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(Daily Bulletin)   New Age bookstore in a tizzy after their Crystal Skull is stolen, blames Indiana Jones;"I have no idea why someone would take that and not the other things that are equally valuable on the altar."   (dailybulletin.com ) divider line
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5078 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 May 2008 at 5:32 PM (8 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2008-05-11 12:02:55 AM  
I came here to see references to the skull of shadows, as well as pictures of hot succubi. I am sorely disappointed.
 
2008-05-11 12:04:41 AM  
i hate jimmy page: Can you get any more pathetic?


YOUR MOM could get more pathetic!


/about as mature as everything else said so far
//nothing more to contribute, really.

 
2008-05-11 12:06:02 AM  
Wise_Guy: "I'm not sure if I've made my position clear. I'm pretty sure I haven't, actually.

I don't (can't, really) believe there is a higher power or anything like that, so I guess that makes me an atheist. However, I'm not anti-religion. I accept that there are those who need or want to believe in an afterlife or something better after they die. That's fine by me. Perhaps the word crutch was too strong-- maybe anchor or compass would be more appropriate. I judge the individual the way they are without the need to understand what makes them that way. In the same way I wouldn't want a religious person to look down on me based on what I believe, I make an effort not to judge them based on what they believe.

I'm not sure if I cleared things up here or muddied that waters further."


No, I didn't misunderstand, although I knew even as I wrote my reply that it would give the wrong impression. Many time's I'll comment on something and appear to be disagreeing when I'm pretty much just probing to find out more of what you think on the topic. I don't necessarily disagree that some people need religion, I just don't believe they were born needing it, I think it's primarily the result of either poor conditions or childhood indoctrination. When I pointed out that it could be interpreted as demeaning, I didn't mean to suggest you held that particular interpretation, I was just making an observation.
 
2008-05-11 12:10:25 AM  
"time's"? Slip of the finger. I swear, I know the proper usage of apostrophes.
 
2008-05-11 12:16:43 AM  
Zamboro: No, I didn't misunderstand, although I knew even as I wrote my reply that it would give the wrong impression. Many time's I'll comment on something and appear to be disagreeing when I'm pretty much just probing to find out more of what you think on the topic. I don't necessarily disagree that some people need religion, I just don't believe they were born needing it, I think it's primarily the result of either poor conditions or childhood indoctrination. When I pointed out that it could be interpreted as demeaning, I didn't mean to suggest you held that particular interpretation, I was just making an observation.

No big deal--- I just didn't want to give the wrong impression.

I think out of the two scenarios you described as to what makes a person religious, in my experience I'd have to go with indoctrination. I'm not exactly a world traveler, but I don't think I've ever met a religious person who didn't come from a religious family.

What comes to mind also is the 'missionary converting the natives' scenario which would confirm the poor condition theory (although I think there would be already in place a 'spiritual base', if you will), I just haven't seen it myself.
 
2008-05-11 12:25:33 AM  
I got no clue what it actually is.
spectrum analysis shows 94% amorphous carbon, 3% oxygen and 1% hydrogen.
Electrically non-conductive, no electrical field or magnetism detected.
optically clear surfaces.
way too big for a paperweight.

and it glows sometimes.

been doing that a lot lately.
 
2008-05-11 12:29:34 AM  
Treetop1000: I got no clue what it actually is.

Well where'd you get it?
 
2008-05-11 12:35:15 AM  
isolated aircraft hangar in Dayton.
 
2008-05-11 12:40:32 AM  
Zamboro: Dear Jerk: "Personally, I think we have religion because it's necessary to a lot of people."

Isn't that tremendously condescending, though? It's as if to say "Well you and I can do without religion, but some people need it".


Condescending or not, it's true.
 
2008-05-11 12:42:54 AM  
there was this Craigslist ad...
 
2008-05-11 12:43:25 AM  
Oznog: Not Impressed. The companies I worked for hand out this sort of crystal desk crap to everybody. OK, a skull is cooler than a cube, I'll grant you, but I'd much rather have proper dental coverage.

I have this great image of a crystal skull sitting on the desk next to these other awards.

"What did you get the crystal skull for?"
"Industrial espionage."
 
2008-05-11 12:44:17 AM  
Jgok: "Condescending or not, it's true."

I didn't mean to assert otherwise, only make an observation. The important question is why some people need it, if indeed they do.
 
2008-05-11 01:22:50 AM  
In the side argument of the thread (Religion: Good, bad or ugly):

First of all, many of those arguing against religion are one of the first to lay this claim in many other topics: correlation doesn't equal correlation. This is true about religion and war.
Just because there was/is a religion component to many wars in our history that doesn't mean it was even the primary reason. Let's just imagine you are a dictator of a country, and you want to usurp another country are you going to give legitimate reasons only to your population or throw every excuse you can to them? I know if I was a dictator I would throw everything at them. I honestly do not believe that religion was a primary reason for any war in our history. I just don't know of any head of state that would rank that high enough up there to risk their own head. Even the Crusades had a multitude of reasons besides religious. You truly believe all the European heads of state heard the Pope and thought, "You know... the Pope is right. We cannot let those pagans destroy our holy lands," or the better thought chain, "Here is our excuse to get lands in the Middle East. That would be great strategic land for our forces and to act as major trade centers between us and Asia proper?" I believe the answer is obvious. Also, eventually, the European heads of state would most likely attempt (maybe less successfully since they wouldn't have united) to take those lands without that excuse soon or later. This reason is my main belief that religion is simply part of the kitchen sink strategy of a government to motivate the populace to go to war. One less item to throw at the populace to justify a war will not end the practice nor will it affect war (e.g. Communist Russia, China).

As for removing religion from the population as being a net good for society that too I disagree with. I fail to see how a logical being could justify having any code of ethics above self betterment in the absence of a type of divine retribution. Sure, an individual may choose to, and some may, but I truly do not believe that most people would choose that route once religion and religious ideals were totally removed from society. There is no logical argument as to why I should not kill an individual for my betterment if I could escape legal prosecution and it would better me (which it almost always would in the absence of them being in some type of servitude to me). Total logic minus fear of divine retribution is simply a society operating to become some horrible experiment in becoming a society without ethics. Ethics are a direct result of religion. Law is a direct result of a states desire of order. The two are not the same, and while law can be circumvented, religion cannot be (in almost all variations).

I would like to hear a justification for ethics and why an individual would choose to put someone else before them minus retribution from the state/population, and all the B.S. about a philosophy of an engrained sense or a collective sense of ethics is not something I would buy into.

As for the article at hand: Good job Indiana! Just another reason I love ya! (in a totally non-homo way)
 
2008-05-11 01:29:39 AM  
I would like to hear a justification for ethics and why an individual would choose to put someone else before them minus retribution from the state/population, and all the B.S. about a philosophy of an engrained sense or a collective sense of ethics is not something I would buy into.

