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Thread: The relationship between science and religion

  1. #1 The relationship between science and religion 
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    I'm new to this forum. (This is my first post here.) I have read some of the recent comments, and the consensus opinion (certainly held by the moderator) seems to be that science can explain most if not all of the tenents of religion.

    I would like to take the contrary position. (Flame me all you want!) I would argue that science and religion are entirely separate undertakings with virtually nothing in common with each other. Nothing of one can be explained by the other.

    Science deals with the way things are (or were or might be in the future). Science uses logical inferences to draw conclusions from verifiable observations. Science is completely non-judgemental. It has nothing to say about how things ought to be, what is right or wrong, what is good or bad, what is moral or immoral, or what we should or should not do in various situations. These important questions belong exclusively to the domain of religion.

    There is no way to demonstrate through logic, experimentation or other scientific means that one set of values is better or worse than any other set of values. Whenever you say something is "better," you are leaving the realm of science into the realm of religion. (Perhaps philosophy might be a better term, but since morality cannot be deduced from logic, I would argue that a discussion like this should not be moved to the philosophy section).

    Every person makes life decisions in part based on his moral religious outlook -- even self-professed atheists. It is how we all function. As far as we know, we are the only species that contemplates questions of right and wrong. The fact that we do this is undeniable. Why we contemplate such questions might be an area for scientific inquiry. However, science can shed no light on the questions themselves.

    Aside from moral issues, the other major reason for religion to exist to is to relieve some of the fear people have over death. We all know we're going to die, we all fear it, but it is bad to become overly worried or obsessed about it. Religion provides a thought process by which we can imagine death to be a natural transition to another existence.

    I look forward to reading your comments.


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    you are correct, this should be in philosophy but i think this is a great philosophical discussion.

    i disagree with you though, a religion says what is right and wrong but it doesn't back it up with anything(besides perhaps a religious text they claim to be "divinely inspired"). the morality of christianity isn't fundamentally true, we've done away with slavery(for the most part) which the bible supports, are in the process of ridding the world of gender discrimination which the bible and many modern christians vehemently support, and we're starting to view homosexuality as a personal choice rather than something evil.

    the changes in morality over the generations tells us something very important about morals and established moralities(both religion and philosophy), they are not fundamentally true and are decided by the people of the world by their willingness to follow said morals.

    and although science certainly doesn't say what ought to be i must add that darwin's research suggests that the morals of a social group affect its ability to survive and produce more members of similar morality. so science doesn't say that a certain set of morals is right but it can tell us what morals are most effective or "best" for a species.

    and i agree completely with your last two paragraphs. one of the primary reasons for religion to exist is to help people with their fear of death. the different stances various religions take on death also affects how many people and which people will follow such a religion. of course personally i'm content just knowing that my atoms will be used in the next generation of life(or maybe not for another few generations) after i die. but some people can't imagine a completely finite existence even though everything we observe in the world is finite, it all ends eventually.


    physics: accurate, objective, boring
    chemistry: accurate if physics is accurate, slightly subjective, you can blow stuff up
    biology: accurate if chemistry is accurate, somewhat subjective, fascinating
    religion: accurate if people are always right, highly subjective, bewildering
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    Saul: Thank you for your well though-out reply. I guess I'll respond to your points one by one.

    i disagree with you though, a religion says what is right and wrong but it doesn't back it up with anything(besides perhaps a religious text they claim to be "divinely inspired"). the morality of christianity isn't fundamentally true.
    No system of morality is fundamentally true in the sense that it can be logically defended from scientific principles of observation and hypothesis testing. In modern societies (certainly ones with access to the Internet), morality and religion are simply matters of personal choice. Traditionally, they were part of a society's culture.

    we've done away with slavery(for the most part) which the bible supports, are in the process of ridding the world of gender discrimination which the bible and many modern christians vehemently support, and we're starting to view homosexuality as a personal choice rather than something evil.
    I think you're unfairly targeting Christianity here. Slavery and discrimination were never endorsed by Christ, yet they were facts of life in the Roman world where he lived. Subsequent Biblical writers urged their followers to respect civil authorities (i.e., don't start a war over the issue) and to treat women and slaves fairly. I'm not sure whether homosexuality was addressed by Christ or not, but it certainly was not part of his main message, which was to love your neighbor as yourself. I agree that some (if not most) modern churches distort the message of Jesus in harmful ways, but the overall impact of modern Christianity is probably positive.

    the changes in morality over the generations tells us something very important about morals and established moralities(both religion and philosophy), they are not fundamentally true and are decided by the people of the world by their willingness to follow said morals.
    The changes you mention are indeed a valid subject of historical and scientific inquiry. Also the reasons people choose one religion over another says a lot about the society.

    and although science certainly doesn't say what ought to be i must add that darwin's research suggests that the morals of a social group affect its ability to survive and produce more members of similar morality. so science doesn't say that a certain set of morals is right but it can tell us what morals are most effective or "best" for a species.
    I would say that the link between natural selection and religion is weak at best. Yes, taboos against eating certain foods or against certain sexual behaviors could have been effective in saving lives, and therefore incorporated into religious practices. However, it is completely unclear how the message of loving your enemies and treating them with compassion is any more effective in the self-preservation of your own social group than the message of ruthlessly attacking your enemies, stealing their riches and raping their women. Once again, both moral frameworks are equally valid from a scientific standpoint.

