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 Author Thread: Pagan should be a religious choice! =)
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 19 (view)
Pagan should be a religious choice! =)
Posted: 4/14/2013 6:33:13 AM

I've been Pagan most of my life.... I'm a published author of Pagan writings... and celebrate Pagan holidays! Why is this not a choice for me in the list?
Government forms can't list every religion. There are thousands. The form would be 6 pages long. Anything not listed, is covered by "Other", just like Jedi, even though enough people answered "Jedi" on government forms, that it qualified as an officially recognised religion.

I want to see when "Sith" gets called a religion.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 13 (view)
The Catholic church, the last paradox on this planet...
Posted: 2/21/2013 8:50:15 AM

The weird concept of 'dedicating your life to God' is just so bizarre:
It's no different than dedicating your life to the army, or to teaching.

I am a straight man, and have never 'loved' another man. I might admire Tom Brady. but 'loving' him ?
My dad. My grandpa. My brothers. My uncles. My friends.

how many straight men you know are biologically even capable of being without a woman for an extended period of time ? Try not having sex for 6 months...
I can't believe you just said that. You can't be real. No-one can actually say that with a straight face.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 12 (view)
The value of science to atheism
Posted: 11/12/2012 6:41:45 AM
The problem that science raises, is that the universe runs according to consistent principles. At best, that means that the universe is arranged by a set of forces that behave consistently. That could be done by a machine that runs according to consistent principles, or a human that does things consistently. We are used to thinking of machines as always behaving consistently, and humans not so. Ergo, the universe cannot be run by an inconsistent human. By extension, we suppose, that since all humans are inconsistent, then all sentient beings must be inconsistent. Ergo, the universe cannot be run by a sentient being.

Let's take 2 examples:

1) Every day, your mother places dinner on the table at 6pm. She always makes the same dish, an omelette. If your friend comes over, she still only makes an omelette for you. Sometimes, there are no eggs in the fridge. Then your mother makes the omelette without eggs. She continues to do this day after day, until you put some more eggs in the fridge. Sometimes, you move the plate by a millimetre. Then your mother picks up the plate as if it was in the normal place, and then it falls and smashes. Then your mother makes the omelette, grabs the imaginary plate that is not there, and puts in on the imaginary plate, letting the omelette fall on the floor. She continues to do this day after day, until you buy a new plate, and put it in the precise position, measuring it's position with a micrometer. Are these the actions of a human, or a machine?

2) In your friend's house, your mother places dinner on the table at 6pm. She usually makes an omelette on Tuesdays, unless it's your birthday, when she makes you your favourite meal. Sometimes, you come over, and she makes dinner for you too. If there are no eggs in the fridge, she goes out and buys some more, as she needs eggs to make you an omelette the way you like it. If you put the plate back in the wrong place, she simply adjusts her hand, so she doesn't break the plate If the plate accidentally breaks, she simply buys another. Are these the actions of a human, or a machine?

Which is the machine and which is the human?

In order for the universe to be run by a machine, everything has to be placed perfectly by the machine, in every position, in every nanosecond, forever. So the entire universe has to be perfectly consistent. Of course, your mother could do things so consistently, that you can't tell the difference. So that doesn't prove that the "mother" of the universe is not a sentient being. But for the "mother" of the universe, to be a machine, and to not have everything break down, it would all have to be placed perfectly, with no fraction of a deviation.

So all we have really shown, is that the universe cannot be managed by an extremely inconsistent being, like a human slacker. Omnipotence and omniscience would allow for perfect consistency, and even less. So the universe cannot be run by a non-omnipotent and non-omniscient extremely inconsistent being, like a human slacker.

However, there is another problem. We don't like it when G-d kills babies. We want G-d to always do what we want, to make babies, but never kill them. We want G-d to be like Santa Claus, always giving us presents, whether we are good or naughty. But that's inconsistent.

When G-d is consistent, like killing as well as bringing life, we then say that such a god could not exist. Thus, we want G-d to be inconsistent.

Thus, the problem that we face, is that we want whatever is running the universe, to be inconsistent, when science shows us, that whatever is running the universe, is pretty much consistent. But for something to be inconsistent and consistent, is irrational. Thus, what we want, is an irrational G-d, a god that cannot make any sense by any form of logic or reason. But if we then try to figure out using logic and reason, if any such god could exist, the only possible answer is that such a god could not exist, because logic and reason dictate that nothing can be inconsistent and consistent. Thus, the gods that we want to believe in, cannot exist.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 347 (view)
Can culture advance without religion?
Posted: 4/25/2012 4:07:05 AM
RE Msg: 404 by Aries_328:
I know it wasn't really part of your speculation, but I just have to say, it would amuse me no end if it turned out religious belief was just some kind of pathology
That viewpoint has been held by many scientists, for over 200 years. Yet for all that time, science hasn't found anything indicating that, quite the contrary, as far as scientific evidence goes.

Haha, yeah and you could say the same thing in the other direction except you would have a stronger case. Many drugs derived from natural plants induce states of spiritual connectedness. It would be an easier case to say that some form of this state is more natural and not having it is the pathology. Maybe Dr's of atheists should prescribe to correct the imbalance :)
I can see a lot of people who have never taken drugs, having that view. I can see a lot of people who have taken drugs purely for getting 'high', holding that viewpoint. I cannot see anyone who has actually taken drugs for the purpose of expanding their consciousness, ever saying that, particularly as DMT is actually used as a part of spiritual ceremonies, by people who are very well aware of how such drugs can affect the mind.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 26 (view)
Has Western Culture passed its zenith?
Posted: 4/9/2012 7:56:59 AM
From the POV of Americans, no, because that would mean that Americans would lose something.
From the POV of those who gain by America being #1, same answer.
From the POV of those who gain by America going down, yes, because that would mean that they would gain something.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 29 (view)
What Is The Difference Between A Philosophy, Science and Religion?
Posted: 2/27/2012 1:27:20 PM
Philosophy is about asking big questions, like "What is meaning?"

Science is about coming up with physical explanations for how the physical world behaves.

Religion is about dealing with difficult life choices, like when someone really wants to have sex with someone who doesn't want to have sex with them, and comes up with a rationalisation that justifies it, like that "she's only playing hard to get", but your conscience keeps nagging at you that that is probably just a rationalisation for something you know you really shouldn't do.

They often cross onto similar questions, like how philosophy and science both often try to address the nature of choice. Nevertheless, their general approaches, and the types of questions they are generally poised to answer, are very far apart.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 230 (view)
Your case for/against God.
Posted: 12/21/2011 6:09:33 AM

If, as I suspect, we are talking about the Biblical God… read on:

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?"

However, there can never be a case for or against something that is ultimately personal yet consequently belongs to everyone.
Exactly. So how can we deny anyone or anything other than G-d access to Epicurus' statements?

"Are you willing to prevent evil, but not able to prevent anything?
Then you are impotent.
Are you able, but not willing?
Then you are malevolent.
Are you both able and willing?
Then why is it, that that evil that you CAN prevent, is still here?
Are you neither able nor willing?
Then you are impotent and malevolent"

This is an indictment on all humans, that as long as we either unable or unwilling, then the evil that humans cause, will continue. We are the arbiters of our own happiness. If we are not happy, we know who to blame. If we wish to solve our problems, and remove evil from the world, we need look no further than our own faces.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 15 (view)
How Can You Know or Love God?
Posted: 12/21/2011 6:01:33 AM

How much credibility can you give books that have been plagiarised from mythical texts?
None at all. Ancient texts are not guilty of plagiarism, because sharing information was the done thing in ancient times, and is clearly still the way that societies with THOUSANDS of years of knowledge and experience, interact.

However, plagiarism IS a concept that modern Western society uses, for a very good reason. Modern Western secular academics are paid and honoured, based on their contribution to society, which is not judged on their actions, or their efforts, but on their new ideas. Plagiarism thus applies to modern Western society, to distinguish between those in modern Western secular academia who are to be paid and honoured, and those who are not to be paid and not to be honoured.

IMHO – and this goes without forever stating - contradictions, sexual perversions and extreme violence may be okay for some; fiction addicts do not bat an eyelid at paying to watch a new movie plastered with it. After all – they might say – it is part of life! This is true, but when it comes to learning what The Supreme Being requires from us, one really needs to open their mind in all directions…
That is true. For instance, for thousands of years, Jews have been slaughtered, because people said that the Old Testament is full of evil, and the Jews follow the Old Testament. Jews have contributed to every part of science, far more than 10 times their numbers should dictate. They have been praised for their positive influence on the world, by everyone from Max Weber to Mark Twain. Yet, the myth that the Old Testament is full of evil, and to be avoided, still exists, amongst those who were raised with these same ethnically-dehumanising stereotypes.

However, in the future, there will eventually grow people who have learned that dehumanisation of others, even those one sees as enemies, is itself the dehumanisation of humanity and thus, the source of the authorisation of their own extermination. Those people will realise, that, just as many have realised, that most of what happens to us, is of our own doing, and they will avoid stereotypes that make them seem wonderful, and others seem evil.

The material world alone will never/can never shed light on the supremacy of God. God would have to be everywhere and in most everything… we know so little about the bottom of the oceans and our universe, yet religions never doubt for a moment they know God and even claim to love It. This beggars belief!
I have the same problem with the number 2.

The set theorists of mathematics found that the object called "everything" defies logic. So they wrote axioms of mathematics, to exclude the very concept from our reasoning. Yet, I was taught about "everything", in mathematics.

I later on found out that there were many, many other concepts, that defied logic, and understanding, and yet, we use those concepts every day. Thus, I am forced between a rock and a hard place. If I agree with you, then I am forced to admit that most things that scientifically-minded people consider true, are completely un-understandable, and must be dismissed forever. If I don't agree with you, then I have to accept that logic dictates that there is more in this reality than just that which I can understand rationally and completely.

I don't like admitting there are some things that I don't understand. But I think that it's better than throwing out all of arithmetic, all of mathematics, and all of science.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 7 (view)
Sci-Fi Movies Usually Suck
Posted: 11/30/2011 1:30:37 PM

I'm a bit disappointed that they're making Dune AGAIN! That David Lynch POS was....well....
The Alan Smithee version is one that I've watched dozens of times. Never gets old.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 25 (view)
Is it safe for mentally challenged people to be online dating?
Posted: 11/15/2011 6:18:15 PM
What's the alternative? People who are mentally challenged, are already encouraged not to date, by their family, and by society, and no-one really makes any allowance for their lack of dating, not just today, but EVER. You want mentally challenged people to die without ever knowing sex, or romantic love of a relationship?

Sure, some might hit on me, and make my life a bit harder every now and then. But their life is already so hard. I think I should take a little hit, every now and then, for their sake.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 37 (view)
Are We All Looking For Something That Doesn’t Exist?
Posted: 11/15/2011 6:13:25 PM

I just want him to be attractive (in my opinion), be educated enough to hold a conversation with me (no complicated topic discussions required), and to have some source of income even if he works at Starbucks – as long as he has some job.
So you want someone who does a job day after day, who stuck at years of schoolwork to reach a reasonable standard, and who does regular exercise? Sounds like you want someone quite committed, to his health, to his mind, and to his income. That's a lot of commitment.

