Attenborough's response to creationists' hate mail

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622 Responses to “Attenborough's response to creationists' hate mail”

  1. Modusoperandi says:

    minTphresh no metaphor in the bible?!?… “i am the lamb of god”…oh, yeah. definitely literal.”
    This is the earliest clear metaphor that I could fine without trying too hard:

    Gen 49:9 Judah [is] a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?

    …and with that out of the way, stories like the Deluge are literal. Even the NT seems to take it literally (Matt24:37-39, Luke17:26-27, 1 Peter 30:20, 2 Peter 2:5, etc). That it’s didn’t happen (or, at least, didn’t happen as presented) only shows that God had a wicked speech impediment.

  2. markmarkmark says:

    i think it might be the Holy Ghost

  3. Xopher says:

    And it wasn’t exactly handwriting.

  4. Modusoperandi says:

    JackDitch “That doesn’t make the massive assumptions that go into Big Bang theory any less of an assumption.”
    If your mission was to hurt science’s feelings, mission accomplished.

    “But the literal beginning of time isn’t part of our observable universe, nor do I assume that the universe has left enough evidence for us to piece together what that most remote spacetime was really like.”
    Hence the bunches of “ifs”:

    If supersymmetry is correct, then during this time the four fundamental forces — electromagnetism, weak nuclear force, strong nuclear force and gravitation — all have the same strength, so they are possibly unified into one fundamental force. Little is known about this epoch, although different theories propose different scenarios. (fm Wikipedia)

    There’s enough data to form a reasonable theory. As we learn more, the theory with be updated or possibly abandoned for one that explains the totality of the data better.

    “But the literal beginning of time isn’t part of our observable universe, nor do I assume that the universe has left enough evidence for us to piece together what that most remote spacetime was really like.”
    You know what happens when you assume, right? Much like Behe at Dover, your ignorance of a subject is a poor indicator of the state of the art. I, for one, know nothing about Japanese cuisine. I assume, therefore, that nobody else does, either. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some sashimi that needs to be consumed.

    “Yeah, I think I’d also be bothered by the teaching of the rules of basketball as a matter of science in public science classrooms.”
    I said “Like Phys-Ed”. Incidentally, basketball involves things like friction, inertia, gravity, etc, and those rules, at least, do belong in science class (on the flipside, using your sliderule to calculate a tossed ball’s trajectory in PE class won’t help you win the game. It’s hard to throw a three-pointer when you’re stuffed in a locker).

  5. arkizzle says:

    ..I might have to sex it up a bit.

    What about zomie vampire women?

  6. Takuan says:

    el, a well-boiled Stylite could be plunked down next to you at work and pass in a week. Visit any “stone age” Amazon tribe and you’ll find wheeling and dealing and scheming and politicking just like home. Metaphors are stories and you apes have been telling stories FOREVER.

  7. ZoopyFunk says:

    I thought mod policy comments were supposed to be on the mod policy page. God I love comment drama.

  8. robulus says:

    @Takuan

    Yeah emulation, but specifically not by biological means. So a system that can functionally replicate a conscious mind on a different substrate. AI.

    Another example is if you got the entire population of China to act as a single synapse each (lets just assume theres enough people to do it), and the system was able to behave as functionally identical to a human brain, would it be conscious?

    I think you are guessing yes, and I seem to remember Dawkins reckons it might be, but it is pretty counter-intuitive.

  9. arkizzle says:

    Foetus, whose poem?

  10. Xopher says:

    Robulus, Delenn is a character in a TV series called Babylon 5. Minbari is her species.

  11. Antinous / Moderator says:

    To some of those arguing that being religious/being non-religious makes you a nicer person — you must have had a big stack of failcakes for breakfast. Exemplifying your own beliefs is the first line of philosophical defense.

    Regarding kicking the beggar: Evolutionists could argue that it’s evolutionarily advantageous to neutralize the weakest members of the pack before they consume any more resources; Calvinists would say that the beggar is dying in the gutter because it’s predestined by God and abusing him is aligning with God’s will. In practice, they’d both just be excuses for acting like a dick. How can you determine if religion or non-religion are bad if you base your argument on examples of them being used as alibis for other motives?

  12. robulus says:

    What about zomie vampire women?

    That’ll do nicely thank you.

  13. mdh says:

    Buddy66 – And how are we, poor sad mortal things, expected to worship a raving fucking lunatic?

    You mean after we step away from the mirror?

  14. Tom Hale says:

    @329 FoetusNail – You’re right about the Church of Christ – but since you included my kids, I wanted to show you that we aren’t a close minded, anti-science, homophobic family. About my son being gay, he said he struggled with that and was confused about that for a bit (his own words) – he says he isn’t gay, and he does have a girlfriend. We’re close enough that I believe he would be honest with me about that. He knows that no matter what, he has our love and support 100%.

  15. markmarkmark says:

    well actually God carved words into the wall, with his hand.

  16. minTphresh says:

    arki, 5 bucks says he either a) ignores the question, or b) says the same inane meaningless b.s. that somehow in his mind passes for logical discourse. then somehow blames us for a lack of “understanding”. unreal.

  17. Xopher says:

    Pagan chant by Xopher: “We are cells in the body of the Mother/We are cells in her body.” Changing by stealth to: “We ourselves are the body of the Mother/We ourselves are her body.”

  18. elsmiley says:

    Endure what I did through 13 years of catholic school and then see if you don’t feel a little resentment when you wake up one day and realize it was all a fairy tale. Or better yet, keep believing it because of your fear of death even thought you know in your deepest feelings that it’s totally fantastic.

    The African-Americans, the Suffragettes, hell, the founding fathers of the US, all rose up against oppression and finally won. It’s time for us atheists to claim our right to be respected.

    Rise up!

  19. arkizzle says:

    Tom and Akezys,

    Fun is not Hate.

    They can mingle, but be careful not to confuse the two.

  20. Oceanconcepts says:

    re. 57 POSTED BY PYOTA

    but how do you know which religion is true (if you care)?

    The same way you “know” which music moves you- if it does, in some sense it’s “true” for you. The legalistic concept of “proof” is as irrelevant in this context as it would be in trying to prove which music is best. Each religion can be a particular insight, without being exclusive. If you are compelled to foist your beliefs onto to others (as opposed to sharing them); if you insist you have the only true path, you are being tribal, not religious.

    67, FOETUSNAIL

    Belief in gods is a belief in the supernatural.

    Mine isn’t-
    If God is the concept- a model, in scientific terms- you use to discuss the entirety of being, the matrix in which the universe exists, then it is no more “supernatural” than a symphony or a painting. And there can be no conflict with science or logic. It’s another way of seeing the world symbolically. And our brains can only think in symbols.
    Down to the linguistic level, we pair phonemes to create contrasting sounds, and learn to distinguish the ones that are used in the language we learn as a child. Other distinctions we stop hearing- it doesn’t mean they are not there. We get great power from this focus, just as we get great power and insight from science. Religion, liturgy, music, poetry, painting, are all means to symbolically reconnect with the whole of being, to re-integrate the whole of experience.
    This of course does not mean following some sky-figure who manipulates us and will punish us if we don’t follow the rules- I believe we’re on our own, except that there is value to our seeing ourselves as part of a larger whole.

    re. 62, ROBULUS, 63, CICADA
    Humans evolved and succeeded in large part because they learned to cooperate socially. Our “tribe” has been getting larger over millennia. It’s pretty easy to make an evolutionary argument that explains the benefits of ethical treatment of others.

    But that’s not what “sin” means in Christian theology. Sin is not about violating the rules- however much the fundamentalists try to make it so. Sin is about tearing the fabric of community. This concept was laid out clearly in the Parable of the Good Samaritan- when Jesus was asked “who is my neighbor?” A man was robbed, near death, stripped (so his ethnicity or tribe could not be identified). A passing priest would not help him, for fear of becoming “unclean” (violating religious rules). Ditto the Levite, for similar reasons. The passing Samaritan helps him without asking questions- and if this were told today, the Samaritan would be someone conventionally religious people would have nothing to do with- a drag queen, or a criminal. The point being, your “neighbor” your community, is everybody. And the rule keepers “sinned” by keeping the rules.

    It’s worth notion that the word in the New Testament that gets translated as “salvation” has the connotation of healthfulness, or well-being, NOT rescue- and that it is always used in the continuative tense, i.e. an ongoing process.

  21. arkizzle says:

    Tom,

    First a huge thank you to Mrs Hale (I’m sure she has a name of her own). Please by kind enough to pass that on, some of us heathens also have manners.

    Second: Sorry I wasn’t here last evening to respond properly, I’m on GMT and hung on as long as I could. I will probably think of more questions, but for now thanks again for trying to answer.

  22. Takuan says:

    he meant “magic pantiest”

  23. Xopher says:

    A most peculiar use of the word ‘actually’, methinks.

  24. robulus says:

    @Pyota

    Well I’ve reached a point where my spiritual beliefs need some formal and ritual expression.

    Barring all outside forces, I probably would have chosen Buddhism, but my wife is Catholic and my ancestors were Christian, Christianity is the predominant religion in my community, so I have chosen to follow tradition in the matter. Joining a religion is all about community.

    The question you raise is rational, and is exactly the reason its taken me nearly forty years to sign up with anyone.

    For me, religion isn’t about rationality, it is counter to it. It is an aesthetic choice, like looking at a painting rather than a photo. If I want to positively identify someone, I’ll look at the photo, if I want to contemplate beauty, its the painting.

  25. Takuan says:

    mmm if “theophagy” is a legitimate term of scholarship,so then must be “theofellatio” hein?

  26. Takuan says:

    The Cure?

    Standing on the beach
    With a gun in my hand
    Staring at the sea
    Staring at the sand
    Staring down the barrel
    At the arab on the ground
    I can see his open mouth
    But I hear no sound

    I’m alive
    I’m dead
    I’m the stranger
    Killing an arab

    I can turn
    And walk away
    Or I can fire the gun
    Staring at the sky
    Staring at the sun
    Whichever I chose
    It amounts to the same
    Absolutely nothing

    I’m alive
    I’m dead
    I’m the stranger
    Killing an arab

    I feel the steel butt jump
    Smooth in my hand
    Staring at the sea
    Staring at the sand
    Staring at myself
    Reflected in the eyes
    Of the dead man on the beach
    The dead man on the beach

    I’m alive
    I’m dead
    I’m the stranger
    Killing an arab

  27. arkizzle says:

    Good Night All!

    Thanks for the great chat, no thanks for keeping me up til 6am (I’m GMT) arguing about god.

    Listen Read

    Enjoy :)

  28. hassan-i-sabbah says:

    yum…

  29. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Did someone mention magic panties?

  30. rexdude says:

    I have just one question for creationists:
    What makes the Biblical creation story more valid than those of other cultures?
    The Hindu creation myth holds that the gods and the demons churned the cosmic ocean of milk, out of which everything in this world came.
    The Australian Aborigines hold that the world was dreamed into existence.
    Similarly there are other tales by the Aztecs, the ancient Egyptians, Sumerians, Tibetans and so on.

    Why shouldn’t we teach all of them in school? Why be partial to the Christian version? Let’s see them juggle the logical fallacy of all of them being true at the same time.

  31. markmarkmark says:

    funny how that metaphor is so aptly used for the church – being a body, Christ is the head, we are the hands and feet, etc, us all having individual roles within a greater structure.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      markmarkmark,

      Unless you have something new to add, perhaps this would be a good time for you to practice prayer and meditation.

  32. robulus says:

    @Cicada

    After all, if I decide to kick a beggar to death rather than feed him, why should I think this is a bad thing if not for some concept of sin?

    Because it is obviously a bad thing to do. I mean, this is why these discussions boil down to semantics. If you define “sin” as anything bad, then yes the concept of “sin” is central to morality, but trivially so. If you define “sin” as “bad because a deity has said so”, then your argument is ridiculous.

    If you were a beggar, you wouldn’t want someone to kick you to death. You know it is wrong without any divine intervention. Humans are quite capable of working this stuff out for themselves.

  33. Takuan says:

    nom nom nom!

  34. arkizzle says:

    ElSmiley

    As to understanding what I was saying, yes it’s about rates of change, but it’s something we track. And I don’t think you are getting the time-scale of evolution.

    We have extensive evidence of the ability of humans thousands of years ago. For example: Australian Aboriginals have been in Australia for 40,000 years. On the whole, up until very recently they had near-zero interaction with outside breeding populations (some northern Australians traded and may have intermarried with Torres Strait Islanders, but they would have had very little significant north-south travel).

    As there are zero differences in the brain capability of an Australian Aboriginal or a Nordic European. The only thing that that can suggest, as they evolved separately since the 40,000-year-ago split, is that we have had the same brain power/structure since at least that time.

    If there were significant differences in cognition or ability between the two, we would know that things had changed over that time.

    40,000+ years, just as smart.

  35. robulus says:

    @Arkizzle

    Yeah that covers similar ground to my reply to Takuan. Its a pure theoretical excercise, so we can imagine whatever system it is behaves exactly like a human mind in every detail.

    I guess the question is interesting because it makes us wonder if there is some quality of our consciousness that is somehow unique and not reproduceable in other ways.

    I am pretty sure that Richard Dawkins is a functionalist and thinks that definition (functionally identical) is completely sufficient to describe a conscious entity, whether its biological or a long chain of coke cans, but it is problematic.

  36. arkizzle says:

    Brother Modus!!

    Rejoice the day! For are not our gods, one in the same? A bountiful day is upon us, for now we number two strong!

    A doubling of our ranks, a call to fraternity! We…

    Oh.

    l just noticed that Takuan ate him, again. Psheeew..

  37. arkizzle says:

    Xopher @ 220

    I was actually surprised at how substantive the Lucifer / Anointed-Cherub descriptions are. Of course Milton made up the script and characterizations, but the setup.. (in two parts)

    Isiah
    14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!
    how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
    14:13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I
    will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the
    mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
    14:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
    14:15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

    Ezekiel
    28:14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee
    so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and
    down in the midst of the stones of fire.
    28:15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast
    created, till iniquity was found in thee.
    28:16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst
    of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast
    thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O
    covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
    28:17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast
    corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to
    the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
    28:18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine
    iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring
    forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will
    bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that
    behold thee.
    28:19 All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at
    thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.

    So, I know they are not explicitly connected, but there is the groundwork for the story.. Great stuff! :)

    We should call on Teresa’s encyclopedic knowledge of the Book, and see if she knows any better.

  38. Xopher says:

    Modus 437: I don’t know what’s going on with me, either, and I wasn’t offended.

    Oh, good! I was sincerely worried that you were annoyed with me, and I would regret that, because as I apparently haven’t actually said, I like you.

  39. elsmiley says:

    Religion is not about community. The most extreme “loners” are often religious. It’s about what you believe. I’ve never understood the concept of “choosing” what you believe. You either believe it or you don’t. Everything else is just self-deceiving and denial.

  40. cobratronik says:

    To Xopher at 164:

    Please allow me to clarify. While it’s true that my comments were directed primarily toward the “big 3″ monotheistic religions, I still stand behind my point that religion is not a force for good.

    I suppose it would be fair to say that some of the other major world religions are at best harmless, although I question the value of indulging in mystical or pseudo-scientific beliefs when science has provided a much better (and far more accurate) means of understanding the universe.

  41. markmarkmark says:

    because the Judeo Christian creation story is more then simply a religious tale – it is ingrained into every part of our world.
    How many days are in a week. why? explain that without talking about religion.

  42. robulus says:

    That’d be right. I get caught gender assuming and its bloody Babylon 5. So Hindus and the Minbari, then.

  43. arkizzle says:

    MinT, you are entirely right.

    I take it all back.

    Now everybody: choose your morals and pick a link. Get Julia Sweeney NOW.

    She Rawkz!

  44. Tom Hale says:

    I’d imagine more wars have been fought and more people killed because of religion than anything else. And oddly, religion probably spawns more hate than anything else.

    I believe in God – My belief hasn’t caused me to write hate mail so far. I think I would act pretty much the same if I didn’t believe in God. I generally try to treat people the way I’d like to be treated. I’m not sure if its just my nature or because I was brought up in a religious atmosphere that makes me, IMO, a nice person. I have noticed a lot of not-nice people in these anti/creationist posts.

  45. Cicada says:

    @62- Let’s assume I wanted the beggar dead because he kept bugging me for change. Assume also that after he was dead, I was happy about it.

    Or, put another way, how would you explain to someone who _didn’t_ consider kicking the beggar to death to be a bad thing to do that it was in fact a bad thing to do, and he might perhaps feel a bit bad about doing it?

  46. Akezys says:

    @86 – In fact, I did in fact attend a publicly funded (Ontario) Catholic school for all of my elementary and high school education.

    @87 – I think referring to all Catholics as ‘God Eaters’/blowers and presenting religion as only a tool to further oppression is inaccurate and crosses a line.

  47. arkizzle says:

    Ah, context. Thank you Takuan.

    Now, have you any idea what his point was?

  48. arkizzle says:

    Takuan, without wanting to rile Tom here.. (sorry Tom, and not in a snarky way)

    I really like some of the lines in your enchiridion to the God Eaters @ 84.
    Some great images and double-entendre to the prose..

    find my footprints. They are usually lined by true believers..

    Nom Nom Nom is my Omni padne hum.

    Nice. I expect an invitation to the next smorgasboard, I’ll bring recipes.

  49. robulus says:

    @ModusOperandi

    Oh OK, that wasn’t clear to me. All good then.

  50. failix says:

    @Robulus:

    “He felt these ideas had a profound effect on our behaviour, although we weren’t consciously aware of them.”

    Nonetheless these ideas, emotions and feelings aren’t irrational just because we aren’t consciously aware of them, and you don’t need religion to experience them. Depending on what you are looking for, music will do the trick, or paintings, or marijuana… I don’t think religion is a wise alternative for our present society.

  51. TroofSeeker says:

    MODUS OPEERENDI- as long as I’ve got you up in my grille, yeah, I’ve seen lots of weird stuff. Even astral projection, out-of-body and such. I quite agree: most of it is mind tricks and illusions. Most people see ghosts because they’re expecting to.
    When I was a kid a friend and I walked into his room, each carrying a plate bearing cake and a fork. My fork fell off the plate and froze, mid-air, for a second, then fell to the floor. “Did you see that?!” I asked. “Your fork stopped in the air!” Cliff replied. My theory: a ripple in time. What I know for sure is that I don’t know for sure. These people, religious or anti, are locking out the truth when they insist that they know it.

  52. robulus says:

    @Elsmiley

    So what about reincarnation?

  53. rexdude says:

    “Ingrained into every part of our world”, how exactly??

    How do you justify one fairy tale over another?
    ‘It’s true because it says so in the Bible’ or ‘It’s true because I say so’ doesn’t count.

  54. robulus says:

    @TZCTLP

    Religious people refuse to understand why 2+2=4 in the arithmetic of life, I frankly have no time for their wishful and self delusory explanations (life is just too short) and will cut them short when they start with all they mumbo jumbo nonsense.

    Oh, to have that sort of certainty! Reminds me of someone else… fundamentalists, anyone?

  55. Takuan says:

    Well Robulus, now we HAVE to try it!

  56. arkizzle says:

    Mark, yep. Funny how they have lots of traditions and truths similar to the older religions. Ponder that.

  57. hassan-i-sabbah says:

    MMmm who would be good to eat ? Would Jesus be “Just right” Would Mohammad be “A bit stringy”.. How many times would you have to turn the Buddha over before he was done? C’mon folks we need yer Deity Recipes!

  58. Xopher says:

    OK: The cultures that had seven-day weeks out-murdered, out-enslaved, and out-conquered everyone else, and imposed their calendar.

    How’d I do?

  59. Xopher says:

    *thinks about responding to markmarkmark’s latest comment*

    *decides to watch paint dry instead*

  60. markmarkmark says:

    no i was posting a rimshot to the above comment

    also i am back and postin and lovin’ it

    but i am Heather Papps there, here i am markmarkmark, and in real life ima go to the doctors.

  61. TroofSeeker says:

    I, too, am a fan of Attenborough. Learned lots from him. However, he skims over the creation of life issue by suggesting [Life On Earth, page 19]that strands of DNA were just laying around the primordial pool. Little programs, carrying detailed information on how to sustain one’s life, how to split each of their components and divide into two individuals, each capable of injesting nutrition, growing to adult size, then dividing again. I find that hard to swallow. Rediculous, in fact. Life is too intelligent, too tenacious to not have intelligence behind it.

  62. arkizzle says:

    Modus, you just made the front page!!

  63. Modusoperandi says:

    Takuan: No, that’s my cult. I had to do something after someone ate my Monkey.

  64. Modusoperandi says:

    bardfinn “markmarkmark: Yeah, priests are /just like scientists/: Priests cured polio, found treatments for AIDS/HIV, developed vaccines, and markedly increased life expectancy and quality of life through their work.”
    Actually, lots of sciency stuff was found by people who were trying to figure out how God operated.

    TroofSeeker “Lightning strikes the primordial pool. Something is energized- some microscopic glob of just the right chemicals absorbs the energy and sustains it. Let’s call him Willie…”
    I seriously hope that was a joke. Making abiogenesis a cartoon parody of itself (and doing the same to the theory of evolution) is a Creationist trademark. Stop now, before you start quotemining scientists to “prove” that they didn’t believe what they believed.

    “You have every right to reject God and worship your god, Willie, because it makes sense to you.”
    Again, I hope that’s a joke. If you’re equating science and religion, you do each a disservice. By “each”, I mean of course “science”.

    “Maybe you haven’t thought it through, but I think you know that something is missing from your theories.”
    Something’s always missing from the theories. That just means that we don’t have it figured all out.

    “There are dimensions that we are blind to.”
    So how do you know they’re there?

    Cicada “@#56- Er…are you forgetting the fervor of churches in the abolition movement? Or, of course, the right Reverend MLK and his use of churches to organize?”
    Are you forgetting all the people that used the exact same book to come to the polar opposite conclusion? Are you forgetting that the Southern Baptist biblical case for slavery was far stronger than the abolitionist’s biblical case against it?
    God’s opinion didn’t change. Peoples’ did…and they eventually dragged Him kicking and screaming over to their side.

    “Yes, nasty old things, churches and religious leaders, never up to any good…”
    They are up to good. Except when they’re not. Like all people, except these have God on their side. And when they change, He’s still on their side. God seems to be nothing but supportive about virtually every position. Silence can always be taken as assent.

    “After all, if I decide to kick a beggar to death rather than feed him, why should I think this is a bad thing if not for some concept of sin?”
    If you need the concept of sin (rather than the combination of millions of years of the evolution of a fairly social group of omnivores that lacked tooth and claw and had to spend considerable time protecting their young, dude to their defenseless state for several years after birth, plus some 10,000 years of history, with multiple cultures building up do/don’t do charts based on what worked and what didn’t) to give a man a sandwich rather than murder him, then by all means, keep the Fall.
    We’re good, not because of some ingrained holy spirirt, and bad, not because of the disobedience of Adam, but because we’re people. The conflict between I and We has, does, and will continue to conflict within each of us. We’re still figuring how best to live with each other and, God willing, we’ll keep on learning.

  65. FoetusNail says:

    Buddy, I generally enjoy the hell out of your posts, and this last one is stellar!

    FYI, some Wiccans practice “skyclad”, as in the nude.

  66. Anonymous says:

    I don’t mind if this isn’t posted, I just wanted to mention this where it might be seen by the editors of the site. I love Boing Boing and I’ve been reading it for years; I especially love the positive spirit, the focus on creative thought and the DIY attitude that would generally uplift anyone I’d show the site to. But then, every once in awhile, there’s an attack on something a dumb religious person said, generally attributing the dumbness to the religiousness without much of any nuance.

    I understand why you’d want to do it. I’m a gay man who practices a mix of discordianism, christianity and the way of Bob (with all due deference to the dark elder gods.) I find most of the pink gods in this world to be justifiably infuriating.

    But I get into the whole religion vs. reason fight with my friends all the time, and many of them (gods love ‘em) come down on me as belligerently as any fundie Christian for my belief in the Giant Fighting Robot Jesus from the End of Time–a belief which is very important to me, even if it’s funny and fantastical. And so when I come across another jab at religion on Boing-Boing, it deflates much of the positive spirit I otherwise take away from the site, and drags me back into a topic that I’ve seen push friends apart again and again.

    I know it’s your site and I don’t presume to tell you what to do with it, I can only make an appeal for you to consider how these kinds of posts compare to the tone and content of pretty much everything else that’s here. It’s the everything else that brings me here, and I love it, and so I’ll suck up the religion digs as long as I can, but it’s gotten heavy enough that I wanted to say something. Thanks for what’s generally my favorite site on the internet.

    Peace,
    Jonathan Prykop aka Rev. Jack Ditch

  67. Xopher says:

    I have to get up early for my morning idolatry. Good night!

  68. Modusoperandi says:

    Cicada “@62- Let’s assume I wanted the beggar dead because he kept bugging me for change. Assume also that after he was dead, I was happy about it.”
    Then you’re mentally ill, and religion is as likely to hurt as it is to help. A psychotic’s God is a malevolent one.

  69. markmarkmark says:

    here is something that might blow everyones minds.
    2+2=4 does not exist. numbers are abstract concepts with no actual real world counterparts and are symbols, used to describe and quantify our world.

    without intelligent life there is no such thing as math, merely existence.

    science and religion are two sides of one coin.

  70. FoetusNail says:

    god
    Just skip down to the block quotes.

    Sin is not about right and wrong, the judeo-christian concept of sin is about controlling your life with threats of an after-life of torture. Our lives pass by in a blink, but our sins are remembered for an eternity.

    This is why this god is not the god of forgiveness.

    Eve makes one mistake and their god condemns all of us forever. Why was she not forgiven her transgression? Why was everyone after this single act, born in sin? Again this is not about right or wrong, it is about control.

    Origianl sin is a lie, a destructive, dehumanizing lie, which creates dependence on the priest and their relationship with the supernatural. They don’t care about right or wrong. They’ve murdered millions.

    This ain’t an argument about faith, gods, or sins, it is about religious cults attempting to control a world. This is about people dying because religious zealots oppose sex education and passing out condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS. This is about a president, that when discussing his opposition to stem cell research says, the ends don’t justify the means, but supports the death penalty and starts a war. This is about teaching Creationist myth as though it were science instead of theology. This is about turning children into Zombies for Jesus, Yahweh, or Mohammad. The religious mind is hacked, mommy and daddy did it, and most will never believe it or understand what it means. The faithful have been thrown the bone for so long they don’t know a roast has meat.

  71. robulus says:

    @Arkizzle

    Well I’m not pretending to be representative of Christianity in any conventional form (although judging by this thread, maybe I am?), but I would say there are vast yawning chasms of difference between how different groups of Christians use the concept of the Devil.

    Certainly at my Church there is absolutely zero reference to the Devil, and if his name started popping up the parishioners would run a mile. Its sort of Catholicism lite, Vatican 2.5, if you like.

    The use of terms like “evil”, invoking the Christian concept of the Devil, for political expediency, such as used by former President Bush, is particularly abhorent to me, as are the groups of assholes who stand around picketing with “F*gs burn in hell” signs.

    Jesus would hate that shit, so would Mohammad, Buddha, and all the great prophets worth listening to.

    I guess the concept has some power as a Jungian archetype, but abuse of the idea has diminished its usefulness a great deal. Darth Vader works better now.

  72. Oceanconcepts says:

    318, TERESA

    either that was a seriously excessive string of adjectives you laid out there, or you haven’t been hanging out in a lot of forums lately.

    Both, no doubt. The “our ancestors, the dummies” theory is a pet peeve. And I’m not much of a forum hanger outer.

    331 FAILIX

    So you’re a pantheist? In what way does Christianity or any other religion satisfy your belief system then?

    A sort of pantheist, at least some of the time. I rather think Jesus was, as well- just not in the shallow all-is-one sense. More in the sense of all-is-information, logos. As in the opening of the Gospel of John. I’m not a dualist, in any case. The remarkable thing is that there exists a reality in which things make sense. Apparently to us, anyway. “The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility.” Albert Einstein

    Christianity doesn’t always totally satisfy my belief system- some days not much at all. But I find a lot of value in it. And yes, this is about “spirituality”, which religion should also be about. I’ll make the distinction between the spiritual side of religion and the institutional side- the institutions are just a different kind of political entity.

    And thanks for the good questions/ respectful tone. Though I thought the Magic Pantheist page was pretty funny as well.

  73. Roach says:

    And yet David Attenborough gets a lot of money from, a lot of celebrity from, and a lot of fascination for (well, we only have the last in common) this immense variety in nature.

    It seems that Attenborough is the one who should believe in a benevolent creator, at least as far as he himself is concerned.

    That’s the problem both creationists and (hard) atheists get into when they approach from this angle – all good things in the universe prove a benevolent creator, all bad things prove the lack of one. May as well say all bad things in the universe prove an evil creator, and all good things prove the lack of one. Or that the creator has massively different standards of value from us. It’s a logical dead-end, and it may make Attenborough brave, but it doesn’t make him (or his courage) philosophically valid.

  74. JackDitch says:

    Arkizzle writes:
    The point was, religion won’t

    Religion changes all the time. Most things do.

    Folks keep talking about religion as if it’s some monolithic force, instead of a catch-all for consideration of the wide variety of beliefs and practices that people cling to. But individual religious believers change their beliefs and practices as they learn and grow, and religious institutions do so, too.

    So I’d be happy enough to see people (both supporters and critics) stop conflating the most harmful and close-minded religions with the general state of religiousness. Most of the stuff folks are criticizing here is, to my mind, simply bad/outdated religious theory; as a religious person, I’ve already rejected it and moved on, continually refining my understanding of that which I bind myself to in this universe.

    And they aren’t just assumptions. They’re hypotheses and ideas that have flowed from observation and comparison.

    So are even my more mystical beliefs. That doesn’t relieve them from still being founded on massive assumptions. To be more specific, that doesn’t relieve them from still involving quite a bit of assertion that may be reasonably denied simply by counter-assumption while still acknowledging all observable facts.

    The stuff I really don’t at all mind being taught in science classrooms tends to be unaffected by these shifts in assumption. For instance, disbelief in the existence of an eternal unchanging “law of nature” doesn’t really strip Newton’s equations of their basic utility in outlining the trajectory of a trebuchet. But it makes Big Bang theory look like so much counting of angels on pinheads.

    Every thought involves some amount of assumption, and I’m not meaning to portray the best of science as without assumption. But the way those assumptions pile up in some of the more far-reaching scientific theories gives me sympathy for the people who think their own piles of assumption should be considered equally valid.

    Modus writes:
    There’s enough data to form a reasonable theory.

    But not enough to overcome the doubt that can arise with even small shifts in assumption. I’m not saying Big Bang theory isn’t reasonable, I’m just saying it’s also reasonable not to buy into it. Hooray for the freedoms that let us look and judge for ourselves.

    You know what happens when you assume, right?

    I said I didn’t assume. I approach the topic of the origin of life, the universe and everything with a fair bit of agnosticism.

    I said “Like Phys-Ed”

    Right, but this isn’t much at all like phys ed. The PE teacher isn’t there to mold the way we investigate the universe, and playing basketball doesn’t typically tread into our freedom to think and believe for ourselves. So other than thinking that you’d rather mock a conservative meme than engage with my stated opinion, I’m not really seeing the point of your comparison.

  75. failix says:

    @Oceanconcepts:

    we are not purely rational beings.

    What is irrational about us? Irrational is only what doesn’t fit the logic of a given observable environment.

    I know a lot of scientists, and I have never known a single one who was purely and coldly rational- quite the reverse, as most come to science because of a deep curiosity about the world. They love music, poetry, myth, stories, liturgy, and religion as much or more than anyone else.

    I know many scientists too, and a lot of them love arts and philosophy, why not? They are human beings after all (lol). But why equate rationality to something negative when we are talking about science, and even arts! You’re talking about arts as if they weren’t rational, or something opposed to science. The feelings you experience while listening to Mozart are very explainable thanks to science.
    From what I understand, you seek in religion what you could find in arts and history without having to believe in irrational things (like a supreme being). That’s sad…

  76. Modusoperandi says:

    Personally, I’ve never had a problem with the idea that we’re just meat. If monism is true, and I see no reason to believe otherwise (except for the unfortunate fact that, one day, me’s “I” will cease to be), a brain that’s “just” neurons still results in the mind that’s “me”. Bonobos are just meat, and they seem quite content with it. Indian elephants, as well. Dolphins, meanwhile, are ecstatic at their meatness. It’s only homo sapiens sapiens, with our heightened sense of meatness, that seems to have an issue with monism.

  77. arkizzle says:

    MarkMarkMark

    everyone shut up, read the bible, and then you are allowed to post about it.

    I’d say a lot of the people on BB (and in this thread) have read as much or more of the Bible as your average Christian (if they aren’t one and the same person).

    Personally, I’m asking questions, posting what I know, finding out more. I’m also making flippant jokes and enjoying the fact that we can, and that we can all have a big (sometimes heated) chat about something NOBODY knows everything about – it’s almost entirely interpretive.

    YAY!

  78. markmarkmark says:

    magic panther sounds cooler then a spaghetti monster or a pink unicorn that is also invisible

  79. Modusoperandi says:

    Xopher; if I was annoyed with you, I’d be wearing my angry face. You should see it. It’s really quite terrifying.

  80. FoetusNail says:

    The contradiction in this statement proves my point:

    I can believe in God, without being the least bit supernatural about it, and having no conflict with science or logic whatever.

    Belief in gods is a belief in the supernatural.

  81. arkizzle says:

    Xopher, also this verse in Revelation:

    12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
    12:8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
    12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

  82. Tom Hale says:

    I’m not sure on who’s side I’m arguing here ,but that’s a pretty big leap between a society developing mathematics and developing a religion.

    2+2=4 has to exist in a world that exists in the same dimension as ours.

  83. robulus says:

    @Jackditch

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, after all, and I’m not sure anyone but God could provide enough evidence to support a claim to know about the literal beginning of time.

