Reason and religion can co-exist - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Reason and religion can co-exist

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Posted: Friday, August 3, 2012 7:00 am

Although “coming out of the closet” normally requires a calculated risk for the one courageous enough to reveal their true identity, in America, it can hardly be seen as courageous, or a risk, since the closet door of atheism in this nation has been wide open, for decades.

Reasonably challenging Ms. Mease and the tenets of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is imperative for a nation, “So conceived and so dedicated” that it may continue to “long endure.” Ms. Mease and the FFRF want us to believe they just put up a few billboards in the northwest to reveal how normal the atheistic worldview is and how we can all get along. If our heads button up the back, that sounds fine. Here is what some of the billboards read: “The truth is real, God is imaginary” ... “Evidence and science trump myth—reason wins” ... and from an ex-minister, “Now preaching reason, not religion.”

The Press editorial for Aug. 1 suggests we in North Idaho should be “Grateful to the (FFRF) for their campaign to remind us that places of worship and government should never occupy the same space.” (As if that was their real agenda). The suggestion is that they are just a bunch of “Good Ole Boys” from the free thinking left, wanting to play in the sandbox with everyone else. Reality, however, reveals they are trying to put “old wine into new wineskins” — they continue using the same old rhetoric and weak science, not reason and evidence, with an underlying objective to tear down our nation’s Biblical foundations.

Ms. Mease states, “There is not one shred of scientific evidence that would show or prove there’s a being that doesn’t have to follow natural laws.”

Believers are obligated by Scripture to, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3: 15)

Given the guideline above, I ask you to allow me to respectfully offer a reasonable challenge to Ms. Mease and the FFRF: The universe itself is evidence that God exists. There are only three options to explain the existence of the universe. One, that it has always been. Two, that it created itself. Three, that it was created.

The first option, that the universe is eternal, has been utterly rejected by the scientific community. The motion of the galaxies, the background echo, point to a universe that sprang into existence at a particular point in time.

Option two, that the universe created itself, is philosophically impossible. Of course, before the universe existed it would not have been around to do the creating. Obviously, a non-existent universe could not have done anything. It did not exist. We all know that nothing can not do something. So option one and two can be thrown out on scientific and philosophical grounds.

Option three, that something or someone outside of the universe created the universe, is the option that both reason and the evidence point to.

Where is the evidence that “Matter by itself arranged itself into information?" According to Ms. Mease, in the last line of her article, “Once your reason is turned on, it is pretty hard to turn it off.” Let us continue to reason together.

Bob Holliday is a Post Falls resident.

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.

45 comments:

  • inclined posted at 3:43 pm on Sun, Aug 12, 2012.

    inclined Posts: 681

    “It is not because the truth is too difficult to see that we make mistakes... we make mistakes because the easiest and most comfortable course for us is to seek insight where it accords with our emotions - especially selfish ones.”

    Your selfishness chooses your philosophy, which kills whichever god doesn't feed your selfishness.

     
  • The Golden Mean posted at 11:12 am on Fri, Aug 10, 2012.

    The Golden Mean Posts: 4213

    "... that so-called increase in intelligence has put the earth on a fast track to destruction."

    How do you know this? And, are you suggesting that we are standing on the precipice of the Apocalypse?

     
  • Rationale posted at 4:19 pm on Thu, Aug 9, 2012.

    Rationale Posts: 1976

    Mahiun,

    In the other threads, comments just like the one GM made prove my point.

    As for your comment, GM, that so-called increase in intelligence has put the earth on a fast track to destruction. Yeah, REAL intelligent! Book smart, common sense stupid!

     
  • The Golden Mean posted at 6:02 pm on Tue, Aug 7, 2012.

    The Golden Mean Posts: 4213

    "1) Those with faith are less intelligent. No one has made this claim except YOU. You keep trying to make the claim that we have made this claim, and it is simply not true."

    But it could be that reality based earth people are smarter than their faith-based-soon-to-be immortal amigos...

    Professor Lynn, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Ulster University said many more members of the “intellectual elite” considered themselves atheists than the national average and a decline in religious observance over the last century was directly linked to a rise in average intelligence.

     
  • Mahiun posted at 5:29 pm on Tue, Aug 7, 2012.

    Mahiun Posts: 5641

    Ratty ---

    No, not straw man. Try admitting the truth.
    Yes, straw man. Or "windmill at which you can tilt and fight". Either way, it is entirely of your own making. You have created your own "enemy" or "opponent"; no one else has done this to you.

    Let's look at the "roundabout' accusations made here, shall we:
    We can do that, if you like, but it's going to be a very brief look, since there are no "roundabout accusations"...

    1) Those with faith are less intelligent.
    No one has made this claim except YOU. You keep trying to make the claim that we have made this claim, and it is simply not true.

    I have stated explicitly that I do not believe this. I have seen some pretty stupid actions and comments on here, and some of the people making those comments don't seem to have either the brains or the manners "God" gave a soda cracker. But as I have already stated several times, I do not believe that they are necessarily representative of their self-professed religion. I would certainly hope not.

    Statistically, however, it is true. It has been measured time and again, and each time, it comes out the same: the highly religious tend to measure substantially lower in IQ than non-believers. But this emphatically does NOT mean that there are no highly intelligent people who are also devout believers. It simply makes it less likely, but does not preclude it.

    I have, likewise, known some extremely intelligent --- I would even say "brilliant" --- people who have succumbed to other behaviour that made no sense to me, from drug abuse to sex addiction. Intelligence is not an infallible shield against behaviour that makes no sense to an outside observer....

    2) Those with faith have little to no critical thinking skills
    Again, no one but YOU has made this assertion, and you have done so in the same form: attempting to claim that others have made this claim, when they have not. That's the only context in which this "accusation" or "insinuation" has appeared; no one else has made it.

