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Thread: Atheism and it's Relation with Biology

  1. #1 Atheism and it's Relation with Biology 
    Forum Sophomore BioHazard's Avatar
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    Most People who studied or is studying any aspect of biology (that Includes Medicine) is sure to doubt the existance of a god/s.

    I for one have been raised in a strict Religeous community, where all my family believe strongly in their religeon. It was at the age of 11, when I took a special interest in Biology, that I began doubting the existance of gods and at the age of 16 I made up my mind. Nobody knows about me being a atheist, not even my closest friends, If I profess of my real beliefs in pure science and logic, I would simply be an outcast to all of my society and geographic area. And it would be legal to prosecute me, imprison me and worse.

    Imagine every time I tell someone a scientific fact, that person starts talking about the power and might of god, Instead of asking me of how science explains that fact or showing appreciation to the perfect balance of life in all its aspects.

    What is your thoughts of religeon?


    "When man contemplates his future death, it is as if, by thinking of it, he renders it immediate. His defence is to deny it. He cannot deny that his body will die and rot - the evidence is too strong for that; so he solves the problem by the invention of the immortal soul" Desmond Morris
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  3. #2  
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    i posted the following contribution in one of the Religion threads where it was completely ignored :

    here's what the philosopher Robert Root-Bernstein had to say about the distinctions between scientific theory and religious belief, which may act as a caveat for those attempting to apply scientific reasoning to religion and vice versa :

    Scientific theories are (1) comprised of contingent or tentative knowledge which is (2) organized to be operationally useful for (3) solving problems concerning particular aspects of nature that (4) exist in the here and now. Because scientific knowledge is contingent, and because the causes invoked can never be final ones, science must promote (5) skeptical consideration of (6) alternative explanations that (7) are evaluated against one another on the basis of empirical and logical tests.

    Religious beliefs are (1) comprised of absolute knowledge ("Truth") (2) concerning values and morals that (3) direct universal aspects of human existence and (4) emphasize the supernatural, either in time (e.g. afterlife) or in space (e.g. Heaven). Because religious beliefs are absolute, and because they are based upon supernatural (and thus unobservable) causes, religion promotes (5) faith in (6) an orthodox doctrine that is (7) established by reliance upon authority (e.g. a holy man, a sacred text or a revelation).


    in short, if you're used to thinking along scientific lines, chances are that this way of thinking spills over into everyday life and you become to much of a sceptic to take faith at its own word


    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  4. #3  
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    I strongly believe in science but still believe in religion, I understand it must be frustrating to feel one extreme (atheism) yet be forced to listen to one's belief in the power of god instead of science. I do believe the two can coexist, I dont think that by understanding how life works that one can eliminate the possibility of there being a god.

    Just because we can understand, manipulate and interfere with the mechanisms of life shouldnt in my mind affect one's beliefs. Under what circumstances would one be able to study biology in such a way that one would absolutly know there was a god? I mean, if there was absolutely a god, why would life be any different to how it was now and why would it need to be.
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  5. #4 Re: Atheism and it's Relation with Biology 
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    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    Most People who studied or is studying any aspect of biology (that Includes Medicine) is sure to doubt the existance of a god/s.
    Sure? Are you sure? I could agree with 'tend to', but sure smacks of religious absolutism. Am I nit picking?
    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    If I profess of my real beliefs in pure science and logic, I would simply be an outcast to all of my society and geographic area. And it would be legal to prosecute me, imprison me and worse.
    An outcast in your society I can easily accept, but imprison you! Where are resident? Sixteenth century Italy?

    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    What is your thoughts of religeon?
    As a reflection of human spirituality it is essential for a balanced world view. As a blinkered, fundamentalist take on the world, it is an abomination.
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  6. #5 Re: Atheism and it's Relation with Biology 
    Forum Ph.D. william's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    Imagine every time I tell someone a scientific fact, that person starts talking about the power and might of god, Instead of asking me of how science explains that fact or showing appreciation to the perfect balance of life in all its aspects.
    Hi Bio,
    Perhaps there is a common ground (or at least you can make your friends think there's one). I imagine the fictional tragedy where the first patient was accidentally fed some moldy bread (penicillin) and became well again. The tragedy being the people who simply declared that "God did it" and never discovered the the value of the moldy bread. If one wants to declare that "God did it," then you could agree, but then ask, "well... how did he do it?" It's not a sin to be curious.

