Smart? Us? OF COURSE! We're bright and shiny and VERY intelligent ... and if you believe THAT one, I got this real swell theme park in Florida I'd LOVE to sell ya! Actually, we do okay at least, but having one more person to contribute and check us on what we're laying down doesn't hurt.
And while I'm at it, WELCOME to Atheist Nexus!
We have various people of all sorts of specialties, yes. Lots of people with a broader, shallower interest in a wide range of fields.
Which sorts of areas of knowledge interest you? There are a lot of groups for science, politics, and similar subjects.
Stick around! You will find out where you have knowledge. This is a good place to learn and stay current on the latest thinking! You probably know more than you think join in discussions you will enjoy it more than you think!
Well, I didn't mean that I was wondering what your specialty was, just that we have various sorts who have different focuses of expertise. I was wondering if you had a specific interest in coming to the site ... or just general discussion with people who know things.
Hell, considering that my formal education is in networking, and my real interests involve politics, philosophy, religion, and the like, almost everything that I've picked up on my subjects of interest is from extracurricular study. A college education is important for very technical matters, like the sciences, but enough reading on different subjects — particularly if you're going from texts that are written at a college level — will give you plenty to work from. Lots of professional writers don't have any sort of relevant degree, and there are similar situations in other fields.
Dropping out of college doesn't mean you're any less formally qualified to discuss my subjects of interest than I am. I've probably just done a lot more random reading.
Joseph, you're so right. I grew up with a passion for the Fine Arts, pursuing art and playing an instrument throughout my childhood, high school, and completing a Bachelor of Music degree in College. I followed my passions and enjoyed it every step of the way.
However, I have no hesitation in saying that the majority of what I know about history, religion, and the sciences, etc., I studied and learned on my own after college.
I'm also quick to add that the most valuable technical class I every had was typing (on a manual typewriter) in high school back in 1981. Who would have thought back then we would all end up typing away on computer keyboards for practically all our communication. My typing skills were also responsible for getting my first job in the music industry in 1987.
Moral of the story: I leaned more on my own as an adult than all my years of formal education.
It's cool, Gwen. Share what you want and don't share what you don't want. You're among friends here.
Hey Gwen, Joseph is right. College educations are a great thing to have. I dropped out of college too yet I can hold my ground with top scholars of Christianity and have had to educate preachers. By the way educating preachers is a real conversation stopper I don't recommend it!
Ditto. It doesn't help that most American preachers are taught from an evangelical perspective. They know nothing of the scholarly perspective on the contents of the Bible. Hell, just a few books by Bart Ehrman, Israel Finkelstein, and a few others can make for an interesting trip through the contents.
Even if the authorship of the Bible was reliable, there would be no reason to believe the vast majority of what's in the New Testament. And when even most the authorship is false, the situation is even worse for Christians. I've met so many preachers who think that Paul wrote all of the letters ascribed to him and that the Gospels are absolutely certain to have been written by first-hand eye-witnesses to the life of Jesus.
Add in absurd claims such as that there's more historical evidence for Jesus than for Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great, and the whole field is an absolute joke.
Hell, William Lane Craig has a Ph.D. in philosophy, but his grasp on it is shaky to the point of uselessness. When I read Reasonable Faith, I came away from it with the impression that he had studied philosophy in kindergarten and has never advanced beyond that point.
It's page after page full of the most blatant, obvious logical-fallacies. Almost every argument he makes is an appeal to consequences or an argument from ignorance ... many of the arguments rolling both of those into one. Salt it with a few other fallacies in places, and you have a mess of wishful thinking and crying about how if Christianity isn't true, then the world isn't as he wishes it was.
He's freaking pathetic.
That is so right, Joseph P. Most evangelical Christians think that their inspired leaders are the correct ones and the real scholars are dumb and lame. Those that have any education are associated with evangelical colleges or institutions and Ehrman and Finkelstein are just idiots.
In other words, evangelicals believed and had it all figured out before they studied it. Any arguments with them show this as fact.
There's a reason that lots (possibly most; I don't know) of fundamentalist Christians are opposed to any education outside of their own fundamentalist colleges, like Liberty University, Bob Jones University, evangelical seminaries, and the like. They became aware, quite a while back, that exposure to a variety of viewpoints is an inherently bad thing for their position.
Josh McDowell (a guy big in the Christian apologetics community) said something explicit about the internet being the greatest threat ever to Christianity, a few years back. He knows that if their children are exposed to atheist and secularist voices, his pathetic apologetic books won't be as easily swallowed.
And your last paragraph is why any "science" that the creationists attempt to do is inherently corrupt. The proper application of the scientific method forms testable hypotheses from the extant evidence, then attempts to ... you know, test those hypotheses, generating more data. Then others attempt to tear down the conclusions drawn from those tests.
Creationism — AKA creation science, AKA intelligent design — begins with conclusions and desperately attempts to grab whatever evidence it can find and stick it onto the side of its religious dogma with saliva and bubblegum.
Hell, creationism doesn't even make testable, scientific hypotheses, never mind testing them.
Oh, and this sort of thing tends to happen a lot on here, Gwen. Some post or comment will start out with something fairly simple, and through a series of tangent hops will end up on completely different topics. A lot of it can be entertaining, if you're into that sort of thing.
I'm a great contributor to that sort of thing, myself, just not usually the entertaining sort.