Are you telling me that all murderers go to Hell?

No? Then why should I be afraid of murdering people other than retribution from the state/population?
 
2008-05-11 01:36:21 AM  
i hate jimmy page:
Are you telling me that all murderers go to Hell?

No? Then why should I be afraid of murdering people other than retribution from the state/population?


Are you genuinely curious as to my answer? If not, then why ask me the question I've asked others to answer, because if i knew the answer, then I wouldn't have asked it.

To put it more succinctly, that was not a rhetorical question.
 
2008-05-11 01:38:26 AM  
Scipio: I fail to see how a logical being could justify having any code of ethics above self betterment in the absence of a type of divine retribution.

Then go take a basic ethics course. Invisible sky wizards are not necessary to make a "code of ethics above self betterment." You can start with utilitarianism.
 
2008-05-11 01:41:27 AM  
Scipio: "I would like to hear a justification for ethics and why an individual would choose to put someone else before them minus retribution from the state/population, and all the B.S. about a philosophy of an engrained sense or a collective sense of ethics is not something I would buy into."

Here's a thought experiment; Imagine you have zero supernatural beliefs. Just for the sake of argument, try to put yourself in that mindset. Are you honestly saying that you could murder your own wife/children/friends, and feel nothing? Are you honestly saying that the only thing stopping you from committing such atrocities is belief in a deity?

I think better of you than that. You have a conscience, as do I; there is no need to invoke the metaphysical when speaking of an "ingrained ethical sense", as there's hard science to back it up. Humans, even as infants, express altruistic inclinations. Chimps do it too. Provided that our own needs are met, we do instinctively err on the side of altruism, probably for good evolutionary reasons (not making enemies, facilitating cooperation, etcetera)

Even if you assert right now that you have no conscience, that you're a sociopath, I could still argue that there are purely rational reasons to behave; Assuming you enjoy the benefits that living within a civilized society offers, it stands to reason that the most direct way you can contribute to the continuation of civilized society is through participation, by assenting to live within the social contract. It's not a matter of right and wrong, but rather a matter of which behaviors are mutually beneficial on a large scale.

Does this satisfy you?
 
2008-05-11 01:45:25 AM  
Hosebeatings: Then go take a basic ethics course. Invisible sky wizards are not necessary to make a "code of ethics above self betterment." You can start with utilitarianism.

Sorry, but I see utiliarianism as more of a personal choice. A personal philosophy, if you will. The philosophy of ethics seems to fail to give a good reason as to choose to have a philosophy of ethics over choosing the logic of self betterment. This is especially true since the goal of removing religion for most against religion is to make the populace more logical.

Why choose to be a good samaritian employee and not stab a co-worker in the back and get that big job opportunity over stabbing a more fit employee who is going to get that position in the back and taking that position for yourself?
 
2008-05-11 01:47:06 AM  
For only $500 at least it's clear that it was a modern reproduction skull probably made of leaded glass and not a real ancient one.
 
2008-05-11 01:49:32 AM  
Scipio: Why choose to be a good samaritian employee and not stab a co-worker in the back and get that big job opportunity over stabbing a more fit employee who is going to get that position in the back and taking that position for yourself?


Why do I choose to go out of my way to help people on a daily basis? It sure as hell isn't out of fear of retribution from some vengeful god...
 
2008-05-11 01:49:57 AM  
Scipio: "This is especially true since the goal of removing religion for most against religion is to make the populace more logical."

I know of noone credible who advocates the forcible abolishment of religion, nor would I assent to the use of "logical" where instead I would have said "reasonable" or "rational".

Atheism is not a rejection of emotion, it has nothing to say about emotion. It is a conclusion arrived at through reason, or merely a default state (provided that we aren't somehow born with religious knowledge coded into our grey matter.)

It's entirely possible to have emotions, to enjoy them and to indulge in them once in awhile and still be a reasonable, rational human being. You're conscious of your emotions and your human tendency to drift towards unreason, and so you compensate via mental discipline.
 
2008-05-11 01:54:55 AM  
...the altar?
 
2008-05-11 01:57:02 AM  
Scipio: Why choose to be a good samaritian employee and not stab a co-worker in the back and get that big job opportunity over stabbing a more fit employee who is going to get that position in the back and taking that position for yourself?

Do all murderers go to Hell?

If not, why should I be afraid of murdering people other than retribution from the state/population?
 
2008-05-11 01:58:42 AM  
Scipio: Sorry, but I see utiliarianism as more of a personal choice. A personal philosophy, if you will. The philosophy of ethics seems to fail to give a good reason as to choose to have a philosophy of ethics over choosing the logic of self betterment. This is especially true since the goal of removing religion for most against religion is to make the populace more logical.

Because you've apparently never even taken an introductory course on the subject, and are letting your preconceived notion that the only possible way to get people to behave is for an invisible sky wizard to say "do it or I'll farking spank you" get in the way of reality.
 
2008-05-11 02:03:05 AM  
Oznog: Not Impressed. The companies I worked for hand out this sort of crystal desk crap to everybody. OK, a skull is cooler than a cube, I'll grant you, but I'd much rather have proper dental coverage.


are those heavy? they look like fantastic murder weapons...
 
2008-05-11 02:14:43 AM  
Zamboro: Scipio: "I would like to hear a justification for ethics and why an individual would choose to put someone else before them minus retribution from the state/population, and all the B.S. about a philosophy of an engrained sense or a collective sense of ethics is not something I would buy into."

Here's a thought experiment; Imagine you have zero supernatural beliefs. Just for the sake of argument, try to put yourself in that mindset. Are you honestly saying that you could murder your own wife/children/friends, and feel nothing? Are you honestly saying that the only thing stopping you from committing such atrocities is belief in a deity?

I think better of you than that. You have a conscience, as do I; there is no need to invoke the metaphysical when speaking of an "ingrained ethical sense", as there's hard science to back it up. Humans, even as infants, express altruistic inclinations. Chimps do it too. Provided that our own needs are met, we do instinctively err on the side of altruism, probably for good evolutionary reasons (not making enemies, facilitating cooperation, etcetera)

Even if you assert right now that you have no conscience, that you're a sociopath, I could still argue that there are purely rational reasons to behave; Assuming you enjoy the benefits that living within a civilized society offers, it stands to reason that the most direct way you can contribute to the continuation of civilized society is through participation, by assenting to live within the social contract. It's not a matter of right and wrong, but rather a matter of which behaviors are mutually beneficial on a large scale.

Does this satisfy you?


I will say you have given a good answer. I cannot say I am fully satisified.

I cannot imagine myself seperate from the cultural programming I was brought up with. I can say, however, I can logical justify a lot of unethical practices, and if I was to act completely logically I could see it possible if brought up in such a culture. This is why I fail to believe that humans have an inborn bent to altruism. The effect of a cultural/societal programming is just to difficult to determine at this point.