    and i agree completely with your last two paragraphs. one of the primary reasons for religion to exist is to help people with their fear of death. the different stances various religions take on death also affects how many people and which people will follow such a religion. of course personally i'm content just knowing that my atoms will be used in the next generation of life(or maybe not for another few generations) after i die. but some people can't imagine a completely finite existence even though everything we observe in the world is finite, it all ends eventually.
    Your choice of religous outlook is entirely up to you, and I would never try to dissuade you from it. However, in matters concerning morality and mortality, I choose to follow the teachings of Jesus. I do this because the natural selection point of view, where everything is a fierce competition for survival, and the only experiences you can ever have are in this lifetime, is simply too depressing for me. However, to each his own.
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    HI Geo Man, I'm fairly new around here myself. I think morals and values change with the times. The old testament says an 'eye for an eye', but Jesus said 'turn the other cheek'. To me, this shows an evolved spirituality. The notion of loving your enemies goes contrary to many people's morals because it sounds weak and foolish, but a deeper understanding may reveal that patience, compassion, tolerance and understanding are better methods of dealing with conflict than wars and hate.

    I believe in progressive morality; that society/civilization is somehow moving in a forward or progressive direction. Usually very slowly, for forward none the less. The issues we need to deal with today are not those of our ancient ancestors, or even our more recent past. Issues of social justice, political equality, human rights, religious tolerance, and the environment are a few of the present problems where our values, beliefs and religion come into play.

    I've been looking into some of the more liberal and progressive churches, Unitarinism and Universalism, for example, which are more concerned with spiritual growth and community than dogma and ritual: Churches that are more concerned with human problems in living than with heaven for the dead.
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    Thank you, stlekee, for your encouraging reply, which I completely agree with. I was beginning to think that this forum was the wrong place for comments like mine. Most people here seem to come down pretty hard on non-scientific reasoning, as though science were the only true pathway to understanding -- which of couse it isn't.

    I am a scientist (a geophysicist) by training and by career. I don't look to the Bible to answer questions regarding the age of the universe, evolution or plate tectonics. By the same token, I don't look to science to answer questions about how people should get along with each other. Some sort of religious or ethical philosophy is necessary to fill the void that science cannot.

    Of course it's possible for each person to develop his own individual moral framework. This is called moral relativism. The problem with relativism is that it is almost worthless when it comes time to make the tough decisions in life where the "right" decision is a painful one, requiring significant personal sacrifice. Without a strong moral compass always pointing the same way, it is easy to get lost when following one's own whims and passions of the moment.

    This is the argument that I and many others would give for the need of moral absolutism -- one set of principles that never changes over time. In order to be timeless, such principles would have to be broad and general. It is their interpretation and application that need to be adapted to contemporary society. Turning the other cheek and loving your enemies are the broad principles. Whether to continue the war in Afghanistan is an example of how these principles may be applied.

    Heaven is a crutch to help people do the right thing while they're living. If I were a strict pragmatist, I might be tempted to shoplift a small electronic item from a store. I would make sure I was out of range of all the security cameras. I would make sure there were no store employees around when I made my move or RFIDs on the item. If I was completely confident I wouldn't get caught, then why not go ahead and do it? On the other hand, if I rely on the teachings of Jesus for moral and ethical guidance, I would base my actions on the premise that there is a just and all-knowing but merciful God that sees all my actions, and that I will ultimately be held accountable for all my deeds -- good or bad. In light of this, shoplifting loses its appeal. Other religions use "karma" and "enlightenment" in "reincarnation" as rewards for good behavior, but the basic idea is the same.

    Unfortunately, most Protestant churches these days deemphasize the link between moral living and the heavenly reward. They say that all you need to do to go to heaven is to "believe" certain things in the moment before your death. This doctrine would appear to be neither beneficial to society nor conforming with the original teaching of Jesus in my opinion. It's also not very comforting if you think about it too carefully.

    I agree that religious tolerance is important. His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote that "The purpose of religion is to tame the mind and open the heart." Any religion that can do this is worthwhile. Universalist/Unitarian is a good choice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by geo_man

    Heaven is a crutch to help people do the right thing while they're living. If I were a strict pragmatist, I might be tempted to shoplift a small electronic item from a store. I would make sure I was out of range of all the security cameras. I would make sure there were no store employees around when I made my move or RFIDs on the item. If I was completely confident I wouldn't get caught, then why not go ahead and do it? On the other hand, if I rely on the teachings of Jesus for moral and ethical guidance, I would base my actions on the premise that there is a just and all-knowing but merciful God that sees all my actions, and that I will ultimately be held accountable for all my deeds -- good or bad. In light of this, shoplifting loses its appeal. Other religions use "karma" and "enlightenment" in "reincarnation" as rewards for good behavior, but the basic idea is the same.
    I find that an awkward paragraph, first saying "Heaven is a crutch," but then ending it with the importance of "ultimately being held responsible."

    I think that once we develop our moral compass the torture of having to live with oneself knowing you'd done wrong should out shadow whatever superstitious belief you might cling to. I don't steal because I was taught not to and have practiced for more than 47 years quelling any random thoughts to do so. At a young age we learn by example of those around us and from stories whether they be bibical or Aesop's fables. Heck Aesops are probably a lot less and garbles in parables and a richer set of lessons.

    To get that moral compass Eesops Fables are more effective and less surrounded by gibberish and more comprehensive. Teaching adults is admittedly more difficult.


