QUOTE(azwhitewolf @ Sep 2 2008, 11:01 AM)
Both sides partake in flamewars and insults. Holy crap! This is NOT what Evangelism is about.
I'm by no means perfect. In fact, I'm kind of a screw up in some areas, and I'm human. I'm not better than you.
Not automatically. But we are what we do
. You are better than some people, and worse than others, but it's because of what you do
(mass murder or great charitable work, at opposite ends) rather than what you think, believe or say
(e.g. justifying mass murder, ignoring it, or condemning it while doing nothing to stop it; condemning great charitable work, ignoring it, or praising it while doing nothing to contribute to it - all these options are equally useless.).
I definitely think there is plenty of room for improvement on both sides. Christians have to learn that not everyone is going to believe what they believe - and accept that. For someone who is "convicted", that's not an easy pill to swallow because they truly believe that your soul is in danger. Geez, I'm a Christian and I don't follow lock and step of what other Christians believe just because I'm trying to be superChristian or whatever. Sometimes it's like the "underpants gnomes". These people have no idea what step 2 is. They forget that while they want people to be brought to Christ that it has to be done in love, patience, understanding, time, inconvenience, and situations that they don't like.
No argument here.
On the same token, Athiests should recognize that not everything - including science - is a proved element. We only know what we have researched and have access to. I would never discount science, as I wouldn't be alive without it. Theories are not proven fact beyond all shadow of a doubt - although we can imagine that they carry more weight than faith. Fine, but I've gotten through some tough times on faith, and I guess I'll keep that to myself; except to say that there is even scientifically proven merit and benefit in having faith.
Please understand the differences between scientific and common usage for terms like "fact" and "theory". Evolution is regarded in science as fact
. Man, animals, plants, etc were not created in one go, they evolved from other forms into those they now have. Natural selection is the scientific theory that tries to explain it. Gravitation is a fact - Newton and Einstein's theories try to explain it.
By the way, they are only scientific theories because they derive from empirical data (from something you can find or measure in the natural world), are reproducible (anybody faced with the same raw data could, using scientific method, arrive at the same conclusions) and are falsifiable (the proponents of the theory have to be able to imagine circumstances in which their theory could be disproven).
These three criteria are the ones by which scientists argue that Intelligent Design is not a scientific
theory, by the way. It certainly uses
empirical data, but is based on the belief in some kind of Creator, which is not based on anything empirical (more often on religious texts). If you gave someone else the same empirical data, without mentioning any no-empirical (but important) data that is integral to the theory (that there is a Creator), you might not get the same theory as an outcome. And because faith is an unspoken part of the reason for coming up with a theory like ID, evidence that would disprove ID is usually rejected because it would also undermine that faith.
I think ID is quite a respectable theory, especially when it gets diluted to the point where someone believes that a Creator set up the rules of the physical universe, knowing all the possible and likely outcomes, but not necessarily knowing exactly which ones would happen. I think that's quite a nice way to think about a possible Creator, especially one that claims we are like it in some way (made in His image?). If you or I were omniscient and omnipotent, it would be fun for about 5 minutes, but after that the only thing with the power to surprise would be a system that randomly followed rules that you set up, but then found it's own route. Massively oversimplified, I can make a clockwork toy, I can make a table for it to move on, I can then wind it up and set it up, and I can have a pretty good idea of which direction(s) it will go in, at what speeds, and for how long. But I can never really know with 100% confidence which of all the possible end points it might
arrive at will be it's actual end point. A Creator like that - which could make or do anything, but which could very quickly lose the power of surprise by doing do - I can see a reason why a creator like that might set off a Big Bang then let everything else run according to the pre-set rules. I can even see a reason why such a Creator might set off an infinite number of Big Bangs, each with randomly generated rules, just to see which ones would work, which ones would collapse, and so on.
In other words, a Creator who is himself (or herself, or itself) an experimental scientist. But nobody I know within organised religion seems to put putting that theory forward.
HOWEVER, since that isn't happening ,and all we have is ID... ID just isn't a scientific theory, and therefore shouldn't be taught or even referred to in science class.
