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Nick Graham
09-24-2010, 01:18 PM
I have come to conclusion at the wizened old age of 30 that no man is immune to religion.

My long-time friend Jeff just posted on Facebook that he had registered for something called Skepticon 3 in Columbia, MO - whereas I go to comic conventions for fun, he is now going to theology conventions (well, anti-theology conventions, but I digress). It's hard for any conversation with him these days not to lapse into theology, lack of theology, etc. He's even planning to send his kid to asecular camp, where they give the kids classes on "great freethinkers like Albert Einstein and Ted Turner."

At this point the line is blurring for me - there are all sorts of Christian conventions and similar events, and now there are several atheist conventions. When I was a kid, I went to church camp for a few summers, where they had classes about the apostles, disciples, etc. Now there are camps where kids learn about famous atheists in a similar setting. Anti-religion is now a religion. It's becoming a niche market in book stores, just like Christianity, it's forming it's own conventions and summer camps for kids, just like Christianity, and it even has churches - Jeff goes to a Unitarian church every Sunday morning to talk shop with other agnostics and atheists. While there is no supernatural deity involved, no dogma attached, it still has every trapping of what most folks call "organized religion", right down to the evangelists (Bill Maher, Dawkins, Hitchens, etc). Bill Maher, who is my absolute favorite political comedian, hates religion but has become the very definition of a televangelist, minus the 800 number at the bottom of the screen, but with all the self-righteousness intact. Dawkins is the same way. He talks about people of faith the same way you see Pat Robertson talking about liberals.

I find this fascinating. Even people with no belief in the supernatural are incredibly religious. My friend Kelly, who is an atheist, is organizing a big outdoor convention in Joplin, MO this weekend promoting marijuana legalization. Every non-working hour he has, he devotes to that cause, year in, year out. I see the civil rights movements for the LGBT community much the same way - it's become a religion. It seeps into even the most casual conversation.

I don't know why I felt the need to post this - maybe it's because as someone who has made the choice of faith and doesn't consider myself a science-fearing, superstitious fool, incapable of free thought, I have seen the other side in my own best friend - and the differences in behavior are minimal at best. Actually if anything I'm much more conservative in my religiosity - I have never been to a Christian convention, nor do I plan to, (cons are meant for geekery, not theology) and the only way my kid would go to church camp is if she asked to go.

Anyway, there's my totally unsolicited, unprovoked, and unwarranted two cents.

zemo
09-24-2010, 01:35 PM
Was Albert Einstein really an atheist? I seem to remember that he actually DID believe in a higher power that made all things.

That left aside, I can actually say about myself that I am not religious. I have this philosophy where I say that I simply don't care. There could be a God, or there couldn't, the existence or in-existence of a deity does not influence my life at all. Funnily enough, while that should be the most neutral of stances, neither atheists nor religious people ever seem to be capable to accept this :3

dasNdanger
09-24-2010, 01:47 PM
People seem to have an inborn need to 'worship'. An atheist can go about promoting their ideas just as rabidly as a Christian fundamentalist. Those who don't claim any sort of faith, and choose not to discuss God v. Atheism, may still devote their energies to some cause, or personal fitness, or a pro sport, or even to themselves, setting themselves up as a demigod (like many dictators do). Human beings have a need to put faith in something - some put faith in God, some, in Satan. Some put faith in nature. Some put their faith in their government, or their military. Some put it in financial security. The list goes on and on. Of course, there are a lot of people who appreciate these things without worshipping them, but there are also many who give everything from Harry Potter to saving the whales the same worshipful devotion one gives to God.


das

Infra-Man
09-24-2010, 02:06 PM
Atheism ≠ Religion

It's only a religion if you confuse the word "religion" with perhaps "ethos" or "a mode of being."

What is common in many believers and non-believers, however, is some need for a deep-seated belief in the way of the world and the organizing principles of the world. We all need something to believe in, but belief in something does not mean it's automatically a religious belief.

Nick Graham
09-24-2010, 02:11 PM
I would agree that atheism does not equal religion, but this new breed of (there's no better word for it) evangelical atheism fits the mold, in my opinion.

Emo, I would agree that there are some people who are genuinely neutral - my friend Bryan espouses a belief in God, but absolutely nothing beyond that, and can't stand organized religion. On the flipside I am sure there are atheists who don't really think about it much at all - they made the decision they don't believe and that was the end of it, end of discussion. I would argue that people like that on either side are few and far between though....at least on the interwebs.

