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Thread: Psalm 14: Who was Jesus' grandpa?

  1. #531
    Furthermore, I'd like to have a little rant about people who are religious and people who believe in supernatural phenomena (aliens, ghosts, talk to the dead etc) that when questioned or disagreeing with their claims they then tell you that you need to be more 'open-minded' without even understanding what being open minded actual is.

    Being open minded is simply having a willingness to consider new ideas, a concept that science thrives on. Furthering our understanding about the enviornment we live in depends on our willingness to consider new ideas. Entirely. Which is why you just have to laugh at the religiously/supernaturally smug who say: 'Well, science doesn't know everything.' Ofcourse not. If science knew everything, it would stop. Because science doesn't know everything that doesn't mean science knows nothing. Science knows enough to cure a vast range of diesases that people before the Enlightment would of found unfathomable, it knows enough for anyone in the world (who can read english and has an internet connection) to read this message, it knows enough to enable me to travel from London to Cape Town in 11 hours as oppose too several months. It has tangible results which we all benefit from and nearly all of us take for granted.

    Anyway, my gripe with the 'y'all gotta be more open minded' people is that when you embrace supernatural concepts as the only explaination for something as oppose to a scientific or naturalist explaination, you are almost always the opposite of open minded.

    An Irishmen from Limerick who I met in Latvia told me about the time his neighbour walked into his house while he was reading the paper and noticed that the lampshade on the table beside the armchair was seemingly moving of its own accord. The neighbour, being a Catholic, superstitious sort, said; 'Jesus Christ, thats a ghost!' when the neighbour was told that this was not a ghost he replied 'What? You have the evidence right infront of you!' and went on to accuse the man from Limerick of being 'arrogantly closed-minded' and 'stupidly uncurious'. When the mans neighbour had finished his little out burst, the man turned off the fan heater beside the armchair that was causing the lampshade to move. Feeling like a prick the neighbour sheepishly said '...Oh.'

    Isn't it interesting how the 'openminded' one in this story was the one to immediatly leap to the first assumption that came to mind without examining anyother possible reason the lampshade was moving, and accused anyone around him of being 'closed minded' and 'not curious' when they didn't agree with him?

    If a person with this mindset is to look at an event that they deem to be 'unexplainable' they will endeavour to misinterpret evidence, make unfounded causal connections and completely eliminate alternative explainations before their even able to determine which explainations are even appropriate to the event. That is the definaition of closed minded.

    Often people who tell you to be open minded about the supernatural or religion will follow up with some story or anecdote from their lives, where they apparently experienced something that science 'cannot explain'. Even if this was true, so what? All that has happened is you have experienced something that your understanding of science cannot explain, and even if science can't explain it, then the event is just that. Unexplained. It doesn't mean God, ghosts or underpants gnomes did anything. If one were to suggest that a lack of an explaination for an event is evidence of supernatural powers at work, then they have just contradicted themselves as they have just supplied an explaination for this event.

    If one of your friends or family members was involved in a horrific car accident that left them bleeding by the side of the road badly injured, would you accept the offer from a total stranger of 'I have a magic liquid, that if i pour into their wounds will heal them instantly.'? Ok, maybe they wouldn't say 'magic liquid', but whatever, would you trust a total stranger to pour a substance you know nothing about into the wounds of a loved one? I'd like to think not. Does that make you closed minded? No. Hell no.

    I remember the first time I visited the beautiful American state of Tennessee, where I first heard the term a 'Doubting Thomas'. For those of you who don't know, Thomas was one of Jesus's deciples, and when he heard from the other deciples that Jesus rose from the dead Thomas did not believe them. He wanted to see Jesus before he would. He wanted to see the wounds in this hands and the wound in his side before he would accept this claim. When Jesus did appear to Thomas and Thomas saw his face and his wounds he finally believed that Jesus had rose from the dead. Jesus then said something like: 'Blessed are those who believe in me without seeing me' or words to that effect. So anyone who doubts something, that sounds quite nice but completely unsupported by anything, is refered too as a Doubting Thomas. Hmm.

    I remember being told this story and thinking 'Huh? Why are you making Thomas out to be the bad one? He did what any rational person would do. He heard an extradinary claim, and demanded extradinary evidence for that claim and when he got that evidence he believed it.' But ofcourse the point if the story is that it is a virtue to not ask for physcially evidence for the most important claim in human history, you're just supposed to take other peoples word for it. That is literally the moral of the story.

