# Random Ideas

• October 3rd, 2005, 07:05 PM
Mathwiz8390
Random Ideas
FATE VS. FREE WILL

many people believe in fate
but that negates the idea of free will
but both are basically the foundation of religion
god knows what will happen throughout eternity
god also created free will
then how do we have free will if what we do is already known?

all choices have decisions and each decision narrows the "possible futures" until we arrive at a decision that ends our life, or we just die of old age
but to fullfill the "fate" requirement
god knows the outcome of every decision

life isn't mapped out linearly
it is like an ever-narrowing pathway
each decision is a fork and you always choose forks even through the most insignificant decisions..
and you keep going down, you can't go back, even though you have some of the same decisions available, you are always in a forward motion
thus fate is progressive, you have free will, and god knows the future...

LIMITED WILL

Limited will is the restricted use of free will
A perfect example would be the when a person holds the gun to your head and tells you to do something or something else or get shot and die
you have free will
but you have a limited amount of choices
thus you have limited will
another example would be when a king tells the subject to jump from the ramparts or submit to torture, free will would provide a way to escape either fate, but limited will makes you have restricted choices...

IGNORANCE VS ENLIGHTENMENT

In order to be a good religious person, you need to follow the rules of the religion.
This is very hard for most people.
However, everyone knows of stories of people repenting on their death bed because they are exposed to a religion they knew not during life.
But, if you know the religion and are raised in the religion, and forsake the religion, you cannot do this, atleast premeditatedly. It would be like cheating god.
So, my point is, would it not be better to grow up a sinner, and learn the religion when you are older, than to grow up a believer and forsake god when you are older, just to come crawling back to claim something you know you don't deserve?
The world is tempting.
And being a good christian is hard.
Just being a good person isn't, to me, being a good christian.
I feel so bad all of the time.
So I have come to the conclusion that I would rather not know the religion, and still be the good person I am.
This way, I would not be a bad person, and I could accept Jesus near the end of my life and not be a bad christian.
I know that this idea itself isn't right, but I needed to put it down because I thought it.
Christianity is meant to be spread, so you cannot expect to grow up ignorant of it.
But being ignorant, you are almost exempt from the difficulties of christian life that most people never meet.

USING JESUS AS A TRUMP VS TRULY BEING A CHRISTIAN

most christians take the stance that believing in jesus cleanses them from any and all sin, and then go on living as they were before
is this right?
i believe to be a christian, you must accept jesus as your savior because without him everyone would be damned
i think to many people think that just believing he exists means they are goin to heaven
you need to accept him in your heart and not want to sin
not just accept his existance
this does not mean that true christians are all saints
in no way do i imply that
all people sin
but true christians accept jesus and don't want to sin
but when they do, they decide not to do that again
being a good christian means learning from your mistakes

ATHEISM

do you really believe you have no religion?
science IS a religion, btw
many people don't see it this way
what are the main points of a religion
-to explain phenomenon
-to tell society what to believe
-to establish rules
the reason we don't see it as a religion is that it has surpassed every other religion
it has conquered the one thing that makes people lose faith in religion...
religions deal in absolutes
but science has made itself progressive
thus science is NEVER wrong
some theories or some scientists are wrong
but never science
it is the religion that people will always have faith in because it cannot be wrong
• October 3rd, 2005, 07:27 PM
broken_6
Well, for me, atheism isnt believing in the whole concept of religion. It's believing that there is not something greater controlling us. I, for one, just cant understand or capture that idea. its too much for me and i just cant believe it. And it's not that i think religion is wrong or stupid. I would love to be able to believe that there is someone watching over us and at the end we'll all be in a great place together, but i dont. I dont believe in heaven or hell or god or any greater being. im not sure of what happens when we die. Im scared of it. I mean, what if we just don't exist anymore. We just stop. no conciousness, no nothing. Im scared of that.

I dont even know if i believe in reality. Sometimes i cant tell the difference between dream or real. I dont know if were all in a snow globe and some little kid shakes the shit out of it now and then, and thats why hurricanes and crazy stuff happens. Or if were all brains in a bottle thinking this up. I mean, maybe youre not really real. Maybe im making up this whole thing. I mean, i dont know if you REALLY have conciousness and thoughts, and you dont know if i REALLy have conciousness and thoughts. Think about it, you could be making this all up in your mind. making up me talking to you. It's crazy. Its hard for me to think deeply about stuff like this, because i dont know and its bugs me so much. I want to know everything!
• October 4th, 2005, 01:25 AM
wallaby
well i don't know which option in the poll to take so i'll just have to ask which suits best.

for me it depends on what kind of universe we live in, i don't believe it is a religeous one, if we have a single universe with one timeline then there is limited free will because the you that exists later in the timeline has already made choices, hinting at fate, but they were still choices you made willingly, free will, hence the problem.

alternatively if there were an infinite number of universes we would have unlimited free will.

thats looking at it one way, i'm not religeous so if you are looking for a religeous answer i'll just have to say unlimmited free will.
• October 4th, 2005, 02:24 AM
j
Re: Random Ideas
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mathwiz8390
science IS a religion
...
what are the main points of a religion
-to explain phenomenon
-to tell society what to believe
-to establish rules

No. That's not so. The first and third are responsibilities which religions have assumed, and been strikingly bad at fulfilling. The second really is too general to have much meaning.

