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BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth

bobad 15 Sep 12 - 09:03 PM
gnu 15 Sep 12 - 09:06 PM
Joe Offer 15 Sep 12 - 09:08 PM
bobad 15 Sep 12 - 09:25 PM
GUEST,Chongo Chimp 15 Sep 12 - 09:29 PM
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gnu 15 Sep 12 - 10:55 PM
artbrooks 16 Sep 12 - 12:28 AM
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catspaw49 16 Sep 12 - 09:17 AM
Les in Chorlton 16 Sep 12 - 09:49 AM
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Bill D 16 Sep 12 - 12:36 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 16 Sep 12 - 12:36 PM
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Subject: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: bobad
Date: 15 Sep 12 - 09:03 PM

I don't know if the numbers are true but if they are I'd say it's pretty worrisome.

Graph


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: gnu
Date: 15 Sep 12 - 09:06 PM

Why worriesome?


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Sep 12 - 09:08 PM

Only 40% of Americans believe in evolution? A look at these Gallup Poll results indicates that number may be right. I thought it would be more like 75% of Americans believe in evolution.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: bobad
Date: 15 Sep 12 - 09:25 PM

I would think that the science literacy of such an advanced country would be much higher. Is the education system to blame?


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,Chongo Chimp
Date: 15 Sep 12 - 09:29 PM

The folks who say they don't believe in evolution probably don't actually understand what it is in the first place, but have some crude definition of it in their minds...just like the people who say they don't believe in God.

Words are just vague and limited symbols to a lotta people, not actually demandin' any depth of thought about the subject.

- Chongo


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Sep 12 - 10:37 PM

For the last week or so, my bathrrom reading has been "Ever Since Darwin" by Steven Jay Gould. It's a collection of short essays on how people THOUGHT about evolution and the various arguments and tangents they went on.

It is an education in exactly how 'great thinkers' managed to do great injustices to Darwin, their own ideas and each others.

It's now 40 years old, but the ideas and explanations could serve in any age.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Q
Date: 15 Sep 12 - 10:44 PM

Knowledge of the biological sciences on the part of North Americans is abysmal, but they are not alone. Similar statistics seem to apply to most countries.
The Newman Club and other organizations associated with the Catholic Church held sessions to counter evolutionary teaching when I was in university.

The position of some churches on some of the biological facts of life and the influence this has on health education is appalling.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Janie
Date: 15 Sep 12 - 10:51 PM

I'm gonna stay out of this one, at least for tonight.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 15 Sep 12 - 10:51 PM

I think that the only country they included in the Americas is the US is alarming.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: gnu
Date: 15 Sep 12 - 10:55 PM

WTF? I agree with a fictional ape? I must reflect upon my inner soul and tell it not to drink so much beer on Saturday nights.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: artbrooks
Date: 16 Sep 12 - 12:28 AM

This from Gallup: some 78% of Americans today believe that God had a hand in the development of humans in some way, just slightly less than the percentage who felt this way 30 years ago. More here.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: DMcG
Date: 16 Sep 12 - 03:00 AM

I don't know if the numbers are true but if they are I'd say it's pretty worrisome

Is someone claiming a causal connection between the axes? I don't see it myself. Rather both are related to something else, which we might call 'general level of education'.

Of course, you are quite entitled to worry about the numbers on each axis independently...


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Stu
Date: 16 Sep 12 - 08:54 AM

When it comes to forming policy science is ignored just as much (or possibly even more so) than religion, which explains why the world is fucked, and our children and their descendants will suffer for our ignorance.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 16 Sep 12 - 09:11 AM

The folks who say they don't believe in evolution probably don't actually understand what it is in the first place, but have some crude definition of it in their minds...just like the people who say they don't believe in God.

So the people who do believe in God understand fully what it is they believe in, huh?


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: catspaw49
Date: 16 Sep 12 - 09:17 AM

I think its the combination of religion with the Flintstones.............


Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 16 Sep 12 - 09:49 AM

I think this is interesting from Q above:

"The Newman Club and other organizations associated with the Catholic Church held sessions to counter evolutionary teaching when I was in university.

The position of some churches on some of the biological facts of life and the influence this has on health education is appalling. "

As far as I know, the Catholic Church accepted the Darwinian evolution a very long tome (100 years+) ago, although I have met catholics who seemed to think their church did not - and hence neither should they.

Perhaps some informed catholics could tidy this up

L in C#


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: bobad
Date: 16 Sep 12 - 10:08 AM

From Wikipedia:

"Since the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species in 1859, the attitude of the Catholic Church on the theory of evolution has slowly been refined. For about 100 years, there was no authoritative pronouncement on the subject. In the 1950 encyclical Humani generis, Pope Pius XII confirmed that there is no intrinsic conflict between Christianity and the theory of evolution, provided that Christians believed that the individual soul is a direct creation by God and not the product of purely material forces.[1] Today, the Church's unofficial position is an example of theistic evolution, also known as evolutionary creation,[2] stating that faith and scientific findings regarding human evolution are not in conflict, though humans are regarded as a special creation, and that the existence of God is required to explain both monogenism and the spiritual component of human origins. Moreover, the Church teaches that the process of evolution is a planned and purpose-driven natural process, actively guided by God.[3][4][5]"

They've got the bases covered.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Stu
Date: 16 Sep 12 - 10:21 AM

"the Church teaches that the process of evolution is a planned and purpose-driven natural process"

And there it is in a nutshell.

They might have the bases covered in their own deluded minds, but in truth they don't accept evolution at all; by their very nature evolution and natural processes are neither planned or purpose-driven. Similarly, the idea that humans are regarded as 'a special creation' is arrogant, ignorant and one of those dangerous, nasty and invidious concepts that is responsible for shaping the ludicrous idea of man's dominion over the natural world.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Sep 12 - 12:36 PM

Most discussions of the topic... including this one... have a built-in flaw.

When the phrase "believe in God" -by EITHER side- is used, with 'God' capitalized, there is an implicit suggestion that there IS a 'god' that we either accept or not.

To discuss it all in a neutral way, those who have doubts should say something like "believe in *a* god" or "believe in some metaphysical entity which created us and oversees daily events"... etc.

You think I am picking nits? *shrug*. Language & usage influence thought patterns more than a lot of us realize.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 16 Sep 12 - 12:36 PM

"Knowledge of the biological sciences on the part of North Americans is abysmal, but they are not alone. Similar statistics seem to apply to most countries ..."

Replace "biological sciences" with "sciences" and I would agree with that statement. I live in the UK and until fairly recently I worked, as a scientist, in private industry. Most of my colleagues - some of whom has PhDs in science subjects - didn't have a clue! They seemed to rely on something which I call 'science lite' i.e. a combination of intuition, guesswork and tinkering around. The weird thing was that this 'method' wasn't even efficient - they all seemed to think that it had to involve an onerous, meaningless slog ... but that then seemed to earn them 'brownie points' with the bosses!


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: catspaw49
Date: 16 Sep 12 - 12:37 PM

Today's a flashback in the Doonesbury toon strip which fits right in here..........Sunday....9/16/2012



Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Stu
Date: 16 Sep 12 - 01:12 PM

Spaw nails it . . . again. Sir, I raise a glass.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 16 Sep 12 - 02:53 PM

North American? I don't think so.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,pete from seven stars link
Date: 16 Sep 12 - 03:02 PM

dont know much about economics and i,m sure most of you will say i dont know much of anything ,so i intend to leave you to the pursuit of congratulating each other on your unbelief !
best wishes   pete.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Q
Date: 16 Sep 12 - 03:20 PM

Jack the Sailor, we have free-for-all (and I am not talking cost) "education" here in wonderful self-governing (almost) Alberta, Canada.

1. Catholic schools
2. Public schools (diminishing numbers)
3. Charter and private schools, which range all the way from strong scientifically based programs to very narrow evangelically-based 'curicula'. Expensive to reasonable cost.
4. Home schooling- the parents do it. Content beyond the basics depends on the beliefs of the parents.
5. Limited schooling for groups such as the Hutterites. Nothing past the 9th grade level, taught in the colonies.
6. Schooling in the Indian reservations, generally abysmal.

(Some groups- Muslim, Jewish, Chinese- have supplementary education, mainly cultural. Not really a problem.)

In other words, absolutely no control.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 16 Sep 12 - 07:15 PM

If you say you believe in evolution as long as it's understood that evolution was kick-started/driven/steered by God, you really don't believe in evolution at all. Darwin was a polite fellow, but he knew, and evolutionary biologists know, that evolutionary theory completely does away with the need for a creator.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: mayomick
Date: 17 Sep 12 - 11:11 AM

I often read people saying that they "believe" in evolution , in much the same way as you hear religious people say that they believe in God . Doesn't the word "belief" imply that the evolutionist rationale is faith-based ? I don't "believe" in evolution , but having examined the matter , I do accept the overwhelming amount of evidence that supports the theory .


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 17 Sep 12 - 11:42 AM

Whether or not the premise is correct, It's a God-awful graphical presentation.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: mayomick
Date: 17 Sep 12 - 12:09 PM

I thought graphs were supposed to simplify things.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 17 Sep 12 - 02:30 PM

Shimrod has put forth a significant bit, which is that most people, even scientists, don't understand a lot of what what they could, and probably ought to know.

Consider evolution-what ever people say about what they believe, most people don't really have a functional understanding of it. Even if 78% of people say they believe something, if only, say, 20% actually understand it, what does "believe" even mean?

Now the fact is, most people do not much understand or much need to understand evolution However, because we are a "democratic society" we seem to believe that the opinions of people who don't understand things matter just as much as the opinions of people who do. That is the problem.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: pdq
Date: 17 Sep 12 - 03:05 PM

"...because we are a 'democratic society' we seem to believe that the opinions of people who don't understand things matter just as much as the opinions of people who do. That is the problem."

Ain't that the truth.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 17 Sep 12 - 04:42 PM

What is YOUR opinion on global climate change pdq?


