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Community Zone => Testimonials => Topic started by: hideousmonster on November 28, 2011, 11:18:43 AM

Title: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: hideousmonster on November 28, 2011, 11:18:43 AM
I was raised in a Catholic home by a conservative father, who made me suffer through mass every weekend. I would often fall asleep during it. I never learned most of the hymns that were sung every week, nor when to sing them, stand up, sit down, or kneel.  All I learned was that communion meant it was almost time to leave church. Some nights I would fall asleep deep within my bedroom closet, burying myself within my piles of clothes, hoping my parents would go to church without me the next morning, having given up finding me.

In high school I had a moment of feeling liberated, when I decided the devil was a fairy tale, and there was no reason to fear it. Without that fear, the foundation of my faith in God collapsed, and I began arguing with the Christian kids at school about how illogical and idiotic their beliefs were. There were plenty of them, as I live in Oklahoma: the reddest state in the Bible belt. And argued how it makes no sense to base your understanding of reality on the fear that changing your understanding will cause reality to retaliate against you. I explained how if the fantastic stories in the old book, the bible were true, then such things would still be happening today, and that the miraculous events surrounding the gospel prophets were no more likely to be true then the tall tales of Paul Bunyan, Pacos Bill, Merlin the Wizard, and Hercules. 

I took my debate online, unsatisfied with the idiotic non-arguments at my school, I wanted to argue with adults. I found many of those adults using the same juvenile arguments my classmates had been using. From time to time, they would get more sophistocated, like with their self-assempling clock analogy, but nothing that couldn't be delt with.

At a certain point I began to wonder how religion remains so widespread.  What supports it? I always assumed it was fear or neediness that made people cling to it. But I had trouble believing that I myself was that much more intelligent than so many people. These people were rational.  They were seeing things in the same world I live in which continued to reinforce their beliefs, and I wanted to know what that was.

I began trying to justify the continuous existence and popularity of the major religions the same way I was justifying the continued existence of individual species: natural selection. Those religions were some how stronger than the others. They out-competed the others in the ecosystem of philosophy. I began to wonder if it was all because they were forceful and imperialistic, and that's why they continued to dominate, and I began finding that that was not the case. Some of them were strong because the adherents bred a lot.

I then began to find that the major religions seemed to have very conservative family-organizing principals. Marriage was sacred, and respect for parents and ancestors was important. 

The realization that natural selection was engineering religious principals and traditions just as much as it was engineering life, led me to a new revelation: I was giving natural selection the same qualities that the religions had assigned to their gods.

I began wondering how I could tell the difference between a system which possesses intelligence, and one which does not, and I decided to use the human brain as a basis. What I eventually decided was that the brain works on two simple principals: 1. It's an open system which reorganizes itself in reaction to outside stimuli, and 2. the apparent reaction of an intelligent system becomes increasingly predictable every time it is exposed to the same stimuli. Those simple principals, as far as I could tell was what made the brain able to remember events, recognize patterns, and adopt habits, and appear creative.

I then decided that if there was indeed an all-encompassing intelligence, then it should be recognizable by whether or not it exhibits these qualities. I found them in every single solitary system I looked at.

No matter how I took a large system, and divided it up into smaller open systems, every single one of them seemed to operate under the same principals which seemed to make the human brain capable of intelligence.

It wasn't an aha moment, but I began to then compare the religious model with the atheist model.  The Atheist model seems to treat intelligence as though it only exists within a brain.  As though there are only small, localized systems which some how generate intelligence and consciousness as rare and quirky effects of the sort of perfect storm of circumstances.  The spiritualist model simply says that consciousness and intelligence are just a couple of operating principal that are intricately woven into every part of existence. In other words, intelligence and consciousness are preexisting resources the brain uses, rather than effects the brain generates.

To me the spiritualist model began to make more sense. I accept that intelligence and consciousness exist between the ears of at least some human beings. It seems much more logical to me to think that these phenomena are universal, rather than localized.

I started noticing that most of the arguments between Atheists and Theists were over semantics, or specific religions, or specific models for god, but really Atheists were not arguing against Theism.  They were arguing against  Bible Theism, or Muslim Theism, or take your pick. But the question over whether or not there actually is some form of an all-encompassing intelligence constantly engineering the universe, intelligently and consciously... Atheists have no argument against that... the most they ever say is that they personally disagree, albeit using much more words to make it seem as though they have reason to believe that.

I used to say absence of evidence is evidence for absence, but that's only true if the amount of evidence is known, and the fact is not all evidence is scientific, and therefore not all evidence is knowable.

Further research led me to the realization that there are innumerable examples of evidence of an afterlife, ghosts, angels, reincarnation, an all-loving creator, near death experiences, and so on and so on...  it's just not scientific. It's testimonial. The parts of the brain associated with them are just as likely to block our every day awareness of them as they are to cause them. It's all up to interpretation, really.

I do not believe the biblical account. My philosophy has become more Taoist and hermetic than Christian. I say that not because I read the Tao Te Ching or the Hermetica, and these texts convinced me they must be true.  I say that because I came to my own conclusions, watching the world around me, and found that whoever arranged those philosophies seemed to have made the same observations that I have. This time my spiritual and theistic philosophy is not founded in fear. It's founded in reason, observation, introspection, and simple trust that people I know who have themselves had paranormal experiences believe those stories, and the fact that the experiences they describe are just as valid as the observations of any trained scientist, and that while their interpretation may be slightly off, they are not idiots... there are simply no other ways they can find to explain what happened to them that cover all of the facts.

That's my story so far.


Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: One Above All on November 28, 2011, 11:22:42 AM
You already made mistakes, beyond capitalizing "atheism" and "theism". There is no "atheist model" of anything. Theism dictates worldviews. Atheism does not.
I would argue with you here and explain why you're wrong, but it's against the rules.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: velkyn on November 28, 2011, 11:36:27 AM
Well, HM, I'd have to say that you're well on your way to creating your own religion like so many do. 

and I'm really arguing against any kind of theism.  Christianity is just a easy target.  There is no objective, verifiable, repeatable evidence for any supernatural. None.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: One Above All on November 28, 2011, 11:43:40 AM
Well, HM, I'd have to say that you're well on your way to creating your own religion like so many do. 

and I'm really arguing against any kind of theism.  Christianity is just a easy target.  There is no objective, verifiable, repeatable evidence for any supernatural. None.

This. Nowadays, theism/spiritualism/supernatural nonsense of every kind are just mankind's (poor) attempts to make itself special.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: hideousmonster on November 28, 2011, 11:45:14 AM
You already made mistakes, beyond capitalizing "atheism" and "theism". There is no "atheist model" of anything. Theism dictates worldviews. Atheism does not.
I would argue with you here and explain why you're wrong, but it's against the rules.

Good.  I've argued a lot for many years. I argued with others, and then I argued with myself. It's all semantics and confirmation bias. People favor the rationale which supports their own worldview, but only that rationale, and only when it supports the chosen worldview. They speak from that angle... spinning the language used to convince themselves and fooling themselves into believing the other person might be swayed.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: hideousmonster on November 28, 2011, 11:47:26 AM
Well, HM, I'd have to say that you're well on your way to creating your own religion like so many do. 

and I'm really arguing against any kind of theism.  Christianity is just a easy target.  There is no objective, verifiable, repeatable evidence for any supernatural. None.

Of course there isn't. If there were, it would immediately be redefined as "natural," instead of "supernatural."

