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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Emily Dickinson and I agree...




Opinion is a flitting thing,
But Truth, outlasts the Sun --
If then we cannot own them both --
Possess the oldest one --


Emily Dickinson

~~~~~~~

The older I get and the more I find out
The more I find to discover
So therefore I think I shall learn no more
Before I get any dumber

Radar

~~~~~~~

No one has Emily Dickinson quite figured out. She wrote with childlike wisdom and
veracity.  She was reclusive and mysterious, perhaps from a medical condition, perhaps
as a result of a broken heart.  Sometimes she wrote something stunningly significant
with admirable brevity.  I admire that particular sentiment at the top and completely
agree with it.
 
My poem was written tongue-in-cheek in my twenty-first year, during a time I was not
only attending college but also experiencing a truly significant love relationship for
the first time.  My exposure to higher education, new independence and the wealth of
sensations and feelings of true love had completely enthralled me.  You see, I was a
reader at an early age, reading college level books in grade school for my own pleasure
and learning.  I thought I really understood the world at age 12.  I was surprised and
pleased to learn how many new vistas of knowledge were opening up to me at the age of
21.  I made the poem up on the spot and recited it to my Dad while we were having one
of our man-to-man discussions and he encouraged me to write it down and save it.
 
What follows is a personal rant.  I think Emily was onto something, but I sometimes think
that the scientific community in large part has decided to quit learning in some areas and
has closed minds to new ideas in certain disciplines.  This is the only explanation that makes
sense to me for the continued belief in the increasingly ridiculous concept of evolution.
 
The "why" is a matter of beliefs rather than science.  Right now I am primarily concerned with
pointing out the "what." 
 
PERSONAL INTERLUDE (Just skip this part if you don't care)
 
One thing my Dad and I enjoyed, from the time I began reading "adult" books as a child,
was to sit down and just talk about things...philosophy, religion, news events, science
history or whatever.  In those moments we were more like two guys than father and son.
He had traveled the planet during his military days and then later as a business executive.
He had begun life on my great-grandfather's farm as his family struggled to eek out a
living for three generations of people.  They had pots rather than a bathroom, a mule
instead of a tractor and ate so many turnips that Dad refused to eat one as an adult.  Most
of their meat came from game they had hunted down. 
 
My Dad's family's first car was a Model T Ford that had been converted into a pickup truck.
The gas tank used a gravity feed system to power the engine, so they had to drive backwards
up hills.  Sometime in the late 1930's my grandfather was able to purchase a partnership
in a grocery store where the farm habitually sold its produce.  Grandpa bought a 1922 Chevy
touring car and drove back and forth from the store with a Colt .45 holstered to his belt.
The reason?  His job was to take the money home from the store at night and then deposit
the earnings in the bank the following morning.  Everyone in the area knew my "Pap" had that
gun and knew how to use it.  No one ever tried to rob him or the store.
 
When my Pap was born, there were no planes.  Automobiles were for the rich or were home-made
by inventors.  Even when I was a small boy, my grandparents had a party line phone shared with
several neighbors.  Blackberry and laptops and moon landings and satellite television would have
been foreign to him.  But Pap was a farmboy who worked hard and became a small businessman.
 
I am very proud of him for working hard to make a career and a living for his
family.  I am proud of my Dad for obtaining a scholarship to college and for his eventual
success in the business world as well as his willingness to go to war for his country.
He once found and restored a 1922 Chevrolet touring car that was just like the one his father
had owned. 
 
My Dad died at age 53.  Now I am older than my Dad ever was.  It surprises me that he seemed
so old to me back then and I feel so young right now at age 56.  But I think he gave me a great
gift in that he would take the time to just talk with me and listen to me as an individual from
the time I was just a kid.  He helped me believe in my ability to reason and learn.
 