The argument about society is a good argument, however. I would not want to destroy the society I would live in, nor do I believe that any logical being would want to do so. That does not mean, however, that a logical being wouldn't be happy to be in an unethical society. Sparta is a good example of an unethical society. The destruction of babies/children/some elderly that are no longer productive members of society are destoryed would be logical, but would be unethical.

ultraholland: Why do I choose to go out of my way to help people on a daily basis? It sure as hell isn't out of fear of retribution from some vengeful god...

Social programming? Just because it is not a religious choice does not mean it is not a logical choice.

Zamboro:
I know of noone credible who advocates the forcible abolishment of religion, nor would I assent to the use of "logical" where instead I would have said "reasonable" or "rational".

Atheism is not a rejection of emotion, it has nothing to say about emotion. It is a conclusion arrived at through reason, or merely a default state (provided that we aren't somehow born with religious knowledge coded into our grey matter.)

It's entirely possible to have emotions, to enjoy them and to indulge in them once in awhile and still be a reasonable, rational human being. You're conscious of your emotions and your human tendency to drift towards unreason, and so you compensate via mental discipline.



There is many people in the our academia who argue that the abolishment of religion would be a good idea. I am too lazy to take the time to name names, but just reading this thread should show you there are those who do (and I doubt many of those people forumlated the idea on their own).

As for choosing to be emotional as a better choice to religion I have to ask why? Why trade a feel good philosophy to follow over solid logic just to satiate a non-belief in religion?


Look- I am not defending religion nor am I arguing against atheism/agnosticism. I am just saying there is a place for religion, and it's not this evil that many espouse it to be. I worst I think it is a neutral concept, and at best it is a reason for millions to have a set of ethics. Sure, it is vulnerable to abuses, but so would following your emotions. Many have emotions that could just as easily be perverted in a motivation for many types of evil.

I am Catholic, pretty much non-practicing and with a strong belief in self determination and as a result, I do not believe that any person should force their beliefs on another. I am one of the first to condemn Catholics who want to institute laws to enforce their values. I do believe that the state should teach use of birth control and condems (in the best interest of the state), and people should have the choice to sin. That is no person's job to stop another (with the exception of the state (e.g. law and order)).
 
2008-05-11 02:20:53 AM  
Hosebeatings:
Because you've apparently never even taken an introductory course on the subject, and are letting your preconceived notion that the only possible way to get people to behave is for an invisible sky wizard to say "do it or I'll farking spank you" get in the way of reality.


Sorry, but I have, and feel those arguments are justified against a population that is predeterminately cultured to believing those philosophies.

Perhaps, because I haven't taken an advanced ethics course this isn't sufficiently answered for me. That would be a better argument, and to that argument I could legitimately agree with.

Although, I do think you're argument is more ad hominem than is based on an actual answer, and as such just shows your own ability instead of engaging my actual argument.
 
2008-05-11 02:29:26 AM  
Scipio: Although, I do think you're argument is more ad hominem than is based on an actual answer, and as such just shows your own ability instead of engaging my actual argument.

If your argument is anything but "I believe you need an imaginary god to make people behave, and will dismiss anything to the contrary as 'personal choice' or 'illogial' because I'm predisposed in favor of morality and/or ethics being the result of religion," please prove me wrong. So far you're coming across as someone who doesn't grasp even the most basic concepts involved, but would rather find rationalizations to keep the invisible sky wizard in the equation.
 
2008-05-11 02:32:01 AM  
Scipio: "I will say you have given a good answer. I cannot say I am fully satisified."

Fair enough.

Scipio: "I cannot imagine myself seperate from the cultural programming I was brought up with."

I was brought up with the same cultural programming, yet here I am.

Scipio: "I can say, however, I can logical justify a lot of unethical practices, and if I was to act completely logically I could see it possible if brought up in such a culture."

First: Logic does not preclude emotion. It is entirely possible to be a logical person who enjoys and permits indulgence in emotion. The difference is that you do not let your emotions inform your decisions for the worse. It's like having a backseat driver, and learning to only take directions from them that you have good reason to think are accurate.

Secondly: It's also important to distinguish logic from reason. There is no line of valid reasoning which would lead you to commit the atrocities you described. Short term perhaps, but if fully reasoned out, it always winds up being a better idea to live within the social contract than outside of it.

Part of the reason religion endures is that it offers a very short line of reasoning that leads to the conclusion that we ought to behave morally; a faulty line of reasoning, but one that is sufficiently convincing that most people buy into it. The alternate line of reasoning is far longer, more involved, and requires either knowledge of or willingness to take at face value findings related to cognitive neurobiology, anthropology, sociology and so on. Only a small percentage will wind up with the education and patience necessary to take this route.

Scipio: "This is why I fail to believe that humans have an inborn bent to altruism. The effect of a cultural/societal programming is just to difficult to determine at this point."

I referenced studies conducted with both human and chimpanzee infants, free of cultural/societal programming. If you'd like to see some papers to this effect I'd be happy to dig them up, in the meantime have a look at this video and these articles:

Article 1
Article 2

Scipio: "The argument about society is a good argument, however. I would not want to destroy the society I would live in, nor do I believe that any logical being would want to do so. That does not mean, however, that a logical being wouldn't be happy to be in an unethical society. Sparta is a good example of an unethical society. The destruction of babies/children/some elderly that are no longer productive members of society are destoryed would be logical, but would be unethical."

Sparta was also an intensely religious society. It was not particularly logical, and certainly not reasonable. Those societies where reason prevails, ones where religion was not avolished forcibly but faded away on it's own (Sweden, Finland, Denmark, much of Scandinavia actually) have some of the highest standard of living indicies (including education, wealth, health and social equality) on the planet.

Seriously, while this is one line of reasoning that does have us conclude that it is better to behave lawfully, it's not why most non-religious people do so; it's simpler than that. With all of our needs met (as in the nations I mentioned) we not only tend to become irreligious, but we're able to freely act on altruistic instinct without personal considerations interfering. It's our conscience acting as an ethical autopilot that keeps us honest and altruistic so long as our basic needs are met.
 
2008-05-11 02:38:17 AM  
Oznog: And now we wait for the giiiiant aliens!

/Kinda has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

I was wondering when this reference would pop up


..."the enemy of my enemy is my friend"
 
2008-05-11 02:59:45 AM  
Hosebeatings: If your argument is anything but "I believe you need an imaginary god to make people behave, and will dismiss anything to the contrary as 'personal choice' or 'illogial' because I'm predisposed in favor of morality and/or ethics being the result of religion," please prove me wrong. So far you're coming across as someone who doesn't grasp even the most basic concepts involved, but would rather find rationalizations to keep the invisible sky wizard in the equation.

