Stephen Hawkins and God

Lord Soley

Stephen Hawkins is not only a great scientist but also a really good communicator. You may agree or disagree with his assessment on the origin of the universe but it makes compelling reading. I will be buying and reading the book as soon as I can.

I have to declare my own view. I have never believed in a god or gods but I think it is an unprovable argument either way. Believing in a deity is an act of faith. I have always found the scientific approach more compelling and every time a new discovery pushes forward the boundaries of knowledge religion is put on the defensive about some of their established beliefs but in the end it is the belief that a person adopts that will determine their view.

48 comments for “Stephen Hawkins and God

  1. 03/09/2010 at 3:43 pm

    Lord Soley,
    I want to mention that it is an act of faith to believe in “the economy”, “good manners”, “a keen sense of competition” or other matters which perhaps some in your House might be excused for not wanting to be seated with someone who did not believe in all three. Belief in God and his nature is a subject not for books but libraries and yet I assure you that even if you are a materialist positivist atheist with sympathy for the Devil in every story you ever read that is simply no excuse for not believing in God — so sorry really. As for gods I am hoping that you do not mean that the Dalai Lama and the Emperor of Japan are not actual people and that you simply feel the need to gratuitously insult them based on nothing that matters very much to yourself? If there are two rather polite, learned folks who dare to be known to many as gods might there not be more that dare to be known to fewer as such?
    Dr. Hawkins inspires sympathy because he is a great mind trapped in a terrible physical disadvantage. Much of that sympathy derives from a Christian context of life that he chooses to undermine. I don’t condemn him for that but neither do I applaud it. In many ways he more resembles the nineteenth century view of the rationalist post-Deist Christian God many of your predecessors believed in than any symbol I have seen on Earth. Perhaps that is not why he disbelieves in him. I watch his television shows in America and beyond my usually angry and polemic pose in life in general I have no special animus for Dr. Hawkins — nor for yourself actually.

    • 05/09/2010 at 5:28 am

      Some small but vital little points:

      (1) Hawking (not Hawkins).

      (2) That many (here including FWSIII) think of God as him, not as “It”, “the Great It”, or even as ‘Him’, is in itself a very weak and fallacious historical-context dooming any subsequent argument about the existence and job-parameters of God to failure (((which the devil may tempt some to reason-on about, that such shouldn’t matter to most Christians because “God loves failures (sinners)”))).

      (3) One does not need to be Christian to exercise sympathy, compassion, altruism or charity towards any-one ((such as Stephen Hawking, primarily a human-person or ‘creature-of-God’ who happens to secondarily qualify as a ‘philosophy-doctor’ (teacher) in Mathematics)).

      (4) Also FWSIII himself seems to be doing a negative-ad hominem against Hawking, insinuating one or two inferiorities: “Dr Hawking inspires sympathy because he is a great mind trapped in a terrible physical disadvantage”, and
      “Much of that sympathy derives from a Christian context of life that he chooses to undermine”.
      As I see the matter, and as numerous exponents of thinking-. critical-, and moral-reasoning skills, and Lord Soley too here, reasonably cleanly word the current matter (without resort to emotional thinking or emotive terminology) we (Hawking, Soley and Miles) are simply honestly endeavouring to separating-out the true and consistent elements in any argument (be it from Religion or from Science) from the fallacious and inconsistent elements.
      Primarily Hawking has succeeded in identifying flaws in factuality (vel) thinking (vel) history (vel) reasoning (vel) formal deductive and inductive argumentation: I very much doubt his purpose, as you state FWSIII, is to “undermine” any true (and valid) context including any true Christian context.
      ————————–
      So, contextually the FWSIII’s own weak and in places fallacious undermining of others falls under the old axiom “Fair words butter no parsnips”.
      Where argument is concerned, we need to hold fast to the three principles that should guide discussion, argumentation, and debate: Clarity, Charity, and Self-correction.
      But here we should do all of that within 250 words (at a time) !
      ===============
      (JSDM0529Sn05Sep10)

      • 06/09/2010 at 4:33 pm

        Dearest and Most Lovingly Adressed JSDM,
        Johnny Dear –Ad Hominem, Mois?? Incroiable!!How greatly you wrong me. If you will give me a sufficient amount of money on very good terms I am sure I can find several humans who will join my pets in saying that I am a
        lovely man full of goodness and kindness.

        There are some notable differences between myself and Lord Soley as holders of positions:
        1. Cost of maintaining seminary, bishoprics, clergy and convents to promote the idea that all this stuff is unprovable — Zero!
        Cost of RC infrastructure — Many billions at least.
        2. Charitable giving based mostly on skeptic indiifference — really minimal money.
        cahritable giving based mostly on Catholic faith as well defined –many billions per annum if all is factored in and not counting other Christians and not Christian faiths.
        3.Things I can presume to hold someone to because they are a skeptic — nothing.
        Things I can hold someone to because they are a Catholic — too many to catalog.
        4. Time required to maintain one’s standing in a club of “do and believe as you please” — none.
        Time required to be the kind of religious nut I am — vast.
        So however, uncouth it is to say so and though this is his lordship’s post and I am only a foreigner — Lord Soley’s postion is inevitably both ad hominem and emotional where it is honest. In addition, whether ad hominem or emotional or not it is vandalism. Now I have dated and loved women who were atheists, some communists and have had friends of many skeptical types. The Commies are subject to few of my criticisms given he if they are in China for example. I think Lord Soley is like me in that he would just as soon avoid us all killing each other for what we believe. Better have additional excuses for large scale recreational murder. I gave him a fairly moderate response because if anyone can claim to express his point of view responsibly (I am not sure anyone can)then it would be a Labour Lord in the United Kingdom.

        But never doubt that you and I Jonny Boy are a both a couple of swell sensitive modern lads just chummy with the world.

  2. 03/09/2010 at 4:57 pm

    Lord Soley has, I think (and believe) posted words here that are truthfully and validly from both mind and heart.

    In this Lord Soley you have been outstandingly clear, and I am wholly behind what you have posted here. so far.
    —————
    Having said that, I had previously actually bought today’s ‘The Times’ and, having read the leader report, already identified some weakness in the Science case, but much more fogginess and even fallaciousness in the Religious case.

    “In a fierce response (that’s warmongering- talk ‘The Times’ is identifying) Lord Sacks writes today : “Science is about explanation, Religion is about interpretation…The Bible simply isn’t interested in how the Universe came into being”.

    Clear-thinking people would immediately have insisted ‘ It all depends what you (versus every other authority or interested-stakeholder, quite apart from from what millions of ‘People’ and ‘Flocks’ think, know or believe ) mean by “explanation” and by “interpretation” ‘.

    ——————
    (( Am I glad I have already been ‘promoting’ guidebooks in Thinking, Reasoning, Fallacies, Preliminary-Discussion, Group-Effectiveness, and Win-Win-Win Method III Problem-Solving skills, right here on the Lords of the Blog computer-site !

    For any-one of a clear-thinking and fairplay frame of mind, here is a short list from those leaderful and affordably-available books:
    “A Rulebook for Arguments” 4th edition by Anthony Weston;
    “Fallacies and Argument Appraisal” by Christopher Tindale;
    “Six Thinking Hats” by Edward de Bono;
    “Leader Effectiveness Training” by Thomas Gordon;
    “Every-One Can Win” by Cornelius & Faire;
    “Education and Belief” by Brenda Watson. ))

    ———–
    A Roman Catholic Christian archbishop in Australia was asked during a one-to-one seriously explorative TV interview “Why then would you say Jesus Christ camed to Earth ?”
    To which after a moment of quiet thought the archbishop replied (“) I would say that Jesus came to Earth to teach us how to become more human(“).
    =======================
    (JSDM1657F03Sep10)

  3. 03/09/2010 at 5:05 pm

    Corrigendum (for accuracy’s sake)
    “In a fierce response” –
    (that’s warmongering-talk ‘The Times’ is identifying) –
    “Lord Sacks writes today: … “.
    —————-
    JSDM 1705F03Sep

  4. Mac
    03/09/2010 at 5:09 pm

    Quote, Mark Twain, “In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.”

  5. McDuff
    03/09/2010 at 5:21 pm

    Ah, this old debate, on the internet of all things.

    Good luck with this, Lord Soley! *raises glass*

  6. ZAROVE
    03/09/2010 at 7:23 pm

    Lord Soley, why is it that Atheists, such as yourself, say Religion is always out on the defensive by Science? I’ve always wondered why it is we think Atheists aren’t Religious in the first place. I know Atheists don’t believe in God, but, is Religion really just another word for Theism? Religion is actually defined as our belief in the Fundamental Nature of our existence, its causes and meaning. Don’t you think then that even such theories as Espoused by Dr. Hawking actually arte Religion in their own Right? As odd as that may sound, and you will no doubt remind me that its not Religion, because they are Science, not Religion, keep in mind the definition of Religion is not “Belief in gods or supernatural Powers”. The Definition is “Beliefs about the fundamental nature of our existence, its origins, meaning, and ultimate purpose”. Surly Hawkings, and you, both have that, and Hawkings view was on the Creation of the Universe aren’t really not about the Fundamental nature, origins, and ours pose of the Universe. Simply saying they are Science doesn’t make it not fit the definition, but feeds on the rather old and outdated view that Science and Religion are at odds.

    Which brings me to my other problem in your assessment. The retreat of God whenever we find something new in Science. it’s a pretty standard staple in the good Atheist argument bag, and its one that most in our society readily accept, but its base don the History of Religions school of thinking that has been as debunked as the idea that Christianity came about as a result of earlier pagan ideas.

    The theory went that we believed in God because we needed God to explain the world around us and all Natural Phenomenon, like the sun rising, or why we get sick. As Science advanced we learned the Natural causes and no longer needed supernatural ones like gods or demons. But believe in those things persisted to explain those things we had yet to explain, but the more Science grows the more God has to retreat as he is not needed in explaining these things.

