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Richard Dawkin's Says This Is What Christians Believe. Is He Right?rine


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#1 charles brough

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 04:11 PM

The famous Richard Dawkins describes Christians as ones who believe that "the Inventor of the laws of physics and programmer of the NDA code decided to enter the uterus of a Jewish virgin, got himself born, then deliberately had himself tortured and executed because he couldn't think of a better way to forgive the theft of an apple, committed at the instigation of a talking snake. As Creator of the majestically expanding universe, he not only understands relativistic gravity and quantum mechaics but actually designed them. Yet when he really cares about is "sin," abortion, how often you go to church and whether gay people should marry."

It seems to sum up the whole way Christianity and Intelligent Design theory come together.

Who believes it and who does not---and why? Posted Image

#2 CraigD

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 12:34 AM

Many people believe in the supernatural, including that supernatural events described in the bible and similar documents physically, really, happened. Many of these people self-identify as fundamentalist Christians. Let’s label them SR, for supernatural worldview holding religionists

Many do not believe in the supernatural, and as a result, eschew religions that take instruction from such documents. Many of these people self-identify as atheists. Let’s label them NN, for naturalistic worldview holding non-religionists.

Some people don’t believe in the supernatural, but believe that some religions thought and writing is useful moral allegory. Some of these people self-identify as atheist. Let’s label them NN*. Some self-identify as non-literalist religionists. Let’s label them NR.

For completeness, let’s include a category of people labeled SN, for supernatural worldview holding self-identified non-religionists. These are people who don't believe in any mainstream religious dogma, but believe in the supernatural, such as spirits and gods.

Using this scheme, I’d label Dawkins NN, myself and the late Stephen J Gould NN*.

In his writing on the subject he called NOMA, Gould suggests that there are many people in the NR category. While I’d like to believe this, I’ve long suspected that even the most rational-seeming NRs can easily and quickly become SRs. As Dawkins believes, I suspect that any religious belief that SRs would consider genuine is superstitious. Some NRs, I’m sure, are not susceptible to superstition, but that their religiousness is not what SRs would consider genuine.

#3 sigurdV

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 01:42 PM

Hi CraigD!

Many people believe in the supernatural, including that supernatural events described in the bible and similar documents physically, really, happened. Many of these people self-identify as fundamentalist Christians. Let’s label them SR, for supernatural worldview holding religionists

Many do not believe in the supernatural, and as a result, eschew religions that take instruction from such documents. Many of these people self-identify as atheists. Let’s label them NN, for naturalistic worldview holding non-religionists.

Some people don’t believe in the supernatural, but believe that some religions thought and writing is useful moral allegory. Some of these people self-identify as atheist. Let’s label them NN*. Some self-identify as non-literalist religionists. Let’s label them NR.

For completeness, let’s include a category of people labeled SN, for supernatural worldview holding self-identified non-religionists. These are people who don't believe in any mainstream religious dogma, but believe in the supernatural, such as spirits and gods.

Using this scheme, I’d label Dawkins NN, myself and the late Stephen J Gould NN*.

In his writing on the subject he called NOMA, Gould suggests that there are many people in the NR category. While I’d like to believe this, I’ve long suspected that even the most rational-seeming NRs can easily and quickly become SRs. As Dawkins believes, I suspect that any religious belief that SRs would consider genuine is superstitious. Some NRs, I’m sure, are not susceptible to superstition, but that their religiousness is not what SRs would consider genuine.


My friend the Solipsist tells me I am religious in my belief in a world, What if he is right? How do we then fit in?

(There is the World, Us and our objects and so far no "supernatural" object has been shown to exist.)

Also: I harbour a grudge against Gould. In his (otherwise good book) Life is Wonderful he claimed that a repeat of the evolution would not bring us humans back...true but a spacegoing species would replace us since evolution is not in favor of unused livingspace.

#4 Qfwfq

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 07:46 AM

Who believes it and who does not---and why?

Well, put into those words it definitely comes across comical, especially with the non-allegorical stance.

As Craig points out, there are many shades and categories and I don't think his outline is anywhere near complete. Even in a same Christian church, there are people who differ about literal vs. allegorical takes on doctrine. Anyway forget the bit about God entering the virgin's womb. Ever since the popular belief of Immaculate Conception was proclaimed as Catholic doctrine, it is official that she had no womb at all when her future son was conceived. Many folks take it as a spiritual fact anyways, not as a material conception with an encounter between a pair of gametes, they believe Joseph saw to it about providing for that trivial little detail.

#5 sigurdV

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 08:24 AM

Well, put into those words it definitely comes across comical, especially with the non-allegorical stance.