    See, what we got right here is the sort of wedge strategy systematically applied by the Discovery Institute to generate confusion and debate where there need be none. I don’t know if you are serving their interests deliberately or unwittingly, but serving their interests you are.

    There is, without a doubt, extraordinary evidence to support the claim that the universe started from a singularity around 13 billion years ago. Scientists have detected background microwave radiation that matches the theory, hubble has peered so far into space it has seen shortly after the event occurred, astrophysicists have used doppler shift to show stars travelling away from the centre of the universe at a rate consistent with the theory.

    If you don’t think it’s prudent to teach widely accepted, corroborated, fundamental scientific theory in the school science curriculum, then there is nothing to teach. The idea that this is somehow a fault of the scientific method is a deliberately misleading tactic of the Discovery Institute, and you need to be called out.

  84. markmarkmark says:

    if the moderators believe my absence is warrented i will leave boingboing for the evening/tomorrow.

    but i like it here – even if some people wish i would leave.

    also tomorrow my stupid probation on the SA forums are over and i can resume annoying people with my pesky opinions and ideas there.

  85. Anonymous says:

    #29 posted by Antinous / Moderator , January 28, 2009 5:39 PM

    I expect most people in modern societies understand this difference.

    A goodly segment of the US population flat out believes in Creationism. An even larger group claiming to believe in evolution actually describes Intelligent Design when asked to explain it. Where is this modern society? And more importantly, are they accepting emigrants from the US?

    I don’t think anyone in Germanic Europe (with the exception of the British Islands and Ireland) or France would confuse intelligent design with evolution, not those who believe in creationism, not those who believe in evolution and, most importantly, not the majority who don’t give a shit. In southern Europe, with a strong Catholic or Orthodox tradition, it might be different.

    I live in Sweden and I would say that this “modern society” exist in Scandinavia and most of northern Europe. Of course we have a few religious crackpots, but they are a minority and mostly keeps to themselves. There is some rather large groups within the mystic traditon, but they are very open minded and don’t preach or mission, they are organised but they mostly believe that people that need them will find them. But most people that live here is Christians by tradition, not by faith. That is, they follow Christian traditions, in a very relaxed fashion, just because they think it is nice, or expected, and not because they actually believe in anything. There are a lot of rather aggressive foreign, or foreign funded, missionaries in Scandinavia, Christian missionary being funded from USA and Islamic missionary being funded from Islamic countries. That kind of aggressiveness is not part of the Scandinavian tradition and although I think that they make a lot of people start thinking about religion, I think that many start to favor atheism because of them.

  86. Xopher says:

    Modus 229: So are hallucinations. Try hallucinating magic panties on the beach and see how quickly you end up before the judge.

    Sigh. Brief lesson in magic: Magic is the art of changing consciousness at will. I have a mask at home that changes aspects of my personality when I put it on. How does that work? Ever since I bought it I’ve only worn it when I want to bring out those aspects of my personality, and the association is strong enough now that the change happens if I LET it happen, instead of needing to work at it. This is all explicable by Behaviorist psychology, to be perfectly frank. But people who habitually employ these techniques for desired changes call them “magic,” and certainly while I’m using the mask it helps to think of it as a special thing, containing energy that will alter me when I put it on.

    If you put it on, unless the look of it or sensation of wearing it was evocative of something from your own experience, it would probably have no effect at all, because you haven’t done the magical work of conditioning yourself to respond to it in that way.

    Here’s a heresy for both believers and non-believers: You don’t have to believe the same things all the time. Keep your actions ethical and speak the truth, and let your beliefs be appropriate to those goals moment to moment. That’s really how I live. Honest.

    Tom 230: Did I not make it clear that I was not second-guessing you? If you have to lie to her to keep your marriage working, I personally would find that unfortunate, but it is your marriage, not mine, and obviously works for you in ways that are more important that speaking the truth.

    Btw, I’m not talking about the “truth” or lack of same of the Bible. It just occurred to me that from your response that’s what you probably think. I meant this:

    I told her I would review your response to what she said so far and let her know. I’m going to tell her you’re going to talk to a church minister about the subject.

    Since you actually have no intention of letting her know my response, and are planning to falsify one, you’re lying to her about our conversation.

    Not a particularly egregious lie, to be sure. One I wouldn’t tell, but then I’m not in a relationship, much less a marriage, and that may be part of why! So I’m really, really NOT going to second-guess your success.

    MarkMarkMark 244: everyone shut up, read the bible, and then you are allowed to post about it.

    I’ve read a lot of it, but all the genocide and human sacrifice (by the supposed “good guys”) turned my stomach, so I stopped. And btw, “everyone shut up” is a fairly obnoxious thing to say.

  87. buddy66 says:

    “I’m not saying they were ancient, I’m saying they were dumb. If they couldn’t figure out how to make concrete or boil water to avoid disease, they sure the hell couldn’t understand the concept of metaphorical literature.”

    Elsmiley,

    You’re at the deep end of the pool now. When I was working on a doctorate in cultural anthropology (lo these many years!) I was struck again and again by the poetry of certain extant primitive cultures that could barely mix mud, much less cement, and had no idea of the germ theory of disease.

    You have mistaken metaphorical language for some sort of advanced cultural sophistication that includes the practice of the scientific method. Whereas, in fact, it is an ancient ability; it’s as old as the innate human ability to symbol. Language came first. If you will pardon me, ahem: In the beginning was the Word.

    Start paddling.

  88. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    ‘Look out! Potential Religion Argument!!’

  89. arkizzle says:

    Night!

    *cough* seed to spill *cough*

    Too much? :)

  90. buddy66 says:

    “here is something that might blow everyones minds.”

    ‘fraid not. You come bearing news that has, alas, been common knowledge for a very long time.

    Try for something really newsy.

  91. Tom Hale says:

    @87 ARKIZZLE, Fun when intended to make someone angry is wrong – is it not? You can say all day long, “we’re just having a little fun,” but you know good and well making fun of someone’s religion s going to make them angry.

  92. failix says:

    @Oceanconcepts:

    I don’t believe in any “supernatural crap”. It’s symbolic, poetic language, not meant to be taken literaly.

    That pretty much makes you a non-believer… so you’re not really a follower of a religious doctrine, but more somebody who appreciates some of the values transmitted by the bible. But they are universal values that many other religions try to transmit too. So there’s no real reason for you to call yourself a Christian, only a cultural reason I guess.

    My question is, why do you call yourself a Christian?

    (In my above post #138 I meant preach instead of praise of course, sry)

  93. nyam says:

    So
    nom nom nom
    is the new word for disenchantment/reenchantment

  94. JackDitch says:

    Robulus writes:
    There is, without a doubt, extraordinary evidence to support the claim that the universe started from a singularity around 13 billion years ago.

    Not compared to the size of the claim, in my estimation.

    I find it similar to the way people can evolve really complicated belief systems based on the presumption that the Bible offers a single consistent description of the way the universe works. It totally can be done, and from the outside it looks like they’re unflappably mindless in their fundamentalism, but from their perspective they’ve got a story in which everything fits together to make the truth of it practically undeniable, and future discovery is just a matter of refining it here or there on their own terms.

    Other folks work on the presumption that the lights in the sky offer a single consistent description of the way the world works, and they, too, find what they’re looking for. There’s really nothing extraordinary about the act of contriving a consistent story around any given data set. So when folks claim to have knowledge of the very beginning of time based on everything we see in the sky, my response is still pretty much, “Is that all you got?” If you believe it’s true you’re gonna be tough to sway, but it ain’t exactly difficult to disbelieve.

    If you don’t think it’s prudent to teach widely accepted, corroborated, fundamental scientific theory in the school science curriculum, then there is nothing to teach.

    That seems like an obvious false dichotomy to me; I’ve already talked a bit about what I think is totally acceptable to teach, and you can address that if you want to.

    Whether or not my opinions would please the Discovery Institute is pretty much irrelevant to me. I so often feel like I’m being presented with “You’re either with us or with the creationists” when I discuss my opinions on this issue; I really start to understand why so many people would think, “Fine! I’m with the creationists!”

  95. minTphresh says:

    xoph, as always, happy trails : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBlFh7P4MvU

  96. Takuan says:

    except in your case

  97. Cicada says:

    “We’re good, not because of some ingrained holy spirirt, and bad, not because of the disobedience of Adam, but because we’re people.”

    While I’d agree, I think you’re missing the point here– how would you explain to someone else who didn’t think a given act bad (and no, it doesn’t have to be as extreme as kicking someone to death) that you considered it bad? You seem to be saying that you consider some things good and others bad and you’re stuck with that given palate of morals unless you happen to change your mind. Where does moral suasion fit here?

    @67- That statement might actually be possible. Of course, in that case you’d need a God who never influenced, in the slightest, anything which had to do with science or logic…i.e, probably nothing to do with the universe at all. Which would have the funny conclusion that you’d have to have randomly guessed, with no support whatsoever, the existance of such a being…

  98. mdh says:

    How can you determine if religion or non-religion are bad if you base your argument on examples of them being used as alibis for other motives?

    …as alibis OR as inspirations.

    Either way it’s just trying to explain yourself to yourself* without holding yourself directly responsible. Any story will do if you want to be fooled. Faeries, resurrection, enlightenment… it’s all the same.

    *(or to others, whom you might convince to varying degrees to listen to you, or maybe follow you, tithe to you, even fight in your name)

  99. Xopher says:

    Arkizzle, that passage from Isaiah is addressing an Earthly king, not apostrophizing Satan. He’s comparing the king to the morning star, and saying his fall will be as great as if the morning star fell from the sky.

    And as for the Revelation of St. John…I’ve always thought that it’s a book of hallucinatory ravings whose inclusion in the Bible was a huge mistake on the part of the men who assembled that document.

  100. Modusoperandi says:

    JackDitch

    Most of the stuff folks are criticizing here is, to my mind, simply bad/outdated religious theory; as a religious person, I’ve already rejected it and moved on, continually refining my understanding of that which I bind myself to in this universe.

    “For instance, disbelief in the existence of an eternal unchanging “law of nature” doesn’t really strip Newton’s equations of their basic utility in outlining the trajectory of a trebuchet. But it makes Big Bang theory look like so much counting of angels on pinheads.”

    The first passage implies a rational quest for knowledge, but that second passage is straight out of the YEC playbook (“Sure, the ‘so-called’ geologic column makes it look like species evolved in to other species, but you’re assuming that hydraulic sorting works the same way now as it did during the Deluge. And things lower down on the column appear to be much older, but you’re assuming that the rate of radioactive decay is the same now as it was back when Man and dinosaur co-existed.”).
    The two statements, taken together, are like that drawing of a beautiful young woman that, when turned 180 degrees, becomes an withered old crone.

    “But the way those assumptions pile up in some of the more far-reaching scientific theories gives me sympathy for the people who think their own piles of assumption should be considered equally valid.”
    And, as we learn more, one “pile” of assumptions will shrink, obsoleting some theories and making others more accurate models (I can see Quantum Theory changing radically, for one. It should be noted that I only know three things about it; it’s weird, we don’t know all that much about it, and the various school of thought tend to be incompatible with the other schools).
    The other pile will, instead, grow.

    “But not enough to overcome the doubt that can arise with even small shifts in assumption.”
    Not your doubts, perhaps, but you (and, in this case, I) probably don’t know what the heck you’re talking about. Science isn’t much for Arguments from Authority, but experts are called that for a reason. Between your doubts and theirs, I tend to defer to their expertise…unless you can back up your assertions, in which case they will defer to yours.
    Scientific investigation is built on doubt. Experiments and observations aren’t repeated to “prove” the theory. They’re repeated in an attempt to disprove it. For every mad physicist running the numbers on his chalkboard (and they are all mad, by the way), there are others both double-checking his math and seeing if his model matches the evidence.

    “I’m not saying Big Bang theory isn’t reasonable, I’m just saying it’s also reasonable not to buy into it.”
    It’s only reasonable not to buy into it only if you have a better model. There’s a Nobel prize in it for you if you’re right (tip: under the gold foil it’s chocolate).

    “Hooray for the freedoms that let us look and judge for ourselves.”
    Yes, and hooray for our freedom to openly and proudly deny the best theories that explain the evidence.

    “I said I didn’t assume.”
    Wups. The remainder of my point still applies. Whether or not you assume that there is (or is not) enough evidence remaining to form a reasonable model of the early universe has no effect on whether or not there is enough evidence to do so (and no effect on the conclusions of others).

    “The PE teacher isn’t there to mold the way we investigate the universe, and playing basketball doesn’t typically tread into our freedom to think and believe for ourselves.”
    Science (and science class*) does not tread on your freedom to think and believe for yourself. The only thing that science insists on, and this is the critical part, is that you can back it up with facts.

    *Note that lower level science classes don’t have this freedom. While it would be nice to be able to teach a full docket of Philosophy of Science courses in High School, that ideal is compromised by the lack of time and the massive amount of foundational knowledge that such courses build on. Cramming the “what” and “how” in is hard enough. Adding any more than a sprinkling of “why” is even harder. In any event, a science teacher that can’t light and sustain the fire of curiousity that science thrives on shouldn’t be teaching science, and probably shouldn’t be teaching at all (I’m looking at you, Mrs Icannotrememberwhatyournamewas, from Grade 9 Biology!).

  101. Xopher says:

    You know, when more than one group of people is annoyed with you, and not annoyed with people expressing opinions somewhat similar to the ones you hold, you might want to consider the idea that you may not, after all, be a suffering saint.

  102. Shelby Davis says:

    Good posts, all round. And while Christians dominate the culture (@ Mark’s post, 23), please don’t think they’re all like the hate-mailers (ironically, MOMENTS before going to boingboing I had been reading a fundie classmate’s blog wherein she was actually praising Attenburough).

    But back to that worm in the eyeball:
    I did not create myself. I did not grow the food I eat. Even if I grew it, I did not create the raw materials from which the food came. I did not design the laws of physics and chemistry that allowed that food to grow, or my house to stand upright, or the heater to stay on in the winter. No one did. I have never had an entirely original idea. Every concept I have every contemplated was either given to me, or was derived by me from pre-existing concepts. I didn’t figure out how the earth’s placement in space allow life to grow–or at least, not before I had already been enjoying that placement in space. You get the idea. All that to say, I HAVE NO RIGHTS. No one has any rights*. Nothing you or I have ever done can be entirely attributed to our own efforts. Neither the universe nor God owes me anything.

    It’s terrible that a child in Africa has a worm in their eye. And it could have been me. Considering that I have absolutely no reason to expect that it couldn’t have been me, no reason that I am owed the worm-free existence I enjoy, I’m less likely to doubt God’s existence because someone has the worm than I am to thank Him that it wasn’t me (and then send some money for aid that my worm-free life allowed me to earn).

    *”human rights”, yes, but not absolute ones. just wanted to be clear.

  103. arkizzle says:

    J’know Ross.. I think that’s done it :)

  104. arkizzle says:

    if the moderators..

    Vote 1

  105. Takuan says:

    nah, Antinous, those I might call the god-blowers. True god-eaters absorb all memes in their path and convert them to more god-eaters. They don’t need to believe in anything, just eat.

  106. Cicada says:

    @64- Not forgetting it at all, but since religious reasoning was used on both sides of the argument, it suggests that the sole determinant of one social policy over the other wasn’t religion. I.e, fervent adherence to religion doesn’t automatically turn one into a raving enslaving murdering monster.

  107. robulus says:

    @falix

    Nonetheless these ideas, emotions and feelings aren’t irrational just because we aren’t consciously aware of them, and you don’t need religion to experience them.

    Irrational is probably the wrong word. What I mean is more like non-rational.

    Like I said, it is your personal experience of your subconscious that is not rational. Your conscious mind cannot, by definition, have any sort of rational dialogue with your subconscious. You can understand rationally that this is the mechanism of your psyche, but you can’t see the wheels turn.

    Depending on what you are looking for, music will do the trick, or paintings, or marijuana…

    Yep. Certainly these are all tools that can allow you a sideways glance at what lies below the surface, and maybe make some ripples. But mysticism is the ancient toolbox to actually work with it. Psychoanalysis / psychiatry / psychology are the new ones. I like it old school!

    I don’t think religion is a wise alternative for our present society.

    No worries. Then you shouldn’t be bothered with it. But I maintain it is a valid choice. A great one, even.

  108. FoetusNail says:

    And Arkizzle, yours is inspired by the invisible spider-bot from whom all knowledge flows.

  109. Bekah says:

    Semantics is all you can quibble over and Tom’s wife was responding to the question does your religion believe in the devil not is the devil in the bible.

  110. arkizzle says:

    He got his mucky feet all over my nice link @ 558.. :(

  111. dsac86 says:

    @Tom Hale, #31

    I can’t help but assume that even without religion, those cultures would have went to war over cultural differences or desire for property. I think religion just provided the easiest scapegoat for those in political power.

    In situations like this one (and the comments that have followed), I always think of Screeching Weasel’s song “Science of Myth”:
    Live video.

    An excerpt of the lyrics:

    “See half the world sees the myth as fact, while it’s seen as a lie by the other half and the simple truth is that it’s none of that.
    And somehow no matter what the world keeps turning, somehow we get by without ever learning.

    Science and religion are not mutually exclusive. In fact for better understanding we take the facts of science and apply them and if both factors keep evolving then we continue getting information but closing off possibilities makes it hard to see the bigger picture.”

  112. markmarkmark says:

    numbers don’t exist in nature.
    people here are saying that religious people are illogical because we believe in an Invisible God, while you guys believe in imaginary numbers

  113. Modusoperandi says:

    Hmmm. Rereading what I wrote, I could’ve summed it up as:

    Parsimony

  114. markmarkmark says:

    i see the truth in it.

    however i was probated from SA because i started kind of a big argument about lost because i think the island is the garden of eden/atlantis at the same time.

    people disagree because i’m a yobber and a pothead and shitted up a bunch of threads i posted in with pictures of me from treeplanting or whatever stuff they found on the mentat and whatnot.

    it’s a wee bit frustrating.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      markmarkmark,

      The problem is that you keep saying the same things over and over without any real rationalization. Perhaps a good night’s sleep would help you to gather your thoughts.

  115. arkizzle says:

    Thanks Robulus.

    You seem to be describing the sort of Christians I tend to meet over here, too. I suppose they are mostly Anglican, Church of England..

    Rational about most of the same stuff I am, not particularly loopy :)

  116. arkizzle says:

    I’ve been humming this song since #248, (Isiah 14:12)

    Can’t believe I didn’t think to post it til now.. Sorry gang.

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ORJBFI_OLdU

  117. robulus says:

    MarkX3 says

    quantify love.
    quantify sarcasm.

    they are observable but not quantifiable – just like religion and faith.

    The mind body problem? What is thought made of?

    Its such a cool question. I think current thinking is along the lines that thoughts are an emergent property of neurological biochemical processes. Like the froth that forms on the crest of a wave.

    Thats so damn unsatisfying though isn’t it?

    There is absolutely no doubt that mental function can be directly associated with biochemical brain function, it is demonstrated constantly in medicine. But it remains an allusive thing to pin down.

    We cannot currently say with any certainty exactly what constitutes a conscious entity. We know we are conscious from our personal experience, but if a computer was functionally identical to a human, would it be conscious?

    Its a great question to ponder.

  118. Modusoperandi says:

    Anonymous “In simple justice the guilty must compensate for their crime (infinite in view of the being offended)…”
    Incorrect. The ratio of any finite is infinitely small against the infinite.

    “That means that children suffer in union with Christ for the sake of their own parents that they be given time to repent.”
    Children suffer so that their parents can repent? That’s horrible. Worse, that’s evil.

    “Not an explanation the sentimental would accept, but nevertheless rigourously rational.”
    You don’t know what that word means.

    “God may be loving, but the Bible demonstrates not a bit of sentimentality.”
    Uh huh. I don’t see how it would be possible to be sentimental if to you everything in the past, present and future was the same thing (eternal and outside time, whatever that is). I also don’t think that we’re using the same definition of “love”. I, for one, rarely banish people to an eternity of firey burning, suffering and torment for not believing that I exist (especially those that I’ve never contacted). I also don’t give children cancer. I mean, it’s always possible that I’ll do those things in the future, but presently I plan to avoid such loving acts. I’m cool like that. Chicks think I’m sensitive. Plus, I wear a leather jacket, so they know that I’m rebellious. I also wear a plush raccoon costume, so that they know I’m a furry.
    Ignore that last one.

    “In view of the thoroughly reasonable definition of ‘faith’, which is that of assenting to God’s proof of His own existence…”
    Which proof? Special Revelation? Do you have any idea how many Special Revelations there are out there? Not to mention the Specials that haven’t been Revelated yet.
    General Revelation? The thing about that, you see, is that it always leads to the wrong answer. Are you a pantheist? Animist? Fetishist? Deist? (and probably more types that I’ve missed)
    Those are the gods that General Revelation leads to. Superstition, mysticism and, in the case of deism, non-interactivism.

    “…if Attenborough were a real scientist he would not be an atheist but an agnostic.”
    Thanks for playing, but the null hypothesis is the norm for science.

  119. bardfinn says:

    @54: Theft from indigenous peoples does not count as one’s own work; Plagiarism isn’t creditable; Equity serves those with clean hands. The Catholic priests tried to suppress Quinine as black magic.

    Troofseeker:

    Scusi, who is this “Willie the Wonderful” and exactly how did you come to the (false) conclusion that I “follow” someone? I lack beliefs. I have sure and certain knowledge. No-one gave my views to me, and whichever of my views you think are “silly or illogical” – you had better be ready to back up that claim with evidence.

    Markmarkmark: Creating your own special (overly simple and north-american-protestant-politically-biased) ontology does not constitute a substantial argument. It /does/ constitute appeal to authority and special pleading. No matter how much you illustrate it, it’s still oversimplifying the subject matter for your own viewpoint’s gain.

  120. arkizzle says:

    Oh Mark³

    Are there not quantities in nature? Do we not use numbers to describe these quantities? Can we not abstract the process, so that the quantities don’t ‘exist’ anymore and the numbers are themselves invested with meaning?

    Compare:
    Is there not speech in nature? Do we not use writing to descibe that speech? Can we not abstract the process, so that the speech doesn’t exist anymore and the writing itself is invested with meaning?

    Eg. did you talk aloud as you composed your comments here, or did you side-step the original useage of language to the new fangled symbol-speech of writing?

    And you believe in any of this? You complete loon.

  121. Modusoperandi says:

    arkizzle “Funnily enough, I found a photo of you online the other day, in somewhat of a rage. It is pretty scary.”
    Quite. That’s why I’m following it with a MO chaser.

    Tom Hale “When some of you ponder existence, are any of stuck with just how amazing it is that we exist at all?”
    It leaves me awestruck. Then I realize that, if the universe was a little different, it would be some other lifeform noticing just how amazing it is that it exists. And the flipside, if the universe had no life, the non-life would be looking up and thinking just how remarkably fine-tuned the universe was for it’s own non-existence. Those options are pretty awestriking too.
    Heck, just looking at a simple little guy like this leaves me speechless.

    FoetusNail “One overwhelming night, I heard the entirety of Kate Bush’s Sensual World in a single moment, every note, every sound, every emotion.”
    One night, I temporarily lost my sense of “I”. I (without “I”) saw everything, man. (and, yes, it sounds like stoner philosophy but, no, I wasn’t high. It was set off by just looking at a simple millipede)

    MinT “Give bacteria a brain and they’ll swear your small intestine is the center of the universe.”
    Cloaked in the soothing warmth of the TubeUniverse, the bacteria worship the Above (the source from where the food that sustains them comes) and, upon reaching the end of life, meet eternity after passing through the Gate of the Great Sphincter.

    “That left me startled for days”
    You got dazed. I got deist. (and, yes, puns are the lowest form of humour. Still, when remembering the memory of seeing the interconnected nature of all things, I can’t help but “feel” the greater pattern. I’ll buy whatever physicist manages to put that equation on a blackboard a drink)

    markmarkmark “boingboing needs a way i can vote comments up”
    Do you have a highlighting pen?

    “G-D is not silent. the whole world shouts his majesty.”
    And if you were arguing for a deist or pantheistic god, you might have something. If you mean the God, then He’s got a speech impediment or slurred speech (I hear that He hit the bottle pretty hard after that asteroid took out most of the dinosaurs).

    Xopher “Robulus, Delenn is a character in a TV series called Babylon 5. Minbari is her species.”
    Nerd.

  122. arkizzle says:

    Again, Tom.

    Fun when intended to make someone angry is wrong.

    ..making fun of someone’s religion s going to make them angry.

    You are presuming intent.

    And lots of religious people have fun with religion. They’re not all uptight about others’ fun or beliefs.

    What about what I believe?

  123. robulus says:

    @Jackditch

    You seem sincere, sorry if my last post was overly accusatory. This issue really frustrates me.

    You seem to be arguing for relativism. If this group of people want to believe X, then why shouldn’t we let them? Science is just another belief system, right?

    Its OK for people to believe whatever they want. But teaching science is different. Science is a disciplined, methodical approach to understanding the natural world through testable theory.

    When we teach science in schools, we teach current theories in their current state of validation, warts and all. It is almost certain that details of the big bang theory will vary over time, as we gain new knowledge. This doesn’t matter. It’s healthy. What we are teaching is the method, the form of discourse.

    The big bang theory isn’t gospel. That’s the point.

  124. arkizzle says:

    MO

    Funnily enough, I found a photo of you online the other day, in somewhat of a rage. It is pretty scary.

    Brace yourself.

    Pshew!

  125. elsmiley says:

    There were a lot of people who got “angry” when slavery was abolished. Those angry people were undoubtedly religious. I couldn’t possibly care any less that Christians get angry when people speak the truth.

    Meursault killed a person on the beach.

  126. Tom Hale says:

    @298 minT – his middle name is Kenneth, I just thought its odd that he wants to go by that name with his friends when his family calls him Tommy. I know all about what’s on his myspace page – I’m not worried, I imagine he’ll grow out of that stuff. If not, its pretty harmless and none of it carries over to his off line life.

  127. Tom Hale says:

    I cannot grok nonexistence for myself. I sometimes think all of this is a sham and that none of us exist in the universe as we perceive it, but I think – hope – that I will always exist and have consciousness in some form or another. Hopefully, when everything goes kaboom, some of you will join along. Especially FoetusNail – cause I’m going to say, In Yo Face!!! lol

  128. minTphresh says:

    oh, no, xopher. he is the REAL deal, this time. the true believer! he can look down his nose on us heathens with a sly smile on his glib lil face, knowing in his heart that he KNOWS something we can NEVER know. not without his glorious help. so wassamatter, u afraid to say yhvh? jahova? tetragrammaton? ra? oannes? he can be so tricky what with all the names. so, the nutshell version: everything good= yahwey. check. everything bad, naughty or evil=me. check. o.k. think i got it. u can definately go away ,as my eternal soul can now bask in all His divine glory! oh, G-D! u r teh lite! hal-lay-fuckin-berrie !

  129. Bekah says:

    @230 Tom Hale – that is beautiful. I think your children will also have an understanding of a faith from the inside whether they ultimately choose to follow that faith or not and that is valuable.

  130. elsmiley says:

    It’s a rationalization to say that the bible is metaphorical. It was written to be taken as truth. The fact so many people still accept it as such (even if you do not) belies its intent.

  131. Takuan says:

    Composer Robert Smith has said that the song “was a short poetic attempt at condensing my impression of the key moments in L’Étranger (The Stranger) by Albert Camus” (Cure News number 11, October 1991). The lyrics describe a shooting on a beach, in which the Arab of the title is killed by the song’s narrator; in Camus’ story the main character, Meursault, shoots an Arab standing on a beach after staring out at the sea and being overwhelmingly blinded by the sun, reflected on the sea, the sand and the knife the Arab was holding.

  132. Oceanconcepts says:

    249, FAILIX

    But why equate rationality to something negative when we are talking about science, and even arts! You’re talking about arts as if they weren’t rational, or something opposed to science. The feelings you experience while listening to Mozart are very explainable thanks to science.

    I didn’t equate rationality with anything negative.

    There is a world of difference between being able to EXPLAIN something through a rational or scientific process, and having the thing itself be driven by purely rational choices- you are confusing categories. You can explain your attraction to a member of the opposite sex in biochemical terms, but that does not mean your experience when in their presence is a rational one. I don’t doubt religious feelings are explainable in scientific/ rational/ evolutionary/ biochemical terms as well, that does not make them meaningless. Or pointless.

    I don’t believe in irrational things- though some things I am willing to admit may well exist outside the bounds of conventional causality. I am married to a physicist, after all… I don’t believe in a “supreme being” in the sense that I think you mean it- no grand puppet masters. It is no doubt surprising to many that you an be a Christian without such beliefs, but you can be.

    I’ll paraphrase something I heard that noted theologian Carl Sagan say when asked if he believed in God: “If you mean some great being who is intimately involved with and directing the day to day operations of the universe, then no, I see no evidence of that. But if you mean God as the sum total of all the laws of the universe, and all that is still unknown, then I have no problem with that sort of belief.”

    253, XOPHER

    And as for the Revelation of St. John…I’ve always thought that it’s a book of hallucinatory ravings whose inclusion in the Bible was a huge mistake on the part of the men who assembled that document.

    Revelations is an example of a popular form of genre writing of the day- like first century Sci-Fi.
    It’s a political/ social commentary intended to encourage those who were being persecuted by Rome. All of the “prophetic” interpretations laid on it are complete and utter nonsense.

    It’s a rationalization to say that the bible is metaphorical. It was written to be taken as truth. The fact so many people still accept it as such (even if you do not) belies its intent

    “The Bible” is not a monolithic document, and any time anyone refers to it as such (“the Bible says”) it’s a dead giveaway they don’t know what they are talking about.

    Some of it is clearly philosophy and allegory (the creation story, Jonah and the whale); some of it is history, a bunch (the Prophets, mostly) is recorded op-ed and punditry- the Noam Chomskys of ancient Israel- many of them disagreeing with each other and castigating their rulers; There are the legal and religious codes, the laws; some of it is poetry. And that’s just the Old Testament, which many here have correctly observed is filled with violence, brutality, punishment, and genocide. Anyone who can take this as “literal truth” is courting mental instability.
    The New Testament is much simpler; a few versions of Jesus’ life, which differ in details but give a sense of the man, and collected letters and documents of the early Church.

    I’m old enough to remember “The Bible” being used to justify Jim Crow. And at the same time being used to justify racial justice. I can explain this easily- the first group were wrong- they picked Old Testament phrases out of context, and used mythical explanations to justify their prejudice. Those working for racial justice were operating consistently with the “love your neighbor as yourself” teachings in the New Testament.

    259, ESMILEY

    You can pull phrases out of any part of the Bible, out of context and without understanding, and either “prove” whatever you want or make the whole thing appear ridiculous. “I think those words do not mean what you believe they mean”

  133. robulus says:

    I have just been reading through this thread, which has become a document of historical significance in its own right, and saw Xophers response #262 to Elsmileys, now classic, “metaphor hadn’t been invented yet” argument. Sorry buddy66, but I have to pay that one for timeliness.

    @ Tom, your boy is great and what a wonderful father you must be. I hope to be as good. Your household must be either complete chaos or sublime serenity.

  134. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    You’re welcome.
    I’m just so glad I got here in time.

  135. minTphresh says:

    tom, sorry bud. i guess it’s time i told u…we are all just one of takuan’s hallucinations. remember, einstien posited that energy cannot be either created nor destroyed, it can only change form. what are we, but energized bags of mostly water and meat.

  136. markmarkmark says:

    i guess i make points repeatedly because they are important to me

    but also man what a frigging superbowl!
    so yeah, i’m going to close boingboing now.

    have a lovely night everyone, especially you, ark

  137. Tom Hale says:

    I was brought up Methodist and Baptist and am now a member of Church of Christ, which is probably one of the most old fashioned and strict churches around. I blend in pretty well while I’m there.

  138. FoetusNail says:

    At the last moment, just before the bus went over the edge, Arkizzle jumped up, grabbed the wheel, and scrubbing off speed against the rock wall brought the careening vehicle to a stop.

  139. Takuan says:

    nom
    nom nom
    nom nom
    nom nom
    nom nom
    nom nom
    nom nom
    nom

  140. mdh says:

    Markmarkmark –

    The surest way to get everyone to shut up is to turn off the computer and go outside.

  141. FoetusNail says:

    The seven day week probably predates the Jews.

    From Wikipedia:

    Sumerians

    Genesis and Moses may have originated from earlier Mesopotamian mythology and therefore the seven-day week too.

    For the people of Sumer 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th day of the lunation were ‘evil days’ or ‘holy days’, each of the four attributed to a god.

    Additionally the 19th day was the ‘week of weeks’, 49 days (7 × 7) from 1st day of the previous lunation was also attributed to a god.[4] But this was not a continuous seven-day week. After the 4th week when the moon was dark (New Moon) there were 1 or 2 days to keep in line with the lunation of around 29.5 days before the new cycle of 4 × seven-day weeks began.

    Astrology

    Lebombo bone suggests man has been counting days using the lunation since at least 35000BCE.

    Dividing the lunation into 3, 5, 6 or 10 days would fit with a 30 day moon cycle, with the occasional day deducted to keep in line with the lunation. But these divisions do not allow for the natural markers of Full Moon and New Moon.

    The Sumerians, famed for their ancient records of astrological knowledge, had the New Moon as the beginning of the month, and the day after Full Moon as Sabbath.

    Dividing the lunation into 4 × seven-day weeks allows for; Full Moon, First Quarter, New Moon and Last Quarter.

    The Sumerians had calculated that there were 235 moons cycles equaling nearly 19 solar cycles, we call the Metonic cycle, requiring seven leap months to keep the lunar year in line with the solar year.

    Pheiades, the cluster of stars most obvious to the naked eye at night, is also known as the Seven Sisters as observers can spot the seven brightest stars. The Sumerian exaltation for Pheiades is Inanna, the Moon Goddess.

    The seven stella objects (The Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn) visible to the naked eye, moving in the sky like ‘living’ objects or gods and thought by the Sumerians to orbit the center of the universe; Earth.

