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Old 12-30-2011, 08:11 PM
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Default An endless feud?

God is a spiritual entity existing in our spiritual world only. Trying to justify/deny God's existence by performing laboratory experiments is as inappropriate as trying to justify/deny the age of our planet by quoting from a holy book. Methods of validation of claims in our material world (using logic based on reproducible experimental data) are not the same as those in our spiritual world (using logic based on holy books). Such a position, put forward by the evolutionary biologist S. J. Gould, is known as "non-overlapping magisteria" (NOMA). Many theologians who are also scientists, and many scientists who are also theologians, accept NOMA. Such experts are usually tolerant and respectful toward each other. Feuds about God's existence would probably disappear if NOMA became a norm among all educators.

But how to stop arrogant "wee are better than you" arguments?
.
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Old 12-30-2011, 08:20 PM
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First.

--J.D.
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Old 12-30-2011, 08:21 PM
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Old 12-30-2011, 08:25 PM
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The Good[(Sic)--Ed.] Doctor's Prodigiously Pretentiously Pomposely Pespicaciously Pedagogical Pediatric Pontine Tumor Proof

Science involves the explanation of observations. Theory produces predictions that must hold else the theory proves incorrect or incomplete. If a rock is dropped from a building aimed at John Kerry's head yet stops 13.27 inches above it, a physicist would have to explain this in light of the current theory of gravity. Perchance all of the hot air eminating [Stop that!--Ed.].

Right. Nothing like a real observation. So here is a real observation that requires explanation. Children and adolescents develop a rather nasty tumor of the brain stem, particularly the metencephalon, or pons. It is infiltrative and not amenable to surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. The latter two therapies merely prolong the decline.

The decline? As with real estate, the watchword for the central nervous system is "location!" The tumor destroys the descending voluntary pathways and centers for the cranial nerves which enervate facial musculature whilst preserving the sensory pathways. The child progressively losses control of her body up to her eye muscles which allows some rudimentary communication. Since the trigger for consciousness is located in the more rostral ventral midbrain or mesencephalon, she remains conscious throughout the months of decline. During this deterioration, she retains sensation and consciousness. She feels every ulcer, every pain; she remains completely aware of her condition and decline.

Eventually, on a tracheostomy, she will succumb usually to an infection.

This is not only a real case, it is all too frequent.

In fact, here is a quote given to me from a parent left on a webpage in which the parent describes the condition:

"Today, thanks to God's mercy he still with us. He can no longer walk on his own, the weakness on the left side of his body has increased, his speech is slurred and I am watching how the spark of life is slowly but surely dimming. His little body, swollen by the steroids, is slowly giving way to an end. I do not have an idea of how much time I will have with him."

I am not sure “mercy” is a word that applies.

This is a case of Unjustified Suffering unless you or anyone else can find some manner in which to justify it. Notice that I do not attack the death--people die. Perhaps she was destined to be the next Celine Dion. . . . It is the extent and severity of the suffering that renders it Unjustified Suffering. What did the child do to deserve it? Consider then why Josef Mengele passed easily from a stroke while swimming. Why did he apparently deserve a far easier passage?

Perhaps imagine a Heaven and a Hell--dream up a reward and punishment that will somehow magically balance the books, so to write? The problem remains the extent and severity of the suffering. If die she must, far quicker and less-severe methods do end a tyke's existence. Forced listening of country-western music, for example. Children do, unfortunately, ask what the did wrong to be punished by such a condition. What "reward" balances it? Is it greater than that obtained by children who die of leukemia, car accidents, and falling masonry? Why? Furthermore, that one imagines a Mengele horribly tortured throughout eternity--something involving fish hooks and Patsy Cline--does not justify the extensive and severe suffering of the child. Finally, if some grand argumentum ad ignorantiam of a "reward" exists, why do not the children who die of the less-horrible leukemia and steam rollers deserve it?

Since No Alleviation of her suffering occurred, we are left with Five Possible Choices [All Rights Reserved.--Ed.] regarding deities:
  • 1. No Deity Exists
    2. A Deity Exists and He is Evil
    3. A Deity Exists and He is Incompetent
    4. A Deity Exists and He is Irrelevant
    5. A Deity Exists and He is Some Combination of 2-4

you are, of course, free to choose from any one of the Five.

--J.D.

Last edited by Doctor X; 12-30-2011 at 08:48 PM. Reason: [He declines badly.--Ed.]
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Old 12-30-2011, 08:32 PM
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Default Re: An endless feud?

1. Isn't this thread virtually identical to the one that you already started?

2. For a literary explication of Doctor X's excellent post, see the chapter just before the Grand Inquisitor scene in the Brothers Karamazov, in which Ivan Karamazov talks about the suffering of innocent children and declares that even if God exists, he, Ivan "returns the ticket" to heaven; he wants no part of this clockwork of evil that no amount of heaven can justify.

3. What spiritual realm? How do you know that such a realm even exists? Science studies objects and phenomena that we know exist; what reason can you give us to believe that this unobserved and unevidenced spirtual realm exists at all?
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Old 12-30-2011, 08:44 PM
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Default Re: An endless feud?