I can’t seem to find it (not just on here, but in general).
I have to agree with the other posters. You're 39, but you look like a 25-year-old model. Decent guys would expect that you wouldn't touch them with a bargepole. So the guys who would hit on you, are far more likely to be guys who are led by their sexual desires, and they are more interested in chasing tail than sticking with things.

Tone it down. Dress more demure. Once you find the guy, then show him that he's got a hottie. Then he'll be so bowled over by his good fortune, that he'll be easy to persuade that it's in his interest to keep you happy for life.

Does anyone feel the same way – that the person you want doesn’t exist?
Used to. But looking back, I realised that I had met several good women who were interested in me, and I knocked them back. So I realised that the person existed, but I was refusing to accept them. I had the problem, and I needed to change. I've been committed to improving myself, in every way, ever since.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 182 (view)
Religion and Dating
Posted: 11/15/2011 5:51:13 PM
Depends on how much religion plays a part in their life, and how much you find you have in common with them on their religious beliefs and practices. You have to work it out between the two of you. Sometimes, it works. Other times, it splits you up, and you both then move on, to look for someone who is compatible with you.

I just wonder why so many people who don't like religion, don't just look for someone similar. I mean, if there are so many people who don't like religion, wouldn't they prefer someone of similar lifestyle choices? Is it THAT hard to meet someone who has the same religion or non-religion as you?
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 1659 (view)
Posted: 11/15/2011 5:31:57 PM
RE Msg: 2963 by _alan:
This is true, but the very fact that both the philosophical and scientific communities want to claim this statement as one of their own, means both must consider its basic essence as truth, fact, i.e. LAW!!!!!!
What I find interesting about the statement "Insanity, is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results", is how often people feel that it's applicable and relevant. It suggests to me, that the reason so many quote it so often, is because it's so often true that many people do keep doing the same thing over and over, because they expect different results this time. This in turn suggests to me, that people want to believe that THIS time it will work, because they believe they are smarter than people who did it before, and this time, they believe that THEY will make it work. So really, it shows that people keep being overly optimistic as to their ability to do things better than everyone else.

Lots of people thing that WE are the smart ones, and the only reason that other people failed, was because they weren't US.

I include myself as having made that mistake, several times in my life, and probably will make it again. What can I say? I'm human, and "to err is human".
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 14 (view)
Postmodernity - What is it good for?
Posted: 11/15/2011 5:25:13 PM
RE Msg: 11 by Gwendolyn2010:
If you mean about being written instead of writing, postmodernism claims that our lives are scripted. This does not refer to fate or predestination, but that culture proscribes our beliefs and therefore, our actions.
I'd agree with that. I've noticed that a lot of the attitudes that people take, and even the way they respond to situations and to what things are said in passing, seem to be rather spurious, even irrational, especially when it comes to science. However, when I considered how a culture's history developed, and how that culture's values probably evolved in response to historical events, and then considered how those cultural values might predict what responses we might have to current day events, those responses suddenly made a heck of a lot of sense.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 25 (view)
New study into global temperatures
Posted: 10/25/2011 7:27:09 AM
I doubt it would make any difference anymore. The public have little time for confusing messages.

Most people can't read the original studies, or don't have the time, or don't want to spend their life reading hundreds of studies. They thus gain their understanding by the reputation of the speakers, and check that reputation by indications of lying. One of the big indications of lying, is changing your mind, saying one thing, and then saying another. Once you do that, then those who can and will read all the studies, can still be persuaded by the studies. Those who cannot or will not, cannot.

RE Msg: 12 by Earthpuppy:
They are still going on with the mythology of "most scientists" in the 70s believed in global cooling.
That was in my lifetime. Saying that the Earth was cooling, and then a few decades on, saying that the Earth is warming, is confusing enough to make a lot of people distrust anything that the speaker has to say on the subject.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 466 (view)
Do you believe we landed on the moon?
Posted: 10/5/2011 6:13:27 AM

hmmm... thoughts?
Your question is a good one. However, my experience of this site, is that if I answer your question to challenge scientific consensus, then I will be in for lots of posters here being very insulting to me, and deliberately targeting me for attack, until I cease and desist from giving any suggestion that anyone might think differently to the scientific consensus.

Thus, I defer to the "thought police". Let them tell you what they want you to think, and let me figure out the universe using my brain.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 21 (view)
light speed results baffle Cern
Posted: 10/5/2011 6:09:41 AM

So what will this ultimately mean to physics, if it turns out to be verified ?
It made the headlines in the UK. Scientists were interviewed for BBC news. It could mean that relativity has to be thrown out. Mind you, considering that the lack of discovery of the Higgs Boson has been reported by scientists that it could require throwing out the Standard Model, it's not exactly new to say that physicists will have to go back to scratch on some aspects of understanding reality.

But no-one is rushing to give an answer right now. It might be a false result, as experiments aren't nearly as exactingly accurate as people are given the impression. Even if it can be repeated again and again, science can be very slow. Taking decades to figure out something can be rather fast for physics. So you might have to wait 50 years before seeing an answer. If it turns out to be as difficult as Heliocentrism, you might not see the answer in your lifetime.

is time travel now a possibility ?
I don't know. Maybe if you're a neutron.

how come neutrinos ? why are they the particle that does it ?
Uhhh...because that's what the experiment happened to reveal went faster than light. If it has been electrons instead of neutrinos, the question would be: "how come electrons?"
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 26 (view)
Human Enhancements - for or against?
Posted: 10/5/2011 5:59:55 AM

If offered the chance, would you take a cybernetic enhancement to your body? Replace your eyes with digital cameras with all sorts of neat tricks and features? Trade in your perfectly working arms for robotic limbs with more strength and precision?
I already do. I have a mobile phone, a computer, etc. The fact that they are not sewn on to my body, is only a matter of proximity. Other than that, they are cybernetic enhancements.

Is there a moral or ethical dilemma with roboticizing humans?
People tend to think in terms of what they have. People with a particular enhancement, whether it be cybernetic, or a cognitive opinion, such as proponents of sociopolitical ideologies, tend to speak about those without said cognitive enhancement as if they are are meat to be used and abused, even worse than dehumanisation that goes on in the atrocities of wars.

There are always some kinds of such enhancements that are available to some, and some of them will take advantage of them. So it's just a fact of life that someone will dehumanise you. The question is: Will you dehumanise those you consider as inferior delusionals?

Is it the next step in evolution?
There are lots of "steps" in "evolution". Evolution just refers to the overall process of mutations, that is, changes that occur all the time, combined with the process of selection by evolutionary pressures, that is, anything that selects one thing over the other, because of whatever is in reality right now. All changes are part of that process, and so all steps of change are steps of evolution. As your body is growing new cells all the time, you are changing all the time, evolving all the time. You have evolved thousands of times today already. You just aren't aware of it, because you are expecting some big macro-transformation.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 15 (view)
Do you wanna be a fossil!?
Posted: 10/5/2011 5:47:40 AM
I already am. After all, in the future, my body would be one. So I am one already.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 4 (view)
Holographic Principle and Edgar Cayce
Posted: 10/4/2011 7:40:04 PM

I find the Holographic Principle of Black Holes really fascinating. It states that our three D world, our entire universe of matter, is a hologram, an image of reality coded on the distant 2D Surface of a black hole
If you like that, then check out the Banach-Tarski Paradox. It's a proof that in a 3D universe like our own, that any sphere can be taken apart and put back together to make 2 spheres that are each the same size as the original. Volume can be doubled, or halved, within our 3D universe, and so can the information, simply by rearranging the information, much as one would do by coding our 3D reality onto a 2D surface of a black hole.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 21 (view)
Soul discombobulation hot tub
Posted: 9/19/2011 1:13:25 PM
RE Msg: 32 by Irregulator:
Transhumanism, …I'm not sure yet about all of it yet, but in some ways we've already arrived.

It has magazines!

But, anything that boosts intellect, memory, cognitive longevity by tweaking things on a molecular level, I'm all for it, …as long as it's made free to all. Transhumanism as a class exclusive option, …for the wealthy only? Kill the rich!
Irregulator, if there is anything we have learned from the U.S.A., France, the U.S.S.R., and the history of the entire world, it's that in almost ALL societies, even communist ones, the rich control the latest tech. They just give you the blurb for free. The actual product, is like prescription drugs. Costs little to make, but a fortune to purchase.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 9 (view)
Posted: 9/7/2011 7:41:27 PM
I think it's a question of self-identification.

For instance, I would say that I am a Jew, because it's something that I do take seriously in my life. It affects my views on life, and what I do, in a very real way. I would say that I am a mathematician, because it's something that I still do in my spare time, and I like to think about things from that viewpoint. I also do scientific experiments in my spare time, and have made a lot of criticisms about scientists. But I don't describe myself as a scientist, or that I am anti-science, because I have no strong feelings about it either way. I also love vegetables, and have hardly any desire to eat meat at all. But I wouldn't describe myself as a vegetarian, because it's not that big a deal for me.

I also have friends who said they don't believe in G-d, but don't describe themselves as atheists. But they don't ever seem to mention anything either pro-religions, or anti-religions.

I have a friend who believe in the value of communism, and care little for money. But he's not militant about wanting the world to be communist. He has never described himself to me as a communist.

I also know someone who is a vegetarian. She is married to a friend, who loves eating meat. But she won't eat off a plate that has come into contact with meat. She has her own plates and cutlery, and he has to be very careful to not use them in any way, or she goes loopy about it.

I also know that some people, who do describe themselves as communists, have pushed for it quite far, setting up their own communist party, etc. I also know that some people, who describe themselves as vegetarians, have gone around saying "meat is murder", and making things a bit difficult for meat-eaters.

If someone says that they are a something-ist, or anything like that, I think that they are saying a bit more than they just have an opinion. They are saying that it's important enough to them, that they identify with it, enough that they tie it in with the way they see things in life, and how they live their life. I believe that psychologists would say that it forms part of their self-image, and from what I've read, the self-image filters every experience we have, through it.

So if someone describes themselves as an atheist, I am more inclined to say that it's a lot more than just saying that they don't believe in a god. I think they are saying that they are identifying with that concept, enough that it actually expresses an important part of their personality, and who they are. Thus, it becomes part of their self-image. It affects how they see the world, to the extent that everything is filtered through that perspective. It affects their choices in life.

If someone really doesn't care about the subject, and just doesn't happen to believe in any gods, then I think that if I asked them what religion they were, they would say "no religion". But someone who believes that it's important that everyone must know that they are an atheist, they would answer "atheist", even though, as another poster pointed out, there are plenty of atheists who are still religious, and if they didn't have a religion, the most appropriate answer is "no religion".

