Why atheists are angry.......debate time???

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Critique
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Postby Critique » Wed Oct 24, 2007 9:47 am

Critique wrote:The problem is that the very thing that makes science useful - that it requires measurement and repeatable results - is fine only up to the point it reaches.


To clarify, I believe most scientists would agree there is a limit to what is known. God could be in the area that isn't.

yoss
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Postby yoss » Wed Oct 24, 2007 10:15 am

Well the current debate by evangelists like Dawkins is pretty much a reaction to the new ignorance, as evinced by the rise of religious fundamentalism and to some degree in the trust people place in 'spiritual' nonsense like homeopathy, aromatherapy and so on. With all this bullshit around it seems fair enough that a few strong voices might arise to argue the case for rationality.

For a guy like Dawkins, (and I haven't read The God Delusion - so I type this in some ignorance), it's enough to rely on Occams Razor: Do we need to invoke a god to explain what we see around us, or can we explain what we see entirely through natural processes?

The answer so far seems to be the latter. There's not much that goes on that requires a divine being or indeed any form of spirituality for an explanation. This may not remain the case for ever, but so far the evidence for a god is quite weak to say the least.

As to proving a negative. I think the language is sloppy here. Iit's proving non-existence that is impossible, proving something is wrong is relatively easy. To clarify; I don't believe there's a 17 pence piece anywhere in the universe, but there's no way I can prove it. I can however easily prove that a 2 pence piece does exist.

Critique
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Postby Critique » Wed Oct 24, 2007 10:37 am

yoss wrote:There's not much that goes on that requires a divine being or indeed any form of spirituality for an explanation.


To a look at the world slightly differently it might be the case that everything does. Scientists keep building large machines to break up atoms into protons, electrons and neutrons, those into quarrks, and so on. As far as I know (and I don't make an effort to keep informed) they've not found the core of the cosmic onion yet, just removed a few layers. There's that big grey area of the unknown that could contain nothing more than god pushing things the right way. Of course we suspect that's not the case... and we quickly enter a circular set of arguments.

But most people certainly don't need to worry about it; it's enough for current common use that putting a spark to wood can light it and that it keeps burning.

The only real trouble with Occam's razor is that people keep cutting themselves.

Pah, I think we've reached agreement. Where's the fun in that? :P

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annie
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Postby annie » Wed Oct 24, 2007 10:47 am

This has been a rather silly discussion.

Advocates of science do not, at last count, sit in large places of worship praising fantasy beings just for the sake of it. There is no such thing as a "religion of science".

There have been many, many millions of things that science has proved, but religions cannot prove their dogma and therein lies the core of the issue. It is a faith issue... "I do not need proof because I have faith"... translated as "I want to believe this story and as a result I don't need anyone to prove it is true"

One thing is certain... As the centuries roll by, we can be sure that science will constantly reveal more about the world around us. Religion can make no such claim, since it is a "static" belief system.

Mind you, if Jay-zuz turns up and says "Behold My Glory" on NorthWest Tonight next week and does a few nifty miracles, I'll be interested..... nah... it'll only be some hack magician won't it?

yoss
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Postby yoss » Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:08 am

Indeed, Critique. There's probably not much more mileage in this unless you're going to take the view that the planets orbit the Sun because Allah wills it, or that Noah was riding around on a Dinosaur before the flood.

I don't think they're going to get much smaller than quarks though, these do seem to be pretty much the fundamental building blocks of everything.

As to what makes the little buggers spin, and why, then there's quite a debate to be had on the Anthropomorphic Principle, this seems to be the closest place where science is coming to God - on a grand scale at least.

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flip
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Postby flip » Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:38 am

annie wrote:There have been many, many millions of things that science has proved, but religions cannot prove their dogma and therein lies the core of the issue.


