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Mr Majestik
Mr Majestik

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Member Since: 9th Mar 2004
Total posts: 4693
Posted:ok, first of all i'd like to say this thread is not for bagging religion, there are many other threads where you can feel free to critique religion as you please.

basically i've been thinking for a while how many people talk about the dominance of religion, how in history people were generally more religious than they are now. i have a problem with this belief. because whereever i look in history i can see the likelyhood that there were many non-believers of the dominant religion of their time.

for example, god cleanesed the earth allowing only noahs family to live, why? because people had turned away from him, this could be an example of a majority of people not being believers, even before other recorded history began.
Next is Buddha, siddartha was raised as a hindu as far as i know, yet he turned away from that faith and sought other knowledge, with many people slowly joining him, showing that at least some people must have doubted that religion.
The time of christ, where pagans seem rampant according to the bible.
The spread of islam, where wars were started to spread the faith to non-believers.
the middleages, where people are labeled witches and burnt at the stake for alledgedly practicing witchcraft instead of christianity.
nowadays, where science is the reason for people to turn away from religion(i mean this in a general way, i believe that science can support religion) and people are saying that not as many people believe in religions anymore.

basically i get the feeling that there has always been a silent group of doubters all over the world, but seeing as it has often been major religions that keep recorded history that silent group has gone somewhat unnoticed. i think when people say there are less religious people now they are incorrect, i think that there has always been many believers and also many non-believers

what do you guys think?


"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

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jeff(fake)
jeff(fake)

Scientist of Fortune
Location: Edinburgh
Member Since: 15th Apr 2005
Total posts: 1189
Posted:Flash floods and slow erosion leave very different mineral traces. 65 million years would leave a very different kind of soft tissue than 5000 years. One's 'assumptions' are irrelevent in the face of evidence which directly contradicts it. You are confusing groundless faith with reasonable theories based on rational deduction from evidence. The key difference in practice is that a scientist is open to being proved wrong.

According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...

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Patriarch917
Patriarch917

I make my own people.
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Member Since: 2nd Oct 2005
Total posts: 607
Posted:I'm not a scientist, but I'm quite willing to be proved wrong. All you need to is replicate a global flood and bury a T-rex for 65 million years, and your interpretations can be proven. Conduct the experiment that proves the theory, and we will all agree with you. Until then, the difference between "groundless faith" and "reasonable theories" is a philisophical choice, not a verifiable fact.

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Mr Majestik
Mr Majestik

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Location: home of the tiney toothy bear
Member Since: 9th Mar 2004
Total posts: 4693
Posted:yay, the thread is still on topic! i've got seme replies for people who have quoted my original post (and some minor conflicts to add) but i'll be working on them tomorrow as i have to get ready to go out tonight!

"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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jeff(fake)
jeff(fake)

Scientist of Fortune
Location: Edinburgh
Member Since: 15th Apr 2005
Total posts: 1189
Posted:Written by: Patriarch917

I'm not a scientist, but I'm quite willing to be proved wrong. All you need to is replicate a global flood and bury a T-rex for 65 million years, and your interpretations can be proven. Conduct the experiment that proves the theory, and we will all agree with you. Until then, the difference between "groundless faith" and "reasonable theories" is a philisophical choice, not a verifiable fact.


Or for people who can utilise intelligence:
a:Carbon date the t-rex. Compare it to thousands year old human remains.
b:Compare the grand canyon to examples of flashfloods and erosion in real life or use a model.

Everything leaves a trace, no matter how far back. It is verifiable, even if you refuse to acept it.


According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...

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dream
dream

currently mending
Location: Bristol
Member Since: 15th Jul 2003
Total posts: 493
Posted:Written by:
Conduct the experiment that proves the theory, and we will all agree with you. Until then, the difference between "groundless faith" and "reasonable theories" is a philisophical choice, not a verifiable fact.



Direct observation is no longer the only way we can obtain knowledge about the world. Over the last 50 odd years (largely synonymous with the rise of comuting power) simulation has become an increasingly important tool in understanding life.

Simulations are problematic in terms of verifiable proof - if your model is inaccurate (and complete accuracy when modeling complex adaptive systems such as the environment are pretty much impossible) the data you produce will not bear relation to the actual system.

Despite this, simulation has proved a huge aid in areas as diverse as weather patterns and missile guidance systems.