Infra-Man
09-24-2010, 02:19 PM
I can see why you think that, but while evangelical atheism is a movement grounded in a belief, belief and religion are two separate things. There may be similarities in some aspects, but there are also important differences as well.

Again, the fundamental similarity is a certain need for a way of the world or a way of the universe, but it's like comparing quadrilaterals--just because both have four sides, it doesn't mean that both are squares.

Matt Doc Martin
09-24-2010, 03:32 PM
atheism ≠ religion

it's only a religion if you confuse the word "religion" with perhaps "ethos" or "a mode of being."

what is common in many believers and non-believers, however, is some need for a deep-seated belief in the way of the world and the organizing principles of the world. We all need something to believe in, but belief in something does not mean it's automatically a religious belief.

bingo!

frzamonkey
09-24-2010, 04:26 PM
I have come to conclusion at the wizened old age of 30 that no man is immune to religion.

My long-time friend Jeff just posted on Facebook that he had registered for something called Skepticon 3 in Columbia, MO - whereas I go to comic conventions for fun, he is now going to theology conventions (well, anti-theology conventions, but I digress). It's hard for any conversation with him these days not to lapse into theology, lack of theology, etc. He's even planning to send his kid to asecular camp, where they give the kids classes on "great freethinkers like Albert Einstein and Ted Turner."

At this point the line is blurring for me - there are all sorts of Christian conventions and similar events, and now there are several atheist conventions. When I was a kid, I went to church camp for a few summers, where they had classes about the apostles, disciples, etc. Now there are camps where kids learn about famous atheists in a similar setting. Anti-religion is now a religion. It's becoming a niche market in book stores, just like Christianity, it's forming it's own conventions and summer camps for kids, just like Christianity, and it even has churches - Jeff goes to a Unitarian church every Sunday morning to talk shop with other agnostics and atheists. While there is no supernatural deity involved, no dogma attached, it still has every trapping of what most folks call "organized religion", right down to the evangelists (Bill Maher, Dawkins, Hitchens, etc). Bill Maher, who is my absolute favorite political comedian, hates religion but has become the very definition of a televangelist, minus the 800 number at the bottom of the screen, but with all the self-righteousness intact. Dawkins is the same way. He talks about people of faith the same way you see Pat Robertson talking about liberals.

I find this fascinating. Even people with no belief in the supernatural are incredibly religious. My friend Kelly, who is an atheist, is organizing a big outdoor convention in Joplin, MO this weekend promoting marijuana legalization. Every non-working hour he has, he devotes to that cause, year in, year out. I see the civil rights movements for the LGBT community much the same way - it's become a religion. It seeps into even the most casual conversation.

I don't know why I felt the need to post this - maybe it's because as someone who has made the choice of faith and doesn't consider myself a science-fearing, superstitious fool, incapable of free thought, I have seen the other side in my own best friend - and the differences in behavior are minimal at best. Actually if anything I'm much more conservative in my religiosity - I have never been to a Christian convention, nor do I plan to, (cons are meant for geekery, not theology) and the only way my kid would go to church camp is if she asked to go.

Anyway, there's my totally unsolicited, unprovoked, and unwarranted two cents.

dawkins, etc. are not like tv evangelists, because the stuff they speak of can be proven. Being confident of your assertions because they are based on facts tends to make someone seem "self righteous".

Making "the choice of faith" puts you at odds with major scientific discoveries and makes those of us who have made the opposite choice have to take your religious views into consideration when deciding if you are a nut or not.

Donald M.
09-24-2010, 04:48 PM
Atheism ≠ Religion


Indeed. For that matter, Faith ≠ Religion. While the words faith and religion are often used interchangeably, faith is really nothing more than having trust in the truthfulness or trustworthiness of someone or something.

The idea that humans have a need to worship something is, I'm sorry, right up there with "Athieism is a religion," on the list of ridiculous rationalizations religious people tell to themselves and each other in order to be able to wrap their heads around the idea of someone being able to live a good and worthwhile life without any sort of god or religion in it.

For every so-called militant atheist there are plenty like me who are happy to live our lives, keep our lack of belief to ourselves and usually avoid discussing religion at all. Usually.

Tobias M
09-24-2010, 05:02 PM
I would agree that atheism does not equal religion, but this new breed of (there's no better word for it) evangelical atheism fits the mold, in my opinion.