I benefitted from having a stay-at-home Mom who taught me to read and write before I went to
Kindergarten.  Both of my parents had large libraries and encouraged me to read.  I had carte
blanche beginning in the third grade to hop on a bus and ride to the downtown public library to
check out books.  She made sure I had money for bus tokens and I often went to the downtown
library since the Bookmobile had very limited selections available. 
 
Thanks to my Mom (still kickin' it at age 79) and Dad for encouraging me to read and think
and learn!
 
END PERSONAL INTERLUDE
 
Naturalistic Materialistic people are a challenge to me, in that I have a great deal of hope
that I can open their eyes to see more than their limited point of view while dealing with
their tendency to believe they know it all and have no need to learn more.  It is almost
as if they are living out the theme of my little poem, but not in a sarcastic way but as if
it is the best way to live.  Some of the most famous of these, such as Richard Dawkins,
seem so hopelessly programmed that one could not imagine a new thought ever managing to
penetrate their thick skulls. 
 
Thick skulls?  Is that not a derisive comment?  Yes, but I don't think that Richard Dawkins
is stupid.  I think his skull is thickened by propaganda, whether readily accepted or not, and
that he is almost incapable of thinking outside of his own personal box.  This was illustrated
by the movie "Expelled" in which, during an interview with Ben Stein, Dawkins admitted he would
have no problem with the concept that all life on Earth had been designed as long as that life
had been seeded here by aliens from another part of the Universe!!!!!
 
If Dawkins has admitted that his problem with a designed Universe is the idea of a Designer, he
is at least honest.  People like Julian Huxley and Dawkins have that going for them.  Too bad
most naturalistic materialistic scientists who believe in evolution won't own up to it.
 
E-MC2 is an equation that summarizes the relationship between energy and matter.  It would seem
that the naturalistic materialistic scientist would say that it also sums up everything about
the Universe and all that can be known must fit somewhere in that equation.   All scientific
inquiries must be limited thereby.  Anything else is a matter for the religious.
 
I say to you all that naturalistic materialism is a religion.  Humanism is a religion.  Atheism
is, in fact, a religion.  All of these things are bounded by belief.  Naturalistic materialists
are making a religious statement when they say that all scientific studies must be limited to
natural rather than supernatural questions and answers.  Says who? 
 
You see, the Universe is made up of more than energy and entropy.  I challenged my commenters to
come up with an explanation for the presence of information and they could not do it.  The
reason is clear, they have no explanation.  They simply asked more questions in response.
 
Information can be quantified by the amount of space it takes up in some material form to a degree.
for instance, eggroll and gorglel take up precisely the same amount of space on this blog but
one of them transmits intelligence and one does not, at least not in English.  I work in the IT
industry (The binary man says there are only 10 kinds of people...) and we do quantify information
as being multiples of bits.  But what we are REALLY saying is that information is being given
to us and others through a kind of code that can be represented materially and that the code
takes up a certain amount of material space.  Filling up space with stuff is not the same as
transmitting information.  I could start a Word document and then place something to hold down
the "a" key on my keyboard and come back a few minutes later to find I now had a 298 KB
document that consisted of line after line of aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
 
Would there be a message there?  No.  But when I come to the keypad and being typing words,
then I am not just filling up space with letters, I am transmitting information.
 
So we have three major
aspects to existence to deal with:
 
Energy
Entropy
Information
 
Hmmm.  But that is not enough.  I may have something to say, but I must decide to transmit it in
some form and act upon that decision before the information is actually transmitted.  If I must
decide to do it before it gets done, then in fact there is yet another aspect of existence to
consider:
 
Energy
Entropy
Information
Will
 
Yes, I must exert my will to transmit information which, with energy, I then type onto the page
which then causes some energy to be converted to entroy in the process.  Whew! 
 
Guys, naturalistic materialistic scientists suggest that a big bang formed the Universe.  The
concept basically boils down to this:  From nothing came something.  Now this is really kind
of silly when you look at it critically.  But that is basically what naturalistic materialistic
scientists want to believe.
 