Science and myth explain phenomena.

Ruling bodies establish rules.

And any fool with a blog can tell people what to believe.

Science can be the means of expressing the religious instinct, but you have not expressed the religious instinct.
• October 4th, 2005, 02:44 PM
geezer
Re: Random Ideas
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mathwiz8390
ATHEISM

do you really believe you have no religion?

yes
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mathwiz8390
science IS a religion, btw

no, your totally wrong on that count, science is the persuit of knowledge based on evidence, and as Faith, is belief that isn't based on evidence, being the principal vice of any religion, the two are mutually exculsive.

I voted free will because as an atheist I have true free will, I am my own lord and master I control every movement and thought of my body, so I have free will.
limited free will is a contradiction in terms, and fate does not exist, you make your own luck to use a very fated word.
• October 4th, 2005, 03:37 PM
(In)Sanity
Quote:

I voted free will because as an atheist I have true free will, I am my own lord and master I control every movement and thought of my body, so I have free will.
limited free will is a contradiction in terms, and fate does not exist, you make your own luck to use a very fated word.
Actually your subject to everything around you. Commit a nice crime and see how far that "free will" takes you. Stand around at ground zero when a bomb drops and see how far it takes you. Stand around sick people and see how far it takes you.

Nobody has true free will. It's limited at best.

Fate is the organized chaos that surrounds us all. You can't be certain something isn't going to happen, or that something is. If an airplane crashes in to your home, well it's chaos in action. Was it suppose to hit your house, perhaps...nobody will ever know. True free will would say that that plane won't hit my house because I don't want it to. Limited free will would say that I have the option to get out before it does. Pure fate would say that if I did get out I was suppose to, and that if I didn't see it coming that was what was suppose to happen to me.

I go with the very limited free will. There is far too much chaos all around us for us to have very good free will.
• October 4th, 2005, 05:21 PM
wallaby
my opinion would still change depending on the circumstunces.

But I'm with Insanity, we have free will but it is limited in that we react to certain conditions, which subject to change will produce a different, and possably unpredictable, outcome.
• October 4th, 2005, 10:23 PM
daytonturner
Can one select all of the above?

I would not quite agree to a concept of fate or kismet that is a whimsical thing. There are those who believe that one's election to salvation in Jesus, is determined not by the person, but by the Lord hisself. In that instance, at least to those who thus believe, there is an element of fate. Or in another aspect, a person born without hands perhaps might be considered to have been fated not to be a piano player. One could, however, consider this a matter of happenstance or whimsy.

Free will would more relate to the ability of mankind to make moral choices. In this scenario, humanity has the capacity to make any choice available. This is true of all people no regardless of their religious position or lack thereof. This is not really a morality thing -- choosing which job you will take or which person you will marry are choices which would be included in moral choices. (Cultural differences such as arranged marriages notwithstanding.)

Limited free will would relate to those choices which cannot be completed. I cannot, for example will myself to fly like and eagle. Nor can I will someone else to do my bidding. I can make those choices, but I cannot enforce them. So in that sense, free will is limited.

Under this construct, only the idea of fate can have any relationship to religion because both free will and limited will apply to all of mankind in exactly the same way, no matter their religious status.
• October 5th, 2005, 01:58 AM
John Galt
Fate is a convenient term that can make us feel that misfortunes may at least have the been organised and planned rather than being down to chance alone. Probably the same motivations that make people believe in fate are responsible for their commitment to conspiracy theory.
• October 5th, 2005, 07:34 AM
geezer
Quote:

Originally Posted by (In)Sanity
Quote:

I voted free will because as an atheist I have true free will, I am my own lord and master I control every movement and thought of my body, so I have free will.
limited free will is a contradiction in terms, and fate does not exist, you make your own luck to use a very fated word.
Actually your subject to everything around you. Commit a nice crime and see how far that "free will" takes you. Stand around at ground zero when a bomb drops and see how far it takes you. Stand around sick people and see how far it takes you.