EDIT: I should add, that this is precisely why I avoid using the term "supernatural." I prefer the term "paranormal." The reason is because the word "natural" is used by most modern intellectuals as though it means "governed by the rules of all of reality." I very much discourage you and atheists in general from using the word supernatural, because it only causes confusion between conflicting philosophies. When Theists and Spiritualists use the word "supernatural," what they really mean is "nature beyond current scientific understanding or detection."  When atheists use the word, what they really mean is "outside of reality."  The distinction between these two contexts should not be overlooked, and I find that it's best to avoid the term entirely for that reason.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: jaimehlers on November 28, 2011, 12:12:46 PM
Of course there isn't. If there were, it would immediately be redefined as "natural," instead of "supernatural."
This is why I like to say that there is no supernatural, only natural things we do not yet understand.

Personally, I have found it to be very hard to tell what ideas I come up with are reasonable and which are not based on just my own thoughts.  They always sound perfectly reasonable when I am only applying my own reason to them.  It is whether I can eventually explain them to other people that determines their actual reasonableness.  That appears to be the main problem you're having here.  Did you discuss these things with other people as you were thinking about them?
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: velkyn on November 28, 2011, 12:36:54 PM
Well, HM, I'd have to say that you're well on your way to creating your own religion like so many do. 

and I'm really arguing against any kind of theism.  Christianity is just a easy target.  There is no objective, verifiable, repeatable evidence for any supernatural. None.

Of course there isn't. If there were, it would immediately be redefined as "natural," instead of "supernatural."

EDIT: I should add, that this is precisely why I avoid using the term "supernatural." I prefer the term "paranormal." The reason is because the word "natural" is used by most modern intellectuals as though it means "governed by the rules of all of reality." I very much discourage you and atheists in general from using the word supernatural, because it only causes confusion between conflicting philosophies. When Theists and Spiritualists use the word "supernatural," what they really mean is "nature beyond current scientific understanding or detection."  When atheists use the word, what they really mean is "outside of reality."  The distinction between these two contexts should not be overlooked, and I find that it's best to avoid the term entirely for that reason.
sigh.  And there isnt' evidence for anything "paranormal" either.  Semantics won't save such baseless claims.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: kevinagain on November 28, 2011, 01:31:28 PM
hey, hideous.

however did you manage to be a catholic in oklahoma?

nowadays with the central americans, there lots more than there used to be, but for the most part oklahoma is as southern baptist as it is possible to be.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: hideousmonster on November 28, 2011, 02:12:07 PM
hey, hideous.

however did you manage to be a catholic in oklahoma?

nowadays with the central americans, there lots more than there used to be, but for the most part oklahoma is as southern baptist as it is possible to be.

Oh really? I find your attempt to describe the people of Oklahoma to a life-long native Oklahoman to be very cute.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: hideousmonster on November 28, 2011, 02:36:45 PM
Well, HM, I'd have to say that you're well on your way to creating your own religion like so many do. 

and I'm really arguing against any kind of theism.  Christianity is just a easy target.  There is no objective, verifiable, repeatable evidence for any supernatural. None.

Of course there isn't. If there were, it would immediately be redefined as "natural," instead of "supernatural."

EDIT: I should add, that this is precisely why I avoid using the term "supernatural." I prefer the term "paranormal." The reason is because the word "natural" is used by most modern intellectuals as though it means "governed by the rules of all of reality." I very much discourage you and atheists in general from using the word supernatural, because it only causes confusion between conflicting philosophies. When Theists and Spiritualists use the word "supernatural," what they really mean is "nature beyond current scientific understanding or detection."  When atheists use the word, what they really mean is "outside of reality."  The distinction between these two contexts should not be overlooked, and I find that it's best to avoid the term entirely for that reason.
sigh.  And there isnt' evidence for anything "paranormal" either.  Semantics won't save such baseless claims.

Semantics are very important. Some words imply things that others do not. In fact, some words are incorrectly used, unless they are further clarified with one or more adjectives.  For instance, in that post, you say "there isn't evidence," but in the previous post you were much more specific.  You said "there is no objective, verifiable, repeatable evidence." This begs the question, is all evidence objective, verifiable, and repeatable, and if so, then why post all of those adjectives? Why do you need to clarify?  The reason is because you know that the word "evidence" means something different to you than to others. This is what I mean when I say people should use words which mean the same to everyone participating in the conversation.

I do not agree with your belief that there is no evidence for anything paranormal. I don't necessarily disagree either. Paranormal simply means observed phenomena which has not been proven by scientific investigation. It could be telepathy, time travel (the backward kind), ghosts, or technology advanced sufficiently enough to be indistinguishable from magic.  Your belief that such evidence does not exist is based entirely on the grounds of your own ignorance of such evidence, which is tantamount to fancying yourself omniscient.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: albeto on November 28, 2011, 02:40:57 PM
Paranormal simply means observed phenomena which has not been proven by scientific investigation.

No it doesn't.  Paranormal means Beyond The Range of Scientific Explanation.  Things that haven't been proven by scientific investigation are called Things That Haven't Yet Been Proven By Scientific Investigation. 

What do you mean in your OP by "and the fact is not all evidence is scientific, and therefore not all evidence is knowable"? 
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: kevinagain on November 28, 2011, 02:46:38 PM
hey, hideous.

however did you manage to be a catholic in oklahoma?

nowadays with the central americans, there lots more than there used to be, but for the most part oklahoma is as southern baptist as it is possible to be.

Oh really? I find your attempt to describe the people of Oklahoma to a life-long native Oklahoman to be very cute.

no offense intended, hideous. my family was forced into oklahoma in the 1830s during the cherokee and chickasaw removals, and my grandfather watched the 1887 land rush from the indian side of the river. my grandparents were married in indian territory over 100 years ago, and i was born 1000 feet away from that courthouse.

the pentacostal churches in the town i was born in are now iglesias that serve the mexicanos and central and south americans who migrated in during the 1970s for factory work. there are no english language catholic churches there that i know about. my family is entirely southern baptist, as are almost all the other farming families in their neighborhood.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: velkyn on November 28, 2011, 03:38:33 PM
Semantics are very important. Some words imply things that others do not. In fact, some words are incorrectly used, unless they are further clarified with one or more adjectives.  For instance, in that post, you say "there isn't evidence," but in the previous post you were much more specific.  You said "there is no objective, verifiable, repeatable evidence." This begs the question, is all evidence objective, verifiable, and repeatable, and if so, then why post all of those adjectives? Why do you need to clarify?  The reason is because you know that the word "evidence" means something different to you than to others. This is what I mean when I say people should use words which mean the same to everyone participating in the conversation.
Paranormal: not scientifically explainable : supernatural  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/paranormal
Quote
Paranormal is a general term (coined ca. 1915–1920[1][2]) that designates experiences that lie outside "the range of normal experience or scientific explanation"[3] or that indicates phenomena understood to be outside of science's current ability to explain or measure.[1][4] Paranormal phenomena are distinct from certain hypothetical entities, such as dark matter and dark energy, only insofar as paranormal phenomena are inconsistent with the world as already understood through empirical observation coupled with scientific methodology.[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranormal 
And yes, evidence is all of those things.
Quote
1a : an outward sign : indication b : something that furnishes proof : testimony; specifically : something legally submitted to a tribunal to ascertain the truth of a matter 2: one who bears witness; especially : one who voluntarily confesses a crime and testifies for the prosecution against his accomplices
I only have to spell it out for woomeisters like you.  It’s your ignorance on what evidence means that requires it, not the word itself.  You want to change its meaning so your nonsense has some validity. Sorry, that doesn’t work for theists or people like you. I find it pretty amusing that you are so indignant about wanting to use words that mean the same to everyone. That’s what dictionaries establish and funny how your “definitions” don’t match the accepted ones.
Quote
I do not agree with your belief that there is no evidence for anything paranormal. I don't necessarily disagree either. Paranormal simply means observed phenomena which has not been proven by scientific investigation. It could be telepathy, time travel (the backward kind), ghosts, or technology advanced sufficiently enough to be indistinguishable from magic.  Your belief that such evidence does not exist is based entirely on the grounds of your own ignorance of such evidence, which is tantamount to fancying yourself omniscient.
I dont’ give a rat’s ass what you agree with or disagree with (make up your mind, you can’t hve it both ways).  Oh and no, HM, I’m not trying to claim I’m omniscient at all. I’ve seen what is claimed to be evidence.  It’s garbage.  Sorry for you but I do like this kind of stuff and keep an eye on the various claims about it.  I’m not the ignoramus that you seem to be hoping for, so you can mistakenly declare that I don’t know what you are talking about.  You want to claim evidence, real evidence that can be observed by anyone, recreated, you know all of that which is required for actual real things, you show it.  Don’t just whine that I don’t consider it.