    I agree that religious tolerance is important.
    I agree. In the end it might not matter how good morals are taught as long as they are especially if they aren't imposed on others without good reasoning and clear empirical evidence that we need them to be a functional and free society.
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    Quote Originally Posted by geo_man
    His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote that "The purpose of religion is to tame the mind and open the heart."
    Even though it sounds a little more like Eckhart Tolle to me, the Dalai Lama; if indeed 'holiness' is the applicable term, should be able to recognise the arrant emotional foolishness in the above statement - as you attribute to him.

    If he was making a statement about how religion is at the very core of human misunderstanding, he was indeed correct. If however (as would appear the case), he made a statement for religion to aim at; due to his severe misunderstanding, he actually got his observation entirely back-to-front.

    He would have been infinitely more astute and 'holy', to have stated - "The better purpose of religion should be to tame the heart and open the mind!"
    sunshinewarrior: If two people are using the same word, but applying different meanings to it, then they're not communicating.
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    I'm not sure I agree with the concept of doing the right thing to avoid God's later judgement / punishment. Doing the 'right thing' because we're afraid we might get caught if we do otherwise is NOT the same thing as doing the 'right thing' simply because its the right thing to do.

    My point is that the law is different than morality. They both act as constraints on behavior, but the law is external control where as morality is internal control. A criminal may not steal in a particular situation because the chances of getting caught and punished are high. His decision not to steal has nothing to do with morality, his decision is based on selfish / self-centered motives. It has nothing to to with avoiding harm to others.

    Doing the right thing because its the right thing to do is based on treating others with love and compassion, not harming them through our own selfish behavior.

    Basically, do we do the right thing out of fear (law) or out of love (morality)?
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    Quote Originally Posted by stlekee

    Basically, do we do the right thing out of fear (law) or out of love (morality)?
    Or just out of habit, which I think is usually the case, especially for the dozens of little things that crop up in day to day living.
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  11. #10 Re: The relationship between science and religion 
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    geo_man wrote: "I would like to take the contrary position. (Flame me all you want!) I would argue that science and religion are entirely separate undertakings with virtually nothing in common with each other. Nothing of one can be explained by the other."


    I don’t see how a religious person would not be influenced by his/her science or how a scientist would not be influenced by his/her religion.

    geo_man wrote: "Every person makes life decisions in part based on his moral religious outlook -- even self-professed atheists."

    Did you mean to imply that a person without a religious affiliation cannot have a moral outlook? Can religious and non-religious people share moral and ethical principals?
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    saul said:
    a religion says what is right and wrong but it doesn't back it up with anything(besides perhaps a religious text they claim to be "divinely inspired"). the morality of christianity isn't fundamentally true, we've done away with slavery(for the most part) which the bible supports, are in the process of ridding the world of gender discrimination which the bible and many modern christians vehemently support, and we're starting to view homosexuality as a personal choice rather than something evil.
    Well, what do non-religious moralities back their morality with? At least religions have a written codified moral standard with which they may or may not conform. What do atheists turn to when they want to answer a question of morality -- themselves.

    It would really be helpful, saul, if you had a basic understanding of the Bible, ancient history and ancienct civiliations and judged them in the setting they took place rather than retro applying 21st Centural social standards and practices to them.

    We have not eradicated they kind of slavery you object to; it may even be more prevalent and inhumane today in some areas of the world than it ever was in the middle east or America. You don't seem to understand that the "slavery" rules in the Bible were for the security and protection of workers in those days. When you "hired on" with a master who had work, you were considered a slave. They did not have unemployment programs or unions. Being a "slave" was far better than being unemployed which was the only other alternative. No one was a "slave" for life. Jubilee years allowed them to go "free," unless they had committed to their master for lifetime. It was the "slaves'" choice, not the demand of the master.

    Right now, many Christians in Africa are being enslaved in the type of slavery you descry, and you are more concerned about social practices of 3,000 years ago as though there is something you can do about that, but nothing you can do about today's slavery. A really good moral, political stand.

    The Bible is not gender discriminatory. It sets forth a system of family governance in which the ultimate responsibility is placed on the husband rather than the wife. If the Bible discriminates against any sex, it is the male since God will hold husbands responsible for family failures, not the wife -- unless she attempts to usurp that role. In any type of mutual relationship, someone has to have the final say in the case of disagrements. This is how we ultimately make decisions, someone has the final say. In a family, that authority goes to the husband who is then held reponsible before God for the decision, not the condescending wife.

    I do not know why some people are homosexual, only that the Bible considers that lifestyle as unnatural and counter productive. Whether this lifestyle is a matter of personal choice or some hormonal imbalance or some genetic discrepancy, I do not know. Among Christians, you will find differences and degrees of differences in relation to their thinking about homosexuality. Personally, I am willing to let God sort it out in the end.

    saul also said:
    the changes in morality over the generations tells us something very important about morals and established moralities(both religion and philosophy), they are not fundamentally true and are decided by the people of the world by their willingness to follow said morals.
    I think you are making a giant personal leap with your claim that established moralities are not true. I'm not even sure how truth even applies to morality. Truth relates to objective facts while morality relates to subjective values. Truth does not change. Even if something we once thought was true turns out to be false, the truth was always truth, waiting to be discovered. Moral practices mostly change because of new innovations in society and technology.

