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.
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  • Idaho Spud

    Too bad the Cowardly Agnostic posts disappeared.  I thought there were some very interesting comments.

  • Bio Bill

    Does anyone know the current status of Tiktaalik (fishapod)? When it was first described, it was thought to be a transitional fossil sharing traits of both fish and tetrapods .  In a subsequent article it was no longer considered a transitional form. If anyone can give me any info I would appreciate it. Thank you in advance.

  • John Lynch

  • Lillie

    Nice to see a science ad at the top of the page for a change.

  • Joseph P

    I've got a Snorg TShirts ad.  :-p

    Google Ad Service picks a random ad for each page-load, based upon your browsing history.

  • Jimmy McCann

    What happens when you leave a religion?  Extreme relief that you are not living a lie, Freedom of thought, freedom to live your life according to your own morals rather than primitive repressive diktats from the morally vacuous clergy, Freedom from bigoted sycophantic judgmental zealots, Freedom from ignorance, Freedom to explore and wonder at the nature and beauty of our universe free from the need to invoke Gods or blame demons. To be free from primitive superstitions and rituals, Freedom to wear what you want or to read what you want.  To eat what you want, when you want and how you want, without fear of being ostracized and condemned by the religiously brainwashed.  To have hope for the future, free from prostration to ignorance, free from the disciples of doom and most of all freedom from guilt trips.  Did I mention FREEDOM? The freedom you get from secular democracy. 

  • Sondra Brooks

    Jimmy:  Leaving my religion was the scariest thing I've ever done.  I may as well have been throwing myself off a cliff.  I went through about a six month depression, then into the present stage where I want to grab everyone by the shoulders and tell them I finally know the truth.  Yes, the truth does make you free.  And I've freed up a lot of brain-space.  Xians always "knew best" what I was supposed to do with my time and my thoughts.   

    You expressed it very well.

  • Joan Denoo

    Jimmy McCann, Yes, to everything you wrote. Powerfully, honestly, beautifully. 
    For me, it was realizing I had put my trust into something that was not trustworthy; that I have all that I need to explore and experiment and test all those things of which you write without guilt or shame. 
    My moral compass has not failed me and I am so grateful to know I am made up of the elements of the universe, that the universe is part of me and I am part of it. 

  • Joan Denoo

    Sondra Brooks, you describe a very familiar feeling. Some may have a moment of understanding; it is taking me a long time. The journey is not only interesting but fun and exciting. 

  • Idaho Spud

    Jimmy M, I like your post.

  • sk8eycat

    When I was in my mid-20s, I was having a hard time with a lot of personal things, so I read the entire buybull from cover to cover, looking for answers. 

    Guess what!  If you really read the whole thing, instead of selected "buybull study" chapters, it becomes obvious that it's fiction.  BAD fiction. 

    I read it again to make sure, and when I finished, it felt as if a 100 lb bag of fertilizer had fallen off my shoulders.  It was the most liberating experience of my life, and I never looked back.

    I pity my friends who are still mired in fear and slavery to a myth, but I keep my mouth shut.  Unless somebody asks.  Sometimes I get snarky and say I'm a Druid...most people doon't know Jack about Druidism.

  • sk8eycat

    There is no satisfactory answer. Believers claim that the Big Bang could not have caused the universe "out of nothing."  Nobody said it did.The most likely theory is the explosion of the Monobloc.  But at the same time, they are claiming that their god came into existence out of nothing.  Can't have it both ways.

    As for "Who made god?", Dan Barker goes into that quite thoroughly in Losing Faith in Faith and Godless

    It's a great conversation-stopper, IMO.  Shuts the fundies right up. If that's the result you want.  They can't answer it because there IS no answer...because there never was a god, for one thing.

    YHWH, and all the other gods came from the mind(lessness) of human beings, which means they are lesser beings than we are..

    There is a book by Susan Jacoby that I haven't read yet called Man Made God.  I MUST read it!

  • Neal Schermerhorn

    I was going to say "man made god". Didn't know it was a book!

    Many Christians say God was just always there, he never started and won't stop. When I point out that if their god can be beyond time and space, why can't something else which science might someday discover, they don't like that very much.

    I like the theory that "god" is simply one's own self, playing "hide-and-seek" with itself, a sort of mild disassociative disorder if you will. Certainly explains why people fight over it so much.

  • Roy

    The book Man Made God that I have is by Barbara Walker.  It's very good in my opinion.  A lot of it pertains to women's issues.  I highly recommend it.

  • Roy

    Also, from what I've observed in my lifetime, god is only created in the minds of the believers.  Everyone creates their own and they are all different.  Basically, we are all godless, but some people just don't believe that.  I like to tell them that I don't have any invisible pretend friends.  But I may have some real pretend friends. lol (so to speak)

  • sk8eycat

    Roy...you're right, it IS Barbara Walker.  Mah brayne nawt wurkin 2dai.  Sorry.

  • Joan Denoo

    ''Who made God?'' is a question asked by many and it doesn't make sense to me. "Who made lightning?"  "Who made sunshine?" "Who made water and who makes it flow downslope?"


