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The bible Handbook
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basilosaurus



Joined: 16 Dec 2005
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 6:11 pm    Post subject: The bible Handbook Reply with quote

Get it now!

It is put out by the FFRF, and it and refutes prophecy and exposes the violent behavior demonstrated by the god of Israel within it's pages. It will allow you to shed the irrational nonsense that enslaves the minds of believers. It is essential reading for young growing minds that are to be unfettered by silly sanctimonious crap that the bible lays upon them.
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Frank



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 148
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2007 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We like the FFRF a lot but I can't give up on religion completely because of The Flying Spaghetti Monster. I confess that I am a Pirate Pastafarian, touched by His Noodly Appendage!

WWFSMD?

RAmen!
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basilosaurus



Joined: 16 Dec 2005
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frank,

I must admit, I wear a Flying Spaghetti Monster T shirt. It truly does reveal the glory and holiness of the FSM.

I am celebrating the Winter Solstice since it appears the sun is making it's way back again. hAPPY hOLIDAYS!
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basilosaurus



Joined: 16 Dec 2005
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) recently had Christopher Hitchens speak at the annual conference (all seven parts are available for viewing on You Tube).

Hitchens pointedly and quite articulately describes religious faith as the "inculcation by coercion of irrationality and immorality". He rightly explains why the stultifying indoctrination of children into religious faith is immoral and bordering on criminal.

Anyone out ther who is interested, is invited to post below a quote from a free thinker or atheist from the historical past.

I will offer up Thomas Paine, my favorite revolutionary, one of the founding fathers of this country who first uttered the words "United States of America" and quite likely ghost wrote much of the Declaration of Independence.

"There is not one known hsitorian, biographer, scribe or writer from the time and place when and where Jesus is alleged to have lived, who even mentions him as a man"

Thomas Paine 1806
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Frank



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 148
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

basilosaurus wrote:
...snip...
Anyone out there who is interested, is invited to post below a quote from a free thinker or atheist from the historical past...snip...


Not my favorite Roman writer but a noted Epicurean philosopher, Lucretius spoke against religion at length two thousand years ago. His only surviving work, De Rerum Natura, is about 7500 lines, much of which is a jeremiad against religion. A coupla quotes:

Nequaquam nobis divinitus esse paratam
Naturam rerum; tanta stat praedita culpa.

English:
Had gods designed the world, it would not be
A world so frail and faulty as we see.

And a comment on the despicable things which inevitably follow from superstitious fears and religious beliefs:

Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum.

English:
Such are the evils to which religion leads.

Interestingly enough, the first part of DRN spells out the theories of Democritus and Epicurus which speak of the atomic nature of matter and that matter can neither be created nor destroyed. Wow! Today, we're most familiar with this concept in the form of Einstein's E=mc^2. This philosophy was, of course, reviled and suppressed when Christianity became the state religion of the Roman empire, not to be revisited until the 17th century when it was discussed by Galileo (suppressed by the Christian (Catholic) church) and Leibniz (inventor of The Calculus and metaphysical philosopher who was lampooned by Voltaire in Candide), who managed to avoid religious entanglements; and ultimately proven and accepted (FINALLY!), mostly by Noether's Theorem, in the 20th century.

Of course, Lucretius was also against love. I gotta disagree with him there. I like love.

Frank
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basilosaurus



Joined: 16 Dec 2005
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frank,

Thank you for the eloquent response. This board is really hopping now. Rolling Eyes I will offer a new quote weekly. All homeschool dads are invited to offer up their favorites..........you too Rich! I will leave you with Mark Twain.


"If there is a god, he is a maligned thug"
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Frank



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 148
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

basilosaurus wrote:
...snip...
I will leave you with Mark Twain.
"If there is a god, he is a maligned thug"


I don't mean to be anal but lemme put on my editor's hat. Sorry.

Twain said, "... he is a malign thug."

The significant difference being that in the actual quote, God is the evil-doer; but in your (mis)quote, although he is a thug, he is the one being maligned, not the one doing the maligning.
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basilosaurus



Joined: 16 Dec 2005
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry Frank,

It appears you know the quote better than I. I will try again.

"Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."

Thomas Jefferson 1792

Now if I erred in that one, I will offer up something that cannot be corrected.

