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: 4188
Latest Activity: 2 hours ago

The portrait is Charles Darwin, age 31, in 1840

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Discussion Forum

Ancestral humans had more DNA

Started by Steph S.. Last reply by Joseph P 2 hours ago. 8 Replies

Cancer Changed to Normal Cell Growth in Lab

Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by Joseph P 2 hours ago. 3 Replies

Researhers Turn Off Obesity Gene in Mice

Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by Susan Stanko Aug 22. 5 Replies

Mini moons may zip around Earth

Started by Steph S.. Last reply by Gerald Payne Aug 19. 3 Replies

explanation for reality Theism or Atheism?

Started by dudaboli yev. Last reply by Joseph P Jul 31. 5 Replies

Fossils illustrate evolution of life

Started by Steph S.. Last reply by Gerald Payne Jul 27. 1 Reply

On Abolishing Religion

Started by Rounaq Biswas. Last reply by Gerald Payne Jul 16. 69 Replies

Researchers Say There Might be Life After Death

Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by John Jubinsky Jul 15. 56 Replies

On the scientific miracles of Qur'an

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

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Comment by LadyWolf on February 19, 2015 at 2:52am

@Donald L. Engel

Wiccan, yes...it is an excerpt from the Witches Creed by Doreen Valiente.

Comment by Donald L. Engel on February 18, 2015 at 8:26pm

Sounds like Wicken to me.

Comment by Lemual Poot on February 18, 2015 at 6:52pm

'Thirteen silver moons in a year are, 
Thirteen is the coven's array.
Thirteen times at Esbat make merry,
For each golden year and a day.'

Now!  That's old-time religion!

Comment by Quinton Llewellyn on February 18, 2015 at 10:03am

@Joseph P

I have no problem with the desire for a longer life. Although I understand that there is the philosophical weight of existentialism behind the idea that it is that we have a finite life that allows us to value it, if someone offer me a pill that was known to cause the body to maintain the physical age somewhere in the mid-twenties indefinitely, I would totally take it. However, after taking it, I don't see how I would experience a change my life's value or meaning. Of course there are also situations that I can imagine being where I would welcome oblivion, "groveling at the feet of (a) holy master, (condemned to spend my time) praising him for eternity" would be one of them! :)
Still I always got from the whole meaning to life thing that there would be some effect from it, like "a greater reason to life". So for example if you see someone laying down pipes it isn't done so that in the future they can continue to lay down pipes, it's so they can direct water for drinking, cooking and washing to a certain location, or move sewage or something beyond just laying pipes. But it seems, as you say, that the religious folk's reason for worship is so they can carry on worshiping, that has to be the shittest reward ever!

Comment by Joan Denoo on February 18, 2015 at 12:51am

@Dr. Terence Meaden  thanks for the wonderful poem. I am passing it on. 

Richard Le Gallienne's version included

Look not above, there is no answer there;
Pray not, for no one listens to your prayer;
Near is as near to God as any Far,
And Here is just the same deceit as There.

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam 

(#78, on p. 44)

Comment by Joan Denoo on February 17, 2015 at 4:25pm

Joseph, I like this concept you present, making it possible to reframe the concept and then rebut the statement with clarity and power. 

To think that forever translates into something meaningless, maintains no value, no worth. What good is an individual living with god and all his sycophants when it becomes eternal submission? It grows even more unsavory to my appetite. 

To correlate infinity with value ...

Let's discuss economics for a minute. 

"If a resource is freely available in almost limitless quantity, then it's value drops off to almost nothing."

"New Oxfam report says half of global wealth held by the 1%"

"Considering how the  conservative, religiously-owned party here in the US claims to have a solid grasp of financial matters, they don't understand a damned thing about economics, in reality."

"If you ask them why groveling at the feet of their holy master, praising him for eternity, gives their life meaning ... well, no, I've never heard a coherent explanation."

thanks for calling this to my attention Joseph. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on February 17, 2015 at 2:20pm

Donald, I love "The Rubaiyat". An elderly English gentleman lived in my neighborhood. He had been a Shakespearean actor in England, with a love of poetry. He had long white hair that streamed down his back and very long white beard. Every Thursday in the summer he would come over to my back yard and we had tea in the garden and he read poetry to me. One of my favorites poets was Omar Khayyam. The last year of his life was a horrid one. He was in and out of hospitals and nursing homes. Every Thursday I would go and read to him. I wasn't very skilled and if I got the inflection wrong he corrected me, gently. His wife and children asked if we could have his memorial service in my back yard. What a wonderful gift they gave me. As the sun began to sink in the west, some of the children and their parents were still in the garden as Sirius started to shine. Sirius, the Dog Star is the brightest star (in fact, a star system) in the Earth's night sky. 

