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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

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Evolution is a FACT, not a theory.

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ORIGIN OF ATHEIST PRIDE

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Comment by Joan Denoo on February 16, 2015 at 3:53pm

 Quinton Llewellyn , I agree with your statement: 

"The problem really is that we should absolutely be able to criticise the faith of Muslims (and any other) in the way Sam does," 

The reason criticism is so invaluable is that it opens up dark corners of dysfunction for others and for ourselves. If we really understood history, and the role that Islam played in the Enlightenment, but only through learning from the Golden Age of Islam, and to recognize the absurd behaviors of christianity that protected the rights of kings with their surfs, and the barbarian Hords that came from Asia, the Golden Age was trampled to death. Our culture played a part in that demise. 

"but stupid people with far right leaning make it hard, because they use the criticism (which is meant to be solely intellectual endeavor) as a justification for harassment, and the two get confused in the public consciousness. Or at least that is how it seems to me."

If there is any hope for peace there has to be justice. Religion fails to unite us, it separates us and supplies the fuel to keep the fires of hate burning. 

Comment by Joseph P on February 16, 2015 at 3:52pm

@Idaho Spud

Is there any religion that says we are in a simulation?

Not a major one, mostly just religious apologists throwing any old shit at the wall, hoping that something sticks.

Comment by Joan Denoo on February 16, 2015 at 1:19pm

Spud, I agree with Harris' statements about the Muslim faith as well. The real tragedy, at least from my perspective, is that the time of explosive growth of knowledge occurred during the Gold Age of Islam. They collected books on scientific evidence, included books from many traditions and disciplines. Their work in mathematics, ie. the definition of "0" and the Arabic number system made it possible to do mathematical calculations. Trace back all the major science from anatomy to zoology, and Muslims were leaders of thinking. It all stopped when two events overturned their philosophy,

1. the Mongols besieged Baghdad in 1258, they killed and ended the Abbisid Caliphate, murdered the scientists and scholars and destroyed libraries, including the "House of Wisdom. 

2. Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont in 1095 initiated the first crusade and the end of the crusades occurred in 1291.

Stop and think about the environment during these years. Great turmoil, leaders scientists killed, institutions destroyed and the society recoiled into a violent one. Can I blame them? No. That is why I believe Sam Harris is correct. Where were the cries of outrage from the Muslim world? Why? 

"Mainstream Islam itself represents an extremist rejection of intellectual honesty, gender equality, secular politics and genuine pluralism. The truth about Islam is as politically incorrect as it is terrifying: Islam is all fringe and no center. In Islam, we confront a civilization with an arrested history. It is as though a portal in time has opened, and the Christians of the 14th century are pouring into our world."

~ Sam Harris 

Reality Check: Islam is the fastest growing religion in Europe. Throughout Europe, there is little evidence of the Muslims to integrate into their host community. Muslims demand tolerance of their beliefs, policies, and practices. Western leaders make apologies for cartoons of their religion and its leaders. 

"The idea that Islam is a “peaceful religion hijacked by extremists” is a dangerous fantasy—and it is now a particularly dangerous fantasy for Muslims to indulge. It is not at all clear how we should proceed in our dialogue with the Muslim world, but deluding ourselves with euphemisms is not the answer.  It now appears to be a truism in foreign policy circles that real reform in the Muslim world cannot be imposed from the outside.  But it is important to recognize why this is so—it is so because the Muslim world is utterly deranged by its religious tribalism. In confronting the religious literalism and ignorance of the Muslim world, we must appreciate how terrifyingly isolated Muslims have become in intellectual terms."  

Comment by Quinton Llewellyn on February 16, 2015 at 12:06pm

As for a religion that think we are in a simulation, there is a fictional one called "The Truth" in the Iain M. Banks novel "The Algebraist" based on the simulation argument.

http://notes.kateva.org/2008/01/algebraist-and-religion-of-eternal....

Comment by Joan Denoo on February 16, 2015 at 11:58am

Casey’s Latest Evidence: New World Monkeys

"The Discovery Institute is once again blogging about their “evidence” for the miraculous activities of their transcendent intelligent designer — blessed be he!— who is responsible for the existence of life, its diversity, and the whole universe. Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist, is writing a series of articles about alleged “problems” with Darwinian evolution — as if unanswered questions were evidence for the Discoveroids’ “theory.”

"Casey’s latest is Problem 9: Neo-Darwinism Struggles to Explain the Biogeographical D.... It’s amusing that he chooses biogeography, because that was one of Darwin’s most powerful arguments against special creation. ..."

"In Origin of Species, he (Darwin) devoted two entire chapters to the subject: Chapter 11 – Geographical Distribution and Chapter 12 – Geographical Distribution — continued. In noting the relationship between species found on islands and those on a nearby continent."

"it is obvious that the Galapagos Islands would be likely to receive colonists, whether by occasional means of transport or by formerly continuous land, from America; and the Cape de Verde Islands from Africa; and that such colonists would be liable to modifications; the principle of inheritance still betraying their original birthplace."

~ Darwin, Origin of Species 

Fossils from heart of Amazon provide evidence that South American m...

"The oldest fossil records of New World monkeys (monkeys found in South America and Central America) date back 26 million years. The new fossils indicate that monkeys first arrived in South America at least 36 million years ago. The discovery thus pushes back the colonization of South America by monkeys by approximately 10 million years, and the characteristics of the teeth of these early monkeys provide the first evidence that monkeys actually managed to cross the Atlantic Ocean from Africa."
http://phys.org/news/2015-02-fossils-heart-amazon-evidence-south.ht...

"... the earliest phases of the evolutionary history of monkeys in South America have remained cloaked in mystery. ...

"A new discovery from the heart of the Peruvian Amazon now unveils a key chapter of the evolutionary saga of these animals. In a paper published February 4, 2015 in the scientific journal Nature, the discovery of three new extinct monkeys from eastern Peru hints strongly that South American monkeys have an African ancestry."

Comment by Idaho Spud on February 16, 2015 at 11:55am

Yesterday, I listened to Sam Harris criticizing the Muslim faith and the political correctness that says we shouldn't.  It sounded right to me.

Comment by Quinton Llewellyn on February 16, 2015 at 11:41am

I like Sam Harris, he always seem very thought out and calm in his approach (I loved his book "The Moral Landscape"). The problem he finds himself in in some people's view is how he deals with the Muslim faith. I feel that the reason for this is Sam cares about the actions and views and victims of actions and views globally, and this is how he speaks about it. Those offended care about how his criticism lead to demonising Muslims locally (e.g. within the US or UK say). The problem really is that we should absolutely be able to criticise the faith of Muslims (and any other) in the way Sam does, but stupid people with far right leaning make it hard, because they use the criticism (which is meant to be solely intellectual endeavor) as a justification for harassment, and the two get confused in the public consciousness. Or at least that is how it seems to me.

Comment by Quinton Llewellyn on February 16, 2015 at 11:24am

I think it's well thought of, on Nick Bostrom's TED profile page it refers to "his famous simulation argument" under the heading of "Why you should listen" (as part of the reason) http://www.ted.com/speakers/nick_bostrom.
But as I said, even Nick Bostrom himself doesn't actually think we are actually in a simulation.

Comment by Idaho Spud on February 16, 2015 at 11:07am

I just became aware of Sam harris yesterday and watched a video like you pointed to where he explained that thought experiment in a way that intrigued me.  I'd never before seriously considered it, but he made it sound possible.

Comment by Quinton Llewellyn on February 16, 2015 at 10:55am

Not that I'm aware of, it's just a thought experiment Sam Harris mentioned.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RoGtWUMi4w

 

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