    Those with faith may have formidable critical-thinking skills, but by definition, they are not applied to faith. That is what makes it faith: it is not subject to critical analysis, it is belief in the absence of evidence or the presence of contrary evidence. It is belief in spite of or despite the lack of evidence, and that is not what critical thinking is. Critical thinking evaluates available evidence and draws conclusions from that; it does not reject or ignore available evidence that does not fit a pre-determined "desired outcome".

    3) God is merely a man-made device
    This is the first one you've put forward that has any basis in reality. Yes, this is the position of most atheists, but once again, it is based on evidence, rather than being an arbitrary conclusion or belief.

    4) Scientists are the smartest people, and because they can't prove God exists, he can't.
    This is the biggest bunch of bullish---- errrrr, "malarkey" --- you've put out yet! No, scientists are not necessarily the "smartest" people, but they are trained to think objectively and follow where the evidence leads, even if they don't personally like that direction --- something that many people find nearly impossible to do.

    The idea of "god" is a metaphysical construct that is neither provable nor falsifiable, scientifically. And no scientist I'm aware of has ever categorically stated that "God" does not or cannot exist. What they say, what they are very careful to say, is that the evidence does not indicate any reason to believe that "God" exists, that is extremely unlikely based on all available evidence, and that supernatural causes are (so far) unnecessary to explain the natural universe. We have not yet needed to invoke "God" as an explanation, and there's nothing (so far) to indicate that we're going to need to. "We don't know (yet)" is a perfectly acceptable answer to a scientist, because it inspires him/her to keep trying to find out. "We don't know, therefore it has to be 'God'" seems like such a limiting answer, because it teaches one to be satisfied with not knowing, not trying to find out, not asking the unanswerable questions.

    5) Those with faith think with their heart and not their brains.
    That is what it means to have faith, which is why, for so many centuries, the church has systematically characterized reason as "the enemy of faith" and sought to suppress intellectual curiosity, research, and exploration.

    Just because you sidestep saying words like stupid doesn't mean this isn't what you and the others are saying.
    Au contraire, that's exactly what it means. Just take it at face value, and quit trying to read something in that is simply not there. You are intent on "playing victim" here, and no one is attempting to victimize you --- several people, myself included, have in fact made several attempts to extend olive branches to you, and you'll have no part of it. Why not?

    What's even more amusing is that you put all your faith in mankind...
    Hardly. That's probably the last place I would place my faith or trust, especially these days!

    You say you can't find God...
    No. I've never said that. Not even once. Ever.

    I've said I cannot make the idea of "God" make sense. Not the same thing. Not at all.

    I'd say the likelihood of everything just happening spontaneously from nothing is more ridiculous than the thought of being created.
    And yet, that's exactly where all the evidence --- more every day! --- is pointing....

    ...it's pretty easy to ascertain that in this universe, we are probably one of the lower forms of life.
    I'd have to agree with you there, but perhaps that, too, is just wishful thinking. There's simply no way to know -- at least, not yet. Starfleet won't be founded for another many, many years.... ;-)

    But it remains a biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig leap to go from, "There are probably more advanced life forms and civilizations out there in the universe" to a supernatural being that somehow existed and exists outside the laws of the universe and somehow existed before existence existed. That's a colossal leap from simply positing more advanced beings than humans....


     
  • Humanist posted at 9:03 am on Tue, Aug 7, 2012.

    Humanist Posts: 3221

    Rationale: You are really getting hung up on the concept of "critical thinking". Unfortunately, you do not properly understand what critical thinking is. It does not mean "I am looking at this topic and thinking really hard about it". Rather, it is a defined method of analytical thinking.

    In the end, you are misusing the term "critical thinking" when applying it to your line of reasoning and the conclusions you reach. You abandon critical thinking and shift into using faith. When you say something like: "I'd say the likelihood of everything just happening spontaneously from nothing is more ridiculous than the thought of being created." that entire statement is based on opinion and emotion NOT on critical thinking. What science has deemed the most likely in that case IS, however, based on the methods of critical thinking.

    And I would prefer to think that us Atheists are simply more realistic than believers. But believers aren't stupid.

     
  • Rationale posted at 10:57 pm on Mon, Aug 6, 2012.

    Rationale Posts: 1976

    mahiun,

    No, not straw man. Try admitting the truth.

    Let's look at the "roundabout' accusations made here, shall we:

    1) Those with faith are less intelligent.
    2) Those with faith have little to no critical thinking skills
    3) God is merely a man-made device
    4) Scientists are the smartest people, and because they can't prove God exists, he can't.
    5) Those with faith think with their heart and not their brains.


    Just because you sidestep saying words like stupid doesn't mean this isn't what you and the others are saying. Just because people use p.c. terms and euphemisms doesn't change their intent or meaning. I'm not putting words into your mouths...you are saying it...you are simply saying it in a different way to lessen the blow.

    What's even more amusing is that you put all your faith in mankind, yet you wouldn't put faith into the idea that there just might be something greater out there. You say you can't find God...try looking around. The idea that everything was created by happenstance is absolutely more absurd than having a creator. Yet, the "intelligent" atheists think this is reasonable.

    Well, without thinking from the heart and actually using my brain, I'd say the likelihood of everything just happening spontaneously from nothing is more ridiculous than the thought of being created.

    Remember, I'm not advocating a specific religion...because that is where faith comes in. I am talking about a higher power...something greater than humans...and based on our poor performance on this earth, it's pretty easy to ascertain that in this universe, we are probably one of the lower forms of life.

    And that, Mahiun, is using critical thinking skills, because if we were to actually analyze humans and our existence, there is not much to be impressed about!

     
  • Mahiun posted at 6:49 pm on Mon, Aug 6, 2012.