    A concept that some might call god, to me, is a process; a process that made the universe out of nothing as far as astrophysicist can tell. Lightning comes from natural forces that include at least electro-magnetic forces and perhaps other energies as well. Sun is part of the process of energies in the universe and I have no idea how it works and why, but I don't think I need to know that, at least as a little old lady trying to work up enough energy to repot my violets. Water comes from elements forming molecules of hydrogen and oxygen but I can't make them myself, they just develop because of natural processes. Water running down hill is a little easier if the explanation of gravity proves to be true. 

    A bee gets up in the morning and flies from flower to flower and in the process pollenates seed bearing plants. It doesn't intend to do so, it intends to feed its appetite, whatever that is. A bee with yellow pollen flying overloaded with cargo perform an impossible task with those tiny little wings. But bee doesn't know his wings are tiny; it is just what nature calls it to do. 

    Not a very sophisticated answer, indeed. I just know that I exist as a survivor of survivors who had children. My genetic code passes to my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, for who knows how long. 
    I am alive, I have sensing organs, a brain and the usual systems that everyone else has, from a heart that pumps blood through the cardio-vascular system, lungs that pump air and gases through my pulmonary system, an intake chamber and gastro-intestinal system with filters along the way and an outflow orifice. A system with intake and outflow are called "open systems". Several other system, of which I am unaware, like sweat glands, lymph nodes, and who knows how many other things exist and operate, not because I do anything, they just go about their work without any input from me. 

    Of these things I am very sure. I exist, I have work that needs to be done to survive (food, water, shelter, stuff like that). I belong to a community who loves me and whom I love. I have a mind that thinks and reasons and explores and experiments, and notices cause and effect, and I am capable of learning a great deal more. I see stars and constellation unaided, but can see other stars, universes in far distant space, taking more time than I have to visit them, or more equipment to successfully flourish if I go past the living zone of Earth. 

    There is no "purpose" for my life, nor for anyone else's life. I come into being by some spark of life through sperm meeting egg, I grow, live and die going back into the stuff of stars. Nothing has a plan for me. I simply have some things I am good at and enjoy, and can create a life that flourishes. 

    I exist as an inquisitive, curious, observing, happy human being, loving morning and rising to a new day, and going to rest after a day full of challenges that occasionally resolve satisfactorily. How could I ask for more? 

     

  • Joan Denoo

    sk8eycat, Susan Jacoby is a great read. She is also good at debate, doesn't stand still for nonsense and challenges with confidence and competence. I do little reading any more and there are many interviews on video or radio broadcasts to enjoy with eyes closed, a cup of tea in my lap, and a piece of chocolate to munch on. 

  • Joan Denoo

    Neal Schermerhorn, your statement makes as much sense as any I have run across. 

    "I like the theory that "god" is simply one's own self, playing "hide-and-seek" with itself, a sort of mild disassociative disorder if you will. Certainly explains why people fight over it so much."

  • Jimmy McCann

    Whether there is or isn't a God or indeed who made him is really a moot point and most atheist simply do not believe in any god (s) or religions, as none of them come even close to describing a god or gods that could have or would have made this Universe . Religions obsessive desire to have him, it or them to themselves is nothing more than a primitive arrogance. The truth of religion has nothing whatsoever to do with worshiping a creator or even following tribal rules of morality, Religions are political institutions conjured up for the benefit of the ruling elite with the singular aim of securing their dominance by extracting money from the masses. 

  • Littlejohn Dellar

    Definition of religion

    noun

    [mass noun]
    • the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
      To believe in a personal god or gods is to have a religion.  That is the very definition of religion.
       
      Redefining the word to your taste does not change what it actually means.
  • Jimmy McCann

    No argument here, although the important part of belief is: from whence it came. all religions throughout history have imposed beliefs more often through violent repression, a societal construct manufactured from fictional constructs. The US was born out of mass emigration from repressive European religions and then constructed their very own versions, Mormonism is a perfect example. 

  • Bill

    @Kalliope Wörter

    Thank you for clearing that up so I didn't have to. It's always alarming when someone quotes the first hit off Google of some other engine as a definition as was done here.

  • Chris Dodds

    I always thought that the definition of a regligion was that a religon was a set of beliefs that include and revolve around some supernatural component of life (particularly human life) that continues on after the death of the physical body.

  • Jimmy McCann

    Sorry Chris, but that like saying politics is about kissing babies and shaking hands. Of course the central message of most religions do revolve around the 'threat and promise' but that is only the propaganda of the organisations behind religion.  

  • Joan Denoo

    Thank you Littlejohn Dellar, clear, concise, easy to understand. I reposted with attribution to you. 

  • Joan Denoo

     Religion is a consruct, as is politics and economics. They are notion developed in the minds of humans, taught through family and culture, added to, changed, adjusted as fits the times. Some reject constructs of the past because new information emerges, values change, unintended problems emerge and for other reasons.

    The test is, How are constructs that influence your life working for you?

  • John Lynch

    The Catholic church is a perfect example of a political organization hiding behind it's priestly robes.

