View Full Version : Flawed Logic
06-11-99, 10:57 PM
Never have understood how scientists who are agnostics or atheists (and many are not) reconcile their smug claims of being objective and logical. There is nothing more logical about assuming that all this (the cosmos) "just sorta happened" or always has been than in postulating the existence of a supreme being, a creator. Both stances (the religious and the non-religious) require baseless and unprovable assumptions and leaps of faith. The assumption of the faithful is based on hope. The assumption of the atheist is all too often based in homocentric hubris that is just personally, emotionally uncomfortable with the idea of a God for no empirically justifiable reason.
May you be in Heaven a half an hour 'fore the Devil knows you're dead
The 'smug' claim of science is not nearly as smug as you make it out to be. Scientists deal with data, and patterns within data. In that sense, they never go postulating things that reach beyond what is necessary to explain the empirical results. And, their claims are restricted to those verifiable by experiment. Aside from theory, any proclamation from a scientist is no more authoritative than that of a kindergartener.
Given that, there are compelling argumentative reasons for at least rejecting the conventional religious constructs. Not the least of these reasons is the homocentricity of religion. Somehow, God is conceived in terms of human qualities, factors, goals, behavior and motivation. This is perhaps inescapable, since within our narrow experience we can do no better. But that is only an argument in support of the fact that the 'divine' knowledge actually has its origins among humans and not some superhuman intelligence. In other words, religion 'reveals' nothing more than any bozo could dream up on his/her own. Then, of course, there's the magic -- which doesn't help but make all religious stories sound suspiciously like fairy tales. Then, there's the utter failure to account for the origins of the universe and our place in it -- despite these points being among the foremost questions religions tried to answer. Which, by association, casts serious doubt on all religious claims of afterlife or divine intervention. Finally, religion is becoming increasingly unnecessary, since most of the things it tried to explain can now be described by natural sciences. In general, as far as religious dogma is concerned (regardless of religion) -- it's outdated metaphysics which no longer ties in with modern knowledge. There is a choice: the speculative armchair 'wisdom' of the anscients, or the demonstrable truth of scientific theories. As far as natural philosophy is concerned, I'd hope the latter is preferable.
As for the ultimate claim -- existence of God or at least a Creator -- does it really matter one way or another? Supposing you believe in a creator -- how does that give you any more 'hope' than the Big Bang theory? Unless, that is, you are also bying into the immortal souls, hell vs. heaven, spiritual ascention, divine belevolence or some such auxiliary stuff -- in which case, you are buying into a whole lot more than just theism. To many an atheist, all this stuff I just mentioned should sound like extraneous, dreamed-up fluff that served as anscient 'hacks' providing answers to these riddles -- but that is totally out of place in the modern world, and in fact only serves to drag along all the medieval emotional and societal 'baggage' that is not necessarily desirable.
I am; therefore I think.
06-13-99, 12:29 AM
I am sorry to here you say those things about religion. I think you'd better check the profile you made. I explained that God created science and that science explains part of what God is, and nearly all of what he made.
Personally, for a fairy tale I think that the Bible is very well researched. all of the events that are said to have happened in the Bible(saving of course creation, the ressurection, and all to with it, and the end of the world, which are all open to debate)has been recorded by the Romans or some civilazation or another. Those people did exsist, and Jesus of Nazereth was crucified. (also the ressurection was witnessed by over 400 people and the asscension by who knows how many including Roman guards, but I don't expect that to give it any credibility for you.) The only thing that really cannot be proven is the beginning and the end.
I am afraid, Boris, that you have confused the reasons for this fairytale. It was not to explain the things that happened, it was to tell the wonderful truth of a magnificent creation. The reason it has stayed alive so long is that we, the Christian, cannot deny that there is no better explanation that explains the wonders of the universe.
Ok, let's dance this dance again. Science cannot explain why we have a sense of right and wrong, or why we have emotions. It merely explains that emotions are signaled by a chemical, but why that chemical?
And if some fool decided one day to dream up an exscuse for the universe, why include how to act and behave?(which by the way, our sense of right and wrong coincides with what the Bible's says is right and wrong.) Why no make yourself the supreme God in this fantasy? Why even bother to write it down? which comes to an excellant point. I don't really expect you to know this, but the Bible written by a lot of guys over a long period of time. Many of the books(chapters) are connected by a phrophecy of an event in one book, to the actual occurence of that event in another book. How do these fit together so well?