    The problem with this is, God was never actually used to explain Natural Phenomenon in Christian Theology, or the Theology of most of the worlds Major Religions.

    In fact, Medieval Theologians created Science as we know it today, and did so with the express belief that the Natural world operated on Natural Laws. They never believed that God personally caused the sun to rise, or the rain to fall, all by Divine intervention, and God was never thought the explanation of the world other than as its Creator.

    The general idea was that Gold created our world to work on certain fundamental principles, or Laws, if you will, and then basically allows those Laws to run smoothly in accordance with other Laws. In this thinking, which has been prevalent in most Theological systems since before Modern Science had any of those amazing breakthroughs, we should expect Natural explanations for the Phenomenon we see in our Natural world, and not expect God to personally be behind every event.

    Deism took this even farther and postulated that God never intervenes with his Creations natural Laws. He simply established them and let them take their course.

    Somehow though modern people think that this was never an idea held, or at least not till Science came along to debunk God. The real problem is, people like Dr. Hawkins, and you I’m afraid, have never bothered to read up on Theology. If you had, you’d not make these obvious mistakes.

    Not that it mattes, as we are overstating Dr. Hawkings to some extent. His claim is not really a new Theory, its an extension of an old one that had died a while back, which Ironically proves Scriptures right.

    From Ecclesiastes chapter 1:

    9. The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
    10. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
    11. There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.

    What Dr. Hawking is presenting to us is simply a repetition of the Steady State theory, which stated that, while we may see things like Stars die out, and Solar Systems, even Galaxies, disband or collapse, the Universe is perfectly balanced so that when one Star Dies her, another will be formed over there. The Material in the Universe shifts and slides but generally remains Constant. The Theory postulated that the Universe was Eternal in and of itself, with no beginning and no ending, and that it perpetually restores itself after decay in one sector.

    A Catholic Mathematician, A Jesuit specifically, named ********* came up with an alternate idea, base din part on his idea that the Universe had to have a beginning. At first his idea, that the Universe came form a singularity at some point hat expanded, and which predicted that he Universe would be expanding now, or contracting, was mocked or ignored. It was much too close to Creationism, much too Faith based, and obviously not really true. The Scientific Fact was that the Universe was Eternal, and had always been.

    Then along came Hubble. The Universe was expanding, after all. The Primordial Atom Theory became much more accepted, though its origins were largely forgotten, so that now its “Science” as opposed to “Religion” and Atheists believe it not Religious people.

    Still, what was basically considered a Creationist Theory and poppycock is now accepted Science, though Ironically it now bares the name it was given in derision by Fred Hoyle, “The Big Bang”.

    Steady State thus went the way of the Ether, a former Scientific Fact that was disproven, and forgotten. But now along comes Dr. Hawkins to resurrect this theory form the dead, albeit with a little tweaking.

    Dr. Hawkins has proposed that Gravity alone can possibly Create new “Universes” ( I dislike using the word “Universe” in plural as the word by definition is a Singular) out of our own Universe, and that these New Universes may be created all the time. Our own Universe was probably the result of the same sort of Process.

    We don’t need God to explain it, the universe is self-existent.

    But a much as you say belief in God is a matter of Faith (Which you likely misdefine as belief without evidence, a forgivable offence since this is how Atheist literature tends to define it, though Faith isn’t really belief without evidence) so is this theory.

    I mean, Dr. Hawkins doesn’t even have the most remote of evidence that those Other Universes actually exist. No one has been to one have they? No one has seen one. We don’t even have Radio waves form them. We have nothing but pure Speculation regarding their existence. The Multiverse is not a Proven Fact or even Validly a Theory in Scientific Terms, its merely Hypothetical. Wouldn’t it take Faith (Belief without evidence) to hold to this as well?

    Worse, how would a Multiverse disprove an infinite and all powerful God exists? If God is infinite and all powerful wouldn’t he have been able to create an infinite and expansive Multiverse?

    It becomes even worse when you ask even more simple questions like “Where does Gravity come from?” As the new Universes still require Gravitational forces to create them from older, pre-existing Universes, this means that Gravity has to be a constant, and has to have originated somewhere, doesn’t it? Or was Gravity Eternal? Is God Gravity?

    In the end you don’t really have as sound an Atheistic argument as you’d like. Richard Dawkins tried this same Argument in his 2006 book “The God Delusion” and it even caused Atheist critics to groan, as he was basically saying that belief in God can’t be demonstrated, and should be ignored as its silly to believe things that can‘t be shown. There is no proof that God created the universe. Then he presents an alternate explanation for the creation of the Universe and offers no evidence for it, but says its more Rational than belief in God. His reasoning as that his alternate explanation was Naturalistic and materialistic, and therefore makes more sense. Never mind that it has as much proof backing it as God does in his own argument, the fact is belief in God is silly and believe in a naturalistic cause, any naturalistic cause, it more Rational just because. Basically he took two Unproven and improvable Theories, neither of which have facets that can be tested in any way, or demonstrated in any way, and said one was stupid and the other one brilliant, even though the same level of evidence exists for both.

    The Truth is, the Multiverse theory sounds more reasonable to Dawkins because he already believes A Priori that God can’t be the answer and the answer must be Naturalistic. His Biases, not actual reason, lead the way in this regard.

    While Dr. Hawking may not be quiet as Belligerent as Dr. Dawkins, his explanation is still one that can’t be shown to be True in any reasonable way. Its an unproven, and ultimately improvable Hypothetical abstraction, based upon other Hypothetical abstractions, A Handful of Theories, and a few Facts we know reasonably well.

    So I remain Sceptical. I realise that Scepticism is suppose to lead me to Atheism and a Sceptic believe sin Science not Religion, but I’ve seen too many Sceptics buy into this sort of thing without proof to think them really that Sceptical. Why should his Postulations really be taken as anything other than Postulations? What makes them any more Fascinating than a Theologians own writings? Contrary to popular belief, Theologians don’t just sit up making up nonsense but do study, and not just their own Scriptures, but Philosophy, and even Science, themselves.

    In the end, we can’t show Hawking is right. We can’t demonstrate much of what he has claimed. We can’t even show reasonable evidence that there is a Multiverse, much less that new Universes are being created all the time, or even occasionally. While I am certainly not averse to speculation, and further study, I think its premature to make assessments about God and a godless Universe based upon one mans Idle speculation, even if he is Brilliant.

    Hey, he lost a bet to Kip Thorne, so he’s not Infallible.

  7. ZAROVE
    03/09/2010 at 8:05 pm

    Somehow the name was censored in my word processor.

    The name of the Catholic Priest who gave us the Big Bang theory was Georges Lemaitre. Though it was origionally called the Primordial Atom theory. Hoyle named it “Big Bang” was a sort of joke, as he rejected it and demanded “Proof of this Big Bang”.

    THe name stuck, as did the Theory.

  8. Tim
    03/09/2010 at 8:07 pm

    I may be under a misapprehension, but I thought the theoretical physicist was Stephen Hawking (not Hawkins)? The only Stephen Hawkins Wikipedia’s heard of is an Australian rower.

  9. ZAROVE
    03/09/2010 at 10:41 pm

    One last.

    You said this.

    “I have always found the scientific approach more compelling and every time a new discovery pushes forward the boundaries of knowledge religion is put on the defensive about some of their established beliefs.”

    Is this really true? I know its considered true in our culture in which Science and Religion are seen at odds but, what established beliefs did Religion try to defend when the first computers were built? Or when robotics came on the Scene? Or when leprosy was cured? Or when we discovered that light speed was constant? Or when we discovered how Tornados form? Or when we learned how to make Muskets? Or when we learned how to fly?

    The idea that Religion is always put on the defensive by new Scientific discoveries is just pat nonsense. Sometimes, quiet the reverse is true. Look at Plate Tectonics. Did you know the bloke who discovered them believed in the Bible? The same is true of the fellow who discovered underwater currents. In the latter, his motivation for exploration was his belief in the Bible, and his Theories were originally mocked by the Scientific Community. He was obviously letting his Religion get the better of him. Yet he was right.

    I doubt you could find really that many instances in which Scientific discoveries actually effected anything in an Established Religions beliefs, and the only two that routinely make the list are Heliocentric and Evolution. Beyond those two no one really relates to how a Scientific Discovery posed any real Challenge to anyone’s religious beliefs. In many cases, it actually confirmed their beliefs. The idea that when Science advances, Religion retreats may be a popularly accepted one, but its clearly not true if you look at matters objectively.

  10. 04/09/2010 at 12:22 pm

    The argument is never about God. God might exist or he might not but, frankly, who cares? The argument is over the authority of priesthoods, and that is what gets people in a lather.

    You could prove that “God” existed and it still would not prevent the billion and one wannabe-Popes in the world fighting over who got to interpret what it wanted and collect your tithes on its behalf.

    It’s hilarious that Hawking didn’t claim to prove that God does not exist at all. He simply pointed out that he was unnecessary. A decoration, a bauble, a gilded lily if you will. Not actually incompatible with belief in God at all. But priesthoods derive their authority from the necessity of God. “Lose God,” they say, (although by that they in fact mean ‘stop listening to me and all the things I tell you to do’) “and you lose morality. You will have no self worth. Your life will be meaningless, crime and ill-mannered behaviour will rise, dogs and cats will live together, those people you don’t like will end up getting all the money!” (Zarove is a good example of this in the Demon Drink thread). To them, even something as mild a scientific statement that “this event could have occurred purely in accordance with the physically observed properties of the universe, and requires no multiplication of entities and no prime mover, least of all an intelligent, non-contingent one,” is a direct challenge to their right to tell you what to do.

    After all, if God is unnecessary, why are priests so?

    Personally, I think they have nothing to worry about. I think people don’t need God to exists for them to need Priests. But unfortunately for the established and ancient religions, their Priests need God to exist, and the people, by and large, care not for the specifics of the God or the Priesthood, so there’s always a new kid waiting in the wings. Hence do we see the constant flutter and bluster as the old guard, losing footing left and right, do a merry jig to try and protect their territory.

