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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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Discussion Forum

Genetically Engineered Fungi are Part Human and Part Yeast

Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by Donald L. Engel on Saturday. 1 Reply

Drug Rejuvenates Stem Cell Functioning in Old Mice

Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by Gerald Payne May 15. 10 Replies

Fossilized Brain

Started by Patricia May 11. 0 Replies

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Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by Gerald Payne Apr 30. 16 Replies

Dinosaur Highway

Started by Patricia. Last reply by Gerald Payne Apr 29. 8 Replies

Evolution is a FACT, not a theory.

Started by Idaho Spud. Last reply by Joseph P Apr 25. 15 Replies

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Comment by Joan Denoo on February 18, 2015 at 12:51am

@Dr. Terence Meaden  thanks for the wonderful poem. I am passing it on. 

Richard Le Gallienne's version included

Look not above, there is no answer there;
Pray not, for no one listens to your prayer;
Near is as near to God as any Far,
And Here is just the same deceit as There.

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam 

(#78, on p. 44)

Comment by Joan Denoo on February 17, 2015 at 4:25pm

Joseph, I like this concept you present, making it possible to reframe the concept and then rebut the statement with clarity and power. 

To think that forever translates into something meaningless, maintains no value, no worth. What good is an individual living with god and all his sycophants when it becomes eternal submission? It grows even more unsavory to my appetite. 

To correlate infinity with value ...

Let's discuss economics for a minute. 

"If a resource is freely available in almost limitless quantity, then it's value drops off to almost nothing."

"New Oxfam report says half of global wealth held by the 1%"

"Considering how the  conservative, religiously-owned party here in the US claims to have a solid grasp of financial matters, they don't understand a damned thing about economics, in reality."

"If you ask them why groveling at the feet of their holy master, praising him for eternity, gives their life meaning ... well, no, I've never heard a coherent explanation."

thanks for calling this to my attention Joseph. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on February 17, 2015 at 2:20pm

Donald, I love "The Rubaiyat". An elderly English gentleman lived in my neighborhood. He had been a Shakespearean actor in England, with a love of poetry. He had long white hair that streamed down his back and very long white beard. Every Thursday in the summer he would come over to my back yard and we had tea in the garden and he read poetry to me. One of my favorites poets was Omar Khayyam. The last year of his life was a horrid one. He was in and out of hospitals and nursing homes. Every Thursday I would go and read to him. I wasn't very skilled and if I got the inflection wrong he corrected me, gently. His wife and children asked if we could have his memorial service in my back yard. What a wonderful gift they gave me. As the sun began to sink in the west, some of the children and their parents were still in the garden as Sirius started to shine. Sirius, the Dog Star is the brightest star (in fact, a star system) in the Earth's night sky. 

The children often were in my garden until almost dark, and we tried to learn all the stars and constellations. So, that evening they began to talk about Roger while Sirius was in the southwestern sky. They renamed it "Roger". He would have been very pleased.

Comment by Joseph P on February 17, 2015 at 2:13pm

@Quinton (again)

I expect most are just grossly ignorant of what evolution actually is and have too much invested in their ignorance to question it.

There are some who remain willfully ignorant of it, sure.  I'm sure that Ray Comfort hasn't allowed it to soak in, no matter how many times he's had it explained to him.  I think he just shuts his ears off and waits for his next turn to preach, when any evolution proponent is speaking.

Others, I'm not so sure, though.  They know that they have to reject the theory of evolution, because if they lose the Doctrine of Original Sin from a literal Garden of Eden, then the whole house of cards leading up to Jesus's redemption of mankind falls apart.

It's similar to the situation of some preachers who are fully aware of the fact that the Gospels are hearsay stories, passed around for decades before being collected and written down by anonymous scribes who weren't the apostles.  They've had formal education with real literary analysis of the Bible, not the unthinking adherence of a fundamentalist seminary.