I have the choice to do the crime.
but ok when it comes to war or illness then free will is obsolete, but only in a minor way, I still have 99.9% control.
Quote:

Originally Posted by (In)Sanity
Fate is the organized chaos that surrounds us all. You can't be certain something isn't going to happen, or that something is. If an airplane crashes in to your home, well it's chaos in action. Was it suppose to hit your house, perhaps...nobody will ever know. True free will would say that that plane won't hit my house because I don't want it to. Limited free will would say that I have the option to get out before it does. Pure fate would say that if I did get out I was suppose to, and that if I didn't see it coming that was what was suppose to happen to me.

fate is a supernatural thing, but shit happens, we all know that, it just the way of the world it has nothing to do with the supernatural.
• October 5th, 2005, 03:20 PM
Mathwiz8390
so, because you have been fooled into believing science isn't a religion, it must not be?

i also want to express my firm belief in the limited will theory
which has religious and logical foundings

I believe science is a religion for many reasons, but it is evident to me that you will not accept the point, no matter what support i give

but i will give a few supporting ideas anyway in hopes that you are not as stubborn as you seem

and i just want to note, someone said that my original vague points were incorrect and one reason was that they were not assigned the roles i described, that they just assumed them

well, if they assume them as a rule, then i believe it is a general description of religions, wouldn't you agree?

anyway
some other things i have to say are

science is a religion for the simple reason that it is substituted as a religion by atheists

you may say that statement is totally wrong, but look at it logically
atheists believe in nothing
so by believing in science, they have accepted it as a religion
do you follow?

well, then you may say that science is a set of facts that are in no way religiously oriented

to that i say
we have no accurate way of knowing what happened before we have recorded history, yet science professes the truths of ancient history

so would you not say that atleast some of the things spread by science are based on belief?

many people believe in darwin's theory of evolution
some colleges require the professor of a course on evolution to state plainly that darwin's theory is just that, a theory
yet so much science is based on it
so how can everything in science be factual?
if it isn't factual, then most of science is based on faith
religions are based on fate______(bottom line)

so, i challenge you, you who think you have no religion, to prove science is not a religion, and you cannot do this by stating that science itself refuses to be designated as a religion

this may have been true in the beginnings of science, but now, science has taken on religious orientation

as i have said before, we see science not as a religion because it doesn't have the usual trappings of a religion

for example, it doesn't have a sabbath, it doesn't have "priests" exactly, (but it does have teachers, professors, and practitioners), it doesn't deal in absolutes which cause large populations to lose faith in science, and it doesn't have a redemption theory (or a salvation theory, or a massiah theory) but it is still a religion, albeit a dreary, restricted religion, but it is readily believable by any logical being
• October 5th, 2005, 04:22 PM
cosmictraveler
Quote:

so, i challenge you, you who think you have no religion, to prove science is not a religion, and you cannot do this by stating that science itself refuses to be designated as a religion
Science is not a religion because in no dictionary will you find it defined as a religion. If that's not a good source then you could also look in the encyclopedia and again you will not find it catagorized as a religion. So if those two references are worth anything then they should prove that science is not a religion. Also look up religion in the dictionary and there's no reference to science within its definition either.
• October 5th, 2005, 05:14 PM
wallaby
depends on how you look at or embrace science.

if you take it as a system of belief then it is a religion.
if you take it as a way of viewing the Universe and its workings then it is not a religion.

if you believe the universe works in a certain way this is not a religeous belief but a theory.
• October 6th, 2005, 03:31 AM
geezer
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mathwiz8390
so, because you have been fooled into believing science isn't a religion, it must not be?

science is a religion for the simple reason that it is substituted as a religion by atheists

so, i challenge you, you who think you have no religion, to prove science is not a religion, and you cannot do this by stating that science itself refuses to be designated as a religion

I let Dawkins answer this, as he does much better than I

Is Science a Religion?

by Richard Dawkins

Published in the Humanist, January/February 1997

The 1996 Humanist of the Year asked this question in a speech accepting the honor from the American Humanist Association.

It is fashionable to wax apocalyptic about the threat to humanity posed by the AIDS virus, "mad cow" disease, and many others, but I think a case can be made that faith is one of the world's great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate.
Faith, being belief that isn't based on evidence, is the principal vice of any religion. And who, looking at Northern Ireland or the Middle East, can be confident that the brain virus of faith is not exceedingly dangerous? One of the stories told to the young Muslim suicide bombers is that martyrdom is the quickest way to heaven — and not just heaven but a special part of heaven where they will receive their special reward of 72 virgin brides. It occurs to me that our best hope may be to provide a kind of "spiritual arms control": send in specially trained theologians to deescalate the going rate in virgins.