    Pretty hilarious, really.

    • 07/09/2010 at 2:22 am

      MacDuff,

      Though they said it very differently the prohet Elijah,Plato,the Buddah and Jesus who are quite different seemed to indicate that the “argument” as to whether the Divine exists is something the initiates, the enlightened, the devils and the hungry or poor in spirit can participate in but not those who are resistant to the concept or filled with noise. Even the religious who are not deeply attuned to the feminine and nuptial and who do not believe in what we could readily call God often relate the spiritual life to sex or love affairs. A lover can support love, marriage and romanticism but the one really in love will not invite all the strangers in his life into the experince itself. The analogy is not perfect and is only an analogy.

  11. ZAROVE
    04/09/2010 at 8:09 pm

    A PREFACE: I WROTE THIS ON THE BLOG, so I didn’t take into consideration the above discussion.

    It seems Dr. Hawkings sttaement has made its rounds ont he net, and been successful in grabbing much mroe attentionthan I think it deserves. A Friend of mine thinks itsa Publicity stunt to sell his book, and I think he may be on to something.

    I will come back later to enjoin it if no one bothers with this, but it does tie into the discussion somewhat.

    Still, below te Astrix is my comment from elsewhere. Not to hog this spot, and realising that its probably a mistake to post it because it I post too much much of what I write will be ignored.

    ************

    The problem I have with modern Atheism is that they don’t seem to study Theology who belong to it as a movement. Richard Dawkins even prides himself on not having studied Theology and declares it a Non-Field. Hawkings, while not quiet so brazen, is still ultimately ignorant of what Theology teaches, and likely simply repeats the Caricatures of what God is suppose to be he picks up from Culture, and often form Atheistic Caricature form the 18th and 19th Century that seem to pervade society.

    But you are right, much of Theology past and present simply doesn’t contradict Modern Physics. But its hard to convince people of this if they refuse to even see what Theology teaches in Favour of that Caricature of the Magical Sky Wizard.

    An example is when I spoke to an Atheist who basically quoted Dawkins in saying that God is more complex than he Universe he created, so had o have evolved by natural processes, and thus is illogical because he’s suppose to be the first being. If this Universe is so complex it needed a designer, the designer has to be more complex still and thus need a designer. Skipping how this contradicts what he had said earlier about God being Supernatural by definition, I simply said that God is not, in fact, Complex. God is simple.

    He mocked me.

    I’ve had that happen several times, in fact, when I say God is simple. Its as if I’m making this up on the spot, or am oblivious to anything in Theology, and am must crazy or stupid or some mix of both. Yet Divine Simplicity has been a Theological Staple for a very, very long time. The fact that I could reference it means I have studied Theology at least a little, and the fact that they didn’t know it means they haven’t, as it’s a standard concept in the formal field of Theology.

    The problem with modern Thinkers who, like Hawking, postulate that God is not needed is that they really don’t know what God is suppose to be in the first place.

    Much of modern Physics confirms much of the Theology we’ve seen over the last 2000 years in Christendom, but many Physicists, indoctrinated by Academia into a sort of Atheistic view, tend not to realise this. They dismiss, ignore, and sometimes attack that which mot compliments their own work.

    Worse, they also fall victim to the “Finally right” Syndrome. We always believe we now know the answer o the problems of our existence. In the past, we knew God was not needed to understand the Universe and how it came about because the Universe was always here. We se change but tis always balanced perfectly, and the Universe itself goes on ad infinitum forever, in a Steady State. This was proven wrong, just as the Ether was proven wrong, and how several other Theories once thought sound and true have fallen by the wayside. A perfect example of this is Newtonian principles, which for about 300 years were not even remotely Questioned. They were proven fact. Time was constant for the whole Universe. Matter and Energy were basically separate things. The atom was the smallest possible unit of matter. The speed of light would increase if you move the lantern producing the light. If you had two lanterns, and picked one up and began to walk towards me, the light in the lantern in your band would be moving faster than the lamp you left behind. It was an obvious fact, to question it showed you were insane. But now, after Einstein, we know that Newtonian Principles weren’t right. Light speed is not changeable, it is constant. Time is not constant, but Changeable. Matter and energy are the same thing. The Atom is itself composed of smaller particles still.

    But, now, at last, Hallelujah, we have the Truth. The Multiverse exists and new Universes are springing into existence all the time, and Gravity alone produces them. The Universe we live in came about as a Spontaneous result of Gravity, and just is. It is self producing. No need for God at all.

    But, as you said, what made Gravity? And why is it constant?

    Worse, what I the above Scenario by Dr. Hawking is itself wrong? Its not like we’ve travelled to another Universe to confirm they even exist, much less what causes them. We have no actual evidence that our Universe came about due to a Spontaneous, and undirected, generation by Gravitational Collapse. In some ways this Theory sounds like a massive Steady State theory which postulates that the Actual Multiverse is stable and has a constant among of energy in the Balance, even if one Universe doesn’t and gradually dies. And it may end up just as False.

    I’m not saying it is wrong, but how do we know its right?

    In the year 2112, this Theory may be looked upon a Quaint Nonsense, discredited Theory form a long time ago. Knowing the nature of man, I’d say that whatever Theory they hold to will then be “The Truth” and “The Final Answer” in which we just need a few more details but we have it all pretty well worked out.

  12. 05/09/2010 at 1:53 am

    The vital issue is not whether or how far humankind or any individual human-being believes in God, but whether or how far God believes in humankind or any individual human being !

    What one set of humans believe or do not believe about God, or indeed about any such existential claim made by another set of humans, depends upon the two respective Definitions and Stipulative-Descriptions of that “God” or other entity; surely ?
    —————————-
    It is important to recognise that internally the argument may not exhibit any problems of irrelevance, but that an eternal context’s relevance may have been suppressed, avoided, distorted, falsified or ‘caricatured’.

    In heeding the knowledge-banks of moral and critical reasoning and of both deductive and inductive formal-argumentation, we have not just a cornucopia of skills at our elbow but challengingly a duty to make relevantly-right selections from that skill-bank.

    From ISBN 978-0-521-60306-5 (preparing our mind for clear reasoning and for correct initial appraisal of argumentation and of any fallacious parts therein)
    chapter 2 (Fallacies of Diversion) warns us to have clarified* not merely the internal-contents of an argument but every external-context’s contents too: “While premise-relevance is an internal matter for arguments, we can see that relevance to a context is an external matter” (needing to be initially clarified* too).

    * “clarified” means distinguishing relevance, truth, and fallaciousness (or flagging for completion of such distinction)not merely “defining terms” or “labelling fallacies”.

    ——————
    In such public e-site matters as the ‘Religion versus Science’ one here, we both ordinary and professional sets of humans need to have done the same preparatory ‘homework’ and to be using the same set-of-rules in the ‘classroom’ (or as some science as well as some religious participants might also agree “be singing the same song from the same songsheet”).

    For me that is not just a challenge, it is a sine-qua-non:
    “The gospel according to words seen on a T-shirt:
    ‘If I can’t win – I don’t want to take part in that game’ “.

    ===============
    (JSDM0153Sn05Sep)

    • 07/09/2010 at 8:02 am

      The point of the gospel according to the T-shirt is quite simple, though very difficult if not absolutely impossible to live with under obsolescently-traditional and modern-reform limitations alike, upon common thinking, behaviour & lifesyling: we need look no further than Theology itself for an instant Instance:

      Christian theology is esotericly imagined, composed, and then interpreted and written-down, by the super-rich, propertied and powered handful of super-people at the apex of the hierarchical human-pyramid; then set into law, and finally handed-down and enforced upon lower-wealthy subjects (the main numbers of the Population).

      In terms deriving from United Nations moral and practical thinking and Declaration (Human Rights, Primary Health Care, Human Development, Children’s Rights) the latter is the One-Way Top-Down Directive governance model.

      It contrasts, nay Conflicts, with the modern Participative and Cooperative (win-win-win and Method III) Model, whereby the lowest levels of Society join in every stage including the formative and preparatory stages, of thinking and writing such Things as theologies.

      ================
      (JSFDM0802T07Sep10)

  13. 06/09/2010 at 11:03 am

    Zarove

    The problem I have with modern Atheism is that they don’t seem to study Theology who belong to it as a movement.

    It’s pretty arrogant of you to expect us to, really. When we’re looking at cladistics, we don’t ask badgers for their opinions on earthworms to work out who comes at what point on what branch.

    I’m sure that people with expertise in theology have some very nice things to say, but they’re not even remotely qualified, from inside their closed-off little shed, to talk about “religion”. To those of us who look at religion, they’re the subject matter, the lab specimens, not the students. Experts are people who look at all religions; who study not just the Koran and the Sutras and the Vedas and the Bhagavad Gita, but also the people and communities who coalesce around these texts, the ebb and flow of ideas between them, the relationship of religion to class, wealth, geography and political circumstance, even the variation between what different cultures call “religion” in the first place. No mere theologian can do that, pecking away at their specific little corner of received wisdom.

    You say that Hawking doesn’t know what God is supposed to be, well, neither does anyone else. You say he’s something, the Jews say another, the Hindus something else still, the Buddhists say he doesn’t exist at all, the Norsemen held them to be beings who battled with frost giants. Surely it’s a little rich to expect someone who holds the perfectly sensible position of not giving a crap one way or the other which of you is correct to study each and every nonsensical and contradictory position just so he understands exactly what it is that he doesn’t care about. After all, it’s not like I’d expect you to study quantum electrodynamics, or in fact read anything Hawking has written.

    To reiterate, what he said was “God is not a necessary precondition for the existence of the universe”. This is a position long-held by numerous scientists, rationalists and people with more sense than time to spend pondering silly things like that, and to most atheists it’s barely even an academic question. Personally I don’t care whether an intelligent prime mover was responsible for writing the laws underpinning physics. Unless such a prime mover is extremely weird, you can’t get a causal mechanism from there to a miraculous healing caused by someone touching a saint’s toebone. You can’t use such a supposition to support either side when a Rabbi argues with a Catholic Priest about whether Jesus was the Messiah or not, or between a Jew and a Hindu about whether the world should be elevated or transcended. And until you settle those arguments between religions, the idea that any one of you deranged mother hubbards would have the arrogance to suggest that it’s *atheists* fault that we don’t have a good idea of what God is like is utterly laughable. You guys have no idea beyond “I’m right”.