    Mahiun Posts: 5641

    So what is stopping any scientist from claiming God exists and setting out to prove it?
    Nothing is stopping them! Which is why it has been attempted multiple time, over the centuries. And it cannot be conclusively proven, any more that your own existence can be conclusively proven. Ultimately, since the existence of "God" is neither demonstrable nor refutable, belief in "God" comes down to faith: belief in the absence of conclusive evidence. And disbelief comes down to a conclusion that there is not enough evidence, or compelling evidence, to warrant belief in "God".

    Belief rests on appeals to emotion, disregarding reason (not matter what your brain tells you is irrational, your heart tells you to believe, and you go with your heart). Non-belief rests on appeals to reason, disregarding emotion (no matter what your heart may wish were true, your brain tells you it is irrational, and you go with your brain). I suspect this is why some very highly intelligent people are able to nevertheless also be devout believers: they've gone with their heart on this one, even though they may go with their brain in other areas. And likewise, I suspect this is why some atheists can be some of the most tender and loving people you'll ever meet: in the area of religion or "god", they've gone with their brain, even though their heart may rule other areas of their lives.

    But to believe that humans are the most evolved beings to ever exist in all the galaxies in all the universe is nothing more than complete arrogance...and fear.
    But who believes this?! Is it not the Judaeo-Christians, who claim man to be created "in the image of" Yahweh, whom they believe to be the most high being? In other words, humans are the finite, corporeal version of the highest being that ever could exist? How is that not the hubris of placing mankind at the pinnacle of being??!

    In contrast, to be honest, I have never heard any atheist or any scientist ever claim that mankind is the greatest life form that does, or ever could, exist.

    But to claim humans are "the most evolved, most intelligent beings ever" is stupid.
    Yes, it would be. Which is why no thinking person would ever make that claim. And no one here is making that claim except YOU, who keeps trying to make that claim for the rest of us, and then claim that we are making it! YOU<?bL are making it, and falsely attributing it to us!

    Humans appear to be the most intelligent life form that we know of, on this planet --- but even that is now in question, as we dissever that there there are many different kinds and forms of intelligence. The most evolved? For what purpose, exactly? Certainly we are demonstrably not the strongest, the fastest, the best swimmers, the sharpest vision, the most nimble. Our brains are the only thing about us that appears to be "the most evolved", and as I mentioned, even that is now not certain. So no one, except <b>you, is attempting to make that claim of humans being the non plus ultra.

    You seem to somehow need this straw man, to provide you something to battle, but that's really all it is: a straw man of your own invention....

     
  • Humanist posted at 5:32 pm on Mon, Aug 6, 2012.

    Humanist Posts: 3221

    Quote Rationale: "So what is stopping any scientist from claiming God exists and setting out to prove it?"

    Absolutely nothing. And many have tried. None have been successful.

    With your logic, you are saying that since ANYTHING is possible, it therefore IS. We are saying that ANYTHING is possible, but until we have proof, it most likely ISN'T. Oddly enough, that's how our courts of law work too. :)

    Quote Rationale: "But to claim humans are "the most evolved, most intelligent beings ever" is stupid. "

    We are. That we currently know of. Of course it's absolutely possible that there are more intelligent beings in the universe. And that method of reasoning is not arrogance. It is critical thinking.

     
  • Rationale posted at 4:04 pm on Mon, Aug 6, 2012.

    Rationale Posts: 1976

    Mahiun,

    So what is stopping any scientist from claiming God exists and setting out to prove it? They won't be trying to prove a negative. Russell's claim of burden of proof is merely passing the buck because he cannot prove God exists nor disprove he exists. Seems to me, the vast majority of the planet believes in a higher power of some sort, so the burden of proof should be on those who claim otherwise.

    Given all the limitations of scientists (and humans), it seems stupid to place that much faith and power into them.

    The reality of it all is this: Scientists can only think on a rational, human plane. But to believe that humans are the most evolved beings to ever exist in all the galaxies in all the universe is nothing more than complete arrogance...and fear.

    I have no problem if people don't believe in a human-like higher power. But to claim humans are "the most evolved, most intelligent beings ever" is stupid. If we are "so smart and evolved" as a species, why are we killing ourselves off quicker than most other species? Funny, crocs and sharks have been around a lot longer...and with small brains!

    Simple question, Mahiun:

    Is it possible for another species in the universe to be more intelligent than humans?

     
  • The Golden Mean posted at 3:09 pm on Mon, Aug 6, 2012.

    The Golden Mean Posts: 4213

    "Religion, as Atheism is religion, is based on faith, not on reason"

    That's silly.

    I don't do the God trip because I don't get it. It doesn't make sense to me. Like how I don't understand square dancing or why people like it, but my lack of desire to square dance is not a dance in itself. It just me not square dancing.

    And this thing of making moral law the exclusive property of religion... who buys that? That logic was smashed the fist time a Christian committed a sin against a non-Christian. Or each time I donate to a group that helps religious people.

    Think about it.

     
  • DCIDAHO posted at 2:55 pm on Mon, Aug 6, 2012.

    DCIDAHO Posts: 2979

    Dude, you sure can ramble on without really saying anything

     
  • DCIDAHO posted at 2:54 pm on Mon, Aug 6, 2012.

    DCIDAHO Posts: 2979


    "LFC. "Religion, as Atheism is religion, is based on faith, not on reason," ---absolutely true"....No it's not..

    "Faith in the true sense a relationship cannot exist without reason. Faith in that sense demands reason" Huh?!?!?

    "Moral Law demands every component of the individual, mind, will and emotion" This is just silly.

    "It agrees with the law within every individual, to define the relationship it instructs as it's end."
    Conjecture and nonsense at that.

     
  • inclined posted at 1:32 pm on Mon, Aug 6, 2012.

    inclined Posts: 681

    LFC. "Religion, as Atheism is religion, is based on faith, not on reason," ---absolutely true.

