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Ghost_Skeptic
SFN Regular

Canada
510 Posts

Posted - 05/19/2006 :  01:01:42  Show Profile Send Ghost_Skeptic a Private Message
Teachers in sone Northern Quebec Inuit communities are not allowed to teach the theory of Evolution, especially as it relates to human evolution. This is largely due to the large number of Pentacostals in these communities, but also many traditional Inuit are offended by the concept of being descended from monkeys. A teacher who was interviewed said he was told by local officials ("we are not monkeys"). What's next - not teaching the earth goes aroung the sun because it conflicts with somebodys traditional stories?

Ironically the lead story in the newscast was the first death of a female Canadian soldier in Afganistan. Captain Nichola Goddard was killed in a battle with the Taliban.

We continue to slip into another dark age. So far the civil libertarians seem to be silent on this issue because the would be theocrats are memebers of "visible minority".

I heard this on CBC Radio News - World at 6 Broadcast. There was an interview with a teacher on "As it Happens", but I only heard the very beginning of this. I have not been able to find an article on it yet.

"You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. / You can send a kid to college but you can't make him think." - B.B. King

History is made by stupid people - The Arrogant Worms

"The greater the ignorance the greater the dogmatism." - William Osler

"Religion is the natural home of the psychopath" - Pat Condell

"The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter" - Thomas Jefferson

moakley
SFN Regular

USA
1886 Posts

Posted - 05/19/2006 :  04:46:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send moakley a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Ghost_Skeptic

We continue to slip into another dark age. So far the civil libertarians seem to be silent on this issue because the would be theocrats are memebers of "visible minority".

I have been reading the Sam Harris' book "The End of Faith". He makes this frighteningly clear. He doesn't even look beyond the next 50 years before the horrible consequences of blind faith will impact civil society catastrophically.
quote:
Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply a refusal to deny the obvious.

I recommend reading this book. As a matter of fact I believe that it will also be the next book that I read.

Life is good

Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned. -Anonymous
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 05/19/2006 :  06:50:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message
Sometimes I think of the US as the screwed-up, pumped-up teenager having a bad influence on the more straight-laced Canada.

Sam Harris is an atheist fundamentalist. In that book he equates all forms of religious faith with the faith of fundamentalists. He declares that there's no difference between people who don't allow their faith to interfer with what is obvious about the natural world and Creationists who allow their faith to blind them from what is really obvious.

Evolution is now obvious. That the world is round is now obvious. Atheism may be the fall-back position if one is using a purely logical formula regarding their philosophy of everything. To insist that one may only use logic regarding things where we do not have all the information is wrong. Researchers in fields where we rarely have all the info (psychology, history, political science) utilize an educated and intuitive sense. Even scientists use intuitive hunches when they don't yet have enough info to do experiments yet. Is Harris claiming we do have enough info about life, the universe, and everything to scientifically know there is no God? Because to me, that is the only way it would be "obvious".

Harris states quite plainly in his book that he is in opposition to "religious tolerance". He is a hypocrit and just as self righteous as a religious fundamentalist.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2006 :  16:35:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
It's not just logic, Marf. It's evidence plus logic. I think it's obvious there are no gods. I think there is more than sufficient evidence there are no gods. The only god that is even possible is one that does not interact with the Universe. That's the only god one cannot find evidence disproving. And if that's the case then it's an irrelevant god anyway.

There is not enough evidence to explain the details of quantum mechanics. There is plenty of evidence to show gods are merely human inventions.
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13463 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2006 :  18:50:58   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
quote:
beskeptigal:
I think it's obvious there are no gods.


I'm guessing, once again, that this conclusion of yours is tentative?

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Hawks
SFN Regular

Canada
1383 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2006 :  19:54:58   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Hawks's Homepage Send Hawks a Private Message
quote:
The only god that is even possible is one that does not interact with the Universe. That's the only god one cannot find evidence disproving. And if that's the case then it's an irrelevant god anyway.

Unless this god only sometimes interacts with the universe. Or if the god interacts with the universe and erases any traces of doing so.

METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL
It's a small, off-duty czechoslovakian traffic warden!
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2006 :  20:09:58   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
Or if God is the cause of natural events. Or God sometimes unnaturally causes natural events to happen. Or if...