Here's another question for you:
Many of the first disciples of Christianity were murdered or tortured becuse they would not deny their beliefs. And for thousands of years other believers were persecuted for their beliefs, and in fact still are today. (over in India with the Hindus) here's the question:
Why die for a lie? Why when you can just smile and say,"yeah my beliefs are pretty stupid, I guess I've been dillusional for all these years," and then go home free and happy living out your merry little life, why stand your ground and end your life? I imagine as those people were tortured, or stoned, or whatever, I imagine that they were thinking for awhile, "Could it be true, am I just dillusional, or maybe crazy? it would be so easy to say, 'hey Christianity, that's for suckers,' and walk outta here."
The point is they all suffered and died for their beliefs, if they thought there was one chance on earth that God might not have exsisted they would have denied their beliefs, but they all found enough proof to die for them instead. So now you answer, Why die for a lie?
06-15-99, 02:54 AM
One of the things you briefly touched upon is exactly why I said “smug.” There’s a certain breed of scientist (among them, the late---and on my part unlamented---Carl Sagan, and seemingly, Stephen Hawking as well) that just can’t resist attacking religion, which they dismiss as “superstition.” A search for truth is fine, but it’s sheer hubris to dismiss the faith of millions, based on traditions thousands of years old, as nonsense based on what your own few kg of grey matter, fallible senses, and few decades (at most) of experience lead you to conclude about the nature of “reality.” A decade or so back, PBS, which as a creation of the state would be a staunch defender of the “wall of separation” between church and state, and certainly would not allow a minister, priest, rabbi, etc. to use their broadcast time to promulgate their own philosophy/theology, hypocritically seemed to see nothing wrong with having Sagan go on the air with his “Cosmos” series, presented with all the numinous trappings of religion, and solemnly state to a nationwide audience that there is no God. While he is certainly entitled to his opinion, his status as a personage of note should have ethically demanded of him to promulgate only what he is competent to speak about. His pronouncement was as inappropriate as if Pope John Paul had started holding forth as an absolute authority on astrophysics. I think the Pope is much wiser than that. And certainly less full of hubris.
“Science” (and by the way, please define it, if you think you can) is in no way superior to religion in the respect that it relies upon a set of basic assumptions founded on nothing but faith, and faith alone.
Among them, neither provable or verifiable in any ultimate sense:
1. The senses, or extensions of them through devices, instruments, etc., are capable of ascertaining what is “true” and “real.”
2. The cosmos is a place with systems and patterns that can be understood.
The above are prejudices, not “facts,” and in no way ultimately provable. They represent, at base, leaps of faith no more logical than a religious person’s assumption of a Creator. Anyone with the barest dilettante’s knowledge of quantum physics (I claim no more than that) knows that the universe is often not a very logical place, at least in the sense of what most people would accept as “logical.” And what logic there is often leads to illogic---mathematics may have predicted the existence of black holes, but in describing what exists beyond the event horizon of a black hole, one scientist writing for a lay audience had no alternative but to resort to metaphysical allusions to describe the utter random lawlessness, the chaos, that presumably lies “within” them (if “within” has any meaning in this respect.) Accordingly, he entitled a chapter in his book “C’thulhu Exists.” As may angels. And demons. And Tolkien’s elves. And ghosts. And, yes, God.
There is no more “logic” to the atheist’s assumption (for that’s what it is) either that the cosmos has always existed, with no beginning or end, or that at some point it sprung into being out of nothingness, than there is postulating the existence of a Supreme Being who created it all. So I invite you to step down off your high horse and admit that in the last analysis your supposedly “logical” conception of the cosmos, or “reality” is nothing of the sort. You’re in the same boat as the rest of us, and our faith has every bit as much chance of representing reality as your (in my opinion) rather dreary and deterministic view. And I’ll repeat what I said earlier: people who deny God supposedly because He is not “logical” are often laying down a smoke screen…their own hubris and narcissism doesn’t want a God, rebels at the thought of a supreme authority that lays down absolutes like a spoiled, petulant child. Indeed, such people haven’t gotten emotionally very far beyond the juvenile state that sees and judges everything only as it relates to them A God would severely cramp their style, because like Lucifer, they want to be free to do whatever they want whenever they want to do it. They are without discipline. Taken to the logical extreme, they are Harris and Kleybold.