    Faith in the true sense a relationship cannot exist without reason. Faith in that sense demands reason

    Moral Law demands every component of the individual, mind, will and emotion.

    It agrees with the law within every individual, to define the relationship it instructs as it's end.

     
  • DCIDAHO posted at 1:26 pm on Mon, Aug 6, 2012.

    DCIDAHO Posts: 2979

    So...whats that got to do with some god? Morality is contrived. Right and wrong is social perception and interpretation. There is no morality nor right and wrong, there is only personal and social action towards perception. There is only pain and not pain, yin and yang, reaction and no action. All else is contrived.

     
  • inclined posted at 11:21 am on Mon, Aug 6, 2012.

    inclined Posts: 681

    DC. Why is it that when the dog bites we don't talk about right and wrong, we just put it down?
    Why is man a different animal? Why does man universally have guilt and shame punish and reward?

    "Anything that was perverse and silly would be Kids in the Hall."
    Kevin McDonald

     
  • inclined posted at 11:06 am on Mon, Aug 6, 2012.

    inclined Posts: 681

    "Praise Jesus!" said the Priest
    "Thank God!" said the Rabbi
    "You're welcome" said the Atheist..." says god.

    Atheism, as a religion, has man as supreme, as god.

    "No. You still don't get it..." "Even if you substitute 'man" as 'god', there's still that whole concept of 'god', of something 'over and above', transcendent, supreme above all else. That's not it."...says god.

    M. You do not get it.

    Can't god play dumb if he wants to?
    Can't god call black, white?
    Can't god say up is down?
    Can't god, who makes the final analysis the deciding opinion that definitive "Period, End of story"
    judgment, say he is not saying "Period, End of story" because he can and we are supposed to bow?

     
  • Mahiun posted at 11:05 am on Mon, Aug 6, 2012.

    Mahiun Posts: 5641

    To all those spouting science as "proof," every renowned scientist, and every science teacher I've had in school, claims that science proves nothing. It only disproves.

    No, you have it right, Ratty --- insofar as you've taken it. But you haven't thought it through, you've just dropped it, like a grenade. into the middle of the discussion and waited for it to explode and incinerate your opponents. But it won't.

    First, you haven't thought through exactly why science cannot prove, but only disprove. It's actually pretty simple: it's not possible for us to test and verify that something holds true always, in every part of the universe, and all conditions and circumstances, throughout all time. As temporal beings with limited mobility, we can't be everywhere and in all time, to empirically verify that.

    But all if takes is one single exception to DISprove something. All it would take is one clearcut example wherein gravity does ,b>not apply, to disprove the Law of Gravity. All if would take is one clearcut example of something with mass traveling faster than light to DIS;prove the notion that nothing with mass can travel faster than light. And so on and so on, and so on.

    Now, before we move on to discuss how this applies to "god", let's take a look at the second area in which you haven't really thought this completely through. The other half of the Prove/Disprove coin is that the common (but mistaken) idea that it's not possible to prove a negative --- for science or anyone else. Most people who make this assertion do not go on to explain what they mean by it, as there are multiple styles or kinds of "proving a negative". In the context of proving/disproving the existence of "god", the most frequent are:
    [*] Evidence of absence -- you can demonstrate and prove that there's no milk in the fridge, but this technique of "proving a negative" cannot be successfully applied to the metaphysical.
    [*] Modus tollens --- if the premise implies the consequent, and the consequent is false, then the premise must also be false. This can be applied to metaphysical arguments, but there is not room to do so here.
    [*] Proof of impossibility -- this is a mathematical proof, and doesn't really apply in a metaphysical or philosophical situation.
    [*] Unfair burden of proof -- mostly a legal term, in which the burden of proof is shifted from plaintiff to the defendant to prove a negative, in the event of clear evidentiary inequity. This could apply to a metaphysical argument, depending on how it's applied.
    [*] Russell's teapot --- THIS is the one that has the most direct applicability to religious/metaphysical arguments, since it was originally put forth by Bertrand Russell specifically in that context. Russell's position is that the burden of proof lies with the philosophic person making scientifically unfalsifiable claims. The example he gives is that if I were to claim that there is a giant china teapot orbiting the Sun, between Earth and Mars but directly opposite Earth so that we cannot se it, it would be nonsensical for me to expect others to believe me simply because they cannot prove it to be untrue.

    And that is the applicability to the whole "god" question. It is an equally weak position for theists to expect others to believe their claims of "god" simply because they cannot be proven untrue. The burden of proof lies with those making claims of "god", since they are the ones making a scientifically unfalsifiable claim.

    But if that's your argument, then reproduce the "Big Bang." Hasn't happened yet...
    Yes, it has, actually.... The Hadron Collider experiments, which confirmed the existence of the Higgs-Boson, almost exactly reproduced the conditions of the Big Bang. That was the whole point.

    But what does that have to do with proving or disproving "god"?

    Happenstance...what a theory! Conditions were only perfect once in trillions of years in this galaxy for everything to just appear.
    No! Emphatically NO --- not "happenstance", not "happenstance" at all! The universe that we know happened as it had to, given the "laws of physics" created by the Big Bang. There is nothing "happenstance" about it.

    But you're committing another, possibly even more serious, logical fallacy: you are assuming the present form of life and the universe as a target goal which then necessitates a Gantt-chart-type project plan, working backward from the target goal to ensure that conditions are properly met, resources properly allocated, and schedules properly adhered to, in order to achieve that target goal. This is exactly backward: instead, think of the present form of life and the universe as the outcome or result of the conditions found in the universe as we know it. Did the universe "set about" to create life? We don't know, and atheists are comfortable with not knowing --- theists, evidently, not so much.