Yet, those preachers don't mention to their flock all of the damning things that they learned in seminary, because the flock isn't spiritually ready to hear it, or some similarly flimsy excuse.  Likewise, I'm sure that some young-earth creationists have had enough of the actual details of evolution filtered into their brains, but they know that they can't admit those details to their flock and represent evolution honestly, because there will be those in their flock who aren't sufficiently spiritually fortified and will go astray.  So, they continue to lie and straw-man.

I think we're most likely to go astray when trying to guess any given Christian's understanding and motivation, except with the most blatant ones, like Ray Comfort.  There's such a wide variety of samples.

Still, it's fun to muse, as long as you don't try to use your musings to paint someone unfairly.

I know however the Jehovah Witnesses have the Theocratic War Strategy, which essentially means if it will help them in an argument they should lie.

I hadn't specifically heard of that in regards to the Jehovah's Witnesses, but I've heard similar from other quarters.  I think Sye Ten Bruggencate has said, at various times, that he doesn't have to deal honestly with anyone who isn't saved.  Also, he'll only debate theology with someone who has accepted a literal, fundamentalist reading of the Bible.

The guy's mind must be a bag full of cats.

The religious who knowingly lie will sometime justify it with the idea that if it saves a person from damnation it's for the greater good; this was the same justification I believe the Spanish Inquisition had for burning people alive - when morality is based on the well being of people's supposed afterlife instead their well being here and now, it is possible for anything to become permissible.

As someone who largely adopts an ends-justify-the-means mentality, this sort of thing is particularly troubling.  They're leaving out the second part of the process.  If the ends justify the means, then the means also have to justify the ends.  Otherwise, you end up with a grossly imbalanced equation.

To put it another way, if you're having to go to horrific, morally abhorrent means in order to accomplish your ends, you should really go back and take a look at what that says about your goals.

Comment by Joseph P on February 17, 2015 at 1:06pm

@Quinton

The religious talk about their religion giving them meaning or purpose, but does anyone actually know what they mean by that?

The most coherent I've ever heard out of them is that somehow, forever = meaningful.

There's a similar, fucked-up correlation between infinity and value, in their propaganda.  It's the opposite of reality, of course.  If a resource is freely available in almost limitless quantity, then it's value drops off to almost nothing.  Considering how the the conservative, religiously-owned party here in the US claims to have a solid grasp of financial matters, they don't understand a damned thing about economics, in reality.

If you ask them why groveling at the feet of their holy master, praising him for eternity, gives their life meaning ... well, no, I've never heard a coherent explanation.

Comment by Dr. Terence Meaden on February 17, 2015 at 12:53pm

Memories of reading it all at school.

Richard Le Gallienne's version included

Look not above, there is no answer there;
Pray not, for no one listens to your prayer;
Near is as near to God as any Far,
And Here is just the same deceit as There.
(#78, on p. 44)

Comment by Donald L. Engel on February 17, 2015 at 12:40pm

"I sent my Soul through the Invisible,
Some letter of that
After-life to spell:
And by and by my Soul return'd to me,

And answer'd "I Myself am Heav'n and Hell:"

Joan, I just read lyour last entry, and it reminded me of the above quote.

It is from "The Rubyait", by Omar Khayyam.  If there is anyone out there that hasn't read it, I think you will find it interesting.  You can read it if you google it.

Comment by Joan Denoo on February 17, 2015 at 11:43am

Don, thank you for this very important exchange that occurs very often in my life. That question seems to haunt people to the point of despair. Once one grasps the concept of living here and now and paying attention to those around us, life becomes so much richer. No hope of a paradise, no fear of hell. Paradise and hell exist right here, right now. 

By the way, I recommend your books to all my family with children. Some love them, some not. That is the way it is. At least, we will never have to wonder if people have books to help them understand. You books make it possible for adults to contemplate your message. 

Comment by Idaho Spud on February 17, 2015 at 11:43am

I think one of the sheep's purposes is to praise god forever.  

Comment by Quinton Llewellyn on February 17, 2015 at 11:35am

I understand that they think their god is the cause of everything, but I had assumed that they mean "purpose" as in "goal". I'm not sure though what is meant by god being the goal or the meaning of everything means. Do you have any idea? If so can you explain it to me?

 

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