You make the claims like this
Quote
“I used to say absence of evidence is evidence for absence, but that's only true if the amount of evidence is known, and the fact is not all evidence is scientific, and therefore not all evidence is knowable.”

and this
Quote
Further research led me to the realization that there are innumerable examples of evidence of an afterlife, ghosts, angels, reincarnation, an all-loving creator, near death experiences, and so on and so on...  it's just not scientific. It's testimonial. The parts of the brain associated with them are just as likely to block our every day awareness of them as they are to cause them. It's all up to interpretation, really.
what are these evidences?  Do you accept them or not?  And testimonials?  you really think that qualifies as evidence?  We all know how screwed up people can be and how their minds play tricks and indeed, how desperately humans love attention.  I’m sure you’ll insist that testimonials are used in criminal cases and indeed they are but only when backed up with physical evidence. 

I’m sorry to see the usual woo bs.  The absence of evidence is pretty darn strong evidence of absence.  Theists and those who want to claim various kinds of woo want their nonsense to be immune to requests for evidence to back them up.  You want to wave your hands and claim that since no one can show you there’s a teapot floating around Zeta Reticuli, there must be one and oooh how special you are for “knowing” it.  It’s just the bad bad people who actually ask you for evidence for such stuff that “refuse to see it”.  Same old arguments used by theists.  You’ve found some stuff that agrees with you so gee, it simply *must* be right.  I’d wish it was right too, it would make for a much more fun universe but until I see evidence, and not just someone claiming that they saw Uncle Albert floating above the bar, I can’t.   

and to address this bit from your OP:
Quote
It wasn't an aha moment, but I began to then compare the religious model with the atheist model.  The Atheist model seems to treat intelligence as though it only exists within a brain.  As though there are only small, localized systems which some how generate intelligence and consciousness as rare and quirky effects of the sort of perfect storm of circumstances.  The spiritualist model simply says that consciousness and intelligence are just a couple of operating principal that are intricately woven into every part of existence. In other words, intelligence and consciousness are preexisting resources the brain uses, rather than effects the brain generates.
  I do insist that you show us how you know that the intelligence can exist outside of the brain.  There is nothing to support this nonsense.  It’s the same claims that Christians make about the “soul”.  You just change words around and dress it up with some “sciency” sounding words.  All well and good but with no actual evidence of your claims, its just as stupid as a Christian’s.   


EDIT: afer looking at your older posts, I'm wondering why you've come back here wtih essentially teh same arguments that were considered and discarded 10 months ago?
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: jaimehlers on November 28, 2011, 05:43:05 PM
If semantics didn't matter, we'd have no controversy about the word 'theory'.

That being said, it doesn't matter what you call something, it matters what you can show people about it.  Evidence, in other words.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: jetson on November 28, 2011, 06:32:41 PM
Quote
Further research led me to the realization that there are innumerable examples of evidence of an afterlife, ghosts, angels, reincarnation, an all-loving creator, near death experiences, and so on and so on...  it's just not scientific. It's testimonial. The parts of the brain associated with them are just as likely to block our every day awareness of them as they are to cause them. It's all up to interpretation, really.

Of course there are innumerable "stories" from humans throughout time.  Humans love to tell stories, that's precisely how gods hot started.  Not because they exist, but precisely because they do not.

All gods are imaginary, get over it.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: jaimehlers on November 30, 2011, 11:13:43 AM
All gods are imaginary, get over it.
The problem is, something imaginary can still be very powerful.  So it's not just a matter of "getting over it".  If it were so easy, then religion wouldn't have nearly the power it does today.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: jetson on November 30, 2011, 07:02:49 PM
All gods are imaginary, get over it.
The problem is, something imaginary can still be very powerful.  So it's not just a matter of "getting over it".  If it were so easy, then religion wouldn't have nearly the power it does today.

Actually, it is that easy in this case.  The OP has admitted as much.  Im saying drop the god delusion and move on with your life.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: Sonshein on January 01, 2012, 08:40:33 PM
All gods are imaginary, get over it.
The problem is, something imaginary can still be very powerful.  So it's not just a matter of "getting over it".  If it were so easy, then religion wouldn't have nearly the power it does today.

Actually, it is that easy in this case.  The OP has admitted as much.  Im saying drop the god delusion and move on with your life.

I don't believe in the bible - because of the bible, however, I can't accept pure evolution because of the theory of "survival of the fittest". At least (and this is a very limited understanding, I admit), it seems to me that "vertical" evolution would never occur and life never would have evolved higher than simple bacteria since this has proven to be the very fittest for life. Single cell bacteria evolve "horizontally" but that means they simply become better bacteria.

Therefore - since we know that "Vertical" evolution has occurred since it seems that us humans are here - I think something must have "pulled", "pushed" this evolution. By no means am I saying this "force" is cognizant of humans, it may simply be "anti-entropic"?? (is there a word?). If "survival of the fittest" is correct; and we know that entropy attacks all "higher order" it seems there must be something.....

By the way - I thought the original piece was very well written and thought out.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: jetson on January 01, 2012, 10:03:09 PM
All gods are imaginary, get over it.
The problem is, something imaginary can still be very powerful.  So it's not just a matter of "getting over it".  If it were so easy, then religion wouldn't have nearly the power it does today.

Actually, it is that easy in this case.  The OP has admitted as much.  Im saying drop the god delusion and move on with your life.

I don't believe in the bible - because of the bible, however, I can't accept pure evolution because of the theory of "survival of the fittest". At least (and this is a very limited understanding, I admit), it seems to me that "vertical" evolution would never occur and life never would have evolved higher than simple bacteria since this has proven to be the very fittest for life. Single cell bacteria evolve "horizontally" but that means they simply become better bacteria.

Therefore - since we know that "Vertical" evolution has occurred since it seems that us humans are here - I think something must have "pulled", "pushed" this evolution. By no means am I saying this "force" is cognizant of humans, it may simply be "anti-entropic"?? (is there a word?). If "survival of the fittest" is correct; and we know that entropy attacks all "higher order" it seems there must be something.....

By the way - I thought the original piece was very well written and thought out.

