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Thread: Oh my God!

  1. #31
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner View Post
    ... and none of us feel a sense of loss or profound meaninglessness whenwe discard one scientific paradigm for another.
    I doubt that quite heartily. New scientific ideas that are eventually proved to have some validity are still met with intense scepticism that is best understood as an unwillingness to change knowledge which is believed to be true. Entire generations of scientists who are unable or unwilling to adapt lose their identities, jobs, lives..

  2. #32
    bmalone.blogspot.com BrianC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner View Post
    So faith, Brian, is bullshit?
    Actually I'm making the opposite assertion. On the big-ticket items, the origin of life, the universe and everything (including god), I'm saying that faith is all that we have precisely because nothing can be proved or disproved. The answer to the question: "does god exist?" is purely a matter of faith regardless of where you come down. If I cannot disprove the existence of god then I also cannot disprove the existence of any particular kind of god. Objectively, all religious beliefs are equally valid on their face.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner View Post
    But when it comes to religious claims, our standards drop to the lowest common denominator. We revert to ignorance and to support structures for our beliefs that we wouldn't even allow our young children to propose if God weren't the issue.
    If religious knowledge were of the same quality as scientific knowledge, then I would agree with you. But the inescapable fact is that we are ignorant, profoundly ignorant, about the existence and nature of god. All we have is our beliefs, including the belief that there is no god. The rigors of scientific thought is of no use in the realm of religion. It is when some people try to mash religious belief into pseudo-scientific 'proofs', such as with creationism, that the supposedly religious belief becomes open to scrutiny by scientific means. I am not talking about that, however, as being a matter of faith. Creationism, for example, is not a matter of faith; it is a self-imposed blindness in an area where science actually does offer proof. Thus, while the agnostic in me cannot prove that a christian is wrong in believing that god exists, I can prove that a christian is wrong in in believing in creationism. (Whether or not they'd be willing to listen is a different matter. I usually don't bother to try). So, in a roundabout way, my answer to your concern about "religious claims [leading to] the lowest common denominator" is that it depends on whether the particular religious belief is a matter of faith (not subject to proof) or a matter of willful blindness.

  3. #33
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Why God, Brian? Why are we so hung up on the concept of God? We don't worship gravity or chance (though I guess gamblers do), but God?

    The element of willful blindness can't be discounted. We want to believe.

    I understand that we can't prove there is no God anymore than we can prove there is one. But the form in which we've conceived of this God is so outlandish and so anthropomorphic, it's just about absurd. I'd rather believe in elves and wizards.

  4. #34
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Gravity exists. But you can't show it to me; all you can show me are its effects. You don't know even know what it looks like except as a mathematical concept. So, when the safe falls on your toe, you can safely cry: Aha, gravity!
    You believe that the speed of light is a limit that cannot be exceeded yet one of a photon pair reacts instantaneously to the identification of the spin of its twin. Instantaneous trumps the speed of light. Yet, you are content to proceed with the certain knowledge that nothing can exceed the speed of light.
    Life begins, in situ or in vitro, but no one knows why. Life ends but no one knows why. So, we are once again staring at a phenomenon that all we can identify are its effects. Some folk decide to name the cause god and you identify their belief as absurd.
    This judgment business gets very tricky very fast.

  5. #35
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    The word 'absurd' was not a judgmental one in this case. It was an evaluative one. We don't attribute human qualities or physical properties to concepts like gravity and time. But God we make in our own image. It's the socialization of God that is absurd strictly in the logical sense. Well, in the sociological sense too. Qualities that pertain to humans and humans alone, compassion, honesty, humility - how is it not absurd to bestow them upon God?

  6. #36
    bmalone.blogspot.com BrianC's Avatar
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    Why god? I don't really know, but that never stopped me from speculating. Using a bit of amatuer psychology, I suppose it has something to do with the innate human need for some baseline of certainty in an uncertain, and very dangerous, world. Gravity and chance do not really provide the same psychological comfort as the judeo-christian-muslim concept of god. If you do believe in a god, then one that is anthropomorphic does have certain advantages over one that has the head of an elephant, or that is an impersonal force like gravity or a volcano or a whirlwind. An anthropomorphic god lends humanity the imprimature of divinity. If god looks like us and created us in his image, the it follows that we are special among animals: less than angels, more than beasts. God is perhaps a bit more amenable to a "personal" relationship when he is anthropomorphic.

  7. #37
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    I agree, and that's the basis for one of my fundamental disputes with the concept of God in our time. Worse in the past I imagine! But wouldn't you label this concoction absurd? And arrogant! We've made God what WE need.

  8. #38
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    From the outside looking in, are not all beliefs absurd? Or, re-phrase that to: the non-believer are not all beliefs absurd? And that is a judgment on the part of the non-believer, which is as chauvinistic as the believer looking at the non-believer.

  9. #39
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Well then HE, everything's absurd. But maybe some things more than others. Can there be degrees of absurdity?

  10. #40
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    You got me thinking, HE. I'm starting a new thread and I really hope some of you take your time before you answer the question.

  11. #41
    Kiss my axe! kahnovitch's Avatar
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    I personally think "God" is the easy answer to all the questions we have no real answer to.
    Scientific knowledge is constantly being updated and revised and never has all the answers which it admits, but God is a nice tidy answer to all the questions which we have no real answers for.

    One thing that makes me laugh is insurance, which generally has a clause that states "does no cover acts of God". Surely everything that happens is an act of God (if you're a believer) so your insurance hence covers nothing!

  12. #42
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Isn't that the ironic part of all of this God stuff? If you believe truly in a micromanaging God, then what role do we really play? If you believe in a God who chooses what to manage and what not to manage, then what role do we really play? We've created an elaborate structure of blame/guilt/responsibility around our inability to reconcile free will with an all powerful God.

    Kahn, have you ever seen a list of what constitutes 'acts of God' as far as insurance co's are concerned? I'd love to see it.

  13. #43
    I didn't do it! Fantasyeatergal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner View Post
    I agree, and that's the basis for one of my fundamental disputes with the concept of God in our time. Worse in the past I imagine! But wouldn't you label this concoction absurd? And arrogant! We've made God what WE need.
    Would'nt create a god we DON’T need even more absurd?

  14. #44
    I'm not surprised. Not. One. Bit.

    But at least we now know the Right's alternative to universal health care.

    Honestly, at this point, I wish they could just sink back into the swamp of self-satisfied ignorance that unbelievers dragged them out of and to which they so long to return.

    Just quit trying to drag the rest of us in with them.

    'Course, they like the results of science and reason, just not the process that makes them.

    I say, make them walk the walk. Give them their own state, surround it with fences, and let them live like it's The Village and raise their kids to believe up is down, red is blue, and that all the earthquakes, storms, and diseases are the result of their own prideful refusal to submit.

    Ayn Rand said it better than I ever could.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8V-kT...eature=related

    I don't agree with everything she says, but she makes a point. Skip past the Nazi imagery and other stuff at the beginning, the good stuff starts about three minutes in.

  15. #45
    Where's Tonto zorobnice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner View Post
    "God can revive the dying."

    This was in one of NYC's morning papers:


    Oh my God!!
    Which one Gary?? you don't believe there is one, why evoke His name??

    ***poke's Gary in the ribs ***

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