    Fucking hell.

  2. #532
    Bad Enough Dude to Rescue the President Kodos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harvester_Of_Sorrow View Post
    Furthermore, I'd like to have a little rant about people who are religious and people who believe in supernatural phenomena (aliens, ghosts, talk to the dead etc) that when questioned or disagreeing with their claims they then tell you that you need to be more 'open-minded' without even understanding what being open minded actual is.
    "open minded" is codespeak for "willing to accept my bullshit and only my bullshit." These people are open minded only to ideas that agree with their pre-existing belief structures. See how open minded one of these Christians are when you sit them down and try and tell them how God's dialogue with Man did not end with Christ and that there's this wonderful man named Muhammad who had much to tell us all about God.

    Being open minded is simply having a willingness to consider new ideas, a concept that science thrives on. Furthering our understanding about the enviornment we live in depends on our willingness to consider new ideas. Entirely. Which is why you just have to laugh at the religiously/supernaturally smug who say: 'Well, science doesn't know everything.' Ofcourse not. If science knew everything, it would stop. Because science doesn't know everything that doesn't mean science knows nothing.
    I've said it before about Republicans. I think that most Republicans and other conservatives have any number of the mental illnesses that make people unable to see the world except in stark contrasts and black/white dichotomies. You are either with America or against it. You are either male or female. You are either black or white. You are either communist or freedom loving. Etc etc. I think that religion falls under the same category. Either a methodology has all the answers right now, or it has none. Science acknowledges that there are still unknowns, while religion claims to have the answer to literally every single question you could possibly have. I think it's unsurprising, then, that people with these illnesses would choose religion.

    Science knows enough to cure a vast range of diesases that people before the Enlightment would of found unfathomable, it knows enough for anyone in the world (who can read english and has an internet connection) to read this message, it knows enough to enable me to travel from London to Cape Town in 11 hours as oppose too several months. It has tangible results which we all benefit from and nearly all of us take for granted.
    My answer to the anti-science people is always the same. "Okay. Opt out. Leave. Science and civilization don't benefit from your presence, so fuck off. Go live in the woods. Don't you dare and try to even make a handaxe, though, because that's science."

    Anyway, my gripe with the 'y'all gotta be more open minded' people is that when you embrace supernatural concepts as the only explaination for something as oppose to a scientific or naturalist explaination, you are almost always the opposite of open minded.

    An Irishmen from Limerick who I met in Latvia told me about the time his neighbour walked into his house while he was reading the paper and noticed that the lampshade on the table beside the armchair was seemingly moving of its own accord. The neighbour, being a Catholic, superstitious sort, said; 'Jesus Christ, thats a ghost!' when the neighbour was told that this was not a ghost he replied 'What? You have the evidence right infront of you!' and went on to accuse the man from Limerick of being 'arrogantly closed-minded' and 'stupidly uncurious'. When the mans neighbour had finished his little out burst, the man turned off the fan heater beside the armchair that was causing the lampshade to move. Feeling like a prick the neighbour sheepishly said '...Oh.'

    Isn't it interesting how the 'openminded' one in this story was the one to immediatly leap to the first assumption that came to mind without examining anyother possible reason the lampshade was moving, and accused anyone around him of being 'closed minded' and 'not curious' when they didn't agree with him?
    There's that saying about how being open minded is good, but you must take care not to be so open minded that your brain falls out. I'm open minded to the point that I will hear any arguments regardless of how outlandish they may sound, and will accept any that past muster. You know. Being sane.

    If a person with this mindset is to look at an event that they deem to be 'unexplainable' they will endeavour to misinterpret evidence, make unfounded causal connections and completely eliminate alternative explainations before their even able to determine which explainations are even appropriate to the event. That is the definaition of closed minded.

    Often people who tell you to be open minded about the supernatural or religion will follow up with some story or anecdote from their lives, where they apparently experienced something that science 'cannot explain'. Even if this was true, so what? All that has happened is you have experienced something that your understanding of science cannot explain, and even if science can't explain it, then the event is just that. Unexplained. It doesn't mean God, ghosts or underpants gnomes did anything. If one were to suggest that a lack of an explaination for an event is evidence of supernatural powers at work, then they have just contradicted themselves as they have just supplied an explaination for this event.
    I've brought that up before when talking about miracles and the God of the gaps. You can't call an event unexplained and then immediately offer an explanation. Also it's doubly problematic in the case of miracles since whether or not an event even happened is part of what is being contested.