Sorry, but that is not my argument at all. My argument was not at all in defense of religion except to the point it do not harm. I am not even arguing that religion is real. There are very good reasons as to why religion is false. I can admit that. My argument was simply that religion was a tool to enforce ethics, and I also had it hinged on the condition that religion and all entreaties thereof would be removed from our social programming. I am in no way rationalizing that anyone should keep a "sky god." I am saying that forcing a society to rid itself of religion leaves it open to a lack of ethics if forcing society to be logical is the ultimate goal.

You do understand "if-then" statements correct?

I hate two arguments.

The first was this:

Relgion is not harmful.

I fail to see how this is an argument for religion or anyone to believe in it.

The second was this:

If religion is removed and all derivatives thereof, then there will be no ethics from religion.
AND
If there an emphasis of logic as the only replacement for religion, then ethics would be abandoned.

In this argument, if I had dropped that second if-then statement, and went this route:

If religion is removed from society, then ethics would be abandoned.

Then your statement would hold water, and you would be correct in your condemnation of my argument, but it in no way is that my argument. If anything, I am refuting a pure logical society.

YOUR POINT IS MOOT.

Zamboro:

I do think that chimps can be condition by society (an example for chimps being conditioned is sign language), and I will argue that most children are cultured VERY early in age (toddlers are already learning language and what pleases their parents). I've seen those studies before, and my personal experience refutes makes me question them.

I do think we agree for the most part, however. What is reasonable isn't always logical, but many times is a better choice. I also think that someone can be non-religious and be a good person. I know many of them, and would defend them with my life.

I also agree that religion is a short cut to justifying in one's mind to being reasonable/ethical/moral.

I am simply saying that religion is not harmful (Mainly the earlier part that was a diatribe on war.)
, and that a society that is purely logical is harmful (mainly the second part of my post, I do realize I intertwined them some, which probably made it somewhat confusing).

This is different (in my mind, and I think as well as yours) from a society that is reasonable.
 
2008-05-11 03:02:26 AM  
Scipio: "There is many people in the our academia who argue that the abolishment of religion would be a good idea. I am too lazy to take the time to name names, but just reading this thread should show you there are those who do (and I doubt many of those people forumlated the idea on their own)."

No, I'd like to see some names. My contention here is that the majority of atheists at least with in the United states and certainly within the ranks of the politically active have a more well-reasoned and moderate view than you suppose. Perhaps you're taking jokes and barbs as sincere expression, but I don't see anyone except perhaps Jimmy Page who would advocate actual forcible abolishment of religion, and I'm not even certain he would. People surprise you.

Scipio: "As for choosing to be emotional as a better choice to religion I have to ask why? Why trade a feel good philosophy to follow over solid logic just to satiate a non-belief in religion?"

Not even sure what you're trying to say here. Please rephrase this?

Scipio: "Look- I am not defending religion nor am I arguing against atheism/agnosticism. I am just saying there is a place for religion, and it's not this evil that many espouse it to be."

I think you have an inaccurate idea of what the opposition's position is, first and foremost. Funny story: Did you know that Richard Dawkins vehemently opposed the title "Root of all Evil?" for his documentary, but the published insisted on it as a means of guaranteeing controversy and ratings? Even the much hated Dawkins holds a far milder position than many suppose.

Nobody's saying there's no room for religion, but it factually is so that there's nothing good or defensible about institutionalized unreason. It's faith itself, the notion that it's justifiable to hold a position that isn't supported by evidence, which I would single out as responsible for a great deal of suffering. It's not exclusive to religion, but no other construct has done so much to spread and reinforce the notion of faith as a foundation for belief. It's not a foundation for anything, and when it's used as one, when it informs decisions, it never fails to steer us wrong.

Scipio: "I worst I think it is a neutral concept, and at best it is a reason for millions to have a set of ethics."

What if it's a bad reason? What if it can be shown to be a bad reason convincingly enough that it falls out from under the feet of people who built their entire worldview on it? Isn't it wiser to build our houses upon a solid foundation rather than one that is so easy to undo?

Scipio: "Sure, it is vulnerable to abuses, but so would following your emotions. Many have emotions that could just as easily be perverted in a motivation for many types of evil."

It's more that reinforcing the idea that a position can be legitimately founded in part or whole upon faith sets us up to be subject to policies and laws which are based upon factually mistaken ideas, ones which are unassailable if we play along with the taboo against pointing out that faith is little more than selective credulity.

Scipio: "I am Catholic, pretty much non-practicing and with a strong belief in self determination and as a result, I do not believe that any person should force their beliefs on another."

High five? Personally I don't see how we could meaningfully distinguish the end result of determinism from that of free will without a time machine with which to test and re-test a person's reactions under the same conditions to see if they spontaneously made a different decision. Would it matter? We're not obligated to change laws we don't want to change. Even if we discovered ourselves to be purely deterministic machines, thus implying that we are not ultimately responsible for our actions, why would we stop prosecuting criminals? There's still a good, rational reason to do so; it facilitates harmonious living, makes us all safer, etcetera etcetera. Sometimes purely pragmatic reasons are all you need. And that's just the tip of the iceberg, I could go on about this for hours.

Scipio: "I am one of the first to condemn Catholics who want to institute laws to enforce their values. I do believe that the state should teach use of birth control and condems (in the best interest of the state), and people should have the choice to sin. That is no person's job to stop another (with the exception of the state (e.g. law and order))."

High five? Good for you? This doesn't somehow mean that Catholic beliefs aren't influencing the decisions of millions for the worse, even as we speak. That's precisely the position taken by most atheist polemicists, and it's a sound one.

By all means, continue to be reasonable, rational and ethical. But realize, that's what you're doing! Being reasonable, being rational, and being ethical. None of these flow from your supernatural beliefs; If anything your expression of religious beliefs is an articulation of your internal predisposition towards altruism; the imagery, the themes of love and forgiveness; you didn't learn that these were good from the Bible, they already appealed to you for purely natural, purely human reasons.
 
2008-05-11 03:07:25 AM  
Scipio: "I do think that chimps can be condition by society (an example for chimps being conditioned is sign language), and I will argue that most children are cultured VERY early in age (toddlers are already learning language and what pleases their parents). I've seen those studies before, and my personal experience refutes makes me question them."

Heh, you can actually see where you reconsidered your word usage.

So how young must they be to satisfy you? Can you be satisfied? Is there any possible condition under which you could be disconvinced of your conclusions? That's a pretty important answer, one I'm going to need if any meaningful progress is to be made.

Scipio: "I do think we agree for the most part, however. What is reasonable isn't always logical, but many times is a better choice. I also think that someone can be non-religious and be a good person. I know many of them, and would defend them with my life."