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: TheSnail
Date: 17 Sep 12 - 05:10 PM

I often read people saying that they "believe" in evolution , in much the same way as you hear religious people say that they believe in God.

Thank you, mayomick. Previous "discussions" have made me reluctant to post to this thread, but when I hear people who consider themselves to be scientists talking about "believing in evolution" I cringe.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 17 Sep 12 - 05:28 PM

"Shimrod has put forth a significant bit, which is that most people, even scientists, don't understand a lot of what what they could, and probably ought to know."

Thank you, Stim, but I suspect that it's worse than that. In the western, English speaking world we have a strong anti-intellectual element in our culture (we all know that people who are good at science are 'nerds', aren't they?). We've also been led to believe that our leaders should be relentlessly positive in outlook, bold, decisive and intuitive (and honesty and integrity are for 'geeks', aren't they?). So many people who are employed as scientists, and are in any way ambitious, soon realise that the best way to achieve their ambitions is to dump the nerdy, geeky science stuff and opt for a relentlessly positive, bold, decisive etc. approach to their careers.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 17 Sep 12 - 07:20 PM

OK, oh whingeing shelled one. Here it is again.

If you say you believe in evolution as long as it's understood that evolution was kick-started/driven/steered by God, you really don't believe in evolution at all.

I was responding to the thread in the same vein as the thread. Go ahead. Re-word it for me. I don't "believe in evolution", but I do believe you're trying to be a bit of a prick again.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: gnu
Date: 17 Sep 12 - 07:50 PM

Evolution is a fact AS DEFINED. It happened, it's happening and it will happen again. It's got sweet fuck all to do with God except that some people think He invented it. Unless His name is Darwin. Well, he may not have invented it, but he did patent it.

It seems that some people on both sides of the NON-debate do not understand the concept of evolution. If they did, they would accept it as a scientific analysis (analyses) and postulate which has been fuckin proven, AS DEFINED, and has fuck all to do with whether God exists or not.

So... which came first? The chicken or the egg's evolution into a chicken?


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 17 Sep 12 - 09:35 PM

Without thinking all that much about it, my "first shot" at the graph linked in the first post would be that those interested enough in education to at least think they understand evolution (or most other well-founded science) are too busy with what's interesting than those who terminate their education (and thinking) when they figure out how to scam their first few bucka and learn "the joys of acquisitiveness." (a.k.a. greed?).

Perhaps it is worth mention that I've known several "science superstars" who were exceedingly poorly educated about much of anything except their chosen field.

"Learning more and more about less and less until we know everything about nothing?" - But is that all bad?

On the other side, the theories of evolution extant include the argument that most members of a colony (social order?) only need to learn (evolve) what is needed for their own survival within their environment so if you're surrounded by the Taliban (of any religion) it's probably safest to believe as they demand; and if you live among thieves it's probably better for your own survival if you learn a little of how to steal.(?)

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 18 Sep 12 - 09:39 AM

As per this:

"If you say you believe in evolution as long as it's understood that evolution was kick-started/driven/steered by God, you really don't believe in evolution at all."

The great man himself offers this:

"A celebrated author and divine has written to me that he has gradually learned to see that it is just as noble a conception of the Deity to believe that he created a few original forms capable of self-development into other and needful forms, as to believe that he required a fresh act of creation to supply the voids caused by the action of his laws." (Charles Darwin, Origin of Species p. 422)

You may comment, or just go off to your room and think it over:-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: TheSnail
Date: 18 Sep 12 - 09:58 AM

Thank you, Steve Shaw, for reminding me why I am reluctant to post to threads like this. I just can't compete with the intellectual precision of your arguments.

A couple of Nexts on the page bobad linked to takes you to this - Believe?


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Sep 12 - 12:27 PM

If you gave us the benefit of your opinions on the substantive matter instead of dedicating yourself to finding something to snipe at you wouldn't have to feel so reluctant.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Sep 12 - 12:36 PM

A celebrated author and divine has written to me that he has gradually learned to see that it is just as noble a conception of the Deity to believe that he created a few original forms capable of self-development into other and needful forms, as to believe that he required a fresh act of creation to supply the voids caused by the action of his laws.

As far as I can make out that comment was penned by Charles Kingsley in a letter to Darwin, not by Darwin himself. My copy of Origin is of the first edition and there is no such entry on page 422. I think you'll find that Darwin was always driven by evidence, not evidence-innocent conjecture. He made some references to creation in his second edition, largely to deflect criticism from those of a religious bent. There is simply no need to consider that a creator kick-started life/evolution. There is certainly no evidence for it, though we always have that elephant in the room, The God Of The Gaps, for company.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Q
Date: 18 Sep 12 - 01:15 PM

Steve, I think you are correct. I have a facsimile, I can't find that quote.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,saulgoldie
Date: 18 Sep 12 - 01:26 PM

Once again, I find it necessary to repeat some basics. BillD is right that semantics is everything.

We might "believe in" G-d, or Goddess, or a council of G-ds, The FSM (Praised be he!), or JR Bob Dobbs, or what have you. It is impossible to verify that such beings or forces exist. But one may believe in it/them nonetheless.

On the other hand, science is a process, in which one does not need to believe. It is a process. It is a process that does not require one to believe or disbelieve. If one does not like what happens when someone practices science and comes up with a reproducible result, one is obliged to provide another *process* for coming up with valid reproducible results.

If one thinks science is a bogus process, then I invite them to refuse to avail themselves of all that this process has introduced humanity to. Starting with that electronic thing under the keyboard that allows them to post ninniness to a "place" that does not really exist (sort of).

One does not "believe in" evolution, gravity, water, climate change, or the Sun. One either accepts that they exist whether or one willfully choose to be ignorant. Science is not a democracy or a choice. It just is.

Saul


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: TheSnail
Date: 18 Sep 12 - 01:36 PM

Thank you Saul.

What "substantive matter" is that, Steve? The only one that concerns me is that Evolution is not a belief system. Anyone who purports to be a scientist and talks about it as if it is is undermining the very basis of science.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 18 Sep 12 - 03:17 PM

I put that up, Steve Shaw, to show that Darwin was not condescending and dissmissive.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Sep 12 - 03:44 PM

He was a good tactician though, Stim. He had to be in order to deal with religious flak. You did, incidentally, give the impression that they were Darwin's words.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Sep 12 - 03:47 PM

What "substantive matter" is that, Steve? The only one that concerns me is that Evolution is not a belief system. Anyone who purports to be a scientist and talks about it as if it is is undermining the very basis of science.

What the thread is about, rather than your obsessive desire to pick holes. And I don't do belief systems.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 18 Sep 12 - 06:58 PM

Link

You can bet on it.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Sep 12 - 07:27 PM

Science isn't really in the business of achieving certainties, such as ruling out the possibility of God. Actually, science can't deal with God at all, as his believers have put him beyond the laws of nature and thereby beyond the scope of science. Science can't be interested in God (which isn't to say that some scientists aren't). What many atheists think, especially those of a scientific frame of mind, is that this is entirely illegitimate, especially as it is not based on even the merest scrap of evidence. All that science can do is point out that the existence of God is suggested entirely on the basis of faith; moreover, he's not a very good competitor with the laws of nature when it comes to creation. You simply can't get away, rationally, with explaining the diversity and complexity of the universe by inventing something that is far more complex itself, that breaks the laws of nature at every turn and for which there is no evidence. Simple as that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: gnu
Date: 18 Sep 12 - 08:18 PM

Saul... well said.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 18 Sep 12 - 09:03 PM

Steve Shaw: I attributed my quote to Darwin. He said, "A celebrated author and divine has written to me...." The careful reader may discern that he is referring to someone else.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 05:30 AM

OK.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Stu
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 06:41 AM

Science certainly can deal with the existence of a God, many Gods or whatever. If there is observable, testable, reproducible evidence for the existence of anything we can look at the data, test how it fits with what we already know and then formulate a hypothesis that includes the existence of God. If this data is then tested again, reproduced via experiment and observation and the hypothesis stand up then it will become a theory and await disproval, which might or might not happen depending on what we learn in the coming decades and centuries. It will of course need to published via the peer-review process so everyone can judge for themselves.

At present, I believe there is no empirical evidence that points to the existence of God, or a whole pantheon of Gods. Not a thing. The empirical evidence for evolution is however, substantial and the theory has yet to be challenged in any meaningful way (that's not to say bits of it aren't challenged as more data comes to light; the theory as a whole is quite robust).


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: TheSnail
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 09:24 AM

Steve Shaw

What the thread is about, rather than your obsessive desire to pick holes.

I'm a bit thrown by your complete reversal of your previous position in your post of 18 Sep 12 - 07:27 PM but you'll probably deny any such thing so I'll carry on.

"What the thread is about" is the correspondence, or lack thereof, between Belief in Evolution and National Wealth. As far as I can see, you have never addressed this question in any of your posts.
The idea that 40% of US adults "Believe in Evolution" is indeed alarming but if you look a little closer, it turns out not to be quite like that. The vertical axis of the graph is labelled, "Percentage of the Public that Believe in Evolution" however the side note says "Percentage of adults that answered "true" to the question "Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals," From Jon Miller et al, Science, Aug 2006". Nobody was asked "Do you believe in evolution?" and nobody volunteered that they did. The paper in Science is not directly accessible without a subscription but there is an article about it here http://old.richarddawkins.net/articles/706-public-acceptance-of-evolution which has links to the text. To be honest, I don't find the question in Miller's paper all that scientific but at least it isn't (quite) treating science as a belief system.

I'll ask again, what is the "substantive matter" that you wish me to discuss? There doesn't seem to be much substance to the linked webpage.

I'm sorry you regard my attempts to explain my view of science as something fundamentally different from religion as a "desire to pick holes". It's the difference between reason and faith, that's all. Don't you think that matters?


