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Old 04-10-2008, 08:45 PM   #61
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
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, 09:07 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, 09:51 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, 09:59 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 04-10-2008, 11:15 PM   #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 04-10-2008, 11:19 PM   #66
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Originally posted by INDY500
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, 12:06 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, 12:19 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, 12:21 AM   #69
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
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, 12:27 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, 08:26 AM   #71
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
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, 08:49 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, 10:10 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, 10:20 AM   #74
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
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, 10:35 AM   #75
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And God is at the helm of that expansion.

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Old 04-11-2008, 10:43 AM   #76
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Originally posted by INDY500
(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.
Are you calling me a communist? I don't think that a better man is possible given our biology, the study in this thread was identifying a correlation between an innate biological characteristic and the nature of the individuals belief. Human nature does not change at the desire of any state and I do not think that everybody is predisposed to be agnostic. Some people are going to believe in something no matter what indoctrination they get. Laying the crimes of Mao and Stalin at the foot of atheism overlooks the much more pertinent issue of their cults of personality and collectivism, two things which I as an individualistic atheist abhor.
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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.
You live in a democracy, I think that the desire for an anti-secular populace can be a means of enforcing a religious agenda by stealth. That is why it is important for a portion of any population to be activists in the cause of freedom from religiousity, upholding the principles of secular governance by complaining about things such as prayer in school and religion based law is important.
Quote:
"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
I am much more partial to Jefferson, to whom the establishment clause owes a good deal of origin. I do not see any contradiction between a pro-liberty position and atheism, that I justify liberty on the basis of a claim to ownership over my own mind and body and a willingness to consensually engage with society. I am not endowed with freedom from a creator and that argument is a lie, the exceptions around the world attest to that. That freedom can only exist in a state where individuals have choice is the defining issue, it does not demand a claim of absolute authority to justify it, merely consensual engagement by sentient organisms.
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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?
True, liberties are enshrined in documents such as the American bill of rights which the state cannot infringe upon. That there are avenues of appeal against unjust laws through a judicial system is critical to that. You really seem to be under the false impression that if the law claims God as justification then either it cannot do wrong or that it is restricted from truly infringing liberties, to that end I call bullshit; as religious law is inherently anti-liberty; it is predicated upon the belief in and subjugation to God, in the absence of that belief (or a belief in a different interpretation) one is open to persecution. A state should only be justified by it's populace, that they see fit to pay taxes and engage with it because it represents their interests as sentient organisms, a secular state is good because it may do so fairly without discriminating by whatever fairy tale the different individuals believe in.
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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.
An owners manual for man? One could derive better morality from different types of man made literature than the bible, Shakespeare comes to mind instantly. That believers may subsidise others belief, hang out with each other and fuck their women more (without birth control) says nothing of the texts validity merely that the lifestyle is condusive to spreading (and as a cultural meme religion has been very effective and one would expect that).
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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.
The emancipation of women has a very large factor in a declining birth rate, that Europe is below replacement level rates is not strictly related to the decline in faith but even if it was it doesn't reflect well upon religion. That in a post-Christian society women are free to pursue education and career (at the expense of settling down to being housewives and pumping out Christian soldiers) is not a bad thing.

If you throw out examples of problems that exist in secular societies I am happy to throw the alternative problems that exist in religious ones, low birth rates in free first world nations contrasts to women enslaved to offspring in the third world, high rates of birth control and abortion contrast against more teenage pregnancy, offensive artwork against censorship and intimidation of artists.

I do not feel that I would be free to pursue my agenda of irreligious science, sex and drugs in a religious state. A secular state is the best model for protecting the rights of the infidel and believer without favour to either and no matter how much people whine it doesn't change the case. It could be very good if Americans just abandoned that pesky first amendment for a decade or so and started killing off fags, persecuting Muslims, Jews and Catholics and enforcing whatever hardline WASP dogma that many seem to desire; the horror of a state church could truly turn the country Godless.
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Old 04-11-2008, 10:44 AM   #77
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Ever wonder what the universe is expanding into?
Would a higher dimension imply God? No.

I do not understand the mathematics that describes higher dimensions terribly well other than calculating the vertices of an n-cube.

I can accept that as an open question, I do not feel compelled to put absolute faith in an explanation that demands even more answering.
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Old 04-11-2008, 10:46 AM   #78
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Ever wonder what the universe is expanding into?
It's expanding to fulfill His purposes and not to trick secularists into thinking we evolved from fish.

You'll see one day.


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Old 04-11-2008, 11:11 AM   #79
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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?
Oh please.
If we can talk about Nature's God and the Creator when discussing the birth of our nation I don't think it terribly out of order that discussions dealing with the birth of the universe and the dawning of man shouldn't also at least make mention of them.

The theory of Design is speculation on facts, but then so are those famous ape to man lineups adorning the walls of classrooms.
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Old 04-11-2008, 11:27 AM   #80
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But both cosmology and palaeontology have explanations which are not in line with a special creator. For the universe it seems as though it has expanded from a singularity and given that expansion is accelerating it will continue until it is an infitesimally small amount of matter spread across an infinitely expanding universe - it does not hint at a creator. The fossil record, molecular biology and experimental evidence supports evolution to explain life on earth. Organic chemistry fits for the origin of life, given that life obeys the known laws of physics and chemistry it is not unreasonable to take a naturalistic position towards it's origin. Since there is a high confidence level in chemistry and a rather actualistic position (the laws today are the same as those in the past) it is not unreasonable to put a higher confidence in a naturalistic origin for life.

The current argument of teach the controversy over intelligent design is utter shit. ID is a feculent argument. In light of the evidence, in a court of law it had it's principle defender admit that it was as valid as astrology. It has no room in the science classroom, it is not accepted by any reputable scientific organisation and importantly as a model it is not as good a fit as evolution. Basically anything ID can do evolution can do better, the examples of irreducable complexity collapse in light of scientific investigation (there is a clear evolutionary origin for the flagellum of bacteria, Behe was wrong).

ID posits an intelligent designer who in the eyes of proponents is God. The hypothesis is nowhere near as accurate as natural selection and evolution and as such it shouldn't be taught in public schools, it isn't unfair to teach students the model that most accurately fits the real world, which is evolution. That ID proponents are pushing a supernatural entity (as opposed to aliens) for the creation of man is what makes it unconstitutional, it is promoting a theistic position which in a public school would be violating the establishment clause.

If you have a problem with that get parents to pay money to attend a school that teaches kids lies. As long as it isn't some poor nonbelievers money being used to subsidies it I guess it's alright (parents have the right to fuck with their kids minds after all).
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