And that’s not the only logical fallacy you commit. The other is a purely modern conceit, the falsehood of which is so apparent you as a thinking person should be embarrassed to have subscribed to. That is the fallacy of “change” as a linear progression in time, the idea that because one idea/philosophy preceded another in time, it is there somehow rendered untrue. What nonsense! The whole idea of “progress” is a relatively recent phenomenon historically speaking, with its seeds in the writing of Bacon and others of that time. The ancients simply had no such concept, and I agree with them…our toys have gotten more sophisticated, but there has not been one measurable smidgen of improvement in the human heart since some mutant ape with a brain a little bigger than that of his fellows had the first nebulous abstract thought.
“The heart of man is deceitful, and desperately wicked.” Yet that is the false “god,” secular humanism, the false idea that man is improvable by his own efforts...too many people....I think you among them...would place upon the throne of the cosmos.
Excuse me Odysseus but how much hubrish does it take for a guy to bluntly claim he is the son of god or even god himself ?
we are midgets standing on the backs of giants,
Last I checked, science makes no claims whatsoever about God. As for your claim that God created physics -- it's the same as saying that God created the universe, then left it on its own to evolve according to physical laws. This is, in fact, the viewpoint of many religious physicists.
The Bible probably would indeed reflect many historical occurrences. So does the story of King Arthur and Excalibur. What I am absolutely sure of, however, is that the Lady of the Lake never existed, the Tower of Babel doesn't explain existence of races and languages, the Ark of Noah could never have been, the Garden of Eden is just another fairy tale -- catch my drift?
I do believe that Jesus of Nazareth existed. I do *not* believe he was resurrected. To me, it sounds much more plausible that his followers stole his body and buried it secretly somewhere else, then claimed he was resurrected so as to keep his teachings alive. As for numbers of witnesses and other such details -- you aren't suggesting we rely on a 2,000-year-old, *religious* text, for *historical* accuracy?! (It being the same text that relates such things as the parting of the Red Sea before Moses, and descendance of all humanity from a single created couple.)
The reasons Christianity stayed alive for so long, are: it was very organized, insisted on aggressively promoting and spreading itself, and existed within an illiterate, superstitious, scientifically primitive world. Why did people die for this "lie", as you call it? Let me ask you: why do people die for any other religion? Does Hezbollah come to mind? Why did that Serb who attacked German troops and survived, claim that "I am a Serb, and I must die for my country"? People throughout history have found plenty of reasons to die. And let me tell you -- other than self-defense, most of those reasons weren't worth a red cent.
Why did people cling to a 'lie' despite its obvious falsity? Perhaps, because to them the fallacy wasn't so obvious? Perhaps, they weren't knowledgeable enough to see the religion for what it is. All they knew, from birth to death, was Christianity. And mind you, they weren't exposed to alternative viewpoints a whole lot, as Christians were never exactly tolerant of criticism (to put it mildly).
For explanation of right, wrong, and emotions, see my latest post on Evolution vs. Religion (in reply to you). It's a lot of text, and I'm not going to reproduce it here. Suffice it to say, right, wrong and emotions are explained by science far better than they are by any religion.
You wrote: "And if some fool decided one day to dream up an exscuse for the universe, why include how to act and behave?(which by the way, our sense of right and wrong coincides with what the Bible's says is right and wrong.)"
1) isn't it indeed amazing that the Bible's sense of right and wrong so neatly coincides with anybody's innate sense of the same? What does that imply about the Bible's source?
2) the Bible was not written by a fool. It is a product of thousands of years of Judaic tradition. No religion that survives so long could be centered around an individual. All such religions involve immortal, abstract and all-powerful god or gods. The very stipulation of the god(s)' existence leads to the conclusion that the god(s) layed down rules of behavior acceptable to them. You will notice that Christian dogma of right and wrong is amazingly similar to the concepts of right and wrong of *any* religion anywhere in the world.
The prophecy-fullfillment issue. Again, first I'd like to ask you how you can trust a religious document to be of high historical fidelity. Secondly, it is not too hard to imagine that the 'predictions' were reinterpreted after the supposed fullfillment to match up with the fullfillment, and all predictions that did not come to pass were edited out.
