ORIGINS: UNIVERSE, LIFE, HUMANKIND, AND DARWIN

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ORIGINS: UNIVERSE, LIFE, HUMANKIND, AND DARWIN

We debate origins of the Universe, life, Earth, humans, religion, atheism, using common sense, evolution, cosmology, geology, archaeology, and other sciences, to repel biblical creationism and other religious beliefs.

Location: Oxford University, England
Members: 4184
Latest Activity: Jun 28

The portrait is Charles Darwin, age 31, in 1840

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Discussion Forum

On the scientific miracles of Qur'an

Started by Rounaq Biswas. Last reply by Daniel Gotro Jun 26. 25 Replies

Modern Humans Interbred with Neanderthals in Europe

Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by Gerald Payne Jun 25. 3 Replies

DNA Links Kennewick Man to Native Americans

Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by John Jubinsky Jun 20. 11 Replies

Evolution is a FACT, not a theory.

Started by Idaho Spud. Last reply by Gerald Payne Jun 14. 26 Replies

The new website called 'Grand Ideas'.

Started by Rounaq Biswas. Last reply by Grinning Cat Jun 11. 2 Replies

On Abolishing Religion

Started by Rounaq Biswas. Last reply by sk8eycat Jun 10. 64 Replies

Genetically Engineered Fungi are Part Human and Part Yeast

Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by Donald L. Engel May 23. 1 Reply

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Comment by Joseph P on February 17, 2015 at 1:41am

Well, I was just making a comment about Christian apologetics, in general, riffing off of that blog post.  You run into it in the arguments that many creationists make, such as the crocoduck, although that one goes in the opposite direction.

Creationists are either dishonest as hell or grossly ignorant of what evolution actually is.  They demand specific evidence of the variety that evolution specifically indicates can't happen and would disprove the theory.  Then, they take things that we've discovered because of our study into the theory of evolution, and they say it's a problem for evolution, despite it in actuality being support for evolution.

Comment by Joan Denoo on February 17, 2015 at 1:35am

Yes, that is the one I thought you were talking about. I haven't had a chance to re-read what he wrote 

Comment by Joseph P on February 17, 2015 at 1:03am

The one in which you spoke about creationists.  :-P  Thought it would be obvious.  Sorry.

Casey’s Latest Evidence: New World Monkeys

Posted on 16-February-2015

"The Discovery Institute is once again blogging about their “evidence” for the miraculous activities of their transcendent intelligent designer — blessed be he!— who is responsible for the existence of life, its diversity, and the whole universe."

Comment by Joan Denoo on February 17, 2015 at 12:56am

Joseph, you wrote "That's one of the many creationist tropes, Joan"

To which comment do you refer? I'm a sucker, gullible and get drawn in by tropes. Thanks for the heads-up. But which one?

Comment by Joan Denoo on February 16, 2015 at 4:27pm

Progress is not a zero-sum game a TED talk by Robert Wright. I listen to his debates or lectures or opinions and have mighty arguments with him in my head. Figuratively, he and I go round and round in disputes. 

This piece, however, I find not only uplifting, but encouraging. Probably because said what I have been thinking and he takes the long view. He doesn't discuss the Golden Age of Islam and the Dark Age of Christianity, which happened at the same time, he looks at existence in a cosmological perspective. 

The Apocolypse is coming through nature, not through Islam. Homo sapiens have so misused the Earth and its full-of-wonder gifts, that we altered the natural flows that kept this beautiful planet functioning for thousands of years. We have squandered her gifts to us and she is doing what any force of nature does ... for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. 

Newton’s Third Law of Motion

Are we doomed to extinction? Probably.  
If we change how we think and act are we doomed? Possibly. 

If all the peoples of the Earth understood the nature of the problems and that the causes are human activity, and if people, nations, governments and religions changed their perception to match reality, then there might be a chance to create a livable planet, not go back to the old planet, but a new way to live and participate on Earth. 

Comment by Joseph P on February 16, 2015 at 3:59pm

That's one of the many creationist tropes, Joan.  They take bits from biology, which are a result of the theory of evolution, then claim that those bits are a problem for the theory of evolution.