"Creation science" is even less of a science, because it selectively takes empirical evidence and tries to fit it to a non-scientific, religious theory, merely because there are people who are desperate to cling to the idea that some parts of their favourite religious text are literally true. Few of them insist it all is, not lest because every religious text yet written contains outright contradictions.
It's true that biblical cats thought the world was flat. It was also true that many of today's sciences were started by Christians looking to expand knowledge and help people.
Actually, rather few medieval scholars thought the world was flat. Most thought it was a globe or at the very least a curved surface (why else could you travel to the horizon only to find more Earth?). Even among ancient and classical civilisations, few accepted the world a flat. "Flat earthers" is a more contemporary insult.
The latter part is true. Genetics was first studied by a German monk, Mendel. It is also true that many more of today's sciences were started by ancient Greeks and Romans, saved from early Christian ignorance by Muslim scholars, and only re-entered the Christian world against much hostility from organised Christianity (e.g. Galileo).
I try to add an objection here and there when some of you guys really start hammering on Christians. Though, I do understand that some of it is venting, and some of it is aimed at ridiculous claims "our leaders" make (our leaders being whatever guy who made the outrageous claim of the week that got published), but I do know that some of it is well deserved. But let's remember that lumping people together is a pathetic way to stereotype, and that there are some of us trying to make a better world, help improve conditions, give to charity, even getting involved in conservation, who get out and help others simply because we're taught to minister to others - not beat them over the head withour 66 chapters.
True, those religious people (such people are found in all relgions, and among atheists) that are being genuinely helpful as you describe are generally not the noisy ones telling every how they should or shouldn't live. But they belong to the same religions most of the time; Christianity and Islam are proselytising religions, unlike almost all others (except Scientology), so are bound to get stick from people who don't want religious interference in their lives. Thanks for the help, but I'll believe what I want.
That said, it's insulting to call my faith a bunch of fairy tales. It may not be what you believe, and I won't ask you to join if you don't want to.. - in fact, if my logic and lifestyle aren't appealing to you, then my words shouldn't serve as my only claim I'm a person of faith. But do ya think we could tone down the "fairy tale" rhetoric there and perhaps allow tolerance to go two ways here?
I describe myself as a "functional atheist" i.e. I'm an agnostic who doesn't believe there is enough evidence to justify any kind of theism. Unless I'm trying to be annoying
, I wouldn't described religions as fairy tales. I think for the most part they a combination of aetiology
, together with some societal rules that were entirely appropriate for the time of writing. (e.g. rules on male circumcision, common to Judaism and Islam, which have practical applications of minimising sand irritation in deserts) but which may or may not have outlived their usefulness now.
As such they are fascinating for social history and useful for moral lessons. In other words, there is some kind of "truth in them". But truth is not the same as fact.
/if that's the reason we don't debate religion here, I have a renewed understanding
//does not want
to import some of those flamebait fishers. Of either side. For real.
It is the reason, pretty much. If memory serves, the rule on religious debate was not there from the outset, but was introduced when the type of people you mention started throwing insults and - critically - ignoring or refusing moderation. It was more trouble than it was worth, frankly.
QUOTE(nebraska29 @ Sep 2 2008, 12:21 PM)
If a forum is recommended on AD, it should reflect the high standards and purpose of AD. Unfortunately, it appears as if that forum doesn't accomplish that at all. The link should be removed and not put back up until someone else creates a forum that operates on a higher standard like this one(i.e.-evidence, civility, and respect)
I tend to agree, though if such a site doesn't exist (which I can easily believe - no news/politics website is as well moderated as this one) and
has no links to religious debate sites (because none matches our high standards), we run the risk that pressure from members to debate religion right here will grow.
Even as things are
occasionally gets problems with members attempting to debate in a flame-war style, and that problem would only get worse with religious debate allowed too. The only solution I could foresee would be a spin-off forum with a new staff (the existing staff, particularly Mike
but not limited to them, are on record as not being interesting in hosting religious debates on
themselves), yet one still somehow committed to the rules of
To coin a religious phrase, hell is more likely to freeze over.