Depends how you understand the term "prove" - at one point in history, the science of the day "proved" that the Earth was flat, as far as they understood at the time. People thought they could prove things which we now dismiss (I can't recall my usual example). So what's to say the people of the future won't "unprove" what we take as scientific proof now?

See where I'm going with this? I'm not the best at putting my arguments into words.

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fiz67
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Postby fiz67 » Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:43 am

do any of you atheist get involved with christmas, just wondering, not wanting to start a fight or anything? :)

Critique
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Postby Critique » Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:50 am

annie wrote:Advocates of science do not, at last count, sit in large places of worship praising fantasy beings just for the sake of it.


And yet there are scientists who do indeed sit in large places of worship, doing as they feel is right. I'm reasonably sure that the majority of them won't be doing so simply "for the sake of it".

annie wrote:There is no such thing as a "religion of science".


Not an official one (as far as I know), however there are some people who use science exactly as some religious people use their religion - most often the type of person who flatly refuses to believe something can be true because it's not in an encyclopedia/textbook/research paper.

annie wrote:There have been many, many millions of things that science has proved, but religions cannot prove their dogma and therein lies the core of the issue. It is a faith issue... "I do not need proof because I have faith"... translated as "I want to believe this story and as a result I don't need anyone to prove it is true"


They cannot prove their dogma to people who rationalise away their proofs with other explanations. As to your translation I think you're missing what faith is, and assuming that everyone strictly believes the same thing as other members of the religion - some people treat religious texts as metaphors and others as the word of god. But as soon as they say "it's not literally true, it's..." they get cut off by the rampant atheist who goes "no, that's because it's complete bollocks" and refuses to listen to the message.

annie wrote:One thing is certain... As the centuries roll by, we can be sure that science will constantly reveal more about the world around us. Religion can make no such claim, since it is a "static" belief system.


I'm reasonably sure religions develop, adapt and so forth. (Why otherwise would there be so many different versions of Christianity?) I'm sure theologians, historians and many other people could wax lyrically on the point. Is it what's discovered or how it's interpreted that's important? The interpretation is surely based in society, and religion (or lack thereof) is undoubtedly an influence of society.

Critique
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Postby Critique » Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:55 am

fiz67 wrote:do any of you atheist get involved with christmas, just wondering, not wanting to start a fight or anything? :)


While not an atheist, as a non-Christian, yes I do, to the extent of giving gifts, seeing family and being hedonistic towards roast dinners and beer. If I were in a culture with something other than a heavy Christian influence then I'd probably follow that culture's common holidays etc.

yoss
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Postby yoss » Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:25 pm

Why do Christians get involved with Easter; an essentially pagan celebration?

yoss
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Postby yoss » Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:27 pm

- at one point in history, the science of the day "proved" that the Earth was flat, as far as they understood at the time.


No it didn't.

yoss
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Postby yoss » Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:34 pm

The problem is with that word 'proof'. Scientists never claim proof for a theory, only that it's yet to be disproven.

So far as the faith in scientific progress is concerned, well this is debatable. Big science like high energy physics - the kind of stuff that's most likely to give us fundamental explanations - is starting to hit a wall.

Basically the kind of particles that need to be observed in order to support or refute a particular theory are becoming much harder to see because of the massive energy needed to produce them. Some, it's believed, can simply never be observed, because the energy required is far beyond our capability to produce in the foreseeable future.

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fiz67
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Postby fiz67 » Wed Oct 24, 2007 1:42 pm

yoss wrote:Why do Christians get involved with Easter; an essentially pagan celebration?


i thought jesus died on the cross on good friday and rose again 2 days later ?? have i got that wrong.

yoss
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Postby yoss » Wed Oct 24, 2007 1:45 pm

Yeah. On passover wasn't it?

Apparently Easter is named after 'Eoster', some pagan saxan god or other. Not that I give much of a toss one way or another to be honest.

yoss
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Postby yoss » Wed Oct 24, 2007 2:04 pm

They have the same root. Like your legs.


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