They then believe that life just kind of came from non-life somehow.  Now I think that we need to
consider this...
 
DARWIN
 
Charles Darwin grew up in a culture of changing realities.  Although Pasteur had recently shown
that life could not come from non-life, James Hutton had proposed his theory of uniformitarianism
that Lyell had furthered, bring revolutionary ideas to the forefront in the world of geology. In
the matter of social order, Karl Marx and the concept of communism combined with so-called
higher textual criticism of the Bible was bringing upheaval to the political and religious world.
 
Charles Darwin's grandfather had written an evolutionary-style book, Zoonomia, and had sought
for a non-religious solution to the problem of the origins of living things. Charle's father was
nominally a church member but in fact simply wanted to appear to be respectable in order to
advance his successful career in business. Darwin did marry his first cousin, who was a believer
in God. He adored his wife and his little daughter, but the daughter suffered from severe stomach
illnesses and died at age ten. Darwin, himself a descendant of cousin marriage, blamed his
marriage to a cousin for making his daughter genetically deficient and also became a fervent
atheist as a result of her death. Darwin was motivated to find a way to explain away God.
 
Scientists of the time knew little about the nature of life and knew nothing about the DNA system
of coding that is present in all living things.   Had they known, the likely would have simply
dismissed evolution by means of natural selection out of hand.  But they did not know, it became
the accepted dogma and soon everyone was being taught that science had basically proven
the concept to be true.
 
Trouble is, once it was generally accepted that all things were made of earth, wind, fire and water.
It was generally accepted that the Sun revolved around the Earth.  Newton's laws of physics were
the accepted fact, until Relativity came along, until Quantum Mechanics came along...
 
 
The Smart Scientist
 
The smart scientist realizes that Truth is always to be strived for but may not ever be found.  It
is the goal and love of the scientist to advance knowledge farther along on the road to Truth but
to not be satisfied with the current thinking just because it is popular.
 
The Average Scientist
 
The average scientist accepts the mainstream point of view in order to get along, to get funding,
to receive tenure and get his papers published.  He focuses his research, usually, in one small
area and seeks to advance knowledge in that one small area and hopefully make discoveries
and simultaneously a name for himeself.
 
The Wise Scientist
 
The wise scientist recognizes that God created all things and that He is the holder of all Truth.
He knows this is why the laws of science are organized rather than random and this is why a man
can study and understand natural processes, because they were designed with purpose and will
by a superior intellect. This understanding underlies his thinking processes as he studies and
tests and questions and seeks for answers. Men like Lord Kelvin and Newton and Linnaeus and
Copernicus were all believers in God as the Creator of all things and that knowledge gave them
confidence that processes could be understood and that knowledge could benefit mankind.
 