    Cheers,
    william
    "... the polhode rolls without slipping on the herpolhode lying in the invariable plane."
    ~Footnote in Goldstein's Mechanics, 3rd ed. p. 202
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  7. #6 Re: Atheism and it's Relation with Biology 
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    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    and at the age of 16 I made up my mind.
    Good for you BioHazard! Are you absolutely 100% sure? Any doubts remain? If you're young perhaps so. It takes time to be fully sure and I know some religious zealots will try and persuade you that you "can never really know for sure". I'd disagree with that but I've been on a long journey. It was hot, painful, and hazardous so I tire easily with those hanging on to their religious beliefs asking for proof from me. Besides, I feel there is some Darwinian selective advantage to having faith so I would be somewhat inhibited to try and convince some that what they believe in is only a survival strategy for a limited intellect.
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  8. #7 Re: Atheism and it's Relation with Biology 
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    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    Most People who studied or is studying any aspect of biology (that Includes Medicine) is sure to doubt the existance of a god/s.
    Crap, complete crap, where are the statistics?
    I, for one, am a biologist (or a prospective biologist), who completely believes in God. Science is a completely objective field. Science neither disproves God, nor does it prove His existence. It all depends upon your interpretation. Many use science to say 'well, we don't need a God, we've got science'; still many use science to say 'well, it was stated in my religious doctrine thousands of years before, so that further proves my religion'. But science in and of itself does neither. Your statement serves to suggest that logical thinkers = atheists/agnostics; this is completely untrue.
    Whence comes this logic: no evidence = false?

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    I do not think that a true scientist can believe in anything super natural .... How do you control super natural variables in an experiment? Clearly, you cannot.

    So you either have to discard any super natural involvement in anything, or take it into consideration and discard almost all results.
    It is not so much that I have confidence in scientists being right, but that I have so much in nonscientists being wrong. --- Isaac Asimov
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    Quote Originally Posted by sigmafactor
    I do not think that a true scientist can believe in anything super natural .... How do you control super natural variables in an experiment? Clearly, you cannot.

    So you either have to discard any super natural involvement in anything, or take it into consideration and discard almost all results.
    Ummm...sorry, but a true scientist can believe in supernatural things. I can list oh so many who believed in God (a supernatural being), and heavily influenced science. Newton, for instance. Was Newton not a true scientist?

    We don't factor in our beliefs when we are doing science. A true religious scientist draws the distinction between religion and science. He knows he isn't trying to prove his religious beliefs true, but rather to learn about his physical environment, and test his hypotheses (not beliefs). To say your belief in the supernatural influences your work as a scientist is ludicrous. Tell me. Does your personal beliefs influence your scientific work?
    Whence comes this logic: no evidence = false?

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  11. #10 Re: Atheism and it's Relation with Biology 
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    Quote Originally Posted by scientstphilosophertheist
    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    Most People who studied or is studying any aspect of biology (that Includes Medicine) is sure to doubt the existance of a god/s.
    Crap, complete crap, where are the statistics?
    I, for one, am a biologist (or a prospective biologist), who completely believes in God. Science is a completely objective field. Science neither disproves God, nor does it prove His existence. It all depends upon your interpretation. Many use science to say 'well, we don't need a God, we've got science'; still many use science to say 'well, it was stated in my religious doctrine thousands of years before, so that further proves my religion'. But science in and of itself does neither. Your statement serves to suggest that logical thinkers = atheists/agnostics; this is completely untrue.
    Very well said.
    "There is a kind of lazy pleasure in useless and out-of-the-way erudition." -Jorge Luis Borges
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by scientstphilosophertheist
    Newton, for instance. Was Newton not a true scientist?
    maybe less so than we care to think - Newton is now remembered for his work on gravity and optics, but he actually spent a lot of his life on alchemy