"Above all else............embrace reason"

Basilosaurus
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Rich



Joined: 18 May 2005
Posts: 173
Location: Coastal New England

PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 6:02 pm    Post subject: Try this Reply with quote

Hi guys,

Let's try a new angle, shall we? Before we proceed, let's establish a few ground rules. First, let's call the Bible a set of journal entries made by ancient people. Second, while Judeochristian doctrine is built upon precepts from the Bible, not all believers are Biblical literalists. I'll speak for myself at this point and say that I for one, am not. That being said, let me plunge ahead with a few statements that perhaps, we can agree on. Within the universe, there is energy, right? Can the existence of this energy be scientifically proven? Furthermore, can we theorize that the universe itself was created out of this energy? Can it be proven that life as we know it developed as a result of events caused by this energy? If this is true, can we then say that life would cease to exist if this energy didn't exist? Can it be said that this energy can be found, even measured within all living beings? Do we agree so far? I'll stop here and ask a few questions which you both can answer and no doubt, provide scientific evidence to support your responses. What is the source of this energy? When and how did this energy occur?


Perhaps our next discussion may have to do with the light that eminates from this energy.

Rich
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Frank



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 148
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, Rich,

Well, letís back up a coupla steps and think if this discussion might not belong in a different location. I generally don't like to engage in this kind of discussion but I respect you so I'll contribute a bit. If/when it goes sideways, I'll be out of it.

Basil offered his potshot here as an anodyne to Bible study. I played along when he asked for quotes from an historical non/anti-religious thinker with my old pal Lucretius. However, if weíre gonna seriously discuss the subject, I guess I should set down some of *my* baseline assumptions.

In the context of logic, you cannot prove a negative. That means that neither Basil, nor I, nor anybody, whether historical, current, genius, or fool, can absolutely prove that a god/divinity (of any form, not just the Christian YHWH) does *not* exist. So, technically, Iím an agnostic.

If Ieshua ben Mamzer returned tomorrow, if YHWH popped out of the clouds on his golden throne, if Zeus showed up at one of my volleyball games, if Muhammad wanted to crew for us on a round-the-buoys sailboat race some sunny weekday evening, if Buddha phoned and asked us to meet him for Thai food, I could theoretically accept it. First, of course, Iíd call my doctor and have a battery of tests run. Then, Iíd check for other possibilities, like an invasion by beings from another planet or quantum. You know what Arthur C. Clarke said, ďAny sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.Ē Might be invaders *posing* as deities. Ultimately, after eliminating all fraudulent probabilities (Iíd certainly call The Amazing Randi to get his input.), I could accept the possibility of a supernatural entity. Grudgingly, if it were one of those I just listed because I find all of them philosophically offensive.

Realistically, Iím an atheist.

However, also in the context of logic, there is no proof that a deity does exist. None. All genuine efforts to provide such a proof ultimately come to the coup de foudre, the leap of faith, fideism. This does not constitute logical proof. I was educated by the Jesuits. Believe me, Iíve heard Ďem all. In Greek and Latin, as well as English.

Philosophically, the easiest shorthand for my position is that Iím a Bertrand Russell hard-headed pragmatist.

It sounds like youíre leading up to the primum movens argument, Aristotleís proton kinun, ultimately expressed in shorthand as the causa sui argument. Personally, Iím content with the Big Bang per se as causa sui. I have no need of an external force, especially a supernatural entity, to light the fuse. Besides, this is a very Newtonian concept. Quantum mechanics essentially obviates such linear conceptualizations. Why do you need something ďbeforeĒ the Big Bang? Steven Hawking says that this is like asking, ďWhatís North of North?Ē

Or maybe, with the discussion of ďenergyĒ in its various guises, youíre arguing for the ďgod of the quantum gapsĒ a la Kenneth Miller in his Finding Darwinís God?

In any event, Iím happy where I am and Iím happy that youíre happy where you are. I have lots of friends who believe in ďsomething,Ē even if itís just wacky crap like The Secret. I have no desire to control your belief system and no desire to make an effort to convince you to change it.

I canít speak for Basil, obviously, but I suspect Iím a bit more sanguine that he is in this area.

I do confess freely here and now, however, that I am not friends with fundamentalists of any stripe: Christian YECers, Muslims, Hindus, Wiccans, whatever. Radical fundamentalist versions of anything inevitably lead to the kind of thing Lucretius warned of. When someone believes in something as a baseline of their weltanschauung which is provably nonfactual, I just have so little common ground with them that we really canít relate, except at the most superficial of levels. Remember, now, Iím talking about the extreme fringe fundamentalist versions of all those belief systems, not the mainstreamers. Like I said, most people, including most of my friends, believe in something.