    It was not necessary to have speed limits when vehicles could not travel at dangerous speeds. It was not necessary to consider the moral implications of abortion until safe and easy procedures were developed. The main reason our moral standards shift and change is more often due to technological innovations than to some whimsical religious shift.

    stlekee said:

    The old testament says an 'eye for an eye', but Jesus said 'turn the other cheek'. To me, this shows an evolved spirituality.
    Here, again, we have a case of not understanding what the Old Testament was actually saying. An eye for an eye was not a mandate to extract an eye for an eye but set a limit such that you could not extract two eyes for one eye. It was a matter of establishing what we still try to practice -- that the punishment should fit the crime. Turning the other cheek is not an evolved spirituality, but rather an explanation as to how the concept of an eye for an eye should look in actual practice.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Well, what do non-religious moralities back their morality with? At least religions have a written codified moral standard with which they may or may not conform. What do atheists turn to when they want to answer a question of morality -- themselves.
    And this, to the atheist, makes morality all the more sweet. Not dictated from a cloud on high, not from fear of the lake of fire, but for the good of all and the love of humanity we have evolved this sense of morality. Religion has been the medium through which society has levied morality upon the individual, but things change.

    When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.
    Society is growing up.
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    prom said:
    And this, to the atheist, makes morality all the more sweet. Not dictated from a cloud on high, not from fear of the lake of fire, but for the good of all and the love of humanity we have evolved this sense of morality. Religion has been the medium through which society has levied morality upon the individual, but things change.
    But you can make your morality whatever you want. If you think it is perfectly moral to torture 3-year-old children for your own personal pleasure, you would not consider such a practice immoral.

    Sociopaths do not consider themselves immoral. When you are a morality unto yourself, you have no morality -- this is a postion of amorality. If you are following some code of morality which holds you accountable, then it can be determined if you are moral or immoral under the terms of that code of morality.

    The Nazis felt their medical experiments, which were little more than murderous torture, were for the good of all mankind. The most immoral destructive governments in the history of mankind were lead by irreligious people -- Hitler, Stalin and Mao. They had their own morality.

    Where there is no known moral standard, there can be no morality.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    The Nazis felt their medical experiments, which were little more than murderous torture, were for the good of all mankind. The most immoral destructive governments in the history of mankind were lead by irreligious people -- Hitler, Stalin and Mao.
    Oh FFS... That old canard again? Please, dayton. Learn something, and stop repeating patently false assertions.

    For example, Hitler was NOT irreligious.


    http://richarddawkins.net/articles/5...my-of-humanity

    Adolf Hitler was a Roman Catholic. Or at least he was as much a Roman Catholic as the 5 million so-called Roman Catholics in this country today. For Hitler never renounced his baptismal Catholicism, which was doubtless the criterion for counting the 5 million alleged British Catholics today. You cannot have it both ways. Either you have 5 million British Catholics, in which case you have to have Hitler too. Or Hitler was not a Catholic, in which case you have to give us an honest figure for the number of genuine Catholics in Britain today – the number who really believe Jesus turns himself into a wafer, as the former Professor Ratzinger presumably does.

    In any case, Hitler certainly was not an atheist. In 1933 he claimed to have “stamped atheism out”, having banned most of Germany’s atheist organizations, including the German Freethinkers League whose building was then turned into an information bureau for church affairs.

    <...>

    Hitler most certainly did “do God”. Here’s part of a speech he made in Munich, the heart of Catholic Bavaria, in 1922: -

    My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Saviour as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who – God's truth! – was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross.
    That is just one of numerous speeches, and passages in Mein Kampf, where Hitler invoked his Christianity. No wonder he received such warm support from within the Catholic hierarchy of Germany. And Benedict’s predecessor, Pius XII, is not guiltless, as the Catholic writer John Cornwell devastatingly showed, in his book Hitler’s Pope.


    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2...honor.php#more

    "The anti-Semitism of the new movement (Christian Social movement) was based on religious ideas instead of racial knowledge."

    [Adolf Hitler, "Mein Kampf", Vol. 1, Chapter 3]

    "I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord's work."

    [Adolph Hitler, Speech, Reichstag, 1936]

    "I have followed [the Church] in giving our party program the character of unalterable finality, like the Creed. The Church has never allowed the Creed to be interfered with. It is fifteen hundred years since it was formulated, but every suggestion for its amendment, every logical criticism, or attack on it, has been rejected. The Church has realized that anything and everything can be built up on a document of that sort, no matter how contradictory or irreconcilable with it. The faithful will swallow it whole, so long as logical reasoning is never allowed to be brought to bear on it."

    [Adolf Hitler, from Rauschning, _The Voice of Destruction_, pp. 239-40]

    "My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly, it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people. And when I look on my people I see them work and work and toil and labor, and at the end of the week they have only for their wages wretchedness and misery. When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil, if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom today this poor people are plundered and exposed."

    [Adolf Hitler, speech in Munich on April 12, 1922, countering a political opponent, Count Lerchenfeld, who opposed antisemitism on his personal Christian feelings. Published in "My New Order", quoted in Freethought Today April 1990]

    "I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator."

    [Adolph Hitler, _Mein Kampf_, pp. 46]

    "What we have to fight for...is the freedom and independence of the fatherland, so that our people may be enabled to fulfill the mission assigned to it by the Creator."

    [Adolph Hitler, _Mein Kampf_, pp. 125]

    "This human world of ours would be inconceivable without the practical existence of a religious belief."

    [Adolph Hitler, _Mein Kampf_, pp.152]

    There's like a thousand more similar quotes at the link above, but I feel I've adequately demonstrated the ignorance of your point.

