Re: [KC-Midtown-FreeThinkers] Dear Religion - >>>>>>>>>>­>> I'm sorry, but I don't believe in Revolution.

From: Adam
Sent on: Friday, August 17, 2012 9:31 AM
I swear I'm going to catch up on all these emails at some point!  The new job is eating my time far too much though.

I do think one thing that is causing a difficult to both sides of the discussion is that the topic (the beliefs and therefor testability/falsifiability) of christianity is exceedingly nebulous.  It manages to range from Fred Phelps to the kindest Nun feeding the poor, and include cults and groups that fall in to a suicide pact. 

I don't think Fred handles snakes, or speaks in tongs, but his defense of a christian view of the universe creates a "philosophical space" that includes those types of people.  Especially to the atheistic/skeptical viewpoint, it seems that there should be a way to determine, if there is a deity behind it all, which are the true, and which are the heretical.  Perhaps that would be an appropriate direction to take.  I do get the impression that Fred may be one of those folks who thinks the alpha and omega when through a radical change after he sent his kid to earth <commentary deleted to avoid being inflammatory>, so the old testament god's behavior is not "fair game" for his belief system (though I also see points that disagree with that in his discussions).  But it should be remembered that Jesus himself reportedly said things like:

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword.
For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
He that loveth his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  - Matthew 10:34-36
(That is a particularly gnarly chapter over all.)

Fundamentally, I think there is frustration for some of us because we cant make sense of what is actually being defended and what isn't.  But I may be wrong since I just skimmed this thread.

On Fri, Aug 17, 2012 at 8:18 AM, Kansas City Skeptic <[address removed]> wrote:
Josh wrote>>>>>> This exposes me as possibly constructing a straw man of your beliefs -  

Fred's and other religionists belief is pretty simple - theirs is the highest form of morality, philosophy, the best set of rules for humanity.

Yet, there is no empirical data to show that Christians in any meaningful manner are better moral people, commit less crime, rape and murder less or are better politicians.

However, there is plenty of evidence that highly secular nations fair out better - I have many times asked this question of Xians "What would it mean if these nations or even US states compared to "red states" fair out better? You get chasing the tail all the time.

So, WHY THE FUCK DO WE NEED TO WASTE OUR TIME ON SOMETHING THAT IS NOT PROVABLE, NOT DEMONSTRATABLE AND NOT PRACTICAL?

With a rational scientific approach it's pretty simple - rational approach to let's say theoretical (as opposed to theoloical research) has ALWAYS contributed to our lives. 

So, Fred, WHY does an average person need Jesus and his other two sidekicks if you can get along without them just fine?



On Fri, Aug 17, 2012 at 8:08 AM, Josh Hyde <[address removed]> wrote:
Getting a bit out of our field here on the Jericho thing, for both you and for me, but my experience tells me that people looking for inconsistencies will find them, and people looking for corroborations will find them.  Being a skeptic myself, I'm actually more impressed whenever I see an archeological or historical corroboration, and there are plenty of them.

I don't mean to imply that everything in the Bible has no factual basis, but to the point that there are inconsistencies with what's in the Bible and what current archaeological evidence that we have. These kinds of inconsistencies, to my mind, undermine the credibility of a book - any book, biblical or otherwise. I hope that, if someone that I admire, such as Dawkins, wrote a book with these kind of inconsistencies, I'd have the intellectual integrity to question and re-examine other claims in the book, if not in other books.

I've been a reader of Biblical Archeology Review (which usually tries to give both sides of archeological disagreements) since I was young , and here's a one-paragraph summary of how they dealt with this in an article titled:  "Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho?"

That's definitely not something I was aware of, and thanks for the information. There is apparently further research I need to do on this topic.

To say that deism is more credible than a revealed God because it asserts so little is almost a tautology: it's merely acknowledging that it's easier to believe something simple than to believe something complex - which has nothing to do with the truth of the matter. 

True, simplicity, by itself, does not imply truth (otherwise, we'd both be young Earth creationists). However, compare two explanations:
  • The planets of our solar system orbit the sun because of a set of physical forces
  • The planets of our solar system orbit the sun because of a set of physical forces overseen by a god
God, in this case, is an ultimately unnecessary variable - we're able to explain this without a need of an involved or supervisory god (I'm sure you're aware of the famous LaPlace quote, "Sir, I have no need of that hypothesis."). Deism fits this current model better because the explanation of why the planets orbit the sun remains the same - there is no supervisory being, and so there's no "unnecessary variable" in the explanation.

This exposes me as possibly constructing a straw man of your beliefs - in that, perhaps, you take a more "deistic" view of your god in that he doesn't take an active role in the laws of physics, though I think we can both agree that the Bible describes a god who intercedes and is described as having actively manipulated the laws of physics.