Reasonable decisions are informed by logic, just not exclusively. What I'm trying to get you to realize is that there's a down and dirty reason why human beings instinctively lean towards altruism even without getting into lines of reasoning which support it; You seem to have a powerful sense of cynicism to the effect that humans are inherently bad; A great deal of very solid science contradicts this. Will your cynicism be diminished in light of this, or will you hold fast to it and instead dismiss the science as somehow mistaken?
 
2008-05-11 03:15:06 AM  
Scipio

RELIGIOUS belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, according to research published today.

According to the study, belief in and worship of God are not only unnecessary for a healthy society but may actually contribute to social problems.

The study counters the view of believers that religion is necessary to provide the moral and ethical foundations of a healthy society.


Article: Link (new window)

Actual Study: Link (new window)
 
2008-05-11 03:18:59 AM  
Scipio: My argument was simply that religion was a tool to enforce ethics, and I also had it hinged on the condition that religion and all entreaties thereof would be removed from our social programming.

A "tool" that you claim is absolutely required:

I fail to see how a logical being could justify having any code of ethics above self betterment in the absence of a type of divine retribution. Sure, an individual may choose to, and some may, but I truly do not believe that most people would choose that route once religion and religious ideals were totally removed from society.

Remember that part? You're contradicting yourself.

I am in no way rationalizing that anyone should keep a "sky god."

Horsehockey. Your own next statement contradicts this.

I am saying that forcing a society to rid itself of religion leaves it open to a lack of ethics if forcing society to be logical is the ultimate goal.

This is a rationalization in favor of keeping their invisible sky wizard.

Relgion is not harmful.

False. Religion causes harm on a daily basis. See the witch hunts, Catholic priest pedophilia, muslim suicide bombers, etc.

If religion is removed and all derivatives thereof, then there will be no ethics from religion.
AND
If there an emphasis of logic as the only replacement for religion, then ethics would be abandoned.

In this argument, if I had dropped that second if-then statement, and went this route:

If religion is removed from society, then ethics would be abandoned.


Except that you strongly imply this with statements where you claim (or merely can't comprehend that) people will immediately become backstabbers in the absence of religion, and that religion is absolutely necessary as the foundation of a "code of ethics above self betterment." You're doubletalking and making appeals to fear, not proving a point.

Again, take a real look at utilitarianism and you'll see how wrong you are. No invisible sky wizards are required, and it promotes the advancement of the greater good through logical means.
 
2008-05-11 03:21:38 AM  
Zamboro:

I am not going to argue whether or not people want to abolish religion. If they do not, then there my argument is moot and I will let it rest.

I am not going to argue the existence of God. The lack of evidence is not necessarily proof of lack of existence. There is a lack of evidence for evolution (e.g. the fossil record), but I do not think that is proof of the contrary. Science cannot prove nor disprove religion, at least in the most simple form (that God is a supreme diety that creates and destroys and judges the dead).

I will also say that if you can prove to find a solid foundation for ethics that cannot be subverted in any way, then I am all ears. I do not see how that is possible apart from a society that is purely logical. I can still justify a war against someone on the basis of resources, wealth, freedom, safety, protection of societal norms, etc.

Also, I do think that individuals that stir the pot in order to create religious hostility against non-believers are wrong and society should take action against them (that is in the interest of society).

Honestly, unless you want to argue that you can create a set of ethics that are as fervently followed outside of religion that cannot be usurped by another's will, then I doubt we have much to debate. Sure, we could argue you can create some that are not as susceptible, but that's futile imho.

Finally, I should have used free will instead of self-determination. I just got off of a 40hr work week, and have to work 12hr shifts all weekend, so that's my excuse for those stupid mistakes ;)
My point in that little commentary, was just to let everyone who was reading to see where I was coming from. Not to get anyone's nod of approval. I just believed at that point it might have helped.
 
2008-05-11 03:29:58 AM  
Zamboro: Jgok: "Condescending or not, it's true."

I didn't mean to assert otherwise, only make an observation. The important question is why some people need it, if indeed they do.


I know, I was just stating my opinion on the matter of religion. Some need it, some don't. Of those that don't need it, some think they do, some choose it for aesthetics, and some just haven't been tested as to how well they'd do without it. That last is a particularly big segment of the religious population, I believe... The folks who were raised in religion and stay there simply because that's what they know.

I think some people just need to believe in something bigger than themselves (or bigger than humanity in general). I mean, I have my own religious beliefs, and I don't really care if they're right or wrong, nor do I force them on others. I don't believe that religion is necessary to define morality, but some people do. In fact, some people that I know have called me immoral based on their religious beliefs, when in fact they continue to do such things as embezzle from their employers.

I think 'religion' is something different for everyone. Some see their religion as the sole reason for living, some see it as a social event where they dress up for gatherings, some see it as an excuse to sin so that they can be forgiven, and some just have a belief system that they enjoy. (I fall in the very last category, as an FYI to anyone wondering.)
 
2008-05-11 03:30:14 AM  
Scipio: Honestly, unless you want to argue that you can create a set of ethics that are as fervently followed outside of religion that cannot be usurped by another's will, then I doubt we have much to debate. Sure, we could argue you can create some that are not as susceptible, but that's futile imho.

Do you not understand that religious ethics are just as man made and prone to error as all other systems?
 
2008-05-11 03:36:07 AM  
I have disproven both of your claims Scipio. Welcome to the dark side.

Good night.
 
2008-05-11 03:41:50 AM  
Scipio: "I am not going to argue whether or not people want to abolish religion. If they do not, then there my argument is moot and I will let it rest."

It's not a binary proposition. A few do. Most do not.

Scipio: "I am not going to argue the existence of God. The lack of evidence is not necessarily proof of lack of existence."

Actually within formal logic and the overlapping portions of scientific methodology, it really is; The absence of evidence for H1 is not evidence for H2, it's tenative evidence for H0. This contradicts common sense, but science has a habit of doing just that.

Scipio: "There is a lack of evidence for evolution (e.g. the fossil record), but I do not think that is proof of the contrary. Science cannot prove nor disprove religion, at least in the most simple form (that God is a supreme diety that creates and destroys and judges the dead)."

Actually, I wrote something on this fairly recently that you'd probably get a lot out of. Of course you're not obligated to agree, but see if you're not compelled by it?

Zamboro: "The charge that atheism is based upon faith is underlied by two supporting suppositions; the first is that atheism entails absolute certainty that no god exists, and that the existence of such a being cannot be absolutely disproven.