Emo, I would agree that there are some people who are genuinely neutral - my friend Bryan espouses a belief in God, but absolutely nothing beyond that, and can't stand organized religion. On the flipside I am sure there are atheists who don't really think about it much at all - they made the decision they don't believe and that was the end of it, end of discussion. I would argue that people like that on either side are few and far between though....at least on the interwebs.

So by your definition is trade unionism a religion? Political conventions? Essentially any large congregation of people?

As far as a secular convention goes, while I agree with you that this 'evangelical' atheism goes too far, I wonder if a group of people meeting to discuss ideas on secularism is inherently not as worthwhile as travelling to ComiCon to buy merchandise belonging to major companies?

Weeto
09-24-2010, 05:23 PM
Religion is pretty much a belief in some of supernatural or higher lifeform or force at work in the universe whether in the form of a human being or in some other form of visible or invisible form.

If you don't believe in something like that then you don't have a religion, only a belief system which discards the possibility of higher power.

If you are a Star Wars fan and you believe completely in the Force, then that would qualify as a religion as it is a belief in a natural structured order in the universe. But believing in nothingness can't really qualify.

CutterMike
09-24-2010, 05:27 PM
Atheism ≠ Religion

It's only a religion if you confuse the word "religion" with perhaps "ethos" or "a mode of being."

(...)I'm not sure of that: It seems to me that many atheists take the non-existence of evidence for the existence of a deity as proof that a deity does not exist. Unfortunately, the non-existence of evidence is NOT evidence of non-existence.

In other words -- given the same quality of "evidence" that deists use to "prove" the existence of a god, many atheists decide that there is no god.

Me -- I'm an agnostic: I don't believe that the evidence available proves either possibility, and I don't have faith enough to take either stance without evidence.

On the original topic -- I have known people for whom it appeared that having something to believe in was actually more important than what that "something" actually was. I knew a woman who went from being an apparently fervent wiccan and a sex-ed counselor to a charismatic Catholic within a year or less -- and was as wholly sincere as she could possibly be in both instances.

Donald M.
09-24-2010, 06:52 PM
I'm not sure of that: It seems to me that many atheists take the non-existence of evidence for the existence of a deity as prof that a deity. Unfortunately, the non-existence of evidence is NOT evidence of non-existence.

In other words -- given the same quality of "evidence" that deists use to "prove" the existence of a god, many atheists decide that there is no god.


As I said before, Faith ≠ Religion.

The nonexistence of god or some other creator or similar invisible supernatural force in the universe cannot be disproven because religion requires no proof, only faith.

Because of this, disbelief in god is, in its own way, just as much a matter of faith as belief in him. After all, how can you disprove a belief that requires no proof? The only evidence is lack of evidence and for the true believer, that will never be good enough.

The fact that atheism requires a degree of faith however does not make it a religion. There's more to religion than believing in something or, as in this case of atheism, in the lack of something. If there's not, then what isn't a religion?

CutterMike
09-24-2010, 07:27 PM
As I said before, Faith ≠ Religion.

The nonexistence of god or some other creator or similar invisible supernatural force in the universe cannot be disproven because religion requires no proof, only faith.

Because of this, disbelief in god is, in its own way, just as much a matter of faith as belief in him. After all, how can you disprove a belief that requires no proof? The only evidence is lack of evidence and for the true believer, that will never be good enough.

The fact that atheism requires a degree of faith however does not make it a religion. There's more to religion than believing in something or, as in this case of atheism, in the lack of something. If there's not, then what isn't a religion?I guess that I'm not seeing your point.

]I would argue that a system that is based solely on faith/belief without evidence and serves to give the believer a feeling that the system explains the world and makes the world make sense IS a religion. Or, at least, it serves the same function as a religion, which -- it seems to me --reduces the difference to "If it looks like a duck and it walks like a duck and it swims like a duck and it quacks like a duck then, whatever you want to call it, it is functionally equivalent to a duck."

spidey_mon
09-24-2010, 08:09 PM
Was Albert Einstein really an atheist? I seem to remember that he actually DID believe in a higher power that made all thingsThere is the type of atheists who believe in nothing religious wise, and there is the type to believe in a higher power that found the world and is capable of great love, they just don't name this higher power

Donald M.
09-24-2010, 08:38 PM
I would argue that a system that is based solely on faith/belief without evidence and serves to give the believer a feeling that the system explains the world and makes the world make sense IS a religion.