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 12:23 PM

But that's the whole point, Jack. There can never be that observable, testable and reproducible evidence for God. His followers have put him beyond all that. If there can't be the evidence then it can't be addressed. All science can do is point to the fact that the claim for a God is, according to the laws of nature, highly improbable, the possibility vanishingly small. Not of scientific interest. Bit of a waste of time to rational thinkers, which is what scientists are supposed to be. One shrugs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 12:27 PM

T H E S N A I L

The substantive matter is what people in this thread wish to discuss. Threads wander, which is entirely groovy. It is not responding to silly sniping from you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: TheSnail
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 12:55 PM

Fine, Steve, but what is the "substantive matter" on which you feel I am failing to give my opinion?


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 12:56 PM

"There can never be that observable, testable and reproducible evidence for God."

Possibly, Steve, but remember: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. My take on the matter is that I've never seen any evidence for the existence of God(s). If the religious want to believe in God, without any evidence for His existence, then fine - they can believe whatever they like as far as I'm concerned. But if the religious want ME to share their beliefs THEN they're going to have to produce some convincing evidence. Sugarfoot Jack has outlined the necessary 'pack drill' above.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 03:13 PM

Correct, and I've often said to the God Squad, show me your evidence. But I know, you know, we all know that such evidence - as per the definition of the word that you, and I and any rational person would accept - is never going to be forthcoming. Well, nothing short of a spectacular arrival from the firmament in a chariot of fire, and even then I'd be wanting to see his papers. We set the evidence bar for God at the same height as for any other idea, and in thousands of years of organised religion they haven't even started their run-up.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Amos
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 04:27 PM

The materialist proposition of the Universe is that it is all that is. Therefore, the fundamentals of physics should eventually embrace the Universe. This of course leaves no room for God or other entities.

But, needless to mention, this line of reasoning omits the whole nature of God, gods, or other spiritual dynamics, and even consciousness itself as a creative source not contained by material spacetime, but containing it, or permeating it, or generating it holographically, depending on who you ask.

Minds which identify with the thinginess of "normal" spacetime will tend to perceive and allow the existence of solids and energies which reflect that "thinginess". Minds that back up far enough to let go of such identifications find themselves in a different state altogether. You could call it the hole in space, if you like. I don't think anyone knows how far out the hole goes...


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 06:17 PM

I would imagine that, if there was in fact a "Architect of the Universe", that person (male, female or whatever) would want to avoid recognition.

It is true that inanimate objects, be they stars, planets, or subatomic particles predictably adhere the the laws that govern them, and the myriad of animal species follow the rather cruel conditions of their existence without question. Humans, however, have a never ending stream of objections, demands, and complaints. That would get to be a bit tedious to manage, especially if you were all knowing.

It strikes me that the SATU might actually want people to be Atheists.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 07:20 PM

I would imagine that, if there was in fact a "Architect of the Universe", that person (male, female or whatever) would want to avoid recognition.

Well that just plays right into the hands of the Religious Deluded. If said architect is what they say he is, then he would have no reason whatsoever to wish to remain mysterious or anonymous. Of course, running with the Doubting Thomas Syndrome, we need a mysterious God who demands the "virtue" of undemanding trust and belief. Ask no questions, get no science!


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 12:03 AM

You don't have much sense of humor, do you, Steve? I'll bet if I said something like,
"Richard Dawkins doesn't like Christians because they believe there is someone more intelligent than he is.", you wouldn't even laugh...


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 04:22 AM

I've posted with considerable humour quite a lot in recent days. Take a peek at the more naked royals thread. What you missed in making your own comment is that believers (knowing how fragile their Godly construction is) do indeed put the Creator in a position in which he can't be recognised. So much so that you can't get any two of them to agree on what he actually is.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 04:30 AM

"The materialist proposition of the Universe is that it is all that is. "

This particular "materialist" proposes that the Universe consists of the known and the unknown. The unknown (which is quite 'big') MIGHT encompass God ... for all I know(!) The only 'evidence' I've seen so far consists of unsubstantiated anecdotal evidence in ancient texts and the fervent 'faith' of the religious. To a scientist that's not enough to act on. It certainly doesn't motivate me to start attending churches or temples and praying and worshipping!


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 05:13 AM

Might encompass what God? An eternal one? Iffenwen he becomes "known," will we get to know how he came about? How something as complex as God just sprang up?

God is just a silly idea (though one which I can't disprove, any more than I can disprove that a strange reincarnation of Pan's People isn't dancing jigs on the far side of Pluto). The great thing about nature, in all its beauty, diversity and complexity, is that it is all so splendidly ordinary. The real magic is that it is not magic at all. We don't need to superimpose something extraordinarily inexplicable in order to explain it all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 06:14 AM

I'm not disagreeing with you, Steve. Drill down into the concept of God, as presented by the religious, and the less credible that concept becomes - but then, we are both wicked sinners for asking such questions!

Mind you, I don't feel particularly wicked ... do you?


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 06:38 AM

I was a student in a Roman Catholic seminary in Milwaukee for eight years, 1961-1970. We were taught that God created through the wonderful, miraculous, natural process of evolution. We were also taught that there should be no conflict between religion and science, that religion cannot and should not attempt to disprove things that have been discovered through the scientific method.

I suppose some of my professors were close to the "intelligent design" way of thinking, but I don't think most would have been tied to that. To me, it feels a bit too anthropromorphic, although I would not totally reject an anthropromorphic metaphor as a way of understanding God.

I've developed my own perspective over the years. I don't disagree with science or Darwin, but I see a spiritual aspect to all that surrounds me. Much of what I see in nature and in people, leads me to awe and wonder. That which draws me to awe and wonder, is what I call God. Whether we see God in it or not, that's OK by me. we all experience the same wonderful things. How we see them, is another matter.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 09:56 AM

We see them as wonderful, amazing, magic even. But they are there to be explored and explained. That is just as wonderful, especially as we know that the quest will never end. What we don't need is the superimposition of something/someone who drives it all, who can never yield to explanation. That is just intellectual defeatism.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Stu
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 10:02 AM

"There can never be that observable, testable and reproducible evidence for God"

Can't there? How can you possibly know? It might be we have no way at present of testing for God, but it's entirely possibly that in the future we might find a way of testing for God. A good scientist will never deal in absolutes, as that would suggest we are reaching the limits of our knowledge and we are obviously a long way from that.


" I don't disagree with science or Darwin, but I see a spiritual aspect to all that surrounds me. Much of what I see in nature and in people, leads me to awe and wonder. That which draws me to awe and wonder, is what I call God."

I do scientific research (unpaid, voluntary) but consider myself a spiritual person although I don't believe in God. However, for me the wonder and awe raises questions such as how and why? How can this happen? Digging for dinosaurs in the Hell Creek, prospecting on the beaches of southern England or looking at dinosaur footprints in the Utah desert all are deeply profound experiences that give the lie to view there is no spirituality in science.

We are made of starstuff and we are the universe made conscious, contemplating and attempting to know itself, to understand its/our true nature via science. There is nothing more profound and beautiful than that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Amos
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 10:14 AM

We are made of starstuff and we are the universe made conscious, contemplating and attempting to know itself, to understand its/our true nature via science. There is nothing more profound and beautiful than that.

A lovely and profound sentiment, SJ. I would prefer another wording: "We are consciousness, made to be the Universe...".

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 10:37 AM

Science cannot "rule out the possibility of God."

It can't even "rule out the possibility" that God exists now or once existed.

All it can do is explain all natural processes and forms of known existence without recourse to an outside creating Intelligence.

BTW, even if the OP's graph is accurate, any underlying principle that would connect National Wealth to Belief in Evolution (or Disbelief in it, for that matter) remains unidentified, as do the reasons for America's outlying position.

It's mainly a gee-whiz graph. (A Creationist would claim it merely shows what he already knew, that Americans are quite a bit smarter than the average, as well as more productive.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Amos
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 10:46 AM

This is like saying ships with blue flags are always bigger than ships with red ones. There may be some correlation, but there is certainly no direct causality. A proposition such as "People who believe in scientific principles produce more gross value than people who do not." might be more testable. "Logic is good for productivity" is probably a truism.

But taking it as far as national wealth versus belief in evolution is scampering and scraping the extremities, IMHO.

For example, the Saudis have HUGE national wealth as a result of sitting on oil reserves. This is true independent of their belief in evolution, Allah, or anything else.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 12:06 PM

Youy'll have noticed that Saudi Arabia isn't on the graph. Nor are other oil-producing countries. Kuwait, for example.

Where's Russia? Australia? Latin America? One might guess where some of these omitted countries might fit in, but their absence makes the graph even less revealing, and more likely to be in support of an agenda (satirical, I'd guess) than to represent significant facts.

(I'll admit I was amused.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 12:56 PM

Y'all do know that it is a cartoon on a cartoonist's website?


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 02:30 PM

Naked Royals, Steve? Who told them they were naked?

At any rate, I think you suffer from the "Atheist Delusion", which is that those who hold a concept of a Higher Entity are the enemies of science. The truth, of course, is that scientists are their own worst enemies. No need to blame God.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: gnu
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 04:36 PM

Joe, Jack... wonderful posts.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 04:46 PM

Steve, my belief does not make me in any way a lesser being, someone to be condemned and insulted. As Stim says, I am not an Enemy of Science.
You have no reason to fear me - or to condemn me. I guess what I'd like to say is that my belief in God is my business. It's good for me, but I have no wish to impose my belief on anyone. I see things at least partly with a spiritual perspective. Others see things from other perspectives that may be equally valid. In fact, I do my best to try to see things from a variety of perspectives - including nontheistic perspectives. I do, however, rule out the rigid thinking of fundamentalists and extreme atheists.