    For more information of Sumerian Moon Goddess and the seven gates, seven Judges, seven paranymphs, see Inanna.

    When will the supporters/defenders of the judeo-christian religions finally admit they were late to the game, and stop taking credit for everything. And besides, hasn’t religion always run everything. Kings and emperors have been controlled by the priests and astrologers from the beginning. It has taken thousands and thousands of years for us to progress to the point of laws that specifically separate church and state. And the fundies are doing everything they can to reverse this crowning achievement of modern societies.

  142. arkizzle says:

    Yeah, luckily it seems to have moved on to mathematics and existentialism.. those stalwarts of calm and rational debate.

  143. Modusoperandi says:

    Many apologies for the wall of text, but…

    Roach “That’s the problem both creationists and (hard) atheists get into when they approach from this angle – all good things in the universe prove a benevolent creator, all bad things prove the lack of one.”
    If other atheists are like me (and they all are. Every God damn last one of them! Moo ha-ha!), then the case against theism is fairly simple, and doesn’t require positing malevolent/incompetent design. Essentially, it all breaks down to an interventionalist God who, nonetheless, consistently fails to intervene on any level higher than placebo (and when He is posited to do so, He frequently shows up as other, incompatible gods from other religions, in a pattern that’s quite consistent by the religions of that area. Catholics see Mary. Protestants tend to see Jesus. They do not see Shiva or Huitzilopochtli).

    That aside, the “worm in the eye”-Problem of Suffering-Problem of Evil ”is” a good argument against an all-good, all-loving, 3-0′d God. If it wasn’t, apologists throughout the history of the Church wouldn’t have spent (and continue to spend) so much time trying to figure out why God gives children cancer. None of the counter-arguments work very well, IMO, and they tend to open up other theological holes: suffering is inconsequential because it’s temporary while Heaven is eternal, it’s not God’s fault (it’s Satan’s/Adam’s/your own), it’s a test (or if it’s your kid that gets “tested”, He’s torturing your child to test you…although you’ll never hear it phrased that bluntly), God has a reason for everything/divine ineffability, you ”dare” to judge Him?!, etc)…all of which tend to compromise the all-good, all-loving or any of the three O’s of the posited deity.
    Job, even with forty-two chapters to work with, didn’t do a good job of it. Two chapters of story, then some thirty-six following that trying to figure out why bad things happen to good people. In chapter thirty-eight God pops in and, instead of explaining anything, He berates Job, tells him about how great and powerful He is and about all the other stuff that He does. Finally, having received essentially a multi-chapter non-sequitur, in the last chapter Job apologizes…not because God is good, not because He is loving, but because He is powerful. Then the LORD gives Job new stuff to replace the old stuff that was taken from him, Job replaces the kids that the Satan/God plot killed with new ones, he grows old and dies, confident in the knowledge that God is God, and it’s His universe to do with as He pleases, and there’s jack shit that Job can do about it.
    Granted, my interpretation of Job is probably heterodox (sometimes agnostic, occasional deist, mostly atheist, natch), but it’s a profoundly depressing answer (non-answer, really) to the Problem of Evil. Between Job, and Ecclesiastes, I’d take the latter any day (how did a book of doubt make the canon, anyway?)

    The naturalistic answer fits the facts much better, with no mental gymnastics required, even if its conclusion is no consolation: Shit happens, sometimes.
    This, I believe, is why atheism has such a hard time recruiting. Atheists, ideally, freely admit ignorance on some matters, and the answers when they do have enough information to come to a reasonable conclusion tend to suck. “You ”are” special. You just aren’t ”that” special” and “You are going to die” make terrible bumperstickers.

    “Or that the creator has massively different standards of value from us.”

    Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
    For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

  144. JackDitch says:

    Modus writes:
    The two statements, taken together, are like that drawing of a beautiful young woman that, when turned 180 degrees, becomes an withered old crone.

    A very eloquent way to say you don’t like it, but it doesn’t bother me; I don’t find the highlighting of such assumptions unreasonable. Rather, I find it informative.

    And, as we learn more, one “pile” of assumptions will shrink…The other pile will, instead, grow.

    Perhaps. I don’t really see what kind of evidence would shrink the presumption of an eternal unchanging natural law, though. Much like the presumption of an eternal unchanging intelligence, that’s either there or it isn’t, and everything else gets interpreted through that lens. Furthermore, I’d say my own religious assumptions have shrunk over time…though at the end of the day, the size of one’s assumption is more of a qualitative than quantitative judgment.

    As I already tried to say, the theories I consider best vetted are the ones that don’t significantly change even as big assumptions change. Heck, I gave the example of Newton’s equations, and those have already been disproven on astro and quantum scales. They’re worth teaching because they’re incredibly useful, here and now, regardless of what Big Assumptions you make. There’s a repeatable pattern in our local spacetime, and they peg it sufficiently well. That’s the science most worth teaching to the laity, in my estimation, with all due humility about our ability to extrapolate it throughout history.

    It’s only reasonable not to buy into it only if you have a better model

    Nah. Agnosticism, man. I don’t see the need to be presenting every kid in America with a model of the origin of time in the first place.

    Not your doubts, perhaps, but you (and, in this case, I) probably don’t know what the heck you’re talking about. Science isn’t much for Arguments from Authority, but experts are called that for a reason

    I certainly don’t claim to be an expert, but I’m hardly ignorant, either. I got one of the best high school science educations out there (Illinois Math and Science Academy), and I’ve spent years discussing this with practicing scientists and people who aren’t averse to cracking a scientific journal. I’m not trying to make my own Argument from Authority, just trying to say that I don’t look to experts with quite so much awe. They’re smart, fallible people, and I can look to them for knowledge without swallowing their opinions wholesale.

    Note that lower level science classes don’t have this freedom.

    Well, yeah. And it’s only the lower level ones that are mandatory, too. Therein lies the crux of the legitimate struggle, in my mind. Take out the government funded mandatory classes, and what would the creationists have to sue over in the first place? So long as the science classes remain (and I think they should) I think there’s an obligation to keep them trimmed to more tangible and lay-accessible assertions.

    I think one of the most positive experiences I got in science class before IMSA was in first grade, when the teacher taught us to measure weather. Rain gauges, cloud identification, etc. Too young for much theory, too young to grasp deep philosophy, but not too young to get out and observe my world and learn from my observations. So I don’t buy the argument that all we can do at the pre-college level is teach regurgitation of current theory; I don’t buy that stuff like the Big Bang needs to be discussed at that level at all. There’s still plenty to teach in the science classroom.

  145. arkizzle says:

    Painful Pile-on Ensues:

    http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3057758

    Jacert posted:
    Almost 9 years I’ve been on these forums and this has got to be the worst and yet best poster I have ever seen. He’s just so convinced that what he’s posting is awesome and that a thread like this wouldn’t be completely poo poo on.

    I AM OUT! SENSORS SET TO IGNORE!

  146. Takuan says:

    I’ve uploaded to you all, fragmentarily. As the human-mass grows, eventual criticality is assured. You’ll never be rid of me now.

  147. Takuan says:

    thank you for that Modus, the more humans that speak like you, the less despair I feel. And a dignified “Ow” to you as well.

  148. failix says:

    @People in general who get offended when people make fun of their religions:

    People who brag about their religious beliefs and how they make them happy and good people, honestly should get a fine. Keep your irrational and personal beliefs to yourselves please!
    Yes you are free to think and believe whatever you want. But religion should stay as private as sexuality is.
    So when people make fun about your religion, or even attack it, it’s because it didn’t stay a private belief in the first place.
    And on top of it, it’s a totally legitimate thing to make fun of institutions who praise the existence of supernatural beings(lol). It’s even nice to make fun of them compared to what they deserve, when you think about all the atrocities they caused and still cause.

  149. Modusoperandi says:

    Xopher “MO 44 (now):… Did I ever tell you I like you?
    No. No, you haven’t as a matter of fact.

    “I lied.”
    Woe! I have been tricked! Oh, to live under the terrible weight of my shame! I am most thankful that I, unlike you, Xopher, did not post in the wrong thread, or my shame, that is to say the shame of posting a reply in one thread to a comment from another, would be multiplied unbearably! Pray that I do not meet such a person, Xopher, for I could not bear it!

    I’m practicing my overacting, for I fear the consequences that must follow from such a skill falling into a state of disuse. Truly, I do!

  150. Tom Hale says:

    I’ve always enjoyed Attenborough’s documentaries and pretty much all non-boring science or history documentaries. I’ve been into science all my life. Evolution and the big bang theory doesn’t bother me a bit and I don’t see how it conflicts with what I was taught in church. The version of the Bible that I been taught by, The King James version, teaches that God created the heavens and the earth, animals and plants, and then Man. God may very well have used a big bang to create the universe and evolution to make earth’s life – Or not – who knows? I suppose either we’ll all find out someday and if not, it doesn’t really matter does it?

  151. JackDitch says:

    You seem sincere, sorry if my last post was overly accusatory. This issue really frustrates me.

    No problem; you’ve been really mild compared to some of what I’ve gotten through the years. And it frustrates me, too–you should’ve seen the “Oh my god do I really have to keep suffering through atheist attacks on an otherwise consistently uplifting blog” note I sent to the BB editors before I created an account and dove into the fray. The quality of conversation that’s resulted has for the most part been, in my mind, a testament to how much this place rocks.

    Science is a disciplined, methodical approach to understanding the natural world through testable theory.

    I know a lot of people think that way, including many practicing scientists, but I’ve found that often tempts dogmatism…”Your opinion might possibly be true, but it’s not science!” I find it important to remember that what discipline and methods are there, are there in the service of investigating and understanding the universe around us. “Science” is “science” because its methods compel confidence in others, not because other’s confidence is obliged to be compelled by its methods. Science gives me tools to put together a convincing argument, but if that argument fails to convince, hiding behind “but it’s the best science has to offer” seems disingenuous.

    Anyway, I’m only arguing for bald freedom of belief in the context of government supported mandatory education. Mostly, I think creationists are just wrong. But I think the strong ties between science and government in my country help validate their complaints, if not their beliefs.

  152. arkizzle says:

    Akezys @ 90

    Takuan posted GodEaters without any connection to a Christian god. Antinous saw the connection between the phrase and transubstantiation, and pointed it out humourously.

    Catholics who believe in transsubstantiation actually believe they are eating the body of Christ. Is it that far a stretch to connect the two unrelated ideas?

    As to the idea of religion being used or invented as a tool for oppression, like it or not, that is a sociological / theological opinion.

    Argue it, but don’t dare tell people they can’t think it or discuss it. You don’t own religion.

  153. arkizzle says:

    It’s funny, I know so little about the differences in the various Churches of Christianity.. beyond Catholic and Protestant, (and Mormons and Evangelicals, now that I think of them).

  154. Tom Hale says:

    Arkizzle,

    The game you’re playing, pretending what you’re doing is without malice, may be a way around directly breaking rules defined in BB’s moderation policy, but we all know what Takuan and you are doing. I think you’re doing it lightheartedly and I’m not bothered by it, but Takuan is definitely doing it to poke fun at religion in general. Doing so with the knowledge that religious people will read it and be made angry by it is wrong.

  155. FoetusNail says:

    Tom, one question, if you are as you say you are, which I have no reason to doubt, why in hell are you a member of an admittedly backwards looking homophobic church? This question becomes even more important if your son is indeed gay. Why be a member of any organization that would discriminate against, instead of love and accept, one of the most precious people in your life? The way I read your comments you appear to be searching for a spiritual understanding and freedom the CofC cannot provide.

  156. Modusoperandi says:

    JackDitch “I don’t see the need to be presenting every kid in America with a model of the origin of time in the first place.”
    Unless I’m terribly mistaken, it doesn’t model the origin of time. “Origin” implies time, which didn’t exist before it existed. It can only model what happened after time itself began. The model as it exists can only go back to nearly the beginning. Anything before this and agnosticism is justified.

    “…just trying to say that I don’t look to experts with quite so much awe. They’re smart, fallible people, and I can look to them for knowledge without swallowing their opinions wholesale.”
    Don’t mistake listening to people that know what they’re talking about with awe. Their answers (even if incomplete) are the best, most knowledgeable ones. Their theories are the best, most fact-centric, least assumption’d ones.
    That said, they’re all wrong. Every last one of them is wrong.
    That said, their wrong is currently closer than everybody else’s wrong, pending evidence to the contrary.

    “Take out the government funded mandatory classes, and what would the creationists have to sue over in the first place?”
    I’m sure that they would find something to grumble about in the remaining classes, Home-Ec and Band. Home-Ec’s gender neutrality, for one.

    “So long as the science classes remain (and I think they should) I think there’s an obligation to keep them trimmed to more tangible and lay-accessible assertions.
    So long as the science classes remain (and I think they should) I think there’s an obligation to cram them with as much of the best science, covering the widest array of specialities possible into science class. Big Bang fits. The bleeding-edge quantum physics that attempt explain it with higher granularity, not so much.
    And using terms like “assertions” in place of “theories” to desparage scientific theories does your case no good. Also, it makes theories sad. Have you ever tried to console a sad theory? I had to help Germ Theory for a whole weekend, after it got depressed and threatened to kill itself (in a nod to irony, it planned to end its life with germs).

    “I think one of the most positive experiences I got in science class before IMSA was in first grade, when the teacher taught us to measure weather. Rain gauges, cloud identification, etc. Too young for much theory, too young to grasp deep philosophy, but not too young to get out and observe my world and learn from my observations.”
    I’m pretty sure that I said basically the same thing, but with different words and with my name at the start, rather than yours. If I didn’t say it here, I said it somewhere else. You should’ve been there. It was awesome.

    “So I don’t buy the argument that all we can do at the pre-college level is teach regurgitation of current theory;”
    Well, it’s a good thing I’m not making that argument. While there isn’t much room for Philosophy of Science there, some of it should be included. That experiment you mentioned, for example, should have included some of “why” you were doing the “how”, even if it was just implied.

    “I don’t buy that stuff like the Big Bang needs to be discussed at that level at all.”
    Lower level Science class covers a pastiche of subjects. The beginning of the universe is one of those. Also, I have no idea what “pastiche” means. I just like how it sounds. Passss-teesh. Classy.

    “There’s still plenty to teach in the science classroom.”
    There’s always more. Learning rules! Go, learning! Woo!

  157. arkizzle says:

    Foetus, I totally meant to reply to your Kate Bush experience, sorry, I was parrying :)

    Anyway, crazy stuff. I understand a fraction of it in a slightly different context, but know what you are getting at.

    There is definitely a place in your mind, somewhat akin to being In The Zone (but without the high pulse-rate and sweat), that can let you, just for a microsecond, see the world (or some part of it) just as it is, all your cultural projection and preconception falls away, leaving just the unadulterated truth, plainly. And it isn’t necessarily a grand truth, or even a voiced thought, just complete comfort with every aspect of the subject. It’s like green lights all the way, everything just opens up. You ‘see’ all of it, and then the next microsecond, it’s gone.. and you stuggle to even know what happened, but it was good.

    It’s like your brain’s potential operating speed gets unlocked for a split second, maybe all the gates synch at just the rght moment and the light shines out..

  158. nyam says:

    … and I had seriously thought Attenborough to be supercool alluding to God as the worm … It occurs in one’s eye and changes her/his perception.

  159. FoetusNail says:

    Thanks, I did not include your kids, as I don’t know your children. What I wrote concerned my personal experience with members of the CofC and their children, which includes three sister-in-laws.

    Also, for the record, I had second thoughts after submitting my comment and did poke myself in the eye, asking the Mods to unpublish the comment. The only reason I gave was because it was unnecessary. I was worried you would take it personally and did not feel like getting into a discussion.

    Also, please tell your son, whether straight or gay, if anyone judges him on his sexual orientation they are making a mistake. Sexual orientation is unimportant. In my opinion, sexual orientation is no more a defining characteristic than the false distinction of race.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Sexual orientation is unimportant.

      One’s own is. The other person’s can really make or break a date.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I had second thoughts after submitting my comment and did poke myself in the eye, asking the Mods to unpublish the comment.

      FYI – I see what’s in the ModPile, but only Teresa gets the eyeball notes, so I have to guess why they’re flagged.

  160. robulus says:

    DSAC86 says “I can’t help but assume that even without religion, those cultures would have went to war over cultural differences or desire for property. I think religion just provided the easiest scapegoat for those in political power.”

    Agreed. There are plenty of examples of different religions living together harmoniously throughout human history.

    In chimp studies where they’ve been taught sign language, most of their communication is about territory and food. We fight wars for the same reasons.

  161. Modusoperandi says:

    minTphresh: He’s not so bad. He’s less taxing than Evidence was…Speaking of Creationists, did you know that some them send Attenborough hate mail?

  162. arkizzle says:

    Tak@310

    *roll eyes*

    No, ElSmiley@292′s point.

    Thanks :D

  163. FoetusNail says:

    MO, these questions are why I state this god is not the god of infinite forgiveness or unconditional love. The canon states all this crap started when god refused to forgive Eve her transgression, thus condemning not just her, but all of us that have followed her, to lives of suffering. We are never given another chance, but are born into sin. As jews our only chance is to worship this vindictive asshole; as christians our only recourse is predicated upon the condition we must accept Jesus as our lord and savior. Failing this we are consigned to an eternity in hell. Hey, but it is our choice. Love me or swim in a lake of burning sulfer forever! Oh, I get it, this is not a god, but a godfather. God ain’t George Burns, he’s Marlon Brando.

    And another thing is why in hell isn’t there a commandment that says “Thou shall not keep slaves.” Why was slavery OK? Why didn’t Jesus free the slaves?

  164. arkizzle says:

    Mark, I’m touched. Move your hand please.

    http://www.instantrimshot.com

  165. arkizzle says:

    Foet’

    The Benevolent spider-bot, I hope. And not the SADwyw spider.

    Anybody remember that shit?

  166. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Community Manager says:

    El Smiley @288: “Ark–I respect the point you’re making. I may be wrong.” Any other tricks you want to see?

  167. Modusoperandi says:

    Takuan “thank you for that Modus, the more humans that speak like you, the less despair I feel.”
    Oh. Just to let you know, after I take power I’m planning on going quite mad. Mad with power. Mad!

  168. minTphresh says:

    lol

  169. minTphresh says:

    markymuckymuck, just curious, what color is the sky in your world? over here we got something called “blue”. hope things are good over there, wherever the fuck “there” is. oh, and the “logic” you use, isn’t.

  170. arkizzle says:

    Xoph’

    Interesting, I had tried tracing it back, through the passage (Oh, matron!) to find out the subject of the Isiah rant.. and got lost halfway up.

    And yeah, Revelation is a mad ol’ romp. Still, it contains some clear proto Paradise Lost stuff.

    Similarly, Ezekiel has clear proto Milton bits, but without naming the “appointed cherub”. Does it matter what his name is? (Hah! try saying that to a theologian).

    It’s funny, Iron Maiden got me into reading the bible when I was 14 or 15.
    Number of the Beast and all that.. :)

  171. Takuan says:

    good. I need the company.

  172. arkizzle says:

    Also, to be completely fair:

    Any problems you have with comments or inflammatory posts, can be flagged for the Mods to take a look at.

    That is what the “look at this” eyeball at the top of each post is for. You are encouraged to use it for these purposes.

    (spam also, if you are interested)

  173. JackDitch says:

    Modus writes:
    Don’t mistake listening to people that know what they’re talking about with awe. Their answers (even if incomplete) are the best, most knowledgeable ones. Their theories are the best, most fact-centric, least assumption’d ones….their wrong is currently closer than everybody else’s wrong, pending evidence to the contrary.

    I don’t think that’s necessarily so. Like I said to Rob above, I think it’s backwards to say something is best because it’s scientific. Rather, being scientific helps make it best.

    But “best” really doesn’t make sense without answering “for what?” If the answer is “for calculating the distance this bullet will fire” then heck, a discredited-for-universal-use set of equations such as Newton’s can outperform some of the more complicated and nuanced modern stuff in basic efficiency.

    For something as unrepeatable and massive as “for understanding the history of the universe and how I came to be,” though, literal belief in “The Illuminatus Trilogy!” may be more useful for practical day-to-day purposes than anything science has to offer. Big Bang theory might be “best” by scientific standards, but you’re reducing science to mere mindgame if that doesn’t connect back to a more practical purpose, and practical purpose is what I think warrants teaching science as a matter of mandatory public education. Big Bang theory is low enough on practical purpose that I’m totally willing to let it slide; the people who want to study it for a living can get all they want of it in college.

    So long as the science classes remain (and I think they should) I think there’s an obligation to cram them with as much of the best science, covering the widest array of specialities possible into science class

    Fair enough. The gist of my opinion is that this simply helps legitimize creationist’s complaints and concerns; my only point being that there would be less contention if we didn’t insist on lumping together the farthest-reaching claims with the bleedingly obvious lay-accessible claims. We don’t have to lump them together, especially not in mandatory pre-college public education. If we’re gonna keep lumping them together anyway, we’ll keep on reaping the polarized discontent of dissenters living under a government established system of belief.

    Most of my friends that I debate this with, the conversation stops there; they’re content to deal with those problems, so long as the established system of belief is what they call science. I’ve got no argument against that; it’s just a difference in priorities.

  174. Modusoperandi says:

    arkizzle “There is definitely a place in your mind, somewhat akin to being In The Zone…It’s like your brain’s potential operating speed gets unlocked for a split second, maybe all the gates synch at just the rght moment and the light shines out”
    I see it as more like your brain has developed a series of filters, a callous to prevent the “everything” from overwhelming the mind. I’m guessing this came about because, of two caveman, the one that focuses on the task of survival will tend to be eaten by lions less often than the one that gazes up and bumps into trees and trips over shit all the time.
    This is why poets and philosophers consistently get hit by cars.

  175. FoetusNail says:

    Blah, blah, blah. Make a few hundred or thousands or millions of hours of observations over the last hundred years, do the experiments, do the math, submit the thesis, or give it a rest.

    Please share your field studies, your notes, your collected samples of rocks, fossils, tree rings, ice cores, and drill cores collected from around the world, every continent, the seabed, and the Moon. Produce the repeatedly and exhaustively radiometric dated samples. Share time on your various satellites, telescopes, radio-telescopes, and particle accelerators.

    You people wish to say religion and science are two sides of the same coin, but offer nothing in the way of proof. Yes, let’s hold religious claims to the same level of scientific review. Produce the evidence, the data, and publish, period. The creationists have nothing, not one telescope or satellite. For all your blah, blah, blah, there is nothing to back it up, NOTHING, not a damn thing. No one has even produced even one repeatable and verifiable case of paranormal activity, but you wish me to believe I’m surrounded by Angels only the believers can see.

    While none of this proves or disproves the existence of a god, science produces evidence to support its claims, where is the evidence to support yours? This gets back to what I’ve been saying all along, your religions are archaic. They hold no more knowledge or wisdom than that of any man, women, or child living 6000 years ago, 2000 years ago, or 1400 years ago.

    Stephen Hawking has admitted when he was wrong, when will religions either provide the evidence or admit they are wrong.

    Your books are wrong. Your books are not science.

    They are fairytales, metaphors, fiction.
    And BTW, FYI, religions do not change appreciably, that is why these cults are splintered into tens of thousands of sects. You people can’t even agree on the interpretation of your books.

    You can’t even agree on what it means to be a christian. A christian is a believer in the Gospels. A chirstian believes that the good news is that after letting his creations suffer for 4000 years, god finally sends down his bastard son jesus as a celestial sacrifice. Your precious book repeatedly states that only through jesus will we get to the kingdom. Only by accepting jesus christ as our lord and savior, acccepting that he is the son of god and was sent to be ritually sacrificed for our sins will we recieve salvation. Failure to believe this crucial bit, but still believing in the god of abraham means you are not a christian, but a jew. The muslims, will tell you that jesus is not the son of god, that that is blasphemy, jesus was nothing more than a prophet, and christians have bastardized and twisted the word to serve their own means. God then tried one more time to get the message to you people through the final and best vetted prophet, the fightin’ M.

    Your god takes credit for all that is good in humans, we would not know right from wrong, we would not be inspired to greatness, we would be devoid of love, or hope without your gods, yet this same god refuses responsibility for our faults and would punish those who fail to him for an eternity. Without your gods life has no meaning. Without your gods life is a pointless crap shoot.

    How bout this, screw your childish image of god. The judeo-christian-islamic god is a lie, or at best a very pale insulting shadow of god. If there is a god it will be far beyond any description found in those books. I will never believe a god capable of creating this universe would behave as the childish, insecure, lonely, vindictive, unforgiving god these religions describe and in which they believe. If there is a god, these desert religions insult god beyond measure. But have no fear, for a real god will never be harmed by words, yours or mine.

  176. arkizzle says:

    Tom, if you don’t mind my asking, is there much Devil-reference in your Church?

  177. Takuan says:

    we really ought to be writing to Attenborough about now, angrily demanding why he has never done a programme on the evolution of magic panties.

  178. Modusoperandi says:

    Takuan: The cat didn’t save them. It was saving itself. The people just happened to be necessary for its plan.

  179. Tom Hale says:

    I couldn’t possibly care any less that Christians get angry when people speak the truth.

    ELSMILEY, I agree with you 100% and I haven’t said anything about the truth making people angry. If the truth makes someone angry, that’s their problem. Honestly, I haven’t been made angry by anything posted here, I just think that many of the off-topic comments made here were made specifically to anger people. I think people can talk about religion honestly without trying to piss each other off.

  180. buddy66 says:

    Nail, remember this?

    If God is God
    He is not good.

    If God is good
    he is not God.

    It hit me hard when I was fourteen or so. Our village atheist was quite fond of it.

  181. Takuan says:

    ..how to describe the Ineffable?…they’d HAVE to glow, that’s a given….

  182. JackDitch says:

    “as christians our only recourse is predicated upon the condition we must accept Jesus as our lord and savior.”

    Not every Christian believes that; many believe Christ saves even the non-believers. Others believe that “accepting Christ” is more about attitude than creed; they find in Christianity a spirit of love, charity and forgiveness that leads us out of places of suffering (“hell”) and builds communities of mutual respect and concern (“heaven.”)

    As for why would an all-forgiving God allow slavery? Seems obvious to me–because that sort of God forgives the slave drivers, too. The way the story goes, he forgave his murderers as they were murdering him; if you’re looking for a God that punishes the wicked, in my estimation, you’re looking in the wrong place.

    HA! You might think. Christian churches are some of the quickest to judge and condemn in the nation! Well, yeah. An all-forgiving God does tend to end up with some of the lousiest followers. What’s Jesus supposed to do, die for everyone’s sins but theirs?

    Anyway, that’s just what I believe. Once upon a time an all-powerful superhero was sent to earth to punish the wicked, but instead he found out he kinda loved even the wicked (cuz everyone’s got *something* good about ‘em, y’know?) and so he let them kill him instead of raising a finger against them. It’s a simple little story at heart, but I’ve found more wisdom in it than in most any biology book. And so it’s tough for me to see people condemned for taking it more seriously than they take a biology book. In general, everyone condemning each other for their faults is just so the opposite of what I was raised to worship.

  183. markmarkmark says:

    what is the question i’m supposed to ignore? one provable example of metaphysics?

    um how about every religion? ever person who has ever wept and said Jesus save me! and then, somehow, felt a strong love and a strange peace.

    every buddhist who achieves nirvana, every person who gives a homeless person money or attention is a provable, repeatable, observable example of metaphysics.

  184. FoetusNail says:

    These religious concepts/beliefs are implanted in our subconscious before we get a chance to decide for ourselves. We have no memory of our lives before these beliefs were implanted. These beliefs are as much a part of us as our heart and are accepted without question. These beliefs control our every thought and action. This has been happening over hundreds of thousands of years. The capacity for belief either was always there or was bred into our genes.

    With this understanding, I have concluded the vast majority of believers will never abandon their belief in the supernatural. So, the best we can hope for is to help them come to believe in a better class of god, a god that makes these thoughts and threats impossible.

    The god, in whom the children of the desert believe, is a vindictive god without forgiveness, though it is marketed as the all-loving god of infinite forgiveness. We know this is true, because of their fear. These threats are born in the understanding that their god will condemn transgressors to an eternity of suffering.

    We must ask ourselves who or what Attenborough and others threaten. Obviously, their god is not threatened, he created Attenborough to test their faith. So, the adults are not so much afraid for their god or themselves, their faith will pass the test; they fear for their children, whose faith is not yet completely hardened and in turn the priests fear the survival of their religion, their way of life, their jobs.

    These religious cults are falling apart. Over time, they suffer entropy, breaking into smaller and smaller sects over disagreements. The disagreements arise due to those who wish to remain static and those who would allow their faith to adapt to a more current understanding of our universe and a broader acceptance of the realities of our lives and cultures.

    So, if we are to change our religious friends we must help them come to know god independently of archaic beliefs. The concept of god must be separated from the religious cult. We must help them understand that religion stands between them and god. One of the most damaging and dangerous concepts is the concept of sin. The concept of sin is the foundation of the desert cults, their reason for being. The flock must understand there is no need for a middleman or forgiveness. That god will accept them as they are without begging his or her forgiveness. This then allows for a deeper understanding of our lives and greater acceptance of our diversity, of each other.

    In other words, belief in gods is not the problem. The problem is the face these controlling insecure religions place on their gods. The problem is these cults give answers where there are no answers, which then become points of contention. The problem is these priests understand they are not needed and are rightfully fearful their flocks will come to know this as well. The priests have these people feasting and fighting over scraps. Once believers are disabused of the concept of sin, and the clergy and religious cults are seen as superfluous to belief in god, then these threats will cease.

    Without religion there is only god and god cannot be threatened by his or her own creation, only cults are threatened by Attenborough. Without cults, Attenborough is no longer a threat and he will not be threatened in return.

  185. Takuan says:

    you presume much Tom, rest assured, your faith will be chewed and savoured, the bones discarded and any essence extracted just as all others are so processed. No fear or favour, just me. Munch, munch, munch. The petty emotions of adherents don’t even add spice, it’s the tenets and dogma I digest. Besides, I know for an absolute fact that there are “religious people” who enjoy the process.

  186. Modusoperandi says:

    Pah! This isn’t the right place. Oh, woe!

  187. Modusoperandi says:

    Oceanconcepts “A science that seeks to deny the spiritual side of humanity in favor of pure rationalism risks turning away from music, poetry, myth, and much of what makes us human.”
    Show me an astronomer or a biologist or a physicist who isn’t spiritual about his work, and I’ll show you someone who isn’t very good at his job. Simply wondering how things work bring a wonder all its own. Exploring a sliver of the totality of everything is spiritual.
    The methods of scientific investigation may be cold, but scientists aren’t.

    resista “Your just looking for reasons to think that you are superior to people that don’t share your beliefs by using an extreme example of a fool to make your point.”
    Extreme? What percent of Americans think that the world (if not the universe) is 6-10k years old? It is extreme only in the fact that some Creationists are angry enough about the history of the real world not matching the fantasy that they’re willing to threaten reality-based people about it (and the difference between this and dropping Pascal’s Wager is shades of grey. “You should burn in Hell”, and “If you’re wrong you’ll burn in Hell” are both threats).

    “So much for tolerance and understanding of other cultures.”
    Tolerating the intolerant can only go so far. You eventually run out of cheeks to turn. Then Creationism/ID/”Teach the Controversy” is suddenly in biology class, and the kids pay the price for your not standing up and saying “No more!”

    TroofSeeker “Learned lots from him. However, he skims over the creation of life issue by suggesting [Life On Earth, page 19]that strands of DNA were just laying around the primordial pool. Little programs, carrying detailed information on how to sustain one’s life, how to split each of their components and divide into two individuals, each capable of injesting nutrition, growing to adult size, then dividing again.”
    For abiogenesis, instead of relying on a “big picture” book (If Life on Earth had everything we’ve discovered, it would be far too large to read whilst on the toilet), you’re better off looking at books devoted to the subject (like Genesis: The Scientific Quest for Life’s Origin, to start). Suffice it to say, Attenborough’s account is grossly simplified.

    “I find that hard to swallow. Rediculous, in fact. Life is too intelligent, too tenacious to not have intelligence behind it.”
    You might change your mind once you find out just how “cobbled together” life is. It’s not so much “survival of the fittest” as “survival of the fit enough”. If anything, the imperfections make it even cooler. And I tell myself that every time I see my reflection, with its reflected crooked nose, in a mirror.

  188. arkizzle says:

    Failix, the phrase you are looking for is: Secular Christian

    As coined (for me, anyway) by Buddy66 in this thread.

  189. JackDitch says:

    You can’t even agree on what it means to be a christian. A christian is a believer in the Gospels.

    Dude, I don’t even know who you’re talking to in that post. You’re right, people can’t even agree on what it means to be Christian. So where do you get off telling the rest of us *you* know what it means to be Christian? I can get why you’d reject the beliefs of people who define it the way you have, but I don’t see why you’d go around agreeing that they’re the ones who get to define it and asserting that those of us being more reasonable aren’t really Christian. You’re not merely asserting that Christianity doesn’t change and grow, you’re asserting that it’s not *allowed* to change and grow, telling us that if it changes and grows it’s not really Christianity, and then you’re complaining that it doesn’t change and grow. Seems like self-fulfilling anger to me.

  190. Takuan says:

    too bad. Now they have to kill you.

  191. Oceanconcepts says:

    278, ELSMILEY

    I’m not saying they were ancient, I’m saying they were dumb. If they couldn’t figure out how to make concrete or boil water to avoid disease, they sure the hell couldn’t understand the concept of metaphorical literature. They meant it to be literal. Calling it metaphorical only came about much later when people who believed in science and the bible at the same time were conflicted and tried to resolve that conflict.

    Wow.
    This is by far the most ill-informed, culturally ignorant and arrogant statement I have read on any forum for a very long time. As an Anthropologist and a student of linguistics I can tell you there is massive evidence that symbolic/ metaphoric thought is incredibly ancient, predating all human technology. It is basic to language and probably built into our brain structure.
    Try plopping yourself down in a pre-literate society and see how well you get along- see who’s smarter… Geez.