Because atheism is not a positive statement, but a negative, i.e. a-theist, NOT a theist, then I think it means that it's important to them that everyone understands that they have no interest in gods, and anything to do with gods. So they let people know in no uncertain terms. It doesn't make a clear positive statement. So the only real way to express oneself firmly about atheism, is to express firmly that one rejects all forms of theism, and all things associated with theism.

Some of those people are going to be a bit more militant. They are likely to express themselves in quite severe terms, and thus are likely to be quite critical of gods, people who believe in gods, and in things that have a strong association with gods, such as religions.

The more militant types are probably not the majority of people who were raised by atheists, and are comfortable with being atheists, and who feel unthreatened by theists, like many, many people in the UK, including many atheists that I know here. But then again, not everyone is the same. Some are more militant about the things they think are important to them, and some are not.

I think to be honest, you'd probably see me saying the same sorts of things about meat and science, if I went around saying that I was an a-meatist and an a-scientist.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 20 (view)
Japanese blood-type theory of personality
Posted: 9/2/2011 5:12:28 PM
#1 fits me the best. My blood type is O+.

It's like offering the general public either a really nice 30-min cake mix or a bowl of razorblades for afternoon snacks and they consistently pick the razorblades just because you have to bake the cake.
Hey, don't blame the general public, just because they choose the easiest option. Next you'll be telling me that people's obesity is because people would rather buy junk food, than cook healthy meals for themselves.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 124 (view)
Evolution vs Creationism/Intelligent Design
Posted: 9/2/2011 8:30:20 AM
RE Msg: 174 by abelian:
If religious people would look at it that way, there would be no problem. Most sane religions do. The Catholic church, for example, leaves science to scientists, leaves religion to that which science does not explain and accepts the fact that science continues to push back that boundary.
That's a very commendable POV, one that seemed to be embraced in the UK, until very recently, when we started getting a lot of Americanisations, like high school proms (even though we already had a model of our own, called "balls"), early morning breakfast meetings, and both scientific extremism and religious extremism. The problems in the USA seem to be spreading across the whole West.

Unfortunately, there are religious fundamentalists with political agendas to get church into public schools with a lot of uneducated followers they can manipulate into supporting non-sense like creation and ID. If it weren't for that segment of religion, there would be no problem and these discussions wouldn't exist. Unfortunately, they happen to be numerous in the US and their effect on the public school system is one reason the US continues to fall further behind in education relative to other industrialized nations. When you read slogans such as, ``It's only theory,'' or you see people arguing for ID as an ``alternative,'' just how uneducated many people are becomes very obvious, by virtue of their ignorance of what is required for a theory to be considered science.
I can see where you are coming from. Certainly, it seems to be a form of religious oppression, and seems to encourage Americans to be uneducated.

However, 2 things strike me, that seem to point to an alternative reading of the evidence.

The first, is that I knew a lot of Brits who went to America, and a lot of Americans who had settled here. From what they said, Americans were considered uneducated, insular, by Brits, from the late 70s on. But the American ID movement and American religious fundamentalism only started appearing, by the 80s, and only became well-known in the UK in the last 10-20 years. So the lack of good education of Americans seems to seriously predate the current religious moves against better education.

This suggests that the belief that education is the answer to solving our social problems, is wrong.

However, this idea came out of belief in science itself. It was pushed forwards as a result of Taylorism, the idea that we could use scientific knowledge to solve all our economic problems, and all our other problems as well. Taylorism itself has come under great criticism, because its results actually seemed to DETRACT from good economic prosperity.

This suggests that the idea that scientific knowledge is the best and only answer to solving our problems, is also wrong.

The second, is that I was reading a scientific paper a while back, which pointed out that in the 1930s, although rich had a lot more money than poor, rich and poor mostly lived alike, in that their social structures and social values were pretty similar, and so both societies seemed to do quite well. However, by the 70s, this was clearly no longer the case, and by now, it should be obvious to everyone that the social values and structures in the Projects in America are very, very different to the ones in affluent neighbourhoods, and that this is a large reason why poor people are so much worse off than the rich, even with public welfare systems and public healthcare systems.

This suggests that the system "no longer works", unless you are very rich, or are socially set towards the side of the upper-middle-class, the white-collar environments, and that everyone who is set towards the more ordinary blue-collar environments, is basically screwed. That would probably have been unanimously accepted, had that always been the case, such as it was in the UK until the breakdown of the class system. But in America, it hadn't. It was a relatively recent phenomena.

This suggests that there could be an underlying motive to return the system, to its previous form, that seemed to work much, much better for those who lean towards blue-collar environments.

Unfortunately, that door is relatively closed. Social reforms are now handled via government. Government in turn looks to science to answer these questions, and thus, to scientists. But scientists exist in the white-collar environments. So they just wouldn't see the view of those who live in blue-collar environments, not unless they CHOOSE to live there, and that would take them out of the environments where the scientific community established itself. They are tourists in the blue-collar world. They see what tourists see, which usually isn't very much of what is really going on.

Eventually, scientists will gather enough evidence, that they will see what blue-collar people live with. But science is very slow. They say they are still figuring out the brain. It could take centuries before they suggest practical and useful solutions that help the people who live in these environments.

So what do these people do? Do they sit, wait, and die for hundreds of years? Even if they wanted to, their survival instinct wouldn't let them. Their survival instinct would FORCE them to redress the balance, asap. If scientists won't, and the government seems to mostly only listens to scientists, then it's time to get the government to stop mostly only listening only to scientists.

If you like, it's an EXAMPLE of evolution in the present day. The problem with it is, is that even though it would support the argument of Evolutionists, that evolution is right, it STILL shows that our CURRENT way of handling problems is not working from an evolutionary standpoint. So it argues that Evolutionists should abandon their approach to the problem anyway, not to give up on evolutionary theory, but to give up how they want it to be disseminated throughout the general population, and to give up on how it is being used to decide policy.

Both of these points suggest, that science is useful, and scientists are involved in a very worthy human endeavour, but our current approach to both science and scientific education is seriously flawed, and that our countries are actually not taking advantage of science as a result, and are quite possibly causing MORE harm to themselves as a result.

The problem isn't science, or scientists. The problem seems to me, to be about the way we treat science and scientists. The conflicts that are arising, seem to me, to be a direct result of how evolution actually works, and as a result, they are unstoppable, unless we change the system to one that will not yield these sorts of problems, or even worse ones.

The Culture Wars are, in effect, a red herring. They are just symptoms of a much greater malaise within our countries.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 133 (view)
Why should there be more redistribution of wealth?
Posted: 8/30/2011 7:38:48 PM

So I was wondering, do most of you support the idea of wealth redistribution?
How do I know? Take a poll.

Is it the purpose of government to take from those who have the most to support those who have the least?
The purpose of government is to govern. If that serves to help govern the people, then yes, because it is helping the better governing of the people. If not, no.

And is redistribution really needed and if so why?
It's not always needed. It's sometimes needed.

Take an example of healthcare. Say that the government provides no healthcare services at all, not even investment. Then rich people can afford expensive private healthcare. Poor people cannot afford good healthcare. Some of them get sick with an infectious disease. They cannot afford to go to the doctor all the time. So they don't, until they are in a bad way. By this time, they are no longer infectious, and have already spread their germs far and wide. Poor people all over get it. Poor people clean the pool, toilet and house for rich people. Poor people prepare food for rich people. Poor people make the beds for rich people. So now, the poor spread their disease to rich people. But now, exposure from poor people is so high, that even anti-virals won't sort it for everyone. Lots of rich people get sick. Some die.

You could quarantine the poor. But then, many, or most, of the poor will die. These are the people who clean your pool, clean your toilet, clean your house, make your food, make your bed, etc. You'll have do a lot of this yourself, until the numbers replace themselves.

What would you prefer, a world where you get 100% of your money, but every year, your country is gripped by an epidemic, and you are walking in a "death zone"? Or would you prefer to pay some of your money, to keep the poor healthy enough that they aren't spreading epidemics?

Finally, i would like to know with some less abiguious wording, what is fair. Should we take 40 or 50 percent of what "rich" people make to support those who make zero?
Depends on the input values. You have to do the calculations to know.

How fair of redistibution should we have and what would be the real goal of said redistribution?
Make everyone's life better, especially the rich, by group selection.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 78 (view)
Posted: 8/26/2011 7:59:11 AM

He talks about how the United Nations should play a role in finding a "satisfactory way" to stablising world population in a manner sensitive to religious and moral considerations ?
There are a number of ways to cut down the population: Encourage lots of people to have no kids, which we're doing already. Cause lots of deaths in wars. We're in 2, and have been for about 10 years. Cause epidemics in the population. Some people say that is happening, although I am undecided if it's being done, only that it's par for the course as far as modern Western governments go.

Will medical advancements have to be restricted if they create a unsustainable longevity problem ?
Already being put in place. There are a calls for smokers and obese people to be denied surgery and hospital treatment. Patient healthcare is going more and more private in the UK, and as a result, more and more people are having to pay for their own treatment. There is also a growing suggestion that all this genetics should be used by medical HMOs to decide who to insure for what, because in their view, if you have a pre-existing DNA that increases your risk of a certain disease, that should cause your premiums to rise, or even possibly that such diseases should be excluded from the cover that your HMO provides, and should have to be paid out of your own pocket.

To cope with the rising population, pensionable ages are getting longer, and more jobs are being arranged in such a way that only the elderly would be able to do them, such as taxi driving.

What level of world population is sustainable to achieve Mr Rockefellers ideal of everyone having a " decent life " what actually is this so called decent life ?
A lot of people say 5 million. I think you'd need to multiply that figure by 10 times, to cover for the servants to do their bidding. I would have said that machines could replace humans, and so we could keep away from using humans as slaves. But it turns out that our machines were mostly powered by petroleum-based products, like petrol, and we now keep turning away from fossil fuels. So we either all have to do it all ourselves, or we have to go back to slavery, with 10 slaves for every citizen. Personally, I doubt that most people would choose hard slog for the rest of their lives over moral considerations. Morality versus nothing, yes. Morality versus us being our own slaves, no.

Of course, that's all if we cannot get an energy source as abundant, portable, and as easy to use as petrol. So far, I see a lot of people saying we will. But that's been for 40 years, and we still haven't gotten anywhere near a realistic version of that.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 1529 (view)
Posted: 8/22/2011 1:58:08 PM

There are true facts in science. They are verifiable observations.
Yes, but if I, or anyone else, makes observations, then the thing that I was examining, at the time when I was examining it, had that observation true about it. But tomorrow, it might not be. For instance, today, you might see a caterpillar sitting on a leaf, and tomorrow, you might see it inside a chrysalis.
Today, you might see a chrysalis, and tomorrow, all you see is a broken cocoon and a butterfly far off into the distance.
Today, you might see a lion eat a gazelle. Tomorrow, the lion might be killed by another lion, or another animal.

Thus, the only observations that are facts, that I have access to, or anyone has access to, are those observations about the past, possibly about the present, but not about the future.