To be honest, I do have some question regarding your rigidity and intolerance. You seem to be every bit as rigid and intolerant as a Christian fundamentalist. Ease up a bit, willya? Accept the fact that other people have other perspectives. People who are so thoroughly convinced that they are right, make me nervous. It always feels that their next move will be to try to silence me.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 07:39 PM

There is nothing rigid about a stance (mine as it happens) that says that the natural world is wonderful in its ordinariness. That the magic of the universe is the fact that it is not magic at all, rather is something worth exploring until the day humanity ceases to exist, with no stultification of the intellect needing to be brought into play in the furtherance of that quest. That your beliefs are (as you say) your business, but, as a scientist, I want to know (if you express or celebrate your beliefs publicly) what evidence you have for them. That I accept the possibility of a God, though, as far as I can make out, the evidence for his existence is not there, and that the probability of his existence, according to the laws of nature, is vanishingly small. You may know of laws that refute this, in which case please apprise us of them. Now everything I've said in this post is unoriginal. I've said it all in dozens of posts, here and elsewhere, many times before. Read it again, Joe. There is equivocation, implicit or explicit, in every sentence. I possess no certainties. The true rigidity comes with belief. A believer can't be convinced by the power of evidence. How much more rigid can one be? One joins one's hands, closes one's eyes and raises one's face to heaven and says, I don't need evidence: I have faith. You absolutely can't be more rigid than that. And I neither fear nor condemn you. I don't know where you got that from.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 07:44 PM

I think you suffer from the "Atheist Delusion", which is that those who hold a concept of a Higher Entity are the enemies of science.

I think that if you think that, you'd better provide evidence for it. I don't know how many times I've said it before, but I know a lot of good scientists who, in another part of their brain entirely, suffer from the God delusion. The jobbing scientist, in my experience, rarely lets his/her faith get in the way of his/her work. We're not all bloody Einsteins, you know.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Donuel
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 08:09 PM

Before I jump in tell me, is this thread really about social Darwinism?


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 08:18 PM

Just jump in. We'll look after yers... ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 10:52 PM

Steve, if you really I could go grab the DSM-IV list of symptoms for Delusional Disorder, and use your comments in this thread as evidence. You might not think it was very funny, though, so I won't go there.

In all seriousness (and I am serious only as a last resort), I feel that I must tell you that it seems to me that you don't understand those of us who make faith and spirituality a focus in our lives. When you toss around phrases like "God Delusion", it reflects your limitations, not ours.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Donuel
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 11:16 PM

Stim are you a tool for your God or is God a tool for your consciousness? In other words do the action orders go top down or down up?

Most organisisms have feedback loops in which information goes both ways, so are you both God's tool and Tool god?

And what the hell is this thread about? Is somone saying the rich don't believe in evolution or is someone suggesting that a science based nation has advantages that redeem financial rewards?

If so the answer is 42


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 11:54 PM

"And what the hell is this thread about?"

A bored cartoonist messing with peoples' heads I wager.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 05:29 AM

Steve, if you really I could go grab the DSM-IV list of symptoms for Delusional Disorder, and use your comments in this thread as evidence. You might not think it was very funny, though, so I won't go there.

Yeah. The last resort of a scoundrel and loser is to suggest that those who disagree with him have a mental disorder. Nice one.


And whilst I shouldn't really respond at all to your stupid post, I'll just say this anyway. Your implication that faith goes hand in hand with spirituality is ridiculous. My spirituality, whatever it is, is my personal inner response to the wonderful, diverse world and the universe beyond it. I never stop being amazed. As for limitations, atheists are still looking hard for answers. I can't think of anything more limiting than pretending you've found the answers by inventing an exceptionally improbable entity, inexplicable in himself, who is supposed to explain everything. Unlimit yourself and be like us: still looking.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 05:40 AM

Is there anything more empty, pathetic & boring than the words of an evangelical "atheist?"


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 06:53 AM

Dunno. I don't know any. Especially ones in speech marks. The atheists I know, including meself, simply seek to explain our position with regard to God, nearly always in response to an argument initiated by someone else. That is hardly "evangelical." "The other side" (speech marks OK?) is replete with evangelical types or just people who, literally, don't listen to reason. Take it or leave it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 11:33 AM

Well, Steve, you asked me for "evidence" that you had an "Atheist Delusion", and I, in a joking manner, suggested that you might not really want me to provide evidence that you were delusional.

If it makes you feel any better, I don't think you are delusional. Well, let me rephrase that, the evidence can be interpreted in other ways;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 11:35 AM

Donuel,

Thank you for asking that question. And you are, as always, correct-the answer is 42. (NOT 23!!!)


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Ed T
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 12:13 PM

Quotes:

"Money's only something you need in case you don't die tomorrow." – Wall Street

"Hey! I don't have to put up with this! I'm rich!" –Spaceballs,

"The rich. You know why they're so odd? Because they can afford to be." –Batman

"As we sit here and idly chat, there are woman, female human beings, rolling around in strange beds with strange men, and we are making money from that."..."Is this a great country, or what?" Night Shift


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Donuel
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 12:38 PM

Semantics is everything

We named our Russian Wolf hound Semantic and we often blamed her for all sorts of messes and mysteries.

Semanticly speaking: woof woof. the belief in Aristotle's observations vs. Imperial spoils is an equally non sequatarian title.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 01:24 PM

Well, Steve, you asked me for "evidence" that you had an "Atheist Delusion", and I, in a joking manner, suggested that you might not really want me to provide evidence that you were delusional.

Atheists cannot be delusional about God. The world's most famous atheist, Richard Dawkins, will tell you that he is not certain that God does not exist. All we can do is weigh up the odds according to what evidence we have. The only rational conclusion is that God is so unlikely that it would be foolish to live one's life as if he existed. Delusion comes with certainty constructed on very shaky foundations, or no foundations at all, and certainty is what we atheists have not got. But certainty is what many believers have. That's why they cheerfully allow their children to attend schools which tell them that they mustn't question God, and that all the myths are truth, and that make them bow their heads to praise him. If you didn't have certainty you surely wouldn't permit that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 03:48 PM

You are a veritable fountain of debatable points. Steve.

For starters, it is perfectly possible for Atheists to be delusional about God, simply because delusions are perseverant, irrational thoughts, and anyone who is mentally ill can have them(even atheists), about just about anything.

Then there is the point about Richard Dawkins being the world's most famous atheist. Most people don't know who he is at all. In the US, when you mention Richard Dawkins, people think you're talking about the host of "Family Feud".

My vote for the World's most famous Atheist would be Hu Jintao, who is the Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China. He is famous at least to the 1.3 billion people that he rules, many of whom are also atheists.

This statement is the most interesting, though:

"The only rational conclusion is that God is so unlikely that it would be foolish to live one's life as if he existed. "

Should we forget the Ten Commandments?

As to your comments about certainty constructed on shaky foundations; it's worth noting that you tend to speak in absolutes, which I note without further comment.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 05:37 PM

I've learnt two things today - Steve Shaw (1) has a sense of humour, and (2) is not an "evangelical atheist".

Aye..............right.

Do we let books, be they the Bible, al Q'uran, Das Kapital, or Origins of Species ia open our minds, or close our minds?


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 07:35 PM

Should we forget the Ten Commandments?

Well, far be it from me, etc., but I seem to recall Jesus telling his followers that they were outmoded.

As to your comments about certainty constructed on shaky foundations; it's worth noting that you tend to speak in absolutes, which I note without further comment.
Not at all. Equivocation runs through everything I say on this topic. Read my last post. I take it you understand plain English?


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 07:37 PM

Damn, that last line should not have been in italics.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 07:49 PM

I've learnt two things today - Steve Shaw (1) has a sense of humour, and (2) is not an "evangelical atheist".

Aye..............right.


Well, Dave, as I said, I react to stuff posted here rather than start evangelical threads. I suppose it depends on how you define evangelical. I'm definitely not up for recruiting people. I don't give enough of a damn to do that. Actually, I wouldn't know what I'd be recruiting them to in any case.   

Do we let books, be they the Bible, al Q'uran, Das Kapital, or Origins of Species ia open our minds, or close our minds?

That's not the way to consider books. There are crap books like Harry Potter that will diminish us all, and there are good books like Origin that provide edification through knowledge and critical study. And a lot more in between. Try to be a little less disingenuous. There are more than fifty shades of grey, you know. And, if you must insist on putting an apostrophe in, it's Al-Qur'an.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 07:51 PM

And Origin, singular, come to think of it. Not Origins.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 09:06 PM

I meant to just let this all float away like the morning mists, Steve, but you said, "Equivocation runs through everything I say on this topic." And I thought you'd like to know what the Wiktionary, says about the "Plain English" meaning of that word:

equivocation (plural equivocations)
1.(logic) A logical fallacy resulting from the use of multiple meanings of a single expression.
2.The use of expressions susceptible of a double signification, possibly intentionally and with the aim of misleading.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Sep 12 - 11:22 PM

Well, Steve - If you're as open-minded as you claim to be, then maybe you aren't so far away from some of us theists as you claim to be. It's just that you can't bring yourself to understand that some of us theists are a lot more open-minded than you think we are. I wouldn't sent my children to a school where "they mustn't question God," either.

Here's a statement of yours I question: I can't think of anything more limiting than pretending you've found the answers by inventing an exceptionally improbable entity, inexplicable in himself, who is supposed to explain everything.

You're right in the idea that the Deity is inexplicable, but not necessarily in your "supposed to explain everything" supposition. I suppose, maybe, if I could completely and incontrovertibly understand any one thing and all its implications, then I could understand God - and vice-versa, perhaps. But there's always something more to explore and understand. So, to say, "That's the way God made it," would be the ultimate cop-out. Lots of people make that cop-out, but not all of us. Some of us find God in the question, not the answer. That question keeps beckoning us to seek deeper and deeper. There's always something Beyond.