    Whatever. You've already had this explained to you like ten or twelve different times on this site alone. If it has not sunken in by now, it likely never will.
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    inow said:
    Hitler was not irreligious.
    If you actually believe he represented the world view of the Roman Catholic Church, you are as sick as he was.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    inow said:
    Hitler was not irreligious.
    If you actually believe he represented the world view of the Roman Catholic Church, you are as sick as he was.
    First, you are yet again misrepresenting what I actually think.
    Second, you are trying to appeal to ridicule, and again make personal comments instead responding to the merit (or lack thereof) of the content of my post.
    Third, you're a ridiculous asshat and you really need to remove your cranium from your colon, as you are truly blinded with woo and existing in a patently ignorant god fog.
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    inow said:
    Hitler was not irreligious.
    If you actually believe he represented the world view of the Roman Catholic Church, you are as sick as he was.
    First, you are yet again misrepresenting what I actually think.
    Second, you are trying to appeal to ridicule, and again make personal comments instead responding to the merit (or lack thereof) of the content of my post.
    Third, you're a ridiculous asshat and you really need to remove your cranium from your colon, as you are truly blinded with woo and existing in a patently ignorant god fog.
    Best post in the history of internet forums.
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    Quote Originally Posted by freeyourmind
    Best post in the history of internet forums.
    You should stay in more.
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Second, you are trying to appeal to ridicule, and again make personal comments instead responding to the merit (or lack thereof) of the content of my post.
    It would have been more accurate for me to suggest poisoning of the well, but my central point remains the same.





    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    You should stay in more.
    Don't be hatin'. He clearly recognizes talent when he sees it (and obviously hasn't read enough of your posts yet).
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    inow said:
    First, you are yet again misrepresenting what I actually think.
    Based on all the crap you posted claiming how religious Hitler was, it certainly appeared that you agreed he was a religious person and that he accurately represented the position of his Roman Catholic upbringing.

    You seem to express a double standard here. You tend to express the idea that it is always a good thing when people cast off their religious upbringing. But when we look back at some disasterous results of that decision, you twist it to make it the fault of the religious upbringing, not the abandonment of the conscience of that religious upbringing which brought the results.

    You are right, I have no idea what you think, I mean, beyond your irrational, insane disdain for religion. But it does appear you put the shoe on and it fit. I said "IF" you think Hitler represented the position of the Roman Catholic church, you are as sick as he was. I stand with that and it is up to you to decide whether you wish to remove the shoe and agree that Hitler did not represent a real religious position -- unless you think that slaughtering 6 million people because of their religious affiliation is a legitimate religious activity.


    inow said:
    Second, you are trying to appeal to ridicule, and again make personal comments instead responding to the merit (or lack thereof) of the content of my post.
    I am sorry, but when someone puts forth a rediculous, asinine position, it is should be ridiculed which that post was. I am sure this is one of the few places where you are not subjected to considerable ridicule. This is the same type of tactic you use. If you can't stand this kind of criticism, you should not dish it out.

    inow said:
    Third, you're a ridiculous asshat and you really need to remove your cranium from your colon, as you are truly blinded with woo and existing in a patently ignorant god fog.
    Hmmm, now why is it ok for you to make ad homenom statements with impunity?
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    inow said:
    First, you are yet again misrepresenting what I actually think.
    Based on all the crap you posted claiming how religious Hitler was, it certainly appeared that you agreed he was a religious person and that he accurately represented the position of his Roman Catholic upbringing.
    You said he was irreligious.
    I provided evidence that this was false.
    Whether or not he represented what YOU personally consider THE correct interpretation of Roman Catholicism is wholly irrelevant to the fact that your point was rebutted fully and completely.

    Hitler was NOT irreligious, and that's all there is to it.



    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    You seem to express a double standard here. You tend to express the idea that it is always a good thing when people cast off their religious upbringing.
    I can see how you might perceive my posts that way, but I by no means take such an absolute stance. Yes, I do think religion is generally harmful to our society. Yes, I do think that otherwise intelligent people often have their minds crippled by the unsupported woo which is peddled by religion. Yes, I do think people should reject claims without evidence supporting them, and yes I do think faith in the religious sense is dangerous and cancerous to individuals and the societies in which they exist.

    However, I would never negate how it brings comfort to some, or sometimes results in kind acts to underprivileged people, or any of that. I also think that it's scary to "cast off religious upbringings" and can often result in ostracization and hatred and threats to personal safety in some environments. For that reason, I would never state that it is "always a good thing" to cast it off, just that it is generally a good thing overall and more people should. I know it's sort of nuanced, but that's just the kind of guy I am.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    But when we look back at some disasterous results of that decision, you twist it to make it the fault of the religious upbringing, not the abandonment of the conscience of that religious upbringing which brought the results.
    Uhhmmm... No. I rebutted your claim that Hitler was irreligious. That's all. Now, you have, in fact, brought fourth the tired old canard that Stalin and Mao killed all those people, and suggested that this was somehow a result of their lack of theism. You have just now done it again above by suggesting that there are "disastrous results" to casting off ones religious indoctrination.

    Implicit in your argument is that people cannot be moral without religion, and that's nonsense on it's face.
    Implicit in your argument is that it was Stalin's lack of belief and Mao's lack of belief which caused them to commit such horrid crimes against humanity, yet you cannot even state what is an atheist belief which would lead to such actions since there are no such things as atheist beliefs. Atheism is the rejection of someone else's beliefs, not itself a belief system.

    Again, though... You've had this all explained to you countless times before, and yet you come back here repeating the same tired nonsense.