Atheism doesn't explain anything, all it is is the lack of belief in god. Explanations must be found elsewhere. Typically in things like science and the knowledge it has brought us of the world through hard work and clear evidence or philosophy and the insights that great thinkers have made into issues of ethics and personal morality. None of which has much to do with atheism. There are atheist scientists and philosophers and there are religious ones as well and they have provided us with useful knowledge and insight that both atheists and the religious might make use of.

Are there atheist groups? Sure, but atheism is not a group, it's a belief, one single solitary belief that leaves us to make sense of the world on our own. Atheism encompasses no other beliefs beyond the one, has no tenets, no rules, no rituals.

Really, this isn't complicated.

Donald M.
09-24-2010, 08:39 PM
There is the type of atheists who believe in nothing religious wise, and there is the type to believe in a higher power that found the world and is capable of great love, they just don't name this higher power

If you believe in any sort of higher power you aren't an Atheist.

People who believe in god but hold no other religous beliefs beyond that are called Deists.

Tyr
09-24-2010, 10:39 PM
Was Albert Einstein really an atheist? I seem to remember that he actually DID believe in a higher power that made all things.


Well he did believe that mathematics brought you closer to god.

That said, I think he was a Deists.


The only evidence is lack of evidence and for the true believer, that will never be good enough.


The problem with evidence or lack there of is that many people treat it as absolute. That is to say we treat scientific evidence and conclusions the same way we treat court convictions. Innocent until proven guilty or in other words false until proven true.

The problem of course is that courts are fallible. Guilty people go free. This is usually because we lack of the proper tools needed to gather the evidence at the time. The same can be said about science.

The problem with proving the existence of a god or an afterlife, is that we don't have any reliable way of gather evidence of the existence of either. To some, that's enough to rule out there existence, until they can be proven to be true.

But you can easily turn this back around to rule out the existence of life on other planets. Most in the scientific community support the idea of not only life but intelligent life on other planets, and we have done so ever sense we acknowledged the existence of other planets. But we have yet to collect any tangible evidence to support this, mainly because we really don't have a way to get to other planets to see it for ourselves, that is apart from the planets in our solar system, and even then things get sketchy past the asteroid belt separating Mars and Jupiter.

Furthermore all conclusions are based on belief, even the scientific ones. That is we believe in something because the evidence supports it. However, we should remember that in any conclusion it is possible that the evidence isn't accurate or we haven't gathered enough to be true or false. Any conclusion is subject to being debunked now matter how convincing the evidence might be.

stevapalooza
09-25-2010, 12:16 AM
The reason atheism isn't a religion is because if absolute scientific proof of god's existence appeared tomorrow, atheism would vanish. You can't say the same for religion. Science has already proven much of it wrong, but still people believe.

Tyr
09-25-2010, 12:31 AM
The reason atheism isn't a religion is because if absolute scientific proof of god's existence appeared tomorrow, atheism would vanish. You can't say the same for religion. Science has already proven much of it wrong, but still people believe.

Except it hasn't

stevapalooza
09-25-2010, 12:34 AM
Except it hasn't

well of course that's your position, you're a god

zemo
09-25-2010, 12:45 AM
Listen to Tyr, he's smart *nod*

Actually, I can say something about that too. Within the scientific method it is absolutely impossible to prove or deny the existence of a higher power conclusively. This is because science works with probabilities, not certainties.

See, this is a poisson distribution: http://homepage.mac.com/williseschenbach/.Pictures/sinusoidal_poisson_distribution2.jpg

The goal in any kind of science is to put you theory in the big, volumnous body, and have your antithesis just in a tiny tiny part on the left and right. The thing is, there is ALWAYS room for your antithesis, no matter how infinitely small. You could say, God lives in the cracks in between the provable.

The difference between science and religion is, that true science never claims to have absolute proof. HOWEVER, there are still people with scientific minds that do, which, to me, is the equal of, for example, Christians hating gay people, as it goes against the very core of the thing they claim to believe. So I actually agree in parts with the OP, as even people who shouldn't sometimes show the ugly face (as opposed to the peaceful and accepting one) of religion in a non-religious context.

Cam63
09-25-2010, 12:52 AM
I'm a Beerian and that'll do.