So, when I say that everything has a spiritual side, I mean that everything has something Beyond what one sees through ordinary observation and logic. I call that Beyond "God-stuff," and I think that I and other theists may tend to personalize that Beyond in our pursuit of it. But don't you seek that same Beyond, but call it by another name? I've studied Jewish and Muslim and Christian mystics, and I've found they seek the same thing (and they don't have the interdenominational conflicts that other members of their religions have). But there are also non-theistic mystics (particularly Buddhists) who seek essentially the same thing. I think it's some kind of all-encompassing unity that is always just beyond our grasp. I call that Unity God. Others use other names, or no name at all.

When the Dalai Lama went to a pizzeria and the clerk asked for his order, the Holy Man said, "Make me One With Everything" (click).

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 06:13 AM

""There are crap books like Harry Potter that will diminish us all,""

You really need to provide a rationale for that statement Steve.

In precisely what way does the use of imagination to provide light hearted entertainment diminish anyone?

I just start to understand where you're coming from, then you take a swerve right off the rails.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 06:46 AM

It's just that you can't bring yourself to understand that some of us theists are a lot more open-minded than you think we are. I wouldn't sent my children to a school where "they mustn't question God," either.

If you'd care to check my post (which I did before I posted it) you'll see that I said many believers, not all believers. Does your school make children say prayers? Sing hymns? The words of which express certainty?

Some of us find God in the question, not the answer. That question keeps beckoning us to seek deeper and deeper. There's always something Beyond.

That is an elegant and thoughtful way of putting it.

So, when I say that everything has a spiritual side, I mean that everything has something Beyond what one sees through ordinary observation and logic. I call that Beyond "God-stuff," and I think that I and other theists may tend to personalize that Beyond in our pursuit of it. But don't you seek that same Beyond, but call it by another name?

It isn't Beyond. It's here and it's with us now, part of what we are. As a scientist I refuse to believe that there are matters permanently beyond explanation. Our spiritual side may one day yield to a brain-chemical explanation of sorts, but the delicious mystery of the synergy of our brain-chemistry will take a lot longer, maybe forever, to crack, in just the same way that we don't understand how a bunch of plucked, blown and banged notes can make the Pastoral Symphony. If we're here for any reason at all we're here to keep looking. My view of nature, the world and the universe is that they have the ultimate wow-factor of all - the overwhelming, sheer wonder of their downright ordinariness. In terms of a spiritual-side contest, well for a start I find the word "spiritual" mysterious enough for me to suspect people who lay claim to it all the time, but if I really had to I'd say that my spiritual side is as fully-formed as anyone else's. Without a God Beyond.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 06:49 AM

"I don't agree with you" equals "you've taken a swerve off the rails". Nice one, Don.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 06:51 AM

Then there is the point about Richard Dawkins being the world's most famous atheist. Most people don't know who he is at all. In the US, when you mention Richard Dawkins, people think you're talking about the host of "Family Feud".
My vote for the World's most famous Atheist would be Hu Jintao, who is the Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China. He is famous at least to the 1.3 billion people that he rules, many of whom are also atheists.

.,,.
A bit of equivocation here, Stim. Don't pretend that you didn't appreciate that Steve's point unquestionably implied that Dawkins was the most famous person famous for being an atheist. Hu may or not be an atheist ~ his religious position is not in question either here or with regard to his activities in general: but even if he is, it is not what he is 'famous'for. It's a bit as if you said that Madonna was the most famous blonde in the world: she happens to be blonde, but that isn't what she is known for.

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 06:53 AM

I misused equivocation. I meant to say that my posts don't express certainties about God's existence, etc., but are full of caveats.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 06:56 AM

Apologies to violinists for omitting "scraped".


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 03:59 PM

MtheGM; My point, meant, as usually, to be at least a bit droll, was that Steve was tossing a lot of points as if they were undisputable facts, when there was in fact, room for quite a bit of debate.

Given that, in the US, at least until his recent and unfortunately early demise, our most prominent Atheist was Christopher Hitchens, who had been on the talk show circuit for years, and was much more entertaining than Richard Dawkins.

As to Hu Jintao, hating the evil, atheistic Communist China is a cottage industry for many on the religious right here in the US, and being a political leader, is seen as much more of a threat to the Flag, Mom, and Apple Pie than Dawkins.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 05:28 PM

"Steve was tossing a lot of points as if they were undisputable facts, when there was in fact, room for quite a bit of debate."

That's what evangelical atheists tend to do. (((Yawn)))


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 06:31 PM

""I don't agree with you" equals "you've taken a swerve off the rails". Nice one, Don.""

Facile and disingenuous Steve!

I asked you how exactly you see us (any of us) being diminished by a book which consists of an imaginative and entertaining fiction.

That does not equate in any way, shape or form with "I don't agree with you".

What's up mate? Feeling the need to avoid a question to which you have NO logical answer?

I was tending toward agreeing with your general opinion as to the need for a deity. Now I'm getting the impression that you just don't have any interest in anything but your own voice.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 08:10 PM

"Steve was tossing a lot of points as if they were undisputable facts, when there was in fact, room for quite a bit of debate."

That's what evangelical atheists tend to do. (((Yawn)))


I wasn't doing it. Just because some religious nutter says it don't make it true. Anyway, Jacko, you appear to come on this thread merely to express your boredom with it. Odd.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 08:19 PM

I asked you how exactly you see us (any of us) being diminished by a book which consists of an imaginative and entertaining fiction.

[Jeez, if I really must...] Good for you if a poorly-written kids' book entertains you. Perhaps you've gone round full-circle or something. A brief perusal of one of 'em revealed dull writing and characterisation that only got away with it because the characters were so unreal. The books are popular because they are so unchallenging. I'm not saying they'll turn anyone's brain to mush but I do think you're championing something that lacks any kind of quality of the kind that will really last.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: gnu
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 08:22 PM

"In the US, when you mention Richard Dawkins, people think you're talking about the host of "Family Feud"."

Now, THAT made me LOL.

I find this discourse facsinating and educational. Not that it is any further up scale in substance than same at a tavern but the quality of eloquent arguement is indeed appreciable and appreciated. Thought provoking without (much) poking. Often a rarity in this Café. (Yeah, it was *me* that said that.)

BYW, if I just wasted your time, bite me... the devil made me do it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 08:25 PM

much more entertaining than Richard Dawkins.

Perhaps you'd like to explain why you assert this. I doubt that you'd have found him particularly entertaining had he ever taken you on over your shaky views face to face. This kind of talk from believers reveals unease, fear even. You're a classic example. We don't bite, you know. We politely ask you for evidence for the stuff you like to spout about and force on your children. And we don't even tell you there's no God.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 Sep 12 - 08:42 PM

Given that, in the US, at least until his recent and unfortunately early demise, our most prominent Atheist was Christopher Hitchens, who had been on the talk show circuit for years, and was much more entertaining than Richard Dawkins.

Well yes, I said that Dawkins was the most famous atheist. I'd wager (in the safe knowledge that my poll will never be conducted) that if you asked a large number of people who the most famous atheist is they would not say Hitchens or that other bloke on yank telly that somebody mentioned who I'd never heard of. Not only that, you dispute my most famous atheist by replacing him with an apple-and-pear most prominent atheist. We have different words for things like famous and prominent because they mean different things, old chap. Frankly, I don't give a flying shite, but it is still highly amusing to note your unequivocal assertion - no room for cavils here! - that Given that...our most prominent Atheist was ( not probably was, etc.) Christopher Hitchens... So who's being indisputable now?


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 23 Sep 12 - 05:00 PM

Obviously, you aren't familiar with Christopher Hitchens, so the best I can do is to paste this quote:

"Richard Dawkins, British evolutionary biologist at the University of Oxford and a friend of Hitchens, said, "I think he was one of the greatest orators of all time. He was a polymath, a wit, immensely knowledgeable, and a valiant fighter against all tyrants including imaginary supernatural ones."

As for you, you say:

"We don't bite, you know. We politely ask you for evidence for the stuff you like to spout about and force on your children. And we don't even tell you there's no God."

Judging by your posts, you are what the literary types among us would call an unreliable narrator--contrary to your statement, you snap at nearly anything that moves, you are rude, and, unless I have misread, you do tell " people there's no God."

As for me, you have no idea what I believe, or if, in fact, I believe anything. As to what I tell my children, though I am under no obligation to account any of that to you, I will share two things:

1) When someone, no matter how important, tells you they are right, it doesn't mean that they are.

2) When you think you're right, it doesn't mean that you are.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Sep 12 - 06:46 PM

Obviously, you aren't familiar with Christopher Hitchens, so the best I can do is to paste this quote:

"Richard Dawkins, British evolutionary biologist at the University of Oxford and a friend of Hitchens, said, "I think he was one of the greatest orators of all time. He was a polymath, a wit, immensely knowledgeable, and a valiant fighter against all tyrants including imaginary supernatural ones."


I am very familiar with him, and have had his book "God Is Not Great" since it came out. "Obviously" my arse! You appear not to have read it, because, if you had, if you think I'm a bit sharp on the atheist front you wouldn't care much for him, as he makes me look like a cuddly bloody bunny. Dawkins also advises people like you to avoid taking Hitchens on. You failed to mention that. You'd be mauled!   

Judging by your posts, you are what the literary types among us would call an unreliable narrator--contrary to your statement, you snap at nearly anything that moves, you are rude, and, unless I have misread, you do tell " people there's no God."

What absolute tommy-rot, Mr Literary-Type (prove it, you pompous git!) I snap at nothing but provide measured responses (I know how annoying that must seem to guys like you who are looking for the faintest excuse to pounce on us heathens!) And not once, ever, have I told anyone that there's no God. For a literary type, you do appear to struggle with plain English, if I may say so.

As for me, you have no idea what I believe, or if, in fact, I believe anything.

Well you haven't actually said, but it isn't hard to work out. Be like me. Come out!

As to what I tell my children, though I am under no obligation to account any of that to you

Please yourself, but you do appear to be shuffling rather uncomfortably.

I will share two things:

1) When someone, no matter how important, tells you they are right, it doesn't mean that they are.

2) When you think you're right, it doesn't mean that you are.


