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Chatter / Real-life horror movie set.
« Last post by wright on Today at 08:43:06 PM »
Trigger warning: spiders.

http://inhabitat.com/107-million-spiders-found-in-4-acre-nest-at-baltimore-wastewater-plant/

I appreciate spiders, but hypocrite that I am, I prefer them in less... concentrated... doses.

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Most of the spiders found in the massive webs around the Baltimore Wastewater Treatment Plant are of the Tetragnathidae variety (also known as orb weavers), and they measure around a half-inch long. The brave experts that studied the all-encompassing webs estimated that around 35,176 spiders could be found in every cubic meter of space – possibly making the nest the most concentrated spider population in the United States.
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The Shelter / Re: Features of Atheist worldview
« Last post by wright on Today at 08:24:54 PM »
(Giving the 'Shelter' a crack - not sure if it will be boring :))

I am really interested in understanding 'where you are coming from.
Just learned on main board that atheists (and the like) don't believe evil exists, for instance. Never knew that.

Well, this particular atheist believes evil exists; it's just that I recognize my definition of "evil" is subjective.

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What I have learned so far and what I assume of your worldview (and or consequences of adopting a materialist/naturalist mindset) is that its features are:

<> There is no objective meaning to life (create your own).

Pretty much. That doesn't happen in a moral / social vacuum, of course. Our social and cultural upbringing generally has a heavy influence on such things.

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<> Evil does not exists (just a version of bad)

See above.

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<> Life events are driven completely by chance

It's not entirely clear what you mean here, but I'll assume (unless corrected) that you mean most atheists don't believe in an intelligent agency behind ordinary events. That is, we believe that Hurricane Katrina devastating New Orleans happened because of certain natural conditions, not because of some god's "plan". If so, yeah.

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<> Morality is subjective

People's morality tends to be influenced by the prevailing cultural and social norms, so yeah.

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<> Everything is comprised of matter

Those bits that aren't energy, sure.

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<> Laws of nature (physics) are just so

Again, I'm not sure what you mean by this. Do you mean, as opposed to the Fine-tuned Universe argument?http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-tuned_Universe

If so, then yes.

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and so on.
I am keen to add to the list and/or to be corrected - even nuances - so that I can understand your POV better.

Thx

Sure thing. Just keep in mind I'm not (for the most part) claiming to speak for any atheist but myself. We're a pretty varied bunch, as I hope you're starting to see.
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General Religious Discussion / Re: A Question for Atheists:
« Last post by Nam on Today at 08:19:00 PM »
Are you seriously an idiot or are you being obtuse on purpose?

-Nam
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General Religious Discussion / Re: Why create good and evil?
« Last post by natlegend on Today at 08:10:13 PM »
How do YOU explain evil?

(Why does it exist? What is it? Etc..)

We are not allowed to sermonise, so that makes the answer hard to provide. But here is my exegesis of the passage:

Now?the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the?Lord?God had made.
The serpent was not a snake. Man did not fear the snake. But the crafty creation was there for a purpose. 

The serpent wasn't a snake? Then what was it?

The serpent found Eve at the tree, so the creation of God (serpent) did not take Eve there, she was already contemplating the tree. [/b]
Throughout the passage, God is referred to as The Lord (Yahweh = Creator) God (Elohim = Father)

Eve was already contemplating eating from the tree? Where in your book does it say that? Maybe Eve was just hanging around enjoying the perfect shade under this perfect tree. This is your own interpretation, and as per usual, it ignores what the bible actually says.
 
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You1?shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”?2?And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden,?3?but God said,?‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
The deception the serpent introduced was to question whether Eve actually heard and understood correctly. The serpent tested the explicitness of the message. 
Why was the forbidden thing:
(a) A piece of fruit? And (b) Something mankind had to DO
God could have forbidden something else - like you are not allowed to dig over there, or you are not allowed to sleep with your head facing east. But God made it something that (i) you could not accidentally stumble upon and something where you actually had to think about it, then reach out to it and then bring it to you and then consume it and make it part of yourself.
The prohibition was explicit and the act of breaking that prohibition had to be deliberate.
The committing of a sin requires us to exercise our free will

 
I know you probably don't believe in free will, but there you go...