I simply cannot. Itís just too nonsensical. But thatís just me.

Pax tecum vobiscumque,

Frank
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Frank



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 148
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rich's comments are in italics and mine are not.

Hi guys,

Let's try a new angle, shall we? Before we proceed, let's establish a few ground rules. First, let's call the Bible a set of journal entries made by ancient people. Second, while Judeo-Christian doctrine is built upon precepts from the Bible, not all believers are Biblical literalists. I'll speak for myself at this point and say that I, for one, am not. That being said, let me plunge ahead with a few statements that perhaps, we can agree on.


I understand your position. As I admitted in my other post, I have no common ground with literalists; but I can appreciate your position, in the abstract, even though it doesn't inform my worldview. Ok?

Aside from my other post, I wanted to answer your questions specifically. So, here I go.

Within the universe, there is energy, right?
I'd certainly agree with that. Lots of energy of all kinds.

Can the existence of this energy be scientifically proven?
Yep, mostly. Although we're starting to get murky here with the generic word "energy" rather than specificity about the kind of energy. There are forms of energy/matter which are required by cosmological theory but not completely or satisfactorily demonstrated or quantified yet. For example, "dark energy" and "dark matter." And of course, remember the equation from Special Relativity, e=mc^2, which demonstrates the interchangeability of energy and matter. The study of strong forces vs. weak forces in physics is an area where there's a lot of work going on, like quantum chromodynamics which kicks you into non-abelian gauge theory. And I came back here just now to mention that I talk about string theory later on.

Furthermore, can we theorize that the universe itself was created out of this energy?
Again, excusing the generic word "energy," sure. About 14 billion years ago, the Big Bang was a "singularity" of infinite density and temperature before the first Planck epoch, when a lot of stuff went on. This is the place where Newtonian, Einsteinian, and quantum physics meet. Probably.

Can it be proven that life as we know it developed as a result of events caused by this energy?
Well, you're losing me here. Life arose about 3-1/2 billion years ago (less than 4.5 and more than 3) on this planet, which was formed (definable as a distinct planet) about 4-1/2 billion years ago. Life developed here because there was a "here" and there was a "here" because of the Big Bang, so I guess you could use the transitive property to say that life developed as a result of events caused by the "energy" of the BB; but there's no direct correlation between the "energy" of the establishment of the universe and the formation of life on this particular planet.

If this is true, can we then say that life would cease to exist if this energy didn't exist?
Now we really need to define that word. "Energy" is too generic. Would life here cease to exist if *what* energy ceased to exist? Electromagnetic spectrum? Dark energy? FLRW metric? Einstein's cosmological constant? String theory forces? I'll be generic for a moment, although it makes me uncomfortable, and say that if all forms of energy suddenly went to zero or ceased to exist (again I'm uncomfortable with this description of energy), then by definition we'd be at absolute zero and life would certainly cease. Are you looking for the thing Einstein called the Unified Field Theory, which is now usually spoken of as GUT (grand uinified theory)?

Can it be said that this energy can be found, even measured within all living beings?
Again, I need the specificity of "energy" spelled out. Biochemical energy? Sure. Potential energy? Sure, if I'm standing on a ladder. (grin) I think I'm inclined to say that I'd disagree with you if you're proposing some uber-energy, a la string theory, as being the root "energy" of the universe and the essential "energy" inside me, as well. No correlation between the two.

Do we agree so far?
So, I'm tempted to say, "No."

I'll stop here and ask a few questions which you both can answer and no doubt, provide scientific evidence to support your responses.

What is the source of this energy?

I guess I'll answer this question with "The Big Bang."

When and how did this energy occur?
All forms of energy occurred as part of the expanding universe, during the first Planck epoch, as a result of the Big Bang.

Perhaps our next discussion may have to do with the light that emanates from this energy.
Light, or more accurately, photons are a particular form of energy. Photons are interesting because they are elementary particles, like quarks, leptons, and bosons, and they have both wave and particle properties. As a wave, they exhibit behaviors like refraction and interference; and as a particle, they have momentum (e=cp, where p is momentum, e and c you know) and energy transfer (e=hc/lambda, where h is Planck's constant and lambda is wavelength). Discussing photons takes us pretty much to the heart of quantum mechanics. I find it fascinating but warn you in advance that I am NOT a scientist, just an interested amateur. String theory says that matter and energy are comprised of strings in an 11-dimension universe. Our universe is (probably) composed of 4 branes (3 spatial dimensions and time) with the remaining branes either below our threshold of measuring ability or simply nonexistent in this universe but only extant in the larger multiverse. String theory is fascinating.