I think you need to say what you mean by "pure evolution", as well as how you think "survival of the fittest" fits within the theory.  Then we can discuss further.  Welcome to the forum, by the way!
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: Brakeman on January 01, 2012, 10:19:29 PM
and the fact is not all evidence is scientific,

Nope, not true at all.  All evidence IS scientific, or it is not evidence.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: Bad Pear on January 01, 2012, 11:18:04 PM
When Theists and Spiritualists use the word "supernatural," what they really mean is "nature beyond current scientific understanding or detection."  When atheists use the word, what they really mean is "outside of reality."  The distinction between these two contexts should not be overlooked, and I find that it's best to avoid the term entirely for that reason.

Bold mine.

I have never found this to be the case. Every theist I have ever had a discussion with, when talking about the supernatural, has defined it as "something existing outside of/ungoverned by nature". I would agree with that definition and on that basis call the word meaningless. In fact most Theists that I have argued with use this understanding of the word to justify the lack of evidence for, or restrictions on the power of, their god.

Lightning was no more supernatural in the Stone Age than it is now simply because it wasn't understood.

I see Merriam-Webster agrees with me on this.

su·per·nat·u·ral adj
\?sü-p?r-?na-ch?-r?l, -?nach-r?l\

1: of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially : of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil.
2a : departing from what is usual or normal especially so as to appear to transcend the laws of nature
  b : attributed to an invisible agent (as a ghost or spirit)

Unexplained phenomena and supernatural phenomena are not the same thing. One exists, the other does not.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: Azdgari on January 02, 2012, 12:45:55 AM
The components of the word agree with Bad Pear, too.  "Super" = Surpassing, greater than, above.  "Natural" = Naturalistic.  So the supernatural is something not naturalistic, and thus incoherent.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: Sonshein on January 02, 2012, 09:45:12 AM
All gods are imaginary, get over it.
The problem is, something imaginary can still be very powerful.  So it's not just a matter of "getting over it".  If it were so easy, then religion wouldn't have nearly the power it does today.

Actually, it is that easy in this case.  The OP has admitted as much.  Im saying drop the god delusion and move on with your life.

I don't believe in the bible - because of the bible, however, I can't accept pure evolution because of the theory of "survival of the fittest". At least (and this is a very limited understanding, I admit), it seems to me that "vertical" evolution would never occur and life never would have evolved higher than simple bacteria since this has proven to be the very fittest for life. Single cell bacteria evolve "horizontally" but that means they simply become better bacteria.

Therefore - since we know that "Vertical" evolution has occurred since it seems that us humans are here - I think something must have "pulled", "pushed" this evolution. By no means am I saying this "force" is cognizant of humans, it may simply be "anti-entropic"?? (is there a word?). If "survival of the fittest" is correct; and we know that entropy attacks all "higher order" it seems there must be something.....

By the way - I thought the original piece was very well written and thought out.

I think you need to say what you mean by "pure evolution", as well as how you think "survival of the fittest" fits within the theory.  Then we can discuss further.  Welcome to the forum, by the way!

Thank you very much for the welcome!
1. Instead of pure evolution, I guess I should say "only evolution". Or, evolution as only a part of nature without some other force involved.
2. "Survival of the fittest: On one hand I know that we evolved, but I still don't see how we evolved "upward". Seems to me at any level i.e., bacteria plant, fish etc. these things would only become better bacteria.. etc. Take a fish - if it was evolving to walk on land and growing little stubs for legs, it would not be a better fish, it would be a "worse" fish and therefore it would get wiped out by it's predators. We know and have evidence that bacteria is extremely versatile and lives in all kinds of adverse and different conditions - why would it ever, just left to nature, evolve to a higher state? It is already the very most "fit for survival" form that life can take.

Again - thank you and thank you for the time you've taken to respond. Scott
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: One Above All on January 02, 2012, 10:10:07 AM
The fish you described (with the stubs) is no longer a fish. At best you could say it's somewhere between fish and amphibian. However, it most certainly is superior to fish. Where do fish's predators live? In the water. Where can the fish with stubs go? Away from it. Add a set of lungs to that and you've got yourself a being whose predators are not in the same habitat.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: One Above All on January 02, 2012, 10:14:28 AM
We know and have evidence that bacteria is extremely versatile and lives in all kinds of adverse and different conditions - why would it ever, just left to nature, evolve to a higher state? It is already the very most "fit for survival" form that life can take.

A higher state relative to what?
You seem to assume that humans (or at least beings composed of millions of cells) are the peak of evolution. We are not. Each species evolves depending on what makes it better suited for its habitat, not in a straight line towards a specific "goal".
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: Sonshein on January 02, 2012, 10:54:11 AM
The fish you described (with the stubs) is no longer a fish. At best you could say it's somewhere between fish and amphibian. However, it most certainly is superior to fish. Where do fish's predators live? In the water. Where can the fish with stubs go? Away from it. Add a set of lungs to that and you've got yourself a being whose predators are not in the same habitat.

Well, perhaps once it could get on land it might be able to get away from predators - but until it could actually get on land - it would be slower, both to catch food as well as to get away from predators. The way I understand it is the legs don't functionally mutate in one generation - they would start out as a detriment, not an advantage and therefore would be wiped out.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: One Above All on January 02, 2012, 11:05:33 AM
Really? Rather than just two fins and a tail helping with propulsion you get at least two fins, a tail and two stubs. How is that detrimental?
Still, if we assume the stubs to be non-functional, they wouldn't be detrimental, nor would they be helpful. They would just be there without doing anything, until they became functional "legs".
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: Sonshein on January 02, 2012, 11:12:19 AM
We know and have evidence that bacteria is extremely versatile and lives in all kinds of adverse and different conditions - why would it ever, just left to nature, evolve to a higher state? It is already the very most "fit for survival" form that life can take.

A higher state relative to what?
You seem to assume that humans (or at least beings composed of millions of cells) are the peak of evolution. We are not. Each species evolves depending on what makes it better suited for its habitat, not in a straight line towards a specific "goal".

Perhaps better than a "higher state" I should say a "higher state of complexity?" - or a "higher order"(less close to chaos).  I by no means assume that humans have reached the peak of evolution - but I can't see how they are "fitter for survival" than a bacteria, since it seems most/many scientists believe that at some time we will probably not survive - but the bacteria will still be here. Again - it seems to me that bacteria have already proven themselves to be the fittest for survival - ?4/5 billion years worth of survival.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: Sonshein on January 02, 2012, 11:15:04 AM
Really? Rather than just two fins and a tail helping with propulsion you get at least two fins, a tail and two stubs. How is that detrimental?
Still, if we assume the stubs to be non-functional, they wouldn't be detrimental, nor would they be helpful. They would just be there without doing anything, until they became functional "legs".
Well as I said - 4 stubs would create more resistance to the water, making the fish slower - would also require the fish to consume more food for energy since it would require more 1. to have the extra appendages and 2. to be able to swim.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: One Above All on January 02, 2012, 11:31:21 AM
Perhaps better than a "higher state" I should say a "higher state of complexity?" - or a "higher order"(less close to chaos).

Higher state of complexity will do.

I by no means assume that humans have reached the peak of evolution - but I can't see how they are "fitter for survival" than a bacteria, since it seems most/many scientists believe that at some time we will probably not survive - but the bacteria will still be here.

Dogs will probably also be here. So what? This is meaningless.

Again - it seems to me that bacteria have already proven themselves to be the fittest for survival

First of all, evolution can only make changes that are visible to the naked eye in a span of millions of years. With our (very) limited lifespans, we could never hope to see it "in action", so to speak. We can only see it on a very small (genetic) scale.
Now then, once again, it depends on what you mean by "fittest". In the context of the theory of evolution, it means best suited for life in their habitat.
Also, you are speaking of a group that includes thousands (if not millions) of different species. Evolution occurs in all of them, but you can only speak of "fitness" (in the context of the theory of evolution) when you refer to specific species.