I can observe that because I saw a caterpillar on a leaf a month ago, and for the past 30 days, that same caterpillar has been there, on a leaf on that hedge, munching away. On that basis, I can conclude that it will continue to be there, for a long time into the future. But that is an inductive inference. It will be wrong, because the caterpillar will change into the butterfly. But until I see that happen, I remain blissfully ignorant.

What we observe about the past, even the present, that we believe will continue to happen into the future, are inductive inferences, and many of them are wrong. We are just too blissful to realise that yet.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 341 (view)
On the Existence of God and Other Sundry Matters
Posted: 8/22/2011 11:46:03 AM

Quite often, the leaders of the various religions have no problem keeping science & faith seperate. It is generally local churches, local church groups and splinter factions of the major religions that intrude into the realm of science & attempt to control what teachers are allowed to teach, and want to have the rules of science ( at least in the classroom) "adjusted" in an attempt to show "scientifically" that what's in the Bible is proven. They seem to dislike science & regard it as evil but also seem determined to warp science in a vain effort to prove their beliefs.
You have a good point.

Some people who work running local organisations, could get themselves a high-flying position in the world, but choose to do so, because they believe they can do the most good there. They tend to be praised by everyone who talks about them behind their backs, even the people who don't like them.

However, some people who work running local organisation, are there, because no-one in the professional world wants them, because they are angry, obnoxious, don't work hard, and don't pay enough attention to what they are doing to even do a half-way good job. I've seen them in all walks of life. Jumped-up petty little bureaucrats, who have no real power in their lives, and not even at home, and just try and lord it all over everyone else, because that's really all the power anyone will give them, for good reason. They tend to be criticised by everyone who talks about them behind their backs, even their friends.

However, in the local world, these weaknesses tend to be ignored, because all too often, the better workers go off to the big leagues, so they don't really have much choice of who to get to run local groups.

It's the same sort of phenomena as people moving from towns and villages to the cities. Some good people choose to stay. But most of the best move. Those who would like to move, but are incompetent or too obviously corrupt to get away with corruption, cannot make it in the big city. So they end up moving back to their home town. As that drain goes on, the ratios change. More and more of the people in the town are incompetent or corrupt, and less and less are quality people who choose to live there. Eventually, many people think that ONLY the people in the town are incompetent or corrupt.

So I think that such phenomena within the bounds of religious groups, is just a much smaller indication of what is going on in society as a whole. It's the tip of the iceberg, and it wasn't the tip that sunk the Titanic. It was the 7/8th beneath the surface.

Individuality is very important, as it leads to flexibility, and flexibility makes one more able to adapt in the face of change, and so make one more in tune with evolution. But we still need cohesion within society, or society fragments, and splits into lots of conflicts.

To make a happy human society, we need BOTH: Individuality AND Cohesion, in EVERY part of society, not just religion. After all, we don't want to find that we've fixed the religious conflict, only to find our country goes down the tubes even faster and worse than we thought possible.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 6 (view)
Stop Coddling the Super-Rich
Posted: 8/22/2011 11:30:46 AM

The guys on the bottom are protected in our society, they get free food,free medical, subsidized housing, free money, pay no taxes,grants if they want to start business, grant monies for school, scholarships ..etc..How are they beat up?
I've been on the top, and the bottom, and the middle. All 3 get food, clothing, a home, education, help to start a business, etc. Really, the only difference between the 3, is that at the top, you get treated like royalty, in the middle, you get treated like you're a decent human being, and on the bottom, people treat you like something they wiped off their shoe, and generally make you go on pointless wild goose chases and jump through hoops, before they give you the money for food, clothing, etc., in order to justify that they aren't encouraging you to live off of them like a parasite.

The end result, is that you

because they have no marketable skills?
The end result of all the wild goose chases and jumping through hoops while being on the bottom, is that you actually have less time than a worker in the middle, or a rich person on the top, to start your own business, get a job, get a place to live, etc.

the great thing about America is that everyone has opportunity if people don't take advantage of all of the resources available then they only have themselves to blame...
Reminds me of the film "Trading Places". Eddie Murphy's character does even better at Dan Ackroyd's job, as Dan Ackroyd does. The only difference is that Ackroyd's character's family got him in, and Murphy's character's family didn't.

Now, that is not an excuse. Murphy still should try hard to get ahead. But it does mean the playing field is built to ensure that those who are best at getting the job, do the job, not those who are best at doing the job. So naturally, we have a lot of people in top jobs who are excellent at getting the job, but who are lousy at it, and that results in a lot of incompetence. Also, for the same reason, we end up with a lot of people in top jobs who are excellent at getting the jobs, but who have no interest in doing a good job, and just want to milk it for all they can get, while doing as little as possible, and that results in corruption.

Not exactly the ideal society.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 340 (view)
On the Existence of God and Other Sundry Matters
Posted: 8/22/2011 6:17:41 AM

The construct, God, is built on Faith, not Science.

Therefore, let Faith travel its own route. And let Science travel its own route.

And, never the twain should meet.

But we know better, don't we?

For religion always seems to tread where it does not belong. And it refrains from treading where it should belong.

What's up with that?
It might be that way where you grew up.

But it was a non-religious poster here on this site, who pointed out to me, that when Darwin published his book on evolution, that leaders in both the English branch of Protestantism, and the English branch of Catholicism, both said that religion and science are 2 different disciplines, each performing different functions in society, and as long as science does not mess in matters of religion, they would ensure that religion would not mess in science.

But then again, the UK hadn't separated church and state completely at that point. The state could still mandate just how far religion could go, and could dictate that religion could not encroach on science's area, because the church was still connected to the state, and so the state had a measure of power over it.

Likewise, at that point, science was still being funded on a country-by-country basis. So each country's government had the power and influence to dictate that scientists not encroach on religion's area.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 83 (view)
Is there a relationship between religious inclination and low I.Q?
Posted: 8/22/2011 6:01:21 AM
RE Msg: 86 by Irregulator:

So, whether the study's conclusions are true or not, is moot. If you believe it, you're probably stupid. If you think it's highly questionable, then you are probably smart.
What do you call ignoring metadata?
If you thought about a matter, and you ignore something stupid said about it, then is that ignorance?

In life, you are either part of the solution, or part of the problem. Either you offer a positive way to solve the problem, or you are part of the problem, and are just making matters worse.

So if you are just looking for a way to put others down, all you are doing is trying to make others feel animosity towards you, which increases the conflict in your country, in an unnecessary way. You are then part of the problem.

In some families, there is a general familial value to ignore study of all kinds. In such families, there is a correlation between those who follow the family's values, and a lower IQ, and those who oppose the family's values, and have a higher IQ. Many such families also have a familial value to be religious. So in such families, the members who are more religious, tend to have a lower IQ.

In some families, there is a general familial value to take up study of all kinds. In such families, there is a correlation between those who follow the family's values, and a higher IQ, and those who oppose the family's values, and have a lower IQ. Many such families also have a familial value to be religious. So in such families, the members who are more religious, tend to have a higher IQ.

If there is a tendency in America, and in other Western countries, to only associate study with school, and then only in the things that you study in school, but not in any other subjects, and not once you have left school, then that is a shame. If, likewise, most families in America are religious, and so those who tend to follow family values in America, tend to disregard study, and be religious, then that is an equal shame, not became of religion, but because general family values in America discourage study.

A solution would be to teach Americans, that a religious person is one who values study, and to so ingrain that in their consciousness, that religious people study everything avidly.

Another solution would be to balance out the negative correlation, by requiring that all religious people have to stay in school and university, until they get a PhD, and non-religious people have to leave education right after high school. So then they are all equally smart.

A problem would be to encourage everyone in America to be non-religious. The familial values would remain the same. So most people in America would still avoid study. Those family members who went against their family, would then be those who went against non-religion, and non-study. So then it would be the religious who would have a higher IQ. The only difference would be that there would then be a correlation between lack of study, and non-religion, and consequently, non-religiousness and lack of IQ.

We don't want people saying "I'm smart. I'm a vegetarian. Ergo, everyone should be vegetarians", or anything else of that unreasonable nature.

We want viable solutions, that make sense.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 16 (view)
'Active' volcano found on Moon
Posted: 8/22/2011 5:11:55 AM
Cool. Perhaps in the future, the Earth might cool and be like the Moon. Be a great place to make giant leaps for mankind, no?
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 5 (view)
Lightbulb! We Need a Constitutional Amendment!
Posted: 8/22/2011 5:10:32 AM
Your idea does have merit. There are a lot of good points you have raised. However, here are only a few of the problems with your solution to these problems:
1) 2500 of them all having no power of legislation.

2) Ability to veto or retract any law for review.
That's a contradiction in terms. Regulators could keep vetoing bills, and keep retracting them for review, until the legislators are only left with what the regulators wanted the law to be in the first place. Hence, they would become hidden absolute legislators. No-one could stop them.

In the event the regulators are suspected of corrpution the people can vote them out not only on a singular level, but on a state and or a national level. So this makes it extremely difficult for a regulator to keep his/her job. Hence they will need to do a very good job for us "that meets OUR APPROVAL" to collect a generous retirement plan.
When people worry that they might lose their job, they tend to appeal to whatever the public is clamouring for, no matter how nonsensical. That's what happens with politicians. That's what could happen with these types of regulators.

The points you have raised, that are useful to consider, are mostly the questions that motivated you to come to such a solution: The current 3 branches of government seem to be full of incompetence and corruption. Why do the current 3 branches of government end up not serving the needs of the people, but themselves?

The truth is that any branch of government is bound to corruption. Even if it is exposed to regulation by outside bodies, the people in the various branches of government tend to be aware of this, and then set about doing things that will protect them from punishment, and will influence regulators on their behalf.

At this point, though, I don't want to trash your idea entirely. I'd like to find a way to make it work, if at all possible.

So far as I understand it, the idea of having a separate Legislatory, Judicial and Executive branch, was to separate out the various jobs and functions of government, into different departments, so that no one department could have absolute power, and thus could not become absolutely corrupt. ALL of the different branches of government, were designed to work together. The Legislative branch would decide WHAT was to be done. The Judicial branch would decide HOW that would work in reality. The Executive branch was to make it work.

What that really means, is that EVERY decision requires the 3, all working together.

However, that probably would have brought a lot of disagreements, and that probably slowed down governmental progress. What happened, was that the 3 branches were allowed to act autonomously, on those areas where they would have had to do the majority of the job. Thus, the Executive branch deals with the day-to-day running of the government, the Legislative branch deals with making general policy, and the Judicial branch deals with working out how the policies work, in individual cases. This made them be able to act much quicker, as they was only 1 branch acting in any one decision. However, this removed the input from the other branches. So instead of having 3 different branches all being forced to work together, you have 3 different branches all making actions that are inconsistent with the actions of the other branches.

So I think that the idea of having separate branches has been misunderstood, and consequently misapplied.

The idea, I think, is that ALL 3 branches of government, are there, in ALL decisions, irrespective of what they are. That way, no-one has absolute power, in any decision. It's democracy all the way.