Part of this misunderstanding stems from the fact that most people making the argument don't distinguish between an absolute standard of proof/disproof and a probabilistic one. The difference is that in order to satisfy an absolute standard of disproof with regards to god, you would need to prove that no such being had ever existed at any point in space at any point in history in any dimension or alternate reality. Likewise in order to prove the existence of God to an absolute standard, you would need to locate the entity and prove with 100% certainty that it's the only deity in existence and that it's not an illusion, a collective hallucination, or a 4-d projection courtesy of interdimensional aliens playing a cruel practical joke on us, or any of the infinite potential possibilities. As you can tell by this point, this standard is impossible to satisfy either way, as any good scientist will tell you that one cannot be 100% certain of anything no matter how well supported by evidence it may be. This is why science makes use of a probabilistic standard, in which absolute proof/disproof is not required but instead sufficient evidence to show that the veracity of a hypothesis is 90+% probable, depending on how stringent the conditions for proof are. Religion on the other hand makes use of an absolute standard of disproof re: God precisely because it's impossible to satisfy, while making use of either an extremely lax standard of proof or none whatsoever. One needn't prove the existence of God in order to justify belief, according to the theistic apologist, but one must prove to an absolute standard that God does not exist in order to justify disbelief. The double standard is evident.

On to the second issue; that God's existence cannot be disproven to an absolute standard is obvious, because no proposition (even one as thoroughly disproven by modern DNA testing and archaeology as the Mormon claim that native americans are a lost tribe of Israelites) can ever be proven false to an absolute standard. It's impossible to satisfy, even in principle. However, if we hold it instead to a probabilistic standard of proof/disproof, we're able to get somewhere. We cannot be 100% certain there is no God, but that doesn't mean there's a 50% chance by default that he does exist, probability doesn't work that way (even if you accept as the only two options that the Christian god exists or none exist) Because we cannot technically be 100% certain of anything (as I explained above) science is not based upon certainties but probabilities instead. We come to rest at whatever provisional conclusion appears most probable given the currently available evidence. Right now, that conclusion is atheism. It could change with new evidence, of course, which is what makes this conclusion a rational one and not a dogma."


Eh? Eh?

Scipio: "I will also say that if you can prove to find a solid foundation for ethics that cannot be subverted in any way, then I am all ears. I do not see how that is possible apart from a society that is purely logical. I can still justify a war against someone on the basis of resources, wealth, freedom, safety, protection of societal norms, etc."

It's kind of a cheat, but I can simply point out that whether or not there's a conscious path of reasoning that supports ethical living without the possibility of subversion, we're all deeply subject to the influence of our conscience. We have an altruistic instinct that, all needs met, will unfailingly compel us to kindness. We learn to ignore our conscience in order to behave unethically, rather than learning to have a conscience from some holy text.

Scipio: "Also, I do think that individuals that stir the pot in order to create religious hostility against non-believers are wrong and society should take action against them (that is in the interest of society)."

Eh, I don't think so. It's their right to do so as long as it's within the provisions of free speech. I'll only get out of my chair and move against them when they cross the line and begin to act on it, either on an interpersonal level or in politics. Short of that, they have every right to speak out against whatever it is they dislike. That principle is one of the foundational ideals of the United States, after all; whatever she may have become, the secular enlightenment principles upon which America was founded remain some of the most supremely well reasoned and ethical ones ever formulated.

Scipio: "Honestly, unless you want to argue that you can create a set of ethics that are as fervently followed outside of religion that cannot be usurped by another's will, then I doubt we have much to debate. Sure, we could argue you can create some that are not as susceptible, but that's futile imho."

There are 30+ million atheists in the United States alone. By all accounts statistical, sociological and otherwise, they are some of the most lawful people you could hope to meet.

For a more cosmopolitan look at the secular experiment and it's tenative results, read this article.

Scipio: "Finally, I should have used free will instead of self-determination. I just got off of a 40hr work week, and have to work 12hr shifts all weekend, so that's my excuse for those stupid mistakes ;)"

Oh sure, some of your sentence structures tipped me off; it's still fair to replace self determination with free will, as what I wrote in response still applies.

Scipio: "My point in that little commentary, was just to let everyone who was reading to see where I was coming from. Not to get anyone's nod of approval. I just believed at that point it might have helped."

Who doesn't want to be understood?
 
2008-05-11 03:41:58 AM  
Zamboro:

Heh, you can actually see where you reconsidered your word usage.


Is that wrong?

So how young must they be to satisfy you? Can you be satisfied? Is there any possible condition under which you could be disconvinced of your conclusions? That's a pretty important answer, one I'm going to need if any meaningful progress is to be made.

I would say an infant would be a fairly safe bet.

Scipio: "I do think we agree for the most part, however. What is reasonable isn't always logical, but many times is a better choice. I also think that someone can be non-religious and be a good person. I know many of them, and would defend them with my life."

Reasonable decisions are informed by logic, just not exclusively. What I'm trying to get you to realize is that there's a down and dirty reason why human beings instinctively lean towards altruism even without getting into lines of reasoning which support it; You seem to have a powerful sense of cynicism to the effect that humans are inherently bad; A great deal of very solid science contradicts this. Will your cynicism be diminished in light of this, or will you hold fast to it and instead dismiss the science as somehow mistaken?

I would say it is fair to say I am cynical about inborn altruism in humans, but at the same time I do think the science so far has failed to successful create a environment free of outside influences. I realize that is nigh to impossible, but that doesn't make it any the less a fair criticism.

Hosebeatings: Scipio: My argument was simply that religion was a tool to enforce ethics, and I also had it hinged on the condition that religion and all entreaties thereof would be removed from our social programming.

A "tool" that you claim is absolutely required:

I fail to see how a logical being could justify having any code of ethics above self betterment in the absence of a type of divine retribution. Sure, an individual may choose to, and some may, but I truly do not believe that most people would choose that route once religion and religious ideals were totally removed from society.

Remember that part? You're contradicting yourself.


I did not say it was "absolutely required," and as to your evidence of me saying so; it was in reference to a pure logical society. That is not to say you could create a society in an attempt to use social pressures, and I will say that will not be as strong as religion, but that is a far cry from absolutely necessary. Nor am I saying that having an ethical society is required.


I am in no way rationalizing that anyone should keep a "sky god."

Horsehockey. Your own next statement contradicts this.

I am saying that forcing a society to rid itself of religion leaves it open to a lack of ethics if forcing society to be logical is the ultimate goal.

This is a rationalization in favor of keeping their invisible sky wizard.

No that is not rationalization for keeping it, just rationalization for not exterminating it. I do not have to rationalize keeping the Statue of Liberty, but I can rationalize why not to bother tearing it down.

Relgion is not harmful.

False. Religion causes harm on a daily basis. See the witch hunts, Catholic priest pedophilia, muslim suicide bombers, etc.


That's awesome evidence right there. You give me evidence that has so many other factors as for causes, and you try to tell me that since they all have religion in common it MUST be the cause of them all. So religion is the reason for pedophilia, suicide bombers, ethinic persecution? Good luck proving it wasn't any number of the other causes for each of them.

If religion is removed and all derivatives thereof, then there will be no ethics from religion.
AND
If there an emphasis of logic as the only replacement for religion, then ethics would be abandoned.

In this argument, if I had dropped that second if-then statement, and went this route:

If religion is removed from society, then ethics would be abandoned.