 
The Foolish Scientist
 
The foolish scientist doesn't actually care about finding truth, he is most concerned with proving
his point of view.  He will only consider evidence that supports his personal belief system and
may actually try to hide evidence that hurts his cause.  He will make fun of those who disagree
with him, which is not admirable.  Worse, he will work to exclude those with differing beliefs from
the schools and institutions he inhabits.  He seeks to stifly any dissenters and all dissenting
information.  He does not want other points of view to even be presented, let alone seriously
considered!  Sadly, at least a very large minority of scientists fall into the average or the
foolish category.
 
~~~~~~~
 
Commenters, have you noticed how naturalistic materialistic scientists fight so hard to keep any
Intelligent Design information from being presented in schools?  Fear and ignorance!  It is as if
the scientific community, in the majority, is this massive cult that bows to a dogmatic line of
propaganda and shuns all who dare to question that dogma.
 
You expect us to believe that life came from non-life and yet can find no comprehensible means by
which this may have ever been accomplished.  You study life carefully for multiple generations and
find that speciation can happen rapidly but new life is never formed. You expect people to believe
that an explosion created a Universe of orderly systems and laws, that an accident produced
living creatures with remarkably complex parts. You expect people to believe that information
magically appeared from no one and from nowhere and is now found throughout the planet.
 
I asked you before and again I fling down the gauntlet.  Give me an explanation for the presence of
information.  How did intelligence in the form of DNA get implanted in living cells?  How is it born
in the minds of men?  In fact, how can you explain a logical and orderly Universe that obeys laws
that are comprehensible and predictable? Do you expect us to believe that intelligence just
burped into existence?
 
A child understands that if you drop a drinking glass onto the kitchen floor it will spill its contents
and probably shatter into several pieces.  The devout naturalistic materialistic scientist seems to
believe the process would work in reverse once in awhile, that sometimes a bunch of junk on the
ground organizes itself into a nice glass of milk and leaps up into your hand.
 
If we had a scientific community composed of Wise and Smart scientists, we would be benefitted
greatly, as research would tend to focus on where the evidence leads rather than continual
attempts to find ways to disprove the possibility of God.
 
Maybe, in your opinion, the Universe was an accident and life was a lucky break and living beings
are the result of a long string of mistakes and bungles that just happened to coincide with other
mistakes and bungles that just happened to coincide with changing ecological conditions...over
and over and over again millions and millions upon millions of times for each kind of plant and
animal that ever existed.
 
Maybe, in your opinion, thousands of miles of sedimentary rock were laid by local floods, wild
chance caused every mountain on the planet to have once been a seabed, solid rocks can be
folded like putty and some animals evolve into completely new kinds of beings while some remain
the same for millions and millions of years. Oh, and also millions of years worth of rock records
are found some places and not others, while sometimes rock layers are found out of order
because rocks sometimes flip like click beetles and shuffle like cards.
 
Are you sure you want to base your life on such a groundless and empty belief system?  How do
you find any meaning in a random life that happened by chance and will disappear like the tail end
of a breeze? How do you find peace when such questions hang over your head?
 
 

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I challenged my commenters to
come up with an explanation for the presence of information and they could not do it.


...therefore, God did it.

The devout naturalistic materialistic scientist seems to
believe the process would work in reverse once in awhile, that sometimes a bunch of junk on the
ground organizes itself into a nice glass of milk and leaps up into your hand.


Yes. I believe glasses of milk should evolve. I think that if we observe 10,000 generations of bacteria we will observe some of those bacteria evolve into glasses of milk, orange juice, and 15 year old single malt scotch.

You (commentators?, naturalistic materialists?, godhating-propogandacreating-atheists?) expect us to believe that life came from non-life...

Who expects this? Who said that life came from nothing?

If we had a scientific community composed of Wise and Smart scientists, we would be benefitted
greatly, as research would tend to focus on where the evidence leads rather than continual
attempts to find ways to disprove the possibility of God.


Wow. Just, wow. The scientific community continually attempts to find ways to disprove the possibility of God? Thus, scientists are either brainwashed, ignorant, or ardent atheists.



lava

scohen said...

"Thereason is clear, they have no explanation. They simply asked more questions in response."