Matt Doc Martin
09-25-2010, 04:23 AM
Except it hasn't

Ok, how about science keeps disproving religion's wacky claims?

More accurate?

Tyr
09-25-2010, 06:19 AM
well of course that's your position, you're a god

And don't you forget it mortal. ;-)


Listen to Tyr, he's smart *nod*


Thank you, you're not so bad yourself.


Ok, how about science keeps disproving religion's wacky claims?

More accurate?

No, please look at Zemo's post above. And let me elaborate. Are there absolutes in the world? Yes, for example, we know that wood floats and wood burns. How do we know? because we can very easily see it for ourselves. You expose a twig to flame it will burn, place it in water it will float.

Now you might ask why does would float and wood burn? And science could come up with an explanation.

However, what if something has happened and you weren't there to see it? Then someone has to convince you the event happened or that it happened as they say it did.

Lets take the courtroom example.

Say my good friend Cam here was charged with robbing a liquor store and shooting a clerk in the face.

Ok now I wasn't there so I don't know if actually did these things. So a prosecutor has to convince me that he did. He/she must do this by backing his case with evidence. The defender, of course, has to disprove his or her evidence.

If the prosecutor can convince me of his or her argument with the evidence given along with 11 other people, then Cam will get convicted. Now Cam could very well be innocent, a conviction means that the prosecution persuaded 12 people that what he or she said happened actually happened.

Now lets take the very popular theory everyone uses to disprove God or Religion, evolution, which doesn't actually disprove God, and Darwin himself would roll in his grave if he found that that's what people used it for, but that's beside the point.

None of us have been around long enough to say how life has formed, and only Gail has a time machine, which I don't think can travel back that far. What we do have is this theory that life on earth came about in such a way based on lots and lots of evidence.

I say evidence and not facts, because the evidence can be subject to debate. Many species have turned out to be mixed skeletons of several species, different parts of a similar species life cycle or even outright hoaxes. Does that invalidate evolution? no, because there's a lot of evidence, enough to convince people that evolution is valid.

Pure science doesn't say "this is truth" science says, "this is most likely what happened or what will happen". Belief says "this WILL happen, or what WILL happen." And every one has beliefs, even scientists.

Donald M.
09-25-2010, 06:30 AM
Furthermore all conclusions are based on belief, even the "scientific" ones.


Why are ypu putting scae quotes around the word scientific? You aren't a creationist, are you?



That is we believe in something because the evidence supports it.

So, what's the evidence in favor of god again?



However, we should remember that in any conclusion it is possible that the evidence isn't accurate or we haven't gathered enough to be true or false. Any conclusion is subject to being debunked now matter how convincing the evidence might be.

Right. Any day now gravity could be disproven and we'll all fly off into space.

This is about evolution, isn't it?

*shakes head sadly*

stealthwise
09-25-2010, 06:36 AM
When I was a kid, I thought there was some being watching over us. I don't know why, I guess it was just all over the place, taken matter of factly, so I bought in.

Then in high school and college, I was of firm belief that everyone was a dupe, and that it's all bullshit, etc, and there is no god, there's nothing else, etc.

Now...

I have a wife, two kids, a full-time job, and take courses on the side, among other things.

I have no time to worry about whether or not there's a god. I'll recant on my death bed if the mood strikes.

Tyr
09-25-2010, 06:56 AM
Why are ypu putting scae quotes around the word scientific? You aren't a creationist, are you?


Hmm, well now that you mention it, makes more sense that we remove those. Though science has been used to support the existence on various paranormal occurrences as well.




So, what's the evidence in favor of god again?


Again, "prove to me God exist" Science can't really do that, not because there is no tangible evidence, but because we lack the means to collect it.

The same reason we can't prove there is life on other planets, not because of lack of evidence, but because we haven't found another planet that's got it.




Right. Any day now gravity could be disproven and we'll all fly off into space.

This is about evolution, isn't it?

*shakes head sadly*

Ahhh, physics. Now that is a sticky one. No we are not likely to fly off into space. However we don't entirely know how the forces that keep us from doing that work. Issac Newton laid down the foundation for the idea, many years later Albert Einstein came along and refuted several of his claims (he met a lot of resistance when he did that.) And several years later many folks are contesting Albert's work.