In general, your arguments tend to gravitate toward:
1) pointing at what other people believe, or had believed in the past
2) pointing at what the Bible says.
Both of these approaches are fallacious on purely logical grounds, because they rely upon appeal to authority. "Mr. Hitler is a big boss, and he says the Jews are evil; therefore Jews are evil." It's pointless to allude to what 'they' believed, and what 'they' died for. No matter what 'their' numbers or sacrifices -- their beliefs are no more true as a consequence.
Now, if the Bible at least said that the Universe is n billion years old, that the Earth is not at the center and is only a tiny spec in the vastness of the cosmos, that all elements were born inside stars, that all life was built out of cells -- then I'd be impressed. Then, it would have been obvious that the knowledge in the Bible was not dreamed up by some bozo, but was indeed passed down by a higher intelligence. The Bible claims way too many things to the contrary, however, and in general contains nothing that goes beyond the bronze-age popular metaphysics.
I am; therefore I think.
[This message has been edited by Boris (edited June 16, 1999).]
Definition of "science" (from Merriam-Webster online dictionary, http://www.m-w.com ):
"knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method".
Hope that resolves it for you.
I doubt that the Pope (John-Paul, currently) has any more authority to discuss religion than Carl Sagan. This is because religion is not a separate discipline; it's a metaphysical philosophy which concerns itself with the origins, past and future of the universe, as well as the nature of human existence. As such, it is not any different from relativistic cosmology. Scratch that; there is a difference after all. One is supported by redundant physical evidence, the other by appeal to authority.
You are correct in observing that any systematic explanation of the universe must start with assumed truths, or axioms. It is true that science indeed contains quite a few of those. However, it *is* superior to religion. How dare I presume so??!
The axioms of science lead to verifiable predictions. In that sense, the axioms of science are indeed verifiable. When you have a theory based on the wrong axioms, you have the theory making the wrong predictions, or being internally inconsistent, and the theory eventually gets disproved through experiment or mathematical contradiction. This is the merit of the scientific establishment: its fundamental axioms have consistently given rise to theories that successfully stand the test of experiment and mathematical scrutiny.
Therefore, the assumptions of science are *not* "founded on nothing but faith". In addition to faith, the assumptions are supported by the corpus of rigorous, robust, cross-replicated experimental knowledge -- which is far more than what I could say about any religion. It's interesting you cite quantum theory -- a scientific theory -- in your argument. Do you think any old set of assumptions, taken on faith, would result in the amazing predictive power and consistency of that theory? Do you really think sheer belief and nothing else gives rise to the empirical success of quantum mechanics??? If so, please explain the connective logic in your claim, because I surely see none!
You are right about one thing: science, like any other systematic enterprise, seems incapable of reaching beyond the point of the universe's creation to the ultimate origin of everything. At that point, any guess is as valid as any other. However, starting with the birth of the universe, I claim science has been far more successful in describing and explaining the natural history than any religion whatsoever. So, we are not in the same boat after all. Whereas you are forced (assuming you're Christian) to somehow make peace with the Tower of Babel, I can look to evolution and sociology for an explanation of the human diversity on the planet. Whereas you have no way to conceive of even our own galaxy (never mind the billions of others) within the confines of the Bible -- I can rely on physics and astronomy to open up my horizons.
There is a fundamental difference between our stances on knowledge. I claim that empirical data must form the foundation for any theory, and that theory-driven induction is the only valid way of obtaining knowledge. You reject this position because of your doubts in, ultimately, the validity of induction as an epistemological engine. As your only alternative route to knowledge, you have available the 'truths' passed down to you by previous generations, which, by the way, had even fewer ways of obtaining knowledge than we do -- and certainly no way of accurately preserving any *valid* knowledge they might have obtained.
You are right; I am indeed claiming that the universe is causal, and that its fundamental laws are immutable at least on small timescales. If even one of these assumptions was false, then knowledge per se would be impossible to begin with -- and we wouldn't be having this discussion. Our very conscious existences testify to the fact that inductive learning is the way to go. It's the way we learn to function within the world as children; it's the way evolution shaped lifeforms to be more and more fit to their environment; it's the way scientific theories form and evolve. You can, of course, always stubbornly cling to whatever *superstition* you want -- but I think my position is by far the stronger, because it takes root in the very world within which we exist, and not in some mythos full of stone-age ideas that have clearly been demonstrated to be false.