    i think in those days the concept of a scientist was somewhat more vague than our current definition (+ the word science had not been invented yet), so by calling Newton a scientist we impose our own definition on a concept that may or may not have been similar
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    I saw Stephen J. Gould give a talk shortly before he passed away. He said a scientist has about 40 good years, starting at around 20, to do his work and felt he had been distracted from his by having to defend his beliefs against the faithful. Sure enough a Ph.D Chemist in the audience stood up and began challenging him on some or another topic in evolution. Stephen was 61 when he died. Suppose he was ready to go.
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  14. #13  
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    first of all sorry for the late answer... I didn't expect that many answers

    second, my answer:
    Newton was a Physicist, Biologists directly contact the "God Factor" and have to make a decision of whether to belive in god or not, and Prospective Biologist, scientstphilosophertheist, my statement is'nt definitive or statistical it just shows in day to day life that most Biologist dont believe in super Nature, and are you a biologist who does'nt believe in evolution?

    Opening this thread I dont mean to force anybody to renounce their beliefs, I just needed to share what I'm going through.

    P.S. I am not living in 16th Century Italy, Do your research and you'll find that some communities have even more severe punishment like death. (Hint: very Politically active area)
    "When man contemplates his future death, it is as if, by thinking of it, he renders it immediate. His defence is to deny it. He cannot deny that his body will die and rot - the evidence is too strong for that; so he solves the problem by the invention of the immortal soul" Desmond Morris
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    P.S. I am not living in 16th Century Italy, Do your research and you'll find that some communities have even more severe punishment like death. (Hint: very Politically active area)
    Some of us are a little slow, perhaps you would be kind enough to tell us which country you are from. Or middle east y/n? if your worried.

    -----

    Post read and noted marnixR.

    -----

    Although i agree with spt, many of the historical figures people may mentioned lived in a time when you could study and learn about the world without questioning your beliefs, many scientific discovery's were made by people trying to prove that god existed. It is still possible to believe in evolution and a god.
    You should be proud of yourself though for being strong enough to make your own mind up. Just remember that atheist-ism ISN'T a religion. You don't become an atheist out of rejecting religions, you become an atheist by simply not having a religion.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    first of all sorry for the late answer... I didn't expect that many answers
    Well...when you make such an outrageous statement, expect many...many answers.

    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    Newton was a Physicist
    Agreed.
    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    Biologists directly contact the "God Factor"
    disagree. Biologists seek to discover natural explanations for various aspects of living organisms and their environment. If you seek to directly contact the "God Factor", then you're not a Biologist: whether you're atheist or not.
    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    and have to make a decision of whether to belive in god or not
    Nobody is obliged to decide whether he/she believes in God or not.
    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    and Prospective Biologist, scientstphilosophertheist, my statement is'nt definitive or statistical it just shows in day to day life that most Biologist dont believe in super Nature
    Well, I can't take your word for it. I don't even know you. I'm a scientist; I look to facts and only facts when dealing with such issues. Give me statistics (reliable statistics) that show that most Biologists don't believe in the supernatural and I'd be more likely to believe you.
    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    and are you a biologist who does'nt believe in evolution?
    I fail to see where I said I don't believe in evolution. I completely believe in evolution

    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    Opening this thread I dont mean to force anybody to renounce their beliefs, I just needed to share what I'm going through.
    Well, you insinuate that one has to either give up one's beliefs or give up one's scientific career. That's unacceptable.

    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    If I profess of my real beliefs in pure science and logic, I would simply be an outcast to all of my society and geographic area. And it would be legal to prosecute me, imprison me and worse.
    Well, now I see where your comments come from. When you have experience with the more tolerant world, you'll see how science and religion can coexist.
    Whence comes this logic: no evidence = false?

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  17. #16  
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    What is your thoughts of religeon?

    Imo...

    theres a huge difference between God(s) and Religion.

    If someone today says god spoke to him, writes a book he calls holy, saying god told him all bout it, that the 8 commandments include drinking beer on monday night and watching football, and start telling people about stuff no one really knows about (who created the uniiverse, what happens when you die, etc) THAT is religion.

    All religions are human fabrications and even if all are complete crap it does not make impossible the potential existance of a creator or that we could be artifical and in a gigantic cosmic simulation or a Matrix, etc.

