ORIGINS: UNIVERSE, LIFE, HUMANKIND, AND DARWIN

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ORIGINS: UNIVERSE, LIFE, HUMANKIND, AND DARWIN

We debate origins of the Universe, life, Earth, humans, religion, atheism, using common sense, evolution, cosmology, geology, archaeology, and other sciences, to repel biblical creationism and other religious beliefs.

Location: Oxford University, England
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The portrait is Charles Darwin, age 31, in 1840

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Comment by Alex Donovan on January 28, 2009 at 3:58pm
"But if I I may ask Claudia in her post here she states "In other words, Christianity can be a true religion, if it is a religion that centers on believing faith."

Claudia keeps using variations of the 'I don't understand science, therefore God exists' argument.
Standard 'God of the Gaps' stuff.
Comment by Richard Thomas on January 28, 2009 at 12:04am
As a newbie here I wish to tred carefully to avoid seeming to be too harsh about a subject since I have not fully followed the arguements presented.
But if I I may ask Claudia in her post here she states "In other words, Christianity can be a true religion, if it is a religion that centers on believing faith.

I wish to have her clarify just what the definition of faith is in this context so that I may correctly aware of the meaning of this sentence.
My aplogies for asking what may seem a self evident thing to you but I am sincerely wondering.
Comment by Marc Draco on January 27, 2009 at 11:49am
Claudia,

I am well aware of the view that atheism and theism are opposing sides of the same coin - the construction of the word atheism is indicative of a negative; cp. systolic and asystolic.

We can also compare deist/deism and theist/theism (both rooted similarly from Greek theos [god] and Latin deus [god] respectively). The theists (Christians, Muslims, etc.) think that their God pokes "his" nose into our affairs; the deists think that "god" created everything yet takes no interest; ironically, although this idea is no longer popular, it is closer to describing what we know: if we call the creation event, i.e. Big Bang, "god".

I fear I am unable to follow your argument from Barth's perspective - it reads like a typical self-referential theological parody that masks the void argument.

Beisdes, why should I care what Barth thinks? He operates from the perspective of a theist - one who has accepted Jesus as historical fact - and that makes him closed-minded, as this quote illustrates:

Though Barth made it possible for theologians again to take the Bible seriously, American evangelicals have been skeptical of Barth because he refused to consider the written Word "infallible" (he believed only Jesus was). Others gave up on Barth's theology because it overemphasized God's transcendance (to the point that some former Barthians began championing the "death of God").


While I strive not to be dismissive, it's difficult to see things through the eyes of the closed-minded, regardless of how cognisant the argument appears. Just because Barth was popular among his peers, doesn't make him right.

Marc
Comment by Marc Draco on January 26, 2009 at 7:18pm
No apology warranted - I do seem to get mistaken for other people though and that needles me. On the contrary, it is I who owes you an apology for being rather rude in the first instance; I wasn't entirely in balance and could have been less brusque.

You answered your own question, Claudia, when you state: "Pope Benedict XVI, who is widely considered, even by secular philosophers, to be one of the greatest theologian of Catholicism, is mistaken?"

The key is in the bit "theologian of Catholicism" - he is far less of a scientist than I am yet feels able to reach conclusions in fields as diverse as psychology and biology. As a theologian he is schooled in belief from the singular point of view that a monothestic God (as he sees it) is a masculine creator of all things.

More pointedly, if an expert knows more and more about less and less, the ultimate conclusion of his argument results in the Goddit gambit.

For a simpler proof (excuse my lack of cogent argument, it's late here) you might consider Pascal's Wager which is still used widely today (the Alpha Course is a good example) despite being thoroughly discredited.

Marc - (Draco is my surname)
Comment by Dr. Terence Meaden on January 26, 2009 at 8:11am
To Susan Lacroix
Thank you Susan.
This suggestion as to what may have happened before the Big Bang I simplified from the proposals of a major physicist Prof. Vic Stenger.
It is based on his thinking that uses currently-known quantum physics to suggest an answer. I sent my summary to him for him to check out, which he did. I expect other theoretical physicists to propose other answers as the century unfolds but this one is a good logical start ibecause of its use of existing knowledge of physics.
Comment by Alex Donovan on January 25, 2009 at 2:31pm
Fundamentalists like to say that it takes more faith not to believe in God than to believe in God. William of Ockham described the principle of parsimony. Basically it states that there is no cause to needlessly multiply entities. What this means is that if you have two explanations that fit a given phenomenon, the one that makes the least assumptions is usually the correct one.

Christians have one more assumption than Agnostics or Atheists. That is, they assume the existence of a God or Gods who created the Universe. Agnostics and Atheists make no such assumption. Facts do not require "faith" but assumptions do. Therefore the more assumptions you make, the more faith is required. Therefore it takes more faith to believe in Christianity than it does not to.
Comment by Susan LaCroix on January 25, 2009 at 10:34am
Thanks Dr. Meaden, for your explanation of the "What existed before the Big Bang" question. I'm not as educated as most people here, but I've always wondered about it myself. You articulated it in a way that even the common folk can understand, and it makes perfect sense to me.

I enjoy reading most of the posts here, because I can learn new concepts here and find answers to some of the questions that have nagged at me my whole life. Scientific knowledge in this field has grown so rapidly over the past 10 yrs that I scarcely know where to begin!

I prefer to read the posts here and not comment on them most of the time, due to my ignorance of the laws of physics, and science in general. Though, I do hate to see a good discussion devolve into what seems like personal attacks on each others comments. I guess that's another reason why I rarely post comments:-)
Comment by Marc Draco on January 25, 2009 at 9:07am
Thanks Don. I'm heading over there now!
Comment by Dr. Terence Meaden on January 25, 2009 at 9:06am
Well spotted, Don.
Thanks for pointing this out.
The article makes a good read for everybody.
Comment by Marc Draco on January 24, 2009 at 12:05pm
I don't know much about what Benedict thinks XVI, but he's obviously mistaken - as are you, Claudia. It's I and not Alex who posted the remark about Humanism being the ultimate evolution.

Clearly anyone who relies on there being a god (or the appearance of one) for their income is hardly likely to find anything else- you tend to find what you seek especially if you start with the blinkers of unreason firmly glued to your optic nerve.

So far as I am aware, Professor Dawkin's claim for the non-existence of "god" is absolute and unshaken.
 

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