Except that you strongly imply this with statements where you claim (or merely can't comprehend that) people will immediately become backstabbers in the absence of religion, and that religion is absolutely necessary as the foundation of a "code of ethics above self betterment." You're doubletalking and making appeals to fear, not proving a point.

Again, take a real look at utilitarianism and you'll see how wrong you are. No invisible sky wizards are required, and it promotes the advancement of the greater good through logical means.


I am sorry, but why would I choose to believe in utilitarianism? What force is going to ensure I follow it? If utilitarianism was universal, then we would have no problems. The evidence of evil proves that utilitarianism isn't universal. Therefore you have to prove you have a better way to enforce this set of moral codes on society when everyone isn't looking. Otherwise, my argument still holds. Utilitarianism is still a choice. I can choose to follow that philosophy just as I choose to follow the philosophy of a religion.
 
2008-05-11 03:44:47 AM  
i hate jimmy page: Scipio

RELIGIOUS belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, according to research published today.

According to the study, belief in and worship of God are not only unnecessary for a healthy society but may actually contribute to social problems.

The study counters the view of believers that religion is necessary to provide the moral and ethical foundations of a healthy society.

Article: Link (new window)

Actual Study: Link (new window)


Sorry, but once again, correlation doesn't equal causation. That study is based purely on correlation. That has never cut it; I will admit it does raise questions, but that is a far cry from proof.
 
2008-05-11 03:54:19 AM  
Zamboro:
Scipio: "I am not going to argue the existence of God. The lack of evidence is not necessarily proof of lack of existence."

Actually within formal logic and the overlapping portions of scientific methodology, it really is; The absence of evidence for H1 is not evidence for H2, it's tenative evidence for H0. This contradicts common sense, but science has a habit of doing just that.


H0 would imply a third or tertiary conclusion. H2 would be the conclusion that religion does not exist. So what would our tertiary conclusion be?

Scipio: "There is a lack of evidence for evolution (e.g. the fossil record), but I do not think that is proof of the contrary. Science cannot prove nor disprove religion, at least in the most simple form (that God is a supreme diety that creates and destroys and judges the dead)."

Actually, I wrote something on this fairly recently that you'd probably get a lot out of. Of course you're not obligated to agree, but see if you're not compelled by it?


Like I said, I am not arguing against evolution, and you would be preaching to the choir, but I would be interested in hearing what you wrote. I've argued more than my fair share with those trying to get them to believe in evolution, and this is a sticking point so any help overcoming that would be great.
 
2008-05-11 04:02:01 AM  
Scipio: "H0 would imply a third or tertiary conclusion. H2 would be the conclusion that religion does not exist. So what would our tertiary conclusion be?"

Excuse me, I'll clarify: H0 is the null hypothesis. H1 is the conclusion that a particular deity exists. H2 can be essentially any alternative you like, that's besides the point; within logic/scientific methdology, absence of evidence actually is evidence of absence. It's one thing to contest the rules, but you're not going to change them in the course of this discussion, so can we agree to work within the existing framework of logic/science?

Scipio: "Like I said, I am not arguing against evolution, and you would be preaching to the choir, but I would be interested in hearing what you wrote. I've argued more than my fair share with those trying to get them to believe in evolution, and this is a sticking point so any help overcoming that would be great."

It wasn't about evolution, and I already quoted the entire thing in my last post. Did you not see it?
 
2008-05-11 04:51:16 AM  
Zamboro: Scipio: "H0 would imply a third or tertiary conclusion. H2 would be the conclusion that religion does not exist. So what would our tertiary conclusion be?"

Excuse me, I'll clarify: H0 is the null hypothesis. H1 is the conclusion that a particular deity exists. H2 can be essentially any alternative you like, that's besides the point; within logic/scientific methdology, absence of evidence actually is evidence of absence. It's one thing to contest the rules, but you're not going to change them in the course of this discussion, so can we agree to work within the existing framework of logic/science?


Of course, H0 can mean a lot of different things depending on the science/math/logic at hand (and even text). Not sure if you meant that to be condenscending, but I will assume it was not.

I will say you are correct it is evidence, but still that is different from a conclusion.

Scipio: "Like I said, I am not arguing against evolution, and you would be preaching to the choir, but I would be interested in hearing what you wrote. I've argued more than my fair share with those trying to get them to believe in evolution, and this is a sticking point so any help overcoming that would be great."

It wasn't about evolution, and I already quoted the entire thing in my last post. Did you not see it?


Sorry, assumed you meant it was about evolution since it was in reference to that quote. I do not think science has to prove it absolutely, but the only real evidence that science has against a deity is the aforementioned lack of evidence. Science can disprove particular texts or claims of particular religions, but the overall existence of a deity I do not see science disproving since, by most definitions it is untestable by any earthly means, and it is by those means that science tests (and I do believe that is obvious).

Any evidence science gives can simply be contradicted by an assumption of said supreme deity does not want to be discovered, and being supreme and all powerful this would mean that science would fail.

There is no way that science can test for something that is beyond earthly measurement or description, and by definition God would be above that, and presumably above consisting of matter or energy even. The infinite possibilities that a diety could be made up of, of the planes of existence it could exist, and the very fact of a deity having supreme power to manipulate at will any results voids any scientific testing. This isn't an absolute standard, but simply a standard of a lack of definition, since by most religious texts there is little definition of what/where God exactly is at, and this is doubly so if a religion takes on a figurative or interpretive view of its holy texts.

Simply, I cannot look for a Klailikael since I have no idea what is, where it could possibly be, or any real consistent behavior. Nor could any scientist prove or disprove it. It's futile on anyone's part. That is where belief comes in. In the abscence of evidence and testablility it is on the individual to believe whether it is there or not.
 
2008-05-11 05:16:02 AM  
http://www.crystalskull.net/Products_1.html (pops)

How many crystal skulls do you require?
 
2008-05-11 05:39:27 AM  
the_chief: It belongs in a museum.

you win, sir
 
2008-05-11 09:53:51 AM  
From the altar of Fark. Which would you choose?

img104.imageshack.us
 
2008-05-11 10:01:17 AM  
Scipio: I do not think science has to prove it absolutely, but the only real evidence that science has against a deity is the aforementioned lack of evidence.

Practically, what else does one need? It is unrealistic to go around the entire universe looking for the existence of a black swan in order to say, "There is no such thing as a black swan." All you have to do is look around at what is currently known, and if you observe no black swan you can say, "There is currently no evidence of a black swan, so why bother to assume they exist?" If a black swan shows up in the future, you acknowledge it.

Any evidence science gives can simply be contradicted by an assumption of said supreme deity does not want to be discovered, and being supreme and all powerful this would mean that science would fail.

And going by that assumption, we end up at Last Thursdayism. (^) In which case, why trust anything about anything since, at a whim, this deity could just completely change the universe.

