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Religious people are less intelligent than atheists (Page 4)
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hyteckit
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Sep 6, 2013, 09:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
ArsTechnica posted a graph of the data (the source is paywalled )
New meta-analysis checks the correlation between intelligence and faith | Ars Technica

It really looks more like two distributions, not one. One flat line (intelligence constant across all "% athiest") and the other a vertical line ("%athiest constant across all intelligences). It's really hard to believe that there's a causal relationship (in either direction ), if the entire "slope" is between 0-10% atheist, and in the area between 10-100% atheist there is no further rise at all. How can only the "first 10%" of one's atheism account for the entire effect? What does it mean to be "10% atheist" anyway?
Looks like very simple graph to me.

Y axis: National average IQ
X axis: % of atheist in that country

Looks like countries with a low national average IQ are drawn to religion.
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shifuimam
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Sep 6, 2013, 09:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by hyteckit View Post
Pres. Bush. God told him to invade Iraq.
I don't think anyone from either side of this discussion is going to disagree with me when I say that I really, really, really wish you'd crawl back under whatever rock from whence you came.
     
hyteckit
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Sep 6, 2013, 09:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
I don't think anyone from either side of this discussion is going to disagree with me when I say that I really, really, really wish you'd crawl back under whatever rock from whence you came.
Maybe you need to add a few more "really" to make it even more douchey.

Summer is over. No more fun in the sun for me.
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hyteckit
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Sep 6, 2013, 09:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
It also depends on how you gauge intelligence.

My brother is academically very intelligent. He has, however, no common sense and no social savvy whatsoever. He's also the textbook definition of a homophobic, racist, misogynistic fundamentalist (and I mean "homophobic" in the literal sense - he's genuinely terrified of gay men in case he catches The Gay from one).

I can definitely attest that in all manners of fanaticism (*cough*), a person's supposed high level of intelligence becomes far less plausible the more vehemently they defend whatever it is they're fanatical about.
Sounds like your brother comes from a broken home. Homophobia, racism, and misogyny are often learned behaviors.

Doesn't sound like you and your brother were brought up in a good nurturing environment.

Explains a lot about your behavior and the need to put others down.
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Sep 6, 2013, 11:15 PM
 
Well, this conversation was fun while it lasted.
     
Shaddim
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Sep 6, 2013, 11:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by hyteckit View Post
What do you think anecdotal evidence means?

You are drawing a conclusion based on observations without research conducted under controlled conditions.

Are you a ditz?
I'm not "drawing" anything and you still aren't making a damned bit of sense.
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besson3c
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Sep 7, 2013, 12:46 AM
 
Originally Posted by hyteckit View Post
Sounds like your brother comes from a broken home. Homophobia, racism, and misogyny are often learned behaviors.

Doesn't sound like you and your brother were brought up in a good nurturing environment.

Explains a lot about your behavior and the need to put others down.

What does it say about you to want to seek out conflict this aggressively on the internet?
     
Uncle Skeleton
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Sep 7, 2013, 07:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
You don't get out much, do you...

Terrorism is a more rare event in Western countries than low intelligence.

Terrorism is a daily event in the Middle East. If you don't know this, you are either ignoring it or don't ever read the news.
Low intelligence isn't a daily event in the Middle East (or anywhere)?

Why don't you put your money where your mouth is. Give us your estimated NUMBERS for the proportion of people (anywhere) that are of low intelligence, and the proportion of people (anywhere) that are terrorists. I'll be shocked if the second number is higher than the first.


Militant Islam is a daily occurrence in the mideast. There are entire countries, as we all know now, run based on militant Islam. Buildings are bombed daily. People are murdered daily. Christians and Jews are particularly targeted. All in the name of Allah.
Stupidity is a daily occurrence among the religious. You can find stupidity everywhere you look. And every time you find it in certain regions, it's a religious person who is stupid. So what? Does that tell us anything about religion? Does that distinguish your logic from the OP's?
"Violence is mostly Islam." "Stupid is mostly religious." Even if both are true, that doesn't make the inverse of either a true statement.


No, ebuddy is spot on, no matter how uncomfortable his facts make you feel inside.

Because of everything that has happened in Western culture (not just the United States, mind you, I'm including Western Europe in this) since 9/11, Islam has become a special sort of untouchable, and stating unfortunate facts that involve Islam and Muslims is somehow verboten.
It's not off limits, it's just been cried wolf. If you make it your mission to accuse religion of being stupid just because the stupid are religious (a logical fallacy), then you're going to see some social "rules" against that mistake too. It's just because making the same mistake over and over has gotten out of hand. It's not because they're a protected class.

If you can manage to make your case against them without using a logical fallacy, then the restriction will naturally lift.


People stopped murdering in the name of Jesus centuries ago. Muslims continue to murder in the name of Allah today. Right now. At this very moment in time, there is violent conflict occurring in the Middle East in the name of Allah.
Right now At this very moment in time, there is a stupid thing being done by a religious group. So what?
The frequency of religion among the stupid doesn't tell us the frequency of stupid among the religious. Likewise, the frequency of Islam among the terrorists doesn't tell us the frequency of terrorism among Islam. In order to make those leaps (using Bayes' rule), you have to multiply by the frequency of stupid/terrorism and divide by the frequency of religion/Islam.


