Politics, God and Religion vs. Science


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Trad climber
lost, far away from Poland
Feb 2, 2013 - 12:35pm PT
My right-brain is mostly dead. Yeah, that explains many things...

On the other hand, maybe the right-brain outlived itself. Evolution!

Somewhere out there
Feb 2, 2013 - 02:18pm PT
Sam Harris must be saying a few things that resonate w people. He was, after all, sitting next to Eva Longoria on Real Time with Bill Maher last night. Anyone catch the show?

 caught the show, but didn't notice Harris talking much about beliefs - unless the gun control discussion is going to be taken as a "spiritual", or beliefs discussion….


Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Feb 2, 2013 - 03:10pm PT
Fruity, you have repeatedly said that I am "spinning" or caricaturing what you are saying. I am simply saying that you are siding with a linear take on reality as you experience it through identification with your rational/evaluating left brain. The right brain has no such linear constraints, and offers terrain that is qualitatively different than that we experience with the rational mind. The right brain is NOT a metaphorical, wonky version of the left brain, but another animal altogether, so to speak. The symbols and "language" of the right brain are not facts and figures, but the right brain is every bit as real as the left.

What questions per the above do you have for those on this thread? What are you unclear about? Are you clear that the left brain is not trying to do nonlinear things, and that the right brain is not on a linear track for the most part (but the two parts do interface).

This is all basic stuff.


Trad climber
Cali Hodad, surfing the galactic plane ~:~
Feb 3, 2013 - 09:56am PT
Regarding "Militant Atheist"...
BASE104 - Dawkins is what I would call a "Militant Atheist".

HFCS - Truly an ignorant if not disgusting comment.

Advanced by religious fundamentalist and their defenders as propaganda.
HFCS - Also, you were hardly the first to refer to Dawkins, Harris and their clique as "militant". Shame on science folk for taking up this term of art proudly used by the other side.
"Hardly the first"? Perhaps Dawkins, himself, was?

"Now it may sound as though I am about to preach atheism to you. I want to reassure you that is not what I am going to do. Because, in an audience as sophisticated as this, that would be preaching to the choir. No, instead, what I want to do is urge upon you Militant Atheism."

~ Richard Dawkins: Militant Atheism (2002 TED Conference).

HFCS - Dawkins is no more a "militant" atheist than you are a "militant" poster or a "militant" boater.

Perhaps you should convince Dawkins of that!

edit: BASE102, imo, was spot on in assesment of Dawkins being a "Militant Atheist".

Furthermore, how dispicable that you attempt to turn something, that originated with Dawkins himself, into something that was "advanced by religious fundamentalist and their defenders as propaganda".

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 3, 2013 - 11:07am PT
I never understood fruity getting pissed off at that. Dawkins is a well respected scientist, but he does go WAY out of his way to attack Religion. I just don't get it. To me, religion is like a flying carpet.

Unfortunately, attacking science has gained a lot of followers over the past ten or fifteen years. It follows in lockstep the fundamentalist right wing gun loving tea party evangelistic cult. I own guns, but I don't LOVE them. I don't pull them out and caress them. They each have a purpose, like the wicked 12 gauge I have for grizzly bears in the Brooks Range.

I spent a good hour yesterday watching these videos of tea party gatherings, and those people are off their nut. Fifty years ago, science was admired. Now it is despised by these people, despite their ready use of modern technology. People, when I'm forced into a discussion with one of these people, it is a waste of my time on one hand and a fascinating phenomenon on the other. How did people get this twisted?

The worst problem for me is the whole fracking issue. I can't mention my job to anyone without getting asked about that, which is a red herring.

I have a new Dawkins book right here on the desk that somebody got me for Christmas:

The Magic of Reality, How We Know What Is Really True

This one sounds good. I read the first few pages the other day and it sounds pretty calm. I just thumbed through it, and it is a VERY basic science introduction. I'm talking baby science, which face it, can't hurt the reader. Most of us don't need to read it, but you should understand those little basics to get out of high school.

The topic has been very well covered in a great little book by Carl Sagan: The Demon Haunted World.

That book is mainly about junk science and junk claims such as alien abductions and how people actually believe it. He does skewer religion, but it is almost apologetic. By the time you get that deep into the book, religion starts to look pretty silly.

That book is a Triumph on how to think critically. The nice lady who sells healing crystals isn't going to like it, though. It will put her out of work.

Sometimes I shake my head in amazement of the willful ignorance of many Americans.


Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 3, 2013 - 11:10am PT
OK. Free Will. Does it exist or not?
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Feb 3, 2013 - 11:14am PT
I doubt the term "militancy" is used correctly here, no matter who uses it. Certain atheists may be assertive or confrontational or even antagonistic but its a huge leap to militant. Anyway, what is interesting is that the biggest criticism of atheism is that it is obnoxious or rude. Is that the only complaint that holds water?

Here is something I just listened to on CBC radio that has to do with the deteriorating political relevancy of institutional religion. Listen to the one about "Irish Priest" but after that listen to them all - excellent line up this morning!


or maybe it is the correct term:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Look up militant in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Militant is usually used to describe a person engaged in aggressive verbal or physical combat (e.g. a terrorist or insurgent).