My position is indeed logical, contrary to yours. In case you don't believe me, here's the definition of "logic" (again, from Merriam-Webster):
"a science that deals with the principles and criteria of validity of inference and demonstration : the science of the formal principles of reasoning"
What are the 'principles and criteria of validity' that form a logical argument? Causality is certainly one. Consider, for example, the following pair of logical predicates:
a) (1) If (A is true) then (B is true).
(2) A is true; therefore (B is true).
b) (1) If (A is true) then (B is true).
(2) B is true; therefore (A is true).
(a) is logically valid; (b) is a fallacy. Here, (a,2) is a causal argument stemming from a theory (a,1). Causality is at the very core of logic. The inductive principle is also inherent in logic. Thus, when one says (A is true), one means that A shall be true forever from now on to the end of the argument -- precisely the type of assumption that science makes about physical laws (at least to the first approximation).
In fact, I'll claim that logical thought could never exist (as logical concepts could never be defined) -- were the universe not deterministically obeying physical laws. Therefore, logic and the concept of 'being logical' are forever tied to science, and the concept of being 'scientific'. So there you are.
Again, even though there is no foundation for any claim that the universe wasn't created by a sentient being -- there is every reason to claim that science presents by far the best approximation to the truth of what happened since creation. Because claims of creation invariably stem from some religion, I am hereby claiming that your religion (whatever it is) is by far inferior to science when it comes to answering the age-old questions of origin, fate, and nature of things. So, I'll be staying *on* my high horse for a while, if you don't mind.
As an admitted atheist, I do not deny God in principle. However, I absolutely deny Christian God. As well as a God or Gods stemming from any religion whatsoever. I hope by now my multiple reasons for this are quite clear. And notice that narcissism or hubris do not enter into it. You demonstrate just as much hubris (if not by far more) in proclaiming that you are privy to the Truth with a capital T, and that, of all other sources, your True source is some mystical book. Narcissism? Ha! You don't think it's narcissistic to claim that humans are far above animals and are so very special because of their souls? You don't think it narcissistic to claim that the earth and, what the heck, the entire universe -- were created for our enjoyment? That we -- the barely sentient primitive worms that we are -- are some supreme and final creation above all possible others in the universe? I advise you not to get ad-hominem, because you have no idea what revelations await you if you do...
Progress, as is relevant to this discussion, is the increasing volume, complexity, sophistication and range of modern knowledge. It indeed forms a positive growth trend, ever since the beginning of the Dark Ages (at which point, by the way, our beloved religion was responsible for stagnating the progress of knowledge for over a millennium!) If the likes of you, Odysseus, consistently had their way -- we'd still be in the Dark Ages, and would be forever doomed to remain so.
The old theories were not discarded because they were superceded by newer ones. They were discarded because either their predictions or proclamations about the natural world were proven false, or the newer theories explained everything the old ones did, and then some.
It is not the progress of the human heart that we are concerned about when we pit science and religion. It is the progress of human knowledge.
As for the heart -- I would claim that these times are indeed more gentle than times ever were. Yes, we still have wars and crime just as we always had. But at least we don't burn people at the stake, or throw dissenters into dungeons, or lop their tongues and limbs off. We'll see about the future -- perhaps the human heart can yet be tamed through knowledge.
I am; therefore I think.
[This message has been edited by Boris (edited June 16, 1999).]
It's the arc of Noah, Mozes is the guy that lead the Jews out of Egypt and this is supposed to have happened several thousands of years after the great flood. If you want to tackle these guys you should have some idea of what they are talking about, otherwise it's a game of tennis in stead of a discussion. ;)
I'm behind you on this one even if there is no such thing as an absolute frame :) :)
we are midgets standing on the backs of giants,
Well, I guess when you write that much text, one or two typos will inevitably sneak in. Maybe I should get tested for dyslexia...
Anyway, blooper corrected. Thanks...
I am; therefore I think.
