Peer Review Process (was Evolution Stuff (was What is Religion, exactly?))

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AuthorTopic: Peer Review Process (was Evolution Stuff (was What is Religion, exactly?))
Infiltrator
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Profile #26
Major: That isn't a very good defense. Putting aside all my thoughts about a benign god allowing suffering and other such things, I say that there's no proof that there is not a huge invisible spaceworm living in a galaxy next to us. While there is still a likelihood that there is a huge invisible spaceworm, we don't accept it as irrefutable fact. No proof against something doesn't make it automatically valid.

(And, out of genuine curiosity, what are the instances of divine intervention that you cited?)

EDIT: It always starts a new page, doesn't it? Doesn't it?

[ Tuesday, May 30, 2006 12:04: Message edited by: Little Billy Sue ]

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Posts: 420 | Registered: Sunday, January 8 2006 08:00
Infiltrator
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Stop it guys. You are giving us theists a bad name. I am not bothered that you believe religious truths without any questioning of them. It is certainly a lot easier than questioning everything you believe. I am very disturbed that you think that not understanding something is a valid proof that it exists. Leave the prosletyzation to those who are better versed in their faith, else you could risk turning people away from what you believe to be the truth.

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"As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it." --Albert Einstein
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Posts: 536 | Registered: Sunday, September 7 2003 07:00
Electric Sheep One
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Kurt Gödel, of Incompleteness fame, made some sophisticated variant of Anselm's Ontological Proof. I have discovered a marvelous exposition of this theorem, but unfortunately this post is too small to contain it.

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Shock Trooper
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quote:
Originally written by Little Billy Sue:

[...]I say that there's no proof that there is not a huge invisible spaceworm living in a galaxy next to us. [...]
My sentiments exactly. There was a time when I would gladly indulge in a theistic conversation, but nowadays it's as appealing to me as discussing the existence of the aforementioned spaceworm. (It does exist! Everyone who disagrees is wrong!) Still, good posts by SoT and Alec.

Ah, heck. Might as well throw in my five cents (we don't have 1 cent coins in circulation over here). I like to think of religion as a spiritual crutch of sorts. Because there's too much incomprehensible "evil" going on in the world, or too many bad things have happened near an individual, (s)he makes a decision that it can't all possibly be random. There has to be a power behind all this, and events just cannot be random occurrences. Creating a superhuman deity brings order into an otherwise chaotic seeming world. This is how I see personal belief as being born, cultural and group belief are different matters - I think.

[ Tuesday, May 30, 2006 12:34: Message edited by: Redstart ]
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By Committee
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A religion is a man-made organization centered around explaining the (currently) uncomprehendible that estabishes an ethic based on that explanation. Those doing the explaining sometimes/often use or exploit this authority for patently mortal, political purposes. Some religions are better suited for these purposes than others.

Gremlin Joe, it boggles my mind that you can bear such disdain for humanity, when the knowledge of your religion necessarily springs itself from such "imperfect" people, people whom history has revealed to have less than pure motives in the past. Warm feelings in the thumos aside (which some would ascribe to feeling the Lord, and others might attribute just to an overwhelmingly emotional moment), everything you've read or been told necessarily comes from man. Why should they be trusted more than anyone else?

[ Tuesday, May 30, 2006 12:32: Message edited by: Drew ]
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Warrior
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You mistook my argument. I wasn't trying to prove there is a god. I was just showing that there is no proof against it either.
I'll edit this later.

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"I knocked him out, but I managed to hit the reply button before he fell down."-The person behind him.
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Shock Trooper
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Nor is there proof against an invisible spaceworm. Or the nine-headed cave cow, for that matter.
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Infiltrator
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Major: I've outlined my position on this in another thread, but it was lost.

Basically, once we remove all other factors and it comes down to a question of "Does an omnipotent and omniscient being exist?" it's a stalemate. Theren's no proof for or against God existing. Occam's Razor then dictates that god does not exist, because something not existing is simpler than something existing.

It comes down to the individual whether they believe in Occam's Razor or not. Generally, I think that if (to use the spaceworm again) if someone says that a spaceworm does exist, I would put the burden of proof on them, rather than the guy who says it doesn't.

EDIT: And sorry for mistaking your argument. You were defending someone who says that God does exist, which made it look like you were trying to prove that God exists.

[ Tuesday, May 30, 2006 12:55: Message edited by: Little Billy Sue ]

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Law Bringer
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In this context, it is literally impossible to prove a negative. If God exists and does nothing detectable, then he is functionally nonexistent (until we die, anyway).