?4/5 billion years worth of survival.

Dude, our planet isn't even 5 billion years old. :P
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: Sonshein on January 03, 2012, 08:24:51 AM
Perhaps better than a "higher state" I should say a "higher state of complexity?" - or a "higher order"(less close to chaos).

Higher state of complexity will do.

I by no means assume that humans have reached the peak of evolution - but I can't see how they are "fitter for survival" than a bacteria, since it seems most/many scientists believe that at some time we will probably not survive - but the bacteria will still be here.
Ok, let's stick to one species of fish - and there are billions of them in the sea.
1. For some reason, some of them begin to mutate towards being able to grow legs - I suppose some with 1 leg, some with 2, etc.
2. Over billions of years those legs are now little stubs - they are useless at this point.
3. The stubs, require the fish to eat more because they require more energy.
4. The fish has to be much slower in the water because the subs are hanging there - therefore he gets eaten more easily and has a harder time catching food.
5. Whatever he is, he is still living the life of a fish and is now a fish not very fit for survival and he goes extinct.

So.. Where is my description wrong - and why is the fish growing legs anyway? The fish doesn't know that someday legs will be a good thing.



Dogs will probably also be here. So what? This is meaningless.

Again - it seems to me that bacteria have already proven themselves to be the fittest for survival

First of all, evolution can only make changes that are visible to the naked eye in a span of millions of years. With our (very) limited lifespans, we could never hope to see it "in action", so to speak. We can only see it on a very small (genetic) scale.
Now then, once again, it depends on what you mean by "fittest". In the context of the theory of evolution, it means best suited for life in their habitat.
Also, you are speaking of a group that includes thousands (if not millions) of different species. Evolution occurs in all of them, but you can only speak of "fitness" (in the context of the theory of evolution) when you refer to specific species.

?4/5 billion years worth of survival.

Dude, our planet isn't even 5 billion years old. :P
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: Sonshein on January 03, 2012, 08:29:21 AM
Dude, our planet isn't even 5 billion years old. :P
[/quote]
[/quote]
Sorry  - 4.5 billion years (wikipedia) - but some on - what's 1/2 billion years between friendly atheists?
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: Hatter23 on January 03, 2012, 08:33:35 AM
First of all, evolution can only make changes that are visible to the naked eye in a span of millions of years.

Actually, the English Moth made a change in color within 60 years, and the Farro Island mouse made a visible speciation change in a span in about 180.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: monkeymind on January 03, 2012, 08:40:28 AM

Sorry  - 4.5 billion years (wikipedia) - but some on - what's 1/2 billion years between friendly atheists?

Bacteria haven't been here since the formation of the earth ...have they?
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: One Above All on January 03, 2012, 08:45:11 AM
@Sonshein
Please try to fix your quotes. This is all that I could gather that was your actual reply.

Ok, let's stick to one species of fish - and there are billions of them in the sea.

That's how it works.

1. For some reason, some of them begin to mutate towards being able to grow legs - I suppose some with 1 leg, some with 2, etc.

If they're in the same habitat, they should evolve towards having the same traits.

2. Over billions of years those legs are now little stubs - they are useless at this point.

Let's reduce the "billions" to "millions".

3. The stubs, require the fish to eat more because they require more energy.

A few thousand cells don't make much of a difference in terms of energy requirements, not to mention that we all consume slightly more food than what we need to survive.

4. The fish has to be much slower in the water because the subs are hanging there - therefore he gets eaten more easily and has a harder time catching food.

"Much slower" shows you don't understand hydrodynamics. At best the fish would be a little slowed, but not enough to make a difference.

5. Whatever he is, he is still living the life of a fish and is now a fish not very fit for survival and he goes extinct.

See above.

So.. Where is my description wrong

I think I've covered that.

and why is the fish growing legs anyway? The fish doesn't know that someday legs will be a good thing.

Assumes that the fish somehow changed its DNA on its own and/or that evolution is a sentient entity.
As for the rest, have you studied DNA replication? It sucks. We're lucky we're not all born with horrible genetic diseases, IMO.

Sorry  - 4.5 billion years (wikipedia) - but some on - what's 1/2 billion years between friendly atheists?

If it were half a million years, I'd agree with you. But half a billion is a long time.

@Hatter23
Actually, the English Moth made a change in color within 60 years, and the Farro Island mouse made a visible speciation change in a span in about 180.

I didn't know about this. Let me rephrase: Evolution rarely makes changes that are visible to the naked eye.

Bacteria haven't been here since the formation of the earth ...have they?

IIRC the first (confirmed) life forms appeared something like 3.6 billion years ago.
EDIT: Note that it's possible I'm getting that number confused with something else.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: monkeymind on January 03, 2012, 08:47:54 AM
Just wondering how soon after the earth began to cool did stromatolites appear?  I could google, but I thot I'd ask Sonshein, since he seemed knowledgeable about this stuff.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: Sonshein on January 03, 2012, 08:54:59 AM
Bacteria haven't been here since the formation of the earth ...have they?

Sorry, once again I've not used exactly the correct terms - my fault - always kick myself when I do it.

Single cell life was believed to be the first form of life on earth and that includes bacteria.
Wickipedia says: Single-cell microorganisms were the first forms of life to develop on Earth, approximately 3–4 billion years ago.[7][8][9] Further evolution was slow,[10] and for about 3 billion years in the Precambrian eon, all organisms were microscopic.[11] So, for most of the history of life on Earth the only forms of life were microorganisms.

So, I'm off by some billions of years, but still, I think the argument stands. Single cell life is the most "fit for survival", although they do "horizontally" evolve - and quite well, I believe. Still can't see why they would evolve to a higher level of complexity, since they have done quite well, better than any other form of life, just as they are.

I'd like to thank everyone for their polite replies. Not only do I enjoy this, I spend a lot of time attempting to figure out a "belief system" that makes solid sense to me. Another very interesting subject - all belief/truth is relative to the individual. If it wasn't at some point in IQ, Education, Experience - everyone would believe the very same thing and yet we don't see that. Sorry - I digress. Have a great day -Scott

Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: monkeymind on January 03, 2012, 08:56:21 AM
What's a few billion years among theists?
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: One Above All on January 03, 2012, 08:57:19 AM
What's a few billion years among theists?

Considering that the universe is only 6000-10000 years old, it's not even possible. :P
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: Sonshein on January 03, 2012, 09:07:07 AM
What's a few billion years among theists?

Considering that the universe is only 6000-10000 years old, it's not even possible. :P
Well sir, I have heard this number before and I attempt to give more credence to "minority" beliefs since many great discoveries have come from those in the minority - earth not flat, sun doesn't' revolve around us, etc. However, the only reason I have heard for this number (10,000 yrs), also involved a huge conspiracy theory among the scientists and government so I have disregarded it until I see something that seems more solid to me.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: Sonshein on January 03, 2012, 09:12:12 AM
Just wondering how soon after the earth began to cool did stromatolites appear?  I could google, but I thot I'd ask Sonshein, since he seemed knowledgeable about this stuff.
Please - I do not suppose that I am knowledgeable about hardly anything and much less when it comes to evolution or the history of our planet. This is really why I'm on this site and asked my original question. My lack of knowledge is perhaps the reason for my confusion on why anything evolved upward / higher level of complexity. I am willing to admit that I may be completely off-base! Thanks
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: riley2112 on January 03, 2012, 09:12:41 AM
and the fact is not all evidence is scientific,

Nope, not true at all.  All evidence IS scientific, or it is not evidence.
That is really not true.
ev·i·dence? ?/??v?d?ns/  Show Spelled [ev-i-duhns]  Show IPA noun, verb, -denced, -denc·ing. 
noun
1. that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.
2. something that makes plain or clear; an indication or sign: His flushed look was visible evidence of his fever.
3. Law . data presented to a court or jury in proof of the facts in issue and which may include the testimony of witnesses, records, documents, or objects.