That was an huge text, but i have to say that i am behind you on that one. Couldn't have said it better myself.. he he
May I ask what you do for a living? You sure aren't standing at the register at the local Albertsons.... :-)
Using BeOS R4 with Netpositve 3.03d
I could be tortured and killed for my beliefs, and I would not denounce Jesus as Christ. Explain that, Mr. Scientist. And oh, by the way, I'm not crazy, if that was what your explanation was going to be. It must make you feel really comfortable to think that all who have given their lives for the Lord are just foolish, huh? If you believe that, you are a fool. So go ahead...explain it.
Boris, your comment "about religion is becoming increasingly unnecessary"? What the %#@$ kind of rose-colored glasses are you looking at this world through? Whatever you're smoking dude, pass it over, must be some good shit! LOL! I don't think that you "get it", that is, what religion is really about. You want to make it about some experiment, or something to prove. It's not; it's something to practice and understand. Forget the rituals, the charisma, the tithing, the history, and even the prophecy if you have to, but quit being so dense. Science doesn't have to be "vs" religion anymore than evolution has to be "vs" creationism. You're not going to find God with a microscope. Quit trying to "prove" religion with a bunsen burner, and try living it; you'll get all the proof you need.
God loves you and so do I!
[This message has been edited by Lori (edited June 16, 1999).]
[This message has been edited by Lori (edited June 17, 1999).]
06-17-99, 02:42 AM
It's little people who get enjoyment out of pissing on other people's cherished beliefs.
It's arrogant people who put their own few kg of grey matter and few palty years of experience against the combined wisdom of minds over thousands of years of religious experience. (If either shoe fits, wear it)
Science has done some very neat things...I'm not essentially "anti-Science." I have a life-long interest in Astronomy and Archeaology. But one thing Science has NEVER done is make the world any better morally or ethically. One could make a compelling case that the advance of Science, and it's handmaiden, technology, has made this waning century the most violent and evil in world history.
I don't lionize scientists, like some people do. They are just indulging their lust, no different than, for instance, a pedophile indulging his...the lusts (deviant sexual gratification on the one hand, a curiosity and desire to control so intense as to be a lust one the other) that are different, but they are both lusts, just the same.
Some scientists, especialy in our era (Teller and Fermi come to mind)have been great at indulging their knowledge-lusts on the one hand and then piously disavowing the consequences of indulging them on the other, wailing and making moan that their work has had (easily foreseen) evil consequences.
One of you asked if Jesus wasn't committing the sin of pride (hubris) to maintain his divinity. Well, to use the vernacular, if you can back it up, it ain't brag. As C. S. Lewis put it (and I paraphrase) Jesus didn't give you any alternatives; you must either reject him as insane to make such claims, or you must fall on your knees and worship him as lord and master. He permitted none of the ambivalence, the shades of grey, modern man is so fond of embracing, the apostate view that he was not divine but just a great human teacher.
I will respond in more detail to your arguments in the near future.
06-21-99, 06:37 AM
on one hand, I do not think this is Tennis, on the other hand, I do.
If you look into this, the fundamental of each side can come down to a (single) type of quest. We can try things this way or we can
try things that way. Science as well as religion, has what some call 'assumption factor'. Science has math that 'works for now', and religion has Faith. On one hand, we
employ faith when we assume that the quark exists, it just 'seems' to make sense and because (cause?) it 'does', all things connected with it 'also' make sense/work out.
If we 'agree' that something is just not right, well... leave it to Capitalism to decide what is right; whoever 'fits' into
the spectrum of accepted science gets his allowance. hmmmm ... That is not to say that
new ideas are never heard of, or tested, but one must admit that the scale is tilted. We
can look at religion and science as an hyperbola of sorts. The very principles I have stated also apply to religion. For some reason people approach them as poles/opposites, not everybody does, but a lot of people do. Sometimes the aim (as others have stated) is not to 'oppose' - or 'explain' more about our world and our lives, but to find a way to line them up together.
Too many people take the 'if-then-go' approach, (however if we look more into computer programming and functionality of the brain, we have 'created' our 'child'. Threads of commands could be 'lost' or ignored based
upon the decidions we make.)
Bottica: if we are to trust in our education,
who is to say that those educating us are correct? Throughout history new ideas have
broken old regimes. Even Stephan Hawking was
initially rejected for his claims about black holes, and now that has changed. What about the brain? What about it is fully explainable? (I am not directing this on a personal level) . what about religion is fully explainable? what do people want?
We all find our answers in one form or another, tennis.
