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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Latest Activity: 16 hours ago

The portrait is Charles Darwin, age 31, in 1840

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Comment by George on October 25, 2011 at 8:40am
@ Natalie - color is perception - blue is blue, Raleigh scattering or not.  Aside from hallucination or other stimulation of the optic nerves, all color is some type of emitted or reflected light.
Comment by Joseph P on October 24, 2011 at 7:53pm

Aww, shit.

Solipsism dead ahead!  You can only see the top 10%!  Hard to port!

Comment by Alecks Gates on October 24, 2011 at 7:50pm
Philip:  Of course, and there's no proof that it does, either :P.
Comment by Philip Jackson Armstrong on October 24, 2011 at 7:49pm
I think you are all assuming that the human mind actually has a grasp on true reality. Trust me it doesn't!
Comment by Natalie A Sera on October 24, 2011 at 7:18pm
And, Alecks, you need to think about just what IS 100% certainty (there's another thread going on about are you 100% positive there is no god -- I stopped reading it because that's an unanswerable question). I can be 100% certain that the sky will be blue next time I look at it on a clear day, but it really isn't -- it's just Raleigh scattering. In other words, it's just my perception. But we humans make conclusions based on our perceptions all the time. I'm open to the possibility that a god exists -- but find it extremely improbable, and won't believe it until it's proven to me, and so far, no one has been able to do that. So, yeah, I leave a tiny portion of my mind open to that, but I certainly am not waiting for it to happen, and so-called "proofs", like faith healing still leave me skeptical. Coincidences happen, and sometimes serious illnesses have actually been misdiagnosed, and sometimes they even DO remit, but I'm far more likely to believe it was a coincidence, or something that hasn't been studied sufficiently -- no reason to invoke supernatural causes.
Comment by Joseph P on October 24, 2011 at 7:08pm
We're not thinking in absolutes though.  We're thinking in overwhelming improbabilities.
Comment by Alecks Gates on October 24, 2011 at 7:01pm
I'm not specifically talking about any subject.  I'm just saying you need to be open-minded in general.  Thinking in 100% absolutes is, quite frankly, stupid.
Comment by Julie Carter on October 24, 2011 at 6:33pm

The burden of proof for all of this stuff is the same as it is in religion: the burden of proof is on the "believers." Without any proof of an afterlife, ghosts, conscious energies, etc., I don't accept it as true. And just because something may be possible doesn't mean it's probable. Not believing in these forms of woo (sorry if the term offends, but it's convenient shorthand for the discussion) doesn't mean you're closed-minded. It means that based on experience and based on the preponderance of evidence presented (or not presented) so far, there's no reason to accept these things as true. Just because there are things that can't be explained doesn't mean they are true. Use the same level of critical thinking and rationalism for this stuff as you do for god.

 

Personally, I'm a monist (as opposed to a dualist), so I don't believe in ghosts, the afterlife, the soul, shared consciousness, chakras, past lives, magic, ESP, or any of this other stuff. Show me the evidence, and I'm more than happy to change my mind. That's how a skeptic thinks. And a scientist (and I am both).

Comment by Joseph P on October 24, 2011 at 6:04pm
Or, if you'd prefer a serious answer, Urban Dictionary has a pretty good entry for it.
Comment by Joseph P on October 24, 2011 at 6:00pm

Also...

 

What is woo?

 

http://youtu.be/dsUXAEzaC3Q?t=3m20s

 

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