And by the same logic, the reason you haven't answered those questions is because you have no idea what 'information' means. You really should stop using terms that you don't understand.

"How do you find any meaning in a random life that happened by chance and will disappear like the tail end
of a breeze?"

The amount of meaning in a life has little to do with its inception and everything to do with how it is lived. Just because you're not a Christian doesn't mean you go around in an existential funk.

Is that how you really see the world? What a shame.

radar said...

scohen

"And by the same logic, the reason you haven't answered those questions is because you have no idea what 'information' means. You really should stop using terms that you don't understand."

my response-

I have very clearly defined information, using the dictionary language and then adding clarification. I understand and have presented what information is and in fact I work in information technology.

Your charge is baseless and is becoming repetitive. You know and I know that you have no explanation for information being present in organisms, won't you be intellectually honest and admit it?


Here is where atheists come to a brick wall. Evolutionists have absolutely no answer for where information came from and how it was transmitted into living organisms. Why not admit it? Why not admit that the only logical source of information is an intelligent source that decided to input said information? It is the only logical conclusion.

Otherwise, go ahead and give us a reasonable explanation. The time for dodging the question is long past.

~
Part two

I said - "How do you find any meaning in a random life that happened by chance and will disappear like the tail end
of a breeze?"

scohen -

The amount of meaning in a life has little to do with its inception and everything to do with how it is lived. Just because you're not a Christian doesn't mean you go around in an existential funk.

Is that how you really see the world? What a shame.


I think you know quite well that I am describing the worldview of a naturalistic materialistic atheist. If you think the world came about by chance then probably you either just borrow your morality from Christianity or you live for your self and your own pleasure.

The logical conclusion for someone who believes that life and existence were an accident and have no deeper meaning is to do whatever best suits him, for there are no consequences beyond the present and no responsibilities to anyone beyond oneself.

As a Christian I believe we are all here because of a purpose and a plan. I believe there are moral absolutes and I believe that there is a higher authority than my own mind. I endeavor to mold my life in such a way as to please God and emulate Christ.

I try to apply the wisdom of Pro
verbs and the teachings of Christ and the lessons of every Biblical account. I trust the historical accuracy of the Bible and the veracity of the Creator God.

I have a basis for my worldview and way of living and it comes from the Bible and Jesus Christ.

Yes, the way one lives life is of great significance. Knowing the truth but failing to live it out is perhaps worse than being ignorant of that truth. The Bible even says that if a man knows to do good and simply fails to act, that in itself is a sin.

You should love God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself. Jesus basically said that the above sentiment (paraphrased for modern readers by me) basically sums up the heart of the Law.

Jesus preached the Law to those under the Law so they could clearly see that they were not capable of fulfilling that Law perfectly. He then offered up Himself as the Way to God by becoming the Lamb of God while fulfilling the Law Himself.

Adam sinned and his spirit died and death came into the world. Jesus offers rebirth in the spirit of man. When I received Christ I also was made alive in my spirit by the Spirit of God and became a new man.

Yes, all of my experiences and memories remained, but now I had within me a desire to do God's will. My flesh did and does and always will throw temptations my way until I am no longer in this body. But being born again gave me the power to overcome temptations and do it God's way and follow His leading.

I trip and fall. I get back up. I take a step back. I take two steps forward. But I try to follow God and do my best.

If you do not accept the Creator God and His moral code, by what code do you live and by what means has that code been validated?

radar said...

Lava, wow. Yes, there is a large segment of the scientific community devoted to disproving God. Try Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hutchens just for starters. They have this huge organization devoted to keeping presentation of ID or Creation teaching entirely out of schools so only one point of view is presented to young people. That is what I call indoctrination!

Anonymous said...

So you're back to running from your commenters again are you Radar? Bury their comments containing actual facts and real challenges to your dogma, so that you can post the same repetitive baseless claims you always do.