On Thu, Aug 16, 2012 at 10:13 PM, Fred <[address removed]> wrote:
Getting a bit out of our field here on the Jericho thing, for both you and for me, but my experience tells me that people looking for inconsistencies will find them, and people looking for corroborations will find them.  Being a skeptic myself, I'm actually more impressed whenever I see an archeological or historical corroboration, and there are plenty of them.

I've been a reader of Biblical Archeology Review (which usually tries to give both sides of archeological disagreements) since I was young , and here's a one-paragraph summary of how they dealt with this in an article titled:  "Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho?"

After the death of Kenyon in 1978, her notebooks and raw data were published in 1980-83. The archaeologist Bryant G Wood has examined her data and concluded that she was mistaken in her dating. He reports his conclusions in an article, "Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho? A new look at the archaeological evidence" in the March-April 1990 issue of the BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY REVIEW, pages 44-59. It appears that Kenyon dated the fall of City IV at the beginning of the Late Bronze I period [masked] BC), because her diggings were completely lacking in pottery imported from Cyprus, commonly found in other sites of that period. But, as, Wood points out, the other sites were on established trade routes. Jericho was not. Moreover, the area that Kenyon excavated was in the low-rent quarter of Jericho, where luxuries like imported pottery were unlikely to be plentiful. So, Wood summarizes: "She based her dating on the fact that she failed to find expensive, imported pottery in a small excavation area [two 26-foot by 26-foot squares] in an impoverished part of a city located far from major trade routes!" (p 50) If we forget about imported pottery, and look at the local product, we find that there is an abundance of Late Bronze I pottery there. (Kenyon saw it, but apparently had already settled on the earlier date, and somehow the message did not get through.) The dates from local pottery are confirmed by funeral scarabs which bear the names of pharaohs and so can be explicitly dated. We also have a lump of charcoal from the fall of the city, dated by Carbon-14 tests as 1410 BC, give or take 40 years. Thus the fall of City IV seems fixed at about 1400 BC.

I'm not sure what to make of this myself (and the situation is actually more complex because many scholars use the Egyptian chronologies to date the Joshua conquest to 1290 BCE), but I think firm conclusions have not yet been reached on this one.

To say that deism is more credible than a revealed God because it asserts so little is almost a tautology: it's merely acknowledging that it's easier to believe something simple than to believe something complex - which has nothing to do with the truth of the matter. 

Many of us would find the notion of divine revelation equally incredible, compared with deistic indifference, whether or not divine revelation ever actually occurred.

And I for one do see God at work in the universe today - I see it in the nuclear fusion that controls the radiation of energy from our sun, I see it in the continuous evolution of the living world, I see it in the processes that create stars and the material for new worlds, I see it in the drama of human life.  I see all that deistic big bang initial conditions stuff as mere prelude.

Fred


On Thu, Aug 16, 2012 at 4:18 PM, Josh Hyde <[address removed]> wrote:
Figure I'll toss my hat into the ring.

While I can't speak for Iggy, the reason I don't believe in the Abrahamic god because the Bible has, as I'm sure you're aware, internal inconsistencies and factual inconsistencies (e.g., the Battle of Jericho[1]), and, so, as verifiable parts of the Bible have apparently been proven false, I can't accept its "un-falsifiable" portions (as defined by the principle of NOMA) such as the divinity of Jesus or the existence of God.

I think I agree with Iggy in that deism seems more credible to me than, say, Christianity because it asserts so little about a god figure. The explanation of why we don't see that god at work in our universe today is because that god left pretty much at the beginning of the universe.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Jericho#Historicity


On Thu, Aug 16, 2012 at 3:39 PM, Fred <[address removed]> wrote:
Iggy,
What I thought.  No answer.  You're "pretending to know what you don't know" and can't apply the same standards to your view that you ask me to use to support mine.
Fred


On Wed, Aug 15, 2012 at 11:16 PM, Kansas City Skeptic <[address removed]> wrote:
Fred,

Your gnosticized new agey self made home brewed version of Xinaity reminds me of arguments like this.

When you click on this comic click "Zoom in"



So Iggy, how do you know that a "creator/cosmology designer" would do all this designing and then take no interest in the results?  And what kind of "variables" have you tested with "controls" to tell you that the Judeo-Christian god, in particular, is false?



On Wed, Aug 15, 2012 at 4:28 PM, Kansas City Skeptic <[address removed]> wrote:
Fred wrote>>>>>>>> So most of what you say is arguing with a straw man version of Christianity, not mine.


Fred, you need to stop pretending to know what you don't know. Or rather pretending to know that it's OK to create your own version of Christianity in light of complete and utter probabilistic world and uncertainties that reign the world.

At best, your "creator/cosmology designer" exists but what is the probability of him/her/it being a Judeo Christian god? You don't have a variable to test and have any controls.

Hence, you are arguing for why circles are not squares or rather in your case that cycles are ellipses with two foci in the same location - god and scientific understanding of the universe. 
 




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