Whether or not picking a piece of fruit is made a worse act because it is something you have to DO is irrelevant. And my understanding of free will is that it gives you the ability to chose to do right or wrong. See the problem? Right now, Eve didn't have free will because she didn't know right from wrong.

?4?But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.?5?For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

So unlike YAWEH, the serpent tells the truth. Interesting.

The promise of the temptation was built in an outright denial of what God wants. There was no grey areas here.

Then whose fault was it? You can't blame A&E, they were made that way. It can't have been YAWEH, he's perfect and can do no wrong. It must have been the serpent's fault. But wait, wasn't he created by ...YAWEH... and was thus also made that way?

The temptation here was not that our physical hunger will be stilled and that we could eat something nice, it was about what the fruit would do for us - and that was to make us equal or more like God! The temptation we yielded to is arrogance - a lack of humility> Today, seeking answers in science and putting our faith in our own institutions is exactly the sin that we have always been guilty of.
We were created one way (man) and desire to be another (god).

Then YAWEH screwed up. His creation, even before the fall, was flawed. Humans were flawed before they sinned. If I make a bicycle and give it only one wheel, am I not the one responsible for when it doesn't work properly?


7?Then the eyes of both were opened,?and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
After we committed the sin, the sin is revealed. We now understand sin. We now know God was right and we were wrong. We have the capacity to recognise sin.

Not arguing this bit. I'm arguing about what happened before A&E wised up.


8?And they heard the sound of the?Lord?God walking in the garden in the ...snip...

... YAWEH busts A&E, lists their forever punishments, boots them out, yadda yadda yadda. Not relevant.

Whilst there is an element of punishment we suffer, because of our sin, God also banishes us so that we can't continue to be tempted.

Dennis, I'm not talking about what happened after A&E 'did the dirty', I'm asking why was there evil in the world in the first place? Remember? The OP?

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1. Why were A&E not told about good and evil/right and wrong? (Interestingly, I have heard Christians say that knowing right from wrong is what makes humans better than animals - well that's obviously not what Yaweh originally intended)

2. Would Yaweh have punished a 'pre-fruit' A&E if they had unknowingly done something 'wrong'?

3. Indeed, disobeying Yaweh and eating from the tree was something that A&E did 'wrong', and yet having no prior knowledge of what is 'wrong', A&E are still punished.

4. Why was it necessary to have the existence of good and evil, if presumably no part of Yaweh's creation was going to experience it?

Questions 1 and 4 interest me mostly (yes I agree, questions 2 and 3 are the same thing). Yet here we are, and no one has even taken a real stab at it.
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General Religious Discussion / Re: A Question for Atheists:
« Last post by dennis on Today at 08:05:38 PM »
Arguments are not facts. There you go again: stating your opinions as if they were facts.

Arguments are not evidence. Things that can't be proven without the other sharing in the delusion[1] is not evidence.

We require evidence. You provide none. Yet, we are ignorant?

-Nam
 1. because there's no evidence presented but one's guarantee it happened


As in ignorant of my views/arguments - not ignorant as in 'a person'
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Reviews / Re: Rate the Last Film You Saw
« Last post by Nam on Today at 08:00:46 PM »
Man in the Attic (1953) -- 7/10.

Jack Palance plays "Jack the Ripper" in this early 1950's film. I guess the censors back then made them change the prostitutes of White Chapel into actresses, or maybe they did it on their own.

I did like that they state The Ripper was most likely a doctor (which is what Palance plays) but so much can be theorized on this. It's slightly above average but quite enjoyable, all-in-all.

Oh, Frances Bavier[1] is in this.