    If one of your friends or family members was involved in a horrific car accident that left them bleeding by the side of the road badly injured, would you accept the offer from a total stranger of 'I have a magic liquid, that if i pour into their wounds will heal them instantly.'? Ok, maybe they wouldn't say 'magic liquid', but whatever, would you trust a total stranger to pour a substance you know nothing about into the wounds of a loved one? I'd like to think not. Does that make you closed minded? No. Hell no.

    I remember the first time I visited the beautiful American state of Tennessee, where I first heard the term a 'Doubting Thomas'. For those of you who don't know, Thomas was one of Jesus's deciples, and when he heard from the other deciples that Jesus rose from the dead Thomas did not believe them. He wanted to see Jesus before he would. He wanted to see the wounds in this hands and the wound in his side before he would accept this claim. When Jesus did appear to Thomas and Thomas saw his face and his wounds he finally believed that Jesus had rose from the dead. Jesus then said something like: 'Blessed are those who believe in me without seeing me' or words to that effect. So anyone who doubts something, that sounds quite nice but completely unsupported by anything, is refered too as a Doubting Thomas. Hmm.

    I remember being told this story and thinking 'Huh? Why are you making Thomas out to be the bad one? He did what any rational person would do. He heard an extradinary claim, and demanded extradinary evidence for that claim and when he got that evidence he believed it.' But ofcourse the point if the story is that it is a virtue to not ask for physcially evidence for the most important claim in human history, you're just supposed to take other peoples word for it. That is literally the moral of the story.

    Fucking hell.
    Well considering the entire bible is nothing but anonymous 'testimony' written by people who in many cases were born decades, if not centuries, after the events they are describing supposedly happened, it's clear to see how the authors of the Bible were big on the whole "if someone tells you something accept it - as long as it agrees with what you want to hear."

    I mean, hell, we are dealing with people who thought Pascal's Wager was anything other than doggerel. There are some arguments for God that, while not compelling and able to swithstand scrutiny, are philosophically byzantine and complex enough that they take some effort to refute. The wager is not one, and yet it's often used.

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  3. #533
    Another thing I wanna have a quick moan about is the idea of personal experience when it comes to the religious. Personal experience is the Iron Curtain of a religious persons faith, it is the be all and end all. You could argue over and over again about the Bible being immoral and full of contradictions, and some may agree with that, but when it comes to personal experience, that is unrefutable. So, you ask them what their personal experience was and they will almost always tell you something that reeks of coinsidence, good luck or just them being crazy.

    An example of this is a guy I spoke to once in Memphis, a nice guy but I could tell he really looked down his nose at me because I didn't believe in his fairytale (ya get alot of those types in America, I have noticed) who told me he 'knew' there was a God. 'Oooowwwh' I thought. When I asked him how he knew this he told me a story of how his father had suffered an inoperable brain tumour years ago. The doctors wouldn't operate cause it would most likely result in the cutting of vital brain nerves, so he was recommended some medication, which the guy telling me this story described as 'dodgy' and the father refused them. Hm. Anyway, after a few months of not taking any medication, the guys father went back to hospital and they discovered that the tumour had started shrinking and eventually went into remission altogether. 'This' the guy said 'is my evidence. This was God looking out for my father.'

    I'm sure you have thought of atleast 3 rebuttels already, but let me tell ya mine. 'So,' I said 'your father had a brain tumour, it might have killed him, and then it went away, and that is proof of Gods existence?' The guy agreed. 'Ok, so if another person has a brain tumour and it doesn't go away and it does kill him, is that proof that God does not exist?' He replied 'No, that just means that it was his time to pass on.'...Well, atleast he didn't mention the devil.

    The remainder of the conversation was pretty pointless as he was not seeing any reason in what I was saying. He refused to even contemplate that what happened to his father was anything other than chance. It was God, and that was all there was to it. Its quite unsettling how people will grasp onto anything at all in order to confirm their faith. Its well known that tumours go into remission, and have gone in to remission all over the world in every culture their has ever been. Yes that means in different religions too. Sometimes, they just go away. End of story. Most of the time they don't, but sometimes they do. Its just good luck. Nothing more.