The cognitive dissonance going on in your head while you wrote that "piece" must have been mind blowing. So many parts of what you wrote apply directly to your very own thought processes. You deride Atheism and Darwinism as religions (they aren't, by-the-way, but I wouldn't expect you to understand that) and yet you don't hide the fact that your own "religion" is the starting point for all of your scientific beliefs. I mean, in your own writing you identify yourself as a "Foolish Scientist" (although your "wise" scientist seems like quite the fool too). Do you even read what you write Radar? I mean, please explain how this excerpt doesn't completely apply to you?
"The foolish scientist doesn't actually care about finding truth, he is most concerned with proving his point of view. He will only consider evidence that supports his personal belief system and may actually try to hide evidence that hurts his cause."
I mean regular commenters will have witnessed you do the exact thing you describe as being "foolish" in past posts, many, many times. I ask again, doesn't it hurt your brain to write something so utterly disingenuous?
Oh, please try to stop being so unintentionally funny Radar. It's getting to the point where I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Although this one to scohen definitely had me chuckling,
"Your charge is baseless and is becoming repetitive."
He says before repeating countless baseless charges, ad nauseam...
Seriously Radar, why don't you just answer some of the many intelligent questions he asked? Just a thought.

- Canucklehead

scohen said...

"I have very clearly defined information, using the dictionary language and then adding clarification."

Actually, you've weakly defined information, using a dictionary of all things and have rejected every attempt to further discuss the issue.

So, you'll continue to ignore my questions then? Nice. My point here is to illustrate that you can't even recognize information, let alone define it. Your reluctance to answer the question is in itself telling.

"The time for dodging the question is long past."

Says the guy who is notorious for dodging questions... So, would you care to enlighten me as to how you recognize information? How do you differentiate it from randomness? My point here is that randomness + correction yields what you term information.

"I think you know quite well that I am describing the worldview of a naturalistic materialistic atheist"

So atheists can't find meaning in a life lived well according to humanitarian principles? That's a larf. It seems the only people that think this are, as slactivist says, RTCs. Your biases are clearly showing here, reasonable people across many religions will agree that Ghandi was a good person, it takes a warped mind to think that he would be unfulfilled. Personally, I've always felt the argument that not being created ex nihilo means a lack of fulfillment in life to be extremely weak. Maybe you need Christianity to feel fulfilled, but this is hardly true for most people on the planet.


"Yes, there is a large segment of the scientific community devoted to disproving God"

So there's a scientific branch dedicated to disproving god? Richard Dawkins is one person but Francis Collins is another. I'd wager for every militant atheist scientist, we could find a religious catholic. Until you show that there is a scientific discipline dedicated to tearing down religion, this is nothing but a conspiracy theory. Do Dawkins and Collins disagree? Yep. Does Dawkins try to run Collins out of science? Nope. Does Collins partake in the wholesale dismantling of religion? Nope.

Anonymous said...

I'm still wondering what information is to you radar. Also, you never explained this quote from the comments 2 posts ago:


"If information loss within the genetic makeup of a strain of bacteria allow it to eat citrate that means the abilty to digest citrate was already present within the genetic code and that strain of bacteria was reduced to a species of bacteria that can digest citrate."


How this is information loss...really, I'm at a loss.


lava

chaos_engineer said...

No one has Emily Dickinson quite figured out.

Believe me, I've got that Emily Dickinson person all figured out. I'm going to keep quiet about it, but only out of respect for her merits as a poet.

How do you find any meaning in a random life that happened by chance and will disappear like the tail end of a breeze? How do you find peace when such questions hang over your head?

I think I see evolution as a kind of unwritten contract with the past and with the future. If I don't have to walk around outside in the rain, and can sit inside and post on the Internet, it's because countless thousands of past generations made it possible for me to enjoy that privilege. And it wasn't easy for them; they did it by the process of making every conceivable mistake and rejecting each one.

It seems kind of ungrateful for me not to join in the project and try to make the world a marginally better place than I found it.


The Christian world-view is the one that I found depressing. It seems like there's no hope for improvement in the material world. From Adam, to Moses, to King David, to Emperor Constantine, to today, things just keep getting crappier and crappier in each generation and there's nothing anybody can do to fix them. The book of Revelation clearly explains that anything tangible I accomplish with my life will eventually get destroyed in a rain of blood and hail or get eaten up by those locust-scorpion things.

