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Why is ISIS attacking during Ramadan?

Why is ISIS attacking during Ramadan?

(5:20) British activist and Lib-Dem politician Maajid Nawaz explains why ISIS may ramp up attacks during the holy month of Ramadan (June - July 2015). Nawaz is founder of the Quilliam Foundation, a think tank that counters the narratives of Islamist extremists. He was a member of the radical Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir before he was imprisoned in Egypt (2001 - 2006). He left Hizb-ut-Tahrir in 2007 and renounced his Islamist past, calling for a for a secular Islam. The story of his "conversion" is documented in his autobiography: "Radical: My Journey out of Islamist Extremism", available from: Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (691 days ago)

Rufuscz, continued...

"Well the fact you were citing fossil evidence against creationism led me to believe that you were talking about young earth christian creationism." That was what I had in mind, but I'm happy to expand it.

First, can we agree that any claims the universe is younger than 13 billion years old, without empirical evidence, can be discounted because it is significantly less probable than the empirically based scientific Big Bang theory? (This is a great video of Neil deGrasse Tyson explaining the evidence for the Big Bang and why it is so compelling LINK )

So for Christians who claim god created a perfectly tuned set of laws and constants by setting off the Big Bang 13 billion years ago - that is not consistent with the Old or New Testaments. Or show me the verses that are interpreted that way.

The Quran has a go. Apparently, the Arabic translation of “ And the heaven We created with might, and indeed We are (its) expander." (Quran 51:47), is proof god created the Big Bang. That might be good enough for a 4-year-old, but not me or 6 billion non-Muslims. Just compare the level of proof required for the Big Bang in Neil deGrasse Tyson's lecture, with the Quranic verse. ROFL.

But let's accept the "Big Bang" interpretation of the Quran as a valid proposition because at least it's consistent with the Christian/Evolution interpretation, and the scientific Big Bang theory.

So now we have 3 competing hypotheses:

1. God flicked the switch 13 billion years ago and the universe unfolded according to Islam.

2. God flicked the switch 13 billion years ago and the universe unfolded according to Christianity.

3. The Big Bang happened 13 billion years ago and we're still trying to figure out how.

So which hypotheses is most probable? 1 and 2 can't both be true, but they can both be wrong. Hypothesis 3 is chocker full with verifiable consistent empirical evidence, as demonstrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson, that is lacking in 1 and 2. Where would you put your money?

-------------

I see now my mistake with the miracle of Jesus walking on water. I assumed he was human. How do you know he wasn't? 5 billion non-Christians think he was human or didn't exist. Without empirical evidence, how can you be sure?

ReplyVote up (155)down (154)
Original comment

Rufuscz, continued...

"Well the fact you were citing fossil evidence against creationism led me to believe that you were talking about young earth christian creationism." That was what I had in mind, but I'm happy to expand it.

First, can we agree that any claims the universe is younger than 13 billion years old, without empirical evidence, can be discounted because it is significantly less probable than the empirically based scientific Big Bang theory? (This is a great video of Neil deGrasse Tyson explaining the evidence for the Big Bang and why it is so compelling LINK )

So for Christians who claim god created a perfectly tuned set of laws and constants by setting off the Big Bang 13 billion years ago - that is not consistent with the Old or New Testaments. Or show me the verses that are interpreted that way.

The Quran has a go. Apparently, the Arabic translation of “ And the heaven We created with might, and indeed We are (its) expander." (Quran 51:47), is proof god created the Big Bang. That might be good enough for a 4-year-old, but not me or 6 billion non-Muslims. Just compare the level of proof required for the Big Bang in Neil deGrasse Tyson's lecture, with the Quranic verse. ROFL.

But let's accept the "Big Bang" interpretation of the Quran as a valid proposition because at least it's consistent with the Christian/Evolution interpretation, and the scientific Big Bang theory.

