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Old 04-10-2008, 09:45 PM   #61
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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.
That's a far cry from "we can't say," isn't it?
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Old 04-10-2008, 10:07 PM   #62
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I am not an agnostic I am an atheist, it is not a 50:50 proposition and it certainly wouldn't be an equal spread of all religious beliefs. I have yet to see anything for which the God based explanation trumps, there is no cause to seriously entertain God as an explanation.

The fact is that it is in principle possible for me to change my mind about the existence of God if the evidence swung to that being the best explanation, that stipulation separates atheism from religious belief; if somebody believes in God then the absence of evidence or evidence to the contrary does not make them reevaluate that faith, they feel it or accept it without strong evidence.

Secularism is a much more political position but it is the pro-freedom position. I embrace it because the consensual society that I like to engage with should not persecute people for their beliefs or use my taxpayers money to further religious beliefs (so no state money to religious schools, no faith-based initiatives, no mandatory prayer - for instance "one nation under God" etc.).

If the law was justified on the basis of God I would have absolutely no respect for it whatsoever. If the ten commandments were enshrined into the legal system I would be persecuted. I reject the concept of the judeo-christian deity, it was invented by man. I enjoy the freedom of lust and sex outside of marriage, I relish in blasphemy, I don't think that children have an obligation to respect and honour their parents (especially not when parents are abusive bastards), I think that desiring the things that other people have drives us to success. The laws themselves tend towards discrimination against any believer that doesn't tow the line of the dominant doctrine and certainly against any infidel. The bigotry expoused by the faithful around the world against women and gays would invariably creep into law if it was governed by religious texts.

That everything would be justified by a higher power makes it worse, who can the blasphemer appeal to? If the faith establishes that there are absolute limits on things people can say and think then freedom of speech is destroyed right there.

Secularism guarantees that the state is not going to be burning down a church or locking up believers carte blanche and that everybody can get equal treatment under a law that they mutually agree upon for the most part without any divine justification.
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Old 04-10-2008, 10:51 PM   #63
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer

Secularism guarantees that the state is not going to be burning down a church or locking up believers carte blanche and that everybody can get equal treatment under a law that they mutually agree upon for the most part without any divine justification.


this hits the nail on the head. i'm always a bit befuddled as to why secularism is seen as such a threat -- it's for the protection of the believers.
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Old 04-10-2008, 10:59 PM   #64
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That last part should read "mutually agree upon for the most part. Without any divine justification".
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Old 04-11-2008, 12:15 AM   #65
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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?
Religion is all about "absolute truth," right? And, by definition, "absolute truth" is right, no matter if the "majority" voted against it, right?

Science deals in absolute truth, not ideology. As such, your talk about "monopolizing theories" is relativistic nonsense.
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Old 04-11-2008, 12:19 AM   #66
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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.
I think the only reason that many Americans do not embrace evolution is because it is consistently undermined by religious institutions and ministers.

And, yet, for the Roman Catholic Church, evolution has been fully acceptable for decades now. Funny how many Catholics clearly have no problem being theistic and acknowledging the science that is evolution when the institutional church has no problem with it.

It's not all that different from Iraq, I'd say. It seems that our "progress" is based on whether the Muslim clerics tell their followers to cooperate (when things go well) or fight (when things deteriorate).

Looks like the sheeple can't really think for themselves, whether here or there.
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Old 04-11-2008, 01:06 AM   #67
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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.
I say God allows the universe to continue to perpetuate itself under His command.

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Old 04-11-2008, 01:19 AM   #68
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Originally posted by melon


Religion is all about "absolute truth," right? And, by definition, "absolute truth" is right, no matter if the "majority" voted against it, right?

Science deals in absolute truth, not ideology. As such, your talk about "monopolizing theories" is relativistic nonsense.
I disagree, I would say that science deals with most accurate approximation rather than absolute truth. Because there is always room for doubt in principle there can never be absolute truth about anything.
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Old 04-11-2008, 01:21 AM   #69
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I disagree, I would say that science deals with most accurate approximation rather than absolute truth. Because there is always room for doubt in principle there can never be absolute truth about anything.
Still, it is a quest for "absolutes," or "the concrete." My point, I guess, is that its findings are not up for populist votes. Fact is fact.
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Old 04-11-2008, 01:27 AM   #70
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I think that the danger is that a very specific question about the nature of what is true becomes a flaw in the eyes of somebody who wants absolute truth.

Most accurate seems like a better description than absolute truth. Especially because religions are taking their absolute as a revealed truth whereas science is based on observation of reality.

And you are exactly right that science is not a democratic system of knowledge, that what people want will not change the facts.
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Old 04-11-2008, 09:26 AM   #71
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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 04-11-2008, 09:49 AM   #72
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To anticipate I simply reiterate that I have respect for freedom of belief, regardless of any hostility I have towards superstition and the contempt I have when it is abusing the trust of innocent people (priests indulging in child rape, faith healers, televangelists etc.) I consider myself to generally be pro-liberty. That includes freedom of religious belief. My strong conviction that secularism is a positive is rooted in that. Secularism enables freedom of belief and importantly for me freedom of unbelief. That I may be contemptuous towards intelligent design/creation is irrelevant to the merits of secularism, my support for evolution is rooted in the evidence not any anti-theistic sentiment, my fascination with the natural world far predates my run-ins with the faithful.
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Old 04-11-2008, 11:10 AM   #73
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer

Your problem with secularism of public society highlights a major issue that I have with many believers, the rejection of the secular state.

(Time expired before I could edit. Here is my post.)

Secular state? Is that what you meant to say? Didn't we see enough during the last century to realize that the quest for an atheist utopia quickly turns into a license for mass murder. All, of coarse, in the name of reason, science and the state and towards a new and better man.

Now secular society and a secular government are two entirely different topics. I do want secular law, but I do not wish a secular populace.
"Statesmen may plan and speculate for liberty but it is religion and morality alone that can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand."
--John Adams, 1775

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The religious freedoms that are guaranteed...
Guaranteed by what? If you want a secular state then you must turnover your guarantees or rights and freedoms to the whims of that state? What is your court of appeal if that state is unrestricted by any higher law?
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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.
Is that really true? We've been talking about the first page of the Bible but mine has some 2500 more. It is an owners manual for man. There are of coarse other religions but there seems to be no doubt that religious believers on whole are happier, more charitable, less lonely, better able to cope with suffering and death and they reproduce at a greater rate.
Maybe that is the biological predisposition to faith. Secular societies don't seem able to sustain themselves biologically.
There is in fact very real evidence of that today. The native populations of Europe, Russia and Japan are all shrinking.
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Old 04-11-2008, 11:20 AM   #74
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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).

Ever wonder what the universe is expanding into?
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Old 04-11-2008, 11:35 AM   #75
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And God is at the helm of that expansion.

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