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  1. #101  
    Quote Originally Posted by hoovs
    Certainly, and sadly, that's been the case in the history of Christianity. I would only ask, does Christianity teach this? Or, again, is this just tribalism under the guise of religion?
    It depends in part upon how one defines "Christianity," who is teaching, and what part of the church one is talking about. It certainly is not in the core message of the New Testament, i.e., the words attributed to Jesus.

    However, many so-called christian teachers are far more concerned with the God of Abraham, the 'biblical" God, than with Jesus, more with the message of Saul of Tarsus than with that of Jesus. Modern examples include Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. They are absolutely certain that they are on the side of God in the affairs of men. They may use the language of christianity but they teach hate and war.

    While I think that the Christian message has advanced the cause of social justice, the established church has been the voice of conservatism.

    All that said, the question on the table is not about Christianity but rather about religion. Taken as a whole, I see little to separate Christianity from religion as a whole or to recommend it above others.
  2. #102  
    Quote Originally Posted by theBlaze74
    So far this thread has missed what makes this book, evolutionary biology, evolutionary psychology, and now even the natural construction of religion so important. The reason why this is considered to be the biggest intellectual breakthrough in the history of man.

    The book(s) describe the specific way a completely stupid, random, and mindless process can and does result in flowers, birds, pigs, human beings, civilizations, cultures, consciousness, and even religion.

    This does not disprove religion because as we have said, even the jelly monster is immune to disproof, but let's stop and think about the foundation of religion itself? How do we know there is a god? Why do we think there is a god? Every religion has at it's core, the idea that we CANNOT have gotten here without the creation of a conscious mind.

    We are finding out now that is false. Or in short, the very foundation of religion is disproven. Again, this does not 'disprove' religion, but doesn't it make it about as speculative as the jelly monster theory?
    The book Blaze is discussing is mentioned in post #1, with a brief excerpt.

    I would point out that Dennett is a philosopher, whose philosophical stance is empirical and more closely aligned with science (particularly evolutionary biology) than with religion.

    Personally, I do not find his work to be the "biggest intellectual breakthrough". His work is thought-provoking and accessible. But I don't find him particularly persuasive.

    Putting forth how something is possible, does not make it fact. I could argue how it's possible that Carmen Elektra and I are going to be married next week. But it ain't gonna happen.
    Brent
    T650 on Sprint's Wireless Wonder
  3.    #103  
    Quote Originally Posted by Micael
    Sorry if I missed it, but what book(s)?
    Nah, it's mostly my fault. I have been reading and contemplating the first book since college. It is not something that i can easily break down to discuss here. But ...
    Quote Originally Posted by theBlaze
    The first of Dennett's books that I read was "Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life", where Dennett describes Charles Darwin's idea of Evolution by Natural Selection, not only the biggest scientific discovery ever, but compares it to "universal acid", dissolving everything it touches, throughout the realm of psychology, phillosophy, not just inside Biology.

    Then the natural evolution of our very minds in Consciousness Explained, and his latest work takes on the natural evolution of Religion itself, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon.
    Quote Originally Posted by theBlaze
    The book(s) describe the specific way a completely stupid, random, and mindless process (the process of evolution by natural selection) can and does result in flowers, birds, pigs, human beings, civilizations, cultures, consciousness, and even religion.
    Quote Originally Posted by theBlaze
    Just a comment. Religion isn't something that is proven, just followed. Its the implementation of a belief system. Perhaps you mean "disprove belief in God"?
    Yes, as we said, one that requires no evidence and accepts the supernatural, and so who's ideas are therefore immune to disproof.
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael
    Who is we? Where is this proof? Which religion?
    Quote Originally Posted by theBlaze
    How do we know there is a god? Why do we think there is a god? Every religion has at it's core, the idea that we CANNOT have gotten here without the creation of a conscious mind.
    I apologize for my part in our failure to communicate. These are not the simplest of ideas.