Sure, that would slow down the government's progress, if that was the case. But that's the point. If you let people decide what they want, without referral to others, they will make decisions that benefit themselves, even when it's not in the interests of the country overall. If you force people to decide with others in a democratic way, but you let them just filibuster, then they will filibuster and delay any decision that is good for the country, but not so good for them.

The idea is to force the 3 to work together, but to give them deadlines, not on results, but on making a joint decision. We do this, by, for every decision to be made, we select a committee where the same number of members are selected from each branch. So the size of each committee is divisible by 3. We set a reasonable deadline for such a decision.

If they cannot come to a joint decision in the deadline, then they have to at least give a few minutes that makes it clear to everyone, exactly why they couldn't reasonably agree, or they are punished, for negligently delaying a decision that had a clear outcome that would have been in the interests of the country. The decision of whether or not the 3 branches were negligent in a decision, is itself a decision, and so that too would be referred to the 3 branches, with an attached deadline. If that decision is too delayed over the deadline, then we require it to be decided if that decision was itself negligently handled, by the 3 branches, with a deadline as well. This could go on ad infinitum. But in reality, when you decide if a decision is reasonable, you expect that the time you will take to make such a decision, is going to be a lot shorter than the original decision. So in reality, the chain has shorter and shorter deadlines, until you reach a point at which the time you need to make a decision is so short, that there really isn't a good reason not to make such a decision. Once the decision is made, it cascades back up the line, forcing the original decision to be made. Eventually, the whole process just makes the decision made anyway, but in a way that punishes everyone who delays it. So it gives you a real incentive to make decisions reasonably.

The same would apply if it turns out that the decision was made too quickly, and so negligently. In such a case, then the deciders have to be punished as well, for being negligent in their decision processes.

Governments would then be forced to make decisions, within a reasonable amount of time, as set by the deadline, but where each self-interested branch would have to work with the other self-interested branches, to come to a majority decision. So every decision would then have to reflect the needs of most people, including the big decisions.

To this, I would add the Regulators. But I would include them in all the decisions as well. They would serve as people who overlook each decision, and decide if, while the decision-making process is going on, if the committee is deliberating too long, or too short, or incompetently or in a corrupt fashion.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 4 (view)
Stop Coddling the Super-Rich
Posted: 8/22/2011 4:02:35 AM
In keeping with the notion of “last-place aversion”, the people who were a spot away from the bottom were the most likely to give the money to the person above them: rewarding the “rich” but ensuring that someone remained poorer than themselves. Those not at risk of becoming the poorest did not seem to mind falling a notch in the distribution of income nearly as much. This idea is backed up by survey data from America collected by Pew, a polling company: those who earned just a bit more than the minimum wage were the most resistant to increasing it.

Poverty may be miserable. But being able to feel a bit better-off than someone else makes it a bit more bearable.
In an environment where the kid at the bottom is picked on, beaten up, and bullied, every single day, like the way American high schools are portrayed on TV, and the way bullying happens IRL, as children, and even in adult situations, such as in work, is it any wonder that you don't want to be on the bottom? Being on the bottom means being beaten up every day, and/or an equivalently horrible form of abuse. That's a horrible life.

Maybe we ought to stop beating up the guy at the bottom, and ONLY the guy at the bottom, all day, and every day. Maybe we ought to start sharing the beatings out a bit fairer, or not even beating people up at all. Then we wouldn't feel like we have to keep someone else down below us all the time.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 7 (view)
Chinese Space Station
Posted: 8/21/2011 7:08:32 PM

E. O. Wilson called us "an environmental abnormality" for our capacity as a single species to be so effective at causing the 6th extinction and burning up the biosphere.

That perhaps is the most compelling reason for us to get off the planet. Not that we will actually arrive anywhere else, much less a place that was this good, but for the sake of the rest of life on earth, it would be good for at least the planet eaters to leave.
What makes you think "abnormal planet eaters" would leave anything of this planet anyway? If history is anything to go by, they'll use up everything this planet has to offer before leaving it, and then nuke it, just to make sure that no-one else gets to enjoy it.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 82 (view)
Is there a relationship between religious inclination and low I.Q?
Posted: 8/19/2011 7:37:50 AM

"I'm not saying that believing in God makes you dumber. My hypothesis is that people with a low intelligence are more easily drawn toward religions, which give answers that are certain, while people with a high intelligence are more skeptical," says the professor.
I'd agree that stupid people tend to like answers that sound simple and certain, and that smart people tend to mistrustful of answers that sound simple and certain, and tend to prefer more sophisticated answers that cannot fit into simple and certain terms.

However, what type of statement is it, to say that religious people are lower in IQ than non-religious people?

That sounds pretty simple to me, as it doesn't really reflect people like Newton, Boyle, etc, and just gives a very simple uniform appearance to the situation. It's way too simplistic to reflect reality.

It also sounds pretty certain, in the way that it is stated, that it is supposed to definitely true. The study was only on Americans, which we know have religious tendencies not seen elsewhere, and only on the youth, which we know tend to try out a lot of things as experiences, and generally act impulsively. So we can see at least 2 reasons why this study may not be representative of people in general. Yet, the study states a general statement about ALL humans, not the 0.5% that this study would be applicable to. So all in all, this study is way over-certain.

Therefore, anyone who reads such an over-simplified, and over-certain study, and is not highly sceptical of it, is someone who prefers answers that sound simple and certain, and so is of low intelligence.

That would be just as true, of any such study, and whether it claimed that religious people are stupider than non-religious people, or that non-religious people were stupider than religious people, the same observation would be true. So the observation is independent of one's personal views, and independent of which group is claimed to be smarter, but simply dependent on the over-simplicity and over-certainty of the claim itself.

So, whether the study's conclusions are true or not, is moot. If you believe it, you're probably stupid. If you think it's highly questionable, then you are probably smart.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 104 (view)
Evolution vs Creationism/Intelligent Design
Posted: 8/14/2011 7:29:57 PM
RE Msg: 138 by stargazer1000:
In science, scientists are careful to couch their language to allow for the possibility of new and even potentially contradictory evidence. Science never claims absolute knowledge.
That seems to me to be quite an extraordinary claim, something that has certainly not occurred to me when reading scientific papers. However, to be fair, that might be a general impression that I have gotten, but could be a misunderstanding of mine, due to me not taking enough care and attention when reading such papers. So I could be corrected, were you to present example of example of language taken directly from scientific papers, to prove your point, along with the links to said papers, so that all of us may examine them in detail, and confirm that they are not cherry-picked, and are indeed generally representative of the language of scientific papers.

That's the domain of religion. Which is why it's so often proved wrong. Unless you want to start arguing now that lightning comes from the fist of Zeus.
There are over 30,000 different denominations in Xianity alone. Each would have its own statements. That adds up to a heck of a lot of statements, taking into account all religious denominations. So I would find it extremely difficult to describe "religion" as an "it", and not leave oneself potentially open to lots of counter-examples, that would be enough to dispute your claim, or even refute it entirely.

Perhaps you could clarify your statistical calculations for me.

Of course, I've actually yet to see a single shred of "evidence" from so-called "creation science" that doesn't start with the statement "evolution says A, but..."
You raise an interesting point. I've seen lots of scientists work very, very hard to come up with hypotheses of how the evidence of altruistic behaviour might be explained in competitive selfish-oriented evolution. I've yet to see ONE that came up with even a wild hypothesis of how G-d might create humans. It thus seems to me, that the work is heavily weighted assuming one side.

Is that what you call "scientists are careful to couch their language to allow for the possibility of new and even potentially contradictory evidence"?

Of course, I could be missing something that you know. So perhaps you could again, provide lots of sophisticated scientific explanations of how "creation science" might work, from atheist scientists?

I can see how the above might be assumed. I was certainly told all this in the Western educational system. It was only once I started to question EVERYTHING, that I started to realise EVERYTHING, included what my teachers and lecturers told and implied to me. Subsequently, I took to keeping such matters in mind, to see if these hypotheses stood up to scrutiny, and found myself leaning more and more against my upbringing. However, it seems to me that most people do not engage in questioning EVERYTHING, particularly what they were taught by their teachers and lecturers, especially if they admired them. Thus, I can understand how we might come to see things differently over this matter.

Please, prove me wrong. I invite you to demonstrate your greater intelligence and wisdom to me.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 32 (view)
Is it a science?
Posted: 8/12/2011 3:54:46 PM

do you view psychology as a science?
Yes and No.

if so, why?
It's the study of the brain and the mind.

if not, why?
Different sciences have changed over the years. Back in the middle ages and before, subjects like physics and chemistry were treated very much like the way psychology is viewed today, with lots of people holding lots of different hypotheses, based on their observations, with a lot of disagreements, and a lot of strange notions. The same was somewhat true of Mathematics in the times of the ancient Greeks, where Pythagoras burned a student because the student believed that negative numbers could exist.

Mathematics changed, and became integrated with cold, hard logic. It later on became accepted in mathematics, that one could only say something was true in mathematics, if it was proved 100% true, by a method that everyone would agree with, no matter what their views were. The same was true of saying something was false. Everything else could only have odds applied to it, and could not be said to be definitely true.

As a result, mathematicians had far less to say than experts in other subjects, but what they said was more reliable and stronger than solid titanium. You didn't even have to take their word for it either, because they had to have proofs that everyone could agree with, or it was no longer considered a mathematical proof.

Something similar happened in other subjects around the time of the Renaissance.

Mathematics was applied to art, to develop the rules of Perspective. This totally transformed art. Now, there was a method to draw and paint 3D objects, in ways that others could recognise instantly as 3D representations of the originals.

The rules of perspective also meant that such a method could be taught. So art was no longer a skill that one either was born with, or was not. It could be taught. So you could establish schools of art, in which people could attend, to learn how to draw and paint. Such schools meant that within the school, more forms of art could be explored, and rules could then be developed to help one make those art-forms to one's satisfaction. So this brought about continued development in art.

It also meant that how one should do art, had much more agreement and consistency. So there were far less arguments about how art should be drawn. One could still differ over which form of art one preferred to use. This was a matter of disagreement over personal preferences, and so was not an argument over what was right, but just a disagreement over individual tastes, which allowed each to accept that the other had their own tastes, and yet could still get on, and admire each other's artwork.

The same happened to physics and chemistry, even more than with art. Nowadays, mathematical precision and mathematical reasoning is found all over physics and chemistry.

The same can happen to psychology. I expect that eventually, someone will, just out of random behaviour, and will realise the benefits of exacting clarity of logic. I would expect that eventually, others in psychology will realise the same benefits, and so eventually, it will be handled much more like the way physics, chemistry, mathematics, and much of art is handled today.

This process does have resistance to it.

Such approaches bring such clarity that many views are clarified as being untenable. Those who work with those views in their careers would then find their career choices are no longer viable. They would have to change to another field of psychology, re-train, and work their way up again. So there is bound to be a lot of "career resistance".