    It’s this level of truth via divine inspiration that makes your pronouncements on science so utterly bizarre. Of course we’ll know more in a hundred years time than we do now. Of course some things will have radically changed. But because science is a painstaking, iterative process, even revolutionary knowledge comes built on what happened before it. Scientists respect Aristotle even though most of his conclusions were flawed, physicists respect Newton even though Einstein superceded him, because they acknowledge that without Newton’s work Einstein would not have been able to do his own.

    It doesn’t work like religion, where someone comes down from a mountain or hammers a sign on a door and says HERE IS WHAT IS TRUE NOW BECAUSE I SAID SO KTHXBYE. It’s a completely different method of enquiry. It’s a method that’s tough, because the brain is wired to take shortcuts, and rigorous, antagonistic checking is hard work.

    If and likely when Hawking’s (and others’ – the book describes the current understanding of physics, which is an academic discipline, not merely the opinion of one hermit in a lab) work is superceded, it won’t be by some radical prophet of science inventing a new idea as if struck by lighting. It will be by the steady grind of scientists working hard, uncovering new data, building on the foundations laid down by the scientists who’ve come before, challenging ideas on merit and evidence and fact. If you weren’t such a fuzzy-minded, religiously obsessed thinker you’d not make such basic errors of judgement as to think that science works like religion. People didn’t damn Newton as a heretic once Einstein came along. That’s your ball game, those are your punk-ass rules, and we all think they’re stupid, so we don’t play like that.

    You can flounce in and out of here blaming humanism for this and that and the other all you like, but at the end of the day all you’re doing is demanding that people reject actual knowledge and embrace this airy-fairy notion that we don’t know anything, solely in order for you to then have grounds to dictate moral precepts to us. Mother hubbard, we have played this damned game before! You are not a new or unknown quantity. You are the same old fraud as your kind ever have been, and it is, quite frankly, pitiful.

    Take your anti-intellectual nonsense away. We have no use for it.

  14. Gareth Howell
    06/09/2010 at 6:13 pm

    “Believing in a deity is an act of faith”

    Knowing one is easy; there are vast numbers of people who are either set up as gods, by the state, or set themselves up as God; no problem.

    McDuff’s delightful comment bears repeating!

    “looking at cladistics, we don’t ask badgers for their opinions on earthworms to work out who comes at what point on what branch”

  15. ZAROVE
    06/09/2010 at 7:42 pm

    Mcduff, you call me arrogant then castigate me, that’s a bit funny. You do now my comments in “Demon drink” is an outgrowth of Baroness Murphy attacking Faith Schools right? She used all the same lies as Atheists do to close them. Religious Education is an Oxymoron. The schools don’t teach they indoctrinate. They cause Social Cohesion to collapse. hey are Dangerous. She just wants people to get a grip on ideas and learn to think of themselves, which they cant do in Faith Schools. The assumption is that Religion prevents one from thinking for oneself and learning to get a grip on ideas.

    The Solution is of course that they should all learn form Secular State Schools. But what would be taught in those schools? Form what she had said, what would be taught would be her personal and private belief system which, by happy coincidence, isn’t religious, making it neutral and base don logic and reason! Isn’t it wonderful! She has the right to force her beliefs onto others because she’s not Religious! If a Religious person did the same it’d be terrible, and show how bad Religion is, but only because its force religion not forced Truth through Rationalism!

    The Sexual Ethics she hols to would be taught to my Children and everyone else’s. If I disagree I can tell my Children at home, but the school will still use its authority to tell them I am wrong and perhaps Bigoted. The School will teach my Children the ideals and Values of Equality as held by Baroness Murphy, and if I tell them the school is wrong I may be brought up on Child Abuse Charges.

    The whole of it is about controlling what Children learn so they come to the “Correct” conclusion, with “Thinking for yourself” being nothing but a Euphemism for “Repeating the same belfries I told you”.

    Its not really “I’m right, everyone else is wrong”, as I’m quiet willing to let Parents decide what school if any to send their Children to. If they want to send them to a CofE School, they may. They may send them to a Catholic one instead. Or a Methodist one. Or a Muslim one, or Jewish one, or State School. I’d not even care if Atheists opened a School to cater to their own Children. I support Home education.

    Meanwhile, the open minded Baroness Murphy wants all this closed so that she and others like her can completely dictate the matters of what Children Learn, in the hopes of fostering a society that is base don her private convictions. She does the same in the Sexual orientation Regulations were her unproven claim that Homosexuality is innate and just like race and cant be changed is used to force everyone else into acceptance of something they may be Morally opposed to. Conscience doesn’t matter to her unless it happens to agree with her own moral and ethical Values. So spare me the “Look at Zarove on the Demon Drink thread”. My complaint there was that she once again is trying to dominate other people.

    Meanwhile, I haven’t.

  16. ZAROVE
    06/09/2010 at 7:54 pm

    Speaking of Arrogance, saying that those who study Theology are the subject f those who study Religion and thus shouldn’t be consulted is also arrogant, especially in this topic. Stephen Hawking isn’t studying Religion. Stephen Hawking is studying Physics.

    Incidentally, don’t you think it’s a Bit Bigoted to say that Theologians do nothing but say “I’m right” as if they don’t study other peoples theological beliefs? Then again, the reason people Aren’t religious is because their Atheists, and I suppose the only way to study Religion is to be an Atheist and realise its all False.

    Come now, McDuff, you can do better than this.

    By the way, Hawking an you are wrong. Saying “God may exist, but is unnecessary” is foolishness. If God exists and created the Universe, then he’s rather not Useless is he? I know, I’m asking you to study Theology, how arrogant of me, but, humour the delusional Religious person. If God is the actual Cause of the universe, how is he irrelevant to it?

    Hawking asserting goes beyond merely saying God may exist but is unnecessary, but, if followed like most are, would say that he’s not really the Creator. But, unlike Lord Soley’s assumptions, Hawkins claims are ultimately not Science but Speculation.

    Which brigns me back to Theology. Richard Dawkins tris to prove God doesn’t exist flat out, but his arguments fail because he didn’t stuidy Theology and the God he is disproving, th eone he assumes the “Beleivers” who suffer the “Mind Virus” hold to, is a Strawman. Or rather Strawgod.

    When confronted by the fact that he seems to not know anything at all about Theological concepts he dis,misses this Critisism by saying “You don’t need to read about Leprechaunology to ntot beleiv ein Leprechauns”. Be that as it may, if you wanted to write a book to discredit Leprechauns, you’ ned ot know something about hat others say of them, woudn’t you?

    He and you suffer the same problem. You think you can push this “Science is better than Religion” Nonsense along, and actually think that what Hawking says makes God unnecessary, a Bauble. He may exist but is not needed. But the very fact that you can say that with straight face means you haven’t the slightest bit of Rational Thought going for you in this topic. As God is understood as the Creator of the Universe, saying he didn’t create the Universe is making a massive claim against God’s existence. If God exists but didn’t create the Universe then he’s not really God is he?

    But, the crux is, when spoken of, God really isn’t the “Sky Wizard” or “Sky Daddy’ of modern Atheistic Pomp, and is usually not even seen as Human-like at all.

    When you contrast the Theology of Paul Tillich, who believed God was not a being that can be found in the Universe but rather the Ground of Being by which all else emerges, with what Hawkin says of Gravity, you find that the claim that God isn’t necessary looks Childish and horribly misguided. That’s because Tillichs predictions of hat to expect from God aren’t as a magical man with magical powers who made the universe who we can see. God would not exist, but would be existence itself.

    His is just one example of a Theological concept which has heavily shaped modern Thinking regarding God, which is completely ignored by Atheists who want to claim something about Science has disproven the need of God.

    If you don’t know much about God, then why is it you think you can say “God is not necessary”? If you can’t even define what God was suppose to be, how can you dismiss him as a mere Bauble?

  17. ZAROVE
    06/09/2010 at 9:04 pm

    Oh and one mroe hting McDuff. Even though Im a religious perosn so dot study Science, I have read “A Brief History OF Time” and “The Universe In A Nutshell” by Hawkin. I also have “Hyperspsce” by Michio Kaku, and “Time; A Travelers Guice” by Clifford Pickover.

    Please stop assuing “Religious people” dont study Science. Its rather annoying.

  18. 07/09/2010 at 12:39 am

    Ah, yes, the “spittle-flecked” response. I especially love how at some points you can see the passion coming through in the sheer fury with which Zarove is pounding at the keys, caring not for which ones he hits, untroubled by notions of second drafts or even the backspace key. No, here we have the pure, unexpurgated stream of consciousness, fresh and steaming on the plate, like a stew fed through a blender.

    Most of what you say is, of course, not merely nonsense but in fact ever so slightly deranged. But for the benefit of the audience, let me clarify something.

    If I drop a ball onto the ground, the height it bounces back up depends on a number of things. The coefficient of restitution of ball and floor, or bounciness, which is normally dictated by the material; the gravity; the air conditions which affect resistance, and other minor things of negligible import depending on exactly how accurate you need to be.

    There are also things which may well be peoperties of the ball, but which do not affect the height of the bounce. Colour, for example. While in some cases different coloured materials can vary in other ways too because the pigment affects the material property, in general a yellow rubber ball will bounce just as high as a red one or a green one, all other things being equal.

    As a result of this, if someone gave you an equation telling you gravity, air resistance, height dropped, height of first and second bounces, that kind of thing, you could derive backwards from that to the coefficient of restitution and tell me how bouncy the ball was, but what you could not tell me from that information would be its colour. “This ball was dropped 1.3m and bounced 0.6m on its first bounce: is it green or pink?” is an unanswerable and, indeed, meaningless question.