So it doesn't necessarily require guns or napalm. Either way, what other criticisms of atheism are there that really matter?

edit to an edit: The intardnet is really a gold mine :


An interesting little summation. At the end of which is this which from a practical perspective may be the best criticism of atheism but could equally be leveled at theism:

Professors of philosophy and religion, Jeffrey Robbins and Christopher Rodkey, take issue with "the evangelical nature of the new atheism, which assumes that it has a Good News to share, at all cost, for the ultimate future of humanity by the conversion of as many people as possible." They find similarities between the new atheism and evangelical Christianity and conclude that the all-consuming nature of both "encourages endless conflict without progress" between both extremities.[62] Sociologist William Stahl notes "What is striking about the current debate is the frequency with which the New Atheists are portrayed as mirror images of religious fundamentalists." He discusses where both have "structural and epistemological parallels" and argues that "both the New Atheism and fundamentalism are attempts to recreate authority in the face of crises of meaning in late modernity."[63]

Feb 3, 2013 - 11:20am PT
How can it NOT exist?

Every person has independent free will to choose.

Are you all bound and gagged ......

Hebrews 1:3
Feb 3, 2013 - 12:19pm PT
OK. Free Will. Does it exist or not?

Today at church the pastor said the only free will we have is to pick our sins.

And that it is by God's will, purpose, and calling that we are saved at all...

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 11:29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

1 Corinthians 1:7 so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

2 Thessalonians 2:13 brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, 14 to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 1:8 God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Psalm 110:3 Your people shall be volunteers
In the day of Your power;

...Put your hand in the Hand of the Man from Galilee!

Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Feb 3, 2013 - 12:27pm PT
Today at church the pastor said the only free will we have is to pick our sins.

Did your pastor offer any personal examples of the ones he prefers?

Trad climber
lost, far away from Poland
Feb 3, 2013 - 12:27pm PT
Free will? It is an intresting question of no consequence. I treat it the same way as the question "does god exist". It is irrelevant to my actions. Of course it is an interesting philosophical question. We have perception of free will, so lets assume we got it. But how often do we use it? I would say, if we make an easy decision then we were preconditioned to make it (by our genetic makeup, or TV, whatever), so it wasn't 100% free will, maybe even 0%. If we make a decision against our "nature" than we may be executing our free will.

Feb 3, 2013 - 12:40pm PT
Free Will. Does it exist or not?

Yes and no. (think block universe or multiverse)

Somewhere out there
Feb 3, 2013 - 12:44pm PT
OK. Free Will. Does it exist or not?

 Do the blind have the free will to see?
 Do the sick have the free will to be well?
 Do the handicapped have free will to walk again?

 For the most part I say we do not have free-free-will.

 P.S. We do have the free will to accept things as they are and move on with our lives. Nothing shameful about that


Feb 3, 2013 - 01:11pm PT
Probably around the time of St. Augustine or maybe even before, some smart ass stood up in church and posed a question.

“If god is all powerful and directs everything, then god planned our doing all the things we do. In that case what’s this business of sending me to Hell?

The Catholic Dictionary wraps some flowery philosogarbage around this, as below.


Free will and the Christian religion

The problem of free will assumed quite a new character with the advent of the Christian religion. The doctrine that God has created man, has commanded him to obey the moral law, and has promised to reward or punish him for observance or violation of this law, made the reality of moral liberty an issue of transcendent importance. Unless man is really free, he cannot be justly held responsible for his actions, any more than for the date of his birth or the colour of his eyes. All alike are inexorably predetermined for him. Again, the difficulty of the question was augmented still further by the Christian dogma of the fall of man and his redemption by grace. St. Paul, especially in his Epistle to the Romans, is the great source of the Catholic theology of grace.

Now shall we talk rationally?

The current discussion of free will involves science. Using currently available sensing equipment the brain processes can be monitored in real time. We can actually detect when a person makes a decision. We find that the decision is actually made several milliseconds before the person is conscious of the decision. This time delay is to be expected if we are to have a mechanism like the brain consuming very small amounts of energy. If only animals had been able to expend the amount of energy in a nuclear explosion to make a decision, signal transmission times could have been shorter

and we would not now be forced to face this absurd pseudophilosophical cr#p.

High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Feb 3, 2013 - 02:27pm PT
What a motley crew we have here.

It's a good thing I'm not a teacher, half here would get a C grade or below at the intersection where science, philosophy, religion, modernity and thought leadership meet up.

I'll let Splitter gloat in his ignorance/theism for awhile. Even then any reply will be minimal as I stopped debating theists of yester-century on this site and everywhere else a long time ago. They are so far back now in my rear view mirror they don't even earn one photon. Belief in God Jehovah is more and more satirized and/or trivialized with each passing day now, good enough for me.

In the meantime, just out today...


You decide.