Another form of resistance is "socioeconomic resistance". The changes in views, can lead to changes in society. Once these views start affecting government policy and/or how people do things, these changes to society can cause the same changes in careers all over society, as in the original field. So we see a lot of the same types of resistance.

Another form of resistance is "political resistance", such as when such changes will mean that internationally, our country's status will lower, and our standard of living and power in the world will decrease as a result.

Often the resistance is itself subconscious. Consciously many of us do not want to stand in the way of reason. Nevertheless, most of us seem to have a survival instinct. The above threats to our livelihood and socioeconomic status lower our existing probabilities of survival. So our survival instinct often kicks in, to keep our survival odds as high as we have been used to. The subconscious is a very powerful thing. It can invent complex rationalisations for us. It can even motivate us to argue ferociously on a subject, without us being aware of our own actions. We THINK we are fighting for the rights of women, children, etc. We THINK that we are trying to save the world. We are often only fighting for our own personal power.

Such resistance is not always so obvious. We tend to think of societal changes as affecting whole classes, like "the bankers". In reality, some people in most areas of society is affected, and some people in most areas of society are not affected. So there are lots of people who we think of as being unbiased, who are very biased, and lots of people who we think of as being biased, who are unbiased. We need to evaluate each person individually, because different people are affected by the same things in different ways.

It requires clear thinking to clarify who is and is not subject to this type of bias. Fortunately, this same type of logic can show us who is, who isn't, and who might be. So as long as we ourselves apply it, we then can have a much better idea of why some are for an idea, and some are against.

At this point, we have had a lot of experiments in psychology, with a lot of results, that been repeated again and again, and showed the same results, time after time. Many of these results have quite clear consequences. Many of these consequences, would, if accepted, would mean quite a few upheavals in society. Many of these upheavals would cause a massive change to the status quo, and these changes would mean that a LOT of people would no longer have the respect, power, and socioeconomic status that they currently enjoy. So, quite simply, their subconscious minds are filtering out these conclusions, keeping up the resistance to accepting these consequences.

As a result, we know a heck of a lot from many experiments in psychology, that we are simply not yet accepting.

It's going to take some time, for society to change in such a way, that these people no longer have a need for such subconscious resistance. In the meantime, we are given the impression that psychology is a foggy subject.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 81 (view)
Evolution vs Creationism/Intelligent Design
Posted: 8/11/2011 12:27:48 PM
RE Msg 12 by Hoyo:

Threatened? How? There are BILLIONS of religious believers. At most, only 150 million Americans don't believe in evolution, and even then, most of them don't seem to be saying they are THREATENED by it, rather just don't believe it.
That's all well and good, but I'm simply talking from past experiences with people I've dealt with.
Based on past experiences, I would say that most religious believers have degrees, and 50% of those with degrees have PhDs. But I gather that is not the case. I can see from myself, and from others, that while experience is a great teacher, it's not always a reliable predictor of the general state of any group, and especially when it's a very large group, like in the millions.

You can, and that's what most religious believers in the WORLD, DO.
I know people who believe the world is 6000 years old, and that dinosaurs and humans coexisted. So that's a group that is blatantly denying science.
In a study in the late 90s, 1/3 of British teens reported that they believed that you could catch AIDS from a toilet seat. By the same logic, one could conclude that Britain, the home of the Rutherford Laboratory, Paul Dirac and Stephen Hawking, to name a few, is anti-science.

I cannot really verify or refute it, because you haven't listed ALL the things to which you refer
One example is Russian silver foxes. Over about 36 generations of selective breeding resulted in the foxes looking and behaving like dogs. Or the Italian wall lizards planted on an island near Croatia. They went from insect eaters to plant eaters, with a totally different skull structure. Even though that change is, by definition, evolution, a creationist has to deny those changes took place.
2 points:

1) Cross-breeding was thousands of years old in Darwin's time. If Darwin had even suggested that would be a proof of evolution, it would have been received as it would be today, for a scientist to suggest that Quantum Loop Gravity is true, just because things that roll off your bed land on the floor.

Granted, it might not be obvious to us, because we are no longer raised with animals. But then, how can we expect to really understand a subject that, for 99% of us, have only experienced in books and experiments, and have no knowledge of how it works in the lab that is real life?

2) I said ALL. Without ALL the examples, I can only draw a conclusion on a tiny subset of data. That would be rather like deciding that because Obama won, that means that the Democrats win every election, and as a result, the Democrats have won every election, from 1776 onwards.

Best you can do. Science has given us the tools to do a lot better than that.
Not really sure what you mean by that. That science should have discovered all the answers by now?
The knowledge is already there. It's a question of application.

I guess that's the other thing I find strange about the "debate". From what I usually witness, it's the naturalists who are humble (they claim to not know all the answers), and the creationists who seem to act as if they have all the answers. I've always found that ironic.
I find it ironic as well:

Humble people, who claim they know little, would only claim facts, not hypotheses, not even educated hypotheses. You claim that all they have is educated hypotheses. Ergo, according to you, humble people would NOT claim anything.

Equally, if you look at a creationist, and ask them HOW G-d did it, we would expect they would say "I don't know". Surely that is the response of someone who is openly admitting that they don't have all the answers.
Not sure where I said all that science has is educated hypotheses. I know I mentioned it educated hypotheses. A part of science is assuming you're 99% correct at best. Science always leaves room for error, and assumes they don't have 100% of the information. To me, that is a humble attitude.
99% of 6.5 billion is 65 million. That means that any scientist who believes this, would naturally conclude that AT LEAST 65 million people in the world would naturally, after having studied all the evidence, still come to the conclusion that the theory of evolution is wrong. So I would expect that such a person would be happy to concede that, even if he thought evolution was right, that it is perfectly reasonable for even millions to believe that evolution is wrong, and would not chide them for it whatsoever. THAT, to me, would be an indication of a "humble" evolutionist.

To be a creationist, you have to look at factual findings, hard evidence, and say, "Nope." That's why I try to avoid the arguments, it's like if I say grass is bright pink, even while looking at a field, how can you possibly persuade me?
GM and cross-breeding. You can grow pink grass in a field. So it's entirely possible. That's never been a problem.
You missed my point on this one. Bringing it back to those Italian wall lizards, even though we witness the change in skull structure over the span of about 30 years, someone who denies evolution would have to deny that the skulls changed, despite it being right in front of them
I addressed your "proof" above.

In other words, take nobody's word for it, no scientists, no philosophers, no-one. Test it for yourself. Don't rely on experiments done by others, that are published in journals. Act as no-one else said it. Don't demand that everyone else has to accept it, because 'loads of people accept it'. Be the lone scientist who does against everyone else. That is the only way to be sure. Trust no-one when it comes to science.
I agree. But, as I only have one life to live, I can't be a geologist, paleontologist, zoologist, anthropologist, chemist, biologist and historian. All I can do is my own research, gather as much information as i can from as many sources as possible, and make up my own mind on the works of others.
Creationists have the same problem, and are facing the same solution, just as you. So practically speaking, their view for them, MUST be, practically, treated as your view is for you, i.e. if you are right to believe in your view, then they are equally right to believe in their views, for exactly the same reason, the one you stated: But, as I only have one life to live, I can't be a geologist, paleontologist, zoologist, anthropologist, chemist, biologist and historian. All I can do is my own research, gather as much information as i can from as many sources as possible, and make up my own mind on the works of others.

I would like to put a question to you. You have given me a few arguments, which are based on reasons that apply just as much to support Creationists' views, as they do to support your own. So your own reasons for holding your views, seems to require that you would believe that Creationists are just as entitled to hold their views, as you hold yours. Yet, you seem of the opposite opinion. Can you explain how the conclusions that come from your arguments about the views of Creationists, are so opposing your own conclusions about the views of Creationists? Which one is right, your reason or your conclusions?
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 8 (view)
Evolution vs Creationism/Intelligent Design
Posted: 8/3/2011 2:58:49 AM

I generally try not to get into this subject, but I thought I'd ask anyway. Why are so many religious believers threatened by evolution?
Threatened? How? There are BILLIONS of religious believers. At most, only 150 million Americans don't believe in evolution, and even then, most of them don't seem to be saying they are THREATENED by it, rather just don't believe it.

Seriously: If you gathered together 6,500 people, of which 15 claimed that Marmite is dangerous, and the rest have no problem with it, would you claim that the MAJORITY of those people believe that Marmite is dangerous? Is that what you honestly believe?

Why can you not have your religion while accepting science?
You can, and that's what most religious believers in the WORLD, DO.

On the other hand, I can understand WHY some people might worry about problems like this. The media tends to increase controversy. Media is a business, and businesses today are focussed on making as much money as possible. Media businesses make money by getting people to watch/listen/read to them, i.e. to pay attention to them. So their main aim is to get you paying as much attention as possible to what they say. If you see a threat, your biological response is to pay more attention to that threat. That response increases with the size of the threat. So currently, media businesses get more attention, and consequently make more money, which is their current ultimate aim, by reporting as many threats as possible, and making those threats seem as large as possible. As a result, it is the aim of the media to make you see huge threats everywhere, even if they are such a small issue, that they really aren't a threat at all. So, when you see a situation as a threat, and the ACTUAL numbers show that it isn't, and the story is often reported in various ways via the media as a big threat, you know that you are suffering from media bias.

If you don't accept evolution, there are so many things that you have to deny exist or happened.
That's an interesting statement. I cannot really verify or refute it, because you haven't listed ALL the things to which you refer. You could just as equally say "If you accept evolution, there are so many things that you have to deny exist or happened.That's an interesting statement." and I would find that just as equally unfeasible to verify or refute. It doesn't help.

Do I know how life began? No, and most likely, no one ever will. Educated hypothesis based on verified evidence is the best we can do.
Best you can do. Science has given us the tools to do a lot better than that.

I guess that's the other thing I find strange about the "debate". From what I usually witness, it's the naturalists who are humble (they claim to not know all the answers), and the creationists who seem to act as if they have all the answers. I've always found that ironic.
I find it ironic as well:

Humble people, who claim they know little, would only claim facts, not hypotheses, not even educated hypotheses. You claim that all they have is educated hypotheses. Ergo, according to you, humble people would NOT claim anything.

Equally, if you look at a creationist, and ask them HOW G-d did it, we would expect they would say "I don't know". Surely that is the response of someone who is openly admitting that they don't have all the answers.

To be a creationist, you have to look at factual findings, hard evidence, and say, "Nope." That's why I try to avoid the arguments, it's like if I say grass is bright pink, even while looking at a field, how can you possibly persuade me?
GM and cross-breeding. You can grow pink grass in a field. So it's entirely possible. That's never been a problem.

Take a look at this:
The Royal Society's motto 'Nullius in verba' roughly translates as 'take nobody's word for it'.

In other words, take nobody's word for it, no scientists, no philosophers, no-one. Test it for yourself. Don't rely on experiments done by others, that are published in journals. Act as no-one else said it. Don't demand that everyone else has to accept it, because 'loads of people accept it'. Be the lone scientist who does against everyone else. That is the only way to be sure. Trust no-one when it comes to science.