None of this is false:
  • they constitute more than 2/3rd the global conflicts currently underway
  • Between the years 1983 and 2000, Muslims were responsible for 11 of 16 major acts of international terrorism
  • 5 of 7 states listed by the U.S. State Department as supporting terrorism are Muslim
  • the overwhelming majority of foreign organizations listed as terrorists are Muslim

That this makes you feel uncomfortable inside because of this ridiculous need to put Islam on a pedestal doesn't invalidate the facts at all.
The problem isn't that it's false, the problem is that you're using it to support a conclusion that it doesn't support. It does make me feel uncomfortable when people hide behind irrelevant but nevertheless true facts, and pretend it supports a conclusion it doesn't support. Especially people who I would otherwise expect to know better.
     
ebuddy
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Sep 7, 2013, 11:11 AM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
No, the two arguments are exactly the same, and the only reason hyteckit is wrong is because it's rarely actually the same posters who deny one while praising the other (careful lest you become one of them while trying to deny it ).
Point taken. I had perhaps leaned a little heavy on the fact that I've long-denied a causal relationship between religion and terror. The problem is, when you're attempting to address terror, you employ a means of trending or profiling a behavior that might indicate a concern. When we seek to mitigate violence through regime-change or revolution for example, we generally look toward secular moderates in the ME. When we seek to mitigate ignorance, we generally do not look to the philosophical world views of the pupil. Simply put, my complaint was the notion that terror and intelligence are even remotely comparable variables. More on that below...

This OP's study's conclusion is wrong because it only shows that the characteristic (being dumb) contains more of the demographic (the religious), not that the demographic is more likely to contain the characteristic. Your statistics make the exact same error, showing only that the characteristic (terrorism) contains more of the demographic (Muslims), but not that the demographic is more likely to contain the characteristic. If anything, your error is more egregious than the other, because the error in general is proportional to the rarity of the characteristic (see Bayes rule), and terrorism is a more rare event than is low intelligence.
I understand what you're saying and agree with much, but not 100%. My complaint with regard to studies on Religion/Intelligence has always been the statistical reporting bias inherent in them. For example; as of 2010 the world population was 6.9 billion people of which 5.8 billion report religious affiliation. This constitutes an approximate 84% of the globe deemed "religious" which means studies like the one offered by the OP are essentially measuring the collective against a select. When I reported on the makeup of terrorism, I showed the exact opposite statistical phenomena; that while Muslims' percentage of overall population is low, their percentage of terrorist acts are disproportionately high. A more granular analysis would have to include the regions affected (where terrorism is happening) and their socioeconomic makeup which of course would point back to your Bayes rule and on this we agree. Because again, this mistakes correlative for causal.
ebuddy
     
hyteckit
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Sep 8, 2013, 08:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
What does it say about you to want to seek out conflict this aggressively on the internet?
You must not be following this thread.

shifuimam started with the insults; not me.

Then again besson, you love to stir the pot yourself with the threads you've created.
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Sep 8, 2013, 08:48 PM
 
The difference is that you tend to do drive-bys where you post inflammatory stuff just to see what happens. There appears to be very little thought or analysis behind it.

If you put a bit more critical thought behind your posts, you'll find that you might gain a little legitimacy here.
     
hyteckit
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Sep 8, 2013, 09:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
I'm not "drawing" anything and you still aren't making a damned bit of sense.
I'm not making any sense because you don't understand basic terms like 'anecdotal evidence' and anything related to statistical analysis.

You've brought up the global warming vs pirates example without understanding that observational data alone is not sufficient proof to draw a scientific conclusion.

However, you are willing to accept it as sufficient proof when it comes to Muslims and violence.
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hyteckit
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Sep 8, 2013, 09:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
The difference is that you tend to do drive-bys where you post inflammatory stuff just to see what happens. There appears to be very little thought or analysis behind it.

If you put a bit more critical thought behind your posts, you'll find that you might gain a little legitimacy here.
Really?

From a person who called me a douche for using the word "actually" as the first word of my sentence?

Maybe when you focus on the content of my response, rather than focusing on what word a sentence begins with.
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hyteckit
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Sep 8, 2013, 09:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
terrorism is a more rare event than is low intelligence.
You don't get out much, do you...
Wow. I thought it was just me that you like insulting.

Do you start every response with an insult just because you don't agree with them?
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shifuimam
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Sep 8, 2013, 10:03 PM
 
Boobs.
     
hyteckit
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Sep 8, 2013, 10:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
None of this is false:
  • they constitute more than 2/3rd the global conflicts currently underway
  • Between the years 1983 and 2000, Muslims were responsible for 11 of 16 major acts of international terrorism
  • 5 of 7 states listed by the U.S. State Department as supporting terrorism are Muslim
  • the overwhelming majority of foreign organizations listed as terrorists are Muslim
And global temperatures have increased while the number of pirates have declined.

What I'm challenging is your conclusion, not the observational data you've provided.
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Shaddim
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Sep 8, 2013, 10:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by hyteckit View Post
I'm not making any sense because you don't understand basic terms like 'anecdotal evidence' and anything related to statistical analysis.

You've brought up the global warming vs pirates example without understanding that observational data alone is not sufficient proof to draw a scientific conclusion.

However, you are willing to accept it as sufficient proof when it comes to Muslims and violence.
The daily massacres, car bombings, and kidnappings aren't worth mentioning and shouldn't impact a person's views on Islam, despite them all being done in the name of Islam. I suppose we shouldn't blame medieval Christians for the Crusades, either, since we don't have any statistics to back up a percentage involvement, right? By the same token, we can expect you to STFU about modern Christians and Republicans as well, since you don't have hard evidence, backed by irrefutable statistics, regarding all of them either? Well, that'll be a relief.

or are you going to be a hypocrite?
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Uncle Skeleton
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Sep 9, 2013, 06:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
...when you're attempting to address terror, you employ a means of trending or profiling a behavior that might indicate a concern. When we seek to mitigate violence through regime-change or revolution for example, we generally look toward secular moderates in the ME.
I don't find that line of reasoning very convincing, when in many cases the parties we're now working to overthrow are the very same people we previously backed in order to overthrow what came before them. It seems more parsimonious to say we'll use whomever is at hand, and to say that the distribution of violence between religion and atheism has ebbed and flowed over the decades in a way that's consistent with random chance, than to say we'll favor secular options because they are inherently less violent.