    This also means that properties such as colour are not necessary and do not have to be controlled for or included in the general rules we derive. If it makes no difference to us whether a ball is yellow or blue when it comes to working out how bouncy it is, it’s pointless including a “colour” variable in the equations for bounciness. It’s simply irrelevant.

    Now, this does not mean that we are somehow claiming that all balls of all bouncinesses are “colourless”. Just that any given colour is an unnecessary precondition of a particular level of bounciness.

    And so it is here. God may or may not exist but there’s simply no room for us to shoehorn him into our theories. He’s unnecessary in a mathematical, logical sense of the word. Nothing more, nothing less. You may continue to keep him in your theologies, if you like, and to argue amongst yourselves about whether God is in fact a He or a person at all (and believe me there’s a fun argument to be had there, and I can put you in touch with people who would be willing to explain to you in depth why you’re speaking damnable heresy that puts your soul in imminent danger of Hell), but there’s simply no need to put a “and god did it” variable into our equations.

    Maybe God was there at the beginning. Maybe the bouncy ball is red. All we know is that it’s just as reasonable to say that he wasn’t, and that our equations work out the same way either way.

    Nonetheless, it is remarkable just how irate the theists get over such things. Have you tried praying for peace, recently, Zarove? I understand at least some of the major world religions claims that works.

    • 07/09/2010 at 11:07 am

      MAc Duff,
      Depending on your analysis it is amazing how many equasions do not work. Whenever you see the word dark a traditional electomagnetic and spectral physics equasion world in one place and not another — dark matter, dark force, dark energy. Whenever we use exotic agjectives to decribe the bevior of matter when it passses between quantized states and the dimensions affected an equasion we rely on elsewhere failed. When we call turbulent behavior over time a “strange attractor” it is because the filed largely relies on Newtonian and Euclidean priciples that fail even to explain certain numerical behaviors we now observe without understanding. Your view of physics is quite false. If Dr, Hawking and his friends have made you smug then they have been dishonest and should be ashamed. The truth is we can see a great universe of wonders in which the Divine is often an attractive model and we have no capacity to think it out and discuss it out loud very well. You are as physics go largely living in a lie. Many physicists are not. I think Dr. Hawking is peeeved with God because he is so physically hurt — that is my hypothesis. But there may be a lot that does not fit that model.

      • 07/09/2010 at 3:43 pm

        One more hting Mac Duff,
        As my friend Zarove wrote. We all have our limits and clearly I cannot type, follow a real conversation and discuss theoretical physics at the same time.
        Errata: 1. the word “dark”, 2.sp electromagnetic,adjective, behavior (or behaviour), 3. filed should be field 4.Dr, means only Dr.

  19. ZAROVE
    07/09/2010 at 10:54 am

    McDuff, your a perfect example of arrogant and Bigoted Atheism. What I mean will be apparent momentarily as we examien what you’ve written.

    Ah, yes, the “spittle-flecked” response. I especially love how at some points you can see the passion coming through in the sheer fury with which Zarove is pounding at the keys, caring not for which ones he hits, untroubled by notions of second drafts or even the backspace key.

    I’m actually quiet Passionless. I’m not overly Emotional, just long winded, and deeply Cynical. All of my posts have those errors. When I don’t have any Spell check or a Mate read them over, the post look a lot owre even when their pretty causal, and on topics I only mildly care about. The reason is because I am a Dyslexic.

    Passion clouding my mind and causing me to, un anger, pound at the Keyboard may be a nice image for an Atheist to see a “Religious Person” (Someone who beliefs in a god, because we know Atheism is the opposite of Religion, Yawn) but its utterly false.

    My spellign errors will exist no matter what the topic, what I’ve said, how I feel, or even if the person agrees with me.

    Because it’s a Disability that causes htem, not Emotion.

    But thanks for ignoring my repeated comments about my Dyslexia to create a fictional accont of my mental state you can use to attack me. It shows the true Rationality of the Modern Atheistic mindset.

    No, here we have the pure, unexpurgated stream of consciousness, fresh and steaming on the plate, like a stew fed through a blender.
    Most of what you say is, of course, not merely nonsense but in fact ever so slightly deranged.

    Then perhaps cover my points and not make me the object? Would be nice as a Change of Pace wouldn’t it?

    But for the benefit of the audience, let me clarify something.
    If I drop a ball onto the ground, the height it bounces back up depends on a number of things. The coefficient of restitution of ball and floor, or bounciness, which is normally dictated by the material; the gravity; the air conditions which affect resistance, and other minor things of negligible import depending on exactly how accurate you need to be.
    There are also things which may well be peoperties of the ball, but which do not affect the height of the bounce. Colour, for example. While in some cases different coloured materials can vary in other ways too because the pigment affects the material property, in general a yellow rubber ball will bounce just as high as a red one or a green one, all other things being equal.
    As a result of this, if someone gave you an equation telling you gravity, air resistance, height dropped, height of first and second bounces, that kind of thing, you could derive backwards from that to the coefficient of restitution and tell me how bouncy the ball was, but what you could not tell me from that information would be its colour. “This ball was dropped 1.3m and bounced 0.6m on its first bounce: is it green or pink?” is an unanswerable and, indeed, meaningless question.
    This also means that properties such as colour are not necessary and do not have to be controlled for or included in the general rules we derive. If it makes no difference to us whether a ball is yellow or blue when it comes to working out how bouncy it is, it’s pointless including a “colour” variable in the equations for bounciness. It’s simply irrelevant.
    Now, this does not mean that we are somehow claiming that all balls of all bouncinesses are “colourless”. Just that any given colour is an unnecessary precondition of a particular level of bounciness.
    And so it is here. God may or may not exist but there’s simply no room for us to shoehorn him into our theories. He’s unnecessary in a mathematical, logical sense of the word.

    See, this is what I mean by illogical and Irrational. God is not really the Colour of a Ball, but is understood as the Creator of the universe. I’m pretty sure that, unlike a Balls Colour, this can be much more readily part of a Theory of Creation that can, in fact, be Tested.

    The Scary part is, even the Idea Hawking has presented doesn’t actually contradict a lot of Theological postulations about God. Hawking thinks it does because like you he has never studied Theology. So does Lord Soley, because of the same Ignorance.

    But neither man to my knowledge is making a concentrated effort to literally bash the topic as you are.

    This allows me to see them as misguided by presumptions they make about Theology rather than simply loudmouthed Bigots who want to attack something they don’t understand.

    That said, God is not really as Unnecessary or Superfluous as you’d like to say, but I’m sure I shant convince you as you are, like I said before, Bigoted. You hate Theism, which you then project as “Religion” so naturally you won’t care what anyone says if it contradicts you.

    But I do wonder if you’d leave and let the grown ups discuss this topic.

    You may continue to keep him in your theologies, if you like, and to argue amongst yourselves about whether God is in fact a He or a person at all (and believe me there’s a fun argument to be had there, and I can put you in touch with people who would be willing to explain to you in depth why you’re speaking damnable heresy that puts your soul in imminent danger of Hell), but there’s simply no need to put a “and god did it” variable into our equations.
    Maybe God was there at the beginning. Maybe the bouncy ball is red. All we know is that it’s just as reasonable to say that he wasn’t, and that our equations work out the same way either way.
    Nonetheless, it is remarkable just how irate the theists get over such things. Have you tried praying for peace, recently, Zarove? I understand at least some of the major world religions claims that works.

    But, I’m not Irate. You are imagining I am simply because I decided to discuss this topic. That’s really a bizarre conclusion.

    I disagree with Hawking on this because IO think his Reasoning is poor. I disagree with Lord Soley on his assessment because I know his is poor.

    But I haven’t been angry or Irate, I haven’t felt threatened, I just discussed the topic. You. On the other hand, really seem to have an emotional need to attack me, and yet to make me look like I am frothing at the mouth.

    Ever think that things aren’t as you imagine them to be?

    After all, you still havent addressed any of my actual points. Nor have you admited you were wrogn abotu my own Ignorance n not reading Stephen Hawkings books. I also doubt you’ll apologise for your crack at my spellign though, even knowign the real reaosn now.

    • 08/09/2010 at 10:21 am

      Would the popularly-peddled ‘definition’:
      “God is that Great-Sphere whose circumference is nowhere and centre everywhere”, satisfy you or anyone or even the Houses of Parliament and/or the various Professional Religion-Theologisers ?

      (With my apology for my lack of vocabulary in places having to be filled-in by ‘neologism’).
      ============ (JSDM1021W08Sep)

      • 08/09/2010 at 10:55 am

        Does it really matter? Everyone knows that some theologian somewhere sitting in his garret can construct an intellectual definition of “God” that satisfies naturalistic concerns, or at least does not seem too outlandish and superstitious. Unless, however, you are proposing some mechanism to make all people accept and believe these singular if rather flaccid and generally unfulfilling definitions, I don’t see how that makes a jot of difference.

  20. 08/09/2010 at 12:19 am

    Zarove

    It’s not really your spelling that’s the issue. It’s the three posts, one after the other, of stream of consciousness blather. You’re repetitive, frequently incoherent, and hard to read.

    I’m sure I’ve said before that there are very few people whose thoughts I’d consider worth reading in first draft form, and most of those are dead. You’re certainly not one of them.

    Given the slow pace of these comment threads, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for people to ask, if you’re going to march into every thread with your pet hobby horse about Faith Schools and how Secular Humanists Are Ruining Morality and other randomly capitalised subjects, that you aim for concision and clarity in your text. It would also be nice if you were to put the parts that relate to the actual topic of the thread in boldface or something, so that we can skip over the parts where you’re climbing on a hobby horse or engaging in tedious character assassination and mind reading.

    If you don’t care enough to post to the House of Lords (for Pete’s sake!) blog without giving your posts even so much as a cursory once-over or a quick through a spell check, as I’m sure the rest of us do, what the devil kind of ridiculous arrogance is it to suggest anybody else should care enough to read them? None of us is perfect, but the slapdash text you put in front of us strikes me as nothing less than rude, frankly.