Now, despite Thuryl's point, I give religion two definitions. One is a codified system of spiritual beliefs, especially when such a system is shared. That's the hat. The other definition is any spiritual beliefs, because everyone has some beliefs that function as a religion equivalent even if they aren't religious. That's the pidgeon.

Alec uses wisdom and experience interchangeably to mean empirically verified truth and gnosis to mean accepted but unverified truth. It's more complicated than that, though, because I have no empirical evidence of relativity. I can't understand Einstein's work, and I can't even understand any of the work after and around him. I just accept the word of the physicists who say that it is both mathematically true and experimentally valid. How is this different from those who attest to the Bible's truth? Peer review and quality control, really. On this level, belief in science and belief in religion are quantitatively the same but qualitatively different. This holds true until we try to use information to get desired results, in which case science is useful and religion really isn't.

That said, if we accept that there is no vast conspiracy of scientists and that their empirical understanding as conveyed to us is meaningful, we've got our logos and gnosis.

[Edit: I've gotten over looking bad as a non-atheist. All the evidence is really on the side of agnosticism. It's quite okay to believe in God, but it's rather pointless to try to argue that God trumps science because science has won every time. If God really didn't want science to be the truth, he'd be intervening.]

—Alorael, who won't trot out all his evolution arguments again. His first point is that your ignorance of evidence does not prove an absence of evidence. Microevolution has been extensively, even excessively, documented. It happens. Mutation happens and has been seen too. Macroevolution from mutation has also been documented in labs. Speciation happens and we've seen it. All that's left is "irreducible complexity," which is another fancy way of claiming that ignorance of evidence is evidence of non-occurrence. When other scientists propose mechanisms for evolution of complexity, they're shouted down.

[ Tuesday, May 30, 2006 13:01: Message edited by: The Adventures of Taqman and ELISA ]
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There has been cases that God effects are lifes. Here's just one of the very many: Colonel whittlesey of the british army in World War 1. Had his troops repeat psalms 91 daily either by memory or reading it. No one in his troops died in battle. He fought for four years in battles. In which other regiments had only 10% survival rate. Note: Not all the battles were this bad.

[ Tuesday, May 30, 2006 14:33: Message edited by: Major ]

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"I knocked him out, but I managed to hit the reply button before he fell down."-The person behind him.
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Shaper
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You can't possibly expect that to qualify as proof...

EDIT: Also, I think Occam's Razor is being used a bit too loosely in the above posts.

[ Tuesday, May 30, 2006 15:34: Message edited by: Lt. Sullust ]

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Lt. Sullust
Cogito Ergo Sum
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I read the link about Godel's proof, and I'm extremely unconvinced.
The definition of "Positive properties" is very wooly, in particular lacking an objective sense of what is good, no way of evaluating trade-offs and assuming that whether a property is positive is independent of what it is applied to.

Then we get, as an assumption,
Pos(F) -> [(F => H) -> Pos(H)] (called G2 in the link)
ie, if F is positive, and F implies H, then H is positive.
This is simply not true. Counterexample: let F = "going to save my life and poke me in the eye", H="going to poke me in the eye"

There are other problems, but that is the most glaring one that I find at 1:30am.

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It's almost good enough for me. There's this story I got told by this ex KKK high ranking fella, who somehow drop his position in the KKK because of this one black guy converted him to Christianity. Can't remember exactly how it happened but it was a good story.

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quote:
You can't possibly expect that to qualify as proof...
I know, your almighty god of chance tells you that even though the chances are astronomical it did happen, so it must just have been some sort "good luck."
Yes, I do know why you can say that is not proof. But there are so many occurances like this in history that you must begin to wonder.
EDIT:just so yoy know it's 7:50 PM. Hehehe!

[ Tuesday, May 30, 2006 15:51: Message edited by: Major ]

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"I knocked him out, but I managed to hit the reply button before he fell down."-The person behind him.
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E Equals MC What!!!!
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Why on earth did I imagine this topic would remain dispassionate? I'm like that giant ogre in Tatterdemalion. "Hmm. Maybe it'll taste good THIS time..."

That said, I like Alorael's "multiple definitions" point.

EDIT:

quote:
Originally written by Cairo Jim:

It's almost good enough for me. There's this story I got told by this ex KKK high ranking fella, who somehow drop his position in the KKK because of this one black guy converted him to Christianity. Can't remember exactly how it happened but it was a good story.
I met him, and posted about it here. His name is Johnny Lee Clary.

He actually left the KKK before he became a born-again Christian, and Reverend Wade Watts (the one black guy) didn't convert him as such, but he did certainly play a major role in changing his life. But yes, he does have an amazing story.