So now we have 3 competing hypotheses:

1. God flicked the switch 13 billion years ago and the universe unfolded according to Islam.

2. God flicked the switch 13 billion years ago and the universe unfolded according to Christianity.

3. The Big Bang happened 13 billion years ago and we're still trying to figure out how.

So which hypotheses is most probable? 1 and 2 can't both be true, but they can both be wrong. Hypothesis 3 is chocker full with verifiable consistent empirical evidence, as demonstrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson, that is lacking in 1 and 2. Where would you put your money?

-------------

I see now my mistake with the miracle of Jesus walking on water. I assumed he was human. How do you know he wasn't? 5 billion non-Christians think he was human or didn't exist. Without empirical evidence, how can you be sure?

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Guest: Rufuscz (690 days ago)

The Qu'ran actually promotes a theistic origin belief that's similar to that of all theistic religions I know of, and certainly all Abrahamic religions - so I have no idea where you get your 6 billion figure from; maybe your maths is slightly out. As I've said, a strictly literal interpretation of Genesis is fairly hard to find in Christian circles. Even if one were aiming to, it would be impossible to describe the creation of a planet or a universe in a few thousand words, so it's implicit that it's allegorical or incomplete or symbolic. The Big Bang theory is not remotely 'inconsistent' with most interpretations of the Bible - in fact, (as you should know) the first person to propose the Big Bang theory and a belief in an expanding universe was the scientist, physics professor and Catholic priest Georges Lemaitre - but then again, after watching a Youtube clip or two I'm sure you know more about the interplay between Christianity and the Big Bang than he did... ' ROFL ' indeed.

OK so you concede the miracles etc would be consistent with Jesus being a divine being?- that's a start. Now what sort of evidence are you looking for to prove or disprove that someone who was around 2000 years ago was human or not? Bearing in mind you don't accept 'words of an ancient text' (and therefore I'm sure are highly dubious of all historical documents), I'm not sure what you'd like to be presented with.

I think the terms evidence and probability are riddled with issues, and now you've thrown in 'proof' to complicate matters. Your statements make too many assumptions to really go into in any meaningful way. Technically and mathematically, as Popper argued, the probability of any universal laws existing for something like the Big Bang is negligible - it should dictate that such a thing happen every time the same conditions are met, and at most we only have one such universe or example case to try to measure; like I said before, the idea of creating universal laws from a very finite amount of empirical data is pretty flawed and at one time or another, all the universal scientific theories that have ever existed were based on what was considered evidence at the time, and now nearly all of them have been falsified.

It should also be noted that finding evidence for something does not necessarily increase it's probability; the fact I saw you walking down the street does not increase the probability that you have just been hit by a car. Conversely, not finding evidence for something does not decrease its probability; the fact I have no direct evidence to suggest that the Phoenicians picked their noses does not decrease the likelihood that they did - (and this applies even more so for metaphysical beliefs). Neither does having a low probability mean that something won't or didn't happen, nor a high probability mean it will or did. The two leading conceptions of probability rely on either the objective inherent properties of the thing itself and the situation (loosely, 'propensity'), or our current knowledge of that thing and our corresponding degree of belief. I assume you are referring to the latter conception when you describe the probability of the Big Bang theory being accurate - ie, based purely on what you currently know, you have more reason to believe in the Big Bang theory than you have for believing another incompatible theory. Accordingly, you keep going back to your lack of reason -the supposed lack of empirical evidence - for religious metaphysical claims, even though you've already conceded that such things are not amenable to that type of evidence. Probability is tricky enough when talking about physical things, and is obviously entirely redundant when it comes to the metaphysical. I don't see how you can really compare - which is the sweetest; molasses or blue?

So anyway... what you are actually seem to be saying, is that you feel you currently have empirical evidence for your belief in the empirically-based Big Bang theory, and (although you have yet to show they are mutually exclusive), surprise surprise you have no empirical evidence for the non-empirical theistic origin theories. I would agree with this, I would imagine most believers of a faith would agree with this. Where's the controversy?