    As I said, isn't the idea that we COULD NOT have gotten here randomly the reason for every religion? And don't these books (Dennett's books and others) describe just that? A completely stupid, random, and mindless process which can and does result in everything around us?
  4.    #104  
    Quote Originally Posted by bheuss
    Personally, I do not find his work to be the "biggest intellectual breakthrough". His work is thought-provoking and accessible. But I don't find him particularly persuasive.
    Sorry no, it's Darwin's idea that is widely regarded as the biggest scientific breakthrough in history. I didn't mean Dennett. It's Dennett & others that are carrying on the work. Again Dennett compares Darwin's idea to "universal acid", dissolving or changing everything it touches.
  5.    #105  
    Quote Originally Posted by bheuss
    Putting forth how something is possible, does not make it fact. I could argue how it's possible that Carmen Elektra and I are going to be married next week. But it ain't gonna happen.
    1.) But isnt the basis for religion that it is there is no way for us to have gotten here without god? Surely we could not have blown together by the wind, that would be impossible, therefore there must be a god, etc, etc, everything building on this idea. And we can see now that it is most certainly possible.

    2.) The evidence for biological evolution is not held up by one giant pillar, rather by a million litte pins. But there is no scientific debate in biology that biodiversity on earth is a product of evolution by natural selection. There are creationists that refuse to accept the scientific consensus on the basis that it challenges their religious beliefs, but this is not science, and this will not change any time soon.
  6.    #106  
    Quote Originally Posted by whmurray
    All that said, the question on the table is not about Christianity but rather about religion. Taken as a whole, I see little to separate Christianity from religion as a whole or to recommend it above others.
    Personally, I would recommend Jesus' words above others. Especially the jelly monsters.

    But then again, I see few similarities between the words of Jesus, and the teachings of our Christian church.
  7. #107  
    Scientific advances just push God further back. The Scientist believers talk about God before the Big Bang for example, making sure all the universal constants are adjusted properly to make sure life arises. The mainstay of religion, the people who vaguely believe God created the world, are mostly not minded to listen to any complex alternate explanation in any case.

    Surur
  8. #108  
    Quote Originally Posted by theBlaze74
    1.) But isnt the basis for religion that it is there is no way for us to have gotten here without god? Surely we could not have blown together by the wind, that would be impossible, therefore there must be a god, etc, etc, everything building on this idea. And we can see now that it is most certainly possible.

    2.) The evidence for biological evolution is not held up by one giant pillar, rather by a million litte pins. But there is no scientific debate in biology that biodiversity on earth is a product of evolution by natural selection. There are creationists that refuse to accept the scientific consensus on the basis that it challenges their religious beliefs, but this is not science, and this will not change any time soon.
    1. I honestly can't respond to the "basis for religion" statement. It could very well be. Not having been around when most of the world's current religions were founded, I don't have much insight. There is a school of thought that does propose that the universe and everything in it did occur by happenstance (out of the Big Bang). And a subschool of thought that perhaps a god caused the big bang and that has been the extent of his/her involvement.

    2. This area is somewhat more prickly. Were there hundreds of anteaters at one time and natural selection has reduced them to the one species we have today by natural selection? Or is the ant/anteater relationship mutually beneficial in a way of which we are not aware? Or did a god decide "Hey, they need anteaters down there". There are debates over biodiversity and how it happens.

    To me, the moment of faith or questioning faith comes when I contemplate the amazingly delicate balance and fragility of life on our planet vs. life's (not necessarily human) amazing adaptibility. Could such a thing of wonder and complexity have just "happened". I don't really question the varieties of life or how they came to be. Just that they are is amazing in itself.

    Do I care if a god created the world or my awareness? Not really. Can I appreciate that it's possible and wonder at the implications? Yes.
    Brent
    T650 on Sprint's Wireless Wonder
  9. #109  
    Quote Originally Posted by hoovs
    ..........Regarding slavery, the abolition movement was pretty much led by Christian ministers.
    Perhaps. However, they were a tiny fraction of the total clergy and mavericks within the church. Augustine of Hippo, a "Father of the Church," taught that the institution of slavery derives from God and is beneficial to slaves and masters; Pius IX defended it as late as 1866. The Church did not disavow slavery for another twenty years.
  10.    #110  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur
    The mainstay of religion, the people who vaguely believe God created the world, are mostly not minded to listen to any complex alternate explanation in any case.
    Nor do they understand or contemplate the deepest roots of religion, or its underlying phillosophy, at least in my experience, but then again, neither do most scientists.