Did anyone catch the U.S. Open?
06-27-99, 05:10 AM
You know guys, it's quite simple. For every effect there must be a cause. Therefore, these words you are reading are the effect and the cause is me, the writer. There cannot be any writing without a writer. There cannot be any painting without a painter. There cannot be any creation without a Creator. Therefore, whatever scientists and anybody else says about the universe, it came into being as a consequence of the movement which caused its effect to appear and be made manifest. Two and two equals four and let's not ask "why".
It's a bit much to ask us "not to ask why"!! It's human nature to ask why, so I do believe these debates are quite healthy.
The people who died for Christ were no more foolish than the people who died for Hitler. In one word: fanatics. And if you proudly consign yourself to their fate, my sincere condolences -- you have yet to start thinking about the meaning of your life. I am sure the Lord (if you believe in him) has better plans for your life than martyrdom -- dying in his name is tantamount to suicide with an excuse. (Even if you verbally renounce your faith, I am sure that it is only your true belief that counts in the end. Sometimes, meekness could be a more admirable quality than defiance. Take Ghandi, or Mandela, as examples. But I guess I shouldn't be lecturing to Christians about their own religion...)
Still awaiting a reasonable reply from you. I *could* take apart that spiteful couple of paragraphs you posted, but I don't want this to degenerate into some flame war.
I am; therefore I think.
06-28-99, 02:46 AM
Boris, your implacable hostility for the "Christian" God reeks of hubris, despite what you say. Your outlook on the world seems decidely Greek, a people who hated their gods. The Greeks...a fickle people who often exiled or killed their best, who regualry exposed infants to die in the wilderness, who enslaved thousands in misery so Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle could sit around and think deep thoughts, who held women in lower estate than any patriarchial system before or since, a people who raised pederasty to a high art. If you get from that that I don't accord them the adulation that many historians do, you are correct.
Perhaps the most inane thing you have said in any of your meanderings is about our century being more "gentle" than past times...yeah, sure...the Jewish Holocaust, the Cambodian Holocaust, the Armenian Holocaust, the Stalinist purges that starved and murdered millions...yeah, buddy, the 20th Century has been just great. By comparison, how many died in all the witch trials ever held and in the crusades and all the holy wars ever fought that you would condemn? One one-hundredth of one percent of those who have died miserable deaths in your "enlightened" modern world?
Your knowledge of history can only be called pathetic in a person who poses as a thinker. Otherwise you would know those "dark ages" that revolt you so thoroughly laid the basic scientific and technological foundations for the modern world...in medieval Europe the population base was so small that practical uses of physics to devise crude but effective labor-enhancing machines were developed of necessity. So in denigrating the "dark ages" you denigrate the very roots of the scientific world you so greatly admire! So much for your broad knowledge and understanding of history.
Your knowledge of your "enemy" is sorely lacking too. Just one example: while modern doctrine in some churches has tended to lower the significance of animals vis a vis man, that has not always been church doctrine. Many theologians of Medieval, Renaissance, and even modern times believed in the significance of animals and argued they had souls. Arnobius of Sicca is one Example, the great Scot theologian and churchman George MacDonald was another. In our own times, C. S. Lewis is yet another ("The Problem of Pain.") It is primarily Roman Catholic doctrine that has relegated animals to a lower estate than in past tradition. There are several places in the Old Testament, especially, that suggests very strongly that animals as well as men possess souls.
You complain about my "ad hominem" remarks...pretty ironic from a guy whose every statement drips with assumptions of his own superiority and the implication that everyone who doesn't view the world as he does is simply a fool. You charge Lori with lack of introspection...I can't speak for her, but I know I examine my own assumptions about life and the nature of reality on a pretty regular basis...life has a way of making us "lesser types" do that whether we like to or not. When is the last time YOU ever seriously questioned any of YOUR basic assumptions about such things?