An obvious example of current debate about the accuracy of simulations is climate change. Your attitude of seeing is believing allows groups to dismiss models which predict that human influence is altering the global climate, potentially putting billions of human lives at risk. If the models are inaccurate then they're right. However if they're right, then by the time there is indisputable empirical proof that we've passed a tipping point it comes when millions start dying.

As the simulations are not verifiable proof they can be dismissed, but there is a mounting body of empirical evidence to support their predicitons. Thus I'd rather attempt to change the real system in order to avert the predicted scenario, than gamble on the chance that most climatologists could be wrong because their evidence isn't indisputable, and therefore just a philosphical choice.


He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Nietzsche

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:In science, theories are considered particularly 'strong', if they are clear criteria for observations/experiments that would invalidate them.

This can initially be counter-intuitive, as many instinctively feel that 'strong' theories are those which can stand up to any critisism or potential experimental data.

Scientists however, realise that the more a theory is immune to being disproved by experimental data, the 'weaker' it is (because, in effect, though it may seem to be saying a lot, it's actually saying very little that can be tested).

For example, Einsteins theory of relativity is considered very strong- it made several very specifc predictions concerning how time would be distorted for objects moving close to the speed of light.

At the time there was no way to test those predictions, but, when it became possible to do so (by measuring the life-time of high speed particles entering the earths atmosphere, and measuring how long they existed for before decaying)- it was found that results matched the predictions.

These are the principles science works on, so, where creationism is concerned, their question is going to be-

what clearly specified observational data/experiement would disprove it?

As far as I know, creationists have yet to provide examples of what would disprove creationism.

Does that make sense?- where theories are concerned, 'strength' lies not so much as collection of supporting evidence, as in there being a clear idea of what disproving evidence would destroy the theory- and then the theory surviving that.

(if the measurements of the high-speed particles had been found to not match Einsteins predictions, the theory of relativity would have been scrapped, and scientists would not have mourned its loss, because their aim is not to support theories they like, but to find theories that stand up to attempts at disproof).

Now, if creationists don't want to engage in that process, then fine; but in no way would it then be appropriate to teach creationism as a theory in the scientific sense, as it would then fail to fulfill the criteria for being a scientific theroy.

If they do (wish to engage in that process), then good; and, if so-

what clearly specified observational data/experiement would disprove creationism?


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

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"Last of The Lancers"
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dream
dream

currently mending
Location: Bristol
Member Since: 15th Jul 2003
Total posts: 493
Posted:Written by:
what clearly specified observational data/experiement would disprove creationism?



That the universe has not been created.

The concept of God is so infinitely malliable that both god and creationism are entirely un-disprovable.

Some versions of creationism are entirely consistent with evolution. It all depends on the readers semiotic decodation of the symbols pertained to by texts. Thus the individual gives his subjective meaning to what God and creationism are. While there are stereotypical cultural versions, these are not universal.

Ulitmately this means that any thesis a religious organisation espouses can be written off a subjective (mis)interpretation by another group who follow the same religion. Its how religions change their stance on various issues, and how variation within a religion (Catholocism, Protestant, Anglican, etc) comes about.

Unfortunately it's all completely speculative and cannot be proved - there is no 'true' right or wrong only subjective variations.


He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Nietzsche

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Harry_Potter
Harry_Potter

ToadStool Circus Acts
Location: Derbyshire
Member Since: 3rd Oct 2005
Total posts: 181
Posted:There is evidence to say that what the bible says isn't true. Or at least make it sound rather dodgy. Someone dated the peoples lives from the Bible back to Adam and Eve. This was found to be around like 12000 years ago, ill use like really rough figures as im not sure exactly what it was, but anyway. The earth has been scientifically proven that if you add 6 zero's onto that number then you mite get the proper age of the earth. So therfore the Bible cant be true. Dont christians just believe its just stories to guide them in the right direction of living there lives.

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Stone
Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 13th Jun 2001
Total posts: 2830
Posted:Its pretty simple really. Evolution is a proven process. While, creationism is not even a theory, its a story usually associated with religion. Even the good Catholic nuns taught me Genesis as a story, when I was a lad at primary school.



smile


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Written by:

That the universe has not been created.




smile

Ok- then what would constitute observational evidence that the universe wasn't created?

I think we both know that, effectively, there are no concievable observations/experiments that would disprove creationism (do you agree?).

And that this is not a problem for you, as you believe that this kind of truth does not require scientific verifacation? (do you agree)

Fair enough- that's OK by me; as long as such creationists don't then go on to try to use scientific evidence to back up their views (which, in their own eyes, do not need scientific back up anyway).