If you take that on board, is what you are saying so sensible?

Maybe there is a better way, 'nullius in verba', trust no-one. Don't let others teach you. Most of the time, that's just repeating what someone else said, and not even contributing anything that makes it more viable. Come up with your own theory, and show me how you proved that. Then at least I can read about things that make sense, and don't rely on the fallacy of relying on authority, not even authority of the scientific community.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 77 (view)
religion as a weapon
Posted: 7/19/2011 7:21:07 PM
RE Msg: 113 by Irregulator:
The religious and political trolling factions seem to have moved to the Science and the Off-Topic forums, apparently they crave a more accessible audience.
The whole point of trolling, is to be noticed. So trolls will always move anywhere they can be noticed most, and will always favour those subjects that are most controversial, even if they are off-topic for those forums, and belong somewhere more private.

RE Msg: 114 by jessehoo:
Religion has lots of spirituality embedded in it, it is however, indeed packaged in the form of religion with all kinds of casual effects that pisses people off.
Whenever you have a group activity, some will get pissed off with it. The more popular the activity, the more people in it, the more people who get pissed off with it, and the more pissed off a small core will be.

This just shows that religions are an incredibly popular group activity.

It's that people actually do stuff together, that causes the problems, because as a species, humans are still not quite mentally mature enough to just try and get on with each other, without trolling all over each other.

But that will eventually happen, given enough war, poverty, and disease. Everyone gets tired of the arguments eventually, even the body of cells that identifies as humanity.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 63 (view)
Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?
Posted: 7/19/2011 7:10:44 PM
RE Msg: 60 by Apologist~D.A:
Religion has been and always will be one with politics, for how can the two exist seperately? They can not.
Even Ghandi, a feller who belived in a false god (IMO) said, and I quote, "Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics does not know what religion is."
Politics is about the decisions regarding the polis, the people. Anything that concerns more than 1 person, by definition, is politics. Religions govern more than 1 person. Ergo, they are involved with politics, just like the internet, beer, socialising, and everything else.

Forget American politics. Religion will and always has ruled ALL governing authority. Period.
Westerners have a tendency to look through everything as if their view is the only view. Americans are know to do this to an extreme, even to the extent that all other Westerners would consider positively ridiculous.

If only Americans realised how insular they look to the rest of the world, they would freak. Probably be good for them. They might wake up, and realise that the rest of the world shows when Americans are looking at things from the wrong end of the stick.

When Henry VIII wanted to get a divorce from Katherine of Aragon, the Pope said no. Her brother was king of Spain, which was incredibly powerful. Occasionally, popes had been imprisoned by kings, until the pope did what they wanted. So angering a powerful king was not a good idea for a pope to do.

Spanish politics dictated religion.

Henry, however, wanted a legitimate son, and the pope was not going to do that. So, Henry simply ordered all the priests of England, to change to a new religion, with him at the head, or he would take all their lands, declare them non-priests, and put others in their stead, who would. So, they capitulated. Then, as head of his new religion, Henry promptly declared himself divorced. Hence, we now have Anglicanism.

English politics dictated religion.

1. America was founded on Individualism, the idea that you can do whatever you want, without need of compromise, and especially when it came to religion.
False. Lie. Untrue.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was interested in the quote by Thomas Jefferson, because everyone claims that he was either an atheist or an agnostic.

However, apart from that, it doesn't say they believed in Xianity at all.

You might not realise it, but the Protestant Reformation was an important change to Xianity. Up until then, Xianity still required that you follow your Church. The Protestant Reformation is taken from the word "Protest", because that is what it was, a protest movement that no-one should dictate to you what your idea of religion should be.

It gave birth to many different sects since its inception, and sect after sect since then. It resulted in groups like the Amish. Later on, came the Quakers, and the Unitarians, who are both sects that only require belief in G-d, with no stipulation other than that, and they too were called Xians. Other groups, like those who believed in "speaking in tongues", snake charmers, and the like, all rose out of this break with tradition, that whatever you felt or thought G-d and your religion to be, was what you believed to be G-d and your religion, and they too were called Xians. That you were a Xian, just meant that whatever you decided was what religion should be about, was what you decided Xianity was about.

So basically, being a Protestant Xian, often resulted in you changing your religion to be whatever you wanted it to be, or believed it should be.

If you look down through your quotes, you will see that these quotes refer to :

"the more distinguished character of Christian."

"Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God ... What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be."

"the general principles of Christianity."

"by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations".

"God who gave us life gave us liberty."

"that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ."

"Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual."

"Here is my Creed. I believe in one God, the Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That He ought to be worshipped."

Please note that the Day of Deliverance does NOT specify spending one's day in church, prayer to Jesus, or giving tithes to the church, or anything else that might be identified as Xian, and only Xian.

Every one of those sentences could be applied equally to almost every theist that exists.

The acid test of this, of course, is Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists: "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties."

This is the foundation of the concept of the Wall of Separation, and of the First Amendment rights.

It declares, quite openly, that no American goverment or person can tell you how to worship your G-d. According to Jefferson's own words, if you are a Jew, he cannot demand that you do things the Xian way. It is that simple.

I can go on for hours, should you request, I assure you.
Are we playing who can go for longer?

Please google "scorpiomover". This will list all my posts here. Browse them. Count the lines. Then decide if you can go one for hours beyond what I have done, again and again.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 77 (view)
On the Existence of God and Other Sundry Matters
Posted: 7/4/2011 4:57:13 PM
RE Msg: 122 by _alan:
People can also visit and be informed ( about what's actually said in the Bible about various topics... Ritual Human Sacrifice, Rape in the Bible, Murder in the Bible, Slavery in the Bible and other things. such as:

Common Lies Christians Tell
Biblical Intolerance
Contradictions of the Gospel
Sexism in the Torah

None of this either proves or disproves God exists, it does show you what the Bible actually says, & makes you wonder why people would want to use the Bible as their guide.
Some people choose to follow the Bible, because it's part of a lifestyle that gives them a lot of benefits. Others choose to follow the Bible, because they sat and analysed it, and found that it makes a lot of sense. Many things that are claimed to be contradictions, use slightly different language, or are in slightly different contexts, which highlight different legal and narrative principles at play in each section. Many things that are claimed to be atrocious values, describe pragmatic ways to implement values that rationalists idealise, but as of yet, haven't begun to figure out how to implement them in any meaningful way.

It's rather like talking to someone who keeps complaining about how the bankers went mental in the Credit Crunch and have to be punished for their crimes as a deterrent, when you had the Glass-Steagall Act for decades and that worked very well to keep them in line. You just keep wondering why they don't just call for the Glass-Steagall Act to be re-implemented.

Of course, that is not to say that we should return to "that old-time religion", because in many cases, that just meant returning to whatever your priest or minister told you to do, and not actually what it says in the Bible, or what makes sense. It just means that the old is not always evil or redundant, even if you like the modern and the new.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 73 (view)
On the Existence of God and Other Sundry Matters
Posted: 7/4/2011 7:44:17 AM
RE Msg: 117 by Kardinal Offishall:

Science is a dogma, when it holds its empirical way of looking at the world to be the ONLY way to llook at the world, the only truth in the world.
Ultimately it is the best way to look at the world, and its truth claims ultimately admit of no epistemological rivals. All investigative activity by humans is on the same plane, looking at the same reality.
Science has been proved to be an extremely useful tool, and nearly everyone in the world would happily acknowledge that.

Within the field of scientific research, and their related fields, many would say that it is the best tool, much as the carpenter would say that the best tool is the hammer, the tool he uses the most. They speak about their level of expertise.

However, few outside of those who work in scientific research, or related fields, would say that it is the best tool. The vast majority of the planet, including millions of people whose IQs seriously outstrip their counterparts in scientific research, have to deal with subjects where a number of factors are involved, and where lack of competency is likely to get you sacked. In such subjects, science alone is not enough to even do their job to a minimal level of competency, while other approaches, which seem to be rather trite and seemingly useless by comparison, are actually enough to complete the necessary tasks, even to a high level of competency. They thus learn by bitter experience, of being passed over for promotion, or even being fired, which are the best tools for their job. These groups form the majority of human experience, and thus the majority of empirical evidence.

Scientists often do not realise this, because they lack the experience of anything outside of their field, and are not required to take responsibility for what is wrong in their field, by being sacked if a theory of theirs turns out to be proved wrong by later evidence, something that does happen in real life.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 59 (view)
Why is Religion such an important factor in Politics?
Posted: 7/4/2011 7:32:31 AM
1. America was founded on Individualism, the idea that you can do whatever you want, without need of compromise, and especially when it came to religion.

2. If 2 people don't agree, and they don't compromise, they are bound to come into conflict.

3. America was a new huge land. People were encouraged to settle new towns as pioneers. So if you didn't like the way your townspeople did things, whether it be in religion or in anything else, you just started your own town.

4. Once the arable and grazing lands were settled, by the turn of the 20th Century, there was nowhere to establish a new town. At that point, if you believed in Individualism, and you didn't like the way your townspeople did things, whether it be in religion or in anything else, you couldn't start your own town. So you had to get your townspeople to change the way you did things, which meant getting involved in local politics.

5. During the 20th Century, focus on policy has moved towards a state level, Federal level, and even an international level. Mass-consumerism has made technology and infrastructure ubiuitous, in the process making it easy to go anywhere and get home comforts, and has vastly increased profits. The same has been used in politics, for the same reasons, to apply policies on the state level, the national level, and in some cases, even an international level. However, that in turn means that if you want your town to run a certain way, then you are likely to find that you are overruled by state politicians, and politicians in Washington. So, whether you want your way in national politics or local politics, you still have to change things at a state level, and at a national level.

In actuality, there are lots of things that Americans are mixing in state politics, and national politics, that is driven by American belief that compromise is unnecessary. Religion is only the most noticed thing, because it is the thing that Americans regard as the most sacred form of Individualism, and because America has far more different denominations of religion than any other type of individualistic grouping.

America has been the most powerful and richest of Western countries for decades. For over 20 years, as the UK has diminished, people in the UK have sought to copy Americans, copying everything from early morning business meetings, to high school proms. America has thus had a very strong influence over other Western nations, encouraging many Western countries to imitate their behaviour. Mixing personal interests in politics is bound to follow suit eventually.

RE Msg 4 by Montreal_Guy:
If you get them hooked on God (in a cynical, Straussian sense) then you have control. Science can be minimized, like you see with the intelligent design manipulation.
I looked up Strauss on Stanford's Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. Strauss has quite reasonable points about the limits of modernism and rationalism, and how they have been carried to an untenable extreme, that then becomes means of control. However, Strauss' actual reasoning is quite esoteric, and takes quite a bit of effort to work through. It thus can also be used as a means of control, by others saying "A really smart guy (Strauss) said that modernism has gone too far. So it's dangerous. We should go the other way, and reject it altogether."
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 54 (view)
On the Existence of God and Other Sundry Matters
Posted: 7/3/2011 3:53:37 PM
RE Msg: 66 by Krebby2001:
Values are derived from many sources. Science and religion are only two such sources. Science is a rigidly instituted, precision-oriented method of discovery. It has no built in morality; however, this does not mean that it cannot be guided by morality.
I agree that the subject called science, that has been studied by religious scholars and non-religious scholars for thousands of years, is not in itself moral, as any subject is, and can be guided by morality.