[ Tuesday, May 30, 2006 16:05: Message edited by: Ash Lael ]

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SupaNik: Aran, you're not big enough to threaten Ash. Dammit, even JV had to think twice.
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Nuke and Pave
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Going back to original topic of the thread, the way I use the term is that "religion" is a set of beliefs about the origins, working of, and future of the world, including a moral code and some prescriptions for living a daily life. The prescriptions could be anything from "throw a portion of your harvest into the volcano every season" to "say certain prayers at certain times each day" to "work as hard as you can and treat everybody fairly".

I use the term "religious" to indicate a person whose religious beliefs strongly influence his daily life. For example, if the person doesn't steal because "that would make god angry", he is religious, while if he doesn't steal because "it's illegal", or "I just think it's wrong", he isn't.

[ Tuesday, May 30, 2006 16:11: Message edited by: Zeviz ]

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Be careful with a word, as you would with a sword,
For it too has the power to kill.
However well placed word, unlike a well placed sword,
Can also have the power to heal.
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Shock Trooper
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quote:
Gremlin Joe, it boggles my mind that you can bear such disdain for humanity, when the knowledge of your religion necessarily springs itself from such "imperfect" people, people whom history has revealed to have less than pure motives in the past. Warm feelings in the thumos aside (which some would ascribe to feeling the Lord, and others might attribute just to an overwhelmingly emotional moment), everything you've read or been told necessarily comes from man. Why should they be trusted more than anyone else?

What gave you the idea that I met God through a normal or conventional means? Humanity had nothing to do with it, silly. My life is full of solid incontrovertable proof of his existance. I didn't get my religion from people at all.

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quote:
but it's rather pointless to try to argue that God trumps science because science has won every time. If God really didn't want science to be the truth, he'd be intervening.
First of all it's not "science Vs. God." It's how you interperate the evidence, either theory is science. (I think that there is more evidence for creation. But, that's just my opinion.)
quote:
Microevolution has been extensively, even excessively, documented. It happens. Mutation happens and has been seen too. Macroevolution from mutation has also been documented in labs. Speciation happens and we've seen it. All that's left is "irreducible complexity,"
No, there's more than that it's how they fit togather. For example have you ever seen a six legged cow live on it's own?

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quote:
Originally written by Major:

There has been cases that God effects are lifes. Here's just one of the very many: Colonel whittlesey of the british army in World War 1. Had his troops repeat psalms 91 daily either by memory or reading it. No one in his troops died in battle. He fought for four years in battles. In which other regiments had only 10% survival rate. Note: Not all the battles were this bad.
Interesting. So because a superior officer to which these men were assigned at random dragooned them into repeating by rote a translation of a poem praising God by an ancient king, God spared them the pain of death indiscriminate of whether they believed in the psalms, what they were doing was acceptable, or anything.

If I ever meet your God, my last act as a free man will be spitting in His face.

...

quote:
Originally written by Major:

quote:
but it's rather pointless to try to argue that God trumps science because science has won every time. If God really didn't want science to be the truth, he'd be intervening.
First of all it's not "science Vs. God." It's how you interperate the evidence, either theory is science. (I think that there is more evidence for creation. But, that's just my opinion.)

One theory (creation) is very bad science, because it's not falsifiable, e.g. there's no actual way to test whether it's true. And certain theses of creation (young/flat earthers) are in direct contradiction of understood knowledge of the Universe.

In other words, if it's science versus science, the science of evolution wins. It's like tripping over a small rock and positing two theories from reason: your fall was the consequence of gravity, or your fall was a direct consequence of being hurled earthwards by an invisible giant. One of those can be tested by setting you up with another rock; another can be tested by finding another invisible giant. Kind of tricky.
quote:

quote:
Microevolution has been extensively, even excessively, documented. It happens. Mutation happens and has been seen too. Macroevolution from mutation has also been documented in labs. Speciation happens and we've seen it. All that's left is "irreducible complexity,"
No, there's more than that it's how they fit togather. For example have you ever seen a six legged cow live on it's own?

No, but that's not the only kind of mutation there is. Consdier sickle-cell anemia or white skin; either is a fairly recent (thousands of years) adaption to conditions in a certain part of the world. (Sickle-cell anemia confers strong resistance to malaria, while light skin helps prevent rickets in areas of the world with dark winters.)

And then there's completely innocuous mutations that don't do much as far as survival goes: double-jointedness, tongue-rolling, and so on.

Just because the first thing you think of when you hear 'mutation' is a six-legged cow doesn't make that representative of all mutation. In the biological sense, there are a wide range of mutations, some good, some bad, and some completely neutral. The bad ones tend to die off young and reproduce fairly little, the reverse is true of the good ones, and the neutral ones don't influence that much at all.