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Originally Posted by davidm View Post
1. Isn't this thread virtually identical to the one that you already started?
:yup:

Hence the NBG.

"Give me that ol' time religion!"

--J.D.
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Old 12-30-2011, 11:07 PM
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Default Re: An endless feud?

Mercy sakes alive, it looks like we got us another coberst!
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Old 12-31-2011, 01:42 AM
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Default Re: An endless feud?

Yeah but, this one's on Wikipedia!


(says so, right there in the signature)
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Old 12-31-2011, 01:54 AM
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Default Re: An endless feud?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kowalskil View Post
But how to stop arrogant "wee are better than you" arguments?
Well for starters the religious could stop claiming they are better than everyone that does not share their religion.

That one thing alone would be a very good start, but it would be the downfall of that religion. In order to convert people to their religion they have to get people to believe that their religion is better.

Are you Ludwik Kowalski?

Last edited by naturalist.atheist; 12-31-2011 at 02:13 AM.
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Old 12-31-2011, 02:32 AM
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kowalskil, if you are Ludwik Kowalski your surprise at religious conflict would be expected.

If you grew up behind the iron curtain you probably saw religion as a savior from the completely corrupt and brutal soviet regime. It probably never occurred to you that the abuses of communism say more about human nature than it says about the need for god to make man good. In the west religion has not been restricted and many have experienced abuses made in the name of god. So it must be a shock for someone who grew up under communism and used religion as a way to withstand the abuses of that regime to see conflict in a so-called religious society.

It's got nothing to do with god, we are in the world of men and if you want to understand what is going on then you must study men. There are no gods to study.
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Old 12-31-2011, 03:47 AM
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Default Re: An endless feud?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor X View Post


--J.D.
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Originally Posted by naturalist.atheist View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by kowalskil View Post
But how to stop arrogant "wee are better than you" arguments?
Well for starters the religious could stop claiming they are better than everyone that does not share their religion.

That one thing alone would be a very good start, but it would be the downfall of that religion. In order to convert people to their religion they have to get people to believe that their religion is better.

Are you Ludwik Kowalski?
Yes, this one (is it GOD?) is better, because it has owls. Plus some sort of big kittehs. And bewbies.
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Old 12-31-2011, 05:02 AM
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I don't care for the feet though. Not her most attractive feature.
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Old 12-31-2011, 05:36 AM
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Default Re: An endless feud?

Just do not let her catch you sitting on her throne celebrating her death with your friends in a drunken orgy after she has spent three days dead in the Underworld stripped naked and tied to a tree . . .

. . . a bit "sensitive" she is.



And she has looks that kill. . . .

--J.D.
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Old 12-31-2011, 06:57 AM
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Default Re: An endless feud?

Quote:
Originally Posted by naturalist.atheist View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by kowalskil View Post
But how to stop arrogant "wee are better than you" arguments?
Well for starters the religious could stop claiming they are better than everyone that does not share their religion.

That one thing alone would be a very good start, but it would be the downfall of that religion. In order to convert people to their religion they have to get people to believe that their religion is better.

Are you Ludwik Kowalski?
It is quite possible, though maybe not common, for one to believe that one's religion is better than all others without also believing that one is better because one believes in that religion.
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Old 12-31-2011, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Angakuk View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by naturalist.atheist View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by kowalskil View Post
But how to stop arrogant "wee are better than you" arguments?
Well for starters the religious could stop claiming they are better than everyone that does not share their religion.

That one thing alone would be a very good start, but it would be the downfall of that religion. In order to convert people to their religion they have to get people to believe that their religion is better.

Are you Ludwik Kowalski?
It is quite possible, though maybe not common, for one to believe that one's religion is better than all others without also believing that one is better because one believes in that religion.
So how does that work exactly. "My religion is the best but it doesn't do much for me than any other religion?" How does that make it the best? The best at being the same?
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Old 12-31-2011, 09:32 AM
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If one believes that one's religion is true, and that the others are false, then it would seem to follow that one would believe that it is the best religion simply by virtue of holding the belief that it is true (or at least that would appear to be a reasonable metric to use). I don't see how that necessarily correlates with someone being better simply because the religion they believe in is the one that they believe is the true religion. One may well believe the teachings of that religion and yet fail to practice those teachings. In which case the believer would not differ significantly from someone who does not believe those teaching. Such a person might well be worse than someone who follows the teachings of some other religion or no religion at all. Likewise, a person may practice the teachings of such a religion and still not be a better person than someone else, regardless of the other's belief system, or lack of belief system. That would depend entirely upon the metric one uses for determining what it is that makes one person better than another.

I think that the only sense in which one might necessarily consider oneself to be a better person simply by virtue of adherence to some particular belief system would be if belief in that particular religion were the metric one used for determining what makes someone a better person. To be sure, that is precisely the metric that many religous people use, but it is hardly the only metric that one might choose to use.