Jingy, what I posted about Sam Harris being right-brain dead and all was sarcastic in ref to previous nonsense posted. Sam was quite articulate on Real Time with Bill Maher speaking on such a complex issue. Glad you saw it. I'll check out your video shortly, think I may have already seen it. Then again, worth a second take, I'm sure. This internet, whew!

Looks like another hero / thought-leader, Jared Diamond, is amidst a fierce battle concerning his latest work. His opposition, Survivor International, reminded me of the Noble Savage anthropologists, loyalists, including I wonder why, our own resident, Jan. Shame.


No doubt, Jared Diamond will in the end kick ass.


jstan, nice to see you posting about the crazy pseudo-philosophical crap (in theism, it's called "sophisticated theology" a point completely missed by Jan a couple pages back or so) that's plaguing the human condition. But I'm confident it will be cleaned up in the next few decades (thx to the power of this info era) just enough so the "elites" of the future won't be bogged down by it.


Once again, thank goodness I don't function here as an explainer or teacher, just a modern presenter / modern off-work developer / modern noob poster-in-progress - otherwise I might have to be more politically correct. Not to mention more "gentle" - going wherever the "student" and his perspective are to better connect with (and coddle) him there. ;)

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Feb 3, 2013 - 02:52pm PT
Fruity, I noticed a pattern about anyone ever making any manner of commentary about you, or Harris, et al.

You likely are unaware that regardless of the verity of the commentary, you and Harris both go into smug attack mode, the fuselage having little to no bearing on the drift at hand. It is - as observed earlier - like playing chess with a pigeon. You might be a Grand Master and the pigeon will still jump on the board, knock over all the pieces and sh#t all over the place while strutting around triumphantly.

You were given a chance to ask a question about any of this and you deferred. This is another earmark of Dawkins. He never asks honest questions, ergo he is not engaged in a true inquiry. Such a man can never learn anything new because he believes no one but members of his select camp knows much of anything worthwhile.

Here we have the epitome of a know-it-all. The problem is Harris and others are judging everyone else by their own intelligence - as if ever known theologian from Claremont to Yale Divinity School is a sad sac Abrahamic superstitious myth clasping dope who lacks the facts and figures to know his way around life. You know nothing at all aboltu this demographic if you believe this to be true.

The "militant Atheists" are of course the psychological equal of Fundamentalists or anyone else deluded about the exclusivity of one mode of inquiry or source of knowledge as being the one-and-only. Again, that's all-or-nothing, known in psychology as a thought distortion.

High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Feb 3, 2013 - 03:03pm PT
Let me get this straight, you are comparing yourself and others here (opposite Harris and me, etc.) to a pigeon?

Perhaps what you're experiencing and are not used to is, for lack of a better term or phrase at the current time is... Atheists Unleashed... as a social movement.

You must surely know just how long down through history they had to keep quiet in the proverbial closet lest they get ostracized, threathened with the wheel or the rack.

On many counts, it's becoming a woman's world, hear, hear; so too, it's also becoming a secular's world and theists to theologians hate this.

It's quite laughable to hear you turn things around 180 and call the likes of Dawkins and Harris know-it-alls. The self-appointed know-it-alls in truest form - I know it and you're no dolt, you know it, too - have been religious authorities (aka theologians). History is steeped in this recorded fact.

re: theologians as sad sacs (as "weak sauce")

You know nothing at all aboltu this demographic if you believe this to be true

Then go ahead, Sir, name one ingenuity or innovation or otherwise worthy endeavor or enterprise that they have instituted on behalf of any Abrahamic religion in the last two or three decades. No, better, I'll cut you some slack... in the last two or three centuries.

Sad sacs indeed.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Feb 3, 2013 - 03:21pm PT
a sad sac Abrahamic superstitious myth clasping dope

I suggest, if you're disappointed in the direction the Abrahamic religion is taking, not to mention the pummeling it's getting, in the internet-driven modern age, you should try influencing it from within. Have these discussions with the traditional theists of this (your) religion who are preventing it, one heart and soul at a time, from evolving. We have several residents right here on this site apparently, beginning with go-B, Splitter (aliases), IllusionDweller (aliases), Klimmer, etc..

Since most of them are traditional literalists, are you ready to step up and call a spade a spade? Forget the theologians at Yale or Notre Dame or Claremont, how about the laity right here - are they "Abrahamic superstitious myth clasping dopes." If so, maybe they need a prodding. Your prodding.

Remember, leadership often calls for courage.


Fruity, I noticed a pattern about anyone ever making any manner of commentary about you, or Harris, et al.

Suggestion: Get out more. Those are what Bill Maher calls "dispatches from the bubble."

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 3, 2013 - 03:32pm PT
I call it a false dichotomy (To JL's either/or comment).

Your characterization may not be accurate, though.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 3, 2013 - 05:08pm PT
The Mind..??
Is there a mind without a brain?
IS there any intelligence, souls, spirits, God.. without a mind

If there is no brain, nor a Physical nervous system, can there be a mind,
and speculating out, can there be a god?

As far as we know, nothing has surpassed the Human in intelligence, or spirit.
No Brain, no mind...
It's as simple as that
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