However, the word "science" that refers to the accomplishments and views of modern Western society, that is run by a general group called "the scientific community", is itself purporting to dictate moral values to the rest of the world.

Religion, on the other hand, purports to be a "moral" system of values; however, the morality, oftentimes, is purely rhetorical.
It is true that some of religious morality is rhetorical, just as morality that is found in the scientific community is rhetorical. However, much of the morality of religions is for a very valid purpose, such as the drive of Quakers and Methodists against slavery, and the fight for the Xian Chancery Courts to establish the rule of equity, or equal fairness, in law.

I agree with Igor to the extent that the rhetoric revolves around gaining membership and power. And, far too often, the rhetoric is forgotten and actions in direct opposition to the rhetoric are orchestrated. Thus, many (I won't say all) forms of organized religion are a living contradiction between what it purports to seek to accomplish and what is actually done.
It is true that some of what some religious organisations have done, and still do, has been about gaining membership and power. However, many people today are of the opinion that much of what the scientific community does today, is about gaining greater membership, in the form of trying to encourage more people to enter science, and gaining power, to encourage their funding to be guaranteed, no matter what, irrespective of whether all of current scientific research is going to help humanity or not.

There is also no "dogma" in science, as science, as method, must remain subject to revision and recasting, if further empirical evidence shows that a previous finding is not sustainable.
I agree that the subject called science, that has been studied by religious scholars and non-religious scholars for thousands of years, is not in itself dogmatic. I agree that what religious texts state, often appears to be dogmatic. I agree that the way that most Westerners have been told to assume, is that religions are in principle dogmatic.

However, in practice, we ourselves have seen many changes, in only our own lifetime, that show that many religious denominations have revised and updated their views according to new information and new changes in society, the CofE's current debate to have gay bishops, is only one of many in our time. Going back in time, it is far more clear that religions are subject to revision and recasting, when evidence shows that previous views are not sustainable.

On the other hand, it is quite clear that science, meaning the Western view of science as expressed by the scientific community, has been incredibly dogmatic over the centuries, and often refuses to give in to change. An interesting recent development is that science was so against old-age cures, that the US banned any statement that honey had any medicinal cures whatsoever, and yet, very recently, scientists are now advocating that Manuka honey, a type of honey, actually is a proper medical treatment. The 2 are in complete contradiction, because the US didn't even allow for the possibility that honey MIGHT turn out to have medical properties, even though doctors had been writing about the medical effectiveness of honey for thousands of years. But that is only one of many, many such examples of such dogma.

Science is liable to the same issues and solutions that religions have.

However, I would agree that there is a tendency in the last 150 years for many people to be of the opinion that science is almost completely without blemish, and that religions are almost always so blemished as to be better off without. This attitude can be found in the former U.S.S.R., and in the French Revolution. In both cases, the issue was political, not epistemological, or in the interests of the people. Both countries were in the grip of a revolution that overthrew the previous political system in their countries.

Both countries' revolutions were bloody, exterminating the royal family, and anyone related to them, thus ensuring that even if there was a call to return to monarchy, there was no-one to return to, like what happened in the UK.

Both countries also called for a 'tyranny of the monarchy'. Yet, both countries were re-organised, in such a way, that made it impossible for any future revolutions to take place. In Russia, this was enforced by the Russian Army, and the oppression of anyone wanting to express political views or personal practices that were not 100% in line with the state policy and propaganda. In France, this was enforced by re-building the centre of Paris, the place of the French Revolution, into avenues from the centre, that are large enough for clear views from the centre, and large enough for people to crowd each other and struggle to move ahead, but not large enough for a mass group to be able to attack the centre, without being mown down by soldiers with guns in the centres. So it would be impossible for the French to revolt against the new political system. The 'tyranny', became a tyranny of the politicians, who came from the middle class, and formed a political class.

Both countries had had strong support for religion, Xianity, which was rumoured to support their kings. This was not always true. But in principle there was a lot of calls from religious figures to not just drop the monarchy altogether, and to not advocate mass slaughter. Also, many religions have spoken time and again, for support for the poor and the helpless.

Thus, religion was seen by the new political systems of France and Russia, to be a direct threat to the new governments. Religions were not in themselves a threat, because in both countries, they lacked the power to be so. The threat was that religious leaders were preaching values of basic morality that the people believed, but were being violated by the new governments, in most heinous ways, and so made the people aware that their own needs were being trampled over.

This conflict, between the people's needs, and what the governments actually did, was so huge, that it threatened to cause another revolution, to something else. The new leaders did not want to be hoisted by their own people, as that was what they had done to their predecessors. So they set things up, via the army, and re-building cities, to ensure that the people were incapable of revolting again, and to do everything to exterminate anyone who might remind the people that they have self-esteem and value worth fighting for.

So it became necessary to wipe out the old system of support for government, and to replace it with something else, and in that something else, only those who were loyal to the new governments would be supported. The rest were political dissidents, who were enemies of the state.

Science filled the gap, that religion used to take. It was the new means of telling people to trust in their governments. In return, scientists loyal to their governments could expect that they would have funding for their lifetime, which became known as 'tenure', and were given respect and admiration, in order to ensure that people would listen to them when they told the people to listen to their government.

This resulted in governments perceiving that science was a valid political tool for propaganda, and since scientists are still heavily funded by governments, via universities, they still have the power to ensure that is the case.

As time has progressed, science has expanded, to become inter-national, to allow for a larger concept of a global scientific community, that thus would have its own views that are independent of any one government, and so there is a larger conflict between an individual government and the scientific community. However, there is still a give-and-take here, because scientists are still heavily funded by governments, via universities.

So science is still heavily embroiled in politics.

At the same time, government funding to religious organisations has waned more and more, which has freed religious organisations from being a political arm of government.

This results in a conflict between the scientific community and religious organisations and religious people, that is of its nature, political, being a conflict between the general views that most Western governments wish the populace to accept, and those who are independent of those views, and critical of those views.

It's an ugly thing, to realise that one's ideals, and the career one has chosen, is itself compromised. But one's reality is often loaded with imperfection.

Of course, scientists have the physical choice of how to act. But it's not an easy one. If they speak what they honestly believe, and what they believe is totally counter to what governments claim, such as Professor David Nutt's assessment of the dangers of illegal drugs, one can find oneself out of a job. So it's not an easy choice. Given what we already know about human nature from science, it is realistic to say that standing for truth against government is either going to be something that one's government is actually OK with, even if officially they say they are not, or they are likely to be finding themselves under such pressure, that they are likely to be in the minority of scientists.

It's a difficult choice, and not one that I would envy.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 46 (view)
On the Existence of God and Other Sundry Matters
Posted: 7/3/2011 2:09:01 AM
I'd agree with Igor that there are paradoxes in religion. Mind you, I find that paradoxes exist in lots of things. Kurt Gödel even went so far as to show that almost everything has a contradiction, if you look far enough into it.

I also agree that religions have a certain power in this world, that sometimes results in corruption, or war, or other things we don't like. So what happens if we reject all religions? In America and in the UK, we say that China violates human rights. But China is an atheist state, run by atheists, who don't adhere to any religion. They are doing what non-religious people in Western countries want them to do, to give up religion. So there should be no problem with them. How can this be?

People often do not realise that quantum decoherence requires that a choice is made, and "no choice" is not a choice. Even if you abandon one set of values, your actions, from then on in, are going to be consistent with a pattern, which defines their choices in life, and who they are. If you want to know a person, look at their actions. So you are actually just swapping one set of values for another set of values.

But whose set of values are you adopting? What is in those values? Do those values advocate atrocities? How can you actually know, if you don't know what those values are?

That, is the danger of criticising someone else's values, but without laying down your own values, in a black-and-white way, that leaves your values open to scientific examination, such as in a formal document. That's what happens in China. That's what happens everywhere where people do not formally set out their beliefs and values.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 17 (view)
Posted: 7/2/2011 4:11:08 PM

Recently in the UK mass public sector worker strikes took place in London , over the governments plans to raise the retirement age to 66 and reduce pensions , i think the goverments are concerned with longevity because it means it costs them billions more each yr in pension payouts ? surely if medical advancements raise the expected life span of people to average 75 , this will effect economics in an already unstable economic atmosphere
The main issue in the UK, is that the pension age was originally set based on prior assumptions of how long people lived, and based on that, how long it was reasonable to expect people to work.

Medical advancements have extended people's physical longevity, but often only to the extent that they are alive, but not that capable of actually working a 40-hour week. So our own medical advancements lead to millions being in a situation where they need to be paid for up to 40 years for doing nothing. In addition, our society has a generation gap, where many people don't want to look after their parents and grandparents. So we leave it to our governments to make us pay for it. So we have a major pensions crisis.

Contrast that to the longest lived people in the world, such as in Okinawa, where people regularly live to about 100, but who are physically able and work quite happily to 90-95. Even so, even in such places, the norm is that the parents and grandparents help their children and grandchildren, and the children and grandchildren help the parents and grandparents. So they don't have any problems with pensions, because the oldies don't need help, and even if they did, their children and grandchildren are only too happy to help out.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 16 (view)
Posted: 7/2/2011 4:00:48 PM
Thomas Malthus raised overpopulation as an issue, back in the beginning of the 18th Century. It is an issue that needs consideration.

At the time Malthus raised the issue, the world population was about 1 billion, and now it's recently been 6.5 billion. Yet we are in the grip of a global obesity crisis. So it seems that issues like lack of food, and other related issues, have actually gone the reverse.

It thus occurs to me that the issue of overpopulation seems to be not nearly such an issue as we might be led to believe.

So I agree that overpopulation is an issue. But I wonder if we are approaching the issue in the right light, whether or not we are really weighing up all the important factors, or just giving in to fear, and blinding ourselves to the real issues.

I think that before we can address the issue properly, we need to distance ourselves from the issue, and remove our fears from it, because only then will our minds be clear to think about it objectively.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 6004 (view)
Does God exist?
Posted: 6/27/2011 3:11:50 AM
It is true that to many atheists' minds of the definition of the word theist, Einstein would not be called a theist:
(The following quotes are taken from The Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press unless otherwise noted)

"My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God."

However, I was deeply shocked when I saw this, because if you went to any Orthodox Jewish Rabbi in the world, and asked him what such a spirit was, he would reply that it was the Jewish notion of G-d. So Einstein may not have known it, but he believed in the Jewish G-d. He simply didn't have the education in Judaism to know that he was a theist, at least according to the view of theism that Orthodox Jews define the word to mean.

Thus, Einstein was a theist and an atheist, depending on the definition of theism that one chooses to use.
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