    Now, if you'd like to continue asserting that atheism is what led to the actions of Stalin and Mao and Hitler, I will gladly come back and hand you a profound bitch slap showing your ignorance, but I do encourage you to drop the point before you embarrass yourself further.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    You are right, I have no idea what you think, I mean, beyond your irrational, insane disdain for religion.
    Please explain for me what is irrational about suggesting that people require evidence before they accept something as true? Please explain how it is insane to speak out against belief systems which reinforce us/them mentalities, make people feel ashamed for who they are, which cause people to experience guilt for having perfectly normal biological drives toward procreation, or for being attracted to members of the same sex. Please explain how it is irrational or insane to hold religious claims to the same standards as I do other aspects of our existence. Please explain how the fact that I do not offer you any special deference or double standard is somehow something negative.

    After all, dayton... You reject all other religions and claims the same way I reject yours, and yet yours is truly no different in terms of evidence or validity. No... it is not irrational or insane to reject double standards and hypocrisy. No... it is not irrational or insane to suggest people require evidence before accepting something as true, and the fact that you think otherwise just reinforces my point that religion tends to be poisonous to the minds of otherwise intelligent people.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I said "IF" you think Hitler represented the position of the Roman Catholic church, you are as sick as he was.
    As I said above. This is completely irrelevant to the point. You claimed Hitler was irreligious. I provided buckets of evidence about the falsity of that claim. Whether or not YOU think Hitler accurately represented Roman Catholicism is totally beside the point (and I'll just point out now that he WAS supported by the sitting pope at the time, so even if I did accept the relevance of your point, it too is total nonsense which doesn't hold up to even remedial scrutiny).


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner

    inow said:
    Second, you are trying to appeal to ridicule, and again make personal comments instead responding to the merit (or lack thereof) of the content of my post.
    I am sorry, but when someone puts forth a rediculous, asinine position, it is should be ridiculed which that post was.
    How funny. You've just tried to rebut my point by doing the same thing again. Good stuff, dayton. Are you a comedian by trade?

    You should really try to show where my point about Hitler was false instead of trying to continually evade the core of the discussion and shift the focus on to me and what you think about me.

    You know... Or you could continue to call "insane" and "asinine" and "ridiculous" all of those things which cut off your argument at the ankles. I suppose that's one approach.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner

    inow said:
    Third, you're a ridiculous asshat and you really need to remove your cranium from your colon, as you are truly blinded with woo and existing in a patently ignorant god fog.
    Hmmm, now why is it ok for you to make ad homenom statements with impunity?
    _________________
    I was having a bit of fun. Fortunately, my argument didn't hinge on that. What was that comment you made above? Oh yeah, you said: This is the same type of tactic you use. If you can't stand this kind of criticism, you should not dish it out. "

    Double standards are big in your world, aren't they? Follow your own advise, friend. Also, try to recognize that I reject your religious claims for the same reason you reject others. They don't hold up, and I'm not willing to show your personal beliefs or interpretations any special or unearned deference.
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    inow said:
    No. I rebutted your claim that Hitler was irreligious
    You did no such thing other than in your own small little world. Perhaps you could reveal what legitimate religious group of today (or even of his day) would say, "He's one of ours and we are proud of it."

    Timothy McVey claimed to be a Christian, but that did not make him or his actions representative of any legitimate Christian movement.

    To suggest that McVey or Hitler or Stalin or Mao were responding to any acceptable religious movement is just pure silliness -- a position which it is impossible to believe that any rational person would be willing to express or defend. I seem to be discussing this issue with a totally irrational person. Well, not impossible to believe, since it would not appear that you are directed by any moral code other that whatever you yourself decide is right or wrong.

    inow said:

    Now, if you'd like to continue asserting that atheism is what led to the actions of Stalin and Mao and Hitler, I will gladly come back and hand you a profound bitch slap showing your ignorance, but I do encourage you to drop the point before you embarrass yourself further.
    Well, i suppose a bitch slap is about all you could muster. I have never been slapped by a bitch before but I guess there is a first time for everything. I would probably hand you a man-fist to the mouth. The only person here who should be embarrased by his position is you. It is untenable and horrible and should not be unacceptable to any civilized person. Your comments are worthy of being ignored.

    inow said:
    Or you could continue to call "insane" and "asinine" and "ridiculous" all of those things which cut off your argument at the ankles. I suppose that's one approach.
    Well, certainly, and especially appropriate when they are by all reasonable standards insane, asinine and rediculous. There is no obligation to address their insanity, asininity and rediculousness, which will be my reaction to your insane, asinine and rediculous positions. There is no reasonable way to respect and respond to such laughable positions.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    inow said:
    No. I rebutted your claim that Hitler was irreligious
    You did no such thing other than in your own small little world.
    So, basically you've provided NO evidence of your claim and simultaneously are casting aside the plethora of evidence I shared which showed your claim fallacious.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Perhaps you could reveal what legitimate religious group of today (or even of his day) would say, "He's one of ours and we are proud of it."
    That is a rather narrow (and frankly inaccurate) definition of what makes a religious person.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Timothy McVey claimed to be a Christian, but that did not make him or his actions representative of any legitimate Christian movement.
    Irrelevant. He was a religious person, even if his actions were not representative of the teachings of a larger religious person. Stop trying to move the goal posts.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    To suggest that McVey or Hitler or Stalin or Mao were responding to any acceptable religious movement is just pure silliness
    I suppose it's a good thing that I never suggested any such thing.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I seem to be discussing this issue with a totally irrational person.
    I've had this thought many times while interacting with you, dayton. I do get a bit of a chuckle out of you suggesting the irrationality is mine, though.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Well, not impossible to believe, since it would not appear that you are directed by any moral code other that whatever you yourself decide is right or wrong.
    This is just downright offensive. I am a human being who exists in human culture, and I am a good man. The fact that I don't believe in a magic sky pixie is no reason to suggest otherwise. Our morality is informed by the social group in which we exist, not by some book of fairy tales written by barely literate tribal peoples in the desert more than two thousand years ago.