I certainly don't think that being a Christian means that I am necessarily a better person than someone who is not a Christian.
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Last edited by Angakuk; 12-31-2011 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 12-31-2011, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Angakuk View Post
If one believes that one's religion is true, and that the others are false, then it would seem to follow that one would believe that it is the best religion simply by virtue of holding the belief that it is true (or at least that would appear to be a reasonable metric to use).
As for being reasonable I guess it all depends on what you mean by a religion being "true". And reasonable for what exactly?

Quote:
I certainly don't think that being a Christian means that I am necessarily a better person than someone who is not a Christian.
Not even better off? This doesn't make much sense. It's like a blind person buying the best pair of glasses for no particular reason. If they buy a particular set of glasses for "reasonable" reasons then they must think there is a benefit to them in some way. Perhaps if they are sunglasses then people might pick up sooner that they are blind. In fact they probably should make them far from the best sunglasses otherwise people might pickup that they are vain. But for a blind person to buy a pair of glasses for no particular reason would hardly be considered reasonable by the more widely used meaning of the word.

And a person who thinks that their religion has no effect on them is in the same category as a blind person buying glasses for no particular reason. They are making choices that they think do not actually matter to them. The choice of the glasses should not matter either. There really isn't a set that is better than another. So there would be no religion that is better than another either.

Last edited by naturalist.atheist; 12-31-2011 at 06:24 PM.
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Old 12-31-2011, 06:47 PM
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I think it is unfortunate that most, if not all, religions have degenerated into the 'ours is better (more true) than yours'. I believe that the core teaching of all religion was the same and taught tollerance and acceptance of others. I have read that if you trace all Mythology back to the root you end up with the same Myths being told with different details and characters. Since religion is born out of Myth all religions have the same origins and the same core teaching, it is only the window dressing and fancy trappings that are presented as articles of faith that seperate one from another. Without all the artificial dogma there would only be one belief. My intrest is what is that core teaching after you strip away all the unecessary nonsense, I can guess at some of it but perhaps I'm just to lazy or busy to dig really deep into it.
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Old 12-31-2011, 07:50 PM
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I think that all religions have many of the same core teachings not because they are somehow the result of a common myth but because when a set of beliefs reaches the level of a religion it is because it performs some useful social tasks. And what is common to all religions is not their myths but the people who use religion as part of their social structure. People across the world are not all that different so I would expect the common elements of religion to be not all that different.

It is a funny thing that many somehow think that religions are to serve god, but like the old line from Star Trek "What does god need with a star ship?" one has to wonder "What does god need with a religion?" or even mankind for that matter?
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Old 12-31-2011, 08:04 PM
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It may be the difference between 'need' and 'want'. I need air to breath, I do not 'need' chocolate but sometimes I 'want' some chocolate to eat.
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Old 12-31-2011, 08:12 PM
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It may be the difference between 'need' and 'want'. I need air to breath, I do not 'need' chocolate but sometimes I 'want' some chocolate to eat.
Okay, but how many chocolate fanciers have you run across that have an opinion about the best chocolate and prefer that chocolate over all others but also think that their preferred chocolate is as good as any other?
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Old 12-31-2011, 08:33 PM
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Perhaps chocolate was not a good example, I can see where it would be a necessity for some and a religion for others. Have you ever seen the magazine 'Chocolatier'? at one time I was buying it but have not seen it for many years but it is still in publication.
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Old 12-31-2011, 08:46 PM
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I believe that there is a greater spirit, we all have a soul and, there is life after death. What else do you need to know? ... besides maybe being nice to each other.
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Old 12-31-2011, 08:49 PM
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theDoc, I'm not a chocolate fancier so I wasn't aware of that magazine. The kinds of chocolate I usually eat would be the chocolate my parents ate or what was available in my neighborhood. I'm open to all chocolates but I can live without it. Anyway eating too much chocolate is bad for me, but when I'm in the mood for chocolate pretty much any will do. Chocoholics can get pretty annoying when they try to convince me that their preferred chocolate is the best, but if they have a sample I won't turn it down, but I won't go looking for it either.

Is that what you were trying to get at?
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Old 12-31-2011, 10:44 PM
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theDoc, I'm not a chocolate fancier so I wasn't aware of that magazine. The kinds of chocolate I usually eat would be the chocolate my parents ate or what was available in my neighborhood. I'm open to all chocolates but I can live without it. Anyway eating too much chocolate is bad for me, but when I'm in the mood for chocolate pretty much any will do. Chocoholics can get pretty annoying when they try to convince me that their preferred chocolate is the best, but if they have a sample I won't turn it down, but I won't go looking for it either.

Is that what you were trying to get at?
I think we are close on this subject. I have gradually developed a problem where it is difficult for me to swallow when eating. I know I need to get to the doctor and find out what is going on, but in the meantime I'm doing a bit of self medication. I read somewhere that chocolate will relax the esophageal sphincter, so people with acid reflux should not eat it, but I figured it may help in swallowing. So I try to remember to eat just a little before a meal, but that is about all the chocolate I eat on purpose.
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