Given the dangers of faith — and considering the accomplishments of reason and observation in the activity called science — I find it ironic that, whenever I lecture publicly, there always seems to be someone who comes forward and says, "Of course, your science is just a religion like ours. Fundamentally, science just comes down to faith, doesn't it?"

Well,science is not religion and it doesn't just come down to faith. Although it has many of religion's virtues, it has none of its vices. Science is based upon verifiable evidence. Religious faith not only lacks evidence, its independence from evidence is its pride and joy, shouted from the rooftops. Why else would Christians wax critical of doubting Thomas? The other apostles are held up to us as exemplars of virtue because faith was enough for them. Doubting Thomas, on the other hand, required evidence. Perhaps he should be the patron saint of scientists.

One reason I receive the comment about science being a religion is because I believe in the fact of evolution. I even believe in it with passionate conviction. To some, this may superficially look like faith. But the evidence that makes me believe in evolution is not only overwhelmingly strong; it is freely available to anyone who takes the trouble to read up on it. Anyone can study the same evidence that I have and presumably come to the same conclusion. But if you have a belief that is based solely on faith, I can't examine your reasons. You can retreat behind the private wall of faith where I can't reach you.
Now in practice, of course, individual scientists do sometimes slip back into the vice of faith, and a few may believe so single-mindedly in a favorite theory that they occasionally falsify evidence. However, the fact that this sometimes happens doesn't alter the principle that, when they do so, they do it with shame and not with pride. The method of science is so designed that it usually finds them out in the end.
Science is actually one of the most moral, one of the most honest disciplines around — because science would completely collapse if it weren't for a scrupulous adherence to honesty in the reporting of evidence. (As James Randi has pointed out, this is one reason why scientists are so often fooled by paranormal tricksters and why the debunking role is better played by professional conjurors; scientists just don't anticipate deliberate dishonesty as well.) There are other professions (no need to mention lawyers specifically) in which falsifying evidence or at least twisting it is precisely what people are paid for and get brownie points for doing.
Science, then, is free of the main vice of religion, which is faith. But, as I pointed out, science does have some of religion's virtues. Religion may aspire to provide its followers with various benefits — among them explanation, consolation, and uplift. Science, too, has something to offer in these areas.
Humans have a great hunger for explanation. It may be one of the main reasons why humanity so universally has religion, since religions do aspire to provide explanations. We come to our individual consciousness in a mysterious universe and long to understand it. Most religions offer a cosmology and a biology, a theory of life, a theory of origins, and reasons for existence. In doing so, they demonstrate that religion is, in a sense, science; it's just bad science. Don't fall for the argument that religion and science operate on separate dimensions and are concerned with quite separate sorts of questions. Religions have historically always attempted to answer the questions that properly belong to science. Thus religions should not be allowed now to retreat away from the ground upon which they have traditionally attempted to fight. They do offer both a cosmology and a biology; however, in both cases it is false.
Consolation is harder for science to provide. Unlike religion, science cannot offer the bereaved a glorious reunion with their loved ones in the hereafter. Those wronged on this earth cannot, on a scientific view, anticipate a sweet comeuppance for their tormentors in a life to come. It could be argued that, if the idea of an afterlife is an illusion (as I believe it is), the consolation it offers is hollow. But that's not necessarily so; a false belief can be just as comforting as a true one, provided the believer never discovers its falsity. But if consolation comes that cheap, science can weigh in with other cheap palliatives, such as pain-killing drugs, whose comfort may or may not be illusory, but they do work.
Uplift, however, is where science really comes into its own. All the great religions have a place for awe, for ecstatic transport at the wonder and beauty of creation. And it's exactly this feeling of spine-shivering, breath-catching awe — almost worship — this flooding of the chest with ecstatic wonder, that modern science can provide. And it does so beyond the wildest dreams of saints and mystics. The fact that the supernatural has no place in our explanations, in our understanding of so much about the universe and life, doesn't diminish the awe. Quite the contrary. The merest glance through a microscope at the brain of an ant or through a telescope at a long-ago galaxy of a billion worlds is enough to render poky and parochial the very psalms of praise.
Now, as I say, when it is put to me that science or some particular part of science, like evolutionary theory, is just a religion like any other, I usually deny it with indignation. But I've begun to wonder whether perhaps that's the wrong tactic. Perhaps the right tactic is to accept the charge gratefully and demand equal time for science in religious education classes. And the more I think about it, the more I realize that an excellent case could be made for this. So I want to talk a little bit about religious education and the place that science might play in it.