Yours in honest, nonconfrontational discussion,

Frank


Last edited by Frank on Mon May 19, 2008 4:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Frank



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 148
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I mentioned non-abelian gauge theory in my last post and that reminded me of a coupla fun math jokes about abelian groups which I didn't post in the math section when I posted some math jokes there.

Remember "grape" jokes from a few decades ago or when you were a kid? Like this:
Q: What's purple and has 4 on the floor?
A: A sports grape.

Ok, so here's a coupla math grape jokes, one of which is even related to religion. Kind of.

Q: What's purple and commutes?
A: An abelian grape.

Q: What's lavender and commutes?
A: An abelian semi-grape.

Q: What's purple, round, and doesn't get much for Christmas?
A: A finitely presented grape.

Q: What's purple, commutes, and has a limited number of worshippers?
A: A finitely venerated abelian grape.
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Frank



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 148
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I'm waiting for someone (anyone!) else to chime in, lemme make a suggestion. I hinted earlier that this discussion was (probably) misplaced here. Why don't we move it to the Science group and specifically to that "Harvard to study the origins of life" thread. That one mostly took place while I was out sailing and I would have been reluctant to participate in it anyway; but now I'm kind of in it, despite my discomfort with this kind of discussion, so I might as well continue, for a bit anyway. That seems to me to be a more appropriate location.

I really don't wanna have this discussion be in the sole context of supporting/decrying the Bible. I'd rather have it be more generic, i.e. science, faith, and the interaction or impossibility of interaction between the two.

Whaddaya say? Move this thread? Don't move it? Just drop it?

Frank
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Rich



Joined: 18 May 2005
Posts: 173
Location: Coastal New England

PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 11:15 pm    Post subject: My last word on the subject Reply with quote

Hi again, Frank,

Like you, I was reluctant to participate in this discussion but for different reasons. Once again. what initially masqueraded as polite commentary about the Bible (religion) quickly deteriorated into arrogant and derrogatory "sport". This is bigotry and it doesn't belong here. Respectfully expressing opposing viewpoints and asking forthright questions about why one believes in God would be encouraged and would more closely parallel the theme of learning that we try to uphold on this website.
Sadly, history has shown that this is not the preference of the current membership. I will not spend a lot of time on it now but because you seem interested in at least some discussion on the subject, I will follow up with you. The statements that I made in my first reply on this thread are intentionally basic because I wanted to start in a framework where we might find some common ground. From there, I think we agreed that it's reasonable to consider that there may be more to life than science has uncovered thus far. This is where I stop because I have gone down the religion pathway before with the other resident Athiest and felt that the discussion died a natural death. You probably read the dialogue from a few years ago in the Origin of Life thread. In order to support my faith claim, I was challenged to give proof of God according to the Bible. This of course is not possible but I felt as though I gave compelling examples to support my spirituality. Several times, I asked the challenger to provide scientific reasoning to refute my belief that something spiritual had occurred but he never addressed those things. He kept going back to his position that Biblical stories are nonsense but when I redirected the discussion back to my specific claims, there was never a reply. This experience led me to the following conclusion; I couldn't prove "God" exists and the opponent couldn't effectively prove "God" doesn't exist. A stalemate.

In closing, I won't discuss religious traditions but in my opinion, belief in God is deeply personal and should be honored, not ridiculed. I feel that it's better to say nothing about this subject than to deride. We may not share this belief but it seems to me that there are SO many other things that we can discuss. Let's turn our attention to something else then, shall we?

Thanks for your interest,

Rich
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Frank



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 148
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 12:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, Rich,

Works for me. (grin)

For the record... Although I am personally an agnostic/atheist, I absolutely do not denigrate your humanity because you're a believer. My dad is a staunch Christian, so obviously I disagree with him philosophically; but there is no finer person on the planet and I love him fervently and respect him completely. A philosophical (religious) difference need not be an uncrossable chasm. I'm certain that you're a wonderful person and I enjoy talking to you here.

I reiterate that I'm happy where I am and I'm happy that you're happy where you are. I wish you and your family all the best.

Frank - atheist curmudgeon, but trying to be a decent person every day
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