When we seek to mitigate ignorance, we generally do not look to the philosophical world views of the pupil.
Sometimes we do; what about Creationism?


I understand what you're saying and agree with much, but not 100%. My complaint with regard to studies on Religion/Intelligence has always been the statistical reporting bias inherent in them. For example; as of 2010 the world population was 6.9 billion people of which 5.8 billion report religious affiliation. This constitutes an approximate 84% of the globe deemed "religious" which means studies like the one offered by the OP are essentially measuring the collective against a select. When I reported on the makeup of terrorism, I showed the exact opposite statistical phenomena; that while Muslims' percentage of overall population is low, their percentage of terrorist acts are disproportionately high.
If Muslims being disproportionately high among terrorists is noteworthy, then why isn't atheists being disproportionately high among intelligence noteworthy? According to wikipedia, Islam claims 23% of the world population; if we take the 23% most atheist data points from the graph linked in the second post of this thread, we find they are disproportionately high in intelligence compared with the total population. Now I agree with you that this would be a spurious link between religion in general and intelligence in general, but apparently you don't agree that linking Islam to terrorism is just as spurious(?).
     
ebuddy
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Sep 9, 2013, 07:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
I don't find that line of reasoning very convincing, when in many cases the parties we're now working to overthrow are the very same people we previously backed in order to overthrow what came before them.
We don't know this. We're being told the rebels are the more secular moderates, certainly not that we're supporting Al Qaeda affiliates. If given a choice, is there any doubt who we'd use?

It seems more parsimonious to say we'll use whomever is at hand, and to say that the distribution of violence between religion and atheism has ebbed and flowed over the decades in a way that's consistent with random chance, than to say we'll favor secular options because they are inherently less violent.
I don't think there's a doubt who our government would favor if given a suitable option.

Sometimes we do; what about Creationism?
What about it? We do not judge your ability to comprehend and interpret academia by your philosophical world view. We might be more inclined to judge your desire for Sharia Law in governance when discussing the importance of human rights however. I think if a suitable choice were available, we'd leap at the opportunity.


If Muslims being disproportionately high among terrorists is noteworthy, then why isn't atheists being disproportionately high among intelligence noteworthy? According to wikipedia, Islam claims 23% of the world population; if we take the 23% most atheist data points from the graph linked in the second post of this thread, we find they are disproportionately high in intelligence compared with the total population.
There is an average IQ to consider. Because you're drawing your 23% from a much larger pool with regard to Muslims over Atheists, your odds of finding "stupid" are going to be exponentially greater. If you were to poll Muslims with comparable socio-economic conditioning as the Atheist respondents, I'd be willing to bet you'll find greater intelligence among the Muslims.

Now I agree with you that this would be a spurious link between religion in general and intelligence in general, but apparently you don't agree that linking Islam to terrorism is just as spurious(?).
Even after twice expressing otherwise? You might be trying to make more out of this than is necessary. I'm essentially saying the motives between terror and intelligence are not comparable variables.
ebuddy
     
besson3c
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Sep 9, 2013, 02:51 PM
 
Have you guys ever watched atheist vs. theist debates on YouTube such as Dave Silverman, Christopher Hitchens, or Dawkins vs. people like Frank Turek, James White, or Dinesh D'Souza?

I have to say, these debates always seem like the theist is really working too hard to make their case in a debate, not to say that these theists aren't quite intelligent individuals.
     
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Sep 9, 2013, 09:08 PM
 
I would like to see Dawkins and Fr. Robert Spitzer debate. They could discuss the Borde -Guth-Vilenkin theorem which he elaborates on in his book " New Proofs for the Existence of God"
     
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Sep 9, 2013, 09:56 PM
 
Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mind-bogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the NON-existence of God.
The argument goes like this:
`I refuse to prove that I exist,' says God, `for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.'
`But,' says Man, `The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED.'
`Oh dear,' says God, `I hadn't thought of that,' and promptly disappears in a puff of logic.
`Oh, that was easy,' says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.
QED.
     
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Sep 10, 2013, 09:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Have you guys ever watched atheist vs. theist debates on YouTube such as Dave Silverman, Christopher Hitchens, or Dawkins vs. people like Frank Turek, James White, or Dinesh D'Souza?

I have to say, these debates always seem like the theist is really working too hard to make their case in a debate, not to say that these theists aren't quite intelligent individuals.
Do you think some of that is your own biased perception? If you're already an atheist, then of course the people arguing for the existence of God are going to seem to be trying harder than the people who you already agree with.

I have a hard time talking to militant atheists about their beliefs (militant being the brand of atheist who says "people who believe in God just need a crutch to tell them what their morals should be", etc.), because atheists, in my own experiences, seem to think that not believing in God (God being any higher power or supernatural entity, not just the Judeochristian God) requires no faith.

There is definitely a measure of faith required to insist beyond a shadow of any doubt that God doesn't exist and could not possibly exist, because there's no way to actually prove it. I have far more respect for an atheist who can admit that they can't be certain they're right than one who insists that anyone who believes in God is an idiot deliberately ignoring science.

Hell, science requires faith, too, whether people want to admit it or not. Faith isn't just a religious concept.
     