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Original comment

The Qu'ran actually promotes a theistic origin belief that's similar to that of all theistic religions I know of, and certainly all Abrahamic religions - so I have no idea where you get your 6 billion figure from; maybe your maths is slightly out. As I've said, a strictly literal interpretation of Genesis is fairly hard to find in Christian circles. Even if one were aiming to, it would be impossible to describe the creation of a planet or a universe in a few thousand words, so it's implicit that it's allegorical or incomplete or symbolic. The Big Bang theory is not remotely 'inconsistent' with most interpretations of the Bible - in fact, (as you should know) the first person to propose the Big Bang theory and a belief in an expanding universe was the scientist, physics professor and Catholic priest Georges Lemaitre - but then again, after watching a Youtube clip or two I'm sure you know more about the interplay between Christianity and the Big Bang than he did... ' ROFL ' indeed.

OK so you concede the miracles etc would be consistent with Jesus being a divine being?- that's a start. Now what sort of evidence are you looking for to prove or disprove that someone who was around 2000 years ago was human or not? Bearing in mind you don't accept 'words of an ancient text' (and therefore I'm sure are highly dubious of all historical documents), I'm not sure what you'd like to be presented with.

I think the terms evidence and probability are riddled with issues, and now you've thrown in 'proof' to complicate matters. Your statements make too many assumptions to really go into in any meaningful way. Technically and mathematically, as Popper argued, the probability of any universal laws existing for something like the Big Bang is negligible - it should dictate that such a thing happen every time the same conditions are met, and at most we only have one such universe or example case to try to measure; like I said before, the idea of creating universal laws from a very finite amount of empirical data is pretty flawed and at one time or another, all the universal scientific theories that have ever existed were based on what was considered evidence at the time, and now nearly all of them have been falsified.

It should also be noted that finding evidence for something does not necessarily increase it's probability; the fact I saw you walking down the street does not increase the probability that you have just been hit by a car. Conversely, not finding evidence for something does not decrease its probability; the fact I have no direct evidence to suggest that the Phoenicians picked their noses does not decrease the likelihood that they did - (and this applies even more so for metaphysical beliefs). Neither does having a low probability mean that something won't or didn't happen, nor a high probability mean it will or did. The two leading conceptions of probability rely on either the objective inherent properties of the thing itself and the situation (loosely, 'propensity'), or our current knowledge of that thing and our corresponding degree of belief. I assume you are referring to the latter conception when you describe the probability of the Big Bang theory being accurate - ie, based purely on what you currently know, you have more reason to believe in the Big Bang theory than you have for believing another incompatible theory. Accordingly, you keep going back to your lack of reason -the supposed lack of empirical evidence - for religious metaphysical claims, even though you've already conceded that such things are not amenable to that type of evidence. Probability is tricky enough when talking about physical things, and is obviously entirely redundant when it comes to the metaphysical. I don't see how you can really compare - which is the sweetest; molasses or blue?

So anyway... what you are actually seem to be saying, is that you feel you currently have empirical evidence for your belief in the empirically-based Big Bang theory, and (although you have yet to show they are mutually exclusive), surprise surprise you have no empirical evidence for the non-empirical theistic origin theories. I would agree with this, I would imagine most believers of a faith would agree with this. Where's the controversy?

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (690 days ago)

There's too much to respond to every point, so I'm going to cherry pick.

"I have no idea where you get your 6 billion figure from" There are about 1.5 billion Muslims. World population is about 7.3 billion. Non Muslims = 7.3 - 1.5 billion. Result 5.8 billion, rounded up to 6 billion.

"Even if one were aiming to, it would be impossible to describe the creation of a planet or a universe in a few thousand words" Maybe, but creating light before the sun suggests it's all made up. Unless of course that was his first miracle.