    And I’m not explaining what “necessary” means to you in this context any more. I’m not entirely sure you’re capable of even grasping the concept that words might vary in meaning depending on use, so wrestling it down to something even more rudimentary for you strikes me as utterly pointless. Suffice to say you don’t understand what you’re talking about, and let’s leave it at that.

    • 08/09/2010 at 12:45 pm

      MacDuff,
      I see you are not reponding to me much on this thread and that’s OK. I do want to say that for whatever reason I have never been able to use software spell check on this site and (though I am lately learning a few tricks) I used to lose comment access if I let a draft sit pre posted and with some regularity. On your garret point have you ever been to Vatican City, the Potala Palace, the Taj Mahal, seen the drawings of the Benedictine Abbey at Cluny or Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem, read of the land reform Monastery towns of the middle ages or studied the financial services of the Templars in the Middle Ages? If all that is out of reach drive by St Paul’s sometimes. Religion has some rather nice “garrets”.

      • McDuff
        08/09/2010 at 7:42 pm

        Compose in Text Edit or Bean or whatever the windows users are typing into these days. Then the magic of copy-paste is your friend.

        It also helps if you want to save a draft and come back to it later. Or if you want to email it to a friend and say “I seem to have written 3000 words off the cuff, would you mind giving it a once over to see whether I’m repeating myself.”

        I’ve not been replying to you because there’s not really much in the way of fruitful conversation to be had. I wouldn’t dream of trying to change anyone’s mind in this thread as to whether they believe in God. I think it’s much more beneficial to set religious people against each other and have them argue about whose God is real. Nothing is more destructive to the power of organised religion than liberal ecumenicalism.

        However, I don’t really think the Taj Mahal counts as a “garret.” Not many people do theology in tombs, and I don’t think that particular structure has ever been considered a seat of learning.

        Nonetheless, unless you’re proposing that all theologians sat in all garrets come to the same conclusions about the nature of God, which they clearly and plainly do not, I don’t really see what your point is. The moment Generic Brand Religion decides once and for all what Generic Brand God actually is, and propogates that notion out to all believers, the utility of the debate about whether that final notion exists will become interesting and relevant. Until that point, nothing said on the matter will make any great difference, because the argument is not about great spheres or notions of universal harmony, but about who gets to tell who what to do.

        One man’s insight into the divine is another’s damnable heresy is another’s blithering nonsense. Can we somehow construct an either/or binary out of all these mythological soups? Does Odin really ride an 8 legged horse or alternatively does an enlightened human rise to Nirvana? Pick one or the other!

        The fact is that there is no either or because there is no “God”. There is no solid, sane, consistent definition of God, or of the soul, or even of righteousness and morality and honour. Arguing about whether they exist is like arguing about whether songs are any good or not.

        • 09/09/2010 at 2:48 pm

          Mac Dufff,
          You mistook my meaning. Your technical behavior is quite abominable on many occasions lacking both logic and in this case a name address. When the comments arrive in my box down thread they do not say “replying to” but if you have a name at top then it makes it simple. Also the site is not very good really compared to many sites in what its software offers commenters. It makes up for it to some degree in other ways.
          In terms of content unlike the drivel you often write I have had a lot of feedback both financial and critical on my writing. This is a format which has new rules and this site host (Word Press not Hansard) seeks to keep home court advantage high.
          I still applaud LOTB because they seek fruitful conversation. I tire of a country where constant blather about free speech is accompanied by an amazing dearth of opportunity for the speech and expression the founders most wished to protect. I apologize for the friendly tone that confused you. I see no reason why we should really like each other but I wished to propose the idea that we could avoid pure animus in these discussions. I will allow you to consider this a retraction of such sentiments.

          • 09/09/2010 at 5:09 pm

            Then I shall continue to mostly ignore you unless I see you making a point worth responding to. Do feel free to carry on as you wish.

      • 08/09/2010 at 10:31 pm

        Tried starting your comment in the box but rt clk it > SelectAll > Copy ?
        then > Rtclk bare dsktop to open a new Word doc > hit Delete to erase the standard “New word document” wording > type in a short label-name (“) LOTB LH Women in religion fwsiii2159W08 (“)> (hit Enter to set it) > Hit enter again to open it > Type in LOTB Women > spacebar a few times > rtclk > choose Paste (lo, your text from the box appears) > Check the ‘Save as’ wording.
        Finish prepping > highlight as much as you want to show back in the LOTB box > rtclk again and hit Copy >

        switch your eyes back to the LOTB box where your original bit of text started > rtclk that > SelectAll > rtclk > Delete. The box is now empty again, so simply rtclk in it > hit Paste (lo, your complete prepped comment appears) > hit Post Comment (lo your comment appears instantly to the LOTB public readership).
        ———–
        Whilst prepping in Word doc there will be editing devices such a Spelling;
        ———–
        but if you need a word-count (MS Office 2007 does not seem to provide one) you may go through Google search, type in “word count” where you select http://www.wordcounttool.com,
        Copy your completed comment from your Word doc page or frm the the LOTB box or from the published LOTB site, paste that into the wordcount box, read-off the figure they give you (all free, no extra hooks) – – –

        but I immediately highlight my text again and delete it before closing that wordcount, just incase there’s a hacker around who’s into plagiarism.

        Seems to work quicker, no hooks, in and out, quicker than anything else I’ve come across free online.
        ============
        (JSDM2231W08Sep)

  21. Gareth Howell
    08/09/2010 at 11:52 am

    “No, here we have the pure, unexpurgated stream of consciousness, fresh and steaming on the plate, like a stew fed through a blender.”

    Ha! Ha! Ha! Another excellent one from McDuff!

    Where does he invent them?!

    • McDuff
      08/09/2010 at 7:42 pm

      I get them mail order from a catalogue.

  22. Lord Soley
    Clive Soley
    08/09/2010 at 2:56 pm

    Apologies for the mistaken name spelling. Just as well I don’t get marked on grammar as I would probably end up in the dunce’s corner!
    There is a difference between religion and belief. Religions are to my mind a more contentious issue than the existence or non existence of God/Gods.
    I make the point about religions defensiveness about science because there are important examples of this in history. The earth being the centre of the universe is probably the best known one and people died at the stake because they didn’t accept the idea.
    In my youth I was more likely to argue about the existence of God but I had a strange reluctance to press my case because I thought that if I did persuade a believer that there was no God they might sink into deep depression! Maybe some people chose not to persuade me to believe in God for the same reason!

  23. ZAROVE
    08/09/2010 at 9:18 pm

    Lord Soley, a religion is as I said, any set of beliefs regarding the Nature of our existence. Religion is simply a Philosophical Modle we use to interpret the meaning and nature of our existence, and how we relate to it. In that way, even men like Hawking, reared as a Communist and on the works of Bertrand Russell, are religious, and really one can’t help but be.

    I always fail to understand why we feel the need to make religion some mystical Other, as if it is not the same as all other belief systems, when nothing really divides it.

    As to the defensiveness of Religion when confronted with Science, really there aren’t that many examples. You mentioned one I already mentioned, and I doubt you could mention any more other than Evolution. Worse, the whole “People died at the stake for that one” line is Historically wrong. The first person to propose Heliocentric died Honoured by the Church, His name was Copernicus. The Bloke who was punished was Galileo Galilee, but he was never Burned at the Stake for his beliefs. Which Ironically were wrong. See his evidence, it involves the Tides, which are effected by the Moon not the Sun.

    Galileo’s Punishment was to be placed under House Arrest in a Comfortable Villa, not to be Burned at the Stake.

    Galileo is also not a good example of Sicnece VS Religion historically because the real reason for his Inquisition was inhouse olitics, not the actual Science. The first people to condemn him were the Secular Sciences. Ptolomy had created the Model of the Universe then accpte dby all, and Ptolomy had been a Pagan Philosopher, not a Christian Chruch Father. The Church initially Sheltered Galileo, who was condemned by the Sciences for his outrageous arrogance for contradicting the Known order of the Universe and Fact.

    All the Church asked of Galileo, well Demanded but they were his Patron and this is not like today, was that he teach his idea as Theory and not Fact. He’d have to teach the Ptolemaic Model as the accepted one but was still free to tell others of his own ideas, though he had to be clear that they were his own ideas. Galileo was a hot tempered man, and ended up teaching it as fact and worse, creating a Caricature of the Pope in his book. The Pope had also been Galileo’s Closest Friend at one point, and was outraged that Galileo would not only Violate the (Relatively minor) terms of the Patronage but also mocked and Berated the Pope, who took personal offence. So Galileo went before the Inquisition, and the rest is History.

    Still, his Punishment was relatively light. He wasn’t burned at the Stake, he was placed under House Arrest. I doubt you can find anyone who was Burned at the Stake over Copernicanism.

    That said, as much as we love to display matters as Religion teaching us one thing, Science coming along with Facts and evidence that contradicts Church teaching, and how Religion retreats or denounces Science, is this any different than what Science itself does to its own Members?

    Consider for a Moment the reaction Einstein got for Proposing that the Speed of Light was Constant, and Time was not. Newtonian Laws had been proven fact, and everyone knew it. Einstein’s idea was treated as a Heresy and he was denounced as a foolish crackpot. I doubt that view of him remained, but it should be noted that it was not the Religious Establishment that Condemned Einstein, but he Scientific community.

    Einstein himself joined the Scientific Community in condemning the Big Bang Theory. When it was created, the Steady-State Theory was Dominant. Everyone knew it was a fact, and it went largely unchallenged. It had been proven True. So proposing that the Universe was expanding, or that it had a beginning, was Ludicrous, absurd! We know it had no beginning or end, we know it simply always was.

    So those who proposed that the Universe had a Beginning were Denounced by the Scientific Community, and rightly so for contradicting sound Science with this Quasi-Religious nonsense.