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Sep 10, 2013, 10:26 AM
 
Intelligence is over-rated. Wisdom and cunning are better.
     
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Sep 10, 2013, 11:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by BadKosh View Post
Intelligence is over-rated. Wisdom and cunning are better.
Wisdom is a dump stat for most. Everyone needs good Dexterity, however.
     
besson3c
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Sep 10, 2013, 01:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Do you think some of that is your own biased perception? If you're already an atheist, then of course the people arguing for the existence of God are going to seem to be trying harder than the people who you already agree with.
I'm not an atheist, I'm agnostic (and I don't really understand why some call this a brand of atheism), but I don't think this is biased either.

On scientific turf, the atheist viewpoint is pretty easy to embrace because it is built wholly around science. The theist viewpoint relies on personal experience and willingness to have a faith so much that at times the scientific part of these debates seems shoehorned to me. Good arguments are often extremely complicated and academic. Maybe it does not seem this way to others, but I think I could make an objective case for this based on a few clips. Then again, maybe some of these theists are just shitty debaters, but...

I have a hard time talking to militant atheists about their beliefs (militant being the brand of atheist who says "people who believe in God just need a crutch to tell them what their morals should be", etc.), because atheists, in my own experiences, seem to think that not believing in God (God being any higher power or supernatural entity, not just the Judeochristian God) requires no faith.

There is definitely a measure of faith required to insist beyond a shadow of any doubt that God doesn't exist and could not possibly exist, because there's no way to actually prove it. I have far more respect for an atheist who can admit that they can't be certain they're right than one who insists that anyone who believes in God is an idiot deliberately ignoring science.

Hell, science requires faith, too, whether people want to admit it or not. Faith isn't just a religious concept.
Atheism requires no faith, but I think I understand what you are trying to say here, I just wouldn't use the word "faith".

The two common theist arguments that come up frequently are often referred to as "God of the gaps". Science openly cannot explain everything pre-big bang, it does not have all the answers nor does it claim to. However, where there are gaps in our knowledge an atheist will say "okay, we need to do more work to explain that" rather than filling in that gap by saying "God did it". The second argument is what you've said here, and that is the burden of proof is on the non-believers when you cannot claim that supernatural miracles are a part of our natural world. It is logical to believe that eventually those gaps will be filled with scientific understanding, because there is a pattern of this happening over many years. There are so many things that science can explain now that it couldn't even just 200 years ago, let alone when the Bible was written.

I'm agnostic because I haven't done my homework in exploring all of this science myself, so I can't personally say that I know one thing to be true over another, but gun to head if I had to make a decision I'd definitely choose atheism because it makes far more sense. I'm also agnostic because I'm open to the idea that we may not have the capacity (yet, or ever) to ever really understand those gaps. However, I think there is enough evidence to support the idea of some biblical ideas, for example the age of the Earth, being just plainly false. Because there are a number of things so plainly and completely factually wrong and illogical about what the Bible says (both testaments), I have more trust in science than I do the Bible.

The final reason I'm agnostic is because I sometimes think that my skepticism is a curse, and that my life might be better if I was just able to use religion as a tool to give my life inspiration and meaning. This is easily the best selling part of any religion, in my opinion, I certainly know many intelligent people that have found great fulfillment in their faith, but I cannot bring myself to fully embrace a faith if there are significant parts of me that doubt it.
     
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Sep 10, 2013, 01:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by lpkmckenna View Post
Wisdom is a dump stat for most. Everyone needs good Dexterity, however.
You just won't get that kind of Dexterity with a Death Knight like you will with a Paladin.
     
shifuimam
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Sep 10, 2013, 01:55 PM
 
I'm using faith in the context of "acceptance of unknowns".

You can't know for a fact whether or not God exists. There is much about the distant past we can't ever know for a fact, even as science and technology continue to progress.

In that sense, there is still the necessity that even the most hardened atheist scientist accept certain unknowns. With that being the case, such a person has no business mocking anyone for their own belief in the unknown.
     
besson3c
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Sep 10, 2013, 05:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
I'm using faith in the context of "acceptance of unknowns".

You can't know for a fact whether or not God exists. There is much about the distant past we can't ever know for a fact, even as science and technology continue to progress.
Why do you say that? There were probably people that once believed that we could never see anything outside of our solar system. Who knows where science and technology will lead us in the centuries to come?

In that sense, there is still the necessity that even the most hardened atheist scientist accept certain unknowns. With that being the case, such a person has no business mocking anyone for their own belief in the unknown.
Atheists certainly accept certain unknowns, they just generally don't fill in those gaps with "it must be God" until there is evidence to support this notion that satisfies them. There are a very small number of reputable scientists that are creationists (believing in the young Earth theories), although some that are willing to fill in some gaps with the possibility of God. The jury is definitely not out on the young Earth type theories though, so if we are able to determine for certain how old the Earth is, what makes you certain that we'll never learn more about what happened before the big bang?

Am I mistaken in thinking that a number of your viewpoints are based on the attitudes of people holding them? Whether there are a number of atheists that mock people doesn't really have a bearing on the validity of their beliefs, agreed?
     
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Sep 10, 2013, 07:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I'm not an atheist, I'm agnostic (and I don't really understand why some call this a brand of atheism), but I don't think this is biased either.
This is how I've seen it explained. "Agnosticism" isn't a stance on whether or not there's a higher power, it's a stance on how certain one can be.

     
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Sep 10, 2013, 07:06 PM
 
That's helpful! I'm an agnostic atheist then....
     