Written by:

Some versions of creationism are entirely consistent with evolution.



Maybe that's true; however, they are not consistent with scientific method (and, some would go on to say, therefore not consistent with evolution in the sense that it is a scientific theory).

So it seems to me that discussion of creationism, would be more valid in the field of philosophy, as it lacks the requirement of empirical/observational data that science insists on.

Do you concur?


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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dream
dream

currently mending
Location: Bristol
Member Since: 15th Jul 2003
Total posts: 493
Posted:Written by:
Someone dated the peoples lives from the Bible back to Adam and Eve. This was found to be around like 12000 years ago, ill use like really rough figures as im not sure exactly what it was, but anyway. The earth has been scientifically proven that if you add 6 zero's onto that number then you mite get the proper age of the earth. So therfore the Bible cant be true



Only if you interpret the bible in a literal sense. And while a few people do (disturbingly enough) most don't. There's plenty of very good evidence which gives a fairly watertight case against the bible's literal truth. For example the Bible claims to be the word of God, as transcribed by Moses while up a mountain. Historical research shows the Torah to be a compilation of four (known) sources, and the final text was agreed upon about 800bce. Thus literal reading of the bible are not historically accurate and therefore true.

However as soon as you think of the Bible as a symbolic, metaphorical text, it becomes impossible to disprove as there's an infinite number of potential readings, and meanings which can be gleaned from the words.

Indeed there are immensely long religious texts such as the Zohar (the basis for Kabbala) devoted to expanding and explaing Biblical metaphor.

On a practical level, a text which described events in terms of millenia would not have been comprehensible to people living out in a desert nearly three thousand years ago. The concept of a million did not exist. Instead many, or forty (which at the time meant loads) is found. Before clocks, time wasn't as fixed. A day could mean the amount of time between two sunrises or it could be a metaphor for any duration of time.

Hence I agree with Dave, creationism, and the bible in general cannot be 'disproved' on a symbolic level.

And I agree that metaphor and symbolism is general is virtually disprovable. Consider the statement Gandhi was a giant among men. You could use the scientific method (or common sense) to prove that Gandhi was not a 60 foot tall man. However you cannot conclusively prove or disprove whether or not he contained quaities which made him seem in some way bigger or greater than other men. This is because it all rests on the individuals subjective stance on the matter, allied with their interpretation of the metaphor.

Written by:
it seems to me that discussion of creationism, would be more valid in the field of philosophy, as it lacks the requirement of empirical/observational data that science insists on



so anthropology, cultural studies, theology, sociology, cultural geography etc.

I think the neat division of school based learning into artificial subjects causes a lot of problems.

I think a discussion of how creationism, religion, and spirituality intersects with scientific knowledge (where it may or may not fit in) would be a valuable lesson for kids in school.

But do I think that people should ever be told that God created the world. No. They should make up their own minds about it.


He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Nietzsche

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FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:confused what have the past 12 or 15 posts to do with the initial question? umm

Where are you guys? Some of you are still in school I suppose...


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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dream
dream

currently mending
Location: Bristol
Member Since: 15th Jul 2003
Total posts: 493
Posted:Written by:
the thing i'm trying to get at is that there has always been people that doubt the religions. for example the battle between catholics and protestants in ireland, i really dont believe that all irish are either catholic or protestant, yet that is what would appear to be the case(to me) as its all the religion news that i hear about from that part of the world



Links in with

Written by:
I think the neat division of school based learning into artificial subjects causes a lot of problems.



Because the inital question is largely a problem which arises by seperating religion with cultural history and sociology (which are all inextricably linked when applied in practice).

Aside from that, the topic has drifted, but this is what happens in discussions both on and off-line. Someone says something, someone picks up on part of it and asks a question, there is a response etc etc. The forum's stayed within the bounds of religion and spiritual belief, its not as if we're discussing toothpaste.

So why the tantrum?