So I see you have a degree in the Bleedin' Obvious from the University Of Plain As The Nose On Your Face. You're an astonishing chap, no doubt about it!


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 24 Sep 12 - 07:43 AM

Well at least TheSnail has decided not to contribute any more to this thread; I don't think that I could cope with another Snail/Shaw fracas! We have to thank God (whoops!) for small mercies!


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Sep 12 - 08:02 AM

Oh, he'll find some chink or other in what I've said to home in on. Coping strategy: put your feet up with a cup o' Java and a big bag of popcorn!


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: TheSnail
Date: 24 Sep 12 - 08:42 AM

Steve Shaw

Oh, he'll find some chink or other in what I've said to home in on.

Not at all, Steve. You seem to have done a complete about turn on your previous "Evolution is true" stance so that's fine by me.

(Careful what you wish for, Shimrod.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 24 Sep 12 - 10:49 AM

""I'm not saying they'll turn anyone's brain to mush but I do think you're championing something that lacks any kind of quality of the kind that will really last.""

Intellectually lazy and off the point.

HOW will they diminish anybody?

You seem unaware that you are skirting round the question. Perhaps you would make a good politician.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 24 Sep 12 - 02:27 PM

I meant to blow this thread off, but you keep me coming back, Steve. This statement is the winner this time: "Well you haven't actually said, but it isn't hard to work out."

So please, tell me, what have you worked out?


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 24 Sep 12 - 02:31 PM

And show your work.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Stringsinger
Date: 24 Sep 12 - 03:50 PM

Evolution is not a belief but a scientific fact. Those that don't recognize it's value are ignorant. Charles Darwin is a twentieth century hero that has changed the biological landscape forever and this is why the so-called Church and Creationists are up in arms; they have no scientific credibility.

National wealth is an addiction that has taken over the Romney and Ryan campaign based on the insane ramblings of Ayn Rand who had her own addictions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 24 Sep 12 - 04:52 PM

I can almost see refusing to believe in evolution. But the effects of explosive decompression are a little more immediate easier to observe.

"I appreciate the fact that she is on the ground, safe and sound. And I don't think she knows just how worried some of us were," Romney said. "When you have a fire in an aircraft, there's no place to go, exactly, there's no — and you can't find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don't open. I don't know why they don't do that. It's a real problem. So it's very dangerous. And she was choking and rubbing her eyes. Fortunately, there was enough oxygen for the pilot and copilot to make a safe landing in Denver. But she's safe and sound."


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Sep 12 - 04:59 PM

Evolution is not a belief but a scientific fact.

Agreed, Frank, but some folks still don't believe in Evolution. Most folks can't be arsed with the Scientific Method. They believe, what they believe. Truth and fact are not part of the equation.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Sep 12 - 06:25 PM

Anyone who says "I don't believe in evolution" is a confounded eejit. And that's a fact! Argue with it, quibble over details, pick it to shreds, counter it with some other evidence, that's all luvverly. But it's a scientific theory (and more). You can't "not believe in it" any more than you can't not believe in the M25 as London's orbital motorway. The reason a lot of people say they don't "believe" in evolution is that they think evolution excludes God. Darwin know that his theory fatally undermined God as a creator, in fact he was scared that that (correct) interpretation would be made, so he had to be rather diplomatic. I don't have to be. Darwin's theory completely does away with the need for God, no matter how valiantly those believers who also want to embrace science cling to it. That's why you get daft notions such as God kick-starting evolution, or being the driving force of evolution, or other such clunky compromises. God just doesn't get a look-in.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Sep 12 - 06:28 PM

knew. He's dead (and was 19th century, by the way!)


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Sep 12 - 06:36 PM

So please, tell me, what have you worked out?


And show your work.


Well, you said this:

I feel that I must tell you that it seems to me that you don't understand those of us who make faith and spirituality a focus in our lives.

That was four short days ago. Now I'm quite prepared to accept that you've moved from faith to atheism since September 20, though, as I recall, it took me about 20 years to make the same leap, so perhaps you really are the remarkable fellow I took you to be.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Sep 12 - 06:55 PM

Intellectually lazy and off the point.

HOW will they diminish anybody?

You seem unaware that you are skirting round the question


Don, Don, Don! Harry Potter is no benign child-enhancing phenomenon. It's a massive great big industry designed to make rather a lot of people very rich. You can bet you shirt that the publisher pestered JK again and again to do follow-ups. That wouldn't be so bad had the books possessed considerable literary merit, but they are singularly lacking in that department. The writing is dull and the content is unchallenging. If children (and grown-ups who really should know better) are dedicating large tracts of their lives to immersion in such mediocrity instead of pursuing far more challenging activities, then that is diminishing. Not depraving and corrupting, and I suppose it at least gets the little buggers reading, but not the best thing. I mean, Playboy got me reading whenever I could get my hands on it (Playboy, that is). I'm not saying that a little escapism every now and then is harmful, but flopping on the sofa for hour after hour reading that stuff (then there's the films, of course) goes way beyond that. They'd be a lot better off out on their bikes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Sep 12 - 07:20 PM

your shirt. Grrr.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 25 Sep 12 - 01:52 AM

That's a relief. I thought for a minute you knew something.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: TheSnail
Date: 25 Sep 12 - 04:17 AM

Anyone who says "I don't believe in evolution" is a confounded eejit.

I suppose I can only keep saying it. Evolution is not a belief system. Science is not a belief system. If you talk as if they were, you have already lost the first battle against the creationists by establishing an equivalence with belief in the literal truth of the Bible.

It becomes a game of "My belief system is better than yours."

This is not a "chink" in Steve's argument, it is fundamental to the difference between science and religion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Sep 12 - 05:16 AM

Well I have to agree there, whilst pointing out that I did expand on that statement, hopefully to your satisfaction. I would also point out that atheism is not a belief system either. Not even an unbelief system.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Sep 12 - 05:19 AM

Well, I must say, Stim ol'bean, you must have massive balls to keep on after your gaffe.

Mene, Mene, Tekel, u-Pharsin


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 25 Sep 12 - 05:28 AM

""That wouldn't be so bad had the books possessed considerable literary merit, but they are singularly lacking in that department. The writing is dull and the content is unchallenging.""

You really must learn to qualify your statements with "in my opinion" whenever that is what you are posting, especially when you are completely missing the point of what you denigrate.

Otherwise some spiritually minded people may start to believe that there is a God, and you are it.

You sound like the stereotypical dry as dust scientist, who can't abide non productive pursuits, and wants the World's nose firmly attached to the grindstone 24/7.

You would have been a marvellous addition to the Victorian world of strait laced schoolmasters, slapping a cane aginst you leg and demanding absolute obedience.

Just my opinion of course, based on your style of communication.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: TheSnail
Date: 25 Sep 12 - 05:29 AM

Breakthrough!

I've always had a problem with atheism. Defining yourself as not believing in something seems an odd position to take. I've always prefered ignosticism.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Sep 12 - 05:36 AM

Snail, it's very nice to say that evolution is not a belief system and science is not a belief system. and I agree with you.

HOWEVER, if you are a scientist dependent of taxpayer-funded grants, you are going to have to make the taxpayers believe in whatever it is you're doing. No belief, no funding. And don't count on the taxpayers accepting scientific arguments.

So, yes, on one level you are absolutely correct to say that evolution is not a belief. But on a practical level, you won't get far unless you can get people to believe you.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Sep 12 - 05:57 AM

Believing you and "believing" evolution are not the same thing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Sep 12 - 06:02 AM

Well, Don, I won't bother to qualify with "in my opinion" every time I type something that is my opinion. There are people here who type stuff that requires far more mental processing than that, yet I don't see you going for their jugulars.

You may be feeling miffed that I've had a crack at the children's books you so enjoy in your dotage, but I'm not alone, far from it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Potter#Literary_criticism


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Sep 12 - 06:28 AM

I've always had a problem with atheism. Defining yourself as not believing in something seems an odd position to take.

Not only odd, but wrong. You're immediately putting yourself into believer territory by defining yourself that way. Considering that the notion of God defies all the laws of nature and lacks all evidence, they should be on our territory and forced to define themselves, not the other way round. I suppose we're stuck with a word, "atheist", spawned on their territory, but hey ho. I don't say "I don't believe in God." I prefer to say "That's an interesting notion you have there. What evidence have you got to support it?" And one thing that no self-respecting atheist will say is that there is no God.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: bobad
Date: 25 Sep 12 - 07:54 AM

The gastropod makes a good point about defining oneself by what you are not. Ignosticism has some merit but it is defined as a theological position concerned with the existence of God. I prefer Paul Kurtz's philosophy; eupraxsophy (originally eupraxophy) which refers to philosophies or lifestances such as secular humanism and Confucianism that do not rely on belief in the transcendent or supernatural. A eupraxsophy is a nonreligious lifestance or worldview emphasizing the importance of living an ethical and exuberant life, and relying on rational methods such as logic, observation and science (rather than faith, mysticism or revelation) toward that end. The word is based on the Greek words for "good", "practice", and "wisdom". Eupraxsophies, like religions, are cosmic in their outlook, but eschew the supernatural component of religion, avoiding the "transcendental temptation," as Kurtz puts it. Although critical of supernatural religion, he has attempted to develop affirmative ethical values of naturalistic humanism.

Definition from Wikipedia


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Sep 12 - 09:16 AM

I like it!


Or I might like it if I got it...


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Sep 12 - 04:30 PM

Actually, this is rather good. Says it better than I did. Lifted just now from wiki:

In his book Letter to a Christian Nation, Sam Harris wrote:

In fact, "atheism" is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a "non-astrologer" or a "non-alchemist." We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 25 Sep 12 - 06:58 PM

A not-so-preachy atheist.

He makes some good points.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 25 Sep 12 - 07:18 PM

""You may be feeling miffed that I've had a crack at the children's books you so enjoy in your dotage""

Thank you for your ad hominem comment, Steve, which proves that you have no logical response to make, and therefore don't know what you are talking about.