    Or, life as we know it may have been inevitable, given the conditions that existed. But life as a target goal requiring the arrangement of conditions in order to achieve the goal, is an unjustified logical stretch.

    So yes: humans, platypus, clouds, snakes, mosquitoes, cacti --- all of them are responses to existing conditions (that does NOT mean that those responses were "happenstance"; they were not), rather than being goals requiring that certain conditions be met in order to achieve the goals.

    ...there's no possible way for them to believe that they, themselves, could have actually been created by someone or something.
    Well, this introduces the conundrum of Infinite Regression. If everything that exists must have been created by something of great sophistication, and if everything that exists must also have been created by something that exists, then...
    1. ...if "God" is the creator, he/she/it must exist.
    2. ...this means that, if God exists, he/she/it must have been created by something even greater, which must also exist (in order to have created "God").
    3. "God's" Creator must have been created by something even greater, which must also exist.
    4. And so on, into infinity.

    Otherwise, where do you stop?! WHY do you stop?! If "God" gets a free ride as "Uncreated Creator", then why not just cut out the middleman and go for "Uncreated Universe", which is where all the latest evidence seems to be pointing, anyway? Why add that unnecessary extra layer of anthropomorphic deity?

     
  • Humanist posted at 9:56 am on Mon, Aug 6, 2012.

    Humanist Posts: 3221

    But yet it is the primary reason that Atheists are one of the most hated groups in America. Some people simply think that people cannot be good without god since they believe the source of all morality is god. Therefore non-believers must be immoral and evil. It's a sad state of affairs.

     
  • DCIDAHO posted at 6:40 am on Mon, Aug 6, 2012.

    DCIDAHO Posts: 2979

    You make the erroneous assumption that laws, morality, "right" doing, can only precipitate from god-based authority. That’s just plain silly.

     
  • Rationale posted at 9:46 am on Sun, Aug 5, 2012.

    Rationale Posts: 1976

    To all those spouting science as "proof," every renowned scientist, and every science teacher I've had in school, claims that science proves nothing. It only disproves.

    I could be wrong...but that is what the scientists have been preaching.

    But if that's your argument, then reproduce the "Big Bang." Hasn't happened yet...what are you afraid of? Go ahead...create the Big bang. And if you refuse, then your theory is not verifiable, and is therefore, moot.

    Happenstance...what a theory! Conditions were only perfect once in trillions of years in this galaxy for everything to just appear. Trillions of years...and yet, the universe hasn't replicated the conditions. Even better theory: all life sprang from this one event...which means humans, clouds, snakes, platypus, mosquitos, cactus, skunks, and every living, breathing life form all came from this single happenstance theory. Yup, only "intelligent," common sensical people can see that!

    It's ironic...scientists and Atheists are always claiming they must be able to "create" the proper conditions for everything to occur...but when it comes creating life...there's no possible way for them to believe that they, themselves, could have actually been created by someone or something.

    Atheist and scientist: "You can't prove God exists, you can't recreate the conditions or verify him, therefore he doesn't exist."

    Average person: "But you can't prove your happenstance theory, you can't recreate the conditions or verify them, therefore your theory can't be proven.

    Atheist and Scientist: "There's a difference."

    Average person: "And what would that be?"

    Atheist and Scientist: "We are smarter and have more common sense than you, so you should believe us."

    So if there is no higher being, why don't we simply live by nature's rules...survival of the fittest. If you have something I want, I'll fight to the death to take it from you. No such thing as murder, rape, pedophilia, stealing...no laws...no "crimes."

    Who are you answering to?...because the animals survive quite well without answering for their instinctive behaviors, so to argue it is for the bettterment of humanity is ridiculous.

    If there is no higher law...no one to answer to...and no real reason to have laws when animals survive quite well...then why have laws?

    Laws are only implemented because you have to answer to someone above you in a position of authority. So if no one is above humans, then why should I care?

     
  • LisetteFC posted at 9:06 am on Sun, Aug 5, 2012.

    LisetteFC Posts: 1

    Religion is based on faith, not on reason. I prefer an ugly truth to a pretty lie. So am I favor truth (science, provable facts, repeatable results as evidence) over superstition or faith.

     
  • Humanist posted at 9:15 pm on Sat, Aug 4, 2012.

    Humanist Posts: 3221

    VERY well said Mahuin. That echoes my feelings on that topic.

     
  • The Golden Mean posted at 6:40 pm on Sat, Aug 4, 2012.

    The Golden Mean Posts: 4213

    "But he dies, and rots, and stinks, and to dust he goes. Puff! He's off"

    I can live with that. Hey, what's up with the immortality obsession anyway? The naked bird winged harp player look is out. Why not become a vampire instead? The vampire look is all the rage with the cool kids of hopeful immortality .

     
  • Mahiun posted at 4:07 pm on Sat, Aug 4, 2012.

    Mahiun Posts: 5641

    Atheism, as a religion, has man as supreme, as god.
    No. You still don't get it...

    Even if you substitute "man" as "god", there's still that whole concept of "god", of something "over and above", transcendent, supreme above all else. That's not it.

    It's just the idea, the concept that there IS NO supreme being for anyone or anything to be, whether god or man. Not the idea that "man is the ultimate" or that "god is the ultimate". Simply that......man is. Period. End of story.

    And for us, that story is enough.

     
  • inclined posted at 1:11 pm on Sat, Aug 4, 2012.

    inclined Posts: 681

    Mean. Exactly. This is what I have said.
    Atheism, as a religion, has man as supreme, as god.
    But he dies, and rots, and stinks, and to dust he goes. Puff! He's off.

     
  • Why Not posted at 5:54 am on Sat, Aug 4, 2012.