  192. Tom Hale says:

    Oh yeah – its as written in the Bible. If you don’t follow every detail on the instruction sheet – you win eternal damnation and get to spend eternity swimming in a lake of fire! (said in a game show announcer’s voice)

  193. mdh says:

    XOpher – sure!

    MO – FTW!

  194. Takuan says:

    what powers would they convey? I think it would impossible to do anything but tell the truth in their presence. – that would be a drawback, for me anyway…

  195. minTphresh says:

    geez mode, they’re almost like the same voice comin otta two pie-holes. i dos believes in miracles!

  196. wolfiesma says:

    Smiley,
    Come on now. “Breathtaking” may be ready for retirement, but “pinata?” Magnifique! I guess that’s why they pay him the big bucks.

    It’s been a very enriching discussion. I appreciate the time and care so many commenters have invested here. And please pray for me I get religion so I can say, “Thanks be to God,” instead of compulsively posting my every thank you here. But seriously, thanks. My fourth chakra is shiny and happy.

  197. Takuan says:

    “your brain has developed a series of filters, a callous ”

    perhaps why it is easy to see buddha – nature in small children.

  198. Anonymous says:

    If you read the book of Genesis it’s important not to skip over the very first couple of verses. They describe darkness and water even before YHWH says his “Let there be light” speech which gives birth to Creation. So Mr. Attenborough should really have given credit not to God but to the nameless entity that created the darkness/water in the first place.

    Recently I read the Old Testament for the first time and it was quite a read, it really confirmed alot of fears I had always felt towards mainstream Christianity.

  199. Tom Hale says:

    #98 Arkizzle, I don’t want to flag a comment. I’d like to think inflammatory comments posted in a religious thread would be caught just as in any thread.

    And by the way, no hard feelings :) Honestly, nothing here has bothered me – but I can see how a lot of it would bother most religious people.

  200. Chris Tucker says:

    Do not taunt Happy Golden Monkey!

  201. arkizzle says:

    MMM

    um how about proof, not anecdote.

    Again, you are providing things happening in heads. Not providing an example of non-human metaphysics.

    All of those things, every one, is subjective, so could be attributed to delusion. I’m not actually saying they are delusions (depending on the significance and source you ascribe to the experience), but a person under serious mental pressure or suffering from some mental condition could equally testify any of these examples. Hell, they could just be lying. Again I’m not saying they are, but each example is relying on the honesty of the anecdote.

    Please give me an example of non-human, testable (eg. not anecdotal) metaphysics.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Given the current theories floating around in the world of advanced physics, ‘meta’ doesn’t really have any meaning anymore. When physics posits an infinite number of possible realities, religion seems behind the curve in imagining ‘miraculous’ phenomena.

      Hmm, I think that I left my ansible in my philotic car.

  202. robulus says:

    Oh Elsmiley, you thing you!

    It’s a rationalization to say that the bible is metaphorical. It was written to be taken as truth. The fact so many people still accept it as such (even if you do not) belies its intent.

    Here was I thinking you were a tough mark, and you go and reveal this rather planet sized gap in your understanding. I’m paying Buddy66 @307 as the clearest, most concise and authoritive response to this big lapse. But it is truly amazing to see something so obvious even requiring defence. I would drop this one and back away slowly, were I you.

    Reincarnation has not been scientifically disproved. It has to do with the infinity of time and the recombination of matter. Every combination will eventually recur. Eternal recurrance. Too complex to describe here.

    Well, duh. Thats my point, most religions have spokespeople who’ll trot out the “when science proves otherwise we’ll change” line. The fundamental priciples of religious thought are often untestable and unprovable, like, say, the existance of God. That’s why religion can’t start poking it’s nose into the science curriculum. You claimed that Christianity was not open to this same scrutiny, I offered some examples of how it can be.

    To be honest, your body of work in this thread is a baffling mystery, each clue more puzzling than the last. You reject even the most thoughtful defence of Christianity, but are quite happy accepting the scientific plausibility of reincarnation to justify the status of Buddhism as a non-religion.

    I am guessing you had a real tough time at your Catholic school, and this is clouding your judgement. I hope you find in Buddhism, or whatever philosophy you embrace, the peace and understanding we all seek.

  203. Xopher says:

    Modus, you’re right, I posted in the wrong thread. Sorry.

    Btw, I only use the “Did I ever tell you…I lied” thing to say “good one” when someone I DO like gets off a zinger at my expense. I don’t know what’s going on with you, but it wasn’t meant offensively.

  204. FoetusNail says:

    Tom, I hope I am coming to a place in my understanding of beliefs and religions that is more engaging and less offensive. I don’t attach that baggage to the word supernatural and apologize for a lack of vocabulary; to me the word metaphysical brings up images of crystal rubbers surrounded by fairies. For my money, supernatural is just everything that requires belief without evidence. And no, I don’t accept our existence as evidence of the supernatural.

    The first question, is did a god or a universe spontaneously self create. Since there is no answer to this question, I prefer to keep things simple and do not believe in gods, in the supernatural.

    The next question is would we believe in the supernatural if our parents, along with a reinforcing society, had not implanted these beliefs in our minds before we were able to decide for ourselves. This question includes another question, how much of our capacity for belief is the result of evolution. For tens of thousands of years we have systematically removed from society those who refuse to conform to religious belief. Fortunately, many of us have successfully hidden our disbelief, so that today there is still a relatively large group of people immune to these unfounded beliefs.

    At any rate, I see the problem not as what we believe, but the exploitation of our capacity for belief. The details of what you or anyone else believes are unimportant; the problem is the false assumption that these beliefs are The Answer. There is no answer to the question our existence presents. Our existence is a mystery. Gaia is not the Earth, but the Universe.

    These questions are “Curiosity’s Burden”.

    My hope is we recognize this dilemma and accept the fact that contrary to thousands of years of religious doctrine and scientific discovery, we still don’t know a damn thing and that to continue arguing over our religious differences is foolish. Religion is divisive; hence, the large number of competing sects in every major religion. We should consign religion to the dustbin of history. Religions rob us of our achievements. Religion assigns to god all that is good and to man all the is evil. This is the essence of original sin.

    I have finally recognized people will not relinquish their belief in gods. Therefore, my goal is to remove religions from our lives, to separate religious beliefs and the belief in god, to separate religion and spirituality; to dispel the false idea that religion is the arbiter of right and wrong, but is instead dangerous and divisive.

    In other words, I propose removing the middleman. My hope is that my ideas are seen as liberating people from dogma and giving them a direct relationship with their belief in gods, independent of religious leadership. If indeed these things are true, that gods exist, why then do we need a religion to act as liaison? Religion should be recognized as superfluous to belief in god and spirituality. Religions should finally be recognized for what they are dangerous and divisive. Fellowship is what we need, religion is what we got.

    Religions have killed more people than they have saved, because religions have never saved anyone, we save ourselves. We must believe in ourselves. We must understand we alone are responsible for our own salvation, our own enlightenment. This is what they don’t want us to understand. This is what they don’t want us to believe. Having faith in our own ability is blasphemy. When we no longer depend on religions, they are out of a job.

    By removing religions from our lives, we will finally be reunited. Only then will we remember we are all the same, we are all asking the same questions, we are all seeking the same understanding, whether we believe in gods or not.

  205. Oceanconcepts says:

    re. 73, STICKARM

    …the burden really on us to imagine how, say, the Crusades weren’t really a religious activity? Even if we give credence to this idea, are we really supposed to accept that all religious conflict was just a fraud of some sort?

    There are reasons, and there are rationalizations. It’s my belief- and I think there is a lot of evidence for this, going back to animal studies- that wars are mostly economic- power, territory, and money. Most “religious” wars would have been fought absent religion, that just formed the most expedient motivator. The argument that religion causes wars is an example of a complex cause fallacy.

    In your second claim you seem to be insinuating that Nazi Germany, China and Russia under Stalin pursued their programs of ethic cleansing as a tenant of their atheism.

    Not at all- I don’t think the Nazis were atheistic, just secular and ideological, and they certainly persecuted on the basis of religion as well as ethnicity and ideology- I’m only claiming that these examples did not have an explicit religious rationalization at their core. I don’t think there is any reason to believe that secular nations are any worse that explicitly religious ones, and lots of evidence that they are better. I’m a huge believer in the separation of church and state. As I’ve said, the worst thing that ever happened to Christianity was it’s being made the state religion of Rome.

    ALL powerful human symbols- religious, ethnic, tribal, and nationalistic- are very dangerous when they get confused with power.

  206. Xopher says:

    WHOA. Just looked at Kenneth’s profile, Tom. Duuuude! He is a FOX!

    (I ask no forgiveness. I know there can be none.)

  207. chgoliz says:

    Cicada @ #60:

    [BLOCKQUOTE]After all, if I decide to kick a beggar to death rather than feed him, why should I think this is a bad thing if not for some concept of sin?[/BLOCKQUOTE]

    I have never in my life had a concept of sin, yet I know that violence is wrong. Is the carrot of heaven and the stick of hell really the only thing that keeps you from committing violence against your fellow man?

  208. buddy66 says:

    LOL verse, Arky!

    Mountain View. How apt.

  209. minTphresh says:

    arkie, u owe me five bucks!

  210. TroofSeeker says:

    The sad truth, my handsome friends, is that we’re all wrong on some points, because none of us really knows what happened or what is happening. We’re all guessing, being blind to what lies beyond this prison of Time that we are locked inside of. The countless occurances of ESP, of ghost sightings and inexplicable events proves that. we all have the right to be wrong. Wisdom begins when one realizes how little he really knows.

  211. arkizzle says:

    Wow, and is that a part of your own beliefs?

  212. Modusoperandi says:

    FoetusNail “And another thing is why in hell isn’t there a commandment that says “Thou shall not keep slaves.”
    Because people wrote it. Those people had slaves (most societies had variations on slavery/indentured servitude, as that economy worked really well at the time).
    The book makes much more sense if you approach it through the eyes of its writers (that’s why the Amalekites were bad; they didn’t write the Tanakh. I’m sure that in their text, they’d write about “those nasty Israelites”. Even the “bad” legalistic Jews in the NT were only bad because they were the wrong, not-believing that He was who He thought He was, group. Rome, with some exceptions like Herod, only avoided being another group of bad guys because it was a friggin’ superpower. Piss off Rome and you get crushed. See Jewish–Roman War, which was less of a war and more of a revolt followed by a massacre, with the survivors being enslaved and scattered. Also, it was under Nero’s reign, if that helps paint the picture. If memory serves, the Colloseum was financed with the loot from Judea…taken from the Temple of Jerusalem that Herod, yes, that Herod, helped upgrade).
    Read the Torah as though the Israelites were, oh I don’t know, the Hyskos, who ruled parts of Egypt for a century before being unceremoniously kicked out, re-remembering their history as being the oppressed rather than the oppressors.
    Read Daniel (and later, Revelations) as though the intended readers were living through some pretty dark days and needed a motivational fiction where everything works out in the end.
    Read Mark (the earliest and least “tweaked” Gospel) as though the main character was an apocalyptic preacher who thought that the end was nigh.
    Read Paul’s Epistles as though Paul was a zealous persecutor of heretics who began to empathize with them, his mind eventually snapped, and he became a zealous propagandist for Christianity.

    “Why didn’t Jesus free the slaves?”
    He was more concerned with the world to come and thought that it was going to be really soon (hence the “This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” of Mat 24:34, among others, that apologists have to make mean something other than what it says). He could waste time fighting the Establishment, or He could gather the sheep.
    Unfortunately, “this generation” did pass (and many after that), leaving the OT’s pro-slavery message, Jesus’ relative neutrality, leading to the “obedience above all” message of passages like 1Peter 2:18. Combined, they helped slavery last longer than it should’ve (see Southern Baptist Convention, and it only came under fire when some Christians (Quakers and Unitarians, for the most part, with some from other denominations) started ignoring those bits and focussing on the larger, vaguer, ultimately healthier, “love thine neighbor” parts.

  213. FoetusNail says:

    Gettin’ a thread went to his head!

  214. arkizzle says:

    My last was @ Tom.

  215. Takuan says:

    and is it not said that philosophers seeking the truth may be likened unto a band of old, blind and excessively perverted men whom have taken unto a dark closet an olliphaunt and a tub of lubricant?

  216. elsmiley says:

    Xopher: That’s why anyone who knows anything about Buddhism does not consider it a religion. It’s just a way of life. The Noble Eight-fold Path is simply a prescription for reducing the suffering in you life. What I meant was, for example, that I cannot simply “choose” to believe that some guy rose from the dead a couple thousand years ago and that this book that they “believe” in was the creation of some guy from the fourth dimension.

    Wicca believes in supernatural crap. Existentialism and Buddhism do not.

    “If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change.” The Dalai Lama said that. I’d like to see a christian or a muslim say the same.

    All I know is over the years I have learned to not admit I’m an atheist at work or in front of people I don’t know well. People WILL judge you, whether they say it to your face or not. It’s just one more form of bigotry, so don’t give me that “let’s all get along” bullshit. Religious people wiped out my heritage (Native American) and they still persecute me for my beliefs.

    Go hide your head in the sand and believe that christians and aetheists can be friends. They effed that up a long time ago.

  217. Modusoperandi says:

    JackDitch “Like I said to Rob above, I think it’s backwards to say something is best because it’s scientific.”
    The scientific study of the natural world is the single best way of understanding the “hows” of that world. No “other way of knowing” even comes close.

    “Big Bang theory might be “best” by scientific standards,”
    Uh. Yeah. The best for science class. Now, if they were trying to push it on English Lit class, I’d stand up and say “No way! English Lit class is supposed to be about dead, white men!”.

    “…but you’re reducing science to mere mindgame if that doesn’t connect back to a more practical purpose, and practical purpose is what
    I think warrants teaching science as a matter of mandatory public education.”
    & “For something as unrepeatable and massive as “for understanding the history of the universe and how I came to be,” though, literal belief in
    “The Illuminatus Trilogy!” may be more useful for practical day-to-day purposes than anything science has to offer.”

    Am I the only one here who is picturing generations of this logic resulting in people watering their lawns with Brawndo (The Thirst Mutilator!)? From what I hear, it’s got what plants crave.

    “The gist of my opinion is that this simply helps legitimize creationist’s complaints and concerns”
    No, it does not. Their complaints are not legitimate and their concerns (at least around biology and, potentially any subject that dares to point out that things existed more than 6,000 years ago) are based (again, at least around biology) on a cartoon parody of science (see first set of brackets).
    If they want their kids to be as willfully ignorant as they are, then they can (and do) homeschool them.
    It’s not the natural world’s fault that it consistently conflicts with Genesis.

    “If we’re gonna keep lumping them together anyway, we’ll keep on reaping the polarized discontent of dissenters…”
    Um, I hate to point this out, but as long as public schools aren’t YEC/Jesus-centric, they will be dissenters…lots of them are against public schooling anyway.

    “…living under a government established system of belief.”
    Tinfoil hat much?
    Science in science class is not a bad thing, even if it “has no practical use”. I have yet to use the Theory of Gravity, but I’m glad I learned it. My teechers in skool learned me real good, too!

  218. Daemon says:

    Regarding the earlier literal vs metaphor part of the conversation:

    There is an unspoken undertsanding within fundamentalism that God isn’t capable of making use of more advanced literary and rhetorical techniques, such as metaphor.

  219. Modusoperandi says:

    I first stumbled across the filter hypothesis when I noticed that the “hearing filter” drops when crossing the boundary between “going to sleep” and “sleep”, and my hearing suddenly gets hypersensitive.
    And that’s my contribution to neuropsychology/neurophysics. While it would be interesting seeing what actually happens in the brain, using an MRI or somesuch, when I go to take a nap in one, they always ask me to leave. I think that my insistence on sleeping in the nude may influence their decision somewhat.

  220. robulus says:

    @Elsmiley

    Jeez dude. More like “Elfrowny” (see what I did there?

    You say: “If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change.” The Dalai Lama said that. I’d like to see a christian or a muslim say the same.

    You mean the 14th reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. Science hasn’t yet disproved that rather beautiful construct.

    Catholic schools, like many other Christian schools teach evolution and a standard science curriculum, with additional religious studies neatly separate, at least in my part of the world. The Church openly ackowledges that genesis and much of the bible is figurative.

    It was Georges Lemaître, a catholic priest, who argued against Einstien, (another “sophomore” as you say) that the universe was expanding.

    And so on.

  221. FoetusNail says:

    Thanks Antinous, and BTW don’t give it a thought, all’s well that ends well.

  222. arkizzle says:

    Takuan is definitely doing it to poke fun at religion in general.

    Poking fun at religion-in-general is entirely OK. Not a problem at all. It is a concept, belonging to all of us as human beings.

    It’s the same as making fun of sports-in-general or war-in-general. People may be heavily invested in any of them, but nobody owns them, or should feel the right to jealously guard them as taboo. I understand people can be offended about things like this, but they are choices, like anything else.

    I am not playing a game. You think I’m not ‘getting’ (or outright evading) the notion you are spelling out. I am getting it, but I am asserting my right to engage in the culture of which I am a part, without the fear of someone taking undue offense.

    As to Takuan’s intent, I couldn’t possibly comprehend the workings of that curse’d affliction’s neurons.

  223. arkizzle says:

    Buddy, recite it when you feel lost in this world of infinite information. When the questions seem more plentiful than answers. And when you need the reassurance of just a single definitive answer, GoogleWhack.

    Also pertinently, with Maps and Earth, Google is gaining Omniscience.

  224. robulus says:

    @Falix

    Broadly speaking, Jung felt that human beings shared a subconscious, unspoken language of symbols. He found that the same characters, or archetypes, appeared in different forms in widely divergent cultures.

    He felt these ideas had a profound effect on our behaviour, although we weren’t consciously aware of them. They drive an emotional life, and emotional self, that operates below the threshold of awareness, but strongly affects our behaviour. Our conscious rational minds, the voice you here in your head narrating your life, is a reaction to this subconscious life, not the driver of it.

    This is what I mean when I talk of religion being part of a symbolic irrational mode of thought. It is not that the principles themselves don’t comply with a rational view of the universe, it is that our intimate experience of this inner world is emotional, not rational. It is inherently impossible to deal with your subconscious directly, so ritual and symbol manipuation provide a doorway to this world.

    I hope that’s clear and I haven’t pissed of any genuine scholars of Jung…

  225. arkizzle says:

    MMM

    And charity is metaphysical?

    I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

    you seem to suggest psychologists and behavioral-scientists are really metaphysicians?

  226. thejynxed says:

    @ #51 (bardfinn)

    “markmarkmark: Yeah, priests are /just like scientists/: Priests cured polio, found treatments for AIDS/HIV, developed vaccines, and markedly increased life expectancy and quality of life through their work.

    Oh. Wait.”

    Gregor Mendel was a Catholic monk (father of genetics). Georges Lemaître, (Big Bang theory) was a Catholic priest. Might also want to read about this guy.

    Just sayin’.

  227. robulus says:

    @Arkizzle

    Cheers! When I grew up my only experience of Christianity was Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power and people who bugged me in the street trying to witness.

    Like you, I was very shocked to meet Christians who were apparently normal and capable of critical thought!

  228. Xopher says:

    Antinous…MY closet contains only clothes. Well, and some Christmas lights and books, and a lot of dust, and maybe some other stuff. Anyway, not me.

  229. Xopher says:

    markmarkmark 605: i am Heather Papps there

    Arkizzle 606: Painful Pile-on Ensues

    Would that be a sort of Papps smear?

  230. Takuan says:

    when asked your religion, just smile and go: nom nom nom.

  231. Xopher says:

    I was clearly incorrect when I stated that Milton made up the War in Heaven (I can’t find where I said that, but I certainly believed it, so no matter). It’s actually the name of Lucifer that I’m most interested in.

    Do you know how to say “Christ-bearer” in Greek? Christopher.

    Do you know what the person who carries the cross in a church procession is called? A crucifer.

    Do you know what the person who carries the incense (when there is any) is called? A thurifer.

    Do you know what one of the people who carries the candles is called? A “torch-bearer.” They OUGHT to be called lucifers, of course, but thanks to that flaming jerk Milton they can’t be.

  232. minTphresh says:

    ark, wanna go for double or nothin?

  233. Takuan says:

    wonder if has anything to to do with the neural safety disconnect that keeps you from acting out your dreams? In the nude?

    I have noticed, with advancing decay, a clarity of synthesis just upon the awakening stage. Is this lack of distraction? Or dropping of filter armour? There is a difference.

  234. arkizzle says:

    Tom @ 101

    This isn’t a ‘religious’ thread. Its a thread about hatemail, the man who received it and the people who sent it. Anything else is gravy.

  235. elsmiley says:

    “He said to them, ‘But now if you have a purse, take it and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.’” (Luke 22:36)

    “Do not suppose that I [Jesus] have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”(Matthew 10:34)

    Why don’t you worship someone who actually wanted to bring peace or reduce suffering (there are plenty, but http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Borlaug), rthr thn smn wh lst hs mnd nd clmd h ws th sn f sm gd (r thr)? Bcs yr mmmy tld y s. Jss Chrst Sprstr. Cn’t wt t hr th rtnlztn fr ths.

    Robulus@155: Reincarnation has not been scientifically disproved. It has to do with the infinity of time and the recombination of matter. Every combination will eventually recur. Eternal recurrance. Too complex to describe here.

  236. Takuan says:

    well, yeah, that’s true, I’ve talked to Him enough to know he ain’t too bright. Kind of an asshole really…. Well, neveryoumindyoungfellowmelad, there’s Deities galore out there and they are all looking for work. Bit of a theological recession really, it’s a believers market so I strongly advise you all to pick and choose carefully. Make ‘em do at least a few interviews, check their references too – shocking how a little omnipotence goes to the head and they start lying like rugts about “miracles” and suchlike.

  237. arkizzle says:

    Just happens to be the quote on Quotes of the Day, on my iGoogle:

    With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
    – Steven Weinberg

  238. Takuan says:

    Dear Xopher; I want you to know you are among friends, and if there is anything you wished to share, you should feel safe and cherished for who you are.

  239. markmarkmark says:

    quotin’ MO
    “So when bonobos practice reciprocal altruism, is Bonobo Jesus working through them?
    When a dolphin rescues a drowning human, is that Dolphin Jesus or the regular one?”

    so yeah i dunno.

  240. Bekah says:

    glow and have lace and ribbons – I want lace and ribbons
    @328 Modusoperandi Funny you should mention that it goes off the rails at Genesis 3. One argument is (and one I tend to agree with) is that Genesis 2:4 on is a much older oral account of the creation story and that Genesis 1 is a more recent account and represents an early attempt at taking note of dependencies that exist between things. It is certainly a written account as compared to the oral account of Genesis 2. So, rather than the narrative goes off track it is more that the narrative (as a rhetorical pattern) starts at Genesis 2.

    as a linguist/semiotician I tend to think that language is at the centre of things anyway :)

  241. robulus says:

    Believing his own press. What about the little people eh? The one’s who’s shoulders you stepped on to get where you are now eh? You’re nothing without us, ya hear?

    (Drinks heavily from bottle, then smashes it against wall before skulking off to obscurity)

  242. JackDitch says:

    Arkizzle writes:
    Or, I can say that the universe is made up of physical things with complex behaviours. No metaphysics involved.

    That seems like metaphysics to me, especially with the implied “made up (completely)”. It’s a philosophical precursor to the study of physics, not physics itself. Antinous says that meta doesn’t have a meaning anymore, but the dictionary offers something immediately relevant: “One level of description up.” It’s the thought that frames the physics.

    I find the whole natural/supernatural distinction to be fairly meaningless, a weird leftover of western medieval monotheistic theology which considered the designer as somehow completely distinguishable from that which is designed. Realizing how intertwined we are with physical systems doesn’t support old arguments that we’re essentially physical creatures, nor does it refute old arguments that we’re essentially spiritual creatures, so much as it makes any argument based on that dichotomy seem less sound.

    I mean, we’re advanced enough to wrap our brains around the idea of something both existing and not existing at the same time; asserting that “the universe is made up of physical things with complex behaviours” just doesn’t carry the same contrast with religion that it used to. These aren’t just complex behaviors; when you look close enough, nature really starts to look supernatural, and the difference between the implications of theist vs atheist metaphysics start to look more and more like merely a matter of aesthetic choice, different words talking about the same strangeness and mystery found in the observable world.

  243. arkizzle says:

    Also, Tom:

    No hard feelings too :)

  244. Tom Hale says:

    Arkizzle,

    About the Devil: My wife will type the rest of this post(and trust me, she knows).

    The so-called devil was once a high-ranking angel in Heaven. His name is Lucifer. He started a rebellion against God and God threw him out of Heaven into a place that was originally called a pit but came to be called Hell. Lucifer’s anger and spite toward God built up until he finally became actually what we call evil. Lucifer’s transition to evil can somewhat (actually, very loosely) be compared to a person who blows up a small slight in their mind into a much larger “mountain out of a molehill” type of thing to the point that they become a serial killer because they didn’t get the batman figure they wanted on their 5th birthday. There is a lot more to be said on the subject, but I’m not sure whether I’ve already given you “too much info” already.

    Note: My wife is very religious, but doesn’t shove it in anyone’s face. She’s never read Boing Boing and has never posted in a forum. She isn’t interested in getting into a theological argument, but will happily answer any direct questions.

  245. Tom Hale says:

    #198 Arkizzle- No -that’s what I was taught. Like I said above, I don’t think god would be mean enough to make someone stay in an everlasting hell.

  246. Tom Hale says:

    When some of you ponder existence, are any of stuck with just how amazing it is that we exist at all? Thinking about our existence sometimes just totally screws with my head. I often wonder what I would think about existence if I had never been exposed to religion.

    Even without religion, I don’t think I would buy what our scientists and philosophers say about the universe and how we came to exist. I mean, with such an unimaginably huge universe and an infinite amount of time before our galaxy was formed – like I said, I just can’t wrap my mind around it.

    Do any of you think about this kind of stuff? Is it a bad idea to try to ponder our existence?

  247. Stickarm says:

    @#139 Oceanconcepts

    It’s my belief- and I think there is a lot of evidence for this, going back to animal studies- that wars are mostly economic- power, territory, and money. Most “religious” wars would have been fought absent religion, that just formed the most expedient motivator. The argument that religion causes wars is an example of a complex cause fallacy.

    The idea that religious wars were fundamentally about power, territory and money doesn’t change the fact that they were religious wars. The Crusades were, ostensibly, about territory, but the value of the territory in question arose from religious beliefs. The Crusades would not have been the same absent this “expedient motivator” and trying to examine an alternate reality in which religion never existed doesn’t seem fruitful.

    You’re correct that the argument “Religion Causes Wars” is a least difficult and probably impossible (much as arguing that all religious wars were frauds, actually). That isn’t the argument here, though. What we’re saying is a much weaker claim — wars have been fought on the basis of religious differences.

    That’s it. Lots and lots of wars have been fought over differences in religious beliefs. Many of those wars probably had other factors involved and in modern history we have clearer examples of wars fought over completely different issues. The fact remains, though, that religion has been a major element of the wars fought over the course of human history.

    So let’s disarm that element of the conflicts. Let’s make religion a subject that people can discuss as easily as they would other personal choices, like their choice of political party or their favorite sports team. Let’s open religion up for criticism! Let’s allow for the discussion to offend, specifically in an effort to get beyond this sticking point of human interaction. We’d all like to do the same with the factors that give rise to horrors like ethnic cleansing, right? So let’s all stop being so sensitive. Let’s all make fun of these things! Take them down! Tear them down!

    Om nom nom nom, indeed!

  248. Tom Hale says:

    Xopher, Yeah, that furry stuff is kind of weird. But, who knows what I would have gotten into if I had the internet when I was his age – I’m not going to judge him. He’s happy, had a really good ACT score, and will be the first in our family to go to college. What he does in his spare time is his own business.

  249. FoetusNail says:

    Jesus said, I’m the only way, only through me, etc.
    If you don’t believe that your a jew or a muslim.
    At any rate, I’m not looking for a god.
    I’m especially not looking for a god that punishes the wicked.
    Though if I were looking for a god, I would definitely stay away from a god that condemns the innocent. A god that wants me to believe his allowing people to be born with or die from genetic disasters is somehow educational or ennobling.
    If I were looking for a god, I wouldn’t want one that practices human sacrifice, even once.
    Martyrs are so first century.
    If I were looking for a god or a savior, I would want one that took an unambiguous stand against slavery, a subject the god of Abraham avoids like the plague. Jesus must have been in the pocket of Big Slavery.
    Actually your missing my point, god doesn’t forgive anyone, god condemns all of us to lives of suffering because he refused to forgive Eve.
    Also, why would anyone be looking in a biology book for wisdom or the bible for that matter. I prefer Mark Twain.

  250. Jeff says:

    Tom Hale: I think what you said about peoples’ blanket comments is true. But still, allowing ourselves to become too emotionally upset by what other people say, especially about religion or politics, is a weakness that we need to overcome (I try).

  251. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    I’ve been away for a bit. Is it too late to say
    ‘Look out! Potential Religion Argument!!’

    Is it too late, isn’t it?

  252. FoetusNail says:

    Believe me, I do approach all these holy works as the unholy products of men. I see all this stuff for exactly what they are, outdated sales brochures and weapons of fear.

  253. arkizzle says:

    Yaa! Boo! Boooo!

    Hah! That’ll learn ‘im :)

  254. FoetusNail says:

    Jack, Thanks for hanging around, I think you are starting to understand. Let me tell you what happens to religions. Some visionary or group of visionaries, for a multitude of purposes, starts a religion. At some point, the power structure becomes entrenched and the beliefs become fixed, often becoming religious law. After this occurs, the fundamental beliefs of a religion cannot be doubted or appreciably changed as this undermines the confidence of the believers and threatens the power of the leadership. Priests have to eat too. Since one answer does not fit all, religions divide like mutating amoebas. Eventually over long periods, most of the sects of the original cults will have little in common.

    Christians have one underlying belief that differentiates them from jews. They share a belief in a single god and in the concept of original sin, but christians believe jesus was sent by their god to be sacrificed for their sins. The first christians were in fact just a sect of judaism. This, whether you wish to believe it, is the reason jews did not change, but eventually split into two competing cults. Each of these inflexible cults over the last few thousand years, have split into many different sects. Christianity is one of the most fractured cults in the world, with over 35,000 sects, also known as denominations. This includes everything from the catholic church to the westboro Baptist church, which can be reached at godhatesfags.com.

    That there are now over 35,000 versions of this cult, is undeniable proof that religions rarely evolve to any appreciable degree, but instead split into smaller and smaller pieces. The problem is that all religions work towards their own survival, which means that by religious law doubt in the faith or the clergy is not permitted. Therefore, thought crimes such as blasphemy and heresy are punishable by excommunication or death. Likewise, apostates are also fair game, in the parlance of scientology.

    Those who call themselves christians, but no longer accept jesus christ as their lord and savior or believe he is the only way, the only path to salvation, are christians in name only. Sorry, but this is simply the way it is in religious cults. It is no different than if christians said they were jews who believe christ is the savior of prophesy, they tried that, it didn’t work. So, today we have jews and christians.

    Now, you shouldn’t take this as an insult, it is just the way intractable cults come, divide, and go. My hope, as I’ve now repeatedly said, is that the revolutionary christians form yet another new cult, by rewriting the bible so that it says what they say it means. Why don’t we call it the cult of the Rev. Jack? Before too long, your followers will disagree and form another and another until eventually some sanity creeps in, and all of the archaic bigoted and divisive beliefs of the past are left behind in the dustbin of history like a thousand thousand other dead cults before them. Or maybe everyone will become Unitarian Universalists.

    In the end, this isn’t about gods, it is about belief exploited, and it is about control. Faith is not the problem; the problem is misguided, unfounded, and intractable faith that refuses to change.

    Pass through your fear, matrix of beliefs.
    Within my hand, feel your life,
    Find in it yourself as you have always been.
    Our journey will reveal me to be,
    That part of you denied, no longer recognized,
    Mystery given form, sanctuary for your hopes and dreams,
    Figurehead for your love, depository for your pain.
    When I cease to exist, you will be born again whole, as you always were.
    Until then you are my child, my love,
    And I your god.

  255. arkizzle says:

    Wow :)

    I was gonna argue when the commenter said “Think of the dodo bird. It does not exist today, but we do not doubt that it existed in the past.”

    But really, if there are no fossils of them (entirely a possibility) how would we ever know. Would our accounts of them be enough for millenial-future people?

    It’s an interesting read nonetheless. It probably deserves less thought than I’m giving it, but it’d be great if true, no?

    Besides the “To think of the biblical unicorn as a fantasy animal is to demean God’s Word, which is true in every detail” bit.

  256. frankiez says:

    Trashumansit day on Boing Boing!!

  257. Takuan says:

    nom nom nom

  258. Jeff says:

    Elsmiley, the “rationalization” is that some of us take the best, and leave the rest. That’s all.

  259. Takuan says:

    you could work vacuum tubes into the panties.

  260. Anonymous says:

    The Big Bang theory ultimately is as hard or harder to fathom than the existence of unicorns, more fantastical, requiring greater leaps of faith and suspension of disbelief…everything just suddenly coming from…nothing? So it’s a hard call, which sounds loonier, creationists or scientists positing the Big Bang theory as some kind of explanation of the beginnings of the universe.

    http://trickledown.wordpress.com/2008/09/29/the-big-bang-god-evolution-creationism-will-wright-and-the-unicorn-test/

  261. arkizzle says:

    The mind body problem? What is thought made of?
    … I think current thinking is along the lines that thoughts are an emergent property of neurological biochemical processes. … Thats so damn unsatisfying though isn’t it?

    And what are computer programs made of? Not the ones and zeros, not the electricity used to flip the switches and complete the circuits.. but the resulting functionality. The ‘behaviour’.