    On a side note, much of my understanding of Christianity, religion, and their underlying phillosophy come from long conversations with my best friend, who was a devout Catholic Monk before meeting his wife and starting his family. I would not have studied or looked at the words of Jesus if it were not for him.
  11. #111  
    Quote Originally Posted by bheuss
    2. This area is somewhat more prickly. Were there hundreds of anteaters at one time and natural selection has reduced them to the one species we have today by natural selection? Or is the ant/anteater relationship mutually beneficial in a way of which we are not aware? Or did a god decide "Hey, they need anteaters down there". There are debates over biodiversity and how it happens.

    To me, the moment of faith or questioning faith comes when I contemplate the amazingly delicate balance and fragility of life on our planet vs. life's (not necessarily human) amazing adaptibility. Could such a thing of wonder and complexity have just "happened". I don't really question the varieties of life or how they came to be. Just that they are is amazing in itself.
    No offense intended, but you appear to be basing your view on ignorance. If you knew more you would be less amazed and have less wonderment, which would make you less succeptible to mystical beliefs.

    For example, these are all anteaters, and they are 4 different species.






    As one would expect, convergent evolution has caused very different animals to have similar features. No god or planning involved, just the vicious whittling of natural selection.

    Surur
  12.    #112  
    Quote Originally Posted by bheuss
    1. I honestly can't respond to the "basis for religion" statement. It could very well be. Not having been around when most of the world's current religions were founded, I don't have much insight. There is a school of thought that does propose that the universe and everything in it did occur by happenstance (out of the Big Bang). And a subschool of thought that perhaps a god caused the big bang and that has been the extent of his/her involvement...

    To me, the moment of faith or questioning faith comes when I contemplate the amazingly delicate balance and fragility of life on our planet vs. life's (not necessarily human) amazing adaptibility. Could such a thing of wonder and complexity have just "happened". I don't really question the varieties of life or how they came to be. Just that they are is amazing in itself.
    I'm sorry, I meant to discuss the underlying phillosophy here, not the big bang. Yes I agree about those 2 ideas about the big bang btw.

    I was talking about the philosophy underlying theology. Pick up any catechism for example, and turn to chapter one. You are likely to see something about the beauty, complexity and itricacy of life, and how it could not have just "happened".

    I was just pointing out, that this is exactly what evolution by natural selection shows. A completely stupid, mindless, and random process which results in more and more complex life, and now even conciousness and religion.
  13.    #113  
    Quote Originally Posted by bheuss
    2. This area is somewhat more prickly. Were there hundreds of anteaters at one time and natural selection has reduced them to the one species we have today by natural selection? Or is the ant/anteater relationship mutually beneficial in a way of which we are not aware? Or did a god decide "Hey, they need anteaters down there". There are debates over biodiversity and how it happens.
    I had to study biology at Michigan State, I don't know why they make engineers study biology, but they do.

    The class, and as I found out later, all of current biology is evolutionary biology. The class was taught chronologically in terms of which species evolved, in which order, which selective pressure was thought to have been applied, resulting in which new species, and so on. I came to find out that this is beyond a consensus opinion in biology, this is the way biology is studied and practiced. Again, there is no scientific debate. The 'holes' that you have seen pointed out in evolutionary biology are likely to be objections posed by those who find their religious beliefs threatened, not objections posed by biologists questioning biological evoultion by natural selection.
  14. #114  
    Many people are religious, not because God created the Earth, but because they need some-one to look after them, and they need to believe there is some purpose to life, and they need something to happen after they are dead. This includes many very intelligent people, such as that molecular biologist earlier in the thread.

    Surur
  15. #115  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur
    No offense intended, but you appear to be basing your view on ignorance. If you knew more you would be less amazed and have less wonderment, which would make you less succeptible to mystical beliefs.

    For example, these are all anteaters, and they are 4 different species.
    As one would expect, convergent evolution has caused very different animals to have similar features. No god or planning involved, just the vicious whittling of natural selection.