    Why Not Posts: 5326

    Priceless GM - Hold on to that wallet and help thy neighbor not the construction fund for neighborhood mega church. Our local food banks are running on empty and with nearly 20% unemployment people need food not brainwashing.

     
  • The Golden Mean posted at 7:08 pm on Fri, Aug 3, 2012.

    The Golden Mean Posts: 4213

    "Believing in no religion is a religion all in itself"

    Which means that not believing in religion means that religion does not exist?


    A Priest, a Rabbi and an Atheist walk into a bar. The bartender asks the Priest what he'll be drinking, "Only that which the Lord provides for me" the Priest replied. Confused, the bartender asked the Rabbi the same question to which the Rabbi also replied "Ownzee zat vich zee Lord provides for me"

    Shaking his head, the frustrated bartender turned to the Atheist but before he could say anything the Atheist smiled and said, "I'll take a beer and a shot of whiskey, and set my two friends up with the same thing"

    "Praise Jesus!" said the Priest
    "Thank God!" said the Rabbi
    "You're welcome" said the Atheist

     
  • wolkowski posted at 6:52 pm on Fri, Aug 3, 2012.

    wolkowski Posts: 1

    Reason is based on linking evidence to form an explanation. There is no evidence that a god exists. There are no answers to prayers, there is no being ever seen or heard. The Universe may be infinite but no one knows for sure, but its much greater than any religion ever said. The big bang is only one explanation for how the universe was created. Astronomers and now physicists are finding evidence that may point to still other explanations. That's the nature of science, theories explain facts until new facts are not explainable with the earlier theory. Science is a continuous discovery process. Religion, in contracts offers no evidence, assumes mythical beings who no one has ever seen or perceived. Its a static view which cannot be challenged. There may be new explanations for the construction of the Universe, but they will not ever be supernatural as claimed by religion. Religion and science cannot coexist in explaining natural phenomena, one one exception, the study of hallucinations induced by propaganda and repetition, particularly on young forming individuals before they have the capacity for critical thinking. And no church teaches critical thinking.

     
  • yourneighbor posted at 3:31 pm on Fri, Aug 3, 2012.

    yourneighbor Posts: 224

    How many comedians are out of work? Just our luck we get stuck with The Golden Mean. I would say don't quit your day job, but chances are you probally don't have one....

     
  • Carlos posted at 3:23 pm on Fri, Aug 3, 2012.

    Carlos Posts: 2

    Atheists do not need to believe in anything. We rely on scientific fact that can be reproducibly measured, observed, or derived through mathematics. Hence, not believing is not a religion since it does not require faith.

     
  • Carlos posted at 3:21 pm on Fri, Aug 3, 2012.

    Carlos Posts: 2

    Please do not try to reconcile Science and Religion. It is not possible because they are based upon principles that are mutually exclusive. Science is based on scientific fact, which must be supported by reproducible measurements, observations, or mathematical derivations. Religion is based on faith, which does not require any type of proof; it does not require any measurements or mathematical derivations to support it; it only requires you to believe.

    So if you are a believer, believe and be happy with it. Fight the urge to question what is in the Bible by trying to reconcile it with scientific facts. It will never work. More importantly, it is a path that will put you in dire danger of becoming an atheist.

     
  • WilliamWMiller posted at 2:09 pm on Fri, Aug 3, 2012.

    WilliamWMiller Posts: 106

    Believing in no religion is a religion all in itself.

     
  • The Golden Mean posted at 1:36 pm on Fri, Aug 3, 2012.

    The Golden Mean Posts: 4213

    Maybe God really did create Bigfoot? We know that he made Unicorns, Behemoths and Dragons...

    ... for the bible tells me so!

     
  • Mahiun posted at 11:27 am on Fri, Aug 3, 2012.

    Mahiun Posts: 5641

    Yes, reason and religion can co-exist. But they don't, within this letter, as there are several logical fallacies and unsupported theses.... If one of my students had submitted this, to be honest, I really couldn't give it much better than a C-, and I would probably hand it back and ask for a rewrite after the student had completed his/her research.

    Reasonably challenging Ms. Mease and the tenets of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is imperative for a nation, “So conceived and so dedicated” that it may continue to “long endure.”
    This is a pretty dramatic statement, and could make for a rather compelling thesis in its own right, but you do not go on to explain why it is "imperative" (in itself, a rather strong word, requiring some sort of explicatory detail or follow-up). What is at stake here, that creates this "imperative"? Why do the tenets of the FFRF represent a threat to the nation?

    If our heads button up the back, that sounds fine.
    This is inflammatory rhetoric, that works directly against your earlier statement of wanting to "reasonably" challenge the tenets of the FFRF. Which approach are you going for: a reasoned challenge, or an appeal to emotion?

    Here is what some of the billboards read: “The truth is real, God is imaginary” ... “Evidence and science trump myth—reason wins” ... and from an ex-minister, “Now preaching reason, not religion.”
    Again, this could have made for a rather interesting, and possibly quite persuasive, "compare and contrast" argument, especially if juxtaposed against the "Jesus Saves" or "No man comes to the father but through me" or "I am the truth and the light" billboards that have drawn no protests (or commentary of any kind, come to that) in the local press. Instead, you simply make a statement regarding the FFRF's billboard content, without ever explaining how that content is relevant to your central thesis. It has the effect of making your central thesis unclear; we've lost track of what point you were trying to make, or what you are trying to persuade us to believe or disbelieve.

    The Press editorial for Aug. 1 suggests we in North Idaho should be “Grateful to the (FFRF) for their campaign to remind us that places of worship and government should never occupy the same space.” (As if that was their real agenda).
    Again, you end this section with inflammatory rhetoric that appeals only to emotion, with no supporting evidence to back up your insinuation and implication of a 'hidden agenda". It has the effect of working directly against your earlier statement of wanting to "reasonably" challenge the FFRF, it makes you appear somewhat paranoid, and it casts doubt over the trustworthiness of the rest of your writing.