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Sep 10, 2013, 08:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Atheists certainly accept certain unknowns, they just generally don't fill in those gaps with "it must be God" until there is evidence to support this notion that satisfies them.
I think this argument makes more of God in the sciences than is necessary. For example, "it must be God" is not the pursuit, that's an assumed entity for those of faith. It's no different than an Atheist's assumption; "it must be Nature". The pursuit is "how" and it always has been, regardless of one's philosophical world view. Of course there are pockets of hobbyists from all walks of life with one agenda or another, but the good news is the whole of science isn't wrapped up in the genesis of matter and keeping the fringe bastards out entirely has only served an establishment with a real bad track record of suppression.

There are a very small number of reputable scientists that are creationists (believing in the young Earth theories), although some that are willing to fill in some gaps with the possibility of God. The jury is definitely not out on the young Earth type theories though, so if we are able to determine for certain how old the Earth is, what makes you certain that we'll never learn more about what happened before the big bang?
How do you know you won't be learning more about God? Right now, we're entering the realm of the supernatural regardless. The good news is, we get to learn more about how. Breakthroughs here may only open whole new worlds of intrigue and complexity.

Am I mistaken in thinking that a number of your viewpoints are based on the attitudes of people holding them? Whether there are a number of atheists that mock people doesn't really have a bearing on the validity of their beliefs, agreed?
I disagree with Atheists, I wouldn't say their beliefs are invalid. The problem is I've found so few qualified to mock anyone that the attitudes are just less tolerable.
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Sep 11, 2013, 12:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Why do you say that? There were probably people that once believed that we could never see anything outside of our solar system. Who knows where science and technology will lead us in the centuries to come?

Atheists certainly accept certain unknowns, they just generally don't fill in those gaps with "it must be God" until there is evidence to support this notion that satisfies them. There are a very small number of reputable scientists that are creationists (believing in the young Earth theories), although some that are willing to fill in some gaps with the possibility of God. The jury is definitely not out on the young Earth type theories though, so if we are able to determine for certain how old the Earth is, what makes you certain that we'll never learn more about what happened before the big bang?
Well, that's assuming the big bang is actually what happened.

Time is linear. We can't ever know for certain what happened in the past. Unlike various laws of science (e.g. gravity), postulating what happened in the past is always going to require a certain measure of belief in the unknown.

Meanwhile, I'd say that it's possible to believe in God and science simultaneously. I don't try to use God to fill in what I don't understand about the universe. I simply believe that universe is too orderly and complex to believe that there was no intelligent being behind its creation. I leave it at that - there's no morals or religion in it.

Am I mistaken in thinking that a number of your viewpoints are based on the attitudes of people holding them? Whether there are a number of atheists that mock people doesn't really have a bearing on the validity of their beliefs, agreed?
Well, the mouthpiece of modern atheism - Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens - really take it to an extreme. They're on a crusade to evangelize atheism as vehemently as the best Christian missionaries out there. So yeah, my opinion of atheists is colored by that.

I don't think an atheist's beliefs are any less valid than anyone else's. As long as you can respect that others' beliefs are as valid as yours, everything's cool.
     
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Sep 11, 2013, 12:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
I think this argument makes more of God in the sciences than is necessary. For example, "it must be God" is not the pursuit, that's an assumed entity for those of faith. It's no different than an Atheist's assumption; "it must be Nature". The pursuit is "how" and it always has been, regardless of one's philosophical world view. Of course there are pockets of hobbyists from all walks of life with one agenda or another, but the good news is the whole of science isn't wrapped up in the genesis of matter and keeping the fringe bastards out entirely has only served an establishment with a real bad track record of suppression.
I don't think it is cool to mock anybody, but go to YouTube and listen to some of the hate mail and questions Dawkins gets. You may disagree with Dawkins' conclusions, but the man has put a ton of time into understanding science, much like somebody like Neil DeGrasse Tyson has (although he of course doesn't usually get into religion the same way). Don't you think it would be frustrating to hear arguments such as "uh, if evolution is a thing how did early man go to the bathroom", or any of the ridiculous arguments about how the world is only 6000 years old? Remember that Christians (and presumably Creationists) greatly outnumber Atheists.

Dawkins is extremely patient and I don't think I've ever seen get insulting or rude, but can you feel some empathy for how often he comes across frustrating comments from people that can't speak on his level? This isn't to say that there aren't some brilliant Theists out there, there are and many of these debates with people like Dawkins can be found on YouTube, I think he enjoys sparring with them, but there are a lot of numbskulls out there. Seriously, look for "Dawkins hate mail" on YouTube.

How do you know you won't be learning more about God? Right now, we're entering the realm of the supernatural regardless. The good news is, we get to learn more about how. Breakthroughs here may only open whole new worlds of intrigue and complexity.
Definitely, although thus far our findings have been perceived largely as a threat to Christianity. For example, evolution, the age of the Earth, etc. I would say that all in all more discoveries have threatened many Christian (and other religious) beliefs than have supported them. Would you disagree?

I disagree with Atheists, I wouldn't say their beliefs are invalid. The problem is I've found so few qualified to mock anyone that the attitudes are just less tolerable.
Dawkins, Hitchens, Silverman are a few I've been listening to, if you are interested. Silverman can be pretty belligerent out of this bunch, and Hitchens pretty condescending, so if that is a deal breaker you might want to check out Dawkins if you haven't already. Then again, Silverman takes a number of political stands which get him on TV such as running that Christmas billboard about the Christmas story being a myth, this is a part of his job and self-interests (he was the guy that Bill O'Reilly interviewed when O'Reilly came up with the idiotic argument "tides come in, tides come out, nobody can explain that"), so he doesn't always stick within academic and civilized confines. I mean, when you go on the O'Reilly Factor you can expect this sort of aggressive conflict to happen, because that's O'Reilly's game
( Last edited by besson3c; Sep 11, 2013 at 12:48 AM. )
     
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Sep 11, 2013, 12:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Well, that's assuming the big bang is actually what happened.
Are there a significant number of reputable scientists that would claim the big bang didn't happen?