    But now that Quasi-Religious Nonsense is the accepted view held, though Ironically now its seen as proof that Religion (Belief in God) is wrong. I find it Ironic because it was originally denounce don those grounds. And they didn’t object based purely on Fact and Data, either, but on Philosophy.

    Arthur Eddington was appalled by the Notion of a Beginning, and he said precisely this. “Philosophically, the notion of a beginning to the present order is repugnant to me and I should like to find a genuine loophole.” He later said, “We must allow evolution an infinite amount of time to get started.” His views were that the Universe had no beginning or ending, because he wanted Evolution to have an infinite amount to time to get started, because then you’d not need God. He wanted to avoid acknowledging a Creator by avoiding Creation. This was not a Scientists seeking only Truth through reason and going wherever the evidence lead him, but an Atheist who wanted to be confirmed in his own Dogmas.

    Eddington was not alone. If you look back at writings form the Early 20th Century from these Scientists, and remove the Rose Tinted Glasses that causes us to think of Scientists as Altruistic Truth Seekers, as opposed to Religion as Authority based Dogma that refuses to see the Truth, you see that Scientist suffer the same fate as those Religious Leaders. They are stubborn, Dogmatic creatures who refuse to modify or change what they believe in the face of new information.

    In fact, Jeffrey Burbidge never accepted Big Bang Theory, precisely because he wants a Universe that never began and never ends, to avoid the notion of a Creator.

    The Cause of this because the notion of a Creation moment does leave room for a Creator, and they don’t want to believe in a Creator.

    That, and they have formed an emotional attachment to their own theories and ideas, and refuse to admit they were wrong.

    Rather than there being a conflict between how Religion works and how Science works, with Religion being delivered by Authority figures telling you to accept what they say without question, on “Faith” (Misdefine as belief without evidence) and who stand resistant to any new information which contradicts their Dogmas, VS Science, an approach to life rooted in reason and logic, in which new discoveries cause people to change their views and everyone involved accepts the findings and Data, because in Science its all about Truth no matter what, we see that both Religion and Science are filled with Great thinkers who come up with new ideas based on new study or information, that is generally rejected initially by the establishment, largely off Ideological and Philosophical Grounds.

    Scientists aren’t the Altruistic Truth seekers we imagine them as, just as Religious Figures aren’t the Staid Authoritarians who refuse to change or look for Truth and prefer Dogma.

    They are all people, with largely the same approach to life. Scientists often use the Scientific Models they have been taught or create as the very basis from which they understand their own existence, and in that way the Science becomes an extension of their Religion, r perhaps becomes their Religion. This is Despite how saying Science is Religion may unsettle some, but it is. They view their particular understanding of how things work as Sacred, and some of the Tenets are inviolable, and it is unconscionable to consider they may be wrong. They demand conformity to those Doctrines and Dogmas and refuse to accept anything, even from within Scientific research, to contradict how they understand the world to be.

    One such tenet is Evolution. While I am not a Creationist, I have noted how many have taken Evolution away form being merely a Theory about how Life merged and made it the bedrock in how they understand literally everything in existence.

    It is the explanation fo how life emrged, and is unquestioned and unchallenged. Creationists aren’t simply seen as wrong, or misguided, but are Subjected ot verbal abuse, and cast as the worst of Villaisn in society for daring to deny this Sacred Truth.

    They are treated like the Heretics of old.

    And I always wondered, what if in some future time we find Evidence that says Evolution did not, could not happen? What if we’d been wrong about it? DO you honestly think the Scientific Community, so given to this bedrock Theory now part of the central tenets of the Scientific view of Reality, would just roll over and change their minds? Ideally they would. They are Scientists, they mist accept the Evidence and were the Data leads, and that’s what we are told makes then different form Religious people, but we both know the answer is no. They’d suppress the information. They’d attack those who presented it. They’d mock and ridicule those who cling to the new idea that replaces Evolution. They’d say there were flaws to how the Data was formed, or somehow the Data can be explained in some other way. They’d make a massive attempt to force the Theory of Evolution into conformity with the New Data to prove the conclusions wrong. They’d try to salvage the theory in any way possible. It’d be a huge controversy.

    It certainly wouldn’t just be dropped in favour of the new model because there was evidence, anymore than Steady State theory was.

    Pretending that the Religious Method of seeing things and the Scientific Method are fundamentally different, and that Science is more compelling because it makes amazing discoveries and changes with evidence whilst Religion resists change and finds itself being pushed back and dismantled by each new Scientific Discovery is simply a Romantic, and erroneous view of these matters created by the 19th Century Romantics themselves. Its right up there with the idea that Theologies that conform to modern Science were created to fit Modern Science to preserve Theology, even though often the Theologies predate the Science.

    There was a reason I mentioned Paul Tillich, and that’s because what Hawking is saying really is what you’d predict from Tillich’s Theology. Tillichs Theology also predates Hawkins research buy decades.

    The Scientific Community itself often rejects what doesn’t fit the currently accepted Popular Model, much like Religions reject new ideas. The level of Vitriol and hatred is about the same, and the ferverant discredition attempts the same.

    So let snot pretend there is a huge distinction. Lets see Humanity as it is, and not say Religion holds us back in Faith and Science moves us forward in Reason. In the end its just men playing with ideas, and clinging to the ones they prefer to believe in, whilst others struggle in the Darkness to try to find more. What I’ve said is not “Religion playing with ideas and clinging while Science struggles in the Dark”, to be clear, Scientists often cling just as tightly to what they already believe , and religious figures often are those struggling in the Darkness.

    And often the two are merged.

  24. 09/09/2010 at 5:11 pm

    Zarove

    If religion is indistinguishable from other world views, then why should we care so much about faith schools?

  25. ZAROVE
    09/09/2010 at 6:33 pm

    Mcduff, its because if Baroness Murphy had her way the only point of view that’d be allowed in the Secular State Schools would be her own self styled “Rationalism’, which is really just Secular Humanism.

    Why should her Religion be given special privileges over everyone else’s? Why should all students be taught to be good little Atheists and agnostics, and embrace the Secular Humanist moral and ethical codes, and generally accept the Secular Humanist interpretation as to why we exist and the meaning of life? Why Favour her beliefs, and exclude everyone else’s?

    Unlike in America, the UK has actual Choice in Schools for Parents. In America, the Federals won’t even give you Vouchers to send Children to private Schools, your forced to either send them to Public School which is now officially Atheistic thanks to a Draconian interpretation of the First Amendment as “Separation of Church and State” and he presumption that Atheism is somehow Neutral, or spending a boatload of money on a Private School. Many Parents can’t afford a private School, thus leaving them with no real alternative than Public Schools unless they choose to Homeschool, and that’s not always possible either, as the parents often need to work.

    So in the USA, Parents often have no choice at all.

    In the UK, Parents have choice. They can send their Children to a Secular State School. Or a Church of England School. or a Catholic School. Or an Orthodox Jewish School. or a reformed Jewish School. or a Sunni Muslim School. Or a Shiite School. Or a Sikh School.

    In the current system, there is Freedom. TO close Faith Schools is to take that choice away, and to create a situation in which all people are forced to send their Children to the same sort of school which will invariably teach the beliefs of a Secularist as if they are uncontested fact, and often present Values that are contrary to those the Parents with to instil in their Children.

    Why should all Students be asked to be taught only from an Atheistic Secular Humanist perspective? Why are the others seen as Inferior Education? Simply because people like you or Baroness Murphy disagree with them? You may all Religious Education an Oxymoron but, the Faith Schools routinely outperform the Secular State Schools, so that complaint plays off the “Religion holds us back from thinking” idea more than on fact.

    Now that I’ve stated the obvious, can we discuss this topic instead? Because I’ve made some comments about it and would prefer it.

    Otherwise, I’ll just ignore you as the shallow minded and hateful Bigot that you are.

  26. 10/09/2010 at 2:09 pm

    Ah, so it’s your belief that reality is meaningless and all is just opinion, and that as such we should be able to educate our children with whatever facts we deem as suitable for them, be they facts about plate tectonics, facts about how women make unsuitable priests, or facts about how awesome the Karma Sutra is.

    Because that’s the only way one could consider an education in a British state comprehensive, where it’s mandatory to provide education about all major world religions as part of the curriculum (unless parents withdraw their children on some objection or other) could be indoctrination. It’s a very postmodern approach, this denial of truth and insistence that we live in a world of pure opinion.

    I veer slightly away from such totalitarian postmodernism, I’m afraid, and am still much of the belief that there are some community standards — such as the solidity of objects and the general commutation of perception across observers — which exist across enough communities to be considered effectively universals. As such I think that, while parents have the right to tell their children all the lies they want, be they about Santa Claus or girls belonging in the kitchen, while the taxpayer is educating their kids I’d suggest we have a reasonable duty to the community to keep education in the bounds of things we can broadly classify as “real”. So, this means things like maths and science and english, and not things like Jesus being the risen incarnate son of God.

    Parents, of course, still have the option to take their children to any house of worship they want, and to educate them at home as they should anyway, state education being a supplement to the job of parenting, not a replacement for it.

    All in all, we monstrous totalitarian secular humanists aren’t that bad, I think you’ll find. We’re just stingy when it comes to funding the indoctrination of your kids – we think you or your church should pay for that. And, yes, fine, with a particular postmodern spin on it you can say that teaching your kids that “the real world” exists and that “2+2=4” is indoctrinating them into our crazy religion about “objective reality” or something but, come on, let’s assume that we need to have some baseline shared values about the nature of existence within a state-funded system of education or we’ll never be able to tell which teachers are doing their jobs.

    So, unless you really want to get us to abandon the notion of shared, commutative reality, I think you’re out of luck on this particular hobby horse, mate. But by all means keep being boring and insulting about it if you think that will get you anywhere.

  27. ZAROVE
    11/09/2010 at 1:11 am

    McDuff, your resorting to lying now.