    ...they continue using the same old rhetoric and weak science, not reason and evidence, with an underlying objective to tear down our nation’s Biblical foundations.
    Several problems here. You do not enumerate the specific points that constitute "weak" science, you do not cite sources to bolster this claim, and you make an implied accusation of a nefarious objective ("tear down" is pretty strong language, a pretty dramatic assertion to make with no evidence). Then you finish it with a further assertion, stated as axiomatic (Biblical foundations of the nation's founding), that is contrary to verifiable, documented, historical fact.

    This appears to be an appeal to emotion, thinly veiled as an ersatz appeal to reason. Sadly, it doesn't really measure up in either arena; the "hybridizing" weakens both.

    Ms. Mease states, “There is not one shred of scientific evidence that would show or prove there’s a being that doesn’t have to follow natural laws.”
    You set this up as a position that you will then refute, presumably by proving her wrong and offering that "shred of scientific evidence". But then, you don't follow through on that implied promise of scientific evidence. Instead, you offer a teleological argument as being axiomatic, when it is not.

    One, that it has always been. Two, that it created itself. Three, that it was created.
    Why are these the only three available options? You never explain this premise, or why the available options are limited to these three. For example, why could this universe not be a child of, or portion of, another universe? Why could it not continually spring into and out of existence, at a rate that is beyond our notice? And an infinitude of other possibilities, none of which you address, but nonetheless simply dismiss out of hand as not being worthy of consideration. Why?

    The first option, that the universe is eternal, has been utterly rejected by the scientific community.
    Actually, quite the opposite. But let's start at the beginning: you cite absolutely no sources to support this allegation of "utter rejection" on the part of the scientific community. You're asking us to simply accept this absolutist statement on faith (pun fully intended), providing no supporting evidence.

    And increasingly, the scientific community is coming to exactly this conclusion: that the universe has always existed. Or more accurately, that a multi-verse, of which this is but one of an infinitude of universe, has always existed. This is what quantum physics, quantum mechanics, and the latest research and theoretical experimentation seems to strongly suggest.

    In particular, both Stephen Hawking and Leonard Susskind have done very extensive research in this area, and have actually done prolonged "battle" (or as close as it gets, in the scientific community) over this very topic. I'd recommend Susskind's book The Black Hole Wars as a good summary or starting point on this subject; it also leads to other volumes that go into the subject in greater detail. But this is a good jumping-off point.

    Take-away point: your premise is demonstrably false. Increasing amounts of thoroughly studied evidence are strongly indicating that, in fact, the multi-verse has always existed, and the scientific community is far from having "utterly rejected" the idea.

    The motion of the galaxies, the background echo, point to a universe that sprang into existence at a particular point in time.
    Well......yes and no. Time itself sprang into being with the Big Bang, as did "space". So it is accurate to say that motion (which is reliant on space, since motion is a change of location within space, over time) sprang into being --- but that is not the same as saying that the universe did. It would be more accurate to say that the present form of the universe did spring into existence at the point of the Big Bang.

    Besides, at a more metaphysical level, the idea of an uncreated and eternal universe is no more preposterous, and more of a stretch, than the idea of "God, the Uncreated Creator". The idea of an uncreated universe simply "cuts out the middle-man"....

    Option two, that the universe created itself, is philosophically impossible. Of course, before the universe existed it would not have been around to do the creating. Obviously, a non-existent universe could not have done anything.
    Well, you'd think so, wouldn't you? I mean, that's perfectly sensible at the level of physics we live in and are familiar with. Trouble is, everything we think we know about physics --- all the "rules" and "laws" and "common sense" --- just doesn't apply at the quantum level. Things can and do simply blink into and out of existence, spontaneously.

    So Option Two is entirely possible, and entirely consistent with observed phenomena.

    Option three, that something or someone outside of the universe created the universe, is the option that both reason and the evidence point to.
    Well, no. Again, it's actually just the opposite: Increasingly, and especially since the confirmation of the Higgs Boson, the evidence points away from this hypothesis. Now, to be fair and complete here, there is strong evidence that this universe may be the "spawn" of other universes, so in that sense, yes, it was "created" by something outside of this universe, as part of that aforementioned "multi-verse". But that emphatically does not directly or inevitably lead to conclude that this universe was created by an anthropomorphic intelligence.

    And then there is the problem of Infinite Regression. If everything that exists must have a creator that also exists, then what created the Creator? And what created the Creator's Creator? And the Creator's Creator's Creator? And the Creator's Creator's Creator's Creator? And..... See the problem?

    Where is the evidence that “Matter by itself arranged itself into information?"
    In a word, the Higgs-Boson.

    Let us continue to reason together.
    Hear, hear! By all means! But that necessarily means that you must also be willing put in the hard work, do the research, and come to the table prepared to offer supporting evidence for your arguments, as that is the very basis of "reason". So......onward and upward, eh?

     
  • Betrayer of Hope posted at 10:29 am on Fri, Aug 3, 2012.

    Betrayer of Hope Posts: 135

    "Unorthodox Pagan" ha ha, that made me laugh. Not a condescending laugh, just enjoying some clever humor. Being a historian, I realize that phrase could have multiple meanings. What do you want it to mean regarding yourself?

     
  • Why Not posted at 9:24 am on Fri, Aug 3, 2012.

    Why Not Posts: 5326

    Love it Keven we don’t agree on every point, but on the questions of nature and the vast unknown we do. There is nothing wrong with faith, it is a basic human desire to belong and to feel safe and that is essential to the faith process.

    Mr. Holliday has it seems taken the message of FFRF campaign and turned it into an attack on his personal religious organization or point of view. That’s too bad, what about the Native American point of view Mr. Holliday? Were they not here first? They have faith processes as well, rooted in nature rather than some unknown and unseen old white guy with a ZZ Top beard.