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2006 :  20:24:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
B'gal is correct, as far as the science goes, guys. No matter if the god interacts with the universe sometimes and covers its tracks, or if the god directs each and every event that occurs and polices the arrow of time, such gods are irrelevant to scientific inquiry. Doesn't mean such gods don't exist, it just means that from a scientific standpoint, such gods don't matter one bit to what we do or know or predict. Unless, of course, you (the general 'you') actually believe that you'll meet such an irrelevant god after you die, in which case there's no telling what it'll be like.

An extreme-liberal Christian God may still exist, and we may all find ourselves face-to-face with it after death (at which point it'll crack a beer for us and point us to the computers which carry Heaven's version of the SFN). But we can, strictly speaking, say that what we know about how the universe works and the history of our planet pretty much precludes the existence of a God as literally described in the Bible. People have been looking for the physical evidence for that God for nigh on 2,000 years now, and it just isn't turning up.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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JohnOAS
SFN Regular

Australia
800 Posts

Posted - 05/21/2006 :  19:12:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit JohnOAS's Homepage Send JohnOAS a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by beskeptigal

It's not just logic, Marf. It's evidence plus logic. I think it's obvious there are no gods. I think there is more than sufficient evidence there are no gods. The only god that is even possible is one that does not interact with the Universe. That's the only god one cannot find evidence disproving. And if that's the case then it's an irrelevant god anyway.

There is not enough evidence to explain the details of quantum mechanics. There is plenty of evidence to show gods are merely human inventions.



I'm with beskeptigal here. I don't think you'd find many people arguing that we know with absolute certainty that there are no gods. I think there is more than enough evidence to indicate that any gods which may exist are unlike those posited by any of the world's popular religions. Irrelevant gods are, well, irrelevant.

Unfortunately, the actions of the followers of pretend gods seem to be, on average, far more harmful/dangerous than those of the followers of irrelevant gods, if there are any.

John's just this guy, you know.
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Ghost_Skeptic
SFN Regular

Canada
510 Posts

Posted - 05/21/2006 :  23:51:11   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Ghost_Skeptic a Private Message
I think this sets the record for speed in taking a thread off topic. One thing this has shown is that Sam Harris is wrong. I am sure if all religous beliefs were abandoned, war would immediately break out between the atheists and the agnostics.

"You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. / You can send a kid to college but you can't make him think." - B.B. King

History is made by stupid people - The Arrogant Worms

"The greater the ignorance the greater the dogmatism." - William Osler

"Religion is the natural home of the psychopath" - Pat Condell

"The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter" - Thomas Jefferson
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 05/22/2006 :  00:24:52   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message
Ghost_Skeptic said:
quote:
I am sure if all religous beliefs were abandoned, war would immediately break out between the atheists and the agnostics.
Brilliant!

Go Ags!


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 05/22/2006 :  00:56:11   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Kil

quote:
beskeptigal:
I think it's obvious there are no gods.



I'm guessing, once again, that this conclusion of yours is tentative?



Dave and I agreed (I think) to define god in a way that couldn't be tested by science. For that definition, you cannot know.

But that doesn't mean I don't think that idea is dumb. (Not Dave of course.) It's like saying you have absolutely no reason to think something might exist but since you can't disprove it exists you should refer to it as if it does exist.

For the gods everyone else believes in, I think there is more than sufficient evidence they are a human invention, and there are all sorts of ways to see if any claims made actually occur, and indeed, the claims made do not occur.

For example, Pat Robertson thinks god sends hurricanes to strike gay people. Prayer is supposed to have an effect. Both of those hypotheses can be tested. Hurricanes can be shown to strike the same percentage of people, gay or straight as live in places no hurricanes struck and so on. Prayer has no effect that can't be explained by study design, and people even complain that we shouldn't try to test to see if it works.

So unless you are talking about a god that does not interact with the Universe so as to remain undetectable, no one can show evidence their god exists. And we have lots of evidence gods are invented by humans.

Anyway, not to hijack the thread too much here....
Edited by - beskeptigal on 05/22/2006 01:00:41
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 05/22/2006 :  00:59:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.

B'gal is correct, as far as the science goes, guys. No matter if the god interacts with the universe sometimes and covers its tracks, or if the god directs each and every event that occurs and polices the arrow of time, such gods are irrelevant to scientific inquiry. Doesn't mean such gods don't exist, it just means that from a scientific standpoint, such gods don't matter one bit to what we do or know or predict. Unless, of course, you (the general 'you') actually believe that you'll meet such an irrelevant god after you die, in which case there's no telling what it'll be like.