    Since Religions are human fabrications that not only uses improvisation to explain what is not understood (insead of simply saying, 'we just dont know') and goes one step further saying that that improvisation is the godly unshakable Truth given by god, Science blows away the religions and the more the Gods are descibed as interventionist the more these gods are also blown away as we understand the cause for what was previously unknown. Thor, the God I worship for example :wink: , has been pretty much debunked because we now know lightnight does not require a magical 'someone' (WHO makes lightning) since a Natural phenomenon causes it (WHAT makes lightning). Today this would be Who created life (ID) vs What created life (evolution).

    But Science cannot disproved what is beyond perception and measurements, so it cant disprove an Initial Creator that started it and then no longer intervenes letting the universe follow the parameters set, or the possibility we are all part of a simulation.

    This being said, I must pause and worship my god
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q631uZ6DQzg



    cheers
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  18. #17  
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    Allright scientstphilosophertheist,
    Explain to me plz how you can you believe both in religeon and Evolution?

    I am a prospective Physician so here's how I think biology and religion collide;
    Biology has one term that mixes genes, morphology and Natural history that topic is called the Universal Common Descent, I'm sure you are familiar with this term. It's a theory, dont go all technical with me again!!!



    that means through billions of years ago there was one living organisim that we ALL decended from, that fact collides with MOST Religeons.

    Biology seeks to study Livings Organisims, their function, processes, morphology and their natural history. Religeons call to cancel out the evolutionary (Natural History) aspect of biology, so you can't study biology without believing in evolution, now what baffles me most is how you believe in evolution and religeon, is it the full process of evolution you believe in?

    I am from the middle East and more specifically in the arabian gulf, that means not Iran, I study medicine in the UK.

    Although this is Irrelevant I would like to Know your view on Islam?
    Because I noticed that alot of people think Islam is a violent religeon. Islam means Peace by the way, and my comments about collision of science and Islam is true to many other religeons, while imprisonment happens in extreme and very rare occasion, it only happens in some countries. Extremists are found in every religeon (E.g KKK) and no Human being encourages killing innocent lives.
    "When man contemplates his future death, it is as if, by thinking of it, he renders it immediate. His defence is to deny it. He cannot deny that his body will die and rot - the evidence is too strong for that; so he solves the problem by the invention of the immortal soul" Desmond Morris
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  19. #18  
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    interesting, Im studying medicine too and although I do at times have my doubts, I believe in both, evolution is just the process by which we reached the state we're in today, it says nothing about the origin of the universe or even how life actually began, although there is of course much speculation.

    Once again it is not impossible that there was a creator who decided that evolution was the mechanism by which we would be created. I find it much more troubling an idea that there is no creator, no god or whatever one believes in than if there is. Although you may argue there is no sign of a god, I believe the existence of thi entire universe, or wherever we are, is evidence for one. If indeed there is no god, what are we doing here and why does everything we experience actually bother to exist.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbie
    If indeed there is no god, what are we doing here and why does everything we experience actually bother to exist.
    Why do we desire a god to explain why we're here? Convenience: it solves the problem simply without the need for further explanation. Most people just don't understand nature and only see it through rose-colored glasses requiring some grand purpose to it all. There is none. Life emerges naturally as a consequence of sufficiently complex chemical dynamics.

    Why do termites build such marvelous clay cathedrals? Surely there's no supervisor termite or blue-print they follow but emerge it does because of the non-linear dynamics between termite, mud and pheromone. The dynamics creates the mound, not the termite. Dynamics creates life, life IS dynamics; the chemistry and physics serve only as mud and termite. And in the same way no supervisor termite is required to oversee the construction of mound, so too with life.

    The question, "why does anything bother to exist" is again, in my opinion, answered with dynamics: the universe I believe was born of a larger system which somehow was pushed past a tipping point leading to a catastrophe we identify with the Big Bang. We see hints of this all around us in the form of "small-scale" catastrophes, the "straw that breaks the camel's back". I believe this state-change of the pre-existence gives rise to a particular dynamics we now explain in the form of physical laws: classical physics, constants of nature, quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, and relativity. "Things bother to exist" is a consequence of that dynamics: in the beginning there was dynamics and all things emerged from it.
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  21. #20  
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    But WHY?