    Have faith in what you wish, but accept and be tolerant of others faith process. After all that is in fact what the point of religion is, is it not? When religion becomes tribal it only leads to violence and domination of others. Keeping religion out of politics and government is essential, but it’s fine to leave tradition and monuments stand, as loosely defined reminders of the past and not to be worshiped or idolized.

     
  • Humanist posted at 9:23 am on Fri, Aug 3, 2012.

    Humanist Posts: 3221

    I've always scratched my head when people post this kind of thing. Aren't you doing the exact same thing you are chastising?

     
  • yourneighbor posted at 9:09 am on Fri, Aug 3, 2012.

    yourneighbor Posts: 224

    So here we go again.................. Same people same posts. Does anyone really care what others think? I think NOT....

     
  • Humanist posted at 8:46 am on Fri, Aug 3, 2012.

    Humanist Posts: 3221

    Well, your letter was mostly reasonable until: " The universe itself is evidence that God exists."

    That is a huge leap in logic and nothing more than a "god of the gaps" argument. The correct answer is "we don't know" and some people are okay with that fact while others have a really difficult time wrapping their head around that answer and must insert their god into the knowledge gap. Most Atheists are actually best defined by Dawkins as number 6 on his scale of faith: "De-facto Atheist: I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable and I live my life under the assumption that he is not there." whereas most reasonable theists should be defined by number 2 on the same scale: "De-facto Theist: I cannot know for certain but I strongly believe in God and I live my life on the assumption that he is there." So, we're actually all a lot closer than you might think since reasonable people leave room for new data that might emerge. But, Atheists don't look at the universe as proof of god. We look at the universe as, well, the universe. With incredible wonders and unknowns but there is currently no reason to believe in the human concept of "god" based on what we can observe.

    But none of this really matters until you look at it from a political and social perspective, Atheists tend to support secularism in our shared public domain while recognizing and supporting that one of the reasons this Country is so great is that we all have the individual Liberty to believe whatever we want to believe. We do tend to have human-based ideologies (rather than biblically-based) so have issues when religion is used as an excuse to discriminate or oppress which is why we are often labeled as liberals. In this Country, somebody who doesn't support LGBT rights for instance tends to be a right-wing conservative Christian Fundamentalists whereas on the other side we have "liberals".

    Atheists are one of the most hated groups in America. That is not conjecture. That is fact. See the links within this article: http://www.atheistrev.com/2011/06/why-do-they-hate-atheists.html. So these campaigns are important from a human and social perspective. Atheists have, indeed, felt "in the closet" (trust me, I know) since acceptance has always been so low. Some people cannot grasp the concept that people are good without god so see Atheists as immoral and evil. This is obviously wrong, but they end up taking that as a personal attack on their faith because it refutes the idea that morality stems from god and religion. I hope that this campaign does show some people that Atheists are just as normal as good as anyone else and also shows the "in the closet" Atheists that there really are others like them and gives them the courage to be themselves.

     
  • Betrayer of Hope posted at 8:24 am on Fri, Aug 3, 2012.

    Betrayer of Hope Posts: 135

    To the Floorist, I am pretty sure that Agnostic means that one believes one CANNOT now for sure, so they are unsure. And a Deist believes in a deity or higher power, but that they are removed from human experience.

     
  • Betrayer of Hope posted at 8:13 am on Fri, Aug 3, 2012.

    Betrayer of Hope Posts: 135

    Thanks Keven Johnson for bringing up Natural Law. :) It's one of my favorites, because regardless of one's religious beliefs (atheism included) we can all believe in and strive for Liberty. And only in a free society can atheists, Christians, Jew, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, etc live together peacefully and in cooperation.

     
  • Keven Johnson posted at 7:57 am on Fri, Aug 3, 2012.

    Keven Johnson Posts: 1490

    Good letter Mr. Holliday - - my reasoning doesn't follow the same path as yours however. I can't reasonably make the jump from "the universe sprang into existence at some point in time" to "God created the universe." I do not know how the universe was created but I think there are thousands of possibilities (or more) not just three. Nevertheless I do appreciate the reasonable tone of your letter and I 100% respect your beliefs and your right to them.

    I'm not familiar with the group that put up the billboards, or what agenda they may have. I can assure you that I have no agenda whatsoever, other than to try my best to be a good person and to live in freedom. Like Christians (and Jews and Muslims and Hindus.....) I was "endowed by MY CREATOR with the unalienable right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness". The only issue is what exactly is our "creator". We disagree on that point, but the truth is neither of us knows for sure.

    To "JoeIdaho", I've never labeled myself an Athiest, mostly because the word has such a negative, evil connotation. But all it means is that I don't believe in a supernatural, all knowing, all powerful being that created and controls everything. I just cannot, logically, believe in such a concept. That you and many do is fine with me, all I ask is you don't infringe on my liberty, or use your beliefs to scare or control people - - which is what ALL organized religions do! So I guess technically I'm an athiest, although I've always thought of myself as more agnostic. If you knew me, you'd know how off base your assertion that "athiests are nothing more than 'liberals'..." is, and anyone who does know me is literally "laughing out loud" and the thought that I could be labeled a liberal! But hey it gave me a chuckle this morning, so thank you! :-)

     
  • DeNiles posted at 7:40 am on Fri, Aug 3, 2012.

    DeNiles Posts: 2450

    Quite cogent. Quite reasonable. Should be quite acceptable.

     
  • JoeIdaho posted at 7:18 am on Fri, Aug 3, 2012.

    JoeIdaho Posts: 2841

    Awesome, Bob.
    Atheists are nothing more than liberals trying to show us how "normal" godlessness is.

     
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