  • Idaho Spud

    Joan, I like your long post and especially the paragraph about there being no "purpose". It expresses my thoughts better than I can.

  • Joan Denoo

    Spud, thanks for your note. As more of us come to realize there is nothing out there telling us what is right or good or fair or decent we have to come to terms with our own thoughts and actions. We can too easily blame or praise a delusion; "God said ..." or "The Devil made me ...". 

  • Meddlesome

    The Catholic church is a perfect example of a political criminal organization hiding behind it's priestly robes.

    FTFY.

    :)

  • Dr. Terence Meaden

    But yes William Sams, exactly so.

    In one word: fiction. 

  • John Lynch

    I think political and criminal can be interchangeable in many cases.

  • Joan Denoo

    Beware the Religio-Industrial Complex

    The "Prosperity Gospel" does not seem to understand, or chooses not to recognize,  "To whom much is given,much is required".

  • Bipin

    How  religion evolved, and the concept of God took Shape, what kind of of thoughts the pre-sprtualistic people had, is contained in the Indian Rgveda, this is the biggest literary proof we have.  I am trying to bring the great atheistic literature and traditions and debates, which lasted for almost 2500 years

    http://schoolsofthoughtofindia.wordpress.com/

  • Bipin

    How  religion evolved, and the concept of God took Shape, what kind of of thoughts the pre-sprtualistic people had, is contained in the Indian Rgveda, this is the biggest literary proof we have.  I am trying to bring the great atheistic literature and traditions and debates, which lasted for almost 2500 years

    http://schoolsofthoughtofindia.wordpress.com/

  • Napoleon Bonaparte

    Les Athées Napoléonienne

           Atheist Thugs*

  • Joan Denoo

  • Littlejohn Dellar

    Because if it was one of the ones that wasn't, we'd not be here to ask the question...

  • John Lynch

    I was searching for a quote by Seneca the Elder/Younger on his view of believing in god.gods but I cannot locate it anywhere. Is anyone familiar with this ?

  • Joseph P

    Have any more details for us?  It's hard to do a Google search based upon just Seneca and something to do with belief in gods.

  • Joan Denoo

    John Lynch, is this the one to which you refer? 

    Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.
    Lucius Annaeus Seneca

    Lucius Annaeus Seneca


    Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/l/lucius_annaeus_seneca.h...

  • Joan Denoo

  • John Lynch

    I was looking for the wrong person for the quote. The following is the one I was think of. Sorry for the confusion.

    "Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones."
    -- Marcus Aurelius

  • Joan Denoo

    John, this is excellent and a keeper! I am very glad you found it and shared it. I am reposting. 

  • Michael

    I never heard that quote before, but it's pleasing to the eyes. I need my Christian family to read this.

  • Joan Denoo

    Laurel, one of my favorite quotes, and one well worth repeating. Thanks. 

  • Steph S.

    Love the quotes Joan.

    I hope everyone is having a good day.

  • Joan Denoo

    It has been 38 years since I decided I wanted to live without violence in my home and packed up three 10-year old children and drove 2,000 miles, bought a little patch of Earth where kids, cats, and cabbages could grow and develop into all they are created to be.

     

    That year I planted a vegetable garden and neatly labeled all the rows according to the seed packs that were given to me by family. When seeds came up, a row came up beets but were labeled something else. That is a metaphor for my parenting style. Provide the proper conditions and the seed will come up according to its own kind and I don’t have to mold them into some imagined way of being.

     

    All three grown children will be 49-years old by February 2013, and all have learned to live using good communication skills, able to solve problems and conflicts without violence, and know how to treat others, as they want to be treated. They learned how to assert themselves and to listen actively. 

     

    This festive Yule season I am spending with my daughter and son-in-law and their families. My daughter has 2 daughters, and I am blessed with 5 great grandchildren and their pets and I enjoy all the activity. They do not quarrel, nor fuss, nor whine. They act as though they belong as members of the same team, doing what needs to be done to make life productive and interesting and fun. They laugh so much, enjoy being with each other, cooperate doing daily chores, they like school and participate in all kinds of activities. They have horses and pets to care for, as well as the usual chores to be done on a rural place.

     

    They live some miles away from a very small farming/lumber town in the middle of a large forest. Wild animals come and go creating risks for pets; Dominic, the large black Lab that we brought home from the pound on Dec. 24, 2011, keeps smaller threats away and warns when coyotes and cougars come through. He knows how to open and close latch doors and even takes care of Spaz, their tiny Chihuahua and Spice, a roly-poly cat.

     

    Right now, we enjoy deep snow, and many forested hills on their property. The children start high on a hillside south of my daughter’s home, which runs more than a city block and slide down a curved gravel road to my granddaughter’s home. The two houses exist invisible to each other because of the forest density.

     

    From deep in the forest of northeastern Washington state I send you best wishes for a new year. May you share the season with family and friends you love and who love you. May all your wishes come true, you have good health and cheer and are able to live nonviolently.

    Fondly,

    Joan 

  • Steph S.

    How wonderful Joan! You know how to parent. You have a wonderful family. I hope you have a wonderful New Years!