That would seem to make stories told by someone as evidence , more so when backed up by another.

So if I was in court being charged for murder, and the court had a witness that said they saw me do the crime, that would be evidence. If  the court had two , three, or more witnesses then would not the evidence be more believable? It would seem that the more witnesses they had the more reliable and believable the story/evidence would be. Or is the court system of the world wrong in their belief? Just wondering.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: One Above All on January 03, 2012, 09:13:33 AM
Well sir, I have heard this number before and I attempt to give more credence to "minority" beliefs since many great discoveries have come from those in the minority - earth not flat, sun doesn't' revolve around us, etc.

And it's amazing how YHWH's perfect book was wrong about every one of those. &)

However, the only reason I have heard for this number (10,000 yrs), also involved a huge conspiracy theory among the scientists and government so I have disregarded it until I see something that seems more solid to me.

That number is straight from the Bible. You know, that infallible book that's wrong about pretty much everything?
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: Sonshein on January 03, 2012, 09:19:20 AM
That number is straight from the Bible. You know, that infallible book that's wrong about pretty much everything?
[/quote]
Ok, now going to show how slow I am. Not sure if you are playing with me or not. If you are serious - where does the number 10,000 yrs show up in the bible? When you say it comes directly from this infallible book, I'm assuming you are directly referencing the book. I've never been pointed to a verse that states this.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: monkeymind on January 03, 2012, 09:20:51 AM
Just wondering how soon after the earth began to cool did stromatolites appear?  I could google, but I thot I'd ask Sonshein, since he seemed knowledgeable about this stuff.
Please - I do not suppose that I am knowledgeable about hardly anything and much less when it comes to evolution or the history of our planet. This is really why I'm on this site and asked my original question. My lack of knowledge is perhaps the reason for my confusion on why anything evolved upward / higher level of complexity. I am willing to admit that I may be completely off-base! Thanks

Kewl, but why this site? Why not a site dedicated to evolution, a university, or biology, paleontology, etc. etc?
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: One Above All on January 03, 2012, 09:21:31 AM
Ok, now going to show how slow I am. Not sure if you are playing with me or not. If you are serious - where does the number 10,000 yrs show up in the bible? When you say it comes directly from this infallible book, I'm assuming you are directly referencing the book. I've never been pointed to a verse that states this.

OK, maybe "straight from the Bible" was a bit exaggerated. The number itself is never shown, but, according to creationists' calculations[1], that's as old as the universe can be.
 1. Using the number of generations in the Bible, IIRC.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: Sonshein on January 03, 2012, 09:35:49 AM
OK, maybe "straight from the Bible" was a bit exaggerated. The number itself is never shown, but, according to creationists' calculations[1], that's as old as the universe can be.
[/quote]
Thank you for being very candid. While I would like to say that we now have "fallible" men making the calculations, the same applies to the 4.5 billion estimate so we may be at a stalemate there.

And now I have to apologize because I really don't wish to debate the fallibility of the bible. I've literally spent 100's if not thousands of hours thinking about this, reading some of Bart Ehrmans books 2x, listened to a dozen of his debates, read the godisimaginary proofs(their word not mine) as well as read the responses to Ehrmans books and I see the bible as being extremely fallible. The gospels don't even agree on the day of Crucifixion - theoretically the 2nd most important day in history. So, forgive me, I have to focus on my original question going forward. Take care my theist friend.
 1. Using the number of generations in the Bible, IIRC.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: monkeymind on January 03, 2012, 09:37:57 AM
Quote
I don't believe in the bible - because of the bible, however, I can't accept pure evolution because of the theory of "survival of the fittest".

[/Laughing Jesus]
OK, now that I read your posts, I may have answered my own question. You are confused. You don't believe the bible, but because of the bible can't accept "pure" evolution because of survival of the fittest.

BTW, You can easily tell when I am kidding you because of Laughing Jesus mode.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: Sonshein on January 03, 2012, 09:39:09 AM
Just wondering how soon after the earth began to cool did stromatolites appear?  I could google, but I thot I'd ask Sonshein, since he seemed knowledgeable about this stuff.
Please - I do not suppose that I am knowledgeable about hardly anything and much less when it comes to evolution or the history of our planet. This is really why I'm on this site and asked my original question. My lack of knowledge is perhaps the reason for my confusion on why anything evolved upward / higher level of complexity. I am willing to admit that I may be completely off-base! Thanks

Kewl, but why this site? Why not a site dedicated to evolution, a university, or biology, paleontology, etc. etc?
Perhaps you are correct and I should move to a more appropriate forum. The original subject seemed to fit with position of confusion, but perhaps not. Scott
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: One Above All on January 03, 2012, 09:42:38 AM
Thank you for being very candid.

Stick around. You'll find that I do that often. ;)

While I would like to say that we now have "fallible" men making the calculations, the same applies to the 4.5 billion estimate so we may be at a stalemate there.

Irrelevant. An infallible book couldn't be misunderstood... unless it was supposed to. And the 4.5 billion was calculated using very precise methods.

And now I have to apologize because I really don't wish to debate the fallibility of the bible.

That's smart. If you were on the "infallible" side, you would have already lost.

I've literally spent 100's if not thousands of hours thinking about this, reading some of Bart Ehrmans books 2x, listened to a dozen of his debates, read the godisimaginary proofs(their word not mine) as well as read the responses to Ehrmans books and I see the bible as being extremely fallible.

See above.

The gospels don't even agree on the day of Crucifixion - theoretically the 2nd most important day in history. So, forgive me, I have to focus on my original question going forward.

*Points above.*

Take care my theist friend.

I'll assume that this was a typo. I'm a gnostic[1] atheist.
 1. Not a typo; see the difference between "gnosticism" and "agnosticism".
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: monkeymind on January 03, 2012, 09:46:31 AM
Quote
We know and have evidence that bacteria is extremely versatile and lives in all kinds of adverse and different conditions - why would it ever, just left to nature, evolve to a higher state? It is already the very most "fit for survival" form that life can take.

This was your first question. Google Darwin's Legacy and watch the videos, you should get your answer from the group of scientists and profs assembled by Stanford. I'm sure that someone can answer that question here, tho. Not sure if you would find it very convincing.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: One Above All on January 03, 2012, 09:54:29 AM
I can answer that... I think.

Bacteria can live in many habitats, but it still has predators - other bacteria. Therefore, bacteria could still "improve" itself... and then so would the predators, and so on until what we have nowadays.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: naemhni on January 03, 2012, 09:57:54 AM
I'm a bit late on this thread due to having a bunch of stuff on my plate over the weekend.

This is the testimonial section.  Thread drift is inevitable around here, of course, just as it is everywhere, but now that we've seen quite a bit of it here, it's time to move the discussion(s) to the appropriate forum.  Please take the topics to those forums... thank you.  (I'm currently in the middle of a very busy morning, but I'll split this off and/or close the thread as needed later today as soon as I get a chance, unless another mod can get to it first.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: Azdgari on January 03, 2012, 10:23:30 AM
Extra body parts use energy, both to grow and to maintain.  Unless they're also being useful, they're detrimental - even if just mildly so.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: Fiji on January 03, 2012, 10:48:45 AM
1. For some reason, some of them begin to mutate towards being able to grow legs - I suppose some with 1 leg, some with 2, etc.