    Complex systems packaged in dull containers (computers/us) can belie their ultimate complexity by hiding their function from our view. If you could see every connection in a cpu or brain actually working in realtime at human-observable scale (like a huge Rube Goldberg machine), we probably wouldn’t be surprised at all.

    The human brain is the most complex object (or set of interactions) we as a species have ever encountered. It is an amazing and wonderful thing.

    Is it not better to see this black-box brain and marvel that a mind can be created within it and try to see how it works, rather than see it as a grey pile of animal mush, and try and work out how the thoughts get in? I know you are not really suggesting that, but why does there need to be such a dualism? (again I know you didn’t invent dualism, it is a valid and worthy conversation)

    What would you require for the beautiful and wonderful emergent properties of the human brain’s complex interactions, to be not “unsatisfying”?

    ..if a computer was functionally identical to a human, would it be conscious?

    If you mean this honestly, I think the answer is yes. Conciousness is a function of our electro chemical reactions, mirror everything and I have no reason to believe it wouldn’t work. Everything, mind you. Even the stuff we don’t know about yet.

    So, I don’t find this unsatifying at all. How wonderful is it that from a bucket of acids, proteins and electricity we get the Mona Lisa, Shakespeare, Wars, Compassion, Screw-top Lids, Love and Middle Management.

    Brilliant!

  262. Xopher says:

    Every time I start to thing creationists are basically harmless, I hear some more crap like this.

    It wasn’t clear from the article…do they really write him hate mail because there isn’t a line in the credits thanking God?

    These. People. Are. Insane.

  263. Dorkomatic says:

    I like David Attenborough AND Jesus! Does that make me a freak?

  264. arkizzle says:

    Dunno Ross, why don’t you try it and see?

  265. robulus says:

    @Takuan. Yes I suppose so. *sigh*. I’ll start printing the instructions for everyone. I hope Officeworks is still open, I’m going to need more paper.

    Does google translate Cantonese and Mandarin?

  266. Xopher says:

    My gods. I knew SomethingAwful lived up to its name, but what a twisted scumbag website that is! I mean, they appear to auto”correct” ‘damn’ to ‘drat’ but they leave the gay-people-offending F word alone. That alone is enough to keep me out of there, but also the people are just really nasty.

    I’m not a big fan of markmarkmark, but those people…yuck.

  267. Stefan Jones says:

    “All things dull and ugly,
    All creatures short and squat,
    All things rude and nasty,
    The Lord God made the lot.

    Each little snake that poisons,
    Each little wasp that stings,
    He made their brutish venom,
    He made their horrid wings.
    All things sick and cancerous,
    All evil great and small,
    All things foul and dangerous,
    The Lord God made them all.

    Each nasty little hornet,
    Each beastly little squid,
    Who made the spikey urchin,
    Who made the sharks, He did.

    All things scabbed and ulcerous,
    All pox both great and small,
    Putrid, foul and gangrenous,
    The Lord God made them all.
    AMEN.”

  268. Xopher says:

    El, you’re making checkably untrue statements. The Bible (the early bits) was an oral history for a long time before it was written down by people who were several millennia down from the people who originally told the stories, so their intention is at best murky. In addition, I’ve been told by people who’ve read all the texts in their original (written) languages (yes, someone who reads Hebrew, Greek, AND Aramaic) that parts of it are a “royal narrative,” which is a kind of story we don’t have in our culture.

    History (that is, the idea of just writing down things that happened) is a more recent invention than these texts. The idea that they were intended to be taken literally as history is a bizarre and foolish one.

    And if you could find me a place in the Bible where Jesus claims he’s the Son of God, I’d be very interested, because as far as I know it’s something other people said about him (including a Voice From The Clouds at one point), but he always calls himself “the Son of Man,” which doesn’t strike me as particularly delusional.

  269. Bemopolis says:

    I think the creationists should take Attenborough head-on, and volunteer as subjects for an Eyeball Worms for Jesus program.

    I mean, if God didn’t mean for his followers to be blinded by His Creation, why would they produce Bibles in braille?

  270. JackDitch says:

    “Jesus said, I’m the only way, only through me, etc.
    If you don’t believe that your a jew or a muslim.”

    Hunh? I don’t believe that, and I’m more Christian than anything else. If we let the close-minded folks define the religion, then of course there’s gonna be little of interest or value to the open-minded folks.

    Over a billion folks identify as Christian. I look to the best of them, rather than the worst, when trying to understand the value the religion brings to their lives. I try to give the same regard to the value of science, when I see both critics and supporters put forth a close-minded understanding of what it means to be scientific.

    That general sentiment of looking for the best rather than the worst in things is something I first picked up in Christian scripture. Not that I expect everyone to get that message–that’s literary interpretation for ya. But it was the common sentiment and interpretation I was raised with; that’s what the folks who taught me Christianity seemed to think it meant to be Christian.

  271. Xopher says:

    And here I always thought a tardigrade was what you got for being late all the time.

  272. Jeff says:

    Foetusnail, there is a wealth of data in the scriptures. I’m sure if you try you can find both beautiful poetry, simple and complex metaphores and stories that are worthy of modern writers. And there is a wealth of sociological data to be examined. It’s part of history and is far more complex than just propaganda. But it has been misused as propaganda. It has been used by all sorts of nuts. But then so has politics. And the arts. And even science. Nuts everywhere.

  273. arkizzle says:

    when you look close enough, nature really starts to look supernatural

    Then it isn’t super-natural, it’s nature you hadn’t observed, up until that point. If it is observable, it is manifest. If it is manifest, it is measurable. If it is measurable, we can talk.

    ..the difference between the implications of theist vs atheist metaphysics start to look more and more like merely a matter of aesthetic choice..

    Spirits and ghost are not the same thing as quantum entanglement or multiple dimensional space.

  274. markmarkmark says:

    naw, trying to get my hypomania diagnosed

    also BADUM-TISH

  275. Takuan says:

    spread it David, the more people hear that the fundie message is “god is hate”, the safer our children are.

  276. Modusoperandi says:

    I have no idea, except that even with just monism, we’re still considerably more complicated than it’s comfortable to admit (dualists take all that we don’t know and add another layer that somehow interfaces with it. Triplists are right out to lunch). That much I know, and I’m not even sure of that.

  277. minTphresh says:

    tom, have you ever read the babylonian texts? written 3-5k yrs before the heberew bible, it is pretty much, with a few exceptions, the old testament. one of those exeptions being the fact that they had godesses as well as a small panoply of gods. the first known attempt at a one-god religion was the ‘forgotton pharoe’ amenhotep with the sun god ra as the only god. he is thought to have been the one to introduce the concept to the heberu, who worshipped multiple gods and goddesses at the time. they replaced ra with yhvh, the chief among their pantheon, and discarded all others as ‘demons’. about 3 thousand years later, after breaking up into several smaller sects( hahaha, i said ‘sects!), the ‘jews’ as they were now popularily known, were a conquered people under the thumb of rome. one of those splinter groups was a ‘messianic’ sect, with the one we call ‘john the baptist’ at their forefront. and, while ‘yeshua ben yusef’( jesus) is the one who gets all the glory today, there is NO historic proof of his ever existing, although there is much archeological and historical evidence for the existence of the baptist. the jews needed a messiah. constantine needed something to unify his kingdom. a bright shiny paradise after the hardscrabble shit life these folk led sounded pretty g.d. good. soon, the priests were the only ones with the ‘special knowledge’ who told their flock what they thought they needed to hear in order to instill the ‘fear of god’ into them thereby gaining the tithe $$$. rome never really died. they just had to retool after the barbarian invasion. soon the church had ‘more money than god’. this inflamed the passions of ol’ martin luther ( who was also against the whole ‘celebacy’ thing) who began the ‘protestant’ movement. blah, blah. and on, and on. i just find no relevence in my life for a middle eastern tri-god, who is a man, who is a god, who is a man-god-dove, etc… the universe is so much bigger and more diverse than ever dreamed of in that mythology! but i gotta tell ya, christianity, in and of itself, i got no problem with. it’s the mthrfckng followers! they have not-a-clue as to where their religion came from, hell, they don’t even know their god’s real name! and some of the shit those fundie preachers espouse? what horseshit! after the last few elections, i would take away their tax-exempt status! and there u have my 2.5 cents on the xtian religion. please make all donations payable to : the Rt. Rev. Min T. Phresh, c.o. the church of the Clear Light of Infinite Truth. thank u and may you recieve all the good things that you could possibly stand.

  278. Stickarm says:

    @#44 Oceanconcepts

    “Religious identity, ethnic identity, tribalism, nationalism, and ideology all have been used by the power hungry to manipulate people over the years, and to justify wars. But it’s intellectually sloppy to conclude that wars were fought BECAUSE of religion, ethnicity, etc. Most wars have been fought because someone wanted something and thought they could take it. We can be greedy apes. Don’t forget that the worst conflicts and genocides of the last century were perpetrated by resolutely secular forces- Nazi Germany, China, Russia under Stalin- and for largely ideological reasons.”

    You seem to be making two claims here:

    (1) Even when the combatants in a conflict themselves declare that they are fighting for religious reasons it is “intellectually sloppy” to accept those claims because someone might be manipulating them in the pursuit of nonreligious goals.

    (2) The actions of Nazi Germany, China and Russia under Stalin were perpetrated in pursuit of this sort of nonreligious goal.

    Your first claim raises an interesting thought, in a way, but is the burden really on us to imagine how, say, the Crusades weren’t really a religious activity? Even if we give credence to this idea, are we really supposed to accept that all religious conflict was just a fraud of some sort? Even if there is traction to this idea, it seems unlikely that our understanding of history is going to change very much by examining it through this lens.

    In your second claim you seem to be insinuating that Nazi Germany, China and Russia under Stalin pursued their programs of ethic cleansing as a tenant of their atheism. The ethnic identity of these groups, however, was not derived solely from their atheism. Atheism seems to have been a direct motivation for religious persecution in Russia. In China, the state’s atheism seems to have resulted in religions being outlawed for a time. Religion was quite definitely a part of the Nazi’s ethnic identity, on the other hand.

    The persecution of religions in Russia appears to be the strongest element in your insinuation. Even here, though, there are more motivations at play. Given the state’s approach to issues other than religion, we can assume that atheism was not the sole source of its willingness to persecute its population.

    Finally, it seems generally apparent that even if the religion is a tool that the “power hungry” can use to agitate populations, isn’t that enough of an indictment in and of itself? Without the moral authority of the church backing their actions, is there any other mechanism that could have given rise to events like the Crusades of the Inquisition(s)? Perhaps in modern history their are other powerful mechanisms, but most of the conflict in recorded history seems to have involved religion in one way or another, to the chagrin of the faithful or not.

  279. markmarkmark says:

    Spirits and ghost are not the same thing as quantum entanglement or multiple dimensional space.

    i would not say i am smart enough to make that claim.

    are you claiming you are smart enough to understand the universe?

  280. minTphresh says:

    tom, i am of the opinion that the universe is teeming with life of all kinds. kinds our primitive brains are only beginning to comprehend. the distances involved keep us from seeing it, but one day we will find a way to conquer that as well. have you ever heard the hypothesis that our solar system is not even born of the milky way? apparently we are( or were) part of the sagitarious eliptical dwarf galaxy which is currently being ingested by the larger and far more massive milky way. oddly enough, right where the two galaxies intersect, that is where we are! could just be an amazing co-inky-dink, who the fuck knows?

  281. elsmiley says:

    But why take “the best” of a vastly corrupted document when there are so many others that are far more righteous? None of “the best” said in that book, or the christian dogma in general, has not been said elswhere with far more elequance, intelligence, and profundity–and without the heritage of blood, torture, and atrocities that your book has wrought.

  282. Skullhunter says:

    And this is one of the problems I have with the Abrahamic god.

    He creates Lucifer, who rebels against him, is cast down and spends pretty much all that time since being the ultimate author of every catastrophe, misery and atrocity visited upon the human race. He inspires the evil in the human soul. He nurtures every vicious and vile impulse we possess.

    So, knowing all this, at the end of the day we’re left with one of two conclusions. Either the Abrahamic god made a mistake in creating Lucifer (supposedly not possible due to the all-knowing, all-powerful thing), or he did it to us on purpose. He created this being in the full knowledge of what would transpire, that this being would actively work to ruin and despoil the creation he supposedly loved. He knew that this being would trick, coerce and bribe people off the right path, condemning them to an eternity of pain and separation.

    This isn’t a deity worthy of veneration. At best it’s merely a human being writ large, combining our worst failings with unlimited ability to act them out. At worst it’s a malignant psychopath against whom the only defense is complete grovelling abasement and even that is no guarantee.

  283. markmarkmark says:

    man someone post some Jesus/furry fanart

    i think that he’s like a lion maybe, or a lamb?

  284. minTphresh says:

    arkie, it’s like you’re arguing with a cockatiel.

  285. minTphresh says:

    and you owe me ten bucks!

  286. robulus says:

    Tom asked

    When some of you ponder existence, are any of stuck with just how amazing it is that we exist at all?

    Yep.

    I strongly believe in the importance of science but I just don’t think the language used by science is freaked out enough. It sort of can’t be, by definition. For me, its important to have a more poetic language, like religion, to describe it as well.

    The dialogue in my head goes a bit like this:

    Science: Oh your consciousness, that’s just an emergent property of neurological biochemical processes, like you said.

    Me (chanelling Keanu Reeves): Yeah, but Dude! Like seriously Dude, you mean to say 13 billion years ago a uniform cloud of energy burst from a single point, formed clouds of simple elements that condensed into stars, which then resulted in more complex thermo-nuclear chemical processes that created more complex elements, that then imploded on themselves scattering those elements that then formed planets, that some of those elements formed protein chains that copied themselves, that this process repeated with minor variations over 4 billion years resulted in the very same matter that first burst from a single point actually being able to comprehend itself, actually becoming aware? Dude!?!

    Science: Well given vast amounts of time and space even extremely unlikely things are bound to happen.

    Me: Yeah but, shit, man. Like… whoah.

    Science: Look I’ve got work to do, and I think you’re high. Could you please leave.

  287. FoetusNail says:

    Having first hand knowledge of children of the Church of Christ, most of those children, if they ever develop any curiosity outside of their church doctrine, will probably grow up as existentially confused, ignorant, and close minded as their elders. Though I doubt they will ever harbor any curiosity or doubt, the church has all the answers. Those churches are homophobic, anti-science, bible as literal history churches.

  288. robulus says:

    @Stickarm

    So you reckon if we abolished religion just like Dawkins wants us too, the powers that be would have no leverage to sway the masses and hostilities would cease?

    Don’t you watch Southpark?

  289. FoetusNail says:

    Ah, yes, the ritualized sacrificial lamb of god, nothing metaphorical about that story. Please pass the mint jelly.

  290. Cicada says:

    “I find that hard to reconcile with the notion of a divine and benevolent creator”

    This is what always confuses me about creationists– they presume a benevolent creator. You’d think even a cursory look at the world would suggest the religious might be more like, say, Cthulhu worshippers– trying to get stepped on the least by a cruel and malevolent deity.

  291. buddy66 says:

    < ..."that your a jew or a muslim."

    No! That’sa not’a my Jew, tht’sa not’a my Muslim!

  292. Tom Hale says:

    minT, I’ve never read the babylonian texts. I’ll wikipedia them or find them somewhere that uses paragraphs. lol paragraphs are our friend.

    I think I’ve made it clear how I feel about religion. I’m not very religious, but was brought up in a very religious family and have gone to church all my life. I just try to be nice and treat people how I’d like to be treated. And, as long as your religion’s followers stay outta my face and don’t try to convince folks that people like myself need to be eradicated, its fine in my book. Do you accept PayPal?

  293. arkizzle says:

    Tak

    Sigh :(

  294. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Community Manager says:

    Takuan, know yet not the tale of the One Man and the Ten Blind Elephants? The elephants rapidly arrived at a consensus: Men are flattish, damp, and scream a lot.

  295. buddy66 says:

    Tom,

    What I don’t get is where she gets her info. Doesn’t sound like biblical text to me. Or is John Milton now considered one of the gospels?

    Although it’s okay by me to cite Batman as a possible inspiration for Evil — I’m more of a Superman guy myself.

    But I wonder how many Christian sects would remain standing if their beliefs were limited to what Jesus reportedly said?

  296. elsmiley says:

    The slept on dirt floors and washed their hair with animal dung. But they were, of course, sophisticated enought to write metaphorical literature. Right.

  297. arkizzle says:

    Xoph’

    One of those rare moments in the hidden beauty of etymology: In dutch, the word for match (the firey kind) is ‘lucifer’.

    Try in on a translator. I used to crack up every time I had to ask for them.

    “Een doos van lucifers, alstublieft.”

  298. Tzctlp says:

    Oh goodness …

    If I tell somebody that 2 + 2 = 4 and that somebody insists that it is 3 I have nothing to discuss with him.

    I don’t hate him, but clearly that person is intellectually lazy.

    Religious people fall exactly in the same category, I don’t see why I should try to be in their shoes, why I should grant them special treatment or be touchy feely about their imagined spirituality. Folks 2+2=4 . End of the matter.

    Religious people refuse to understand why 2+2=4 in the arithmetic of life, I frankly have no time for their wishful and self delusory explanations (life is just too short) and will cut them short when they start with all they mumbo jumbo nonsense.

  299. arkizzle says:

    Xopher, my limited experience agrees. It seems like a shitty place to hang out.

    And OW! for the pap smear joke.

  300. Takuan says:

    la la la, skipping along, who cares about old hates, flowers bloom today! “god” who?

  301. Takuan says:

    what do you expect after so many years of unrelenting government evil? After Bliar you’re lucky they aren’t eating each other in the streets.

  302. Takuan says:

    alwasy with the Jesus, I’m getting peckish, hasn’t anyone any new gods? Even an old,overlooked one?

  303. Tom Hale says:

    RE:
    #234 POSTED BY FOETUSNAIL
    Having first hand knowledge of children of the Church of Christ, most of those children, if they ever develop any curiosity outside of their church doctrine, will probably grow up as existentially confused, ignorant, and close minded as their elders. Though I doubt they will ever harbor any curiosity or doubt, the church has all the answers. Those churches are homophobic, anti-science, bible as literal history churches.

    This is Kenneth. Toms 19 year old son. My dad read this to me. I couldn’t help but laugh. Take a look at my Myspace profile, and see if you can with good conscience assume all Christians close minded. Kenneths Profile

  304. minTphresh says:

    surrender to the hive!

  305. The Lizardman says:

    @6 The idea of a benevolent creator is a fairly modern marketing strategy for religion and it confuses the adherents as well – usually when they go looking for some real support for the idea and find it isn’t the texts which many think they can somehow quote without reading. Talking to most creationists (in my experience) is like getting the scripture through a big game of telephone

  306. Tom Hale says:

    @207 Buddy – I’ll ask her what parts of the bible that info came from – I’ll get back to you on this.

  307. Takuan says:

    almost time to trot out Nikon’s Universcale (yeah, I know, but I like it)

  308. markmarkmark says:

    oh wow a joke about something awful being something awful hahahahahahano

  309. arkizzle says:

    Buddy, I thought the same thing :)

  310. Xopher says:

    ElSmiley 140: Xopher: That’s why anyone who knows anything about Buddhism does not consider it a religion.

    Oh, I see: you’re just a narrowminded bigot. Only YOUR definition of religion counts as a “real” religion, no matter what the people who actually practice it may say.

    Wicca believes in supernatural crap.

    A narrowminded bigot who is now going to tell me what my religion believes, despite the fact that I told you above what I believe, and that there’s nothing supernatural about it, and that I’m Wiccan. And despite the fact that, since Wicca has no qualifying beliefs, you could start being Wiccan tomorrow (if any coven would have you, which would surprise me greatly—actually you could be a solitary even without anyone wanting to be in the same room with you) without changing your beliefs (about the world and its nature) one whit.

    It’s just one more form of bigotry, so don’t give me that “let’s all get along” bullshit.

    And you’re practicing yet another. And if you think I’ve been saying “let’s all get along” your reading comprehension needs work.

    Religious people wiped out my heritage (Native American) and they still persecute me for my beliefs.

    They were also mostly white people. Do you hate white people for that reason? If a redheaded kid stole your bike when you were 4, would you hate all redheads now? And please explain to me what role Wiccans or Buddhists or Baha’is or Hindus or Moslems played in the process of wiping out Native Americans, or any justification (other than the bigotry you’re so amply demonstrating here) for lumping them in with the “good Christians” who actually did so.

    CobraTronik 143: I reject the idea that religion is ever a force for good…Once one has conditioned their mind to accept beliefs without any empirical support…

    I tell you, it’s to cry. There are religions that involve no such conditioning. Yet you assume all do, because that’s all you’ve experienced. Your narrowness of experience, contra Hegel, does not constrain the world. In other words, “there are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: saying “religion” when you really mean “Christianity, Judaism, and Islam” is like saying “restaurants” when you really mean “McDonalds, Burger King, and Wendy’s.”

  311. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Maybe they should consider growing food instead.

  312. Tom Hale says:

    Thanks Takuan – I was forced to finally look up nom nom nom. I learned a new word today! Something good did come from this discussion, other than giving you something to do. Thank goodness you’ve learned to harness those skills and use them in a positive and creative manner.

  313. FoetusNail says:

    DSAC86, thanks!

  314. arkizzle says:

    Ha, I just posted 28 Days Later in the MO thread. How apt.

  315. Belabras says:

    Attenborough rocks.

  316. arkizzle says:

    ElSmiley, I’ll do you a favour and let you know that not all the people who you are currently talking with (some of whom are defending against ignorance, rather than Christianity or the Bible itself) follow when you say “your book”.

    It would be foolish to think you are battling any great defenders of the faith, so you’d probably do youself a good turn if you did it with less vigour.

  317. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Community Manager says:

    OceanConcepts, I won’t deny that El Smiley has been furnishing ammo to the Trolls for Jesus, and I agree about the symbolic/metaphoric aspect of our brains; but either that was a seriously excessive string of adjectives you laid out there, or you haven’t been hanging out in a lot of forums lately.

  318. markmarkmark says:

    robulus thank you

  319. minTphresh says:

    when riding a horse, thusly fleet/two parts of the god i do eat/ that’s the body and head/twixt two slices of bread/there’s no meat on the tail or the feet

  320. Tom Hale says:

    About my last post, I started to write a reply to FoetusNail’s comment, but I thought it would be better to let my son reply.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Tom,

      Your wife knows a suspicious lot about demons and your son is kitsune. Does a kid named Inuyasha hang out around your house, too?

  321. Xopher says:

    Anonymous 424: So it’s a hard call, which sounds loonier, creationists or scientists positing the Big Bang theory as some kind of explanation of the beginnings of the universe.

    Nope. Not a hard call at all.

    Science talks about a complex phenomenon involving the literal beginning of time, with considerable physical evidence to support it.

    Creationism talks about a simpler phenomenon, and presents no evidence other than a) lines of an ancient text, b) garbled and illogical reasoning, and c) outright lies. The text doesn’t mean what the creationists say it means, and their lies and illogic are pretty easy to detect, for anyone who’s been taught to think critically and evaluate logic. That’s why creationists are such strong advocates against anyone being taught those kinds of reasoning.

    Not a hard call at all.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I think we can all agree that unicorns are downright probable compared to some of the other subjects under discussion.

  322. robulus says:

    Hey Takuan, thats actually really interesting. Whenever I heard that example, in the back of my mind I was always wondering why it was China who got turned into the giant brain simulator. Now that you point it out, it was something of a political slur. Its sort of like, “oh, the Chinese will be bang up for surrendering themselves to act as simple neurons, they’re used to it!”

  323. Xopher says:

    “We’re a mob,
    Being perhaps just a tad overzealous.
    Unwashed slobs,
    Stinking so bad that a goat would be jeeeeeaaaa-lous!”

  324. arkizzle says:

    Hah! :)

  325. Cpt. Tim says:

    Nature, red in tooth and claw.

  326. Teller says:

    #118 Takuan: Kliban called. He wants his poem back.

  327. Takuan says:

    oh,”theology”

  328. Jeff says:

    Dorkomatic, no you’re not a freak. A person can use science and faith to make their life richer. Jesus never said to turn your back on reason. Besides, making room for God in one’s heart and mind allows one to experience reality in a way that can be vastly better than it otherwise might be.

  329. Xopher says:

    Modus 173: Do I get magic panties? I only join groups that get magic underwear.

    If they’re magic to you, they’re magic.

    FoetusNail 174: You do realize that that means your statement at 67 now boils down to “Belief in beings who are, among other things, supernatural, is a belief in the supernatural.”

    Well, I can’t disagree.

    Takosushi 177: magic panties? I could get behind magic panties.

    I can too, but then I’d pull them down.

    Cobra 186: I suppose it would be fair to say that some of the other major world religions are at best harmless, although I question the value of indulging in mystical or pseudo-scientific beliefs when science has provided a much better (and far more accurate) means of understanding the universe.

    See, there’s a key point. Understanding the universe isn’t the only thing going. Religion can provide some experiences that science cannot. For example, I know the scientific explanation for Drawing Down the Moon (a practice I’ve participated in), but the experience itself is mystical, and trying to keep a scientific mental state during it would block it. The traditional structures around it enable the brain to behave in ways it couldn’t in a lab (well, unless it was a very unusual lab).

    But then, dancing also provides experiences science cannot. You may not need religion; you may not need to dance. But why belittle people who do?

    Tom’s Wife 202: The so-called devil was once a high-ranking angel in Heaven. His name is Lucifer. He started a rebellion against God and God threw him out of Heaven into a place that was originally called a pit but came to be called Hell.

    Direct question: You do realize that the story you tell here was written by Milton, right? It’s not in the Bible. Moreover the only mention of Lucifer in the Bible is a metaphor for a fall from greatness; the literal part is Lucifer-the-light-bringer, so called because it rises just before the Sun some times of the year, i.e. the planet Venus.

    Tom 203: I don’t think god would be mean enough to make someone stay in an everlasting hell.

    Now see? We DO have things in common! That’s the key point that turned me off Christianity back in highschool. I didn’t know back then that you could be a Christian without believing in eternal torment, and the Missouri Synod Lutherans I encountered back then didn’t think so either.

  330. robulus says:

    No worries Mark.

  331. minTphresh says:

    tom, cash is king! remember, you can’t take it with you… but with the church of the Clear Light of Infinite Truth (patent pending) YOU CAN SEND IT ON AHEAD!

  332. Xopher says:

    Well, Kenneth, I’m at work and MySpace is blocked here, but I’ll certainly look at it when I get home. And please don’t think everyone here shares FoetusNail’s impression.

    One thing, though: FN didn’t say “all Christians.” He said “children of the Church of Christ.” I don’t think you meant to imply that members of the Church of Christ are the only REAL Christians, since that would belie your thesis, so I assume you missed that.

  333. Brookie3000 says:

    Attenborough’s argument assumes that a god would confer benevolence upon only one group of his creation and completely discount the worm. Is benevolence not shown to the worm in having food and a place to live?

  334. elsmiley says:

    Arkizzle: I’m vigorous by nature. The chicks dig it. And those who I battle against know who they are. I’m perfectly aware of the readership profile of BB.

  335. elsmiley says:

    You’re grasping at straws to believe the bible was intended to be metaphorical. Even if the concept of metaphor existed then, there is no way it was so elaborately realized. You actually believe that the people who wrote the bible had a different intention then Paul and the church and all the things that came right after? Whatever. hp yr slf-dcptn gvs y hppnss. Rd Th Dth f vn lych.

    The reference to Camus may have been too oblique, I suppose. I meant to say that some people don’t believe in morals at all. We (man) invented them. Oh, nevermind. I’m on the verge of gettings censured for my opinions again anyway. Don’t worry, Teresa, I’m used to it.

  336. dsac86 says:

    FoetusNail @40

    Thank you very much for that. That was probably the best comment I’ve read on BoingBoing.

  337. Takuan says:

    busted! mousies was the original. I plead banjo defense.

  338. JackDitch says:

    Arkizzle writes:
    Then it isn’t super-natural, it’s nature you hadn’t observed

    Like I already said, I don’t buy that dichotomy. I don’t see the wisdom or value of categorizing the world that way.

    If it is manifest, it is measurable.

    Mathematicians and physicists who have shown how the idea of understanding the universe purely through measurement isn’t really a possibility; measurements change the system, the universe is nonsimultaneously apprehended, and even the raw logic of mathematics fails to be complete and consistent at the same time.

    Looking at that other definition of meta–”self-referential”–it’s the problem of how meta our relationship with the universe really is. We can’t separate ourselves from it enough to grasp it objectively. We cannot measure all that is manifest.

    Antinous talks as if religion is behind the curve by believing in miracles, but I would point out that really it’s the atheistic materialists catching up with things that mystics have widely recognized for centuries: nothing’s more difficult to pinpoint than the self, little is more certain than the idea that we’ll never really be certain, much that seems impossible is possible for those with enough power and there’s an infinite number of possibilities.

    Given a nineteenth century mystic who teaches such uncertainty and a physicist who instead teaches that all knowledge worth having may someday be within the grasp of the scientific method, the mystic’s the one with the better (best?) theory on this count, even if their theory includes talking about my chakras.

    Luckily, most of the best scientists I know don’t take it that far. But you seem to take it that far.

    If it is measurable, we can talk.

    Tom worries if it’s a bad idea to ponder this stuff–I clearly don’t think so. I find my own beliefs are made better by contemplation and discussion. There’s no reason to expect agreement on such subjective matters, but in listening to others I discover possibilities I hadn’t considered and share in the experiences of others, and that strengthens and improves my overall worldview.

    If all you wanna talk about what’s measurable, that’s where the utility of what you have to say will end. If only the Bible thumpers are willing to even talk about the unquantifiable subjective experiences that nonetheless tend to be of more immediate concern to most people then astrophysics, people are gonna flock to the Bible thumpers.

    That’s essentially my sympathy with Christian fundamentalists right there: for most of the things they care about, science doesn’t actually offer them anything better than fundie religion does, and they’ve been forced into this false dichotomy by both their leaders and arguments such as yours. If that’s the choice, I think I’m with them, but I thank my many contradictory gods for giving me like a zillion other options.

  339. cobratronik says:

    I reject the idea that religion is ever a force for good, even when it’s practiced with so-called “tolerance” or “moderation”. Moderate religion is the fertile soil that allows extremism and fundamentalism to grow.

    Once one has conditioned their mind to accept beliefs without any empirical support, it leaves them susceptible to all manner of destructive ideologies. These beliefs are then bolstered by the universal human longing for one’s consciousness to survive beyond the death of the body. This of course is wishful thinking at it’s worst.

    The vitriol lobbed at Attenborough (and all atheists to one degree or another) springs directly from the nagging doubt in the back of many believers minds and reminds them that their vaunted beliefs are in fact baseless, which in turn makes them very uncomfortable.

  340. Bekah says:

    oh alright – does Chomsky count? he certainly has a lot of disciples. But no snacking between meals

  341. Modusoperandi says:

    Takuan “you could work vacuum tubes into the panties.”
    No. I’m pro-science, but I’m anti-mad science.

  342. arkizzle says:

    Tom, it’s a great question, and one that religious folk often can’t reconcile with atheism. Your last question (“Do any of you think about this kind of stuff? Is it a bad idea to try to ponder our existence?”) even suggests it.

    Of course we do! And of course it isn’t! Anyone with half a brain does :)

    I mean, with such an unimaginably huge universe and an infinite amount of time before our galaxy was formed..

    That’s the key! The space we inhabit is essentially infinite, the time is loo-nng. The universe if full of about a trillion trillion (10^24) stars (1,000,000,000,000 stars in our galaxy x 1,000,000,000,000 galaxies in the universe*), each with a handful of planets (give or take).

    For our purposes, each planet is an experiment in building Life. These experiments have been running for 14** billion years (Not individually, it took time for the planets to form. Some die in supernovae and new ones are born all the time).

    So, with my worst maths ever (it doesn’t matter, the point is the numbers are huge) imagine the old saying: if you gave 700 monkeys typewriters, would they ever write a word of shakespeare? 700 is nothing.. a million is nothing,

    We have 10^24 stars (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) x 3 planets each (fair average?) – all running for, say, 7 billion years (being fair to allow for planets to form, instead of 14 billion year age of the universe)..

    That’s 3,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets x 7,000,000,000 years (conservative).

    Each single one of those planets is an island, occasionally sharing information through meteor strikes, comet tails, solar winds and supernovae. Each island has a different setup. Depending on their physical / chemical makeup, their proximity to a sun, the strength and age of their sun, the influences of gravity from its moons or planetary neightbours, how old it is.. lots of stuff.

    On any of these planets, at any time, there are physical and chemical interactions. Some really subtle, like individual photons from its local sun hitting the surface, to the extremes of volcanoes, super-toxic atmospheres and massively chaotic magnetospheres.

    On the planets with interesting chemistry and turbulent forces (that’s different planets over time, eg. compare Mars now, to its past) certain combinations of chemical and certain atmospheric conditions might offer up active combinations. Because of the myriad stars, planets, time and space that we have for our experiments, interesting things are bound to show up on some.

    On the ones with interesting chemistry and interesting atmospheres, over billions of years a chance spark from lightning or a deep impact may start a single chain reaction, in a single region of the planet. Sure, most won’t, but some will. The numbers are so ridiculously big, that saying “it’s all down to chance”, disparagingly is kind of short-sighted. We have trilli-ka-billi-million chances, and a finite numer of stable chemicals, which fit into a finite number of combinations. Eventually, most of these combninations are going to come up. And we will have the spark of life!

    Now maybe the spark will snuff out, there and then. But that isn’t the end, we’ll wait another million years, or just move to the next of the 3,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets, and see what is going on there.

    Please don’t read this as flippant, it’s part of the wonderful. There is SO much universe, and SO much time.

    Something wonderful came together, yes by chance, but not just one chance, it is: (3^24 planets x 7 Billion years x planck time*** (smallest possible frame in which things have a chance to occur)) chances. The number is infinite to our puny human minds!