I am grateful for the clarification of your lack of understanding, especially as I was just about convinced that you might have a point about Atheism.

Hot air and opinion presented as fact do nothing to draw people toward your POV. Quite the reverse. in fact.

Don T.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Sep 12 - 08:15 PM

A not-so-preachy atheist.

He makes some good points.


He's seriously misguided. He's praising people who start from the totally unjustified standpoint of belief and who take it from there. They are constrained, ringfenced. He should be telling them to start from what we know to be true. It's wonderful enough and contains more potential for spirituality than anyone needs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Sep 12 - 08:25 PM

Neither hot air nor dodgy italics, Don. I gave you some food for thought in the wiki link, quite a lot, actually, but Don thinks that disagreeing with Don equals no logical response, lack of understanding, hot air, don't know what I'm talking about. As you've referred to your advanced years in the past, I hardly think that a gentle reference to them is ad hominem. Certainly, in any case, far less of an ad hominem than your telling me I'm illogical, bereft of understanding, spouting hot air or not knowing what I'm talking about, all simply because you don't agree with me, and all unsupported by any sensible counter-argument. It's fantasy, Don, but not as we know it. Harry Potter might, though...


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: EBarnacle
Date: 25 Sep 12 - 09:12 PM

"HOWEVER, if you are a scientist dependent of taxpayer-funded grants, you are going to have to make the taxpayers believe in whatever it is you're doing. No belief, no funding. And don't count on the taxpayers accepting scientific arguments."

As Lady Hillary and I were driving home from Western Pennsylvania yesterday, we saw two signs relevant to this argument: "The Theory of Evolution is a fairy tale for adults." The other was a billboard inviting us to go to the Creationist museum, showing man and the dinosaurs together. My initial reaction to the first was "Belief in God is a fairy tale for children."

The point is not that people are idiots but that they are taught to take the easy route, and avoiding any thinking which requires effort. They are taught to believe authority and not to think for themselves. As long as this is so, people who try to tell the truth will have to beg for funding. The ignorant also have a tendency to follow the crowd around them. It's comfortable.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 25 Sep 12 - 10:13 PM

"
A not-so-preachy atheist.

He makes some good points.

He's seriously misguided. He's praising people who start from the totally unjustified standpoint of belief and who take it from there. They are constrained, ringfenced. He should be telling them to start from what we know to be true. It's wonderful enough and contains more potential for spirituality than anyone needs. "

Evangelical, fundamentalist atheist.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 26 Sep 12 - 05:40 AM

Yer man says this, Jacko:

They were searching through their lived experience of their spiritual traditions for an understanding of what was sacred in their lives. I found that dedication refreshing and exciting. They understood that there were no easy answers in life.

Acknowledging that truth, in both science and religion, could be one way to raise the discussion to a plane where we might all learn something.


You think that's good advice? You think that truth in science is equivalent to truth in religion? You think that what believers see as "sacred" in their lives makes living by mythology somehow more valid? He may be right about there being no easy answers, but you sure as hell won't find any answers by straying down the path of delusion.

Anyway, keep parroting it, Jacko. You might just make it sound more true, like Don does!


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 26 Sep 12 - 07:32 AM

I didn't parrot a thing.

I said that he made some good points.

Inaccurate, shrill and frantic, ad hominem attacking, Evangelical, fundamentalist atheist.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 26 Sep 12 - 07:52 AM

I didn't parrot a thing.

Oh yeah?


Evangelical, fundamentalist atheist.


:-D


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 26 Sep 12 - 08:14 AM

Inaccurate, shrill and frantic, ad hominem attacking, thinks that repeating one's own words is parroting, evangelical, fundamentalist atheist.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 26 Sep 12 - 08:48 AM

I admire, with amusement, your apparent lack of irony.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 26 Sep 12 - 09:00 AM

Inaccurate, shrill and frantic, ad hominem attacking, irony lack admiring, thinks that repeating one's own words is parroting, evangelical, fundamentalist atheist.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 26 Sep 12 - 09:58 AM

""He may be right about there being no easy answers, but you sure as hell won't find any answers by straying down the path of delusion.""

Obviously true, since you cannot even answer the question I asked days ago.

You made an entirely unequivocal statement that Harry Potter books would in some way diminise the reader.

You must have had some idea of exactly how, else what was the point of the comment.

Yet your response to being asked to explain is first to simply dismiss the question as me simply disagreeing with you, which is a straightforward lie.

When I pointed this out, your response was ""[Jeez, if I really must...] Good for you if a poorly-written kids' book entertains you. Perhaps you've gone round full-circle or something. A brief perusal of one of 'em revealed dull writing and characterisation that only got away with it because the characters were so unreal. The books are popular because they are so unchallenging. I'm not saying they'll turn anyone's brain to mush but I do think you're championing something that lacks any kind of quality of the kind that will really last.""

Thanks for the suggestion of senility, though I would point out it is entire untrue.
You also seem to be labouring under the delusion that your unsupported opinion is the definitive last word on the subject, while at the same time, apparently, admitting that you don't in fact believe your original claim, which leads me to think that it isn't my senility we should be worrying about.

Your next post consists entirely of a diatribe expressing, quite offensively, your opinion, without any attempt to address the question.

When I suggested that when you post what is pure opinion, you might present it as such, and not as fact, your response was purely offensive, with yet another ad hominem attack.

""Well, Don, I won't bother to qualify with "in my opinion" every time I type something that is my opinion. There are people here who type stuff that requires far more mental processing than that, yet I don't see you going for their jugulars.

You may be feeling miffed that I've had a crack at the children's books you so enjoy in your dotage, but I'm not alone, far from it:
""

Finally this from you:

""Neither hot air nor dodgy italics, Don. I gave you some food for thought in the wiki link, quite a lot, actually, but Don thinks that disagreeing with Don equals no logical response, lack of understanding, hot air, don't know what I'm talking about. As you've referred to your advanced years in the past, I hardly think that a gentle reference to them is ad hominem.""

You have no idea what Don thinks, so I'll do my best to enlighten you. I happily discuss many subjects with many people, here and elsewhere, who disagree with me. But I can honestly say that I've been very lucky, having never before had to deal with such an ill mannered, opinionated, arrogant boor as you.

And, for your information, there is no such thing as a gentle ad hominem, and no justification for it either. You started that in answer to a simple polite question and if you got some of the same in response, it's your own fault.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 26 Sep 12 - 10:28 AM

BTW, I did follow that Wiki link, and read the whole article.

You obviously either read only the criticisms in the first section, or read and then ignored the number of positive comments in the later sections, from people like Steven King.

It seems that positive and negative comments were about evenly divided, and there was a suggestion that the criticisms were based in intellectual snobbery, something in which you seem rather well versed.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,999
Date: 26 Sep 12 - 10:37 AM

Someone else's review of a book has never stopped me from reading it. At day's end, it's a parent's responsibility to vet books that children are going to read. IMO.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 26 Sep 12 - 12:49 PM

Interesting that you should spend all that energy accusing me of ad hominem attacks, then, like Jacko, intriguingly free of irony, you say this:
But I can honestly say that I've been very lucky, having never before had to deal with such an ill mannered, opinionated, arrogant boor as you.

Nice one yet again, Don!

And I have answered your question, as it happens.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 26 Sep 12 - 12:59 PM

BTW, I did follow that Wiki link, and read the whole article.

You obviously either read only the criticisms in the first section, or read and then ignored the number of positive comments in the later sections, from people like Steven King.

It seems that positive and negative comments were about evenly divided, and there was a suggestion that the criticisms were based in intellectual snobbery, something in which you seem rather well versed.


I posted the link unadorned, in the full knowledge that it contained some favourable references to the Harry Potter books as well as some remarks agreeing with me. Credit me with having the honesty and straightforwardness to do that instead of selecting just the bits that concurred with my opinion. When I posted the link I didn't say, or imply, that the whole world agreed with my take on the series: I said, simply, I'm not alone, far from it.

The trouble is, Don, that you don't listen to what people are actually saying when you don't want to, once you've taken against them. It goes all black and white. It makes it so that there isn't enough ground for us to have any sort of conversation. Too bad.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Donuel
Date: 26 Sep 12 - 01:08 PM

wtf

really what is this really about?
Don


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 26 Sep 12 - 07:27 PM

""But I can honestly say that I've been very lucky, having never before had to deal with such an ill mannered, opinionated, arrogant boor as you.""

Not ad hominem argument at all Steve. I'm surprised you don't know the difference.

It is an honest assessment of your methods of dealing with the rest of the human race, and the accuracy of that assessment is right here in this thread, for anyone who cares to examine the sequence, starting with your response to a polite request for clarification.

If you don't like it,............

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 26 Sep 12 - 07:42 PM

""The trouble is, Don, that you don't listen to what people are actually saying when you don't want to, once you've taken against them. It goes all black and white. It makes it so that there isn't enough ground for us to have any sort of conversation. Too bad.""

What did I miss about your immediate response below, with its obvious suggestion that I must be senile if I read "Harry Potter" (an unjustified assumption and as it happens, untrue. I've never read Harry Potter books).

""[Jeez, if I really must...] Good for you if a poorly-written kids' book entertains you. Perhaps you've gone round full-circle or something.""

It seems to me very clearly an ad hominem argument, suggesting that your opinion on any subject is not to be challenged without the challenger being subjected to your own particular brand of snide, dismissive ill manners.

I don't give a shit about whether Harry Potter is great literature or pure dross. I just don't think that you are the fount of all knowledge and your opinion is the last word as you seem to believe.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 26 Sep 12 - 07:51 PM

""wtf

really what is this really about?
Don
""

Since you ask Donuel,....

Steve made a comment that reading Harry Potter diminishes us in some way.

I politely asked him to explain HOW.

His first response was to accuse me of being senile if I liked kids books.

