Discussion of everything related to the Theory of Evolution.
One does not think atheistic thoughts because 'faith' in a lack of the supernatural clouds ones reasoning. Far from it. Atheists are what they are because there is no evidence of the supernatural. An atheist doesn't ignore evidence or proof, or shy away from theological arguments that aren't logical or reasonable. Typically, they seek out those things, to see if they are worth exploring further. Since the vast majority of atheists are not swayed by these things, you call them illogical, yet it's logic that forces them to reject it all. How can you accuse atheists of being illogical, if that very thing is what makes them atheists?
"In a way you are arguing against yourself, because it appears that your own thinking is clouded by your predetermined opinions ("faith," if you will) concerning the supernatural (namely, that it does not exist.). This is the great fallacy of atheism, to claim pure logic based on this completely illogical assumption (even in the face of evidence to the contrary)."
I would be happy to look at your evidence to the contrary.
Looking at histories examples of religious people with good ideas, or those who were swayed to believe in a god due to the information they had, is not an accurate gauge of religions situation today. Today, science is eliminating the need to invoke god all over the place. Is it necessary for me to do the reasearch to show you the countless ideas that have been stripped from religions arena by a scientific explanation? As religion is reduced in it's influence in everyday life, believers construct straw men to tear down, and cast their net far and wide to dredge up weak or even false examples to support their argument. [Alextemplet, you are not being dishonest in your replies- there are unfortunately many who are willfuly dishonest. I just want you to be clear on that.] But do you really think that a few examples of smarter than average believers represent the whole? There are so many more Hovinds than Lemaîtres, that it is almost not worth mentioning Lemaître and the other notable faithful, because it highlights their extreme rarity.
The Big Bang was not developed by any church. It was a theory arrived at by observations and calculations of smart people, one of whom happened to be Catholic. Lemaître is not a typical Catholic because of his willingness to think independently. If he were the norm, the Catholic church would be a distant memory, because it's only through lack of independent thinking that it can keep believers. There are a whole lot of whacky ideas that are part of Catholisism, so belief without a shred of proof is 100% necessary. Lemaître, by this measure, is a terrible Catholic.
When I have time I will do some digging into the stranger Catholic beliefs, and into the ways Catholic doctrine has conveniently changed gods perfect word to match scientific discoveries. Then we can see who's more illogical, the theist or the atheist.
You are perhaps proving my point more than you know. First of all, an atheist is not someone who willingly seeks out evidence of the supernatural; if he did, this willingness would make him agnostic. An atheist is someone who has decided even before looking at the evidence (or perhaps choosing to ignore the evidence?) that the supernatural does not exist.
As for Lemaître, I find it interesting that you so conveniently ignore the fact that the only reason he was ever researching the origins of the universe was precisely because the pope had commissioned him to prove that the universe did have a date of creation. You see, at that time, the prevailing atheistic theories stated that the universe is infinitely old and thus never needed a deity to create it. It was the Church that put an end to this myth. This is obviously not something that atheists generally want people to know, but the fact is that the Catholic Church has a long and well-established record of scientific research and discovery. Mendel was a Catholic priest, after all, and the Church was even researching evolutionary science fifteen hundred years before Darwin.
I should perhaps make a clarification here. It is, sadly, true that some religious belief systems expect the believer to abandon all logic at least as far as it applies to the faith. Evangelical protestantism is especially infamous for this, and it thus no surprise that this is the faith responsible for the creationist movement. However, to lump all faiths together and assume that they are all illogical, is simply not true and reflects a good deal of ignorance. There are many religious faiths that are founded upon reason, and encourage independent and rational thought as a means of discovering deeper truths about the universe. Make no mistake, I am not trying to talk you into believing any of these faiths; only understand that they are more rational than you think. To categorize all religious believers as illogical dolts who never use their minds is completely and horribly unfair.
As for evidence of the supernatural, researching bleeding host miracles is probably as good a place to start as any. Another interesting topic to investigate in detail is the Shroud of Turin. If you have the time, there are countless miracles that completely defy scientific explanation, if you are ever interested in studying them. In my own experience, I have seen prayer accomplish countless miracles, from the financial to the medical. I could thus conclude, based on the evidence I have seen, that there really are powers at work that we can neither perceive nor understand at present.
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Another way to define an atheist would be: Someone who has concluded that there is no tangible, logical evidence for the supernatural, and lacking evidence, belief in such becomes a moot point.
My point being that just because someone is now an atheist, doesn't mean they haven't done an extensive amount of enquiry, research, and "soul-searching" to come to their conclusion.
As for the bleeding-host miracles... Until such a time as objective 3rd parties can be brought in to study these things (maybe this has happened? post a link?) and deliver a peer-reviewed paper on it, they're not going to get much credibility among a scientific community. No offense, but when I watched the "miracle" video (http://www.dsanford.com/miraclehost.html) it just looked like a hoax to me.
What did the parasitic Candiru fish say when it finally found a host? - - "Urethra!!"
I'll accept your point on the definition of atheists. Perhaps I was thinking of the more militant types, often labeled as "maltheists"?