Time is linear. We can't ever know for certain what happened in the past. Unlike various laws of science (e.g. gravity), postulating what happened in the past is always going to require a certain measure of belief in the unknown.
Are you saying that science cannot tell us how old the Earth is?

Meanwhile, I'd say that it's possible to believe in God and science simultaneously. I don't try to use God to fill in what I don't understand about the universe. I simply believe that universe is too orderly and complex to believe that there was no intelligent being behind its creation. I leave it at that - there's no morals or religion in it.
People like Dawkins would question your filling in the gaps with God (which is what you're doing here), but he would also appreciate that you aren't blowing off science just because it is inconvenient to believe certain things.

Well, the mouthpiece of modern atheism - Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens - really take it to an extreme. They're on a crusade to evangelize atheism as vehemently as the best Christian missionaries out there. So yeah, my opinion of atheists is colored by that.
How does Dawkins do this? Hitchens and Silverman I'll give you, but Dawkins generally seems to remain in scholarly circles.

However, as douchey as Silverman and Hitchens can be, you have to admit there is *far* more stuff out there evangelizing God in a way that would be offensive and/or annoying to Atheists. I think these Atheist mouthpieces feel that we should be free to celebrate Christmas and such, but feel that it is unfair for people to demand that we hang crucifixes near the World Trade Center, for example, and not other religious symbols. For a country that is dominantly Christian yet embraces a separation of church and state, Christians have it made, so I generally don't go for these "we're being bullied" sort of arguments, particularly in respect to comparing Christianity to other religions.

I don't think an atheist's beliefs are any less valid than anyone else's. As long as you can respect that others' beliefs are as valid as yours, everything's cool.
All beliefs are not equal. We are allowed to believe whatever we want and these beliefs should be respected, but if I believed that the world is flat should my belief be considered as valid as yours?
     
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Sep 11, 2013, 07:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I don't think it is cool to mock anybody, but go to YouTube and listen to some of the hate mail and questions Dawkins gets. You may disagree with Dawkins' conclusions, but the man has put a ton of time into understanding science, much like somebody like Neil DeGrasse Tyson has (although he of course doesn't usually get into religion the same way). Don't you think it would be frustrating to hear arguments such as "uh, if evolution is a thing how did early man go to the bathroom", or any of the ridiculous arguments about how the world is only 6000 years old? Remember that Christians (and presumably Creationists) greatly outnumber Atheists.
Right which is why instances of stupidity will appear to far outweigh those of Atheists. The good news is, this is still a small minority of Christians. Christian organizations and spokespeople get a wealth of hate mail from Atheists along the lines of "uh, if god loves us so much -- why do people have to DIE! Huh?!?" or "Why does god condone SLAVERY?!?"

No different. This is why it's annoying to some Christians that people would make such asinine statements, thinking they've found their big "gotcha" moment without so much as a modicum of expertise in theology.

Dawkins is extremely patient and I don't think I've ever seen get insulting or rude, but can you feel some empathy for how often he comes across frustrating comments from people that can't speak on his level? This isn't to say that there aren't some brilliant Theists out there, there are and many of these debates with people like Dawkins can be found on YouTube, I think he enjoys sparring with them, but there are a lot of numbskulls out there. Seriously, look for "Dawkins hate mail" on YouTube.
Again, so what? This nonsense abounds among all walks of life. Welcome to the human race. Not to be smarmy or anything, but if these people don't understand their miserable contribution to a matter is a net-negative that it's being posted on You Tube, that's going to be their bad and they generally get sorted out pretty quickly and easily.

Definitely, although thus far our findings have been perceived largely as a threat to Christianity. For example, evolution, the age of the Earth, etc. I would say that all in all more discoveries have threatened many Christian (and other religious) beliefs than have supported them. Would you disagree?
That's all contingent upon interpretation of the evidence. There is no "Fellowship Law" in the Sciences that mandates a lack of faith in a deity and there is no Christian Law that salvation requires you to adhere to a young-earth creationist model. Evidence only provides rubber nails for undertakers to pound fruitlessly against the coffins they've already built for those with contrarian views.

Dawkins, Hitchens, Silverman are a few I've been listening to, if you are interested. Silverman can be pretty belligerent out of this bunch, and Hitchens pretty condescending, so if that is a deal breaker you might want to check out Dawkins if you haven't already. Then again, Silverman takes a number of political stands which get him on TV such as running that Christmas billboard about the Christmas story being a myth, this is a part of his job and self-interests (he was the guy that Bill O'Reilly interviewed when O'Reilly came up with the idiotic argument "tides come in, tides come out, nobody can explain that"), so he doesn't always stick within academic and civilized confines. I mean, when you go on the O'Reilly Factor you can expect this sort of aggressive conflict to happen, because that's O'Reilly's game
I'm familiar with the players and their arguments. A diligent student will be well-versed in the subject matter upon which they choose to engage others or at least interested in becoming so. Everyone else are salesmen of one kind or another.
ebuddy
     
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Sep 11, 2013, 09:34 AM
 
Clouding our thought processes is the fact we are electro-chemical thinkers. We don't even know how many dimensions there are. We really don't understand time.
     