    So. I’m not overstating the scant chance we had at existance, I’m just trying to set that chance within a readable context of chances. It is AMAZING that we exist. Amazing that we are on this beautiful planet, perfectly cozy. But our life grew here, in these physics and in this (variable) atmosphere. We have grown, evolved and changed to suit our environment as it has adapted and changed. Since we were random strands of RNA and DNA floating in some oozy mess a couple of billion years ago, in a completely alien atmosphere, until now; perfectly adapted to our nitrogen/oxygen rich planet.

    SO. Compare to “God did it”.

    For me, there is infinitely more beautiful poetry written in the stars, than “God did it”. Imagine the powers contained within the natural universe if God didn’t do it. Wow, no?

    * http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEM75BS1VED_index_0.html
    ** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_the_universe
    *** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_time

  343. Modusoperandi says:

    Xopher “Sigh. Brief lesson in magic: Magic is the art of changing consciousness at will.”
    Sigh. Brief lesson in magic.

    Ta-da!

    Now, if there’s a doctor in the house, I need someone who can put her back together.

    I get what your saying, man, but even if we go by your definition, then I’m still out $49.95 for panties that, will or no will, consistently fail to change consciousness. They don’t even support “the area” adequately.

    lsmiley “[The Bible] was written to be taken as truth. The fact so many people still accept it as such (even if you do not) belies its intent.”
    And how well does that reflect on the Truth™ if it leads to the wrong answer?

    “elsmiley” “The slept on dirt floors and washed their hair with animal dung. But they were, of course, sophisticated enought to write metaphorical literature.”
    Don’t confuse “ancient” and “dumb”. You don’t need hovercars and chrome jumpsuits to make up poetry.

  344. arkizzle says:

    Xopher,

    Tom had already stated he was a member of the Chuch of Christ, so it was explicit when Foetus’ replied.

  345. JackDitch says:

    “Science talks about a complex phenomenon involving the literal beginning of time, with considerable physical evidence to support it.”

    And a whole pile of assumptions about the predictability of the universe and the reliability of our mathematics filling the gaps in the evidence, which are pretty massive given the claim. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, after all, and I’m not sure anyone but God could provide enough evidence to support a claim to know about the literal beginning of time. Some such claims may be more or less informed by the evidence than others, but I consider them all to be more the province of (a)theologians and philosophers, beyond the limited capabilities of the scientific method.

    While I’m worried somewhat about the push to teach creationist myths in public science classrooms, I’ve always been more bothered by the myths already being taught there. If we weren’t putting our guesses about the history of everything everywhere right up alongside the most repeatably observed patterns in human experience, insisting that they compromise an all-or-nothing package of “science”, I’d have a lot less sympathy for creationists.

  346. bardfinn says:

    And Nazi Germany’s atrocities were not “secular” – the massive anti-Semitism of post-Weimar Germany was religiously based and religiously spread through Catholicism and Lutheranism and based on the Russian Protocols of the Elders of Zion – written for and massively popular in Russian Christendom – wherein Jews were blamed for a whole host of social ills (scapegoating) as well as being blamed for “murdering the Messiah”. Hitler and Goebbels picked a handy, religiously-created scapegoat among many scapegoats as the enemy in their midst.

  347. arkizzle says:

    Modus,

    “Ta Da!”

    I LOLed my ass off :)

  348. Raj77 says:

    Sir David Attenborough is one of the greatest Britons of the twentieth century, and it’s a damn shame that his brother received a baronetcy over him. He’s been using the eyeball-worm explanation for decades, which was particularly brave in the days when the UK was still priest-ridden.

  349. Oceanconcepts says:

    re. 140 ELSMILEY

    “If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change.” The Dalai Lama said that. I’d like to see a christian or a muslim say the same.

    OK- I’m a Christian, and I believe that as science has proven beliefs held by Christians wrong, Christianity has changed.
    Not enough, and there are still a lot of holdouts (the letter writers being prime examples), but it’s possible to find much of value in Christian teaching that in no way contradicts science. I don’t believe in any “supernatural crap”. It’s symbolic, poetic language, not meant to be taken literaly. If you strip away all the power related BS that has been tacked on over the years, and all the fear mongering put in to control people, Christianity and Buddhism are very near to each other. Not, I admit, as practiced and understood by the bulk of people today. But it’s not fair to use the figures like the Dali Lama as a source for Buddhist teaching, and fundamentalist political hacks like Pat Robertson et. al. as your source for Christianity. Note that thinkers such as Teilhard de Chardin have nearly always been ostracized by the (institutional) church. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church is an Oceanographer.

    Religious people wiped out my heritage (Native American) and they still persecute me for my beliefs.

    Greed and racism wiped out your heritage. Religion was a kind of sick rationalization used to justify evil. You can’t get from the Sermon on the Mount to ethnic cleansing.

    Just as Jesus hung out with the social outcasts and got into trouble with the religious authorities, I find I have more in common with thoughtful atheists than with the typical self-identified Christian. I don’t enjoy closed minded people, whatever the label they give themselves.

  350. arkizzle says:

    I’m perfectly aware of the readership profile of BB.

    I know that. You were just flailing wildly when you said “your book” in such an accusatory tone.

    I thought Jeff (and he will correct me if I’m wrong) was saying that the book had some good lessons in it, for anyone. Not just those who follow it, or those who fervently believe every line to be fact.

  351. Takuan says:

    embroidered vacuum tubes?

  352. arkizzle says:

    Rob..

    For me, its important to have a more poetic language, like religion, to describe it as well.

    What about poetry? :D

  353. arkizzle says:

    Takuan, now it’s time for the Nikon’s Universcale, danke.

    http://www.nikon.com/about/feelnikon/universcale/index.htm

  354. Oceanconcepts says:

    @29 ANTONOUS

    A goodly segment of the US population flat out believes in Creationism. An even larger group claiming to believe in evolution actually describes Intelligent Design when asked to explain it. Where is this modern society? And more importantly, are they accepting emigrants from the US?

    Western Europe? And maybe, now that there’s a new administration…
    Seriously, the facts you cite have a lot more to do with the failings of the US educational system- in particular its failure to teach basic concepts of logic and critical thinking- than they have to do with religion. The same fallacies crop up in the global warming “debate”- as if science were a mere matter of one’s opinion. They give these answers because they don’t understand evolution- and because they don’t understand Christianity, either. Mainstream Christian denominations have no problem with evolution. Most Americans probably don’t know that. Unfortunately in the U.S. we have way too many Biblical Literalists and fundamentalist nut-jobs. And they are given way too much credibility and power.

    @ 41 MODUSOPERANDI

    Oceanconcepts “A science that seeks to deny the spiritual side of humanity in favor of pure rationalism risks turning away from music, poetry, myth, and much of what makes us human.”
Show me an astronomer or a biologist or a physicist who isn’t spiritual about his work, and I’ll show you someone who isn’t very good at his job. Simply wondering how things work bring a wonder all its own. Exploring a sliver of the totality of everything is spiritual.
The methods of scientific investigation may be cold, but scientists aren’t.

    Exactly my point- could not agree more. Science is on some level a spiritual endeavor. Most scientists, in my experience, have more genuine religious/ spiritual feelings than the creationist/ fundamentalists- scientists are genuinely seeking understanding and are open to new ideas, which creationists are not.

    @40, FOETUSNAIL
    Unfortunately, for most people, and religious education ends before they reach an age at which they are capable of abstract thought. That leaves behind a lot of muddled supernatural concepts and magical thinking. If you knew how close your observations about sin, for instance, are to much mainstream Christian theology/ philosophy, you would be surprised.

    I can believe in God, without being the least bit supernatural about it, and having no conflict with science or logic whatever.

    @31, TOM HALE

    I’d imagine more wars have been fought and more people killed because of religion than anything else. And oddly, religion probably spawns more hate than anything else.

    Religious identity, ethnic identity, tribalism, nationalism, and ideology all have been used by the power hungry to manipulate people over the years, and to justify wars. But it’s intellectually sloppy to conclude that wars were fought BECAUSE of religion, ethnicity, etc. Most wars have been fought because someone wanted something and thought they could take it. We can be greedy apes. Don’t forget that the worst conflicts and genocides of the last century were perpetrated by resolutely secular forces- Nazi Germany, China, Russia under Stalin- and for largely ideological reasons.

    In my opinion, the worst tragedy to befall Christianity was when Constantine made it the state religion of the Roman Empire. A faith based on humility, acceptance of people as they are, ending tribalism, and kindness was turned into an instrument of state control.

  355. mdh says:

    My question is, why do you call yourself a Christian?

    Calling myself a Christian is as much about how Christ suggested YOU live as how he suggested I live. Don’t like that I call myself Christian? Confess it to someone else who claims you have the exclusive right to use the word. Anyway, why does it matter what I call myself? You afraid I’m gonna try to steal some of that glory? Sneak into heaven with your passport?

    Better question. Why do some Christians call other Christians “Christians”? (with emphasis on the disparaging quote marks). Not that anyone here did so, but it’s a fair question. Why are Mormons (or Catholics for that matter, say ~40 years ago) less Christian than other branches of the faithful? Why are Unitarians such pariah’s within a nation they largely founded?

    I call myself a Christian because Jesus was way cool and set a pretty good example. Certainly a better example then most of the people who call other people out in his name.

  356. Takuan says:

    now now, we don’t censure you for your opinions, that would be wrong; we stab you and set you on fire because you’re a dirty heretic, give us SOME credit (lousy heathen!)

    I do have to ask you though, based on on your avowed opinion about abstract human mental capacity; where have you lived in your life so far?

  357. FoetusNail says:

    The poem is mine. Thanks for the Flower Duet w/included lyrics.

    These momentary glimpses of oneness or wholeness are called kensho. I once met a Buddhist monk who had his most profound kensho while looking at a McDonald’s Golden Arches.

    Thanks for the Tardigrade, I was just telling one of the kids about strange lifeforms that could live anywhere, now I know their name. Can’t wait to pass this on to one of the older kids in our group.

  358. Jeff says:

    For good people to do evil things only takes politics. It only requires a different mindset. If it only required religion we would have had a good reason to give it up a long long time ago. And in a galaxy far far away.

  359. Xopher says:

    Kliban appears from the mists, towering over the pathetic tentacled blob that is Takuan, who cowers and weeps and begs for forgiveness. Kliban, implacable and pitiless, scoops him up and swallows him whole.

    KLIBAN: MMM. Takosushi, nom nom nom.

  360. Takuan says:

    well read scholars who think? independently? phah! there’s no nourishment there for a gods-Eater, just weedy strands of barbed truth. No thank you, I’ve quite enough reality already. It itches.

  361. arkizzle says:

    And now, I’m watching Attenborough’s latest “Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life”..

  362. Takuan says:

    goodbye

  363. FoetusNail says:

    Arkizzle, your comments have reminded me of nights of such awareness and clarity that i shrank back from the experience on at least one occasion. One overwhelming night, I heard the entirety of Kate Bush’s Sensual World in a single moment, every note, every sound, every emotion. That left me startled for days. I still think about that night and cannot understand what happened.

    Tom, I too sometimes wish there were more, every time my almost five year old tells his 53 year old father he wants to be together forever, but does anyone really want to spend an eternity with me? The singularity blows my mind.

    MinT@492, that is so romantic, but don’t forget the billions of symbiotic lifeforms inhabiting our guts and every square inch of our skin. Each of us is a walking ecosystem with more inhabitants than cells.

  364. markmarkmark says:

    The surest way to get everyone to shut up is to turn off the computer and go outside.

    absolutely true – i’m a treeplanter though, so i spend 2 months of my year living in a tent and i am in canada and shit be cold.

    anyways – God is a vengeful God because he is a God of righteous judg(e)ment. War is warranted. There is a time to use the sword, and a time to beat the sword into a plow and allow the widows and orphans to glean.

    Jesus came to bring peace, but Messiah will have to take this world by force – pour out thousands of years of foolish civilization and then build a new earth.

    We all have our beliefs, but we don’t want our beliefs. God of peace, we want you.

  365. markmarkmark says:

    in my world, i perceive light wavelengths as blue

    but recognize that i am a flawed man and my perceptions are flawed.

    and yes, we can look at two rocks and say – here are two rocks, but if we were to weigh them there would likely be differences between.
    we require an abstract fictionalized concept of what a rock is.

    same with geometry. find me a real, perfect triangle in nature and you won’t. there is always variation, always entropy.

    i write without speaking, merely translating my thoughts into symbols – words – imbued with varying meaning and hidden symbolism depending on your ability to interpret my words but with no natural state in and of themselves.

  366. arkizzle says:

    And:

    Hi Kenneth! :)

  367. Modusoperandi says:

    Tom HaleM “I…am now a member of Church of Christ”
    He’s got His own church now? Why wasn’t I told of this?!

    buddy66 “What I don’t get is where she gets her info. Doesn’t sound like biblical text to me.”
    Most of the Satan/Hell backstory is extrabiblical. By “extrabiblical”, I mean “varies from inspired by a true [Holy] story! to inspired by a dream that a nun with a fever in the 1500s had“.

    “Or is John Milton now considered one of the gospels?”
    Duh. The Gospel
    of John, no less than three epistles of John & Revelation of Christ to John (with introduction by Bill Cosby). That’s four by him and one to him.

    “But I wonder how many Christian sects would remain standing if their beliefs were limited to what Jesus reportedly said?”
    Even just trying to take the book as a whole (good luck) instead of focussing on the passage or two that lead from conflict to schism to new denomination in the first place.

    Xopher “If they’re magic to you, they’re magic.”
    That sounds like magic pantyism relatavism to me. Either the panties are magic, or they are not magic.

    “For example, I know the scientific explanation for Drawing Down the Moon (a practice I’ve participated in)”
    Have you considered doing that and providing on-screen captioning for the Pentacostals?

    “You may not need religion; you may not need to dance. But why belittle people who do?”
    Because the “dancers” (not all, but enough), are telling others how they should dance, using goverment to legislate their inerrant and literal view of their dancers book and boards of education to use my tax dollars to push dancing in science class, and abstinence-until waltz only dance-ed class. Also, 40,000,000 other dancers go apeshit when a Danish newspaper publishes cartoons on dancing (and 14,000,000 do the same when, um, Santa names a reindeer Dancer). Beliefs that lead to those actions need to be pointed out, actions that come from those beliefs need to be opposed.
    I can’t speak for others, but I try to be polite about it. I don’t try very hard, but the attempt is there.
    Of course, what you or anyone believes in the privacy of their own head, I don’t care about. It’s none of my business.

  368. elsmiley says:

    I’m not saying they were ancient, I’m saying they were dumb. If they couldn’t figure out how to make concrete or boil water to avoid disease, they sure the hell couldn’t understand the concept of metaphorical literature. They meant it to be literal. Calling it metaphorical only came about much later when people who believed in science and the bible at the same time were conflicted and tried to resolve that conflict.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      elsmiley,

      Your comments about the philosophical capacity of ancient writers display a breathtaking absence of knowledge, education and common sense. I’d be tempted to disemvowel you if you hadn’t already turned yourself into such an appealing piñata.

  369. JackDitch says:

    SO. Compare to “God did it”

    I’m comparing to the work of such respected men as Paul Tillich, Andrew Greeley, Daniel Berrigan and Ivan Stang, all of whom have much more to offer than “God did it.” If you’re gonna compare the best of science to the worst of religion, then duh.

  370. Anonymous says:

    So I’m a Christian, but I have a hard time swallowing this whole Intelligent Design/Young Earth Theory thing as real science. I’m no biologist or geologist, but I see a lot of holes in some of the more contrived theories that ID puts forward. And I don’t understand at all why anyone would want to threaten Attenborough, even if they disagree strongly with him. Hate mail won’t solve anything; it will only demonstrate how small-minded and scared some people are.

    In many ways, it seems that ID proponents want to understand everything and put God in their own little box, when it seems to me that He is much too big for any one theory or explanation.

    I believe that the Bible should be taken at face value, but in many places the creation story is vague and doesn’t give an exact account of what happened. You could say that I believe that God created the universe, and I know some of how He did it from the Bible and from what scientific evidence we have, but I was not there when He “laid the earth’s foundations,” so I won’t make any claim to know exactly how it happened.

    When I first put my faith in God, it was because of the person of Jesus, not rock strata or carbon dating. When I read the story of creation, and the whole Bible for that matter, I see them all point towards Jesus. As one example, I would mention the parallels between Psalm 22 and and the New Testament accounts of Jesus’ trial and execution. But that’s another story.

    As an aside, one thing I would caution some people of is historical bias when it comes to spiritual matters. Just because people lived a long time ago, it does not make them any less intelligent than modern people. Spirituality is no more “old-fashioned” than music, philosophy, art, or studying the world around us.

  371. markmarkmark says:

    rdng ths psts s hlrs nd mbrrssng – knw tht bngbng dsn’t ttrct lt f rlgs rdrs bt cn’t blv tht s mny ppl hv sch n ttr lck f knwldg bt th bk tht hs prtty mch cntrlld hstry snc t ws wrttn.

    vryn sht p, rd th bbl, nd thn y r llwd t pst bt t.

  372. minTphresh says:

    what he said

  373. robulus says:

    they appear to auto”correct” ‘damn’ to ‘drat’

    No. Please tell me you made that up.

  374. arkizzle says:

    And a whole pile of assumptions about the predictability of the universe and the reliability of our mathematics filling the gaps in the evidence, which are pretty massive given the claim.

    Science is about building on the knowledge of the previous generations, not just answering a question and saying “don’t ever mention it again”. Science is always prepared to amend, or even give up, what was thought yesterday, if sufficient evidence can prove otherwise today.

    ..beyond the limited capabilities of the scientific method

    Nothing in the observable universe is beyond observation. If we can’t do it today, we may be able tomorrow.

  375. arkizzle says:

    JackDitch,

    Like MarkMarkMark, I think you are mixing up metaphysics with emotion and psychology.

    And when I say “measure”, I include things like ‘seeing’ or ‘having effects on some sort of physical non-human thing’. And I was talking specifically within the confines of MMM’s conversation.

    Both of you are taking the word ‘metaphysics’ and redefining it into some touchy-feelie emotional stuff. And you, specifically, are deconstructing the word into ‘meta’ and ‘physics’, but that is the etymology of the word, not its meaning.

  376. markmarkmark says:

    http://www.instantrimshot.com/

    life – all life, is utterly amazing.
    even conways or however his name is spelt.

  377. Man On Pink Corner says:

    The best way to treat Creationists and ID’er is exactly as you’d treat flat-earthers or moon-landing deniers. Just ignore them. Don’t let them troll polite society with their ravings, and don’t waste time rebutting them.

    I don’t see why these people get the time of day from anyone, much less Attenborough.

  378. buddy66 says:

    “I don’t know if you’re married – if you are, you may get where I’m coming from.”

    Tom, don’t ever leave BB. You’re a constant source of inspiration, as well as a reminder of who and what we really are. :0)

  379. elsmiley says:

    Ok, I shouldn’t have said “your book”. I offer my sincere apologies. Now about the Inquisition…

  380. Xopher says:

    MO 213: That sounds like magic pantyism relatavism to me. Either the panties are magic, or they are not magic.

    So if you had a wife, she’d be wife to everyone?

  381. Takuan says:

    don’t do that again M3

  382. arkizzle says:

    Was that a time slip, or a challenge?

  383. arkizzle says:

    Foetus, the poem is really nice, I enjoyed it.

    Kensho is getting filed in my head for later use, nice to finally have a word for somthing I’ve known for a long time.

    And tardigrades rock!

  384. Tom Hale says:

    Buddy and Xopher re: What my wife said about Satan. She said, read what’s on the following link.
    http://www.angelfire.com/mi/dinosaurs/lucifer.html

    Note: She doesn’t think anything on this link will change anyone’s mind about religion and thinks both of you simply want to argue about the subject.

    Disclaimer – I don’t know if the info on the link is really what the Bible says – But my wife assured me that it is, so -um -there ya go. Take that however you want.

  385. Bekah says:

    well you don’t get nice things between meals – so you want real gods then not just ones that think they are – ok I’ll see what I have in my handbag

  386. markmarkmark says:

    Nothing in the observable universe is beyond observation.

    and God is good because he is a good God. oh wait.

  387. Akezys says:

    Can we all try and be a bit more open-minded here? A lot of the comments on here seem to boil down to a hatred and lack of understanding of ‘the other’.

  388. buddy66 says:

    #204 Min T,
    Very funny thumbnail summary, Rev.

    #210,
    Wha’s that? Who? Strange scansion. A limerick on the rocks.

  389. Modusoperandi says:

    arkizzle “I LOLed my ass off :)”
    I do have that effect on people. I’d say that it comes naturally, but it actually comes from many years of Rocky-like workout montages.

  390. elsmiley says:

    Takuan: Lived or been to? I’ve travelled extensively. I like Buenos Aries. But I’ve lived in LA, SFO, NY, Paris, Morocco, and now Philly.

  391. Raj77 says:

    Several of Attenborough’s best series aren’t available domestically in the US because they deal with evolution and/or climate change.

  392. elsmiley says:

    Man created the idea of “positive” just as he created the idea of good and evil. People can create their own morals. Very few people have died because of Existentialism or Buddhism. How many entire races have been obliterated because of the christian concept that they are “right”?

  393. Takuan says:

    eeeep!

  394. minTphresh says:

    xoph, are the magical panties…edible?

  395. arkizzle says:

    My new hero:

    Julia Sweeney – Letting go of God

    Get this, listen to it. It’s so funny, honest, true and insightful. Brilliant!

    Searing and bracingly funny… “Letting Go of God” is refreshingly unrancorous, lucid and, yes, inspirational. Ms. Sweeney may not believe her audience has spirits to be moved, but that’s certainly how it feels.” –New York Times

    Pay: http://www.amazon.com/Letting-Go-God-Julia-Sweeney/dp/B000MM107I

    Steal: http://rapidshare.com/files/148053771/ABLGOGJSAB.Lemon
    (rename .lemon to .rar)

  396. arkizzle says:

    Yep.

    Whatever is real is real.

  397. Anonymous says:

    wow, I had no idea Attenborough was so dark…I like him even more now.

  398. mdh says:

    Credit where credit is due.

  399. Tom Hale says:

    Thx Arkie, I’ll tell him you said Hi.

    Our whole family calls him Tommy,but for some reason his girlfriend and online friends call him Kenneth – weird huh?

  400. markmarkmark says:

    then what about things that observable?
    like tenacity, or love, or sarcasm?

  401. robulus says:

    @ModusOperandi

    “You may not need religion; you may not need to dance. But why belittle people who do?”

    Because the “dancers” (not all, but enough), are telling others how they should dance, using goverment to legislate their inerrant and literal view of their dancers book and boards of education to use my tax dollars to push dancing in science class, and abstinence-until waltz only dance-ed class.

    I think the ID movement and the push for it to be taught in science classes in the US is a disgrace, and I fully support your argument against ID, against the cynical people driving it and the uninformed people who are going along with them. It’s the good fight, and I’m right there with you.

    But it doesn’t actually follow that you’ve got open season on every single last Christian. As I’ve said my Church accepts genesis as figurative, and teaches standard science curriculae in its private schools.

  402. Modusoperandi says:

    Markmarkmark: I don’t know if it helps but I, at least, have been fairly consistently off topic.

  403. robulus says:

    MO said

    Speaking of Creationists, did you know that some of them send Attenborough hate mail?

    Stay on topic please.

  404. minTphresh says:

    rob, it’s true! and ‘fuck’ becomes “gently carress”. fuckin hi-larious! but, almost 100% agree: mark3 = idoitic.

  405. arikol says:

    No. Ignoring them is not a valid option. Hatred and ignorance can be spread like a disease. By way of indoctrination these poor saps preach and praise ignorance, sometimes unknowingly but often saying that flat out. Belief in god is blind faith. You MUST trust anything said by the bible or whomever interprets it for you.

    Interesting case in point:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iD97OVJ4PNw&eurl=http://www.facebook.com/home.php?

    It is our duty as not being complete morons to enlighten, teach the value of life and how stuff like logic should even apply to religion (which of course makes SOME people realise the logic fallacy of YAHWEH, The Flying Teapot and The Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    Of course, preaching to extremists is unlikely to work, our job is just to spread information and sanity to others, trying to make the world a little less dangerous.
    Make people think. That’s the trick.
    If you make one person think for themselves (not necessarily turning to YOUR point of view, though) you have achieved success.
    Be careful though not to try to use the religious indoctrination methods and push logic, reason and science as a religion. Anybody who starts thinking logically is likely to end up thinking in our near science by themselves.

  406. minTphresh says:

    hey buddy. #210 was a lil poem i wrote for takuan’s new god-eating cult. it’s based on the ratcatcher’s mantra: i’m the rat catcher emrys fleet/ two parts of the rat i doth eat/etc… glad you enjoyed “christianity in a nut-shell” soon to be appearing on the history channel!

  407. markmarkmark says:

    things that aren’t observable i meant.

  408. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Community Manager says:

    Smiley @320:

    You’re grasping at straws to believe the bible was intended to be metaphorical. Even if the concept of metaphor existed then, there is no way it was so elaborately realized.

    Oh, nonsense. Who told you that whopper? Of course metaphor existed. Furthermore, there was no barrier to its being elaborately realized. The technology of metaphor and language is in our heads.

    Are you aware that as a general rule, older languages are more complex than newer ones?

    I’m on the verge of gettings censured for my opinions again anyway. Don’t worry, Teresa, I’m used to it.

    That’s good. I wouldn’t want it to come as a shock to your system.

  409. arkizzle says:

    Given a nineteenth century mystic who teaches such uncertainty and a physicist who instead teaches that all knowledge worth having may someday be within the grasp of the scientific method, the mystic’s the one with the better (best?) theory on this count, even if their theory includes talking about my chakras.

    I have said that everything that occurs is measurable in some way. By which I mean everything that ‘happens’ is within the bounds of “physics”. Not the scientific discipline per se, but particles and chemicals, energy and forces. All are interactions, and all are dependent on each other in the big chaos machine.

    And I didn’t say we’d eventually be able to measure everything, we might never gain that knowledge, but the knowledge is there to be gained.. I don’t think there is anything ‘unknowable’ per se. There is probably some things you can think of to catch me out in my definiteness (really I’m just trying to be clear, rather than absolute, I’m not absolute), but emotions and concepts aren’t it.

    You can say “how can you measure love” like MMM, but who knows what we will invent tomorrow? Why not a transferable-brainstate machine? Are you any less shortsighted in your narrow view of science’s capability than I am, in your eyes, about mysticism and the supernatural?

    We could be extinct tomorrow, and all the things we didn’t discover will still be there. We are not the yardstick of ‘knowable’.

  410. arkizzle says:

    I’m saying they were dumb. If they couldn’t figure out how to make concrete or boil water to avoid disease, they sure the hell couldn’t understand the concept of metaphorical literature.

    O K

    Except concrete and germs are discoveries, whereas the potential for metaphorical thought is brain function. Brain function hasn’t changed one iota in two thousand years.

    You are so far off with this tack.

  411. Modusoperandi says:

    Xopher “Btw, I only use the “Did I ever tell you…I lied” thing to say “good one” when someone I DO like gets off a zinger at my expense.”
    And I only did the overacting thing because I found the idea amusing.

    “I don’t know what’s going on with you, but it wasn’t meant offensively.”
    I don’t know what’s going on with me, either, and I wasn’t offended. If I were, I would’ve posted on “What’s with all the MO bashing?”. Then I would have to reply to that post and, in a tongue in cheek manner, point out my own inconsistency.

    “FoetusNail” “Gettin’ a thread went to his head!”
    No, that was the champagne.

    robulus (Drinks heavily from bottle, then smashes it against wall before skulking off to obscurity)
    Well…that was my champagne.

    JackDitch “While I’m worried somewhat about the push to teach creationist myths in public science classrooms, I’ve always been more bothered by the myths already being taught there.”
    Yeah! Like Phys-Ed! Whose to tell me that I “can’t” put the ball in “my” team’s hoop? Teach the controversy!

  412. minTphresh says:

    by he i meant arkizzle, and feotus, i prefer to think of my body as a sort of micro-condominium. a mini-verse if i’m feeling avatarish!

  413. arkizzle says:

    What, SA didn’t want you back??

  414. Cicada says:

    “Life is too intelligent, too tenacious to not have intelligence behind it.”

    This is just a restatement of “It’s turtles all the way down”. If life requires intelligence to create, what in turn created that intelligent creator? If the creator emerged somehow from an unliving state, why not have life on earth do so?

  415. elsmiley says:

    Antinous: Breathtaking? Hyperbole is the sign of having nothing of value to say. I’m well educated in the area of “ancient” writers. Please attempt to “disemvowel” me–and use as many internet cliches as possible. If I were also one to use cliches and such, I would say, “Bring it”.

  416. rayven says:

    @Oceanconcepts…
    Thanks for your post @17. I’ve been all over this science/spiritual issue in my head and struggling with it over the past few years. I really enjoyed your viewpoint. :) I am looking forward to all your replies here. Maybe it’ll help me figure it all out one day too.

  417. buddy66 says:

    Takuan, I recommend the lesser Roman god Jeff — the god of cookies. There should be sufficient nom nom there.

  418. God777 says:

    Guys, I’m telling you right now, this is a really silly argument. Honestly, you write just one book, and all of a sudden the entire planet’s arguing about it. And you people wonder why I never talk to you guys directly anymore.

  419. buddy66 says:

    Modus,

    While it is true that ancient civil societies (a value-free descriptive term used by anthropologists) practiced slavery, all of the great civilizations did so on a massive scale. (Agriculture and slavery go hand-in-hand; in fact, the two building blocks of those civilizations are cereal grains and slavery.)

    The Jews were enslaved at least twice, although both times were under fairly benign masters, and they eventually shook free of them. It could have been worse; they were not directly converted into food, as was sometimes the fate of captive people. Better be enslaved by a Babylonian than an Aztec. As Takuan says, nom nom nom.

    Jesus’ attitude towards slavery was no more enlightened than that of the old Jews of Exodus. Both advised that you should be nice to your slaves, even allowing that males could be freed after seven years. But if you sold your daughter into slavery, forget it. Genesis 21:7 informs us that she wasn’t ever to be freed; she was a piece of property for life.

    There was no feasible alternative model for the ancients. There were only the egalitarian bands or proto-tribes of hunter-gatherers-herders, from which they had evolved and which they no doubt viewed with contempt. It would be a few thousand years before the concept of “The Noble Savage” would appear. Their world was defined by slave-based cultures. Babylon and Memphis were a long way from the forests and plains, and there was no going back. So slavery it was.

    Just be nice about it.

  420. Oceanconcepts says:

    @ 43, DSAC86

    Recently I read the Old Testament for the first time and it was quite a read, it really confirmed alot of fears I had always felt towards mainstream Christianity.

    One of the most horrible things about being a Biblical Literalist (who are NOT mainstream, by the way, and really rose up in the 19th century in response to the acceptance of evolution by mainstream churches) is that you have to find a way to “literally believe” the Old Testament- which was written by at least 5 groups who often profoundly disagreed with each other, and which contains a record of ethnic, tribal, violent and xenophobic cultures busily slaughtering each other in God’s name. It’s not going to make much sense without a lot of background knowledge of the cultures and history.

    The mental strain brought on by trying to reconcile a rigid and ill-informed reading of this text with the message of Jesus renders fundamentalists incapable of coherent thought- hence the version of “Christianity” that gets the most airplay in the U.S.- God wants to kill you, because you are bad, but if you believe all this stuff that makes no sense then you will get issued a set of Asbestos Underwear to protect you.
    This is NOT Christianity- it’s the bending of Christian symbols to politics and power.

    I think it was Anne Lamott that said “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”

  421. Modusoperandi says:

    Takuan: have you considered abandoning your silly little faith and worshiping the Golden Monkey? The Golden Monkey has the dual advantages of being both Golden and Monkey. You can’t beat a deal like that!

  422. elsmiley says:

    There needs to be a point where a comment area (eg, a bulliten board) turns into a chat room. It’s the new paradigm! Any discussion that goes on forever turns into a chat room! I got this!

  423. arkizzle says:

    Password for the file above (597) is: http://www.lemonshare.net

  424. arkizzle says:

    Which would have the funny conclusion that you’d have to have randomly guessed, with no support whatsoever, the existance of such a being…

    Or, you know.. made him up.

  425. chgoliz says:

    Those little children in east Africa are born into sin, and that is why God created an eyeball worm specifically to punish them for their transgressions.

    Heck, even I can come up with an example of their puerile arguments off the cuff.

  426. Bekah says:

    you should already be full there were quite a few to get through in #203 or had you feasted on them prior

  427. bardfinn says:

    I wish I could ignore the IDers & creationists. Only a week ago has the Texas Board of Education finally dropped the “Strengths and weaknesses” requirement for discussion of evolutionary theory, a Trojan Horse backdoor that shoehorned in (wedged in) giving some sort of scientific credence to cdesign proponentsists.

    Despite the Supreme Court decision making it outright illegal to teach Creationism, and the decision in the Kitzmiller v Dover case making it perfectly clear that Intelligent Design is nothing more than Creationism repackaged, a recent study determined that one in eight US biology teachers still present Creationism as a valid scientific topic – I myself have witnessed within the past decade high school teachers putting forth the KJV Old Testament as absolute historical fact, and when kids get ejected from their extracurricular activities, slandered, and their parents framed and extorted by religious bigots for refusing to be pressured into a religious conversion by school officials, it becomes clear that no-one can afford to ignore the Intelligent Design / Creationists.

    They’ve assaulted everything from the education I had, to the education my kids should have, to the hijacking of public taxpayer funds at every available point, to an egregious abuse of the Socratic method – confusing and confounding the education of every child in America. They’re con men, pure and simple.

    The last time we ignored the con men, Wall Street collapsed.

  428. robulus says:

    @Arkizzle heh heh yeah, but that’s the point. Religious teachings are a kind of poetry. Much of it is poetry about exactly what you posted there. And they come with rituals to heighten the experience of the poetry. The whole ancient ritual thing really does it for me.

  429. arkizzle says:

    Taku, is it time already? But I don’t wanna.. Oh.. ok.