-Nam
 1. Aunt Bea from "The Andy Griffith Show"
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The Shelter / Re: Features of Atheist worldview
« Last post by Ataraxia on Today at 08:00:22 PM »
There is no reason to believe there is an objective meaning to life.
There is no reason to believe evil exists.
There is not enough information to say conclusively that events are driven completely by chance.
There is no reason to believe that morality is anything but subjective.
There is no reason to believe that there is anything else but nature to be "just so".

Fixed those for you. Notice how your list turned negatives into positive assertions? Sorry, but I've seen through this transparency all too often.
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General Religious Discussion / Re: A Question for Atheists:
« Last post by dennis on Today at 07:58:22 PM »

You are right, logic can't prove anything is real.

But since supernatural can't be proven by the natural, all we have in common to talk about is 'reason and logic'.
The best we can do with logic is to justify the reasonableness of our respective worldviews.
You may even arrive at proving that deism is the most reasonable explanation.

You can't prove the actual existence of God, never mind the Judeo Christian version and even less Christianity.
All of these flow out from a worldview but each step down that path requires the previous step to accepted.



Hence:
1. I stated very clearly that I am not here to convert you (to my religion)
2. The structure of almost every conversation (at some stage) is as follows:

'OK, let's assume there is a God/Jesus/Bible is true' - how do you explain XYZ'
'This is how you explain XYZ'
That doesn't make sense because there is no God and I need evidence of God
We can't provide physical evidence, but think about it this way (ABC...)

That is just stupid because you don't have any evidence and you don't have any evidence because you are dumb/mislead/deluded/arsehole ....

Theist leaves the forum
Conclusion: Theists are dumb/mislead/deluded/arseholes .... PROVEN.

Well, I suppose it all depends on what a person believes in. A deist would certainly not expect that there would be any evidence of his deist god and it would have to be taken on faith. The thing is, though, that the deist sees his god as having started the universe and then left it to get on by itself. Whilst this sounds OK, it is, sadly, not Christianity.

<>

So, what does all that mean for showing if god exists? Well all of it requires god to interact with material things in some way. He might be invisible and elsewhere but if he is to do these things I have mentioned he must come into contact with the material and be able to change the material world as the only way we might know a response to prayer, say, is by the use of our material brain and our sense. So, though it might be a long shot, in principle we might be able to detect god at work where he interfaces with matter so to say that god cannot be detected would be wrong.

Why would God have to come into (physical?) contact with the 'material' in order to effect change?
If I get up on Sunday morning and go to church, I doubt you will see any physical difference between myself and my (hypothetical) identical twin brother who doesn't.

Yet, in my case you will see God influencing my behaviour and I am telling you so. But you won't believe it, right?

I mean you may see my endorphins on a a different level (or something) because I feel at peace. But there won't be a physical connection between the chemistry and God. (The chemistry is how God works, but it is not God)
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Quick question, on topic;

How would one go about teaching "empirical reasoning" to young kids, who don't even know 99% of science?

With my older daughters (8 and 10), I encouraged them to 'Tempt Fate'. When on ships, we challenge any supernatural being to sink the boat. We challenge any being to make our car break down, or make it rain on a day out. I explain to them that if the car DOES break down, it's because some component has failed, not because a supernatural fairy made it happen. They now accept that just because you say something, it doesn't make it come true. I explain that sometimes good things happen, sometimes bad, but it's mostly our perspective. The car breaking down is bad for us but good for the family of the chap that fixes it.

I think this sort of thing is a good way to introduce kids to scoffing at the supernatural.
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General Religious Discussion / Re: A Question for Atheists:
« Last post by Nam on Today at 07:39:02 PM »
Arguments are not facts. There you go again: stating your opinions as if they were facts.

Arguments are not evidence. Things that can't be proven without the other sharing in the delusion[1] is not evidence.

We require evidence. You provide none. Yet, we are ignorant?

-Nam
 1. because there's no evidence presented but one's guarantee it happened
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