As for the bleeding hosts, I'll look around for some sources for you. I did an extensive research project on this a few years ago. Scientific testing of one of them showed that the bread had turned into human heart tissue that had the exact same DNA as the blood on the Shroud of Turin. I'll check for some sources since if that's true, it's almost impossible to fake.
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alextemplet, I urge you to look on the internet and read some of the thousands of personal stories of people who have concluded that there is no such thing as a god. Many of these people are ex-ministers/pastors/preachers, exmissionaries, or other category requiring strong faith. They are not people who ignored arguments in favour of supernatural belief, they were, typically, immersed in it from birth.
As for my own story, I was baptised as a baby but moved out to the country soon after, so attended a small community missionary church, up until my early teens. I believed in a god until I was about 32 or so. I was curious about science, so I read lots of Discover, Popular Science, Omni (that's going way back) and other science magazines, as an older teenager. Once in college, I stumbled on Skeptic magazine by accident in the library, and my discomfort in the many obvious flaws in religious though and writing, really took a jump. I now had others who thought like I did, but weren't trying to cram the convoluted peg of religion into the very different shaped hole of reality. But I still had 'faith' that there was a god out there.
It took a long time to prove to myself that god still wasn't real. The apologetic arguments were always able to play the brainless 'ineffable Mind of God' card at every turn, so I had to agonize for about a decade before I finally got sick of lying to myself. Easily the most mentally liberating decision I ever made was the one to toss the mind-trap of faith to the wayside.
To say that...
"an atheist is not someone who willingly seeks out evidence of the supernatural; if he did, this willingness would make him agnostic. An atheist is someone who has decided even before looking at the evidence (or perhaps choosing to ignore the evidence?) that the supernatural does not exist."
...is inexcusable. Your ability to write well is obviously no indication of your ability to think while doing it. I'm sorry for my bad attitude, but you sound so smart that it's frustrating to see your potential wasted on faith. I can never persuade you to see the world without religion. You will have to decide to do that on your own. I don't want to sound holier-than-thou, but I was in your position for a long time, and now that I know what it's like to be religion free, I get frustrated at people who are unwilling to see through religon. I didn't have the benefit of the internet until I was in my late 20's, and I reasoned my way out of religion. Anyone nowadays who doesn't see religion for what it is, is purposely turning a blind eye to contradictory information. (Typing "exchristian" or 'atheism" into a search engine will net you more informationin 3.1 seconds than I had available in 27 years.)
I have seen debates between atheists and theists, and the theists are not unintelligent, just utterly blind to reason. I have see the atheist's jaw literally drop at their opponents stunning inability to comprehend even the most basic concept. This is not always the fault of the theist, since it's a byproduct of faith.
alextemplet, I'm sorry for the horrible sounding attitude, but I am frustrated. Plus, it's hard to argue against someone's philosophy of life without sounding condescending, and I am no diplomat at the best of times. I do see that there are more theists in the world that atheists, but that is because most people aren't willing to even give the atheistic worldview an honest look. You are able to argue for your side as intelligently as is possible, but until you know what atheists really think, you won't be able to convince me you are taking my side seriously.
I'll leave you with a quote from [url]http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35736[/url] that says what I'm thinking- only much better.
"Lesson 1 : What is Atheism
There are many definitions of Atheism, Weak Atheism, Strong Atheism, Negative Atheism, Positive Atheism.... ect but the share the following statements.
a)Atheism is a lack of belief in the existence of God or Gods
b) Atheism is the state either of being without theistic beliefs, or of actively disbelieving in the existence of deities.
There are definitions of the weak ect put better on this website.
But simply put Weak has no reason to believe, Strong strongly disbelieves.
Lesson 2: Atheism is not a religion.
It really does not matter how many times you say it is, it isn't. The only way you can understand this is actually quite simple.
Firstly there are some smart analogies like -Saying Atheism is a religion is like saying "Bald is a Hair Style" or "Off is a TV Channel".. or "Not Crossing your fingers is superstition" ect but simply put the closest I can get to what if feels like when you insist on saying it is the following...
To say "Atheism is a Religion is like saying Christianity isn't..." then repeating myself every time someone says it is. How annoying would that get ? How stupid would you think I am if I kept saying "Christianity is not a religion" every time you said it is ? What arguments would you uses to convince me it is and I'm wrong. What if I chose to ignore those arguments and keep repeating it isn't a religion..."
Depends on the person. Some can't imagine living without it. Some can't imagine living with it.
It depends on two things mainly- 1)how or if you were indoctrinated as a child and 2)your emotional disposition.
Yes it still depends on the person. However given the chance that many have been exposed to learning and discoveries because of science, that so many information has been fed into our brain, and that there is the Holy Bible and its contents honestly delivers to us the Words of God; in which are we getting most of the benefit truly, in accordance to which is supposed to be more important in this world? Is glorious living out of science enough in this world, that we just exist entirely for the fact that our life is to quest for more and deeper knowledge without minding that it is a celebrated ignorance or simply to lead and strengthen our lives in acccordance to what is written in the Bible, isn't this one easier to do?