There is no way that science can test for something that is beyond earthly measurement or description, and by definition God would be above that, and presumably above consisting of matter or energy even.

I agree that it is outside the scope of science to talk about supernatural beings. Science is the study of nature, not the supernatural. However, we can logically tease these things out. Logically, the probability that a deity exists is non-zero. The possibility that a deity exists, however, is rather small considering the aforementioned lack of any evidence.

In the abscence of evidence and testablility it is on the individual to believe whether it is there or not.

It is up to the individuals to at least have beliefs that can be justified. If you have an opinion, you have an obligation to have it be well-informed and defensible. And that holds true whether you're a theist or atheist, so I don't mean to pick on one group or another with that statement. Some Christians and Jews and others can defend their beliefs well. Some atheists are just morons who don't seem to have the maturity or intelligence beyond that of a 12-year-old.
 
2008-05-11 12:09:40 PM  
Scipio: "I will say you are correct it is evidence, but still that is different from a conclusion."

A conclusion is drawn from available evidence.

Scipio: "I do not think science has to prove it absolutely, but the only real evidence that science has against a deity is the aforementioned lack of evidence."

Not so; where we assumed the necessity of a creator prior to our ability to explain natural phenomena with science, there is now little or nothing we cannot demonstrate a natural mechanism for. In short, things appear to have formed naturally, so they probably did. There's no reason to assume otherwise unless evidence of supernatural creation is forthcoming.

I'd also bring up up the anthropic principle and point out that 99.9999+% of this universe is instantly lethal to human life (and indeed any form of life as we know it) and even the majority of our planet's surface is inhospitable to humans. This and a great deal of other aspects of the natural world are inconsistent with the notion that it was created for our sake, just as we can point to aspects of the human body which refute the creationist claim that it was intelligently designed.

Scipio: "Science can disprove particular texts or claims of particular religions, but the overall existence of a deity I do not see science disproving since, by most definitions it is untestable by any earthly means, and it is by those means that science tests (and I do believe that is obvious)."

"Overall existence of a deity"? Which deity would that be, and who sincerely worships it? It seems that people privately believe in specific deities, and then trot out this intentionally vague all-purpose deity only for the sake of argument, because it offers fewer footholds for polemic.

The fact is that under every definition I've heard, a deity has four properties; omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and unknowable. Nevermind that we are told these very specific things about God, only to be then told that we cannot know anything about him (although that's just a bit suspicious, isn't it?) For the sake of argument let's at least assume he's omnipresent. This means he's not "somewhere out there" waiting to be found, his presence can be tested for right here on Earth. Most moderate theists refuse to set conditions for proof or disproof, or even to propose a test; they have no interest in enabling science to evaluate the theistic hypothesis out of a fearful suspicion that perhaps their God really does not exist after all. However that has not stopped many from putting forth modern arguments for the existence of God which include testable criteria, arguments such as 'Fine Tuning', which has since been discredited, just like every attempt before it. Whether this counts againt the possibility of God's existence or merely favors a universe with a God that is identical in appearance to one without, that's up to personal discretion; a reasonable person will at least concede that there's been a pattern of losses in the theistic apologism camp that stretches back for literally centuries, and that this strongly implies that there isn't any substance to the theistic hypothesis in the first place.

Scipio: "Any evidence science gives can simply be contradicted by an assumption of said supreme deity does not want to be discovered, and being supreme and all powerful this would mean that science would fail."

Is that a valid means of contradiction, though? No evidence has been provided. You've simply altered the imagined properties of an imagined being in order to thwart attempts to discredit it.

Science does not work that way; if a scientist proposes that there is a golden beetle living in the amazon with the ability to become invisible to human eyes and teleport from place to place, he will be expected to provide evidence to support his claim. He cannot demand that his colleagues remain undecided until such time as the entire Amazon forest has been cut down and dug up in order to prove that the beetle exists nowhere within it. If his colleagues should propose less drastic means of testing for the beetle such as thermal imaging, he cannot say "Oh but perhaps the beetle is able to regulate internal body temperature in order to match the surrounding environment?" There's no reason to suppose this; it's a transparent attempt at thwarting disproof. Likewise with claims that the beetle can alter it's shape and coloration to resemble common varieties of beetle, or that it shifts between dimensions whenever an attempt to observe it is made, or any other excuse the scientist can come up with in an effort to protect his claim from disproof.

Scipio: "There is no way that science can test for something that is beyond earthly measurement or description, and by definition God would be above that, and presumably above consisting of matter or energy even."

"By definition"? As in, not according to any evidence? Defining things as beyond human comprehension is easy, watch this: "There is a feathered pink lobster the size of Jupiter which orbits our solar system at a great distance. He is invisible, intangible, imperceptible to any instruments and he exerts no gravitational influence. Oh any by the way, he is beyond all human comprehension. I have no evidence to that effect, but it is true by definition".

What I'm getting at is that appealing to that which is beyond comprehension is an easy way to protect an unsupportable idea from scrutiny; the moment someone attempts to evaluate your claim, you can simply admonish them for presuming to test something that is 'beyond their comprehension'. Is it actually? Who knows, you never provided any evidence that it is. Besides which, how can we know that God is beyond human comprehension when we can't know anything about God?

Scipio: "The infinite possibilities that a diety could be made up of, of the planes of existence it could exist, and the very fact of a deity having supreme power to manipulate at will any results voids any scientific testing."

"Anything could be out there. Therefore, God is out there." Well, no, we don't know what's out there yet. Does this "leave room" for God? In the "God of the gaps" sense, sure. But then, we both know that's a fallacy. All we can be sure of is that in the area of space we've been able to observe thus far we have found no evidence of a deity; every phenomena assumed to necessitate a creator wound up being natural upon closer inspection; The weather, believed to be driven by Gods, ended up being natural. The formation of the Earth, believed to be the work of God, wound up being the result of accretion. Life as it currently exists? Evolution. The origin of life on Earth? Abiogenesis, though the supporting science is still in progress. The universe? Big bang, now proven to any reasonable person's satisfaction. Could you postulate a creator in spite of all this? Sure, but where would you put him? What is he needed for?

Scipio: "This isn't an absolute standard, but simply a standard of a lack of definition, since by most religious texts there is little definition of what/where God exactly is at, and this is doubly so if a religion takes on a figurative or interpretive view of its holy texts."

Yes, it is an absolute standard. There's no getting around that. It's also the case that most religious texts, at least Abrahamic ones, certainly do specify where God is "at"; everywhere. In other words provided the totality of available perceptive instruments, I ought to be able to test for the presence of God in my own livingroom. If I don't find such a being, even leaving out the refutations of the Fine Tuning argument, my own results would be at least tentative evidence that such a being does not exist; tentative, probabilistic evidence from which a provisional conclusion could be reasonably derived.
 
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