"The Big Bang theory is not remotely 'inconsistent' with most interpretations of the Bible" Where in the Bible does it say the universe is 13 billion years old?

"OK so you concede the miracles etc would be consistent with Jesus being a divine being?- that's a start. Now what sort of evidence are you looking for to prove or disprove that someone who was around 2000 years ago was human or not?" I'm not expecting any evidence because there isn't any. Therefore it's all speculation, and will remain so until empirical evidence reveals itself.

"Bearing in mind you don't accept 'words of an ancient text' (and therefore I'm sure are highly dubious of all historical documents), I'm not sure what you'd like to be presented with." Just the acknowledgement that without empirical evidence, it's speculation. Therefore the claim that a particular interpretation of a holy book is 100% true, is actually false because it is speculation.

About your paragraph on Popper - you're trying to blind me with philosophy. I don't think we need to get that deep. Only religion claims 100% truth. You, me and Carl Popper agree that is impossible. A huge blunder by religion.

"… all the universal scientific theories that have ever existed were based on what was considered evidence at the time, and now nearly all of them have been falsified." Except quantum theory, special relativity, evolution, etc. actually works in the real world. For example, if Special Relativity is wrong, GPS wouldn't work.

"not finding evidence for something does not decrease its probability" Not necessarily. It depends if you are expecting something. For example, if there really is only one all-powerful omnipresent interventionist god, you'd expect believers to be spread relatively evenly around the world. But that's not how it is. Believers are spread geographically, Muslims are clumped around the Middle East, spreading into northern Africa, and east as far as Indonesia. Christians have pretty much got the Americas sewn up, and still holding on to southern Europe, Budhists … That is what you'd expect if man created god. Not proof, but very powerful supporting evidence that man made god.

I think your whole paragraph on probability is too complicated. All I'm asking is: which is more probable, a proposition with no empirical evidence, or a proposition with empirical evidence?

Religion has no empirical evidence so it is less probable than the Big Bang which has plenty of empirical evidence. It doesn't mean the Big Bang is true, just more likely than religion. But the more compelling the empirical evidence, the higher the probability. I hope this is not too simple for you.

My question to you is this: How is a Christian who believes his religion 100%, certain that Jesus was not human?

ReplyVote up (129)down (210)
Original comment

There's too much to respond to every point, so I'm going to cherry pick.

"I have no idea where you get your 6 billion figure from" There are about 1.5 billion Muslims. World population is about 7.3 billion. Non Muslims = 7.3 - 1.5 billion. Result 5.8 billion, rounded up to 6 billion.

"Even if one were aiming to, it would be impossible to describe the creation of a planet or a universe in a few thousand words" Maybe, but creating light before the sun suggests it's all made up. Unless of course that was his first miracle.

"The Big Bang theory is not remotely 'inconsistent' with most interpretations of the Bible" Where in the Bible does it say the universe is 13 billion years old?

"OK so you concede the miracles etc would be consistent with Jesus being a divine being?- that's a start. Now what sort of evidence are you looking for to prove or disprove that someone who was around 2000 years ago was human or not?" I'm not expecting any evidence because there isn't any. Therefore it's all speculation, and will remain so until empirical evidence reveals itself.

"Bearing in mind you don't accept 'words of an ancient text' (and therefore I'm sure are highly dubious of all historical documents), I'm not sure what you'd like to be presented with." Just the acknowledgement that without empirical evidence, it's speculation. Therefore the claim that a particular interpretation of a holy book is 100% true, is actually false because it is speculation.

About your paragraph on Popper - you're trying to blind me with philosophy. I don't think we need to get that deep. Only religion claims 100% truth. You, me and Carl Popper agree that is impossible. A huge blunder by religion.

"… all the universal scientific theories that have ever existed were based on what was considered evidence at the time, and now nearly all of them have been falsified." Except quantum theory, special relativity, evolution, etc. actually works in the real world. For example, if Special Relativity is wrong, GPS wouldn't work.