    Existence for its own sake seems pretty disappointing for me!
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbie
    But WHY?

    Existence for its own sake seems pretty disappointing for me!
    oh well, life is full of disappointments ...
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  23. #22  
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    I always thought that our need for a god or some kind of powerful being is an extension to the need of protection that we first encounter while children, then as we grow up our parents die or seem weak, at that point we replace our parents protection with the protection of god or any super being. Also have you heard about the "faith" gene? somewhere through evolution or adaptation we needed that gene for survival, some of us don't have it...
    "When man contemplates his future death, it is as if, by thinking of it, he renders it immediate. His defence is to deny it. He cannot deny that his body will die and rot - the evidence is too strong for that; so he solves the problem by the invention of the immortal soul" Desmond Morris
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  24. #23  
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    Well i went to a state run catholic school, but religion was never shoved down my throat, we learnt about evolution, big bang, dinosaurs etc and it never seemed to conflict, this was how the universe worked and off we went to mass, then out into the playground to play football. Ahhh to be a kid again. In the end it wasn't a rejection of religion, i just simply grew out of it. If one person believes in a god, good for them, if they don't what difference does it make? What ever turns you on. The problems start when a scientific theory conflicts with the word of god. Evolution and the bible don't conflict each other to a certain point. If however we are talking about the origin of life, then yes they do.

    BioHazard, do you have problems when you are studying over here, or just when you are back home ? If you wish to know my view of islam then follow this link it will save me writing it out. http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=418_1176494781
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  25. #24  
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    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    Allright scientstphilosophertheist,
    Explain to me plz how you can you believe both in religeon and Evolution?
    The fact that I said I believe in a God-directed evolution suffices.

    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    I am a prospective Physician so here's how I think biology and religion collide;
    Biology has one term that mixes genes, morphology and Natural history that topic is called the Universal Common Descent, I'm sure you are familiar with this term. It's a theory, dont go all technical with me again!!!



    that means through billions of years ago there was one living organisim that we ALL decended from, that fact collides with MOST Religeons.
    Ok, I can see where it would collide with most religions. Regardless, it doesn't collide with my view. In my view, God created the world in 6 days, but 'six days' means simply 'six steps'. How long each step is...who knows? Anyway, the bible doesn't go into much detail about how man came about (it wouldn't be necessary, now would it? We can figure those details out ourselves).

    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    Biology seeks to study Livings Organisims, their function, processes, morphology and their natural history. Religeons call to cancel out the evolutionary (Natural History) aspect of biology, so you can't study biology without believing in evolution, now what baffles me most is how you believe in evolution and religeon, is it the full process of evolution you believe in?
    Three things: First, religion doesn't seek to cancel out the evolutionary aspect of biology. Second, you don't need to believe in evolution to study biology: biology is a very broad science; evolution is not an integral part of it. Third, most religious people who are against evolution are specifically against our descending from lower animals; not adaptation. Edit: I believe I said I completely believe in evolution there is no aspect of the theory that I disagree with. What I disagree with is atheists using it to claim that God doesn't exist, when it doesn't at all prove such.

    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    Although this is Irrelevant I would like to Know your view on Islam?
    Because I noticed that alot of people think Islam is a violent religeon. Islam means Peace by the way, and my comments about collision of science and Islam is true to many other religeons, while imprisonment happens in extreme and very rare occasion, it only happens in some countries. Extremists are found in every religeon (E.g KKK) and no Human being encourages killing innocent lives.
    I look at people, not religion.
    Terrorism =/= Islam.
    Terrorism = radical, bad people.
    I know a few Muslim people, by the way; one of which is a very good friend.
    Whence comes this logic: no evidence = false?

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  26. #25 Re: Atheism and it's Relation with Biology 
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    Quote Originally Posted by scientstphilosophertheist
    Crap, complete crap, where are the statistics?
    Look around - there are many studies showing that scientsts in general, and biologists in particular, are much less likely to believe in god than a member of the general population.
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  27. #26  
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    BioHazard:
    I don't really know where your problem is.
    Many people think of their scriptures as only metaphors anyway, and surely some do not, but these are extremists then.
    And as others have pointed out, religion is not equal to god.
    God might have created the universe so that evolution could occur.
    That's one example.
    I am.
    You can't deny it.
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  28. #27  
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    Look around - there are many studies showing that scientsts in general, and biologists in particular, are much less likely to believe in god than a member of the general population.
    What a great example of a big sweeping statement.