As for evolution, do I deny it? No, I'm willing to accept it, but I'm also willing to except some of creationists claims as will. There's room for both.

porkchop
09-25-2010, 07:04 AM
No, please look at Zemo's post above. And let me elaborate. Are there absolutes in the world? Yes, for example, we know that wood floats and wood burns. How do we know? because we can very easily see it for ourselves. You expose a twig to flame it will burn, place it in water it will float.


Ha, religion used this method as a test to see whether people were witches. Of course they'd see if they could float with some rocks tied to em, or whether they could survive a burning at the stake. Good thing they're not using that method right?


Now you might ask why does would float and wood burn? And science could come up with an explanation.

Yup. The bible left it out though.


However, what if something has happened and you weren't there to see it? Then someone has to convince you the event happened or that it happened as they say it did.

Lets take the courtroom example.

Say my good friend Cam here was charged with robbing a liquor store and shooting a clerk in the face.

Ok now I wasn't there so I don't know if actually did these things. So a prosecutor has to convince me that he did. He/she must do this by backing his case with evidence. The defender, of course, has to disprove his or her evidence.

If the prosecutor can convince me of his or her argument with the evidence given along with 11 other people, then Cam will get convicted. Now Cam could very well be innocent, a conviction means that the prosecution persuaded 12 people that what he or she said happened actually happened.

Science to the rescue. If Cam's DNA wasn't found at the crime witness testimony and the like is moot. And thats something that has saved lives and gotten innocents out of jail. On the other hand if his DNA was found at the scene it'd be pretty damning.

But even this method beats the pants off what religion would have us do to usually prove innocence rather than prove guilt.

Of course in some ways we're damned from the get go. For some reason I'm culpable in sinning against god cause the first two humans from 6000 years ago (or something like that) ate a piece of fruit that imparted knowledge to them and that was wrong. And now I am born a sinner and all humans accordingly are to the remotest generation for the crimes of our "ancestors".



I say evidence and not facts, because the evidence can be subject to debate. Many species have turned out to be mixed skeletons of several species, different parts of a similar species life cycle or even outright hoaxes. Does that invalidate evolution? no, because there's a lot of evidence, enough to convince people that evolution is valid.
You know how these things get sorted out right? With the scientific method.



Pure science doesn't say "this is truth" science says, "this is most likely what happened or what will happen". Belief says "this WILL happen, or what WILL happen." And every one has beliefs, even scientists.

Science also uses labels like theories, hypotheses, and laws to distinguish just how correlation/causal those sorts of things are. And when discrepancies are found someone usually takes up the search for the truth (for example with DNA some mothers aren't legitimate matches for their children due to the rare case of being a "chimera"). But scientists usually (now I must emphasize usually) build their beliefs upon sounds evidence/knowledge rather than blind faith.

But yes you can usually find some erroneous belief in someone if you look for it. But I think I'd find atheism a lot closer to the objective truth than what any holy book has put out.

Infra-Man
09-25-2010, 08:02 AM
No, but seriously, everyone...

Atheism is not the same as religion nor is atheism a type of religion.

If you want to play slippy sloppy with language, logic, and meaning and create a Procrustean equivalence based on a few shared properties while disregarding the differing natures of belief (and again, belief does not automatically make something a religion), let me assert the following...

Religion is atheism. Religion is non-religion/non-religious.

That should work, right? They're the same thing, right?

EDIT:

I would argue that a system that is based solely on faith/belief without evidence and serves to give the believer a feeling that the system explains the world and makes the world make sense IS a religion. Or, at least, it serves the same function as a religion, which -- it seems to me --reduces the difference to "If it looks like a duck and it walks like a duck and it swims like a duck and it quacks like a duck then, whatever you want to call it, it is functionally equivalent to a duck."

So it's not an congruence but a similarity; not the same but functions in a similar way.

"If it looks like a duck and it walks like a duck and it swims like a duck and it quacks like a duck then, whatever you want to call it, it is functionally equivalent to a duck."

Functional equivalent of a duck ≠ A duck

I think that's why I use the phrase "a mode of being" or an "ethos" (maybe "a mode of believing" is a better phrase) because while there is an organizing principle similar to various beliefs and belief systems, these belief systems are discrete systems and to encapsulate them all under the loaded word "religion" does not take into account that these are discrete systems that may not be centered around a belief in higher powers or the supernatural.

Tyr
09-25-2010, 10:11 AM
Science to the rescue. If Cam's DNA wasn't found at the crime witness testimony and the like is moot. And thats something that has saved lives and gotten innocents out of jail. On the other hand if his DNA was found at the scene it'd be pretty damning.