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Sep 11, 2013, 10:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Are you saying that science cannot tell us how old the Earth is?
No, I'm just saying that we can never be 100% certain of anything in the past that isn't a part of recorded history. That goes way beyond how old the Earth is. We can make assumptions and hypotheses based on the data we have today, but when you're talking about something like how the universe itself was formed, there's zero way to be certain about that.

People like Dawkins would question your filling in the gaps with God (which is what you're doing here)
I'm really not, though. The more we learn about the universe, the more complex it is. Learning about those complexities doesn't explain why we exist or why things are as orderly as they are.

How does Dawkins do this? Hitchens and Silverman I'll give you, but Dawkins generally seems to remain in scholarly circles.
Seems like he's pretty big on writing books about how God is a myth. That's evangelizing IMO.

However, as douchey as Silverman and Hitchens can be, you have to admit there is *far* more stuff out there evangelizing God in a way that would be offensive and/or annoying to Atheists.
The thing is, that doesn't make it okay for an atheist to tell me that I'm weak-minded, brainwashed, or stupid because I believe in God.

I've had atheists tell me that to my face. I've also had conversations with more sane atheists who have no problem with my beliefs.

All beliefs are not equal. We are allowed to believe whatever we want and these beliefs should be respected, but if I believed that the world is flat should my belief be considered as valid as yours?
That's subjective, if you ask me. If you believe the world is flat, why should I care? As long as it's not affecting other people, believe whatever the hell you want to believe. Some of the things Christians believe are just as out there as believing that the world is flat. They have a right to believe whatever they want. When you start picking and choosing what's "valid" and what's "not valid", it's very subjective.
     
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Sep 11, 2013, 12:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Well, that's assuming the big bang is actually what happened.
The Borde, Guth, Vilenkin theorem is right up your alley. (AKA "Stephen Hawkings worse birthday present")
( Last edited by Chongo; Sep 11, 2013 at 10:13 PM. )
     
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Sep 11, 2013, 12:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
That's subjective, if you ask me. If you believe the world is flat, why should I care? As long as it's not affecting other people, believe whatever the hell you want to believe. Some of the things Christians believe are just as out there as believing that the world is flat. They have a right to believe whatever they want. When you start picking and choosing what's "valid" and what's "not valid", it's very subjective.
I don't care what crazy things others believe, right up until the point that they get on public school boards and try to make their religion the curriculum, or lobby the senate/get elected with the intention to make their religion law.
     
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Sep 11, 2013, 12:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
I don't care what crazy things others believe, right up until the point that they get on public school boards and try to make their religion the curriculum, or lobby the senate/get elected with the intention to make their religion law.
Exactly.
     
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Sep 11, 2013, 01:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
No, I'm just saying that we can never be 100% certain of anything in the past that isn't a part of recorded history. That goes way beyond how old the Earth is. We can make assumptions and hypotheses based on the data we have today, but when you're talking about something like how the universe itself was formed, there's zero way to be certain about that.
So we can't be 100% certain that dinosaurs existed?

I'm really not, though. The more we learn about the universe, the more complex it is. Learning about those complexities doesn't explain why we exist or why things are as orderly as they are.
It also doesn't mean we should fill in the gaps with "God did it".

Seems like he's pretty big on writing books about how God is a myth. That's evangelizing IMO.
I don't understand your argument here. Christians can say that their God exists, every other religion can tell us all about their Gods, put up billboards, a gazillion churches, lobby for a place in politics, etc. and Dawkins writes books stating that there is no God and this is inappropriate somehow?

The thing is, that doesn't make it okay for an atheist to tell me that I'm weak-minded, brainwashed, or stupid because I believe in God.
It doesn't make it okay for anybody to say this about you, but why are we even discussing this? Yes, some Atheists would say this, it is human nature to get emotional about something we will strongly about, whatever that thing is.

That's subjective, if you ask me. If you believe the world is flat, why should I care? As long as it's not affecting other people, believe whatever the hell you want to believe. Some of the things Christians believe are just as out there as believing that the world is flat. They have a right to believe whatever they want. When you start picking and choosing what's "valid" and what's "not valid", it's very subjective.
We just have a different definition of the word "valid" then in this particular context. I was thinking more along the lines of intellectual valid, not valid as in within your rights.
     
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Sep 11, 2013, 02:59 PM
 
Is there any practical difference between 100% and 99.999999999999999%?
This is the difference between fact and theory.
     
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Sep 11, 2013, 03:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
So we can't be 100% certain that dinosaurs existed?
That's an unnecessary extreme. We know dinosaurs existed. We can approximate when they existed.

That doesn't change that there are unknowns in science.

It also doesn't mean we should fill in the gaps with "God did it".
It also doesn't mean we shouldn't. Your attitude about it is edging dangerously close to "if you were smart you wouldn't need God". Believing in intelligent design - or the possibility of intelligent design - isn't incompatible with science, as much as you might want it to be.

I don't know for a fact God exists. There's no way to prove it, obviously. But I do think that the universe is complex enough that claiming God doesn't exist - or going so far as to insist that there's no possibility God exists - is a bit disingenuous.

I don't understand your argument here. Christians can say that their God exists, every other religion can tell us all about their Gods, put up billboards, a gazillion churches, lobby for a place in politics, etc. and Dawkins writes books stating that there is no God and this is inappropriate somehow?
I never said that I didn't have a problem with Christians lobbying Congress for their own moral crusades. I have a huge problem with that. All I was pointing out is that Dawkins does evangelize atheism to commoners (non-academics).

We just have a different definition of the word "valid" then in this particular context. I was thinking more along the lines of intellectual valid, not valid as in within your rights.
Pft. Intellectual validity is just as subjective! What you want is for me to concede and say "you're right, there's less validity to a belief in god than a belief in atheism", but I'm not going to simplify things to that level. Dogmatic beliefs are inherently subjective. The validity of those beliefs, as a result, is also subjective.