And yes I am at school. Researching for my doctorate and working as technical support for undergrad and MA students. I'm sorry if this doesn't measure up to your Professorships and Nobel Prizes, but I'm trying my best.

wink


He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Nietzsche

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FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:no tantrum no nobel prizes no professorships wink



And I'm not questioning the high levelled intellectual valuable discussion that is happening here, only what the latter has to do with the former. But there are a number of threads at the moment that criss cross each other smile and some are prone to mix up the questions and answers - so it seems... wink



You didn't get me right on the school anyways - I was speaking more of the practical side of the dominance. But if you want to state that the root of the problem can be cured - hey, I'm the ast one opposing the idea to teach ethics and religion at schools... smile



PS and at the top of the page I have quoted the initial question - so you're drifting in a rip... ubbangel


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Mr Majestik
Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
Location: home of the tiney toothy bear
Member Since: 9th Mar 2004
Total posts: 4693
Posted:
Written by: UnbeatenChampionOfFighting

Written by: Mr Majestik
for example, god cleanesed the earth allowing only noahs family to live, why? because people had turned away from him, this could be an example of a majority of people not being believers, even before other recorded history began.



Actually.... God was reported to have done that. The Bible cant be undeniably proven as either Fact or Fiction for a very long time, possibly ever.




i know this, i was merely using it as an example, seeing as it is unknown who wrote the old testament, but that it was written a long time ago, would indicated to me that a few thousand years ago there may have been much disbelief in that society(which is where the metaphor was derived from). potentially at that point in time the people of that society may have been saying 'well george, the past 100 years sure has seen a reduction in the number of jews, i find it amazing that there are so many people with less faith these days'.

Written by: Pele

Written by: Mr Majestik

basically i've been thinking for a while how many people talk about the dominance of religion, how in history people were generally more religious than they are now.



I think it really depends on what you are meaning by "religious".
I am seeing alot of reference to only the mainstream, widely accepted religions, those with a strongly known and widespread mythos and governing system.
In true, honest to goodness documented history (meaning not the bible), *every* tribe that has ever exsisted has demonstrated having a religious structure and pioty. Even the so-called witches HAD a religion, they simply didn't believe in the one that would oppress their beliefs.

However, in this day and age there are more people turning away from faith on the whole. There are supposedly more documented athiests and agnostics than ever, which is something I do not think you would have found commonly before the age of science. Even those with science still tended to believe in something divine (Egyptians, Mayans, etc).

That is actually what is meant by the statement that there are less religious people today, and I do believe it to be true.



your last paragraph is exactly correct in what i mean about there being less religious people today. however, refering to my previous examples as some potential empirical evidence i do not believe it to be true. even in those tribes you mentioned (or all societies, whatever) i believe there would have been at least a few people who doubted the faith. i get the impression that because there are so many examples of people changing faiths throughout time that its possible there was never a real 'golden age' for religions, but that in fact the dominance of religion has always been more or less the same as right now, with their presence being unquestionable but their devout followers generally not outnumbering non-followers by any great percentage.

Written by: FireTom

Written by: MrMajestik

because whereever i look in history i can see the likelyhood that there were many non-believers of the dominant religion of their time.




This is definately a fact, it's a question of "how many" - as stated before, Indonesia is for example considered to host the largest muslim population on the planet - which is a shallow conclusion. People there are practicing their animism (along), or sometimes their variety of Islam - which has not necessarily to do with the original script (Koran).
In parts of India you find Jesus next to Shiva (just to make sure wink) - there Jesus is widely accepted as a "Guru" (Teacher) and this is what prophets basically are: teachers



this is exactly what i was talking about when i asked my original question, that while history may say one group is the dominant religion, in fact there are many religions and non-religious people in that time, throughout all time

Written by: FireTom

Written by: Mr. Majestik
for example, god cleanesed the earth allowing only noahs family to live, why? because people had turned away from him, this could be an example of a majority of people not being believers, even before other recorded history began.



We are talking mostly about a time maybe 6-10.000 B.C. or further back. The reference of this time in the bible is most likely about the areas of the mediterranean (around the mare nostrum) the middle point of the world - by this you already get a clue how limited the view of this record is. A natural desaster like the tsunami may easily have happened and wiped out 90% of the population... the above statements are no proof that this has never happened.



totally agree, like i said for UCOF, its just an example. possibly a metaphor for what was happening in the real world at the time

Written by: FireTom


So I certainly follow up on your impression. smile
(li)
To round it up: Knowledge about the world is liberating - hence it doesn't explain the phenomenon itself. Some things have to be experienced still in order to complete the picture. This has nothing to do with holding on to a straw, or to mystify existence. It's merely "getting awareness".



i likey biggrin wink join me in getting awareness anyone?

i get what you mean about schooling dream, i think some things we are taught about history are a little bit too generalised.


"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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