Those mutations pass down genetically from generation to generation. If a mutation is particularly favorable to an area (sickle-cell for the malaria zone, melanin-poor skin for Scandinavia), those with it will have their genetic material all over the place.

That's evolution. It's a simple matter of reproductive fitness, and it's plain common sense.

[ Tuesday, May 30, 2006 17:03: Message edited by: The Worst Man Ever ]
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Law Bringer
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If it were science versus God, I wouldn't be able to believe in God and still take scientific answers over religious ones most of the time. The fact of the matter is that right now the debate breaks down along lines of science, which opposes creationism, and creationism, which is based on Judeo-Christian religion.

As I said, there's plenty of evidence for evolution. We can see that it's possible, and the fossil record makes a pretty good case for it being true. I know it's useless, but I'd still love to see your evidence for creationism. Especially young Earth creationism.

I'm not even sure where six-legged cows came into this. They die because no cow has six legs without being one terribly damaged embryo. If cows accumulated mutations that led to an extra pair of legs they'd have six legs, but I can't imagine what advantage that would be. Nobody claims that all mutations are good. The claim is that enough mutations are non-harmful for them to build up very slowly into useful genes with new functions.

—Alorael, who wishes bacteria would stop mutating (and passing its mutations along laterally) so medicine didn't need to keep up with an evolutionary treadmill to remain effective.
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The evolutionary treadmill is actually an excellent example of how evolution has been observed in everyday life.

Consider a man sick with a bacterial infection, circa 1950. What do you do? You give him penicillin, of course! Penicillin kills off the vast majority of the bacteria - we're talking 99.99%+ - and the infection cannot survive on its own.

That less than .01, for whatever reason, has genes that, until that point, were useless, maybe even harmful, which it developed through random mutation. Those genes confer upon it resistance to penicillin. You douse the area in it, and those .01's neighbors all keel over.

That .01 doesn't really recover into a major strength, but through the natural processes, it is traded with other bacteria in everyday life. He gets another infection, again mostly from original-flavor bacteria - no resistance to penicillin - and .01 live.

Et cetera, et cetera.

Within a fairly short time, the majority of that bacterial species in that society is resistant to penicillin - because as that bacteria, if you are not resistant to penicillin you die. Being resistant to penicillin is a strong plus for reproductive (and thus evolutionary) fitness.

This has been true of every antibiotic - as they are used, the bacterial species they target grow resistant to them.

It's a serious problem for medicine, and one for which the reality of evolution is a serious impediment to human life. There are certain bacterial infections you just can't cure with certain antibiotics any more - even though those antibiotics worked fine on the same thing half a century ago! The antibiotics certainly haven't changed; it's the bacteria that have.

Look up 'superbugs' sometime! It's enlightening, really, and a little scary. Oh, and it's also a very good reason not to overmedicate with antibiotics, but that's another topic.
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Raven v. Writing Desk
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Four legs good, six legs better!

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E Equals MC What!!!!
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EDIT: Never mind, don't want to get into another Evolution debate.

[ Tuesday, May 30, 2006 18:10: Message edited by: Ash Lael ]

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SupaNik: Aran, you're not big enough to threaten Ash. Dammit, even JV had to think twice.
Posts: 1861 | Registered: Friday, February 11 2005 08:00
Law Bringer
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quote:
Originally written by Come On Pilgrim:
Track 4:
Four legs good, six legs better!
Ah, but millipedes are weaklings in the grand scheme of things.

Why do all religion threads in this forum end up arguing about medicine and evolution?

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There was a small article in Popular Science back in the day that claimed the human eye was too complex structurally to have simply evolved, and some sorta intervention was involved somewhere in its creation. This is a really interesting viewpoint, considering evolution tends to be pretty reliable in explaining the Tree of Life. I dunno though. Life seems a lot more boring without a God. Despite the fact that I sleep with 'The Origin of the Species' next to my bed (unread; it was a science award), it's always been a personal belief that God set up the entire Universe, and then just sort of let it go, more-or-less, kind of like a very, very careful Dominos player. It means I can believe in evolution and God at the same time. What a friendly relationship.

Religious Dogmae Are A Fun Time:
quote:

"The Jatravartid people of Viltvodle VI believe that the Universe was in fact sneezed out of the nose of a being called the Great Green Arkleseizure.

The Jatravartids, who live in perpetual fear of the time they call the Coming of the Great White Handkerchief, are small blue creatures with more than fifty arms each, who are therefore unique in being the only race in history to have invented the aerosol deodorant before the wheel.

However, the Great Green Arkleseizure Theory is not widely accepted outside Viltvodle VI."

quote:

"There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and improbable.

There is another which states that this has already happened."

That 42 Book

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