    Please. Go learn something. To suggest that my lack of belief in YOUR personal god (as opposed to my lack of belief in any of the other countless gods laying dead in the graveyard of human mythology) causes me to have no moral code is a ridiculous assertion on it's face, and shows only how deeply injured your mind has become by the religion you practice.



    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner

    inow said:

    Now, if you'd like to continue asserting that atheism is what led to the actions of Stalin and Mao and Hitler, I will gladly come back and hand you a profound bitch slap showing your ignorance, but I do encourage you to drop the point before you embarrass yourself further.
    Well, i suppose a bitch slap is about all you could muster. I have never been slapped by a bitch before but I guess there is a first time for everything. I would probably hand you a man-fist to the mouth. The only person here who should be embarrased by his position is you. It is untenable and horrible and should not be unacceptable to any civilized person. Your comments are worthy of being ignored.
    I am glad to see that you've chosen to abandon your silly claim that atheism was somehow responsible for the travesties inflicted on people by Stalin and Mao. Good choice, sir.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    There is no reasonable way to respect and respond to such laughable positions.
    Sorry. I lost the thread of your thinking. Which claims specifically did I make which were "laughable positions?" I'd like the chance to either correct myself or retract something if I was wrong, but need you to first please clarify to what specifically you are referring.
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    Since reading is hard for some people, I'll post the simple video below in response to the 'Hitler and Stalin and PolPot were evil because they were not immersed in a god fog' canard.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZr-JZYctvA&feature=sub


    Or here, where I make simple the illogicality of your point when it was presented by another poster like you:

    http://www.thescienceforum.com/viewt...=215495#215495
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    prom said:
    And this, to the atheist, makes morality all the more sweet. Not dictated from a cloud on high, not from fear of the lake of fire, but for the good of all and the love of humanity we have evolved this sense of morality. Religion has been the medium through which society has levied morality upon the individual, but things change.
    But you can make your morality whatever you want. If you think it is perfectly moral to torture 3-year-old children for your own personal pleasure, you would not consider such a practice immoral.

    Sociopaths do not consider themselves immoral. When you are a morality unto yourself, you have no morality -- this is a postion of amorality. If you are following some code of morality which holds you accountable, then it can be determined if you are moral or immoral under the terms of that code of morality.

    Where there is no known moral standard, there can be no morality.
    From our perspective your morality comes from a similar place as ours; that is somebody thought x,y and z (not to murder, steal etc...) were good ideas and lots of other people agreed. I'm not a geneticist but i conjecture that much of our morality is based on reciprocal altruism

    Of course, you believe in divine morality, dictated by a creator, so the above argument will not suffice for you. I will attempt to rebutt your position on other criteria.

    Being a creator of life forms gives no right to impose morality onto the created. If God wants to play silly games and punish people with eternal damnation for liking butts then i'll give Him the middle finger when i meet him for being such an egotistical prat (if such a God exists).

    The question also relates to religion, not just Christianity. Buddhism derives its moral from Buddha, aka Siddhartha Gautama a bloke who thought following some simple rules would make everyone happier. No need for God or moral absolutes. Taoist morality is even more fluid than this. Similarly Confusianism has only a loose basis on the 'Heavens' while being pretty strict. Wicca also has strong ethical opinions without invoking God, based on the Wiccan Rede 'An it harm none do what ye will'. (By the way, Christians do not consider themselves immoral, but 'Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live' KJ version Exodus 22:18 - theres alot of 'witches' out there, they call themselves neopagans. How 'true' would you consider this biblical passage?).

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    The Nazis felt their medical experiments, which were little more than murderous torture, were for the good of all mankind. The most immoral destructive governments in the history of mankind were lead by irreligious people -- Hitler, Stalin and Mao. They had their own morality.
    I presume the current Pope was a Catholic when he joined the Hitler youth?
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    prom said:
    And this, to the atheist, makes morality all the more sweet. Not dictated from a cloud on high, not from fear of the lake of fire, but for the good of all and the love of humanity we have evolved this sense of morality. Religion has been the medium through which society has levied morality upon the individual, but things change.
    But you can make your morality whatever you want. If you think it is perfectly moral to torture 3-year-old children for your own personal pleasure, you would not consider such a practice immoral.

    Sociopaths do not consider themselves immoral. When you are a morality unto yourself, you have no morality -- this is a postion of amorality. If you are following some code of morality which holds you accountable, then it can be determined if you are moral or immoral under the terms of that code of morality.

    The Nazis felt their medical experiments, which were little more than murderous torture, were for the good of all mankind. The most immoral destructive governments in the history of mankind were lead by irreligious people -- Hitler, Stalin and Mao. They had their own morality.

    Where there is no known moral standard, there can be no morality.
    Or you could just go off the simple definition of morality, that whatever is in the best interests of humanity as a whole, considering the longest possible period of time, is what is right.