I do feel very strongly about the way children are brought up. I'm not entirely familiar with the way things are in the United States, and what I say may have more relevance to the United Kingdom, where there is state-obliged, legally-enforced religious instruction for all children. That's unconstitutional in the United States, but I presume that children are nevertheless given religious instruction in whatever particular religion their parents deem suitable.
Which brings me to my point about mental child abuse. In a 1995 issue of the Independent, one of London's leading newspapers, there was a photograph of a rather sweet and touching scene. It was Christmas time, and the picture showed three children dressed up as the three wise men for a nativity play. The accompanying story described one child as a Muslim, one as a Hindu, and one as a Christian. The supposedly sweet and touching point of the story was that they were all taking part in this Nativity play.
What is not sweet and touching is that these children were all four years old. How can you possibly describe a child of four as a Muslim or a Christian or a Hindu or a Jew? Would you talk about a four-year-old economic monetarist? Would you talk about a four-year-old neo-isolationist or a four-year-old liberal Republican? There are opinions about the cosmos and the world that children, once grown, will presumably be in a position to evaluate for themselves. Religion is the one field in our culture about which it is absolutely accepted, without question — without even noticing how bizarre it is — that parents have a total and absolute say in what their children are going to be, how their children are going to be raised, what opinions their children are going to have about the cosmos, about life, about existence. Do you see what I mean about mental child abuse?
Looking now at the various things that religious education might be expected to accomplish, one of its aims could be to encourage children to reflect upon the deep questions of existence, to invite them to rise above the humdrum preoccupations of ordinary life and think sub specie aeternitatis.
Science can offer a vision of life and the universe which, as I've already remarked, for humbling poetic inspiration far outclasses any of the mutually contradictory faiths and disappointingly recent traditions of the world's religions.
For example, how could children in religious education classes fail to be inspired if we could get across to them some inkling of the age of the universe? Suppose that, at the moment of Christ's death, the news of it had started traveling at the maximum possible speed around the universe outwards from the earth. How far would the terrible tidings have traveled by now? Following the theory of special relativity, the answer is that the news could not, under any circumstances whatever, have reached more that one-fiftieth of the way across one galaxy — not one- thousandth of the way to our nearest neighboring galaxy in the 100-million-galaxy-strong universe. The universe at large couldn't possibly be anything other than indifferent to Christ, his birth, his passion, and his death. Even such momentous news as the origin of life on Earth could have traveled only across our little local cluster of galaxies. Yet so ancient was that event on our earthly time-scale that, if you span its age with your open arms, the whole of human history, the whole of human culture, would fall in the dust from your fingertip at a single stroke of a nail file.
The argument from design, an important part of the history of religion, wouldn't be ignored in my religious education classes, needless to say. The children would look at the spellbinding wonders of the living kingdoms and would consider Darwinism alongside the creationist alternatives and make up their own minds. I think the children would have no difficulty in making up their minds the right way if presented with the evidence. What worries me is not the question of equal time but that, as far as I can see, children in the United Kingdom and the United States are essentially given no time with evolution yet are taught creationism (whether at school, in church, or at home).
It would also be interesting to teach more than one theory of creation. The dominant one in this culture happens to be the Jewish creation myth, which is taken over from the Babylonian creation myth. There are, of course, lots and lots of others, and perhaps they should all be given equal time (except that wouldn't leave much time for studying anything else). I understand that there are Hindus who believe that the world was created in a cosmic butter churn and Nigerian peoples who believe that the world was created by God from the excrement of ants. Surely these stories have as much right to equal time as the Judeo-Christian myth of Adam and Eve.
So much for Genesis; now let's move on to the prophets. Halley's Comet will return without fail in the year 2062. Biblical or Delphic prophecies don't begin to aspire to such accuracy; astrologers and Nostradamians dare not commit themselves to factual prognostications but, rather, disguise their charlatanry in a smokescreen of vagueness. When comets have appeared in the past, they've often been taken as portents of disaster. Astrology has played an important part in various religious traditions, including Hinduism. The three wise men I mentioned earlier were said to have been led to the cradle of Jesus by a star. We might ask the children by what physical route do they imagine the alleged stellar influence on human affairs could travel.