    I have heard before that it is a 'human thing' to interpret greater meaning to a simple coincidence. Maybe thats true, I have done it myself in some way or another and I'm sure you have too. I remember years ago, drinking in a pub in a town called Guildford in southern England, where I spent many of my teenage years, and I met a guy who had the same birthday as me, March 26th. I remember saying something like 'Wow, thats weird.' But is it though? Is it really? I've never been a whizz at mathmatics, but I do know the number of people you need in a group to be guaranteed that it is more likely than not that 2 of them will have the same birthday. Do you know what that number is? Its 23. I can't be bothered to explain it all, but I will if anyone has any objections to it, but yes, the fact is it is far more likely than you may think for someone to have the same birthday as you. So its not much of a coincidence, but when it happens you think it is 'weird' or 'spooky' or maybe even 'fate', who knows.

    However, if you simply don't know anything about mathmatical probability then you would probably conclude that the chances of meeting someone with the same birthday as you being 1 in 366 (don't forget Feb 29th in a leap year). But its not. You just don't know how it works. Same goes with that guy from Memphis who didn't know/wouldn't accept tumour remissions and many people who have given me their 'personal experiences' which they arrogantly preclaim as if they were inrefutable fact. No, their not. I have yet to hear any one of these stories that could not be explained by natural means. Not one. Infact, I'm waiting to hear one that can't, so if you're reading this and you have one, tell me.

  4. #534
    Bad Enough Dude to Rescue the President Kodos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harvester_Of_Sorrow View Post
    Another thing I wanna have a quick moan about is the idea of personal experience when it comes to the religious. Personal experience is the Iron Curtain of a religious persons faith, it is the be all and end all. You could argue over and over again about the Bible being immoral and full of contradictions, and some may agree with that, but when it comes to personal experience, that is unrefutable. So, you ask them what their personal experience was and they will almost always tell you something that reeks of coinsidence, good luck or just them being crazy.
    First of all, personal experience is worthless because it is a special plead. Second of all, even once we accept you had an experience, that doesn't mean it was of God.
    Suppose you told me you had heard the voice of God speaking to you shortly after the death of your sibling, spouse, parent, child, or some other close family member. Okay. I accept and believe you heard a voice. However you have to now prove that the voice was in fact God and not an auditory hallucination brought on by grief.

    Our senses lie to us all the damn time. In fact, given the nature of memories, the fact of dreams, and the fact that most people at some point experience some form of mild hallucination while waking, it can be argued that our senses lie to us more often than not. Ergo it is important that all sensory input be corroborated with other sources and tested for reliability and consistency.

    An example of this is a guy I spoke to once in Memphis, a nice guy but I could tell he really looked down his nose at me because I didn't believe in his fairytale (ya get alot of those types in America, I have noticed) who told me he 'knew' there was a God. 'Oooowwwh' I thought. When I asked him how he knew this he told me a story of how his father had suffered an inoperable brain tumour years ago. The doctors wouldn't operate cause it would most likely result in the cutting of vital brain nerves, so he was recommended some medication, which the guy telling me this story described as 'dodgy' and the father refused them. Hm. Anyway, after a few months of not taking any medication, the guys father went back to hospital and they discovered that the tumour had started shrinking and eventually went into remission altogether. 'This' the guy said 'is my evidence. This was God looking out for my father.'

    I'm sure you have thought of atleast 3 rebuttels already, but let me tell ya mine. 'So,' I said 'your father had a brain tumour, it might have killed him, and then it went away, and that is proof of Gods existence?' The guy agreed. 'Ok, so if another person has a brain tumour and it doesn't go away and it does kill him, is that proof that God does not exist?' He replied 'No, that just means that it was his time to pass on.'...Well, atleast he didn't mention the devil.
    "Ah! A common mistake my friend, so no need to feel embarrassed. You see there is a Zeta Reticulan starship in low orbit over North America at the moment. The ZR are a species as compassionate as they are advanced. They used their advanced science to cure your father's tumor all the way from their starship."
    There is no refutation of that argument that cannot be applied to God. And, hell, unlike the idea of God, the idea of aliens and of advanced cancer curing technology are at least grounded in reality. We know sapient species exist, and we know that advanced technology can do amazing things and cure disease. The idea of Zeta Reticulans hanging out doing good deeds is outlandish but at least something comprehensible. It is within our realm of experience (we all know what sapient creatures are, and we all know what medicine is).