    Come on children, line up nicely. Girls, straighten your skirts and boys make sure your shirts are tucked in and your shoes are smart.

    Now, everyone in rows. Let the little ones come to the front, all the tall ones.. you boys, up to the back.. Ok, fine.

    Now those of you with hankies, take them out and wave goodbye. Go on.. Everyone else, hands will suffice.

    *waves*

    Master Phresh, you may present Mark with the bouquet of flowers from the house gardens and Master Christopher, won’t you help him with his case into the car?

    Ok children, say goodbye..

    *Goodbye*

    *waves*

    Oh he’ll be back children, some day. But we need to let him know his behaviour is disruptive and unfriendly. We want to play with him too, but not if it means all the toys end up broken and everyone gets frustrated.

    Now lets all go and have pie and icecream.. and cake.
    And if anyone wants to ride the unicorn.. well, just this once.

    /Satisfying Snark

  430. buddy66 says:

    “Very few people have died because of Existentialism or Buddhism.”

    I fear the future hordes of secular humanists at the gates. Think of the possible horrors…

  431. Xopher says:

    Antinous: did you know that ‘mene mene tekel upharsin’ is an anagram of ‘teen semen hankie rumple’?

  432. arkizzle says:

    ..tenacity, or love, or sarcasm..

    Of course they are observable. Have you never witnessed them?

    If someone is in love, don’t they portray it? How can you react to sarcasm if it is unobservable?

  433. Modusoperandi says:

    Arkizzle; Attenborough, you say? I don’t know if you’ve heard, but apparently he gets hate mail from…

  434. minTphresh says:

    will god(s) get lonely when the human race finally becomes extinct?

  435. Xopher says:

    MO 44 (now): * Xopher’s definition of “magic”, which is offensive to no one of any importance.

    Did I ever tell you I like you?

    I lied.

  436. Modusoperandi says:

    FoetusNail “I once met a Buddhist monk who had his most profound kensho while looking at a McDonald’s Golden Arches.”
    So McDonald’s isn’t a complete waste then.

    “Thanks for the Tardigrade, I was just telling one of the kids about strange lifeforms that could live anywhere, now I know their name.”
    Just remember them as “water bears”. It’s an odd enough name that you’ll never forget. Velvet worms are pretty cool, too. They’ve got legs, man.

  437. Modusoperandi says:

    elsmiley “I’m not saying they were ancient, I’m saying they were dumb. If they couldn’t figure out how to make concrete or boil water to avoid disease, they sure the hell couldn’t understand the concept of metaphorical literature.”
    And that’s why there are no metaphors in the Tanakh. Oh, wait (the earliest “like a”-style metaphor is in Judges, circa 1000BC, but there are obvious metaphors earlier than that. On a side note, Song of Songs is still pretty hot. It’s widely considered to be the Bolero of its era. True story).

    “They meant it to be literal.”
    Even if they did, shush, you! It’s hard enough pulling the literalists into the Enlightenment without you agreeing with them. Baby steps, man. Baby steps.

  438. Xopher says:

    And markmarkmark, to explain a little, if something has been disemvowelled, that constitutes being warned that it was unacceptable. Reposting it is not OK.

  439. arkizzle says:

    Teach the controversy!

    Hah!

  440. JackDitch says:

    Both of you are taking the word ‘metaphysics’ and redefining it into some touchy-feelie emotional stuff

    Dude, I’m just talking about how I and my peers use the word. It’s not that I find the things you’ve been saying entirely disagreeable, but I feel like I’m getting a whole lot of “You don’t understand, that word doesn’t mean what you think it means, it means what I say it means–and that’s why I reject it.”

    You’ve all done a good job of making your meaning clear, and I think I understand what you reject, but what I’m trying to get at is I reject those things, too. And yet, I identify as a religious man and a Christian, as do the people I learned these words from (university professors, Catholic priests and educated authorities, not simply the stars of pop evangalism on Fox.) So it’s not like I’m claiming more authority than you to define these words, but sheesh, the way I use them ain’t all that strange in the religion biz.

    I can only reiterate, once again, my suggestion to judge religion, metaphysics and Christianity by the best they have to offer, rather than the worst. You might be able to out-nuance grandma when she says “God did it”, but grandma’s mostly just listening to her rabbi who’s listening to scholars who’re having this discussion at a whole different level. It’d be like me trying to discredit science by aiming for a Discovery Channel documentary; grandma’s about the only one that’ll convince.

    You can define the words how you will; I’m just trying to bring more nuance to the discussion than your definitions seem to allow, based on the best uses of the words that I’ve seen.

  441. arkizzle says:

    ..for some reason his girlfriend and online friends call him Kenneth – weird huh?

    No more weird than Arkizzle, I suspect :)

    PS, my thanks to Mrs Hale are @ 247

  442. robulus says:

    Hey Arkizzle,

    Yeah look I accept that dualism probably isn’t actually a problem anymore. Its just a lovely old line of enquiry.

    But the functionalist thing is more challenging, I think. I mean, if you replicate a brain exactly, down to every detail, then its another brain so we can guess it would be conscious. But if we create an entity out of different materials that acts exactly like a conscious entity, it is by no means certain it would, in fact, be conscious the same way we are. Searle wrote a great book on it, “The Emperors New Mind”.

    He gives a black box example, along the lines (from memory): Imagine a box with a person inside. Outside, someone feeds cards with symbols on them into the box. The person inside doesn’t attach any meaning to the symbols, but they have a list of instructions on what to do with the different symbols, and respond by popping out cards with other symbols on them.

    We can imagine that externally, such a system could appear to be performing mathematical calculations, answering questions and so on. But at the same time it is hard to imagine such a system being anything like conscious.

    I’m not married to any of these conclusions, its just an area of philosophy I find really interesting.

  443. arkizzle says:

    Mark,

    life – all life, is utterly amazing. Bah Dum Tisssh!

    Did you mean that?

  444. Teller says:

    Gee. I’d’ve let you off with three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys.

  445. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Community Manager says:

    Smiley, please don’t say things like that. It obliges me to demonstrate, for the benefit of onlookers, that that’s not a fight you or anyone else is going to win.

  446. Xopher says:

    FoetusNail 67: Belief in gods is a belief in the supernatural.

    Depends on your definition of ‘believe in’, ‘gods’, and ‘supernatural’. For example, if I “believe in” gods in the way that I believe in fondant funnels (that is, that fondant funnels are useful things that I wouldn’t care to do without), and my definition of ‘gods’ is “personifications of aspects of the barely-understood universe, often with traditional names, used as metaphorical constructs in a particular non-ordinary mental state of limited duration,” and my definition of ‘supernatural’ is “operating outside, or in direct contradiction to, known physical and logical laws,” then my “belief in” “gods” isn’t at all a “belief in the supernatural,” now is it?

    I’m not just playing word games here. The above is pretty much my position. And lest you think I’m picking on you, I’m mostly in agreement with what you say; this particular statement bugged me because it assumes a lot of definitions that are not shared by the participants in this conversation; certainly I don’t share ones that would make it a true statement.

    General question for everyone: What on Earth do you mean by “believe in,” anyway? Some people mean “trust,” as in “A lot of people believed in Bernie Madoff, and he betrayed them,” others mean “accept on faith the existence of,” others mean “choose to behave as if [the thing believed in] is real.” Other definitions are in use as well, but just using the verb without defining it leads to talking at cross-purposes, which is the typical (and ultimately useless) outcome of these kinds of conversations.

  447. mdh says:

    If they couldn’t figure out how to make concrete or boil water to avoid disease, they sure the hell couldn’t understand the concept of metaphorical literature.

    That’s quite a leap there (Leap being a metaphor for your QED). I disagree.

    What is a totem animal other than a metaphor? Why are female australian aboriginals disallowed from touching a digeredoo? (hint, it’s a metaphorical penis).

    I think relational thinking and stories with lessons predated writing. Simile probably came first (this four legged fanged creature is probably as dangerous as that one that ate my brother last week), but metaphor is waaaaay back there too, and is probably what got us out of the trees.

  448. Chris Tucker says:

    Jesus was known to frequently complain to the disciples:

    “Why is there always someone who thinks I am really just talking about sheep?”

    To which one of the disciples always had to remind Jesus that the metaphor hadn’t been invented yet.

  449. JackDitch says:

    will god(s) get lonely when the human race finally becomes extinct?

    I’m pretty sure they would’ve offed us a long time ago if that weren’t the case. Unless it’s just not quite harvest time yet.

    Lest anyone thing I am too narrow minded in my belief in a benevolent creator, I’ll admit I do try to also remain open-minded to the “we’re all basically just chicken nuggets” hypothesis. Which, to be fair, is what Attenborough was pointing to, I suppose.

    HOLY CRAP DUCK IT’S THE BASENOTE TOPIC!

  450. minTphresh says:

    ark, would u?

  451. arkizzle says:

    Brookie3000 @ 77

    While I tentatively agree, the worm is in need of food and shelter also.. that particular god, is said to have made man in his image and granted the lands and oceans and animals and fish to man.

    So really, you would expect man to win out over the worm in a ‘benevolent’ Christian god kind-of-way.

    I don’t know if anyone is putting forth any gods who aren’t similarly qualified..

  452. nyam says:

    How is God Eating different from
    tactical divinicide by Christian missionaries?

  453. Xopher says:

    El, you don’t know what you’re talking about at all. And you don’t listen when people who know slightly more tell you the facts. You’re acting like the narrowminded bibliolaters you so despise.

    Someone once said to me “People change sides, but don’t change.” You’re so convinced of your own rightness (as if it were intrinsic to you rather than contingent on your believing correct things) that you won’t let any facts in.

    Making concrete? Germ theory? MOST of the world’s great literature (including Shakespeare) predates those developments! The Poem of Inanna, one of the world’s most ancient texts, contains these lines:

    Come, my bridegroom, make sweet your milk.
    Fill my holy churn with honey cheese.

    I don’t know how you can call that anything but a metaphor. (Unless you really think she’s talking about milk, and is so ancient and stupid that she thinks you get cheese by churning it.)

    As I said above and you ignored, storytelling predates literal history as an activity. By millennia. If you want to claim to be taking a scientific viewpoint, you have to deal with actual facts.

  454. markmarkmark says:

    You people wish to say religion and science are two sides of the same coin, but offer nothing in the way of proof. Yes, let’s hold religious claims to the same level of scientific review. Produce the evidence, the data, and publish, period. The creationists have nothing, not one telescope or satellite. For all your blah, blah, blah, there is nothing to back it up, NOTHING, not a damn thing. No one has even produced even one repeatable and verifiable case of paranormal activity, but you wish me to believe I’m surrounded by Angels only the believers can see.

    you lack understanding and wisdom, but not intelligence. perhaps i can elucidate the situation.

    i say religion and science are two sides to one coin because that is absolutely the case.

    the whole universe is composed of the physical and the metaphysical. scientists study the theory and application of the physical universe – the most basic application is every day life – opening a door requires incredibly complex mathematics.

    religion studies the metaphysical universe – the theories behind it and the practical application in the physical world – the most basic application of this in everyday life is, to quote my father, love God, love people – this requires intense amounts of theoretical knowledge – remember all the debate about kicking the beggar?

    the bible is a journal of religion. multiple authors and revisions, peer review, addition of extra works, etc.

    here is provable metaphysical activity – troofseeker loves his sons. i can write an article showing evidence – that he cares for them, provides for them, protects them – and then publish it and have my peers read it and agree, and add more evidence.

    religion and science are two sides of one coin.

  455. Oceanconcepts says:

    A “religious faith” that opposes science or evolution is not really spiritual but tribalism, xenophobia, nationalism, fear of new knowledge, or some other form of fear-mongering wrapped up in religious symbols. Our species has been gradually weaning ourselves from these things for millennia.

    A science that seeks to deny the spiritual side of humanity in favor of pure rationalism risks turning away from music, poetry, myth, and much of what makes us human.

    Before things get too carried away here: The nut jobs that are sending these letters are an unfortunately noisy fringe. They are dangerous to education, and need to be fought against. But it doesn’t help to attack all religious thought. Plenty of people with religious faith do not see God as a benevolent puppet master in the sky, but as a matrix in which everything exists- including the eye-worm and the child. If one’s religious faith is threatened by science, then your faith is too small. Creationists have a very shallow and superficial grasp of even the religious tradition they claim to follow.

    Science is good at dividing things and showing how they work together. Religion, at its best, provides a vision of the whole, in so far as we can grasp it. Science no more conflicts with religion than Holst’s suite “The Planets” conflicts with Astronomy, they are different responses to experience.

  456. elsmiley says:

    Ark–I respect the point you’re making. I may be wrong. (Let’s see a christian say that.)

    But I’m thinkin of it in an evolutionary sense in both cases–brain function and “discoveries” both as aspects of evolution. Brain function has, of course, evolved like anything else. But I see your point that they may not have progressed at the same rate.

  457. arkizzle says:

    Robulus, see, I can dig religion as expression. I can appreciate the musings, writings, music and paintings that have been inspired by religion and a belief (or disbelief) in god.

    Some of the most beautiful works, are those that are desperatly seeking answers, tragedies, lost in a great world and not getting any truths. God is silent, Why God?

    Heavy, needy, human stuff.

    For me though, they are musings on the human condition, in metaphor, not really about god at all. Truly beautiful metaphors, but testament to our own emotions and perceptions. How we interpret, how we react.

    Aboriginal dreamings are just as beautiful, in their own way. But no more real.

  458. Takuan says:

    your consciousness isn’t transposed?

  459. markmarkmark says:

    boingboing needs a way i can vote comments up

  460. Takuan says:

    love them liddle jesuits
    jesuits is wot I eet
    gnaw theys liddle heds off
    chew on they tiny feet

  461. minTphresh says:

    oooh, feotusnail, PICK ME! PICK ME!

  462. markmarkmark says:

    G-D is not silent.

    the whole world shouts his majesty.

  463. arkizzle says:

    What about the Happy Golden Monkey? Superior to your false idol in every way.

    Happy + Golden + Monkey

    Touché, I think (until you add a word, or stop finding this funny).

    Turns out religious one-up-man-ship can be fun!

  464. Xopher says:

    Tom, note that those Biblical quotes don’t name Lucifer at any point. The idea that Lucifer == Satan is entirely Milton’s invention.

    I don’t have time right now to review those passages in context and see if they’re really talking about a war in Heaven (which I think is Milton’s story too, but I’m less sure of that part). As you know, quoting the Bible out of context is a way to “prove” anything.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      ‘Lucifer’ is Latin for light-bearer and refers to the planet Venus. Lucifer is about as biblical as Earendil.

  465. elsmiley says:

    Modusoperandi: Way diggin the bass line your laying down. Baby steps.

  466. Modusoperandi says:

    Teresa Nielsen Hayden; The elephants are a little bitter about the whole “ivory” thing. Plus, I think they found out about Edison electrocuting one of their own.

    elsmiley “Even if the concept of metaphor existed then, there is no way it was so elaborately realized.”
    Again, you’re grossly underestimate the power of mind. They weren’t rocket scientists, but there weren’t rockets, so rocket scientists would have little to do except…tell stories to each other.
    Stories improve with the telling, which you can see, fairly literally, in the Gospels of the NT (which are all different people telling the same story). Starting small at Mark they steadily get bigger as the story is told and retold over a minimum 45 year period – Mark wrote it down for his Roman audience, Matthew took that and edited it for a Jewish one, Luke did the same for gentiles. John just wrote about how great and awesome and great Jesus was.
    Now imagine if Mark’s version was passed orally for several centuries before it was written down.

    Don’t underestimate the mind of “primitive” Man. That their tales of why things happened (God did it) and how things worked (God did it) turned out to be incorrect is no surprise, as they were dealing with a critically limited dataset to work from. Their stories reflected the world around them (and their view of it). As such, the tall tales, history (and pseudo-history) of the Tanakh show about what you’d expect from a quasi-nomadic (at least at the start), subsistence level desert tribe. A focus on obedience (because the difference between listening to the elders and not is the difference between starving and not), violence (both inter and intra-tribal war over meager resources) and, not surprisingly, poetry (because there isn’t much to do around the fire other but talk).

    “You actually believe that the people who wrote the bible had a different intention then Paul and the church and all the things that came right after?”
    Which people? Paul was a propagandist. Some of the OT is propaganda. Some of it is propaganda that competes with propaganda on other pages in the same book. The whole “Reconquest of Canaan” is nothing but propaganda. That doesn’t mean that they really, really though that Jonah spend a long-weekend inside a whale (it doesn’t mean that they didn’t, either).
    There are metaphors there that are presented as metaphor. As for Genesis, people have been arguing about what’s literal in that and what isn’t since forever. In any event, the narrative thread goes off the rails around Gen3:1 or so and doesn’t recover.

    “The reference to Camus may have been too oblique…”
    We don’t much cotton to them existential philosophizers around these parts, I reckon.

  467. markmarkmark says:

    Science versus religion shouldn’t even be an argument because one is interested in the theoretical understanding and real world applications of physical principals, while one is interested in theoretical understanding and real world applications of metaphysical principals.

    We’ve been fighting forever because our ideas are different but a priest is a scientist of metaphysics just like a scientists is a priest of their particular area of interest – devoted, utterly and with great zeal, towards the understanding of their ideals and finding ways to apply them in the real world.

    how do i post images here?

  468. elsmiley says:

    Buddy66: True! They will harbor no guilt or fear of divine retribution!

  469. mdh says:

    markmarkmark –

    There is a time to use the sword, and a time to beat the sword into a plow and allow the widows and orphans to glean.

    allow?

    Jesus came to bring peace, but Messiah will have to take this world by force – pour out thousands of years of foolish civilization and then build a new earth.

    have to? foolish?

    We all have our beliefs, but we don’t want our beliefs. God of peace, we want you.

    WHAT?!?! Peace will come when ever fool who disagrees with you is either forced out or allowed to eat?

    Hhas it occurred to you that you are a vengeful man of righteous judgement who has created God in your own image, then found a house full of people of like mind to back you up?

    Just a thought.

  470. Takuan says:

    oh wait, wrong meme

    Up in the air, Junior Bird Man!
    Up in the air, Bird Man true!
    Up in the air, Junior Bird Man!
    Keep your eyes up in the blue! (Up in the blue!)
    And when you hear that grand announcement,
    Then we will all have wings of tin.
    And you can bet your Junior Bird Men
    Will send their boxtops in!
    It takes just 4 boxtops, 6 bottle bottoms,
    3 wrappers, 2 coupons,
    And one thin dime!

  471. arkizzle says:

    Jack

    Honestly, thanks for that @ 530. I thought we were on completely different pages. I was kind of having two separate, intertwined conversations (with you and MMM), and to be more than frank, you are talking far more rationally than I find him (MMM, excuse me refering to you as “him”, when you’re right here!).

    I suppose, for me, I’m talking exactly about religious-metaphysics. That is what I reject. I don’t include emotions or feelings in that (which have come up a couple of times, love, etc), as we are bound to our chemical makeup, and its all subjective.

    But how can we demonstratably say something ‘exists’ if the only experience of it bypasses our external senses and goes straight to our ‘feelings’ (granting that the physical universe ‘exists’ at all, and we both agree that this red ball is, indeed, a red ball).

  472. Modusoperandi says:

    Takuan “mmm if “theophagy” is a legitimate term of scholarship,so then must be “theofellatio” hein?”
    Or TheoHuxtable.

    “http://www.thebricktestament.com/joshua/massacre_of_jericho/jos06_01.html”
    Breaking News: Joshua leads Israelite Defense Force to victory

    arkizzle“l just noticed that Takuan ate him, again. Psheeew..”
    It was full of chocolate, apparently. Well, not full. It turned out to be one of those shitty hollow chocolate idols.

    TroofSeeker “What I know for sure is that I don’t know for sure.”
    And that is the ideal scientific reply. Curious and reasonably certain, but with room for doubt and openness – even if it’s with reluctance – to change.

    Xopher “And despite the fact that, since Wicca has no qualifying beliefs, you could start being Wiccan tomorrow”
    Do I get magic panties? I only join groups that get magic underwear.

  473. minTphresh says:

    no metaphor in the bible?!? bitch, pleeze! “i am the lamb of god”…oh, yeah. definitely literal.

  474. JackDitch says:

    Great post, Arkizzle. Really helps temper your opinion and make it more accessible. Still, I gotta say…

    Aboriginal dreamings are just as beautiful, in their own way. But no more real.

    …the gulf between an aboriginal dreaming and a physicist reasoning does not appear to me to be as wide as you think it is. I lean pretty hard-line orthodox discordian on this one: every story’s got some sense in which it is true, some sense in which it is false, and some sense in which it is meaningless. Scientific stories have their own particular uses, realms of experience in which they are clearly superior to anything else, but reality itself still seems to be made of as much dreamtime as it is made of math.

    I think we need poetry because there are real things that just happen to be impossible to objectively describe, and so we can only talk about them by analogy to the more definite. Poetry lets us eff the ineffable; that doesn’t mean the poetic subject is less real than the stuff science can describe. When I talk about God I don’t want you to take me literally, but I’m still talking about something that exists in my observable universe. “God” is just one of the better analogies I have for it.

  475. Xopher says:

    MDH – except the righteous part. Friendly amendment? ‘Self-righteous’ or ‘prideful’ instead of ‘righteous’?

  476. arkizzle says:

    MMM

    Do you really have to do so much sloganeering?

  477. robulus says:

    That is seriously gently caressed up. What a bunch of gently caressing idiots.

  478. FoetusNail says:

    What I mean by believe in gods, is holding a belief in an extra-celestial, supernatural sentient being responsible for the creation of this universe from whom all blessings flow, before whom believers prostrate themselves in fear and devotion, and to whom believers pray for good fortune and beg forgiveness. The god who created all suffering and to whom we promise our love to be given the strength to endure this suffering.

  479. Oceanconcepts says:

    156 FALIX

    It’s symbolic, poetic language, not meant to be taken literaly.
    That pretty much makes you a non-believer… so you’re not really a follower of a religious doctrine, but more somebody who appreciates some of the values transmitted by the bible. But they are universal values that many other religions try to transmit too. So there’s no real reason for you to call yourself a Christian, only a cultural reason I guess.
    My question is, why do you call yourself a Christian?

    I’m a believer. I don’t take the bible literally, the way fundamentalists do (how can you? it’s full of contradictions) but I think symbols are important and meaningful. They are part of how we experience the world- we are not purely rational beings. I know a lot of scientists, and I have never known a single one who was purely and coldly rational- quite the reverse, as most come to science because of a deep curiosity about the world. They love music, poetry, myth, stories, liturgy, and religion as much or more than anyone else.
    I think these are universal human values that are common to many religions but each has a different flavor. I’m a believer because I think these symbols are important and valuable to me- they have value for me- YMMV. I’m Christian because I feel connected with Christianity in a way that I don’t with other faiths- just as I respond more to Mozart than to Chinese Opera. It’s temperament, background, taste or chance. I like the music. It’s my cultural tradition. And as a wise man once said, if you want to find water it’s better to dig a single deep well than a dozen shallow ones.
    My church practices a ritual every Easter (the Paschal Vigil, actually the night before) when new fire is kindled outside and brought into the pitch dark sanctuary. This directly mimics the Roman tradition of extinguishing the hearth fires when mourning a death, then rekindling them after the period of mourning had past. But I’m sure it goes back to the Paleolithic and beyond, it’s primal and human and in some way that is deeply moving to me I feel connected to those thousands of years of ancestors. Rational? No more than a symphony. But something happens in that space that I find nowhere else.

    161 STICKARM

    The Crusades were, ostensibly, about territory, but the value of the territory in question arose from religious beliefs.

    Well, I think access to trade routes, desire for goods from the East, Pope’s lust for power, and a few other issues entered in. Nothing in Christianity demands possession of any land- to the contrary, if they had paid the least attention to Jesus’ message the Crusades would never have happened.
    I admit I’m cutting this fine- lots of stuff that passes as religion is actively destructive. I’ll be first in line to condemn them. I’m arguing that these are not genuinely spiritual, but tribal, ethnic, political or other issues wrapped up in religious symbols. That is kind of definitional on my part, but I’m trying to say not to throw the baby out with the bath water.

    Let’s make religion a subject that people can discuss as easily as they would other personal choices, like their choice of political party or their favorite sports team.

    Sounds great, but how about as easily as music preferences instead. People get pretty violent about politics and sports teams. ;-)

  480. FoetusNail says:

    “I drink champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.”

    Madame Lilly Bollinger

  481. bardfinn says:

    markmarkmark: Yeah, priests are /just like scientists/: Priests cured polio, found treatments for AIDS/HIV, developed vaccines, and markedly increased life expectancy and quality of life through their work.

    Oh. Wait.

  482. Tom Hale says:

    Couldn’t some of you find a way to discuss religion without insulting religious people? I’m one of the least religious, religious people I know, but the way some of you make light of or poke fun at my beliefs is very insulting. And you’re doing it on purpose! What’s the deal? Make fun of the morons that wrote the hate mail, not every single person on earth that is religious.

    -thx

  483. Takuan says:

    yeech! those desert gods! They keep coming up on you. Nothing fouler than a resurrection in mid gullet.

  484. markmarkmark says:

    quantify love.
    quantify sarcasm.

    they are observable but not quantifiable – just like religion and faith.

  485. Takuan says:

    Jeff you say? Must look into that one.

  486. Tdawwg says:

    @400, faith, the divinity, the numinous, etc., aren’t actually capable of rational mathematical demonstration a la 2 + 2 = 4. I’m not a believer, you also don’t seem to be so, but don’t confuse the two modes of thought: it’s as big a mistake to subject “god” to rational proof as it is for creationists to attempt to explain the fossil record theologically. One mode of thought works for the phenomenal world, the other for the supernatural one, and there are many rational folks who can think in both modes, at different times, about different things.

  487. buddy66 says:

    We miss paganism. Life was a lot easier to explain when we could blame it on a malevolent god when things went bad, and in good times we could praise a benevolent god for making them good. If our god turned out to be more crap than candy, we could trade him in for another one.

    For instance, when the Hebrews kept getting their asses whipped they dumped their crap god and started singing the praises of YHWH, a young Midianite storm god playing with his thunderbolts on the flanks of Mt. Horeb. Things went better, for the most part, until they pissed him off and then they got locusts and droughts and unsightly boils and stuff. They came close to dumping him a couple of times, but they toughed it out.
    It was a good thing too.

    Because YHWH was a jealous god. He got so pissed off at his former patrons because they held other gods before him, shuffling gods like a deck of cards, that he led the Jews into battle against Midian and laid waste to the land and its people. He genocided them, if I can be excused a grammatical neologism; rubbed them out completely.

    We took a wrong turn when we got on the monotheism highway. We could no longer appeal to one god to right the wrongs of another, or put him (or her) out with the trash and get a newer, better one. We were stuck with one, only one, for good or ill, for good…or evil. And therein is found the problem.

    Our god had to be both good AND evil, if we are to account for both the hummingbird that delights the child, and the devouring worm in the child’s eye. And how are we, poor sad mortal things, expected to worship a raving fucking lunatic?

    I miss the gods. Although I am a secular Christian, I am no monotheist. I am a compassionate pagan.

  488. Tom Hale says:

    Xopher, I’m not trying to prove anything – I made the mistake of bringing my wife into this. She was really, really willing to help when I asked her for info about Satan. Once I asked, I was pretty much stuck with her input. I don’t know if you’re married – if you are, you may get where I’m coming from. I did manage to stop her from posting a Lot of bible stuff here – thank God. I told her I would review your response to what she said so far and let her know. I’m going to tell her you’re going to talk to a church minister about the subject. You’ll never be heard from again – sorry.

  489. FoetusNail says:

    Where to begin?

    My words were carefully chosen to allow for the fact there could even be a gay furry in the church of christ. That your son appears to be one, means nothing more than that, being gay does not automatically confer some badge of liberalism or theological progressiveness. His page seems to indicate he has fairly conventional beliefs for the Church of Christ. Gay people, even gay furries, come in every theological and political stripe.

    In other words, I left room for exceptions and stand by my statements. In general the CofC, as I know it, is a very conservative organization whose membership is for the most part homophobic, anti-science, and accepts the bible whole cloth and literally. Children who grow up in churches of this kind, who develop any curiosity outside of their church’s doctrine, will probably be as existentially confused, ignorant, and close minded as their elders. However, most will never question their families beliefs, and if they do will generally still believe in the supernatural judeo-christian god.

  490. arkizzle says:

    No, love and sarcasm are funtions of humans beings. They are behaviours, results of the myriad chemicals and feelings we are capable of “- just like religion and faith.”

  491. robulus says:

    For me though, they are musings on the human condition, in metaphor, not really about god at all. Truly beautiful metaphors, but testament to our own emotions and perceptions. How we interpret, how we react.

    I don’t actually need God to be more than metaphor. It helps me to have an ideal of my higher self, my capacity for purity of thought, infinite love and peace.

    Its not that thats what I should be like, people are people. Its just that if, say, I’ve had an argument with someone and I get caught up feeling bitter about it, I can slow down and meditate on that idea of God. It is quite practical, and very potent.

  492. elsmiley says:

    I’m a stranger, killing an arab.

  493. arkizzle says:

    But if we create an entity out of different materials that acts exactly like a conscious entity..

    That depends on what level of “acts exactly” you aim for, or have the technology to detect and replicate. Maybe there is some complex interaction in the specific materials that you miss.

    I suppose, if you accept that other people are as concious as yourself (something which a lot of people probably don’t, deep down), there is only so much proof you need for believable conciousness in an AI. If it responds accurately in all contexts, professes to feel empathy and rage, love and wonder. there’s not much point in wondering if it’s ‘really’ concious. See Turing, I suppose.

    I totally agree though, it is a great conversation. I’ll try get my hands on the book you mentioned, I’ve heard of it but never picked it up :)

  494. Xopher says:

    The sad aftermath of an intercision. *shakes head*

  495. resista says:

    It is really very bad that anyone would write anyone hate mail because they don’t believe in God or because they don’t believe that God created anything. That is pretty weird too. But I would say that anyone that says that if you are a creationist then you are crazy is basing their Diagnosis on Anecdotal evidence. I would hardly say that is a “Scientific” assumption. It really shows an angry bias of some type.

    There are many people who are thrill killers that don’t believe in God at all and during the crimes let it be known that they don’t believe in God. I would hardly say that those people are representative of Non-Believers.

    People have very strong feelings about Religion and if you choose to draw a cartoon of Mohammad they riot and commit various forms of Mayhem but I would not say that all Muslims are crazy.

    Your just looking for reasons to think that you are superior to people that don’t share your beliefs by using an extreme example of a fool to make your point.

    So much for tolerance and understanding of other cultures. If I made a biased and foolish statement about Muslims everyone rightly here would cry out and many would ask me to be banned but when it comes to Christians all insults and cockeyed assumptions are A-OK.

    I am a Buddhist so I don’t believe in creationism at all. But I try to understand why people think the way they do because it helps me to communicate with them. At least they are not trying to chop off Good Sir David’s head or meeting him in a park to slit his throat because they didn’t like his movie as happened to Mr. Theo van Gogh. If I said all Muslims are throat slitters I would be terribly incorrect.

    There are degrees of Religious zealotry and so far I don’t have to worry about any Christians blowing them selves up in the market to make a point. Until then hate mail from a misguided former alter boys is to be ignored and not given publicity or used as a way to exalt your self unless you it makes you feel better about your self.

    Just ask Salmond Rushdie. If someone misspells something in a statement does that indicate that what they said isn’t true?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theo_van_Gogh_(film_director)

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      If I made a biased and foolish statement about Muslims everyone rightly here would cry out and many would ask me to be banned

      You seem to be operating under the assumption that Creationism is a Christian concept. As far as I know, it’s a tenet of most or all god-centered religions. I would guess that the majority of the world’s people would side with Creationism if you grilled them about their beliefs.

  496. markmarkmark says:

    rdng ths psts s hlrs nd mbrrssng – knw tht bngbng dsn’t ttrct lt f rlgs rdrs bt cn’t blv tht s mny ppl hv sch n ttr lck f knwldg bt th bk tht hs prtty mch cntrlld hstry snc t ws wrttn.

    vryn sht p, rd th bbl, nd thn y r llwd t pst bt t.

  497. arkizzle says:

    It obliges me to demonstrate..

    It’s all been worth it..

    Pleeeeaasse!

  498. minTphresh says:

    arkie! dont. feed. the. troll!

  499. Takuan says:

    jesus? I remember him. Sweet, but needed salt.

  500. FoetusNail says:

    OK, can I have another shot at this?

    From Princeton’s wordnetweb:

    (adj) supernatural

    (not existing in nature or subject to explanation according to natural laws; not physical or material) “supernatural forces and occurrences and beings”

    From Bartleby.com:

    supernatural, preternatural, supranatural, unnatural (adjs.)

    All carry some sense of “not natural, not found in nature.” Something supernatural is “not of this world, spooky” and suggests “nonrational, mysterious forces at work.” Supranatural is a rarer and more technical term, meaning “transcending nature.” Unnatural means “deviating from nature or natural laws,” “outrageous, uncharacteristic of natural feelings or behavior,” and hence often “perverted or evil”; it also means “artificial, contrived, strained,” as in She was wearing an unnatural smile. Preternatural means “beyond or transcending nature and natural laws and feelings” and hence often “exceptional, extraordinary,” or even “unusual.”

    And of course there is always Wikipedia.

    Bottom line is most people believe in many things that are not of the natural world. They believe these things are real, but cannot provide any physical proof. Rewards have been offered to anyone who can prove any supernatural or paranormal claim. Those rewards have never been collected. Our natural proclivity for superstitious beliefs, our ability to believe without evidence in things outside of our physical universe is exploited by hustlers and cons who are more commonly known as the clergy. In an effort to protect their jobs they have convinced millions they have some secret knowledge and connection to the supernatural and without their help all will be lost. They keep these people in constant fear. This fear controls their every action at a subconscious level.