Incidentally, there was a shocking program on the BBC radio around Christmas 1995 featuring an astronomer, a bishop, and a journalist who were sent off on an assignment to retrace the steps of the three wise men. Well, you could understand the participation of the bishop and the journalist (who happened to be a religious writer), but the astronomer was a supposedly respectable astronomy writer, and yet she went along with this! All along the route, she talked about the portents of when Saturn and Jupiter were in the ascendant up Uranus or whatever it was. She doesn't actually believe in astrology, but one of the problems is that our culture has been taught to become tolerant of it, vaguely amused by it — so much so that even scientific people who don't believe in astrology sort of think it's a bit of harmless fun. I take astrology very seriously indeed: I think it's deeply pernicious because it undermines rationality, and I should like to see campaigns against it.
When the religious education class turns to ethics, I don't think science actually has a lot to say, and I would replace it with rational moral philosophy. Do the children think there are absolute standards of right and wrong? And if so, where do they come from? Can you make up good working principles of right and wrong, like "do as you would be done by" and "the greatest good for the greatest number" (whatever that is supposed to mean)? It's a rewarding question, whatever your personal morality, to ask as an evolutionist where morals come from; by what route has the human brain gained its tendency to have ethics and morals, a feeling of right and wrong?
Should we value human life above all other life? Is there a rigid wall to be built around the species Homo sapiens, or should we talk about whether there are other species which are entitled to our humanistic sympathies? Should we, for example, follow the right-to-life lobby, which is wholly preoccupied with human life, and value the life of a human fetus with the faculties of a worm over the life of a thinking and feeling chimpanzee? What is the basis of this fence that we erect around Homo sapiens — even around a small piece of fetal tissue? (Not a very sound evolutionary idea when you think about it.) When, in our evolutionary descent from our common ancestor with chimpanzees, did the fence suddenly rear itself up?
Well, moving on, then, from morals to last things, to eschatology, we know from the second law of thermodynamics that all complexity, all life, all laughter, all sorrow, is hell bent on leveling itself out into cold nothingness in the end. They — and we — can never be more then temporary, local buckings of the great universal slide into the abyss of uniformity.
We know that the universe is expanding and will probably expand forever, although it's possible it may contract again. We know that, whatever happens to the universe, the sun will engulf the earth in about 60 million centuries from now.
Time itself began at a certain moment, and time may end at a certain moment — or it may not. Time may come locally to an end in miniature crunches called black holes. The laws of the universe seem to be true all over the universe. Why is this? Might the laws change in these crunches? To be really speculative, time could begin again with new laws of physics, new physical constants. And it has even been suggested that there could be many universes, each one isolated so completely that, for it, the others don't exist. Then again, there might be a Darwinian selection among universes.
So science could give a good account of itself in religious education. But it wouldn't be enough. I believe that some familiarity with the King James version of the Bible is important for anyone wanting to understand the allusions that appear in English literature. Together with the Book of Common Prayer, the Bible gets 58 pages in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. Only Shakespeare has more. I do think that not having any kind of biblical education is unfortunate if children want to read English literature and understand the provenance of phrases like "through a glass darkly," "all flesh is as grass," "the race is not to the swift," "crying in the wilderness," "reaping the whirlwind," "amid the alien corn," "Eyeless in Gaza," "Job's comforters," and "the widow's mite."
I want to return now to the charge that science is just a faith. The more extreme version of that charge — and one that I often encounter as both a scientist and a rationalist — is an accusation of zealotry and bigotry in scientists themselves as great as that found in religious people. Sometimes there may be a little bit of justice in this accusation; but as zealous bigots, we scientists are mere amateurs at the game. We're content to argue with those who disagree with us. We don't kill them.
But I would want to deny even the lesser charge of purely verbal zealotry. There is a very, very important difference between feeling strongly, even passionately, about something because we have thought about and examined the evidence for it on the one hand, and feeling strongly about something because it has been internally revealed to us, or internally revealed to somebody else in history and subsequently hallowed by tradition. There's all the difference in the world between a belief that one is prepared to defend by quoting evidence and logic and a belief that is supported by nothing more than tradition, authority, or revelation.
• October 6th, 2005, 04:29 AM
wallaby
well that sums it up, in quite a few words.
• October 6th, 2005, 05:46 AM
John Galt
I don't especially like Dawkins (that's a personal, not a scientific assessment :wink: ) so I was rather pleased to note he had omitted from his otherwise excellent summary the most critical difference between science and religion. He says:

There is a very, very important difference between feeling strongly, even passionately, about something because we have thought about and examined the evidence for it on the one hand, and feeling strongly about something because it has been internally revealed to us, or internally revealed to somebody else in history and subsequently hallowed by tradition. There's all the difference in the world between a belief that one is prepared to defend by quoting evidence and logic and a belief that is supported by nothing more than tradition, authority, or revelation.

"And there is an unbridgeable gulf between a position and passionately held belief that will be abandoned completely and forever when the observations and the facts demonstrate it to be false, and, on the other hand, the stance that says 'if the facts disagree with my position, then the facts are wrong'.

[en passant, I suspect he omitted this point because that is Dawkins' Achilles heel: he has rarely contemplated the possibility that his great mind could ever be wrong. Fortunately for science the process of peer review will correct any errors resulting from this hubris.]
• October 6th, 2005, 06:23 AM
Mathwiz8390
i use all of the evidence in that lengthy qoute for this next post
------------------------------------------------------------------------
did i not say that science had surpassed all other religions?
but still retained some aspects?
this is exactly what was said, but looked at by a person who believes science is not a religion

it was used to say it cannot be a religion because it had none of the vices of religions

to this i say
the common cold, mutating perpetually
most strains are very much alike, thus we know them as the "cold"
even though each is an individual strain
(i use this as a comparison to major religions)
however, every now and then, there is a particularly nasty strain, different in more ways than usual, but it is still refered to as the "cold"
(i use this as a comparison to science)

and if you insist darwinism is correct

then look at monkeys, gorrillas and such as major religions and look at humans as science
then you can not say science is not a religion

*good try with the long quote though, I now believe that whether you believe science is a religion or not is dependent upon your initial view, not just on supporting evidence because the evidence, as i have just showed, can be supportive of both views*
• October 6th, 2005, 09:42 AM
geezer
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mathwiz8390
*good try with the long quote though, I now believe that whether you believe science is a religion or not is dependent upon your initial view, not just on supporting evidence because the evidence, as i have just showed, can be supportive of both views*

then you sir text deleted.

There are those in the know, and there are those who believe they know.
M*W
• October 6th, 2005, 10:18 AM
John Galt
Mathwiz, let's get back to basics. What would you say are the defining characteristics of a religion?
• October 7th, 2005, 12:59 AM
wallaby
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mathwiz8390
and if you insist darwinism is correct

then look at monkeys, gorrillas and such as major religions and look at humans as science
then you can not say science is not a religion.

and if you look at this hypothetical God as major religions and humans as science you can not say science is a religion.

typical of a religious person to invent things an twist them to suit them.

no offense but this just Fustrates me!
man the heat is realy getting to me, and it's only Spring!
• October 7th, 2005, 06:07 AM
Mathwiz8390
ahhh

i can not change ur view, but u must see the logic behind mine

your view seems to me to be based solely on the lack of a supreme being in science

in this point i agree with u

but i don't agree that it disqualifies science from being a religion...
• October 7th, 2005, 09:16 AM
John Galt
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mathwiz8390
i can not change ur view, but u must see the logic behind mine

I cannot see the logic behind your view until you tell me what you believe to be the defining characteristics of religion.
• October 7th, 2005, 10:53 AM
SkinWalker
Indeed, I've yet to see a qualifying statement that follows the typcial theistic pejorative of "science is a religion, too."

Mathwiz's claim began with his opening post where, under the heading of "atheism" he put, "do you really believe you have no religion?
science IS a religion, btw."

There really is one very logical and reasonable counter argument to that unqualified claim: how then do you explain the atheists who no little or nothing of science and have little to no interest in science? Or do you posit that these people don't exist?

Mathwiz goes on to say: "what are the main points of a religion
-to explain phenomenon
-to tell society what to believe
-to establish rules "

True. But having the same function hardly implies that two things are the same. The pitcher of water in my refridgerator was designed to contain liquid without allowing it to seep through the container. But then, so was my toilet. While there are some similar characteristics of both (they're both made of porcelin, for instance), and, if we traced their origins, we'd likely find a common ancestor -few people would say that they are the same objects. Fewer still would agree to use either for the other's purpose.

This is the same with religion and science. True enough, they appear to have some common ancestors, but one is clearly left, unevolved, as a religion, while the other has agreed to evolve and progress into a method of examining and describing the universe.

Religion depends upon a very conservative doctrine and the most successful religions have very detailed doctrines that resist revision. Even when revision occurs, it is limited and constrained to allow only modest improvements -the Reformation and the move to Protestantism for instance.

Science, however, depends not upon the illogical doctrines of religion. Doctrines which resist change, progress, or revision. Science is provisional in nature while religion is to be considered a stable, unchanging and unyielding truth taken on faith. Testing of "facts" in religion is discouraged as is critical application of reason.

To dismiss atheism simply because one cannot comprehend that others would choose not to believe in a 'god' seems to be the function of Mathwiz's assertion about atheism. I've noted that the theist often has difficulty in accepting that someone else might not acknowledge a god. The atheist is often less well-received among the theist than even those that choose to believe in different gods (usually from the hope that all gods are the one god nonsense).

In short, not only does the theist believe that there is some mystical being that knows all/sees all and that his/her personal doctrine is the correct one, but the theist often believes that no one else can truly be atheist.