What's the point of staying in this world when there's a much better world right next door, and all you have to do to get there is die?

I was obsessed with that for a while when I was a teenager. Why not kill myself? Sure, suicide's a sin, but Christianity is all about the forgiveness of sin. And it's a sin of weakness, an unwillingness to postpone future pleasure, and Jesus seemed to be more understanding of weakness than of malice. My friends and family would miss me, but it's not like they'd never see me again, and there's no reason they couldn't speed up the process by commiting suicide themselves. I had some kind of moral obligation to evangelize to non-believers, but isn't suicide an excellent way of teaching-by-example? The early Christian martyrs were praised for demonstrating that their faith meant more to them than their lives.

The logic just seemed rock-solid to me. If I'm alive today, it's because deep down I couldn't convince myself that there was a world that was better than this one. Eventually I decided that I should stop trying to convince myself.

I don't know. I do think that Christianity is a useful way for some people to bring meaning to their lives, but I get the feeling that I'm not one of those people.

scohen said...

"I do think that Christianity is a useful way for some people to bring meaning to their lives, but I get the feeling that I'm not one of those people"

Absolutely. I tend to take issue with one-size-fits-all kinds of solutions. If Christianity brings meaning to your life, then that's great. It's also great if you find meaning in other ways. This is a lesson for everyone to learn.

Of course, a fundamentalist Christian will argue with this, because it's not about my life, it's about my soul, and they want to save that. I've been around that block before, and the scenery is mighty bland.

So, where does this get us with respect to information? Precisely nowhere. Radar, you emailed me a couple years ago, and I offered to demonstrate a genetic algorithm, where we would decide random bit-strings and only by the application of a fitness function, watch those bit strings turn into something meaningful.

As I recall, you didn't want me to write it because it would be a lot of work and wouldn't convince you of the fact of evolution. However, if it's helpful here (information springing from randomness) I once again make my offer.

Transforming a random mess of characters into intelligible english by the means of an unintelligent fitness function would clearly demonstrate that the process doesn't need 'information' designed into it to produce 'information'.

Garbage in, text out.

highboy said...

"So atheists can't find meaning in a life lived well according to humanitarian principles?"

Any human can come up with their own meaning to their lives, but that meaning then is subjective to the human. Having a less than absolute meaning may not bother you. But to declare oneself an atheist is indeed a religion whether canuck wants to admit it or not. Unless of course he/she will be the first to provide verifiable evidence that no god/gods exist, in which case it would be the first recorded event in history where science was able to prove a negative.

scohen said...

"But to declare oneself an atheist is indeed a religion whether canuck wants to admit it or not"

Atheism may be a belief, but it falls well short on several of the standard metrics used to define a religion.

It doesn't have a mythology, a center or dogma, and those are just the traits I remember from religious studies class. Also, it seems that the burden of proof would be on those who believe in a God, not with atheists. After all, I can't just come up with a scientific hypothesis ('Negative energy exists') and demand that you show that it doesn't. That's not fair. It is reasonable not to believe in negative energy and similarly, it is reasonable to not believe in God.

"Any human can come up with their own meaning to their lives, but that meaning then is subjective to the human"

That's true, but others tend to judge your life, and it could be argued that your opinion isn't really relevant in that matter. I'm sure that a lot of evil people thought they lived well, but it's society that holds the final judgment. As long as we agree that one can be fulfilled as an Atheist, an agnostic, a Jew, a Muslim, a Christian, a Buddhist, a Zoroastrian or a Scientologist then there's no argument here.

I also don't want this tread to turn into another non-productive 'absolute morals' discussion. I'm waiting for radar to come and talk about 'information' and answer my questions above.

Anonymous said...

I also don't want this tread to turn into another non-productive 'absolute morals' discussion. I'm waiting for radar to come and talk about 'information' and answer my questions above.

I agree. When many issues are brought up the comments, Radar has a way of addressing some but not all. I'd love hear his reply to Scohen's comments on information.


Lava

Taxandrian said...