An extreme-liberal Christian God may still exist, and we may all find ourselves face-to-face with it after death (at which point it'll crack a beer for us and point us to the computers which carry Heaven's version of the SFN). But we can, strictly speaking, say that what we know about how the universe works and the history of our planet pretty much precludes the existence of a God as literally described in the Bible. People have been looking for the physical evidence for that God for nigh on 2,000 years now, and it just isn't turning up.

Yes, this is what I was trying to say in all our discussions. You are better at articulating it here than I did in my annoying little post.
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 05/22/2006 :  04:16:35   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Ghost_Skeptic

I think this sets the record for speed in taking a thread off topic.

Not quite... Check out the Skeptic Summary a few weeks back. An Editor's Choice is one of the quickest re-railments in SFN history.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
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moakley
SFN Regular

USA
1886 Posts

Posted - 05/22/2006 :  09:42:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send moakley a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by marfknox

Sam Harris is an atheist fundamentalist.

Curious? What is the set of basic principle that an atheist fundamentalist adheres to? I would suspect that for most it would be based on the diligence of the scientific methods.

Does the book in question take a rather extreme stance on the dangers of faith? More so than I am confortable with. Does the book support its claim for faith being dangerous? With many examples past and present. Has faith been used as justification for heinous acts against others? Too many times.

I believe that his point was not the intent of painting moderate to extreme faith with the same broad stroke, but to point out that by remaining silent while the extreme initiate harmful action that the moderate become complicit in that action. Hell, by remaining silent we all do. But as pointed out there is very little chance that as atheist or an outsider to the religion our speaking out will have near zero effect. So the moderates must point out the irrational ideas of the extreme.

One of the harmful actions impacts the future by teaching children how to believe and not how to think. In line with the original post.

Life is good

Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned. -Anonymous
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 05/23/2006 :  18:36:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message
moakley wrote:
quote:
Curious? What is the set of basic principle that an atheist fundamentalist adheres to? I would suspect that for most it would be based on the diligence of the scientific methods.


Harris talks about ethics far more than he talks about science, and alas, while reason can be applied to ethics, it cannot be applied with even close to the amount of certainty as saying 1+1=2.

One thing about fundamentalists is that they are convinced, without evidence, that the world would be “better” in some sense if everyone shared their worldview. There is no evidence that people act better to each other and the environment because they believe in God or not. Other factors play a much greater role in determining that. Harris believes the world would be a kinder, gentler, freer place if everyone was an atheist, and to “prove” that he uses bad arguments and a tunnel-vision view of history. That is why I call him an atheist fundamentalist.


quote:
Does the book in question take a rather extreme stance on the dangers of faith?
Considering that many atheists, such as myself, are upset about this book, yes, I would say that his position is extreme. Certainly by mainstream public standards it is extreme. This is not to say that I don't agree with some of his specific criticisms of religion in general and all of his criticism of religious extremists.

quote:
Does the book support its claim for faith being dangerous? With many examples past and present. Has faith been used as justification for heinous acts against others? Too many times.
Being used as a justification doesn't mean religious beliefs are the cause. Other things have been used as justification for heinous acts too often in history. Race and nationalism are right up there with religion, and neither of them require any religious-type of faith. They only require strong feelings and irrational beliefs, and everyone, including atheists, is susceptible to those. This as a blanket criticism of religion in general is just rather pointless. It can't be denied that many humanitarian acts have been inspired also by religion. Religion has almost always taken on the role of ethical/moral guide, and believe it or not, the first explicitely Humanist ethics came from folks who believed in the Christian god. Hell, the Humanist Society that certified me as atheist clergy was founded by ex-Quakers, and today, most Quakers' ethical beliefs and actions are in-line with scientific humanists. So doesn't it make more sense that if we are to criticize religion, we be specific in our criticisms?

quote:
I believe that his point was not the intent of painting moderate to extreme faith with the same broad stroke, but to point out that by remaining silent while the extreme initiate harmful action that the moderate become complicit in that action.
That is not what he says in his book. He believes all religious faith itself is dangerous. By the way, there are many huge coalitions of religious organizations that have been speaking out against religious extremis, for years. So who exactly is "remaining silent"? Why, the ignorant majority, of course. But one can hardly prove that they do that because of faith.


"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

Edited by - marfknox on 05/23/2006 18:45:55
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