    Surur
    With all due respect, I was offended. There was no reason to personalize this type of response. Getting to know more is a good reason to engage in civilized debate. I have learned quite a bit from this discussion and hope to continue to learn from people who can share information without personalizing the response.

    The remainder of the first paragraph seems to imply a sense of shame over having wonderment, amazement, or mystical beliefs. I feel my life would be much less rich without them. They do not, however, prevent me from understanding and appreciating a scientific explanation. As an analogy, appreciating a beautiful building can cause wonder at the gifts of being able to design and construct those structures. Knowing how it was constructed does not detract from that. It only adds to the appreciation of it.

    While I mistook genus for species, it's not bringing about the end of the world. But nonetheless apologize for my oversight.

    And convergent evolution does not prove or disprove the presence of a god. Unless one can prove that a god has nothing to do with convergent evolution.
    Brent
    T650 on Sprint's Wireless Wonder
  16.    #116  
    Quote Originally Posted by bheuss
    To me, the moment of faith or questioning faith comes when I contemplate the amazingly delicate balance and fragility of life on our planet vs. life's (not necessarily human) amazing adaptibility. Could such a thing of wonder and complexity have just "happened". I don't really question the varieties of life or how they came to be. Just that they are is amazing in itself.

    Do I care if a god created the world or my awareness? Not really. Can I appreciate that it's possible and wonder at the implications? Yes.
    Did the sunset become less beautifull once we learned that the earth was not the center of the universe, with the sun put there by god, just to keep us warm?

    Rising to another intellectual plane is nothing to be ashamed of either, and it will not make the flowers smell any less sweet.
  17. #117  
    Quote Originally Posted by whmurray
    Perhaps. However, they were a tiny fraction of the total clergy and mavericks within the church. Augustine of Hippo, a "Father of the Church," taught that the institution of slavery derives from God and is beneficial to slaves and masters; Pius IX defended it as late as 1866. The Church did not disavow slavery for another twenty years.
    It’s not exactly fair to say that Augustine taught that the institution of slavery derives from God. He taught that slavery was not the natural order of things but the result of sin. He actually said: “He did not intend that His rational creature, who was made in His image, should have dominion over anything but the irrational creation -- not man over man,” And: “The prime cause, then, of slavery is sin, which brings man under the dominion of his fellow -- that which does not happen save by the judgment of God, with whom is no unrighteousness, and who knows how to award fit punishments to every variety of offence.” But that the majority, including the majority in the church, did not denounce slavery for many years is true and to our discredit.
  18. #118  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur
    Many people are religious, not because God created the Earth, but because they need some-one to look after them, and they need to believe there is some purpose to life, and they need something to happen after they are dead. This includes many very intelligent people, such as that molecular biologist earlier in the thread.

    Surur
    Why do you think it is that man has, from the beginning of history, needed to believe there was some purpose in life?
  19.    #119  
    Quote Originally Posted by hoovs
    Why do you think it is that man has, from the beginning of history, needed to believe there was some purpose in life?
    "Because God loves us" is not a phillisophic answer to "What is the purpose of our being here.", only a refusal to consider it.

    According to Dennett, we have a need to believe in a purpose in life because those who did not were less likely to survive, which is not to say that every single religious idea that has survived makes us more likely to survive.
  20. #120  
    Quote Originally Posted by hoovs
    Why do you think it is that man has, from the beginning of history, needed to believe there was some purpose in life?
    That is an excellent question and one well worth pondering. Or even why is humankind the only organism on the planet capable of perceiving there might be a purpose in life (as far as we know)?

    In a philosophy class, someone suggested that self-awareness (which is related to having a purpose) may have developed in an evolutionary way. If it's possible that self-awareness was a genetic trait, perhaps members of the species who were more self-aware or who had even a vague sense of mortality may have been more careful and lived longer, thereby having more children. Thereby self-selecting for survival over other members who did not have the same awareness. Or there's always the "eating of the tree of knowledge" theory.
    Brent
    T650 on Sprint's Wireless Wonder

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