    The Nazi view is seen as wrong in retrospect, because we saw that the undermining of standards of treatment and decency far outweighed the benefits. The human condition was worsened by their behavior instead of improved. The Communists, similarly, attempted to take a simplistic system of economics/government and force it down people's throats. I think they gave into what I call the "wealth by fiat" fallacy, that all you have to do is order economic resources to appear, and back it up with guns, and they will appear.

    Where you see "immorality", I see "stupidity" and "foolishness". .... except sociopaths, who aren't even trying to benefit humanity.
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    Conflict theory is rejected by the majority of modern historians to hold a science v religion view is modernist in nature and academics has arguably gone beyond post-modern. Whom ever still buys into this perceived dichotomy should go read a book.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    Conflict theory is rejected by the majority of modern historians to hold a science v religion view is modernist in nature and academics has arguably gone beyond post-modern. Whom ever still buys into this perceived dichotomy should go read a book.
    First, no one in this thread mentioned conflict theory. Second, conflict theory is still a very much discussed in both sociology and anthropology. Third, what book might you be referring to?

    Perhaps:

    Knapp, P. (1994). One World – Many Worlds: Contemporary Sociological Theory (2nd Ed.). Harpercollins.
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    Another fun video showing why the "Hitler was an atheist" claim and assertion that "Hitler was irreligious" are both ignorant and ridiculous:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YP_iNCGH9kY
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    I thought you said you never provide links to youtube. I do not look at them, anyway. This is like looking in the toilet for information.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Another fun video showing why the "Hitler was an atheist" claim and assertion that "Hitler was irreligious" are both ignorant and ridiculous:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YP_iNCGH9kY
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I thought you said you never provide links to youtube.
    No, I never said that. What I said is that I never use youtube links to support an argument, unless the videos themselves reference specific sources relevant to my point.

    More specifically, as a general rule what I use youtube videos for is to provide context or clarity on a given point or argument, or to make it more accessible to those who may not know as much about the topic. I am proud of the fact that when I'm asked to support a position, I do so with logic, reason, and empirical evidence when appropriate.

    I'm not sure how you could confuse those comments with "I never provide links to youtube," but now you know. Please try to avoid making that error again.
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    homosexuality as a personal choice rather than something evil.
    It's more of how people are born, not a choice. It's biology related, so it's not the topic here anyway.

    Okay, now to the topic:
    First of all..... Of course, that a thing, that can be explained by science, can be explained by religion, and vice-versa. It's the point of the religion - explain things, that are strange or unusual, or are hard to understand by a regular 'hill bill'. And by explaining things, you make people happy, because they know the thing, that was interesting and wasn't known before. You attract attention and the desire to join in and be cool, just like those guys. (Okay, this explanation is formulated crappy, hope you understood it correctly)

    Now some interesting stuff:

    Religion is for people control, and science is for questioning the authority. For example:
    Religion - go to the church every Sunday.
    Science - why should I go to the church on Sunday morning? I can sleep or do something else...

    Science can also be about moralities and immoralities. Psychology studies how people reacts to certain events. So trough the knowledge of psychology, You can determine if a person turns angry, if you tell him, that you sleep with his wife, or he doesn't. If he does, it is considered as a immoral to say it to him. That's not religion, that's logic, in this case.

    Another thing... Better or worse. Well... As far, as I know, you logically think and compare things by doing that. Then you determine LOGICALLY (again), which thing would be better to do. Or which thing is better for you. For example:
    You can tell your mom, that you have a job (lie), or tell her the truth, that you don't have a job. You compare the situations: If you lie to her, she will be happy for you, she even might trow you a party... If you tell her the truth, she will shout at you, which isn't good. Now you compare which one is better... I think first is better, because you both will be happy. That's not religion too, that's logical and analytical thinking.

    So I disagree, that action determination is religious stuff, I say, that this is scietific stuff, in my opinion.

    Now what is religious: Religious is a list. A list what NOT to do and what TO do. You must go to church. You must say a prayer. You must not lie. You shall not steal. That's the whole book of statements, of which you do not think logically, you just follow them with no questioning on why and how in the first place you came up to the fellowship or rules you don't even know (face it, most people doesn't even know where the cristianity was started...) where are from and how they came to the guy. That's not morality, that's called following the rules, because you don't consider what is moral and what is not by yourself.

    I understand morality like:
    Determining, if your behavior will make someone feel bad (including you), and if it will look bad. That should be done by your own head, brains, mind and thought, not by stereotypes and rules. If you use the last two - in my opinion, you are just following the rules or using the stereotypes. That's my definition of being moral.

    P.S. Probably missed some interesting points, but it's almost 4AM here, so it happens.
    And I'd like to say, that this is my understanding of these things, which I might change, if I'll be trown at some good arguments or proves, that my understanding isn't correct...
    Sorry for my poor English skills, I've learned it by myself... Trying to improve them, feel free to criticize, hehe.
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    Religions are just primitive science and obsolete. They should be replaced more up to date scientific teachings and better examples. Also they should be constantly reviewed for consistency and correctness and not turned into traditions and rituals.
    "To a man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail"
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  35. #34  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Modulus64
    Also they should be constantly reviewed for consistency and correctness and not turned into traditions and rituals.
    How then will you address the human demand for tradition and ritual?
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  36. #35  
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    How then will you address the human demand for tradition and ritual?
    We all get drunk on Friday?
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  37. #36  
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    Quote Originally Posted by GiantEvil
    How then will you address the human demand for tradition and ritual?
    We all get drunk on Friday?
    I used to do that when I was younger, but it doesn't work for me anymore.
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