One of my favorites is the fact that we all have a common ancestor, sometime within the past couple tens of thousands of years, which apparently confirms a literal reading of Genesis and contradicts the theory of evolution, somehow.

There's no such thing as an honest apologist, but sometimes I'm torn between coming to a conclusion of dishonesty or stupidity, for any given insane claim.

Comment by Joan Denoo on February 16, 2015 at 3:53pm

 Quinton Llewellyn , I agree with your statement: 

"The problem really is that we should absolutely be able to criticise the faith of Muslims (and any other) in the way Sam does," 

The reason criticism is so invaluable is that it opens up dark corners of dysfunction for others and for ourselves. If we really understood history, and the role that Islam played in the Enlightenment, but only through learning from the Golden Age of Islam, and to recognize the absurd behaviors of christianity that protected the rights of kings with their surfs, and the barbarian Hords that came from Asia, the Golden Age was trampled to death. Our culture played a part in that demise. 

"but stupid people with far right leaning make it hard, because they use the criticism (which is meant to be solely intellectual endeavor) as a justification for harassment, and the two get confused in the public consciousness. Or at least that is how it seems to me."

If there is any hope for peace there has to be justice. Religion fails to unite us, it separates us and supplies the fuel to keep the fires of hate burning. 

Comment by Joseph P on February 16, 2015 at 3:52pm

@Idaho Spud

Is there any religion that says we are in a simulation?

Not a major one, mostly just religious apologists throwing any old shit at the wall, hoping that something sticks.

Comment by Joan Denoo on February 16, 2015 at 1:19pm

Spud, I agree with Harris' statements about the Muslim faith as well. The real tragedy, at least from my perspective, is that the time of explosive growth of knowledge occurred during the Gold Age of Islam. They collected books on scientific evidence, included books from many traditions and disciplines. Their work in mathematics, ie. the definition of "0" and the Arabic number system made it possible to do mathematical calculations. Trace back all the major science from anatomy to zoology, and Muslims were leaders of thinking. It all stopped when two events overturned their philosophy,

1. the Mongols besieged Baghdad in 1258, they killed and ended the Abbisid Caliphate, murdered the scientists and scholars and destroyed libraries, including the "House of Wisdom. 

2. Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont in 1095 initiated the first crusade and the end of the crusades occurred in 1291.

Stop and think about the environment during these years. Great turmoil, leaders scientists killed, institutions destroyed and the society recoiled into a violent one. Can I blame them? No. That is why I believe Sam Harris is correct. Where were the cries of outrage from the Muslim world? Why? 

"Mainstream Islam itself represents an extremist rejection of intellectual honesty, gender equality, secular politics and genuine pluralism. The truth about Islam is as politically incorrect as it is terrifying: Islam is all fringe and no center. In Islam, we confront a civilization with an arrested history. It is as though a portal in time has opened, and the Christians of the 14th century are pouring into our world."

~ Sam Harris 

Reality Check: Islam is the fastest growing religion in Europe. Throughout Europe, there is little evidence of the Muslims to integrate into their host community. Muslims demand tolerance of their beliefs, policies, and practices. Western leaders make apologies for cartoons of their religion and its leaders. 

"The idea that Islam is a “peaceful religion hijacked by extremists” is a dangerous fantasy—and it is now a particularly dangerous fantasy for Muslims to indulge. It is not at all clear how we should proceed in our dialogue with the Muslim world, but deluding ourselves with euphemisms is not the answer.  It now appears to be a truism in foreign policy circles that real reform in the Muslim world cannot be imposed from the outside.  But it is important to recognize why this is so—it is so because the Muslim world is utterly deranged by its religious tribalism. In confronting the religious literalism and ignorance of the Muslim world, we must appreciate how terrifyingly isolated Muslims have become in intellectual terms."  

Comment by Quinton Llewellyn on February 16, 2015 at 12:06pm

As for a religion that think we are in a simulation, there is a fictional one called "The Truth" in the Iain M. Banks novel "The Algebraist" based on the simulation argument.

http://notes.kateva.org/2008/01/algebraist-and-religion-of-eternal....

 

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