    I dont think so!
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  29. #28  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbie
    What a great example of a big sweeping statement.

    I dont think so!
    You might not think so, but that doesn't change reality. There are many studies showing that only about 40% of scientists believe in god, (30% for biologists in particular) vs around 90% in the general population.

    If you don't believe me, check out:

    Scientific American, September 1999
    Nature, 394(6691):313, 23 July 1998
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  30. #29  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbie
    I dont think so!
    Science works with facts, not opinions, no matter how finely honed.
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    In regards to the OP:

    A couple of thoughts pop into mind for me. For one, there are a lot of religions and a lot of statements of faith which conflict with what the real-world evidence tells us. So many scientists will dismiss the religious explanations or at least view them less literally than the general population.
    The origins of life and evolution of man is a topic which is covered in a lot of religions so there's a lot of area to conflict with science there.
    In a more general sense, a skeptical mind is of benefit in science. Science is tentative and you are always seeking to falsify (or support with EVIDENCE). Religion is the opposite - you take it on faith without any evidence whatsoever. Some scientists are drawn to science because their minds naturally gravitate towards that skeptical line of thinking, so that too could contribute to being less likely to buy into religion.
    Finally, the religious read more into science than is actually there. Science is not atheist, evolution is not anti-Christian but the more fervent among the faithful do see science as an opponent to religion. I think that whole attitude fosters resentment towards religion and could at varying stages of a scientist (or future scientist) turn one away from religion.

    Hopefully that wasn't too stream-of-thought to be useful.
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    I pose my next question so! I we did not exist (& lets assume no other life existed or came to be) would the uiverse exist?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbie
    I pose my next question so! I we did not exist (& lets assume no other life existed or came to be) would the uiverse exist?
    I say yes, but unless you hammer down your definition of universe this question is one of philosophy.
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    If we were to ge really philosophical I'd ask what universe but that would just annoy people! (including myslef!)



    Would everything wew know outside this planet exit if it was never to be observed by anything, ever.
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    What is your thoughts of religeon?[/quote]

    My opinion (ala Carl Sagan) is that fantastic claims require fantastic proof. I often marvel at the fact that the MOST fantastic claim of all time (that a supremely omnipotent, omniscient being created everything - you, me, deer ticks, gamma ray bursts, Jupiter's moons, the Oort cloud, Alpha Centauri, and Ryan Seacrest) is taken at face value, and that not a shred of evidence is required to uphold this belief. But, then again, that's what FAITH is about I suppose.

    Remember, all children are born as atheists. Then, the religion of their parents are thrust upon them. The majority grow up adhering to said religion simply because they were born into it and for no other reason. To me, this hardly seems like a healthy, nor logical, stance to take.

    Of course, there are some who HAVE reflected over a period of time, and through their own reasoned thought have come to truly believe in God and in their religion, and that's fine.

    But I often wonder what would happen if the following (admittedly not very practical) long term experiment was undertaken:

    Take a large group of young children who have no preconceived religious notions whatsoever and put them on an island with absolutely no contact with the outside world. When the "colony" grows, and through several generations, would there be "religion"? Would they have a concept of God? Furthermore, if they had no concept of God, and therefore did not "worship" him as most religions require, would they be subject to punishment in the "afterlife"?

    Just some food for thought.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron
    But I often wonder what would happen if the following (admittedly not very practical) long term experiment was undertaken:

    Take a large group of young children who have no preconceived religious notions whatsoever and put them on an island with absolutely no contact with the outside world. When the "colony" grows, and through several generations, would there be "religion"? Would they have a concept of God? Furthermore, if they had no concept of God, and therefore did not "worship" him as most religions require, would they be subject to punishment in the "afterlife"?
    I'm sure they'd create some God and/or religion; whether they'd get punished in the "afterlife" depends on the religion. Regardless, I have to admit that I'm not sure whether my God would punish them.
    Whence comes this logic: no evidence = false?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron
    Remember, all children are born as atheists.
    if this is true, how did the first religion come into being ?
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    I don't know. I suppose it evolved over time. Ancient man had no understanding of the causes of natural phenomena such as thunder, lightning, shooting stars, the constancy of the Sun, etc., and therefore developed a concept of God to explain their world.