As Craig points out, there are many shades and categories and I don't think his outline is anywhere near complete. Even in a same Christian church, there are people who differ about literal vs. allegorical takes on doctrine. Anyway forget the bit about God entering the virgin's womb. Ever since the popular belief of Immaculate Conception was proclaimed as Catholic doctrine, it is official that she had no womb at all when her future son was conceived. Many folks take it as a spiritual fact anyways, not as a material conception with an encounter between a pair of gametes, they believe Joseph saw to it about providing for that trivial little detail.


Getting into genetics, did the dna test on Jesus father: God, show an identical y gene?
(God I dont know how long we can keep it hidden... Your y is x.)
Maybe Christianity is craziest of them all... shall we start from Buddhism instead?

#6 phillip1882

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 10:29 AM

that's a very poor representation of the basic outline of the bible.
it would be like me saying the following:
scientists believe that fish turned into apes which became sentient and built a civilization.
there is no God, according to scientists, therefore the only reason to be moral is because you might be punished in the here and now.
they further believe that nothing happens after death, dispite thousands of documented near death experiances.

said like that, it makes scientific view look silly.

#7 dduckwessel

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 11:24 AM

I like Dawkins' blantant honesty even though I think he tends to oversimplify the inner workings of Christian society. Dawkins is correct about I.D. as it's an attempt to conform Christian beliefs with science (and I think many people here would be truly surprised at the mental gymnastics Christians perform in order to accomplish this supposed balance).

Even still I think the following view puts everything in proper perspective:
http://www.religiond..._humanist_bosom

#8 sigurdV

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 06:07 PM

that's a very poor representation of the basic outline of the bible.
it would be like me saying the following:
scientists believe that fish turned into apes which became sentient and built a civilization.
there is no God, according to scientists, therefore the only reason to be moral is because you might be punished in the here and now.
they further believe that nothing happens after death, dispite thousands of documented near death experiances.

said like that, it makes scientific view look silly.


The story about fish begins at molecular level but otherwise your evolutionary wiew seems ok but a bit thin... A replay of evolution would still give civilisation and spacegoing species.

About moral reasons... there is pride ...of course you are proud of your past and you will let us share it with you ...no?

Life after death is perhaps logically possible but to see is to believe.

#9 charles brough

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 09:19 AM

that's a very poor representation of the basic outline of the bible.
it would be like me saying the following:
scientists believe that fish turned into apes which became sentient and built a civilization.
there is no God, according to scientists, therefore the only reason to be moral is because you might be punished in the here and now.
they further believe that nothing happens after death, dispite thousands of documented near death experiances.

said like that, it makes scientific view look silly.



. . . a good point.. . the details are important. However, your statement about "life after death" deserves comment. You mention "near death" experiences, but there have been no "after death" experiences. The difference is rather significant!

#10 coldcreation

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 05:55 PM

Even still I think the following view puts everything in proper perspective:
http://www.religiond..._humanist_bosom


Your link puts not everything into proper perspective.

The author writes: "To tell anyone who identifies with an idea that her ideas are stupid is tantamount to calling her stupid no matter what gloss Dawkins wants to put on it."

This is simply not the case. The two are not the same.

In certain instances Dawkins may question personal conduct, character, or motives, but these types of attacks are legitimate when relevant to the issue.


The author may have been referring to a sentence published in the New York Times, April 9, 1989: "It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that)."

Here is that sentence in context: Richard Dawkins Review of Blueprints: Solving the Mystery of Evolution



CC

#11 CraigD

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 09:17 AM

they [scientists] further believe that nothing happens after death, dispite thousands of documented near death experiances.

said like that, it makes scientific view look silly.

. . . a good point.. . the details are important. However, your statement about "life after death" deserves comment. You mention "near death" experiences, but there have been no "after death" experiences. The difference is rather significant!

Charles states a scientific datum the importance of which I don’t think can be overstated, and one which I suspect Phillip does not accept: there is not credible evidence that a human has ever lived, even briefly, outside of a human body. Out-of-body experiences, by people in physical distress (example: near-death experiences) or not (examples: astral projection; remote viewing) though described many times by many authors, have never, despite many attempts to do so, been credibly show to be other than reports of hallucinations, false memories, or outright fraudulent lies. They are, as conclusively as science can show anything, not physically real experiences.

OBEs offer a straightforward test of a kind of paranormal claim, because those who claim to have had them report seeing objects not visible from their bodies position, and the ability to remember ordinary sensory data, that is, what they are seeing from outside their bodies. If an OBE was physically real, its experiencer would be able to report a simple observation, such as a word or number on a card not visible from her or his body’s position. Despite many claims of the ability to do this with near 100% consistency and accuracy, and the ease with which the test can be and has been performed, it’s never yielded a positive result.

The many documents claiming that OBEs are examples of people physically existing outside of their bodies are, simply put, all wrong. The belief that some or many of these claims are true is not supported by objective evidence. It is superstitious, placing one who professes it in my SR or SN category.