I refuse to be so arrogant as to label one person's beliefs as intellectually invalid or inferior simply because I don't agree with them. I left the Christian faith because it didn't work for me specifically as an individual. That doesn't invalidate its place in the lives of many other people, nor does it make me intellectually superior because of my choice.
     
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Sep 11, 2013, 03:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
Is there any practical difference between 100% and 99.999999999999999%?
This is the difference between fact and theory.
There's no hard line, some theories are more accepted and concrete than others.
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Sep 11, 2013, 04:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
There's no hard line, some theories are more accepted and concrete than others.
My point is, for science it's not impossible that god created the bones of dinosaurs to make the world look old. Just improbable. Also here's the really important part that people leave out. god creating the dinosaurs isn't useful for anything. Dinosaurs evolving and living and dying off teaches us things, some of those are useful.
     
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Sep 11, 2013, 04:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
My point is, for science it's not impossible that god created the bones of dinosaurs to make the world look old. Just improbable. Also here's the really important part that people leave out. god creating the dinosaurs isn't useful for anything. Dinosaurs evolving and living and dying off teaches us things, some of those are useful.
and "Creationism" is more complicated than simple "young Earth" vs "old Earth". Both sides like to cherry-pick the nutters without addressing similarities, which is great for starting arguments but shitty for actual communication.
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Sep 11, 2013, 04:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
and "Creationism" is more complicated than simple "young Earth" vs "old Earth". Both sides like to cherry-pick the nutters without addressing similarities, which is great for starting arguments but shitty for actual communication.
Right. Sometimes creationism is about evolution and other times it's about the big bang.
     
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Sep 11, 2013, 04:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
That's all contingent upon interpretation of the evidence. There is no "Fellowship Law" in the Sciences that mandates a lack of faith in a deity and there is no Christian Law that salvation requires you to adhere to a young-earth creationist model. Evidence only provides rubber nails for undertakers to pound fruitlessly against the coffins they've already built for those with contrarian views.

I think I understand what you are saying here, but I'm not really satisfied with this.

At what point does evidence, in general, become impossible to ignore where we can simply call something a fact without having to dance around this with "but you can interpret this differently and I'll respect that". I mean, no, I'm not going to respect people who believe that the Earth is flat. I'll try hard to not mock them or make this a personal thing, but by giving this opinion this sort of respect it puts it at the same level as the absolutely concrete evidence against this notion. If you believe the Earth is flat I'm not going to be particularly interested in debating this with you out of respect, would you feel differently?

I think we are there with *some* aspects of what some creationists thing, including the age of the Earth. Is there anybody here that believes that it is 6000 years old and can make a case for why this viewpoint should be respected?
     
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Sep 11, 2013, 05:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
That's an unnecessary extreme. We know dinosaurs existed. We can approximate when they existed.

That doesn't change that there are unknowns in science.
Like I asked ebuddy, at what point do theories become facts? I'd say that we know that the Earth is more than 6000 years old too, but evidently there are those (out there in the world) that disagree with this.

It also doesn't mean we shouldn't. Your attitude about it is edging dangerously close to "if you were smart you wouldn't need God". Believing in intelligent design - or the possibility of intelligent design - isn't incompatible with science, as much as you might want it to be.
You are free to fill in the gap, just as long as this isn't presented as some sort of truth. Gut feelings are fine, but they need to be separated from what we consider logical arguments with not only religion, but everything in life. An Atheist wouldn't attempt to fill in these gaps, they would concede them. I appreciate the humility of acknowledging our intellectual capabilities right now. I also appreciate *beliefs* that perhaps a supernatural entity is involved, just don't play these off as facts, and definitely don't try to politicize them.

I don't know for a fact God exists. There's no way to prove it, obviously. But I do think that the universe is complex enough that claiming God doesn't exist - or going so far as to insist that there's no possibility God exists - is a bit disingenuous.
That's one reason why I'm not a gnostic atheist.

I never said that I didn't have a problem with Christians lobbying Congress for their own moral crusades. I have a huge problem with that. All I was pointing out is that Dawkins does evangelize atheism to commoners (non-academics).
How do you define evangelizing? Stating his case in an academic fashion without overtly attempting to manipulate emotions is different than putting up roadside billboards and making people fear going to hell if they don't find God and all that, no?

Pft. Intellectual validity is just as subjective! What you want is for me to concede and say "you're right, there's less validity to a belief in god than a belief in atheism", but I'm not going to simplify things to that level. Dogmatic beliefs are inherently subjective. The validity of those beliefs, as a result, is also subjective.

I refuse to be so arrogant as to label one person's beliefs as intellectually invalid or inferior simply because I don't agree with them. I left the Christian faith because it didn't work for me specifically as an individual. That doesn't invalidate its place in the lives of many other people, nor does it make me intellectually superior because of my choice.
Intellectual validity can certainly be subjective, just ask the people debating issues such as global climate change.

However, as I said, I don't like putting any sort of opinion one can come up with in the "we should respect that opinion and pretend like it has validity" category. If you feel like the Earth is flat, for example, I say "go away and get a brain moran!" I mean, I'd try not to say that, but I'd think that, and I certainly don't think we should patently listen to this argument and treating it like it has validity. I'd rather urge that person to join this century, ya know?

I mean this in a very general way too, I'm not using the flat Earth as some sort of Christian/religious strawman. If you do want to tie this to our religious debate though, as stated, I think we are there with the age of the Earth thing where we can put deniers in the same category as the flat Earthers.
     
 
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