Just because Cams DNA is at the scene doesn't prove he did it, it just puts him at the scene.




But even this method beats the pants off what religion would have us do to usually prove innocence rather than prove guilt.



Nope, they use the same method, they come up with evidence to prove someone is guilty. Questionable and highly debatable evidence, even back then, but evidence. Bare in mind that many witch hunts were politically motivated, just like the McCarthy era of the last century.

Oh and not everyone agreed with the methods of obtaining such information. There were several documents written by various members of the clergy that questioned the validity of the use of torture to get someone to confess.




Science also uses labels like theories, hypotheses, and laws to distinguish just how correlation/causal those sorts of things are. And when discrepancies are found someone usually takes up the search for the truth (for example with DNA some mothers aren't legitimate matches for their children due to the rare case of being a "chimera"). But scientists usually (now I must emphasize usually) build their beliefs upon sounds evidence/knowledge rather than blind faith.

But yes you can usually find some erroneous belief in someone if you look for it. But I think I'd find atheism a lot closer to the objective truth than what any holy book has put out.

How is atheism hold any more the truth then belief in a higher power? Science doesn't have an answer to that question. There's a difference between inconclusive and flat out false.

Science is neutral on the subject, its a tool that both folks can use.

I would also be careful about using such wording as "blind faith." It denotes this idea that somehow following an ideology makes someone ignorant of scientific fact.

Let me share a little story my anthropology teacher once told me.

A shack collapses on a man, as a result the man is injured with a broken leg. The village believes a revile witchdoctor to be the culprit. The anthropologist dismisses the idea and takes a closer look at the shack and finds the supports where infested with termites.

He relays his findings to the villagers, and they, looking at him quizzically, say "tell us something we do not already know."

The puzzled anthropologist asks, "but if you knew that the shack had a termite infestation why do you believe a witch is responsible?"

To which the villagers replied, "that shack could have collapsed at any time, so why did it collapse at that particular time on this man?"

Of course the anthropologist had no answer to his question, he didn't start believing that witchcraft but he had to admit the villagers had a valid question.

Anyway I think I'm done debating the whole science vs religion thing for now. To me the to do not have to be at odds, but don't take my word for it look at this wiki page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict_thesis), granted its a wiki page, so you may not take it either.

Anyway off to talk about robot monkeys, wheeeeeee! :rofl:

porkchop
09-25-2010, 07:17 PM
Just because Cams DNA is at the scene doesn't prove he did it, it just puts him at the scene.

Yeah. My point was that it's definitive, over witness testimony which has fuzzy results that lead to shit deals for innocent people.



How is atheism hold any more the truth then belief in a higher power? Science doesn't have an answer to that question. There's a difference between inconclusive and flat out false.

Atheism is the rejection of the idea that a deity put everything here for you. And that such a entity gives a damn about what you do with your day to day life and what you think. It ignores the empty promise of prayer and a lot of other rituals. If used in conjunction with science it provides better information than a series of books written in the middle east two thousand years ago(by people). You can see the world as something god keeps going but it works fine without the mess of things that come with Christianity, Islam, Judaism, etc.


Science is neutral on the subject, its a tool that both folks can use.
True.


I would also be careful about using such wording as "blind faith." It denotes this idea that somehow following an ideology makes someone ignorant of scientific fact.

I meant it in the sense that when science makes claims for itself there is expected to be some documented evidence, which can be repeated in tests/observation. Nonsense gets discredited and when one model doesn't fit the mold anymore it gets tossed in favor or whats better (Einstein vs Newton ) Now the bible makes very large claims for itself and has not a whole lot to back it up and in fact has some things discrediting it.



To which the villagers replied, "that shack could have collapsed at any time, so why did it collapse at that particular time on this man?"

Of course the anthropologist had no answer to his question, he didn't start believing that witchcraft but he had to admit the villagers had a valid question.
Part of the benefits of receiving an education is to know when nuance and subtlety is key to deciphering something and when you're overcomplicating things. Searching for mysteries where none lie is an extreme case of the latter.


Anyway I think I'm done debating the whole science vs religion thing for now. To me the to do not have to be at odds, but don't take my word for it look at this wiki page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict_thesis), granted its a wiki page, so you may not take it either.
It's a nice thought. Unfortunately some parties of God think they have to do "His" work for "Him".