---Just one act of random kindness at a time and you can change the world---
Hi guys. I'm new to the board and I'm a Muslim. Hopefully I can take this discussion in a new way. Please, correct me if I'm wrong.
Firstly, it's thrilling to see such well crafted points from both sides. I am a strong believer in my faith, thus, I believe it is my responsibility to seek the truth of my faith through science. To say that science and religion is opposite of each other is totally ignorant. Since a long, long time before, religion has change the world. No atheist can deny this. The question is, how does religion change world and science? I believe there is two type of relationship here.
The first one is the oh-so-common where religion is being used to deny everything scientific. Just like someone has said before, like the Taliban government who deny women of academic achievement, banning them from school, etc. This kind of action is totally oppose to what religion (at least Islam) is.
The first sentence given to Muhammad is "Read" means go study. Thus education is a primary focus in religion, not only Islam. I remember quite well reading how when the Muslim army conquered all the way to Spain, transfer of knowledge and the development of science speed up enormously in 7th and 12th centuries.
Qouting Steven Kreis on http://www.historyguide.org/ancient/lecture18b.html "In the 8th and 9th centuries, under the Abbasid caliphs, Islamic civilization entered a golden age. Arabic, Byzantine, Persian and Indian cultural traditions were integrated. And while in Europe, learning seemed to be at its lowest point, the Muslims created what I suppose could be called a "high civilization." Thanks to Muslim scholars, ancient Greek learning, acquired from their contact with Byzantine scholars, was kept alive and was eventually transferred to the West in the 12th century and after (see Lecture 26). But not only did Muslim scholars preserve the heritage of Greek science and philosophy, they added to it by writing commentaries and glosses, thus adding to what eventually became the western intellectual tradition. Throughout the Qur'an one can find a strong emphasis on the value of knowledge in the Islamic faith. The Qur'an encourages Muslims to learn and acquire knowledge, stemming from, but not limited to, the Muslim emphasis on knowing the unity of God. Because Muslims believe that Allah is all-knowing, they also believe that the human world's quest for knowledge leads to further knowing of Allah."
My point is simply, if you're an atheist and you trying to find ONLY the reason why God should not exist, it's a crime. If you believe and God and not trying to find the truth behind it, it is also a crime. I have studied Quran quite thoroughly and finding science in it never make me confuse like you do Corax. I'm sorry for you.
I like your attitude Sirikell. Your concluding paragraph, in spite of your well meaning (if misplaced) condolences, is right on the money. I love the idea that beliefs without thinking about them critically is basically a 'sin'. In fact, my all time favorite quote is
(If I ever get a tattoo, it'll be that quote. I want it on my tombstone too. I just love it.)
Since this is a science based forum, even those with religious beliefs are at least slightly inclined to look at things with a critical eye. I have no problem discussing this stuff with anyone here, as long as they don't waste everyones time with, "'goddidit'. Alextemplet is a good example of someone who is looking for proof or reason to believe in a god. Sirikell, too, is seemingly openminded. Although they seem willing to accept information that I would have a hard time even looking at with a straight face, they're at least looking. I appreciate the difficulty of changing your frame of view to look in at religion critically. Like I said, it took me 30 years to see the religion from the outside. As long as you know that a blind faith is far less valuable than an intelligent, informed one, you have any reasonable persons respect, atheist or not.
I don't expect to change anybodies mind here. That would be cool, but hardly likely. I would like to be able to show people that there is a great way of looking at reality, and taking the time to understand it is not a sin.
Hello, I'm new here as well and I am a Christian, thus I have a belief in God. It is not blind faith, though. I have taken biology classes, and more than that, I have questioned.
I haven't read this entire thread so forgive me if some of my thoughts are redundant or just misplaced, but I'll give you some of the things that have crossed my mind with regard to God.
If I am going to believe fully in any scientific theory, it always raises questions. Take evolution - I can see the logic in saying every organism on earth came from one bacterium. The question is, where did the bacterium come from? Explanations have been given as to how it could emerge from abiotic matter - but where did IT come from? If you trace the world back to a single explosion resulting from two particles colliding - where did they come from? Science can never explain far enough back to know the origin of everything. Science always leaves me questioning, even if I believe in it completely.
If, however, I choose to believe fully in God, I have no questions, because the entire premise and the greatness of God is in his eternity, the way He is and always has been outside of time. With God there is no beginning and no end; He is the embodiment of forever. Thus he is the answer to where the particles, the bacteria, the world came from, and consequentially a belief in God is, to me, infallible.
That being said, humans are far from infallible. You know how many mistakes you've made, how many errors in judgement, how many times you've started with a great idea only to end up tangled in it and realize the human mind is completely imperfect. We all have. So I can not accept that a human mind, complex though it is, could have created such an infallible theory as God. To say it is infallible means it is perfect, and the only perfect being is God himself, therefore the only perfect ideas must be from and of Him.
This is just the way I see creation. I have other thoughts regarding faith, blind faith, religion and natural phenomena but unfortunately little time right now. Hopefully I'll get the chance to add them later.
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