"not finding evidence for something does not decrease its probability" Not necessarily. It depends if you are expecting something. For example, if there really is only one all-powerful omnipresent interventionist god, you'd expect believers to be spread relatively evenly around the world. But that's not how it is. Believers are spread geographically, Muslims are clumped around the Middle East, spreading into northern Africa, and east as far as Indonesia. Christians have pretty much got the Americas sewn up, and still holding on to southern Europe, Budhists … That is what you'd expect if man created god. Not proof, but very powerful supporting evidence that man made god.

I think your whole paragraph on probability is too complicated. All I'm asking is: which is more probable, a proposition with no empirical evidence, or a proposition with empirical evidence?

Religion has no empirical evidence so it is less probable than the Big Bang which has plenty of empirical evidence. It doesn't mean the Big Bang is true, just more likely than religion. But the more compelling the empirical evidence, the higher the probability. I hope this is not too simple for you.

My question to you is this: How is a Christian who believes his religion 100%, certain that Jesus was not human?

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Guest: Rufuscz (689 days ago)

I thought your point with the numbers was to attempt to show that the Islamic idea that God started the universe wasn't strong enough for you or the other '6 billion' non-muslims. I was trying to point out that most non-Muslims also believe that a God started the universe. It's not about numbers of course, but all the more reason why you shouldn't have mentioned any.

Creating light before the sun suggests that it's allegorical, incomplete or symbolic. No, the Bible doesn't say the universe is 13 billion years old, why should it? It's not a science book. Neither does it mention water displacement, photosynthesis or gravity, but that doesn't mean to say Christian's aren't allowed to believe in those things. A little ridiculous. You were trying to argue that these theories are actually incompatible , not merely that the Bible doesn't mention them.

I'm not remotely trying to 'blind you with philosophy' - that's hilarious. You suggested on another thread that you were familiar with some of the philosophers I was mentioning, so I thought it appropriate to delve slightly deeper into your notion of probability and demonstrate why it's very problematic, particularly when you seem to be basing all your reasoning on it.

So, which is more probable - "a proposition with no empirical evidence, or a proposition with empirical evidence?" That is too simple for me, yes, because on face value, clearly neither. You would have to know far more about each proposition, the type of the evidence etc. For example, which is more probable, the assertion that the fish I ate last night gave me indigestion (I ate it, I was sick), or the assertion that Obama sneezed more times today than he did yesterday (I have no evidence)? Even with evidence on one side, there is not always enough information. Moreover, if one of those propositions couldn't have any physical evidence because of its nature, I wouldn't expect any, yet that wouldn't determine it's likelihood of being true. For example, which is more probable, it rained here last night (I can see a puddle), or there is such a thing as free will? Absolutely no way to compare, because probability and evidence gathering is flawed when dealing with physical things (which was the point of that baffling paragraph), and entirely redundant for metaphysical things.

Before special relativity etc, there were countless more theories which have nearly all been disproven. Flat-earth theory worked in the real world and was supported by evidence, until we gained a better understanding and disproved it. I'm also hopeful that you know some of the issues with special relativity, and understand that most commentators consider it at best, incomplete. Why do you say only religion attempts to offer 100% truth? This is another Walter definition. As we've discussed, there are more interpretations of religion than you can shake a stick at, so if you don't feel something reflects your truth, you look for another belief or another formulation. Besides which, science attempts to offer truth and uses the same imperative language, but has been disproven so many times it now always comes with a disclaimer - that wasn't originally the case.

Just because saying something is 100% true might be speculation, doesn't mean to say it's false. 100% of left-handed women in Australia have cried at a movie. You have now moved from saying 'if something is speculative, you shouldn't believe it', to 'if something is speculative it cannot be 100% true'. That's a crazy leap to make, particularly for someone who proclaims to be so keen on rationality.

