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Unread 10-06-2012, 05:03 AM   #1282 (permalink)
Mr. Blonde
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(disclaimer -- I wrote this in the middle of the night and am on sleeping pills. please forgive any grammatical errors)

I don't know what it is -- your wife has given you a reason to find faith -- you read a book and want to make up for your previous militant atheism...or you just really don't want to die and turn into nothingness, and are desperately trying to convince yourself (and others) that it doesn't end after death (but as for the millions and millions of species....)

Francis Collins may be a genius in genetics, but MASSIVELY MISTAKEN when it comes to religion. I've already said I've read his book (The Language of God) where he states how exactly he was an "atheist" before becoming Christian, and he couldn't have been less than a true atheist -- this is a common ploy used by religious and conservative writers to give themselves credence to their audience, especially the faithful, who get such hard-ons for forgiveness of past sins -- someone who comes to their faithlessness through logic and reason, despite the catalyst. There are myriad reasons why one would "pull a BDH" -- and it's honestly just a sucky thing to see happen. I wish I had all the time in the world to sit here and debunk you grasping at straws all day, but I just don't. It has already been done time and time again by some of our favorite authors.

Originally Posted by Repugnant Abomination View Post
That's a fair point, but I would like to point out the following, from our friend Hawking in A Brief History of Time

"Even if there is only one possible unified theory (here he's talking about the unification of quantum mechanics with an understanding of gravity), it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?"
How can you honestly intellectually subscribe to this? Hawking is asking it as a thought-exercise, an interesting mystery about the universe that we don't yet understand. You are (without saying it, which is pretty cowardly as I will go into more detail later about) basically saying "see, Hawking is talking about the possibility of a god again!" As if wondering "what came before" is a big mysterious question that only genius physicists can ask.

It really is fundamentally confusing to me as a fully developed mind how much you are forgetting very simple rules -- like the fact that this exact argument can be turned right back on you. You could say it's turned back on me as well, but I am not the one asserting something exists, which is a world of difference ideology-wise. I don't have the book handy to know context or what was said after, but it goes back to the fundamental question that apparently blows the mind every single Christian I have asked it to: If you insist that there is a beginning of everything, then who made god? Why must it stop at at him? Who breathed fire into god?

Hawking talks about it at the beginning of the book. The first PAGE, of the book, he uses the anectdote of "turtles all the way down". It's just frustrating to see you so clearly reaching.

I'm not saying they're wrong. I'm saying that I don't know, there seems to be more complexity to this issue than I had originally entertained. You're the one who seems convinced the all of these other scientists who don't agree with the scientists you like are wrong. Furthermore, for you to completely disregard all of these other brilliant scientific minds because you simply think they "let their emotions get in the way" is very arrogant. You might be right in some cases, but every single one of them? Really? Where's your proof? Your proof apparently is that they didn't reach the same conclusion as you.
I say it often because it's literally the only explanation I can give for someone who is otherwise intelligent and rational, and previously a well-educated atheist (unlike BDH), who seems to be coming around to religion, even if they're currently in a Deist stage -- you seem like you're still going more towards faith than science, reason, and atheism. On that note, it's worth pointing out -- and this is a common trend with you on nubblies--that you skirt around telling us exactly what you believe currently and instead hide under the shroud of "just asking questons" and "nobody knows! lol!" bullshit. It's devious and dubious.

Secondly, I say it because I know how much death has affected you. Well, somewhat, only what I have seen on here and talked in personal conversations -- I know how haunting the concept of death must be for you and I know that you desperately do not want there to be simple "emptiness" after you die. I think that that emotional need can very strongly affect somebody's "willingness to believe", whether they understand it or not, and that's where a lot of this comes from. I think that if you truly knew how poisonous religion was and how it infects the minds of people like a virus, you would be as worried about your mental freedom as I am.

Yes, we can play this game all day. That's my point. But you're only seeing one side of the coin so you think there's nothing left to talk about, which is the reason behind our whole disagreement. It's not about God, or miracles, or praying, or Hawking or anything else...It's an epistemological disagreement about the nature of knowledge.

This is the reason I woke up at 2:00 AM to write this post. I was reading an Asimov book -- "Extraterrestrial Civilizations" (one of his many non-fiction books) and came across a passage that fundamentally underscores our entire disagreement here. Asimov puts it better than I ever could.

To transcend the laws of nature, be "supernatural" is, however, impermissible in the Universe as interpreted by science, in the "Scientific Universe,"which is the only one dealt with in this book.

It might easily be argued that human beings have no right to say this or that is "impermissible"; that something that is called supernatural receives its name by arbitrary definitions out of knowledge that is finite and incomplete. Every scientist must admit that we do not know all the laws of nature that may exist, and that we do not thoroughly understand all the implications and limitations of the laws of nature we think do exist. Beyond what little we know, there may be much that seems "supernatural" to our puny understanding, but that nevertheless exists.

Quite right, but consider this ---

When we lead from ignorance, we can come to no conclusions. When we say "Anything can happen, and anything can be, because we know so little that we have no right to say 'This is' or 'This isn't,'" then all reasoning comes to a halt right there. We can eliminate nothing; we can assert nothing. All we can do is put words and thoughts together on the basis of intuition or faith or revelation and, unfortunately, no two people seem to share the same intuition or faith or revelation.

What we must do is set rules and place limits, however arbitrary these may seem to be. We then discover what we can say within these rules and limits.

The scientific view of the Universe is such as to admit only those phenomena that can, in one way or another, be observed in a fashion accessible to all, and to admit those generalizations (which we call laws of nature) that can be induced from those observations.

...It may well be argued, in fact, that science is the only field of human intellectual endeavor on which reasonable mean can very often agree, and in which reasonable men can sometimes change their minds as new evidence comes in. In politics, art, literature, music, philosophy, religion, economics, history -- carry on the list as long as you wish -- otherwise reasonable men can not only disagree, but invariably do, and sometimes with the utmost passion; and never change their minds, either, it would appear.
You say it's a fundamental question of epistemology, but I just don't see it. You say ". It's not about God, or miracles, or praying, or Hawking or anything else...It's an epistemological disagreement about the nature of knowledge." -- then why is even in this thread? You say one thing and act another and it's extremely frustrating. You almost remind me of the people who say "I'm not religious, I just have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ".

Well, it's the exact same thing. I stick to my stance that if a god can affect the real world, then his influence must be observable -- and one would think very easily so. Yes, even for Deism -- there is not a single thing in evolution that can't be explained by science. And if we haven't found out YET, that doesn't mean "Oh, it must be god". This is one of the most elementary pro-atheist arguments and I'm sure I don't have to insult you by calling it by name. When it comes to life, (and thus our ability to have this conversation), we're on the cusp of discovering beginning of life on Earth, and as soon as we are either able to explain abiogenesis or find life/evidence of life on another planet -- what then?

What makes you think primates are so special, man? We are quite literally talking about ape philosophy.

Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behavior and information processing.

― Terence McKenna

Last edited by Mr. Blonde; 10-06-2012 at 05:21 AM.
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