosophies and ideologies which seek to totally secularize society and undermine religion and religion based morality.[/q]


isn't this what ID does?
Sure, I suppose that's true. And you'd be rightly troubled if it was the ideology seeking to monopolize theories in textbooks and classrooms regarding the origin of life and the universe?
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Old 04-10-2008, 08:56 PM   #57
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God isn't an answer for the origin of the universe, as I stated before it could literally be any mechanism but in the absence of evidence supposing God is flawed. Scientists are not all leaping on board any explanation for that very reason; we simply don't know because we cannot know at this point in time. But this current limit of knowledge does not mean that God creeps in as a valid explanation.

Your problem with secularism of public society highlights a major issue that I have with many believers, the rejection of the secular state. The religious freedoms that are guaranteed are overlooked because they don't get special treatment or it allows things that are at odds to their subjective morality.

Having no line of distinction between man and animal is the core of why Darwinism may get pilloried. But natural explanations function a lot better than religious ones to model peoples behaviour. Attempts to separate us from our decent are doomed because of what our ancestors left us.
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Old 04-10-2008, 08:59 PM   #58
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And yes I fully support undermining religious based morality, the good deeds may be done for the wrong reasons and the bigotry enshrined in bronze aged texts lingers to this day. I do not support burning down churches or mosques in the name of atheism, I do support a secular state with freedom of religion and a common law that does not derive justification from an eternal and unyielding lie.
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Old 04-10-2008, 09:09 PM   #59
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Quote:
Originally posted by INDY500


Then you cannot say "The cosmos is all there is or ever was or ever will be."

The universe is either a closed materialistic system with a naturalistic cause for it's creation or it's not.
No, we can't say that the universe is definitely a closed system and we can't say definitely if it had a beginning (however with the rate of cosmic expansion it seems like the end is doomed to be infinite space).

The implication I get from the statement is that if the universe is not closed then there is no natural cause for it's formation and it must have a special creator. That science hasn't approximated an answer yet does not give a God based solution any validity.
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Old 04-10-2008, 09:13 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally posted by INDY500


Sure, I suppose that's true. And you'd be rightly troubled if it was the ideology seeking to monopolize theories in textbooks and classrooms regarding the origin of life and the universe?


you propose an alternative to science in a science classroom? are you worried about the monopoly the Theory of Gravity or Plate Tectonics has on the minds of our children? or is it because certain facts don't sit comfortably and reality isn't so easy to reconcile with a 2,000 year old book?
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