The children often were in my garden until almost dark, and we tried to learn all the stars and constellations. So, that evening they began to talk about Roger while Sirius was in the southwestern sky. They renamed it "Roger". He would have been very pleased.

Comment by Joseph P on February 17, 2015 at 2:13pm

@Quinton (again)

I expect most are just grossly ignorant of what evolution actually is and have too much invested in their ignorance to question it.

There are some who remain willfully ignorant of it, sure.  I'm sure that Ray Comfort hasn't allowed it to soak in, no matter how many times he's had it explained to him.  I think he just shuts his ears off and waits for his next turn to preach, when any evolution proponent is speaking.

Others, I'm not so sure, though.  They know that they have to reject the theory of evolution, because if they lose the Doctrine of Original Sin from a literal Garden of Eden, then the whole house of cards leading up to Jesus's redemption of mankind falls apart.

It's similar to the situation of some preachers who are fully aware of the fact that the Gospels are hearsay stories, passed around for decades before being collected and written down by anonymous scribes who weren't the apostles.  They've had formal education with real literary analysis of the Bible, not the unthinking adherence of a fundamentalist seminary.

Yet, those preachers don't mention to their flock all of the damning things that they learned in seminary, because the flock isn't spiritually ready to hear it, or some similarly flimsy excuse.  Likewise, I'm sure that some young-earth creationists have had enough of the actual details of evolution filtered into their brains, but they know that they can't admit those details to their flock and represent evolution honestly, because there will be those in their flock who aren't sufficiently spiritually fortified and will go astray.  So, they continue to lie and straw-man.

I think we're most likely to go astray when trying to guess any given Christian's understanding and motivation, except with the most blatant ones, like Ray Comfort.  There's such a wide variety of samples.

Still, it's fun to muse, as long as you don't try to use your musings to paint someone unfairly.

I know however the Jehovah Witnesses have the Theocratic War Strategy, which essentially means if it will help them in an argument they should lie.

I hadn't specifically heard of that in regards to the Jehovah's Witnesses, but I've heard similar from other quarters.  I think Sye Ten Bruggencate has said, at various times, that he doesn't have to deal honestly with anyone who isn't saved.  Also, he'll only debate theology with someone who has accepted a literal, fundamentalist reading of the Bible.

The guy's mind must be a bag full of cats.

The religious who knowingly lie will sometime justify it with the idea that if it saves a person from damnation it's for the greater good; this was the same justification I believe the Spanish Inquisition had for burning people alive - when morality is based on the well being of people's supposed afterlife instead their well being here and now, it is possible for anything to become permissible.

As someone who largely adopts an ends-justify-the-means mentality, this sort of thing is particularly troubling.  They're leaving out the second part of the process.  If the ends justify the means, then the means also have to justify the ends.  Otherwise, you end up with a grossly imbalanced equation.

To put it another way, if you're having to go to horrific, morally abhorrent means in order to accomplish your ends, you should really go back and take a look at what that says about your goals.

Comment by Joseph P on February 17, 2015 at 1:06pm

@Quinton

The religious talk about their religion giving them meaning or purpose, but does anyone actually know what they mean by that?

The most coherent I've ever heard out of them is that somehow, forever = meaningful.

There's a similar, fucked-up correlation between infinity and value, in their propaganda.  It's the opposite of reality, of course.  If a resource is freely available in almost limitless quantity, then it's value drops off to almost nothing.  Considering how the the conservative, religiously-owned party here in the US claims to have a solid grasp of financial matters, they don't understand a damned thing about economics, in reality.

If you ask them why groveling at the feet of their holy master, praising him for eternity, gives their life meaning ... well, no, I've never heard a coherent explanation.

Comment by Dr. Terence Meaden on February 17, 2015 at 12:53pm

Memories of reading it all at school.

Richard Le Gallienne's version included

Look not above, there is no answer there;
Pray not, for no one listens to your prayer;
Near is as near to God as any Far,
And Here is just the same deceit as There.
(#78, on p. 44)

 

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