If they're in the same habitat, they should evolve towards having the same traits.

Agree with Lucifer but minor nit re Sonsheim ... we, the vast majority of animals, have mostly symmetrical bodies (and since we all know evolution can't go back to the drawing board, we're stuck this way) so developing two legs is more likely than just the one.

3. The stubs, require the fish to eat more because they require more energy.

A few thousand cells don't make much of a difference in terms of energy requirements, not to mention that we all consume slightly more food than what we need to survive.

disagree with both of you ... Those stubs will just be a variation of fins (as was the case irl) so they won't necessarily require more energy (possible, but not needed)
and if they do require more energy, evolution will act upon the change ... increased energy consumption is not a problem per se just as long as the payoff is positive ... not getting eaten is indeed positive.

4. The fish has to be much slower in the water because the subs are hanging there - therefore he gets eaten more easily and has a harder time catching food.

"Much slower" shows you don't understand hydrodynamics. At best the fish would be a little slowed, but not enough to make a difference.

again, disagree with both.
'a little slower' is enough for evolution to act on ... however (and this brings me to the disagreement with Sonshein) the ocean is not a huge fish tank ... it's not a load of water with hard edges. In the middle of the ocean, yes, Sonshein, you're right, any move away from fins-for-swimming is gonna get you killed ... however, in shallows (or the drying pools someone mentioned) stubs mean you can go into shallower water than the other fish, water where that predator can't even go and all the food in those shallower waters is yours and yours alone (no competition). Energy problem solved!


5. Whatever he is, he is still living the life of a fish and is now a fish not very fit for survival and he goes extinct.

He and his offspring are increasingly moving away from being what we're accustomed to calling 'fish'. At some point you get a critter who's so well addapted to being outside the water that you can't really call him a fish anymore. But if you were to hand a book of photos of these increasingly non-fish creatures (a book of, let's say, a few tens of thousands of pages representing tens of thousands of generations) and asked a hundred people to pick the page where they'd no longer call the creature on the photo a fish, you'd most likely get 100 different anwers ... and they'd all be right to some extent.


Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: kevinagain on January 03, 2012, 11:28:43 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNHbUn0k7BI

Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: Mr. Blackwell on January 04, 2012, 01:53:17 AM
2. <snip> I still don't see how we evolved "upward". <snip> - why would it ever, just left to nature, evolve to a higher state? It is already the very most "fit for survival" form that life can take.

I know you and Lucifer agreed to "higher complexity" instead of "upward" so it is to the higher complexity I will attempt to call your attention to.

What is more stable or strong...one piece of solid metal or several pieces of metal welded together? On a cellular level we are  like galaxy clusters compared to single celled organisms. You[1] seem to view the theory of evolution as a continual "improvement". I do not see it this way.

You tried to create a word "anti-entropy". There is no such thing. There is entropy, but there is no word which describes an opposite effect. There is no evidence of an opposite effect.

On a cosmological level we have the theory that everything was ONE. We use words like "bang" and "expand" to described why everything is no longer ONE. However those words are not entirely accurate in my estimation. According to observation, the universe is breaking down into it's constituent parts. Nothing is being "created".

On our terrestrial level. We have the theory that the first life was LUCA (http://www.actionbioscience.org/newfrontiers/poolearticle.html). We use words like "evolve" and "natural selection" to describe why everything is no longer LUCA. However those words are not entirely accurate in my estimation. We are breaking down into more complex[2] forms of life.

Entropy is the natural state of our reality. Sure, from our tiny little perspective it may look like life is a creative process

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATMo4RFlma4&feature=relmfu

However, life is frantically clinging to it's tentative existence, and getting weaker and weaker as it burns up it's energy struggling to survive. That's how I see evolution.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5-0TK4TxkM&feature=relmfu

But we wont be around when all the stars burn out and there is no more energy to make more of them.









 1. And others
 2. Therefor weaker and more fragile
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: Turbo SS on January 13, 2012, 06:35:54 PM
hey, hideous.

however did you manage to be a catholic in oklahoma?

nowadays with the central americans, there lots more than there used to be, but for the most part oklahoma is as southern baptist as it is possible to be.

You have said already but I havent read the rest of this thread past what i am quoting above, but where in OK are you from?

I am from Oklahoma as well.  We have a few private catholic schools in my city.  My best friend is Catholic.  There are also many Jewish families in my city as well.  I understand what Hideous was going through though. Except I started out as the opposite.  I went to a non denominational school and converted, believed with my whole being in the Jesus stuff and as I grew older gradually realized it was all B.S.  Ironically, reading the Bible was a big part of  undoing of my faith  :P  But now I deal with it.  Most of my friends are christians and I am a closet atheist.  The only person who knows in real life is my wife.  :-X
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: nogodsforme on January 13, 2012, 07:55:13 PM
and the fact is not all evidence is scientific,

Nope, not true at all.  All evidence IS scientific, or it is not evidence.
That is really not true.
ev·i·dence? ?/??v?d?ns/  Show Spelled [ev-i-duhns]  Show IPA noun, verb, -denced, -denc·ing. 
noun
1. that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.
2. something that makes plain or clear; an indication or sign: His flushed look was visible evidence of his fever.
3. Law . data presented to a court or jury in proof of the facts in issue and which may include the testimony of witnesses, records, documents, or objects.

That would seem to make stories told by someone as evidence , more so when backed up by another.

So if I was in court being charged for murder, and the court had a witness that said they saw me do the crime, that would be evidence. If  the court had two , three, or more witnesses then would not the evidence be more believable? It would seem that the more witnesses they had the more reliable and believable the story/evidence would be. Or is the court system of the world wrong in their belief? Just wondering.

Eyewitness testimony is actually the weakest form of "evidence". People lie, are coerced, are mistaken, see what they think they are supposed to see, etc. In basic psychology classes, students learn how easy it is to fool people with illusions, misdirections, distraction, etc. into thinking they saw what they didn't or to miss something very obvious. In court the most powerful evidence is still scientific, ie DNA from blood or saliva,or physical objects like fingerprints, hair, bone fragments or human remains.

Millions of Muslims believe in the eyewitness testimony of Muhammed and his companions, as recorded in the Quran. I am assuming that you don't think these millions of Muslims constitute enough evidence for you to become a Muslim.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: Brakeman on January 13, 2012, 08:34:05 PM
and the fact is not all evidence is scientific,

Nope, not true at all.  All evidence IS scientific, or it is not evidence.
That is really not true.
..
So if I was in court being charged for murder, and the court had a witness that said they saw me do the crime, that would be evidence. ..

A barking dog is evidence, even if you don't know what the dog is saying. All witnesses are scientific evidence, but not necessarily evidence for the proposition.

If you are standing in court lying through your teeth about a car accident, you are evidence that the floor in the courtroom can support your weight, that you are alive and that their is oxygen in the courtroom. It is all scientific evidence. Your words are also scientific evidence but we may not be advanced enough scientifically to adequately judge the evidence to find truth. When we do find evidence that you are lying, your witness is impeached, but your evidence is still there waiting for a better interpretation.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: kevinagain on January 14, 2012, 12:03:31 AM
You have said already but I havent read the rest of this thread past what i am quoting above, but where in OK are you from?