    But my point is that it's not "built-in" to us. And absent any notion of the Koran, Buddha, Jesus, or whatever, a newborn is therefore atheist, until his parents pass on their belief system. A child born in Africa will most likely experience different religous teachings than one born in China, or Iran, or Canada, or Bolivia.

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    couldn't it be that religiosity is a bit like language in that people are hard-wired with a capability to learn languages, but that the specific language they eventually learn is the one of their immediate environment ?
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbie
    I pose my next question so! I we did not exist (& lets assume no other life existed or came to be) would the uiverse exist?
    Well we have physical evidence of the universe before life, so yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by ron
    Take a large group of young children who have no preconceived religious notions whatsoever and put them on an island with absolutely no contact with the outside world.
    What about feral children, im researching other things at the moment but perhaps that would be a good place to start.
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    I agree with Ron about explaination of Science and Nature through the Creation of a Super Being, and I also think that the creation of religeon is linked to the need of protection from a super being, when we were children we had the protection of our parents, but, as we grow up our parents can't protect us from things or they seem too weak to do so. Thats why its rare to find a child that is a religeous ZEALOT. Listen Religeon may seem harmless to some of you in Britain, but you have to experiance the real damage caused by zealotry in some regions.

    Although I do admit that sometimes religeon helps to keep communities safe and loving. But I just don't believe in a GOD, I seem to find it rather imposible, as someone mentioned before, maybe most scientists can't believe in a god/religeon because of how our brains are "Hooked Up", We are too logical I guess.
    "When man contemplates his future death, it is as if, by thinking of it, he renders it immediate. His defence is to deny it. He cannot deny that his body will die and rot - the evidence is too strong for that; so he solves the problem by the invention of the immortal soul" Desmond Morris
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    Maybe you could have a look in the religion section. There would be many people who would like to hear what you have to say.
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    they'll eat me alive
    "When man contemplates his future death, it is as if, by thinking of it, he renders it immediate. His defence is to deny it. He cannot deny that his body will die and rot - the evidence is too strong for that; so he solves the problem by the invention of the immortal soul" Desmond Morris
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    couldn't it be that religiosity is a bit like language in that people are hard-wired with a capability to learn languages, but that the specific language they eventually learn is the one of their immediate environment ?

    That's a good thought. But if this was true then all people would have some sort of religous bent. Why is that some people (atheists) have no religious inclinations at all?

    Ron
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    surely you're aware of the fact that atheism is a non-theistic religion ?

    (i.e. it makes a belief statement about the absence of a supernatural being)
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    they'll eat me alive
    Whence comes this logic: no evidence = false?

    http://www.atheistthinktank.net/thinktank/index.php

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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    surely you're aware of the fact that atheism is a non-theistic religion ?

    (i.e. it makes a belief statement about the absence of a supernatural being)
    Religion: an organized system of beliefs and rituals centering on a supernatural being or beings.


    Ron
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    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    they'll eat me alive
    Well thats a shame, i know i would have liked to hear your opinion in some of the threads there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    surely you're aware of the fact that atheism is a non-theistic religion ?
    No, it isn't. Atheism does not require faith - it is a default position. You don't say that people who don't believe in fairies and unicorns practice a religion because of that belief, do you? Of course not. Atheism is no different - unicorns, faeries, magic men in the sky, there's no distinction.
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    when i state that there is no god, that is a positive belief statement

    it's the agnostics that occupy the default position by simply stating they don't know
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    when i state that there is no god, that is a positive belief statement