    The remainder of the conversation was pretty pointless as he was not seeing any reason in what I was saying. He refused to even contemplate that what happened to his father was anything other than chance. It was God, and that was all there was to it. Its quite unsettling how people will grasp onto anything at all in order to confirm their faith. Its well known that tumours go into remission, and have gone in to remission all over the world in every culture their has ever been. Yes that means in different religions too. Sometimes, they just go away. End of story. Most of the time they don't, but sometimes they do. Its just good luck. Nothing more.
    At least it's not as bad as when the doctors save a life and the asshole credits god rather than the skilled men and women who used their knowledge and the knowledge of those who came before them to save lives.
    I've said it before and it bears repeating: Doctors are fucking awesome. We have men and women who, through science, can save lives. We can even, sorta, bring back the dead. We can graft limbs. We can do many of the things that was formally the realm of superstition. How wonderful is that?
    And you know what got us there? Not fairy tales, not magical thinking, but the compassion and intelligence of men and women. No gods, no spirits, only man.

    I have heard before that it is a 'human thing' to interpret greater meaning to a simple coincidence. Maybe thats true, I have done it myself in some way or another and I'm sure you have too. I remember years ago, drinking in a pub in a town called Guildford in southern England, where I spent many of my teenage years, and I met a guy who had the same birthday as me, March 26th. I remember saying something like 'Wow, thats weird.' But is it though? Is it really? I've never been a whizz at mathmatics, but I do know the number of people you need in a group to be guaranteed that it is more likely than not that 2 of them will have the same birthday. Do you know what that number is? Its 23. I can't be bothered to explain it all, but I will if anyone has any objections to it, but yes, the fact is it is far more likely than you may think for someone to have the same birthday as you. So its not much of a coincidence, but when it happens you think it is 'weird' or 'spooky' or maybe even 'fate', who knows.

    However, if you simply don't know anything about mathmatical probability then you would probably conclude that the chances of meeting someone with the same birthday as you being 1 in 366 (don't forget Feb 29th in a leap year). But its not. You just don't know how it works. Same goes with that guy from Memphis who didn't know/wouldn't accept tumour remissions and many people who have given me their 'personal experiences' which they arrogantly preclaim as if they were inrefutable fact. No, their not. I have yet to hear any one of these stories that could not be explained by natural means. Not one. Infact, I'm waiting to hear one that can't, so if you're reading this and you have one, tell me.
    It's evolutionary beneficial for us to see patterns and draw connections. Speaking from the standpoint of early man, the consequences for failing to recognize a relation between two events is much worse than the consequences for falsely identifying a relation between two unrelated events. It's like the point about why fear is an evolutionary advantage - what's more beneficial from an evolutionary standpoint, hearing rustling in the grass and running away despite it actually just being the wind, or hearing a rustling in the grass, laughing it off, and being eaten by some prehistoric monster?

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  5. #535
    Fenn
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    ^Finally, this was the argument I was having trouble arguing against. It seems so obvious, but I couldn't wrap my head around the reply.

    The bad thing is, you face an uphill battle in this situation. You are trying to convince the other person you're right, but for them it doesn't matter as long as THEY think they're right.

  6. #536
    Super Senior Member Delphinus's Avatar
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    ^ It's the same with any debate. The problem with debating things like religion, politics, and morality is that they're generally such basic elements of a person's personality that arguing against them is almost arguing against their identity. Where a non-theist will hear "God doesn't exist" and think of the reasons why that could be true and the reasons it could be false, a theist hears "Everything you've based yourself on is a lie". This is practically a personal insult.

    I think a lot of that has to do with the process of socialisation and the heavy use of thought-terminating clichés in indoctrination.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fenn
    You forgot your F in Modesty.

  7. #537
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    So, Kodos, you said earlier you went to Catholic school? That's interesting; almost everyone I know well who did is now a strong atheist as well.

  8. #538
    Bad Enough Dude to Rescue the President Kodos's Avatar
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    The Bible is the greatest argument against Judeo-Christianity ever put to paper.

    On that note, I've always hated when people say that Jesus was a Jew. Entertaining for a moment the notion that Jesus in any way existed; no, no he was not a Jew. You are not a member of an ideological group if you do not share that group's ideology, break with that group's ideology in massive ways, and are officially said to be not part of that group by the leaders of that group. Obama is more a Socialist than Jesus was a Jew.

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  9. #539
    Fenn
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    The Bible, this forum; why is it so much easier to see the flaws in religion in written conversation than verbal???

  10. #540
    I thought you were considered a Jew if your mother was a Jew regardless of religion.

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