It seems to me you don't see the whole picture. You see emotions as weaknesses that hinder the glorious truths that can be revealed by lockstep logic. To me, logic is only ONE of the tools in the arsenal that can be used to understand reality and know truth...an arsenal that includes tools such as emotion, intuition, and yes, faith, that you dismiss as irrelevant. You may have a wonderful IQ (I don't put much stock in such things, but I doubt if it is any higher than mine) but it seems to me you are none the less sadly limited by shackles of your own making.
you are so funny ! First of all you take the name of a heathen Greek, second you keep on talking about hubris which is a very, very Greek thought and word. And then you seem to forget that christianity that we know has probably more Greek then Jewish roots so keep it down a little ! You are just putting all their vices on one heap and condemn them just like that. Also you musn't forget there wasn't something as 'the Greek' in those days, there were several city states with very different backgrounds, societies and governments.
we are midgets standing on the backs of giants,
Well well Odysseus. Either I am striking awfully close to the soft spot, or we've just collectively encountered a person who is seriously pissed off at the world in general. I am sorry I called you spiteful before; I was not nearly doing you justice.
But, aside from the multiple personal insults, you did manage a few conterarguments here and there. So with your permission I'll just respond to those select pieces. Here goes.
I've got nothing to do with Greece or Greeks. (Aside from being an advocate of science, that is. But Greeks were only one of the sources that gave it birth; science as a system in itself has nothing to do with where it originated.)
With respect to the ravages of this century, you should consider two effects.
One is the recency effect -- where more recent effects seem more vivid and relevant. The recent atrocities always seem more poignant than the atrocities of a century ago. At the fundamental level, they are always atrocities -- no matter the time period.
The other is that these days we've got a far greater total population, as well as population density, than ever before. Therefore, of course there will be more casualties in any large-scale conflict. Secondly, we've got advanced machinery to help us -- which greatly contributes to the death tolls of WWI and WWII. Yes, the scales of the conflicts in this century are unprecedented. However, when you consider the world as a whole, on average, you will see that increasing portions of it are living in growing security and comfort -- a trend that is only bound to continue. Liberty, equality, civil rights -- even if never completely achieved, these things are very new -- and you can't argue against the fact that they signal gentler times than ever before.
And in fact I would argue, based even on my insignificant understanding of history, that this century was a part of a great transition toward globalist society. Increased mobility and communications had contributed to sudden connectivity of cultures, nations and territories. Naturally, this resulted in chaos and conflict at first. However, we now seem to be finally figuring it out and heading in the right direction -- that of increased interconnection and interdependence -- that with the passage of time makes a large-scale conflict less and less likely. So in particular, discounting the early part of the century, I still stand by my claim that these times are by far more gentle than times ever were.
The dark ages laid no scientific or technological foundations whatsoever -- hence the term 'Dark Ages'. Unless you are trying to include Renaissance into the dark ages, I don't see how you can support your claim.
Physics as we understand it (a mathematical framework designed to model the world, through coordinates, kinetics and calculus) originated in late 15th century, around the times of Descartes and Galvani. It was of course never used (and could not have possibly been) during the dark ages to design anything.
The only possibly beneficial knowledge that arose out of the dark ages was alchemical -- knowledge which gave rise to modern chemistry. But in those times, such knowledge was basically useless as far as productivity is concerned.
Don't get me wrong -- of course there were a few scholars here and there trying to keep the 'anscient' knowledge alive, and even generating a little of their own. However, the European society as a whole was a disgusting feudalistic mess, ruled by the Church in conjunction with a system of virtual slavery and tyrannic 'nobility'.
I am sorry you perceive my position as somehow supremacist. In truth, I am simply advancing my own opinion -- which happens to be contrary to yours. It is my opinion, and yes, as such I believe it to be true over yours and the billions of other Christians around the world that ever lived.
This is not narcissism, hubris or presumption -- it's called debate; get used to it.
Note, however, that I don't talk of _you_ as 'dripping' with anything, meandering, inane, pathetic, adulating, lacking, or sadly limited. This is what I, at least, call ad-hominem -- in case you didn't understand my prior remark. In fact, if I may say so, it is precisely attitudes like yours that had caused much of the misery that you so vividly despise.
I do not consider people who disagree with me to be fools. However, I do consider them to be wrong (unless they give me ample reasons to reconsider). Sorry if that displeases you.
As for your last paragraph, excuse me while I laugh. When did I ever proclaim emotions to be weaknesses? When did I ever describe science as glorious? Emotion, intuition and faith have nothing to do with obtaining truth. Emotion is quite useful, but not for knowledge. As for intuition and faith -- both are wrong far more often than right, so I'd hardly consider them to be useful tools.
I am; therefore I think.