I am from Oklahoma as well.  We have a few private catholic schools in my city.  My best friend is Catholic.  There are also many Jewish families in my city as well.  I understand what Hideous was going through though. Except I started out as the opposite.  I went to a non denominational school and converted, believed with my whole being in the Jesus stuff and as I grew older gradually realized it was all B.S.  Ironically, reading the Bible was a big part of  undoing of my faith  :P  But now I deal with it.  Most of my friends are christians and I am a closet atheist.  The only person who knows in real life is my wife.  :-X

hey turbo

i was born in purcell, in mcclain county on the south canadian river south of OKC. purcell is an old railroad town and was the crossing place where the residents of the chickasaw nation could ride over to the other side of the river to get drunk with the palefaces. my mother remembers driving to the river as a child and then hiring a man with a team of mules to pull the car through the water to the other side when they wanted to go to town.

everybody that i knew in oklahoma was either southern baptist or pentacostal-- starched shirts or holy rollers. i'm obviously wrong about the presence of the catholics there, but i honestly have no memory of catholicism there. but i haven't lived in oklahoma in a lot of years, and it's a different place now than i remember.

oklahoma can be a tough place to be a non-believer, because it's taken for granted. i was an atheist during all the time i lived there, and i recall the assumptions that went with the term. lots of luck.
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: Historicity on January 24, 2012, 10:34:42 AM
Don't stereotype the Hispanics[1].

My city in Florida has several Iglesias Pentacostales.

Then again, using what MagicMiles/Vandertok would use as logic, maybe the membership is all Pentacostals who are Anglos but study Spanish and just want to practice.

 1. too much
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: jss on March 04, 2012, 11:55:28 PM
2. <snip> I still don't see how we evolved "upward". <snip> - why would it ever, just left to nature, evolve to a higher state? It is already the very most "fit for survival" form that life can take.

I know you and Lucifer agreed to "higher complexity" instead of "upward" so it is to the higher complexity I will attempt to call your attention to.

What is more stable or strong...one piece of solid metal or several pieces of metal welded together? On a cellular level we are  like galaxy clusters compared to single celled organisms. You[1] seem to view the theory of evolution as a continual "improvement". I do not see it this way.

You tried to create a word "anti-entropy". There is no such thing. There is entropy, but there is no word which describes an opposite effect. There is no evidence of an opposite effect.
 1. And others

The opposite of entropy is syntropy or negentropy.  It's the exportation of entropy in order to keep a system's entropy low and yes, there is evidence of such an effect.

Quote

On a cosmological level we have the theory that everything was ONE. We use words like "bang" and "expand" to described why everything is no longer ONE. However those words are not entirely accurate in my estimation. According to observation, the universe is breaking down into it's constituent parts. Nothing is being "created".

On our terrestrial level. We have the theory that the first life was LUCA (http://www.actionbioscience.org/newfrontiers/poolearticle.html). We use words like "evolve" and "natural selection" to describe why everything is no longer LUCA. However those words are not entirely accurate in my estimation. We are breaking down into more complex[2] forms of life.

Entropy is the natural state of our reality. Sure, from our tiny little perspective it may look like life is a creative process

However, life is frantically clinging to it's tentative existence, and getting weaker and weaker as it burns up it's energy struggling to survive. That's how I see evolution.
 2. Therefor weaker and more fragile

That might be how you see evolution, but it's an inaccurate perception.  The original argument was the standard violation of thermodynamics garbage.  We invalidate this easily by informing him that the Earth is not a closed system and thus the second law can go take a hike.  The Earth takes in oodles of energy and its entropy is not increasing (at least in the biosphere), it is in a thermodynamic balance constantly buffeting this way and that as it both gets bombarded with energy and radiates energy away.

The difference between the amount of (useful work) energy acquired by the biosphere and that exported as disorder is called thermodynamic free energy.  There is plenty of thermodynamic free energy to allow living systems to survive, thrive and thus evolve.   There is no constant, slow downward spiral nor will there be.  Excepting global catastrophe, the amount of thermodynamic free energy will potentially increase over time as the sun's output increases up until the point where the environment is no longer suitable for life as we know it (somewhere around 1B years from now).
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: jss on March 04, 2012, 11:57:28 PM
oops
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: Mr. Blackwell on March 05, 2012, 12:31:23 AM
The opposite of entropy is syntropy or negentropy.  It's the exportation of entropy in order to keep a system's entropy low and yes, there is evidence of such an effect.

In a living system, you are correct. However, syntropy or negentropy are highly specialized concepts that seem to only apply to local settings.

Are you suggesting that the entire universe behaves as a living system[1]? I ask because from what I have just read, I gather that entropy is just part of a continuing cycle that never burns out, therefor entropy as it is currently defined does not exist.

Am I understanding you correctly?
 1. Thus everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is intrinsically connected?
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: Jake on March 05, 2012, 05:10:56 AM
Heya, hideousmonster!     I read your testimonial and just wanted to say that I find your process respectable.

I'm an agnostic atheist myself and while I might disagree with various points you might make, that's not what I'm here to comment on.   Your testimonial evidences a great deal of thought.    Changing views, sampled perspectives; gives the impression that you're thinking, and not merly thinking, but thinking from as informed a basis as you can manage.

None of us can claim (truthfully) a truly informed basis about what does or doesn't exist beyond whatever we convince ourselves is plausible or implausible as determined by whatever evidence we attribute the winning value to, and I respect thinking about it more than I ever will anybody's absolute claims one way or the other.

So, kudos for that.   You're not pretending to know things you don't.    for what it's worth, which may be absolutely squat...I approve of this testimonial!

Cheers!
Title: Re: I was an Atheist. Now, not so much.
Post by: jss on March 05, 2012, 07:13:25 AM
The opposite of entropy is syntropy or negentropy.  It's the exportation of entropy in order to keep a system's entropy low and yes, there is evidence of such an effect.

In a living system, you are correct. However, syntropy or negentropy are highly specialized concepts that seem to only apply to local settings.

Are you suggesting that the entire universe behaves as a living system[1]?
 1. Thus everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is intrinsically connected?

No, I'm suggesting that free energy applies to the biosphere which is what the original point was about ("anti-entropy" in an open system as it relates to evolution).

Quote
I ask because from what I have just read, I gather that entropy is just part of a continuing cycle that never burns out, therefor entropy as it is currently defined does not exist.

Am I understanding you correctly?

The second law of thermodynamics states that entropy in a finite closed system is always increasing.  It's unknown if the universe is a finite closed system, but if it were, then yes entropy would be increasing.  Entropy is not energy, it is order or non-homogenous work-energy (i.e. the ability to do "work"), it's the loss that occurs when work is performed (or an analog in Information Theory).  If the universe is indeed a finite closed system then while the total amount of mass/energy is conserved, the total entropy is ever increasing until eventually all that is left is a homogenous distribution of mass/energy ("heat death").

Think of it like a battery connected to a generator with its output connected back to the battery, all in a completely isolated box.  The battery spins the generator while the generator recharges the battery, but the charge is always a little less than the load induced by the generator so that the battery slowly runs out.  The difference between the induced load and the recharge is entropy; it's lost in this case as heat -- that is, energy that is no longer available to run our little contraption.  Once the battery is depleted the generator can never run again unless we open the box and transfer some entropy.  Creationists like to complain that evolution is like the machine in the isolated box; entropy should always increase and thus species can never become "more ordered."  There are a number of problems with this, but the easiest rebuttal is that the biosphere is not an isolated box so the second law doesn't apply.