    Ah, so it’s your belief that reality is meaningless and all is just opinion, and that as such we should be able to educate our children with whatever facts we deem as suitable for them, be they facts about plate tectonics, facts about how women make unsuitable priests, or facts about how awesome the Karma Sutra is.

    The problem is, what people like your or Baroness Murphy would teach them as Facts is not proven to be Factual. Often its just Interpretation of fact, and too frequently interpretation of fact intermeddled with a preferred belief that has no factual basis, an no evidence backing it.

    Then you turn around and claim things have no evidence for them, such as belief in God, which actually can be defended Rationally, which favours one set of unproven and improvable philosophical assumption against others which have far more venerable pedigrees, all became you have defined your own beliefs as “Rational” and others as “not Rational“. What you believe as an Atheist isn’t fact quiet often, its Philosophy, and often taken on the same sort of Faith you criticize in “religion”. Its meaningless to blather on about it, though, as you’ve decided religion is something to be mocked till we’re all as enlightened as you are, meaning nothing I say will matter.

    Bu thanks for proving you are, in fact, Shallow.

    Because that’s the only way one could consider an education in a British state comprehensive, where it’s mandatory to provide education about all major world religions as part of the curriculum (unless parents withdraw their children on some objection or other) could be indoctrination. It’s a very postmodern approach, this denial of truth and insistence that we live in a world of pure opinion.

    Except I didn’t postulate this, and have no problem with Children learning of all major world religions. I have a problem when they learn that all Major World religions are wrong, or are taught societal Values that conflict with the Parents, such as Abortion is OK, Homosexuality is inborn and cant be changed, sexual experimentation should be counted as normal too, oh and lets not forget how we should learn the ever-ready tolerance and diversity bit. Also, when the Children learn in RE about he Major religions but the rest of the classes make it quiet clear that those Religions aren’t to be considered at all in reference to how to lead ones life and instead we should all be “Nonreligious” and live according to what amounts to the Secular Humanist Value system, that they should prefer a centrally planned state, should disdain class structures, are taught morality comes form democratic mandates and social order, and are taught to think in terms of group consensus and not consider God, for God is for the Home and Church not the Public, then they aren’t simply teaching them about all Major Religions of the world, they are teaching them to think like good little Atheist and Agnostics.

    I’m not denying absolute Truth exists, I am denying that the Secular Humanist have it, and can’t be questioned.

    I veer slightly away from such totalitarian postmodernism, I’m afraid, and am still much of the belief that there are some community standards — such as the solidity of objects and the general commutation of perception across observers — which exist across enough communities to be considered effectively universals. As such I think that, while parents have the right to tell their children all the lies they want, be they about Santa Claus or girls belonging in the kitchen, while the taxpayer is educating their kids I’d suggest we have a reasonable duty to the community to keep education in the bounds of things we can broadly classify as “real”. So, this means things like maths and science and english, and not things like Jesus being the risen incarnate son of God.
    Parents, of course, still have the option to take their children to any house of worship they want, and to educate them at home as they should anyway, state education being a supplement to the job of parenting, not a replacement for it.
    All in all, we monstrous totalitarian secular humanists aren’t that bad, I think you’ll find. We’re just stingy when it comes to funding the indoctrination of your kids – we think you or your church should pay for that. And, yes, fine, with a particular postmodern spin on it you can say that teaching your kids that “the real world” exists and that “2+2=4? is indoctrinating them into our crazy religion about “objective reality” or something but, come on, let’s assume that we need to have some baseline shared values about the nature of existence within a state-funded system of education or we’ll never be able to tell which teachers are doing their jobs.

    Bu what defines “real “ for you is rooted in your own religion, and why should I want my Children taught what you classify as real ?

    That said, how do you feel towards tax Funded Abortions? Tax Funded pro Homosexual Laws? Tax Funded laws that help support what amounts to Left wing political propaganda on the BBC?

    So, unless you really want to get us to abandon the notion of shared, commutative reality, I think you’re out of luck on this particular hobby horse, mate. But by all means keep being boring and insulting about it if you think that will get you anywhere.

    Its my hobby horse that you brought up, I didn’t mention it in this thread. And a shared communal reality base don Secular Humanism is worthless. What if I propose that Shared commimitve reality base don Christianity?

    In the end you’d say this isn’t reality but Faith, but then, Yours isn’t reality either. Its how you perceive it.

    Much like how I’m so angry I’m leaving spittle flicks on my computer screen, and I still haven’t seen an apology, or even an acknowledgement of error, in your criticism of my Dyslexia.

    Or the ides htta I am a reliiosu epeson so havent read Hawking…

    Or how you assume that this is really a drive abotu control…

  28. 11/09/2010 at 2:16 pm

    The more you talk, Zarove, the more I’m convinced that you’re actually insane.

    After all, it seems that you post pretty much the same thing, over and over again. “YOU CLAIM THIS, YOU CLAIM THAT,” and I can’t for the life of me recall where either I or Baroness Murphy have claimed them.

    I think you’re mistaking a dispute about the management of the finances of the state with one of your own paranoid and hysterical delusions about Secular Humanists waiting behind every corner ready to beat up on the poor Catholics.

    Many of the things you say “oh yeah but what about THIS? EH EH EH” about, for example, do not happen and will not happen. So I am as concerned about them as I need to be: not at all. You’re the one who’s agitating yourself into some kind of apoplexy over things that are not true, not me.

    I mean, you’re drastically angry and shouty about what I’ve said, but you don’t even understand it.

    “And a shared communal reality base don Secular Humanism is worthless. What if I propose that Shared commimitve reality base don Christianity?”

    What the hell? Seriously, what does that MEAN?

    The concept is quite plain. A reality is shared and commutative if your experiences and mine broadly coincide. If I say “I put the cup on the table” and you can look over and see, yes, I have in fact put a cup on a table, and not a puppy in a blender. It’s got nothing to *do* with secular humanism or Christianity. You can’t base it or one or the other.

    And commutative and communal are not the same word. I’ve told you before that your lack of respect for the people who have to read you such that you don’t proof read is appalling.

    It’s your blinding, blithering obsession with aggressively jackhammering religion into every single aspect of everyone else’s personal and political philosophy that causes you to twist yourself in such arduous knots over such things.

    But it’s very good of you to demonstrate so tirelessly and effortlessly why savagely aggressive fundamentalists like you are poor choices to educate children. I don’t care what religion you are. I care that you have a tenuous grasp on reality.

  29. ZAROVE
    11/09/2010 at 10:58 pm

    But. McDuff, my expediences don’t coincide with yours, and in the end you’re still going to have to present an interpretation of those experiences, and thats were the State Schools come in. The only reason Atheists want the Faith Schools closes is because they want their interpretation of Reality taught, an to exclude other peoples.

    As you’ve now degenerated into the Ad Homenim attack, and have basically sidestepped anything of real meaning, I think I’ll just say that I’ll ignore you from thence on in this thread.

    Now perhaps we can discuss what the thread was actually about, and not your need to attack me personally.

  30. 12/09/2010 at 4:40 pm

    If you think that our experiences of the world do not coincide, Zarove, does that mean if I hit you on the head with a mallet that your head would not hurt? I suspect that, despite your commitment to the limitations of certain knowledge, you share enough of an implicit belief in the commutativity of reality to not only wish to prevent me from hurting you in such a way but also, should I carry out such an act, to hold me responsible for my actions.

    So stop this “ah but nobody really knows anything” poppycock, there’s a good boy.

  31. ZAROVE
    13/09/2010 at 11:39 am

    But, I didn’t say nobody knows anything, I said that we get rather beyond those sort of basics when we start teaching about the world, and offer interpretations base don personal beliefs.

    So, your again being rather dishonest intellectually.

    • 13/09/2010 at 2:31 pm

      You can go a long way in “interpretation” without finding something controversial. Plate tectonics is an “interpretation” of the world. And one cannot teach literature without stressing the importance of interpretation.

      Your objections to the intellectual terrors that arise in a state educational system are simply unfounded and not based in reality – that is, the reality of what actually happens in the state educational system as currently constituted. As I’ve said, to label your arguments as a straw man fallacy would be to discount the level of frightening paranoia that runs through them.

      Much of what you are frantic about is impossible in a basic education system with a requirement to deal with children from multiple backgrounds. You seem to have some conception of the school system as an intellectual gulag where children are wrested from their parents, indoctrinated in humanist torture chambers and then returned months later, shaking and frightened. On the contrary, what generally happens is that a teacher gets about 30-or-so children in a classroom, attempts to make some matter of testable fact interesting enough that 20-or-so of them will remember it, and then at the end of the day they all go home to their parents. At lunchtime, the children practice kissing when the grownups aren’t looking, but then they do that in religious schools too.

      The people who kick up a ruckus that not every aspect of this system coincides exactly with the beliefs they wish to instill in their children are not, ever, the “secular humanists”. They’re the Muslims, the Protestants, the Catholics, who kick up a fuss whenever some aspect of biology is insufficiently frightened of genitalia, and who sometimes are not even sated when they get to withdraw their children from classes that offend them. Although that is, in fact, an option.

      I can’t stop you educating your children however you wish. Within reason, of course. I probably can and should stop you educating them on “the glories of cupping daddy’s balls while you do your maths homework,” if that’s your thing. But, you know, beyond that. What I can do is object to you making me pay for the privilege of you not having to expose your children to ideas outside your personal cabal. Other people have to put up with the existence of alternative beliefs in our society. That’s one of the prices we pay for not being an intellectual monoculture of serfs and peasants.

      If you wish to hide and indoctrinate your children, pay for it yourself. If you wish to benefit from being a member of a liberal democracy, put up with the fact that your children might occasionally listen to people who disagree with you, and this might make your job as a parent more difficult. As hardships go, it barely registers, I’m afraid.

  32. ZAROVE
    14/09/2010 at 7:07 pm

    McDuff, for this being my Hobby Horse, you seem to be the one harping. I will say htis though, the “Oxymoron” of a Religious education is itself a Strawman as they outperform the ST ate Schools. Tootles.

    I’ll ignore you from thence on.

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