#12 phillip1882

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 10:50 AM

To be clear, I don't know what happens when we die. i make no claim there. i lean in the direction of the athiest perspective. i don't consider the OBE (out of body experiances) proof one way or the other. i made that statement to demestrate the kind of attack a chirstian (or other religiously inclined) could make against athiesm. I must confess, I want to believe there is a God, but have yet to be given sufficent reason to do so.

#13 dduckwessel

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 02:08 PM

Your link puts not everything into proper perspective.

The author writes: "To tell anyone who identifies with an idea that her ideas are stupid is tantamount to calling her stupid no matter what gloss Dawkins wants to put on it."


You're right, and I took issue with that particular statement also :).

The point I was trying to bring up (and perhaps I should have clarified) is that whether a person is an atheist, Christian or whatever - we all appear alike in this one behavioural aspect - every group has its demi-gods.

More than anything this article reveals a human penchant to look for leaders (usually Alphas). Granted a Christian pedestal is so much easier to fall from (as the leaders must be more than human) than an atheist one as atheists are so much more honest in my opinion.

#14 dduckwessel

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 02:30 PM

Charles states a scientific datum the importance of which I don’t think can be overstated, and one which I suspect Phillip does not accept: there is not credible evidence that a human has ever lived, even briefly, outside of a human body. Out-of-body experiences, by people in physical distress (example: near-death experiences) or not (examples: astral projection; remote viewing) though described many times by many authors, have never, despite many attempts to do so, been credibly show to be other than reports of hallucinations, false memories, or outright fraudulent lies. They are, as conclusively as science can show anything, not physically real experiences.

OBEs offer a straightforward test of a kind of paranormal claim, because those who claim to have had them report seeing objects not visible from their bodies position, and the ability to remember ordinary sensory data, that is, what they are seeing from outside their bodies. If an OBE was physically real, its experiencer would be able to report a simple observation, such as a word or number on a card not visible from her or his body’s position. Despite many claims of the ability to do this with near 100% consistency and accuracy, and the ease with which the test can be and has been performed, it’s never yielded a positive result.

The many documents claiming that OBEs are examples of people physically existing outside of their bodies are, simply put, all wrong. The belief that some or many of these claims are true is not supported by objective evidence. It is superstitious, placing one who professes it in my SR or SN category.


Perhaps the experimental criteria is all wrong! Afterall if someone experiences a metaphysical occurance - how can you measure something metaphysical with physical instruments? The two are so very contrary.

Should we encounter alien life out there and it doesn't conform to 'what we know' do we tell them that according to our knowlege they cannot possibly exist? What if the differences between them are so different it's not only impossible to measure with our present technology but even more difficult to imagine?

#15 coldcreation

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 02:03 AM

Perhaps the experimental criteria is all wrong! Afterall if someone experiences a metaphysical occurance - how can you measure something metaphysical with physical instruments? The two are so very contrary.



Though the conditions in which metaphysical (supernatural) phenomena are thought to manifest may not be reproducible for scientific examination—since they are anormal, unique and uncontrollable—supernatural events (described by CraigD above) are often associated with the physical world, even if just once in a lifetime happenings.

Religious miracles, for example, are typically perceived as supernatural claims, as are spells, curses and divination—just as afterlife experiences—yet they each are believed to act on the natural world. This, inversely, suggests the possibility of interacting with the supernatural. The fact that no test or experiment every devised has produced any positive result (either way) is a good sign that metaphysical events simply do not occur, i.e., they are, at best, products of the human imagination, wishful thinking, or at worst delusional.


CC

#16 dduckwessel

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 10:57 AM

Though the conditions in which metaphysical (supernatural) phenomena are thought to manifest may not be reproducible for scientific examination—since they are anormal, unique and uncontrollable—supernatural events (described by CraigD above) are often associated with the physical world, even if just once in a lifetime happenings.

Religious miracles, for example, are typically perceived as supernatural claims, as are spells, curses and divination—just as afterlife experiences—yet they each are believed to act on the natural world. This, inversely, suggests the possibility of interacting with the supernatural. The fact that no test or experiment every devised has produced any positive result (either way) is a good sign that metaphysical events simply do not occur, i.e., they are, at best, products of the human imagination, wishful thinking, or at worst delusional.


CC


This is way off topic but can I ask if according to present physics there's a remote possibility that entities could exist that know how to manipulate (bend/warp) time? I watch a lot of sci-fi!

#17 dduckwessel

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 01:10 PM

http://www.answersin...ation-evolution (The founder of Answers in Genesis is a creationist, Karl Giberson is a theistic evolutionist).

Foremost in my own mind is that if Christianity is from the God described in the Bible, it would reveal the same perfect characteristics of the divine entity. However, the two examples above (Answers in Genesis and Giberson) are opposite extremes of the many variations of Christian thought. According to their own Bible, however, divisions are a sure sign that something is off:


But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falls. (Luke 11:17)

And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. (Mark 3:25)