I took exception to that! Wouldn't you?

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 26 Sep 12 - 08:21 PM

Don, please don't be silly. Dotage is what I'm already in, according to the missus, yet I'm far from senile. A dictionary might come in handy. You DO give a shit about whether Harry Potter is great literature or dross, otherwise why would you persist in this emotional ranting of yours! The point I made about the litany of Harry Potter books is that one is diminishing oneself if one indulges in the passive absorption thereof. The books simply lack the literary and life-enhancing merits of the best of literature, music, painting or sculpture. They are mass-produced pulp for the passive, grateful masses, in the same way that EastEnders, Corrie, Casualtitty and Holby Citytitty are. I'm not saying that occasional indulgence in such unchallenging, low-brow stuff is a bad thing. Even I watch University Challenge, fer chrissake! (Well, gotta support Imperial College, me alma mater, innit!) But there's too much of it about. We condemn kids for playing computer games for interminable hours, yet they are at least interacting with them, which is more than can be said for spending hour after sedentary hour reading the aimless adventures of an unreal boy-toff.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: EBarnacle
Date: 26 Sep 12 - 11:50 PM

OK, Steve, how about a real comparison with, let's say, Ransome's "Swallows and Amazons" series.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 27 Sep 12 - 05:14 AM

Fire away. I doubt whether I'd be inclined to go down that road, but be my guest!


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 27 Sep 12 - 01:01 PM

Careful EB!

You'll be surprised at the number of pejorative labels you will attract, if you question any of the resident genius's pronouncements.

He uses words like "dotage" knowing full well the common, colloquial, meaning, then when challenged, hides behind a somewhat outdated strict dictionary definition.

Ad Hominem with a "get out" clause.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 27 Sep 12 - 03:27 PM

You do appear to be a rather bitter fellow, Don.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: frogprince
Date: 27 Sep 12 - 04:11 PM

I sure might have saved a bunch of spit and fuss if this had been titled "Acceptance of the evidence for evolution vs. national wealth"


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: EBarnacle
Date: 27 Sep 12 - 09:40 PM

Steve, I am asking you to do a linear qualitative analysis, not to do it myself. You have proclaimed yourself a judge of children's literature, so do it, meeting normal standards of criticism and comparison.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: TheSnail
Date: 28 Sep 12 - 03:39 AM

Steve Shaw

The substantive matter is what people in this thread wish to discuss.

Sorry, but I have no opinions on the substantive matter if it's the quality of children's literature.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 28 Sep 12 - 08:20 AM

I have not proclaimed myself anything of the sort! Harry Potter books just happen to have been present in my house and I just happened to sample one. My comments on children's literature have, thus far, been confined to that. At my tender age I doubt whether I'll be reading much more children's literature, though, one day, if I ever have grandchildren, I can see myself reading them The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Adventures Of Spot The Dog. And possibly some Roald Dahl books, a couple of which I read to my kids and which I did quite enjoy. He had a deliciously subversive style of writing, unlike that of the dull Ms Rowling. I recommend The Twits for beginners.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: EBarnacle
Date: 28 Sep 12 - 08:37 AM

I find it interesting that you dismiss Rowling, who has helped millions of children want to read and taught them to enjoy nonpicture books. Is this the world's best writing? No. On the other hand, I and many others find Rushdie's work completely unreadable despite the plaudits of the reviewers.

Dahl is fun. The rhythms of poetry appeal to the interest of children and teach them that the written word can be more than just flat words in a row.

By the time a kid reaches 5 or 6, a bright kid is looking for something more than Spot the dog. That's the time to give them Mark Twain and Rowling. The stories are accessible to them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,999
Date: 28 Sep 12 - 10:15 AM

"Dotage is what I'm already in, according to the missus, yet I'm far from senile."

You don't know what you're missing. I'm in my dotage AND senile, and I don't know you're missing either.

##################################

The music notation is all over the place and makes little sense.

##################################

Remember: parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 28 Sep 12 - 10:22 AM

I haven't dismissed Rowling. I've said that the writing is dull and the books unchallenging, but that at least they get children reading. Yes, I did say that! That there is no harm in occasional indulgence in stuff of that nature and that the books are hardly going to deprave and corrupt. Your comment on Dahl is spot on and identifies exactly what's lacking in Harry Potter.

Incidentally, there's nothing wrong with well-written books for children that have illustrations. I highly recommend The Magic of Reality: How we know what's really true which is beautifully and compellingly written by Richard Dawkins and stunningly illustrated by Dave McKean. Written for children but gripping for adult children too.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,saulgoldie
Date: 28 Sep 12 - 10:39 AM

Since the graph is somewhat inconclusive in showing a relatively consistent correlation between "belief in" (as opposed to "acceptance of") evolution and material wealth, one can conclude that there are many people who don't "believe in" evolution, but happily utilize the outcomes of the scientific process that has produced virtually everything around us, and yes, validates the "theory" of evolution.

Saul


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 28 Sep 12 - 10:42 AM

I think that the scientific validity of the graph is on a par with the educational value of this cartoon.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 28 Sep 12 - 11:25 AM

The study may be trying to make some mischievous causation claim for all I know (why was it commissioned in the first place?), but the obstinate bit of science that needs applying here is that, as ever, correlation does not imply or prove causation. The results can form nothing more than the basis of a hypothesis that needs a great deal more investigation. Another point: taking a heterogeneous behemoth such as the US as a single state and sticking it alongside tiny states such as Iceland for comparison is very suspect. It would be interesting to see a similar graph plotting just the 50 states of the US. Even then there would be cavils.

I wonder how a graph of evolution belief versus beer-drinking would look. Or evolution belief versus sunscreen use. I'd like to know what germ of a notion suggested this study to its author. Unfortunately, I ain't paying good money to access the article to find out. By far the most worrying aspect of it all is that less than half of US citizens accept that evolution takes place (watch out - there's a gastropod about...) Seems like there's a lot of very bad education about.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Stringsinger
Date: 28 Sep 12 - 11:46 AM

It's reminiscent of Galileo and the Church of Rome. The clergy refused to look into the telescope.

And so it was in those times where the scientists would be burned at the stake for heresy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: GUEST,saulgoldie
Date: 28 Sep 12 - 12:12 PM

Bad education? I think there is *some* disagreement as to what is "good" education. Some feel strongly that education is about infusing youngsters with what the teachers and their supporters think is "fact." While others feel that good teaching is about encouraging students to think think creatively and ask questions. The problem with the later is that if they are asking questions, then those questions will inevitably turn to religious doctrine, which needs to be supported by faith and not fact or reason. Therein lies the rub.

Teaching "facts" and not thought process may suit some needs. But if all the students accept those "facts" and do not question, then there is no progress, no discovery, no invention, no growth.

Saul


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 28 Sep 12 - 12:21 PM

Good education = giving children the skills which enable them to acquire knowledge, to make them curious and to encourage them to be critical of anything they are told that lacks evidence. Bad education = religious education. Don't call it that. It isn't education unless it's exclusively about the nature, impact and history of world religions. Otherwise it's religious instruction, a very different beast that can be called by even less kind names.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: bobad
Date: 07 Oct 12 - 07:54 AM

Why the US is an outlier:

A Republican who sits on the House of Representatives science committee has dismissed evolution and other theories as "lies straight from the pit of hell"

A Republican congressman who sits on the science committee of the House of Representatives has dismissed evolution, the Big Bang theory and embryology as "lies straight from the pit of hell".

Paul Broun, who is running for re-election as Georgia representative this November unopposed by Democrats, made the comments during a speech at a baptist church last month. A videoclip of the event was posted on YouTube on Friday.

In the clip, Broun, who is a doctor, says that "as a scientist" he has found data that shows the earth is no older than 9,000 years and was created in six days. Mainstream scientific thought holds that the earth is 4.5 billion years old, give or take the odd millennia.

Broun also says that theories regarding the origins of the universe and evolution represent "lies to try and keep me and all the folk that were taught that from understanding that they need a saviour".

In a statement to the Athens Banner-Herald, Meredith Griffanti, a spokeswoman for the Republican congressman, said: "Dr Broun was speaking off the record to a large church group about his personal beliefs regarding religious issues."

But the comments may prove an embarrassment to some of his colleagues on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. The congressional body was already subjected to scrutiny over remarks made by another member, the Missouri House representative Todd Akin.

Akin sparked outrage and ridicule this summer, after suggesting that it was "really rare" for rape to result in pregnancy.

"If it is legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down," the Missouri politician said, while trying to mount a defence of his no-exception anti-abortion stance.

That comment saw the Republican receive a severe dressing down from party bigwigs, including the presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and calls for him to step aside in his forthcoming Senate race. Akin declined to do so.

© Guardian News and Media 2012


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Q
Date: 07 Oct 12 - 12:35 PM

Some interesting comments in this thread, but yoking national wealth to belief in evolution is nonsense.

(Unfortunately, most people don't give a hang about evolution or what is broadly called natural science. Eye-glaze syndrome sets in when the subject is brought up.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: bobad
Date: 07 Oct 12 - 01:14 PM

Nobody's yokin' nuttin' to nuttin' - all the graph shows is a statistically significant correlation - make of it what you will.


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Q
Date: 07 Oct 12 - 02:07 PM

One may graph almost any two variables and draw comparisons, but they are only fun.
Moreover, the comparison in the graph was selective, leaving out many countries. Muslim belief in evolution?
CIA
Liechtenstein
Qatar
Luxembourg
Bermuda
Monaco
Singapore
Jersey
Falkland Is.
Norway
Brunei

WORLD BANK
Luxembourg
Qatar
Macao
Norway
Singapore
Kuwait
Brunei
Hong Kong
Switzerland
United States
UAE
Netherlands
Austria
Ireland
Sweden
Denmark
Canada
Australia
(20 is Equatorial Guinea)


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Subject: RE: BS: Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 07 Oct 12 - 02:48 PM

It is a cartoon.


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