I really do not see how the spread of believers around the world is even suggestive, let alone evidence that man created god. Assuming humans would find a way of interpreting God or religion that reflects their culture, and assuming that God could manifest himself in different ways, the existence of different religions in different parts of the world is very ambiguous. Furthermore, in religions I'm familiar with (even evangelical ones), it is expected that not everyone should have faith in equal measure. This is what I mean about you seeing things as evidence which others (no doubt many scientists too) would think fall short of the mark.

I would suppose that a dedicated Christian believes Jesus was Christ for the same reasons that you do not - in other words, there isn't any incontrovertible evidence to push them either way, so they interpret whatever is left in a way that results in that belief. They would probably say there is more written about him from more sources that suggest he is divine than not, and that they have had personal and collective experiences that reinforce their faith; you would probably say that written reports are not enough for a belief in anything, and that speculative means false. The fact remains that as this guy was supposedly around 2000 years ago, we can't know for sure in a scientific way but that doesn't mean to say that he definitely was or definitely wasn't the son of God, so it's a matter of personal belief, not a clash between science and religion. The overlap between the two is minimal. Religions seem dismissive that science does not explain the metaphysical whys of existence, and atheists seem dismissive that religion does not explain the physical whats of existence. But the two are compatible for the most part - they are 'non-overlapping magisteria' if you pardon the verbosity - which is why you can get the scientist responsible for postulating the Big Bang theory preaching about resurrection on a Sunday.

ReplyVote up (130)down (116)
Original comment

I thought your point with the numbers was to attempt to show that the Islamic idea that God started the universe wasn't strong enough for you or the other '6 billion' non-muslims. I was trying to point out that most non-Muslims also believe that a God started the universe. It's not about numbers of course, but all the more reason why you shouldn't have mentioned any.

Creating light before the sun suggests that it's allegorical, incomplete or symbolic. No, the Bible doesn't say the universe is 13 billion years old, why should it? It's not a science book. Neither does it mention water displacement, photosynthesis or gravity, but that doesn't mean to say Christian's aren't allowed to believe in those things. A little ridiculous. You were trying to argue that these theories are actually incompatible , not merely that the Bible doesn't mention them.

I'm not remotely trying to 'blind you with philosophy' - that's hilarious. You suggested on another thread that you were familiar with some of the philosophers I was mentioning, so I thought it appropriate to delve slightly deeper into your notion of probability and demonstrate why it's very problematic, particularly when you seem to be basing all your reasoning on it.

So, which is more probable - "a proposition with no empirical evidence, or a proposition with empirical evidence?" That is too simple for me, yes, because on face value, clearly neither. You would have to know far more about each proposition, the type of the evidence etc. For example, which is more probable, the assertion that the fish I ate last night gave me indigestion (I ate it, I was sick), or the assertion that Obama sneezed more times today than he did yesterday (I have no evidence)? Even with evidence on one side, there is not always enough information. Moreover, if one of those propositions couldn't have any physical evidence because of its nature, I wouldn't expect any, yet that wouldn't determine it's likelihood of being true. For example, which is more probable, it rained here last night (I can see a puddle), or there is such a thing as free will? Absolutely no way to compare, because probability and evidence gathering is flawed when dealing with physical things (which was the point of that baffling paragraph), and entirely redundant for metaphysical things.

Before special relativity etc, there were countless more theories which have nearly all been disproven. Flat-earth theory worked in the real world and was supported by evidence, until we gained a better understanding and disproved it. I'm also hopeful that you know some of the issues with special relativity, and understand that most commentators consider it at best, incomplete. Why do you say only religion attempts to offer 100% truth? This is another Walter definition. As we've discussed, there are more interpretations of religion than you can shake a stick at, so if you don't feel something reflects your truth, you look for another belief or another formulation. Besides which, science attempts to offer truth and uses the same imperative language, but has been disproven so many times it now always comes with a disclaimer - that wasn't originally the case.