    At any rate, I have accepted that these people not only will not, but cannot give up their belief in the supernatural. However, my hope is that over time we may eventually discard the archaic religions that divide us. And recognize our shared need for understanding and fellowship.

    We must believe in ourselves. We must understand we alone are responsible for our own salvation, our own enlightenment. This is what they don’t want us to understand. This is what they don’t want us to believe. Having faith in our own ability is blasphemy. When we no longer depend on religions, they are out of a job.

    By removing religions from our lives, we will finally be reunited. Only then will we remember we are all the same, we are all asking the same questions, we are all seeking the same understanding, whether we believe in gods or not.

  501. arkizzle says:

    #444

    Seconded.

  502. markmarkmark says:

    there are many things i do not understand about the world and my faith, but this is what i do understand:
    Jesus loves me this i know for the bible tells me so, little ones to him belong they are weak as he is strong.
    yes, Jesus loves me.
    YES! Jesus loves ME!
    YES, JESUS LOVES ME!

    the bible tells me so.

  503. markmarkmark says:

    i may be wrong.

    Jesus is my rabbi and all that is best in me is him and every mistake is my own.

  504. failix says:

    @Oceanconcepts:

    I don’t doubt religious feelings are explainable in scientific/ rational/ evolutionary/ biochemical terms as well, that does not make them meaningless. Or pointless.

    I know, and I never said or meant that. It’s even my point, just because we are able to explain things doesn’t make them pointless.

    …but that does not mean your experience when in their presence is a rational one.

    I have to be honest, I don’t quite understand that part.
    I have the feeling this is taking a whole different direction, and isn’t about religion itself, but ‘spirituality’ and feelings in general.

    I’ll paraphrase something I heard that noted theologian Carl Sagan say when asked if he believed in God: “If you mean some great being who is intimately involved with and directing the day to day operations of the universe, then no, I see no evidence of that. But if you mean God as the sum total of all the laws of the universe, and all that is still unknown, then I have no problem with that sort of belief.”

    So you’re a pantheist? In what way does Christianity or any other religion satisfy your belief system then?

  505. minTphresh says:

    there, quantified.

  506. arkizzle says:

    Jack, I think if God is just an analogy, or a poetic way of describing the universe, I’m probably with you. As I’ve said, I hugely appreciate the beauty in human creativity that our quest for answers has generated (art). The language of understanding humanity necessarily contains the word ‘god’, I use it myself, all the time.

    But if you mean (even remotely) God is a supreme being, with sentience – a sense of self – that is where we would differ.

  507. Anonymous says:

    Daily Telegraph: “Attenborough, at heart, is a scientist and does not have much time for sentimentality.”

    I don’t think that’s accurate…

    …”but why don’t you give credit to the Creator?” [Attenborough] said: “…I think about the little boy..who’s got a worm boring into his eyeball that is going to turn him blind.”

    That’s an entirely sentimental reason for being an atheist. Further, most of Christianity has no dogma of a literal interpretation of the Bible and can accept evolution. A catholic priest invented the Big Bang theory. A cahtolic monk is considered the father of modern genetics.

    In simple justice the guilty must compensate for their crime (infinite in view of the being offended) and but for the suffering of the innocent they would go immediately to hell. That means that children suffer in union with Christ for the sake of their own parents that they be given time to repent. Not an explanation the sentimental would accept, but nevertheless rigourously rational. God may be loving, but the Bible demonstrates not a bit of sentimentality.

    In view of the thoroughly reasonable definition of ‘faith’, which is that of assenting to God’s proof of His own existence (and not the bogus OED “Belief without knowledge”, indeed the opposite) if Attenborough were a real scientist he would not be an atheist but an agnostic.

  508. Xopher says:

    Theophagia is common to Christianity and Wicca, just for two data points. Some Christians believe the bread and wine turn into the body and blood of Christ, and others that the Holy Spirit is present in the host/bread/rice cracker/whatever; either way, it’s theophagia. Wiccans believe the God (please note the article there) is physically manifest in grain and grape, so no transubstantiation is needed; we eat the God whenever we eat.

    Not Hinduism though. I did a major ooops once when I suggested making a chocolate Ganesh-ji filled with (sorry) Ganesh ganache. “He’s a god! You don’t eat him!” exclaimed the very nice Hindu woman I was talking to. When you assume…

    I don’t know much about other religions vis-a-vis god-eating, but I suspect it’s rather common.

  509. Modusoperandi says:

    mdh “Why are female australian aboriginals disallowed from touching a digeredoo? (hint, it’s a metaphorical penis).”
    I don’t think they thought it through. If it’s a metaphorical penis, shouldn’t you want the ladies to “play” it?

    Xopher “Making concrete?…MOST of the world’s great literature (including Shakespeare) predates those developments!”
    I get your vibe, but to be accurate, Concrete predates Shakespeare by a considerable margin. How else should Shakespeare have written An Ode to a Concrete Slab otherwise? His “Constructionist Epics” are all quite underrated, IMO, except the one on roads (The Scholar of Rhodes), which just rambles.

  510. FoetusNail says:

    Jeff, of course you are correct, but is that any reason to continue to believe these texts are the inerrant word of god as told to men, that these texts contain some exclusive truth and are the only way to salvation; are these reasons enough to continue archaic religions based on superstitious beliefs and use those religions to control the law of the land so as to discriminate against millions of LGBT citizens, invade the privacy of women, and control what is taught in science, health, and history classes?

    In this day and age, should these texts be accepted as any more valuable than the texts and traditions of a thousand other cultures once thought barbaric by the arrogant purveyors of christianity? Believe in gods if you will, but see these texts for what they are and stop using them to control the personal lives of the other 3 billion people on the planet.

    As I’ve said before, I concede people will probably continue to believe in the supernatural, but can we at least progress to a more reasonable theology that is truly all inclusive and does not seek to reverse the huge step towards equality represented in the separation of church and state.

  511. markmarkmark says:

    arkizzle
    it’s only sloganeering if i don’t believe it

  512. elsmiley says:

    Xopher so doesn’t want to give up his BELIEF that he breaks out his thesaurus. How quaint. Sorry to tell you, but you’re going to die anyway—AND THERE’S NOTHING AFTER! Wait. I want to rephrase that. Let me get my dictionary…

    How ridiculous and sophomoric. Of course a belief in god is a belief in the supernatural. It’s the very epitome of it.

  513. Modusoperandi says:

    TroofSeeker “The countless occurances of ESP,”
    That nonetheless, fail to be repeatable in any meaningful sense, and generally work best when no one is looking too closely. And by that I mean that I can totally bend spoons with my mind.

    “…of ghost sightings…”
    Ever seen something (that your mind identified as one thing) then looked closer (and have it turn out to be another)? The mind is good at filling in gaps, but it’s hardly infallible.
    Ever had a hypnopompic hallucination? I have. They’re awesome. Then you blink and it’s over. Weird things happen during the dreamstate to wakefullness transition (and its opposite).

    “…and inexplicable events proves that.”
    Everything used to be inexplicable. Being ignorant (not in the pejorative sense) of how something works does not mean that it’s supernatural. It also does not mean that it’s not supernatural. All it really proves is that you don’t know.

  514. arkizzle says:

    I only join groups that get magic underwear.

    > List -group all -class ‘magic_panties’;
    > ..

  515. elsmiley says:

    markymark: I hope that’s sarcastic

  516. arkizzle says:

    Robulus, it sounds more like you are a Secular Christian :)

  517. Takuan says:

    magic panties? I could get behind magic panties. What exactly are you offering?

  518. Xopher says:

    Tom 223: You’ll never be heard from again – sorry.

    You wish!

    Oh wait—you just mean you won’t tell your WIFE anything about me. THAT I believe.

    I think I’ll just quote Wilde here. Lady Bracknell, speaking of her husband, who believes something harmless but untrue:

    I do not propose to undeceive him. Indeed I have never undeceived him on any question. I would consider it wrong.

    If you have to lie to your wife to have peace in your marriage, that’s your choice and judgement, and I have no intention of second-guessing you.

  519. JackDitch says:

    FoetusNail writes:
    That there are now over 35,000 versions of this cult, is undeniable proof that religions rarely evolve to any appreciable degree, but instead split into smaller and smaller pieces.

    Not really; the number of Christian denominations is rather tangental to the question of whether any of them, or religion in general, evolves. I mean, heck, you’re describing a process of diversification and selection; seems to me that lots of splintered religions help promote change, like a diverse genetic pool, whereas religion tends to stagnate in areas where the government enforces ideological conformity.

    You seem interested in the dynamics of how religions grow and shrink. You might like the book “Acts of Faith: Explaining the Human Side of Religion” by Rodney Stark. He points to a general pattern in the life cycle of individual religious institutions, from small radical ideological cult through large mainline diverse community to stale old political institution to replacement by small radical ideological cults, and he builds an economic/sociological theory to explain this process. He gives lots of evidence.

    Anyway, as I responded (and you ignored) previously, my main problem with what you’ve been saying is the circular way in which you’re just getting mad at your own definitions. It may be a knockout argument against Christian fundamentalists who share those definitions, but they’re not usually the folks I’m talking to–and when they are, I’ve already got better arguments against them.

  520. arkizzle says:

    it’s only sloganeering if i don’t believe it

    Nope, it’s sloganeering if you post trite soundbites that are barely relevant to the conversation at hand, without regard for their reception.

    Join in the conversation (if you must, you are a handful at this point), but please don’t just post random flag-waving. It’s boring, at best.

  521. Raj77 says:

    Some of us can, and some of us can’t. It depends on how much grief we’ve taken from religious people in the past. Besides which, religions are entirely dependent on the people who practise them.

  522. GTMoogle says:

    A) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujUQn0HhGEk
    B) The idea that science is incapable of understanding, or denies love, music, ect., is depressingly narrow minded and a sign of nothing more than the limits of your own imagination.
    C) “Honestly, nothing here has bothered me – but I can see how a lot of it would bother most religious people.” Your mild concern trolling is noted and obnoxious.
    D) Defining ‘god’ as something so meaningless as ‘everything’ is pointless and gets in the way of meaningful discussion. On a more social level, it gives shelter to the most despicable kinds. Please stop diluting the meaning of any controversial word in an attempt to appear magnanimous.
    E) NOM NOM NOM

  523. fnc says:

    Based on what I’ve seen of the world, I might concede the ID’ers the “Designer” part, but never the “Intelligent” part.

  524. TroofSeeker says:

    Lightning strikes the primordial pool. Something is energized- some microscopic glob of just the right chemicals absorbs the energy and sustains it. Let’s call him Willie. Willie has one lifetime to figure out how to sustain his life and how to duplicate himself. He better think fast, because he’s only got a few minutes. He quickly grasps a convenient double-helix strand of DNA (they’re laying around), he downloads a series of programs, then splits in half, with both halves retaining the knowledge of how and what to eat and how to divide, and voila! Here we are!
    You have every right to reject God and worship your god, Willie, because it makes sense to you. Maybe you haven’t thought it through, but I think you know that something is missing from your theories. There are dimensions that we are blind to.

  525. Takuan says:

    alas, the Golden Monkey has already enjoyed a Lecterian feast with me. His expressions were most amusing as I worked thorough the layers. The gods-Eaters are ever hungry though and thank you for your offering. A crust can be gleaned from most every faith – well save the already-used food like $cientology; feh! Some think a wrapper covers EVERYTHING! Plus you have to pick out the parasites.

  526. arkizzle says:

    OceanConcepts

    You can’t get from the Sermon on the Mount to ethnic cleansing.

    But you can get from the Old Testament to ethnic cleansing. In about one step.

  527. Modusoperandi says:

    markmarkmark “Jesus is my rabbi and all that is best in me is him and every mistake is my own.”

    One Night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; one belonged to him and the other to the Lord.

    When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.

    This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it. “Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you you’d walk with me all the way, but I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.” The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child, I love you and would never leave you. Also, you’re being intermittently stalked by the Invisible Man.”

  528. markmarkmark says:

    it was an accident i promise. i’m running a lot of windows and youtube videos and editing my wiki and all sorts of things.

    i am a lot of things, but i am not a troll/
    also, the rose of sharon.

    http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=apvKxyR6Vzs
    this is a lovely song btw

  529. Takuan says:

    “acts” my dear Robulus? I’ll wager if the synaptic total is mirrored, you not only won’t be able to tell, it would be murder to turn it off. Any crude device could be made to emulate apparent action, but you ARE speaking of replication rather?

  530. arkizzle says:

    But what shape was his daemon?

  531. Cicada says:

    @51 *cough* Jesuit Bark *cough*

  532. Modusoperandi says:

    arkizzle “What about the Happy Golden Monkey? Superior to your false idol in every way. Happy + Golden + Monkey”
    Ah, but you’ve made a simple, elementary mistake. The Golden Monkey, by definition, is happy.
    Monkey + Golden = Happy
    See? It mathematelogical!

  533. Takuan says:

    sniff? no, nothing there, not even a whiff of Aramaic or even Hebrew. Thin stuff. Must be Floridan.

  534. JackDitch says:

    But how can we demonstratably say something ‘exists’ if the only experience of it bypasses our external senses and goes straight to our ‘feelings’ (granting that the physical universe ‘exists’ at all, and we both agree that this red ball is, indeed, a red ball).

    Well, the same way we agree that the red ball is a red ball. By pointing at things and saying “red” and “not red” until we’ve established a common understanding. Likewise, we can point to things and say “God” or “not God” (or “like God” and “not like God” at the very least) and develop a common understanding.

    Seems like for you and a lot of folks here, your teachers were pointing at some pretty lousy things and calling that God, and I understand your displeasure. What I don’t get is your willingness to let those teachers have the final say on the word. I’ve spent my life simply ignoring people who point to lousy things and try to call that God. They clearly don’t know what they’re talking about.

    Theologian Paul Tillich lays out a great framework for understanding this in “Dynamics of Faith” (the reader’s digest version of his multi-volume systemetic theology, which I did not read.) He defines “God” as that which is most important to us, then outlines how the process of clinging to and becoming disillusioned with idols, painful though it may be, helps us get better at finding something really worth the word “God.” It’s kind of experimental existentialism reconciled with theology, and it’s really influenced my understanding in useful ways. And from what I’m told, Tillich is taught in seminaries across the ideological spectrum; with no offense to the fringe, he’s not exactly fringe.

    Anyway, we could sit around pointing at a ball and arguing “Red!” “No, Green!” “No, Red!” all day, and that would encompass the sheer pointlessness that is most religious discourse. I play with fuzzy, moveable definitions because I’m more interested in finding that miracle moment when we both realize we’re looking at the same ball and that definitions are probably the least interesting thing we could be debating. ;-)

    Ditto on your warm fuzzy sentiments–you’ve turned headlong into reasonable discourse in a way that I’m totally not used to on this subject.

    Gods I love Boing-Boing.

  535. robulus says:

    @Oceanconcepts

    Good post. I have had to reconcile some rather irreconcileable ideas recently. I was an avowed, outspoken and quite vitriolic atheist at high school, and took a great deal of joy terrorising the Christian Fellowship there. However during tertiary education I had my horizons broadened somewhat, and have come to see God and spirituality as a metaphor for a living universe and the absctract constructs of the human psyche.

    Then I married a Catholic gal, and we’ve had a son. We decided to baptise him, and I got baptised at the same time.

    It has been a sticky wicket at times, maintaining my integrity and being true to the spirit of the vows I took, but we live in a cool area and Catholicism is practiced in a relatively open and tolerant way.

    The one thing that I had to be absolutely, 100% sure of before I went through with it was that creationism was not even on the table, and it wasn’t.

  536. dustbuster7000 says:

    @ Raj77 – Agreed, unfortunately this mirrors the relative importance that people place on entertainment over education. David more or less invented the nature documentary as we understand it today and is probably responsible for more people becoming interested in and working in the natural sciences that just about anyone I can think of, Richard made some movies. Sad

  537. Takuan says:

    dear Nail, find my footprints. They are usually lined by true believers struck dumb by not just apostasy,but apostasy successful and un-divinely-punished. I just sanguinely tread along, devouring all they have to offer, tasting, categorizing and tossing into the multi-pocketed bag over my shoulder. Nom Nom Nom is my Omni padne hum. Truly there is nothing new under the sun. Most meme-holder clans (not all) gladly accept you if daub the right mud on our forehead and yodel the right hymn. A little hugging and glad-handing, a penny in the plate and you gain access to all their mysteries- such as they are. Grist for the mill,into to the bag,nom nom nom. Your passing does generate a bit of a bow wave and sucking turbulence so a few true believer always tend to bob in your wake, but that’s all part if it too. We are the gods-Eaters, we were there when the first fire was lit to cast the gods-shadows and we remain today, cruising among you, taking, sampling,collecting, rejecting and above all riding the crest of the wave far over your heads, conscious of the ocean you are mere fish in.

    NOM NOM NOM

  538. Xopher says:

    ElSmiley, did you actually read what I wrote? Try again, because nothing I wrote implies that I believe there’s anything after death (other than the memories of people my life has touched, and cremation), and in fact I do not. Sometimes I try to, but mostly I fail.

    And did you miss the bit about metaphors? When I say “praise be to Aesculapios!” I mean something much closer to “I’m sure glad there are EMTs and doctors” than “hooray for this mysterious force that healed you while a bunch of EMTs and doctors happened to be present.”

  539. Takuan says:

    (they’re made of meat, you know)

  540. Modusoperandi says:

    Takuan “alas, the Golden Monkey has already enjoyed a Lecterian feast with me.”
    Bastard! We were this close to getting tax-exempt status!

  541. Modusoperandi says:

    Arkizzle: Sikhism (I quit after the iron bracelet gave me a rash), Mormonism (I quit after visiting the Salt Lake temple and discovering, much to my chagrin, that it didn’t have an open bar).

  542. TroofSeeker says:

    All I’m saying, @51, is that while you followers of Willie The Wonderful taunt and mock various faiths, your beliefs look silly and illogical to some of us.

  543. Modusoperandi says:

    Xopher “So if you had a wife, she’d be wife to everyone?”
    Let’s not quibble over semantics.

    robulus “But it doesn’t actually follow that you’ve got open season on every single last Christian.”
    You’re right. It does not follow. That’s why I’m not doing it. That’s why I specifically specified those with whom I have a beef (there are more, but those were just off the top of my head. That’s where I keep stuff. That’s also why I’m always dropping stuff. I had to give up bowling because of it).

  544. Takuan says:

    ah ha! I do note that possession of comic books in the UK will now result in being made to register as a sex offender. Think it’s the creationists again?

  545. arkizzle says:

    Ditto on your warm fuzzy sentiments–you’ve turned headlong into reasonable discourse in a way that I’m totally not used to on this subject.

    Gods I love Boing-Boing.

    WIN!

    Thanks for your participation, I’m a sucker for these God threads and its always nice to talk to a reasonable person :)

  546. markmarkmark says:

    Priests solved hatred, racism, sexism, slavery.

    oh. wait.

    anyways look i made a picture.
    http://thementat.wikispaces.com/file/view/grandunificationtheory.jpg

  547. arkizzle says:

    A question for anyone who identifies as Christian.

    Is there a cultural difference (or divide, maybe) between those Christians who actively believe in the devil, and those who don’t?

    That may sound like a strange question, but I know lots of people who believe in god, and are from a Christian-normative society, but who don’t for a second believe in a devil. And of course there are Christians who do believe in one, so i wonder on what kind of lines the different views divide themselves.

  548. Xopher says:

    Magic is personal. That was my point.

  549. Xopher says:

    I’m a Radical Pantheist myself. I think the universe is divine, and that its divinity is manifest in its physical substance as such. A long time ago I was wondering whether the universe was sentient, self-aware and so on, but then I thought “Does it really matter? Would the universe be less beautiful and majestic and awe-inspiring without sentience? Would sentience somehow make it more worthy of worship?”

    I decided that I don’t actually CARE whether the universe is sentient or not (beyond, you know, curiosity). It seems unlikely that it is, so I assume it isn’t. And I worship it just the same.

    That’s my core belief. I dress the concept up in simplifying metaphors, the most basic of which is The Goddess. But I’m aware that I’m anthropomorphizing and simplifying and metaphorizing. Sometimes I change my consciousness to where I believe that, say, Hekate is an actual person with whom I can have a conversation; this is useful for certain specific purposes too complex to describe here. That goes away when I open the circle (or some time shortly after, to be perfectly honest).

  550. Shay Guy says:

    When I first saw the headline, I thought of the character from Gurren Lagann.

  551. Takuan says:

    Dear, Dear Xopher(bless your sharp, extra-terrestrial digging spurs and venom-throwing chelae!), the gods-Eaters uniformly pulverize and dissolve every aspect of every god consumed down to component quanta. Gross structures like thought- systems do not survive the process. That is how we continue to exist, to progress, to consume and to ultimately conquer all gods; we just eat ‘em! I suppose some like to hang around back and try to make sense of the poop, but it takes all kinds….

  552. arkizzle says:

    Hmm.. we may need to incorporate your findings. Show me your head.

    *rummage*

  553. Xopher says:

    I might add, ElSmiley, that you have a narrow definition of ‘religion’. Not every religion is a system of beliefs where you “either believe or don’t.” Sometimes the practices are more important than the beliefs, as in Buddhism and some forms of Judaism; sometimes the religion has no qualifying beliefs (i.e. beliefs without which you can’t call yourself that religion) at all, as in Wicca.

  554. arkizzle says:

    Mark³

    i say religion and science are two sides to one coin because that is absolutely the case. the whole universe is composed of the physical and the metaphysical.

    Or, I can say that the universe is made up of physical things with complex behaviours. No metaphysics involved.

    Love is not the same as god. Unless you are suggesting that:
    a) “God” is actually a metaphor for a feeling we subjectively experience and not a sentient super-being.
    OR
    b) Love is a sentient being.

    the bible is a journal of religion. multiple authors and revisions, peer review, addition of extra works, etc.

    Yeh, it’s more like a biased-documentary or propaganda. The intent is concrete before the data is collected. The science side of the bible is critical theology. Dogma doesn’t mix with critical thought very well, and it takes critical thought to find the truth.

    Your “provable metaphysics” is no proof at all. You think emotions that happen inside human heads aren’t physical? Or that something that happens inside humans heads can prove god? Frankly, it only proves that god is something that emanates inside us.

    Have you any examples of “metaphysics” that don’t happen inside our heads? Eg, non human based.

  555. pyota says:

    @robulus – god may be a metaphor for the living universe, as you put it, but how do you know which religion is true (if you care)? unless your wife mandates it, there is no good reason to choose the catholic god over wotan.

  556. JackDitch says:

    But if you mean (even remotely) God is a supreme being, with sentience – a sense of self – that is where we would differ.

    Well, to be as precise as I can be, I would say God is like the sum total self-sentience of the universe. There’s that old Biblical quip, “Wherever two or more are gathered, I am there.” God is like my own inner dialogue, my ability to talk to myself. But God is bigger than that; God is the mind in which we’re just two voices chatting. And look at that latest post on Boing-Boing about talking to your cat; God is like that conversation with the cat. God is like the sum of the full existence of awareness. Maybe there was a time of sheer mindless chaos, when any pattern to be found in the universe was accidental and unintentional, but at some point intentional creation became an actual, real part of the universe. That sum total conversation between creators is what I call The Creator, God, and I think we can learn about it and talk about it. Just not with science. At least, not very well. Not as well as we can with a well-cultivated mythological system.

    As the great Minbari sage Delenn once said, “We believe that the Universe itself is conscious in a way we can never truly understand. It is engaged in a search for meaning, so it breaks itself apart, investing its own consciousness in every form of life. We are the Universe, trying to explain itself.” That’s, like, God.

  557. Mark Frauenfelder says:

    Resista@18: “Your just looking for reasons to think that you are superior to people that don’t share your beliefs by using an extreme example of a fool to make your point.”

    No, Christians in the United States dominate the culture, and us atheists, agnostics, SubGenii, Pastafarians, and Discordians enjoy fighting back with the truth.

  558. Sceadugenga says:

    #54 I know, isn’t it great how, on the internet, any word bracketed by two “cough”s becomes an argument?

    #55, I will ask you to please stop using the words “taunt” and “mock” to describe the unremarkable expectation that the degree of belief should be proportional to the amount of evidence you have.

  559. Modusoperandi says:

    Oceanconcepts “I’m a believer because I think these symbols are important and valuable to me- they have value for me- YMMV”

    Yhat Mould Mesus Vo?

    I googled “YMMV”, and it came up with a totally different answer, but mine made me giggle, so I’m sticking with it.

  560. Xopher says:

    Hard to know, after the fact.

    *contemplates making a baptism == intercision post, thinks better of it*

  561. Ito Kagehisa says:

    I’ve read more than a few ancient texts. The impression I usually take away is that modern people, including myself, are very shallow.

    Maybe that’s why so many modern people insist that ancient holy books must be read literally; perhaps most of us just don’t have the capacity to comprehend them as their authors intended.

  562. Modusoperandi says:

    failix “So you’re a pantheist?”
    No, he’s a Magic Pantheist.

  563. Modusoperandi says:

    Xopher “Magic is personal. That was my point.”
    So are hallucinations. Try hallucinating magic panties on the beach and see how quickly you end up before the judge.

  564. Tom Hale says:

    I’m not sure what I believe, it varies with my mood – I believe there’s some sort of life after death. I don’t think god would be mean enough to make someone stay in an everlasting hell.

    The idea of angels and devils sounds cool. Kind of like the ones in the movie Constantine. That would be awesome.

  565. Tom Hale says:

    If you have to lie to your wife to have peace in your marriage, that’s your choice and judgement, and I have no intention of second-guessing you.

    Hey, religion is very important to some people – like my wife. In 1988, when we were engaged to be married we were having a conversation about religion. She told me what she believed, I told her what I believed. She, pissed off, said this is a problem. I said, no, its not a problem. That’s the last disagreement we’ve had about religion.

    To me, as long as my kids are taught to treat other humans the way they’d like to be treated, I have no problem with what they’re taught in church. I was brought up in a very religious environment and managed to have a pretty good outlook on life, the universe and everything – my kids are smart, they’ll find out how things work.

  566. Takuan says:

    I’m thinking a new one, true Church: The God Eaters.
    We welcome all, and consume their gods as they bring them. Who want’s to help write a Testament?

  567. minTphresh says:

    modus, +1 FTMFW! and tom, if you think THAT’S weird…

  568. markmarkmark says:

    Some of the most beautiful works, are those that are desperatly seeking answers, tragedies, lost in a great world and not getting any truths. God is silent, Why God?

    here is what i meant – we only fail to find G-D when we aren’t looking for him, or looking at things from the wrong perspectives.

    every sunrise, every rainbow, every kiss, every high five, every time i weep but feel his strong love and strange piece he is there.

    G-D is only silent to those who are too busy to listen.

    go outside – close your door. find a tree and think about it and pray.

    maybe then, if you find a secret, silent place where you can really hear your own thoughts you’ll hear his still, small voice.

    G-D doesn’t always speak in a whirlwind, or a pillar of flame – sometimes he is present in the wonder we feel when we hold a baby, or the joy i feel when i commune with friends.
    everything in creation screams G-Ds greatness

  569. FoetusNail says:

    MinT, Give bacteria a brain and they’ll swear your small intestine is the center of the universe.

    How did we get from humans are vile disgusting sinful peaces of shit to “the whole world shouts his majesty” o_0

    Quiet strangers
    Another round
    Speaking softly
    Soothing sounds
    Whispered affections
    Allay fears
    Easily forgetting
    Yesterday’s tears
    Gentle caresses
    Dancing emotions
    Growing desires
    Evolving devotions
    Passing time
    Simple needs
    Tranquil repose
    Fantasies breathe

    Memories and dreams
    Distortions in time
    Measured in pleasure and pain

    With elbows on warmed oak and the cold sweat of a green bottle in hand, hesitations are suckled at on the threshold of a thought.

  570. Oceanconcepts says:

    @ROBULUS

    I sometimes use a music metaphor: I profoundly respond to Western Classical Music. Not all of it, of course, I chose what is most personally meaningful. Not everyone is touched by the same things I am. I might try to share some of my enthusiasm for a particular performance, say (proselytizing?), but I won’t be (too) offended if the other party just doesn’t see what I do.
    Conversely, I can accept that other people are just as moved by Chinese Opera as I am by Mozart’s Requiem, but it doesn’t do anything for me That does not mean there is anything wrong with them- their experience is just different.

    I find the fact of evolution and natural selection profoundly moving in a spiritual as well as intellectual way, in that the connectedness of all life on the molecular level is so apparent.

  571. Akezys says:

    @ 82

    I agree. I’m not even religious and I find it insulting. Have intelligent discourse.

    For everyone – Don’t just hate other people for not abiding by your views.

  572. Modusoperandi says:

    Clearly this whole evolution/Creation conflict was just made up to distract us while our real enemies have their way with us. Life on Earth is simply a giant sweatshop, built by the slavemasters, Big Mitochondria and Big Chlorophyll.

  573. arkizzle says:

    Google does provide answers. Many, many answers, that you have to sift through to find your own truth.. but answers none-the-less. Wow, that’s uncanny.

    Hmm.

    Our Google, who art in Mountain View,
    Hallowed be thy rankings.
    Thy network come.
    Thy searches be done,
    On dial-up, as they are on broadband.
    Give us this result, our daily searches.
    And forgive us our typos,
    as we forgive those who spam unto us.
    And lead us not into malware,
    and Don’t Be Evil.

    Pagerank.

  574. arkizzle says:

    ElSmiley @ 292

    I’ve eyeballed your comment, it’s uneccessarily inflammatory for the weak pint I can only guess you were making.. And frankly you are beginning to show the random, aggressive out-lashings of a troll.

    Be careful.

  575. robulus says:

    Arkizzle – thats pretty much it. I think there is space to look at consciousness occuring in the universe as an indication that the universe is in some way fundamentally conscious, and that this is expressed at varying levels in the ebbs and whorls of matter we refer to as life.

    This also allows for a kind of eternal life, a “return to the source” type of afterlife.

    I seem to remember there being Hindu teachings along these lines.

    Thats basically as far as I go into anything posing the tiniest controversy to science. Its quite boring now that I think about it, I might have to sex it up a bit.

  576. Cicada says:

    @#56- Er…are you forgetting the fervor of churches in the abolition movement? Or, of course, the right Reverend MLK and his use of churches to organize?

    Yes, nasty old things, churches and religious leaders, never up to any good…

  577. JackDitch says:

    Arkizzle writes:
    Science is always prepared to amend, or even give up, what was thought yesterday, if sufficient evidence can prove otherwise today.

    *shrug* So am I. That doesn’t make the massive assumptions that go into Big Bang theory any less of an assumption.

    Nothing in the observable universe is beyond observation.

    There’s a truism. But the literal beginning of time isn’t part of our observable universe, nor do I assume that the universe has left enough evidence for us to piece together what that most remote spacetime was really like.

    Modus writes:

    Yeah! Like Phys-Ed! Whose to tell me that I “can’t” put the ball in “my” team’s hoop? Teach the controversy!

    Yeah, I think I’d also be bothered by the teaching of the rules of basketball as a matter of science in public science classrooms.

  578. Xopher says:

    JackDitch, here’s a quote that raised the hair on the back of my neck when I first read it (something nothing can do now, alas):

    You are the lens of the world, the only lens through which the world may become aware of itself. On the other hand, the world is the only lens through which you may know yourself. It is both lenses together which bring vision.

  579. arkizzle says:

    Modus WIN!

    But please stop, my laptop is now covered in buttery cracker crumbs :)

  580. arkizzle says:

    *shrug* So am I.

    The point was, religion won’t. If you will, you are a step ahead.

    And they aren’t just assumptions. They’re hypotheses and ideas that have flowed from observation and comparison. They are fluid and maleable enough to bear new observations or be morphed entirely into new ideas if that is what the evidence holds.

    There’s a truism.

    Yeah, I was being facetious.

    If ‘it’ exists, it is possible to measure ‘it’ in some way that we might some day be lucky enough to discover. That opens a can of worms about the beginning of time “existing”, as it clearly happened a long time ago. Or if space and time are as linked as is suggested, maybe there is a way of getting ‘there’ somehow.

    Also, science (so far anyway) seems to be much more interested in the second just after the Big Bang, than the second before (presumably because of the relative abundance of data and reversible circumtantial evidence of one compared to the other’s almost nil of evidence..)

  581. Oceanconcepts says:

    @ 24 ANTONOUS

    You seem to be operating under the assumption that Creationism is a Christian concept. As far as I know, it’s a tenet of most or all god-centered religions.

    There is a lot of difference between having a creation story/ myth/ metaphor that explains something about existence in a poetic or spiritual fashion, and taking that story as literal truth. I expect most people in modern societies understand this difference.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I expect most people in modern societies understand this difference.

      A goodly segment of the US population flat out believes in Creationism. An even larger group claiming to believe in evolution actually describes Intelligent Design when asked to explain it. Where is this modern society? And more importantly, are they accepting emigrants from the US?

  582. Cicada says:

    “One of the most damaging and dangerous concepts is the concept of sin. The concept of sin is the foundation of the desert cults, their reason for being.”

    It is also what keeps civilization intact, though the word “sin” may not be used in all cases. After all, if I decide to kick a beggar to death rather than feed him, why should I think this is a bad thing if not for some concept of sin?

  583. arkizzle says:

    Jack @ 546

    Wow, well said. I enjoy your vision. And Delenn’s..

    We are the Universe, trying to explain itself.

    Fabulous! :)

  584. Jeff says:

    The god of cookies? I AM THE GOD OF PIE: 3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971 6939937510582097494459230781640628620899 86280348253421170679 ….But cookies are good too.

  585. robulus says:

    Jackditch quoted

    As the great Minbari sage Delenn once said, “We believe that the Universe itself is conscious in a way we can never truly understand. It is engaged in a search for meaning, so it breaks itself apart, investing its own consciousness in every form of life. We are the Universe, trying to explain itself.” That’s, like, God.

    Hey… that’s what I was trying to say in the last post!

    Whose the great Minbari sage Delenn? I like the cut of that fellows jib.

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