    it's the agnostics that occupy the default position by simply stating they don't know
    Not all atheists claim "There is no God". Some, like myself, claim "I lack belief in God". That is not a positive belief statement but it is still an atheistic position.
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    Is that not more agnostic?
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    Robbie, did you do the UKCAT, I just ended my foundation year and now I'm gonna do the UkCAT, any Tips? I got a problem with Abstract Reasoning, I always get 60%-70% only.... Got any links on Abstract reasoning free tests? Please help....
    "When man contemplates his future death, it is as if, by thinking of it, he renders it immediate. His defence is to deny it. He cannot deny that his body will die and rot - the evidence is too strong for that; so he solves the problem by the invention of the immortal soul" Desmond Morris
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbie
    Is that not more agnostic?
    I don't think it's one or the other with atheism and agnostic - I consider myself both for example. I do not think it's possible to know for sure whether or not God exists, but I happen to fall on the "I don't believe he does" side of the fence.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    Quote Originally Posted by Robbie
    Is that not more agnostic?
    I don't think it's one or the other with atheism and agnostic - I consider myself both for example. I do not think it's possible to know for sure whether or not God exists, but I happen to fall on the "I don't believe he does" side of the fence.
    there you have a typical symptom of a religion : pointless discussion of differences in doctrine

    and you may also have noticed that whilst there can be no possible proof of the existence or otherwise of a god, your final decision boils down to an inner belief and conviction - crucial components of any religion
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    and you may also have noticed that whilst there can be no possible proof of the existence or otherwise of a god, your final decision boils down to an inner belief and conviction - crucial components of any religion
    Incorrect - it boils down to the evidence like with unicorns and leprachauns. There is no evidence so I adhere to the default position of "it probably doesn't exist". Like I said you don't call it a religious position to say that unicorns and cyclops don't exist and it's no different for Magic Men in the sky who make his followers cannabilize him once a week. Belief without evidence - THAT is faith, and the realm of religion. Lack of belief due to lack of evidence - that's the default we apply to everything OTHER than religion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    Lack of belief due to lack of evidence - that's the default we apply to everything OTHER than religion.
    how about firm belief in the face of lack of evidence ? sounds pretty much like religion to me, and that's what the more hardline variety of atheism is about
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    Lack of belief due to lack of evidence - that's the default we apply to everything OTHER than religion.
    how about firm belief in the face of lack of evidence ? sounds pretty much like religion to me, and that's what the more hardline variety of atheism is about
    Perhaps you would be kind enough to define what you mean by religion.
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    as i've said in Is atheism a religion ? :

    "a faith-based set of belief systems about the supernatural"

    with supernatural defined as :

    "anything that is beyond the means of natural science to even attempt to answer"
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    and you may also have noticed that whilst there can be no possible proof of the existence or otherwise of a god, your final decision boils down to an inner belief and conviction - crucial components of any religion
    There is a big difference between saying "I have examined the evidence, and come to this conclusion" and saying "I believe in X, even though there is no evidence to support it."
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    can you prove that god exists / doesn't exist ?

    because if you can, then you're better than hundreds of philosophers who tried before you and failed
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionar...a=supernatural

    -------------

    Supernatural

    Pronunciation: "sü-p&r-'na-ch&-r&l, -'nach-r&l
    Function: adjective
    Etymology: Middle English, from Medieval Latin supernaturalis, from Latin super- + natura nature
    1 : of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially : of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil
    2 a : departing from what is usual or normal especially so as to appear to transcend the laws of nature b : attributed to an invisible agent (as a ghost or spirit)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat1981(England)
    1 : of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially : of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil
    2 a : departing from what is usual or normal especially so as to appear to transcend the laws of nature b : attributed to an invisible agent (as a ghost or spirit)
    place that next to my definition :

    "anything that is beyond the means of natural science to even attempt to answer"

    and you'll find a reasonable match, especially with 2a - if something transcends the laws of nature, science is in no situation to evaluate it
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Thats what i was thinking too. I still don't think atheism can be classified as a religion, simply because it has no rituals. But if based alone on this ....
    a faith-based set of belief systems about the supernatural
    then i would have said 'yes'.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat1981(England)
    Thats what i was thinking too. I still don't think atheism can be classified as a religion, simply because it has no rituals. But if based alone on this ....
    a faith-based set of belief systems about the supernatural
    then i would have said 'yes'.
    I completely agree. A religion has 'rituals' and 'ceremonies'; atheism is simply a belief with no rituals or ceremonies. That's also the reason why theism is not religion.
    Whence comes this logic: no evidence = false?

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