I don't know. I do think that Christianity is a useful way for some people to bring meaning to their lives, but I get the feeling that I'm not one of those people.


Indeed. There's more than one Instruction Manual for Life.

highboy said...

"Atheism may be a belief, but it falls well short on several of the standard metrics used to define a religion."

You're right. Its faith but the system isn't there.

"Also, it seems that the burden of proof would be on those who believe in a God, not with atheists. After all, I can't just come up with a scientific hypothesis ('Negative energy exists') and demand that you show that it doesn't. That's not fair."

No, the belief in God involved faith: belief without seeing. Atheism is a positive assertion that there is no God. You cannot make a positive assertion without verifiable evidence. So unless you can verify a negative, atheism is a self-defeating world view. At least agnostics have the brains to say "I don't know if there is a god or not since I have yet to see evidence of his/her existence". To say a positive argument that God doesn't exist requires proof.

"Indeed. There's more than one Instruction Manual for Life."

Not all of them are correct.

scohen said...

I said atheism was reasonable, not correct.

It's reasonable to say that there is no evidence for God. It's also reasonable to say that when you don't have evidence for something, that it doesn't exist. It's reasonable to say that there is no invisible pink unicorn guiding my actions. Similarly, it's reasonable to say there is no God.

It's also reasonable to say that I could be totally wrong, and that there could actually *be* an invisible pink unicorn guiding my actions.

I know a lot of self-identified atheists, and none of them state "There is definitely no God". I'm sure that those people are out there, but they're in a small minority.

"Not all of them are correct"

Heck, we don't know for certain if *any* of them are correct.

Radar,
I'm still waiting to engage on information. Any time you're ready.

I'd love to write that program if it will help.

Anonymous said...

Atheism is not faith, hb. But clearly you know that already because you define faith as "belief without seeing". Do you want to try one more time to explain how atheism = faith? Atheism, simply put, means an absence of belief in the existence of deities, not the belief in the absence of deities (which is quite different, as scohen pointed out). I'm also pretty sure that if there is anything that "all atheists" share it is a common skeptical concern regarding supernatural claims, citing a lack of empirical evidence. In short, Atheists require hard evidence in order to believe something, which is pretty far from any conceivable definition of "faith". So, I'm sorry, but you're wrong again buddy.
What about your thoughts on the other major global religions hb? Are you willing to state that you "really aren't sure" if Islam is the one true religion? Or that the Hindu gods may actually exist? What about the flying spaghetti monster? I suspect that you are quite fine with saying that, for example, the Mormon version of events relative to god and Jesus are completely false (i.e the garden of eden is not located in western Missouri), instead of admitting that maybe, just maybe, they might be on to something out there in Utah. I'm going to guess that (and I'm borrowing from Dawkins here), you would qualify as an Atheist relative to all other religions on earth, aside from Christianity. So for clarity sake, I'm just like you hb, except I, and other Atheists, simply go one god/religion further. Yours.

Now, can we please get back to Radar's unanswered questions relative to "information" please? Because I have a sinking suspicion that, as Steven Colbert would put it, someone, namely Radar, has been totally "nailed", and he knows it. Come on Radar, you have been on about this whole "info loss/gain" deal for a really long time and therefore should be able to thoroughly defend your position. We're waiting...

- Canucklehead

highboy said...

Canucklehead: I'm not sure if you directed that comment to me or not, but if so, I never said atheism was faith. I actually said the exact opposite, making your entire rant irrelevant...again.

Anonymous said...

hb, listen man, you know that you just keep making yourself look less and less intelligent here, right? First you quote scohen when he says "Atheism may be a belief, but it falls well short on several of the standard metrics used to define a religion." To which you write, "You're right. Its faith but the system isn't there."
And yet now you're saying "I never said atheism was faith." Dude, you can't even keep your own arguments straight (this is the second time in as many run-ins with you that you have been confused by your own words) and then you have the gall to call me irrelevant. Time to brush up on those "poor thinking skills" of yours hb, and try again (if you dare).

Anonymous said...

Sorry, forgot to sign-off on my last post. It was me.

- Canucklehead

Oh and one more thing hb, why don't you try to answer some of the questions I asked you, instead of posting child-like responses where you just make baseless claims about my posts? Although, I think I know the answer to that question...