My three-year old is proof that atheists exist. She is a perfect atheist. If you were to ask her what a god is, she would not know. She can name several species of dinosaur, often by their latin name, but she couldn't tell you who "Jesus" is (unless you spell it "Hay-Zeuss"... that's the guy that does our lawn work).
• October 7th, 2005, 04:39 PM
Mathwiz8390
now that arguement i can accept

i realize now that i was being hard-headed

but even though i realize this, i still don't see how someone can be atheist..
this is probably because i was raised christian and science to me isn't fully adequate in all things, where as religion gives a blanket answer-God

but here is something else that i believe....something that was just addressed in relation to acceptance of other religions over atheists

i believe that God has many different names because of different languages and cultures and the like
i also believe that polytheistic religions somehow began to worship angels and prophets as gods
so, in effect all religions share somewhat the same origin, but like languages, when u isolate a group, their language changes, as do customs and in effect religion

also i believe that science is proof that God exists because to me the chances of everything happenin the way it did for creation to begin was to precise for coincidence, and God would have set up natural rules, which scientists say refute the existance of a god..

anyway...
ya
• October 7th, 2005, 05:48 PM
John Galt
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mathwiz8390
i still don't see how someone can be atheist..

Totally and irrevocably agree. The Universe exists (or at least it seems to). It is possible and plausible that it has not always existed. It is possible and plausible that it may have been created. Postulating a creator is just as crazy as postulating no creator. In that case the only intelligent position is to be an agnostic. I am wholly entrenched in my uncertainty and nothing will budge me from this position. My indecision is final.
• October 7th, 2005, 07:03 PM
wallaby
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mathwiz8390
ahhh

i can not change ur view, but u must see the logic behind mine

your view seems to me to be based solely on the lack of a supreme being in science

in this point i agree with u

but i don't agree that it disqualifies science from being a religion...

i see some logic behind yours but only a hint.
its easy to make comparissons to prove a point as was the point of my above post.
i had no intentions of making referals to supreme beings.

you want to make a point, answer Ophiolites question and please define the basics of a religion.
• October 7th, 2005, 08:17 PM
broken_6
i personally believe in the snow-globe theory. See, we're all microscopic beings inside this little glass snowglobe and some little angry kid with Turrets keeps shaking it up and loving everything up. Thats why we keep having these crazy hurricanes and all. Stupid kids. Screw science and religion, we were created in a factory.

Edit: changed a profane word to an acceptable synonym.
--- SkinWalker (10/08/05| 04:35 GMT)
• October 8th, 2005, 06:05 AM
John Galt
Quote:

Originally Posted by broken_6
we were created in a factory.

Who created the people who made the factory? Or is it turtles all the way down?
• October 8th, 2005, 06:49 AM
SkinWalker
Ah, Sahib, after that it is turtles all the way down.
• October 8th, 2005, 04:11 PM
mitchellmckain
Re: Random Ideas
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mathwiz8390
FATE VS. FREE WILL

LIMITED WILL

Limited will is the restricted use of free will
A perfect example would be the when a person holds the gun to your head and tells you to do something or something else or get shot and die
you have free will
but you have a limited amount of choices
thus you have limited will
another example would be when a king tells the subject to jump from the ramparts or submit to torture, free will would provide a way to escape either fate, but limited will makes you have restricted choices...

I voted for free will and not limited free will because your range of choices is never limited. The idea of limitation comes from the limitation on your control of events and the results of your choices. But the truth is that control over these things is an illusion. We have control only over our choices of what to do and conrol over what happens is always out of reach. The illusion that we have control is built up by the coincidence that thing do go the way we intend in a sheltered life.

In fact here is the truth in the idea of fate. I think that a belief in fate comes from the realization that we do not control events at all. The idea of fate helps many people to accept this reality. But its failure is that it is still focusing on the wrong thing. No we do not control events but we still have choices and it is those choices which being alive and human is all about. Yes we need to accept that events are beyond our control but in order to liberate our choices.

In the very revealing example of the gunman, thinking that your choices controls events is a trap. It is precisely what the gunman wants you to think because that is what give him power over you. The truth is that putting trust in the gunman is a very poor bet, for the very fact that he is holding a gun to your head would in calmer logic indicate that he is very untrustworthy.

Thinking that we control events also leads the the faulty philosophy that the ends justify the means. On a deeper level of reality the means are all you end up with. This is the tragic reality of the never ending cycle of revolutions in third world countries. Trying to contol event also lies behind the saying "the path to hell is paved with good intentions". These good intentions come directly from the ill founded belief that your actions can control events.

No the idea of limited choice falls for this same delusion because it focuses on the events resulting from your actions. The reality is complete free will. To avoid the delusion we must focus more on the complete freedom we have in making choices for their own sake.