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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
Members: 4180
Latest Activity: on Sunday

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 May 23. 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

Bud Light Withdraws Offensive Slogan

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

Comment Wall

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Comment by Joseph P on February 17, 2015 at 1:03am

The one in which you spoke about creationists.  :-P  Thought it would be obvious.  Sorry.

Casey’s Latest Evidence: New World Monkeys

Posted on 16-February-2015

"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."

Comment by Joan Denoo on February 17, 2015 at 12:56am

Joseph, you wrote "That's one of the many creationist tropes, Joan"

To which comment do you refer? I'm a sucker, gullible and get drawn in by tropes. Thanks for the heads-up. But which one?

Comment by Joan Denoo on February 16, 2015 at 4:27pm

Progress is not a zero-sum game a TED talk by Robert Wright. I listen to his debates or lectures or opinions and have mighty arguments with him in my head. Figuratively, he and I go round and round in disputes. 

This piece, however, I find not only uplifting, but encouraging. Probably because said what I have been thinking and he takes the long view. He doesn't discuss the Golden Age of Islam and the Dark Age of Christianity, which happened at the same time, he looks at existence in a cosmological perspective. 

The Apocolypse is coming through nature, not through Islam. Homo sapiens have so misused the Earth and its full-of-wonder gifts, that we altered the natural flows that kept this beautiful planet functioning for thousands of years. We have squandered her gifts to us and she is doing what any force of nature does ... for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. 

Newton’s Third Law of Motion

Are we doomed to extinction? Probably.  
If we change how we think and act are we doomed? Possibly. 

If all the peoples of the Earth understood the nature of the problems and that the causes are human activity, and if people, nations, governments and religions changed their perception to match reality, then there might be a chance to create a livable planet, not go back to the old planet, but a new way to live and participate on Earth. 

Comment by Joseph P on February 16, 2015 at 3:59pm

That's one of the many creationist tropes, Joan.  They take bits from biology, which are a result of the theory of evolution, then claim that those bits are a problem for the theory of evolution.

One of my favorites is the fact that we all have a common ancestor, sometime within the past couple tens of thousands of years, which apparently confirms a literal reading of Genesis and contradicts the theory of evolution, somehow.

There's no such thing as an honest apologist, but sometimes I'm torn between coming to a conclusion of dishonesty or stupidity, for any given insane claim.

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.

 

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