Just because saying something is 100% true might be speculation, doesn't mean to say it's false. 100% of left-handed women in Australia have cried at a movie. You have now moved from saying 'if something is speculative, you shouldn't believe it', to 'if something is speculative it cannot be 100% true'. That's a crazy leap to make, particularly for someone who proclaims to be so keen on rationality.

I really do not see how the spread of believers around the world is even suggestive, let alone evidence that man created god. Assuming humans would find a way of interpreting God or religion that reflects their culture, and assuming that God could manifest himself in different ways, the existence of different religions in different parts of the world is very ambiguous. Furthermore, in religions I'm familiar with (even evangelical ones), it is expected that not everyone should have faith in equal measure. This is what I mean about you seeing things as evidence which others (no doubt many scientists too) would think fall short of the mark.

I would suppose that a dedicated Christian believes Jesus was Christ for the same reasons that you do not - in other words, there isn't any incontrovertible evidence to push them either way, so they interpret whatever is left in a way that results in that belief. They would probably say there is more written about him from more sources that suggest he is divine than not, and that they have had personal and collective experiences that reinforce their faith; you would probably say that written reports are not enough for a belief in anything, and that speculative means false. The fact remains that as this guy was supposedly around 2000 years ago, we can't know for sure in a scientific way but that doesn't mean to say that he definitely was or definitely wasn't the son of God, so it's a matter of personal belief, not a clash between science and religion. The overlap between the two is minimal. Religions seem dismissive that science does not explain the metaphysical whys of existence, and atheists seem dismissive that religion does not explain the physical whats of existence. But the two are compatible for the most part - they are 'non-overlapping magisteria' if you pardon the verbosity - which is why you can get the scientist responsible for postulating the Big Bang theory preaching about resurrection on a Sunday.

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (689 days ago)

"No, the Bible doesn't say the universe is 13 billion years old, why should it? It's not a science book." But it does say it was created in 6 days. That's symbolic you say. I think it's symbollocks.

"I'm not remotely trying to 'blind you with philosophy' - that's hilarious" If theoretical philosophy was used in a court case, you'd never come to a verdict, because nothing is 100% sure. That's why the term "beyond reasonable doubt" is used.

Your paragraph on probability is confused. I thought it was obvious, but I'll rephrase. "Of two mutually exclusive propositions, one with supporting empirical evidence, and one without, there is a higher probability that the proposition with evidence is true compared with the propsition with no evidence." So all religious stories have a lower probability of being true than the science based evidence-heavy story of: ? > BANG! > stars form > Earth forms > life evolves > etc.

In your example of fish and Obama, the 2 propositions are not mutually exclusive.

"Before special relativity etc, there were countless more theories which have nearly all been disproven." True. But I think it is different today. We are now beginning to understand the nature of nature at a fundamental level. The final piece of the Standard Model, the Higgs bosun was confirmed recently. This is the model that describes the smallest particles in the universe. By looking deep into space, we can see back to almost the Big Bang. We recreate conditions very similar to the Big Bang at CERN to study what actually happened in the first nanoseconds of the Big Bang. Special Relativity and Quantum Theory don't quite fit yet, but the Theory of Everything is not far off. We understand how life evolved, and maybe even how it started on Earth. It is very believable that we will be able to create new life forms ourselves.

It is inconceivable that all of that is fundamentally wrong. Maybe not theoretically, but beyond reasonable doubt. If the universe was a jigsaw puzzle, we have found enough pieces to be confident what the picture is of. The missing pieces will fill in the detail, some of which may be surprising, but the overall picture will remain the same.

"Just because saying something is 100% true might be speculation, doesn't mean to say it's false …" Saying your religion is 100% true is false, because religion is speculation, and speculation cannot be assumed to be 100% true.

"You have now moved from saying 'if something is speculative, you shouldn't believe it', to 'if something is speculative it cannot be 100% true'." I said neither of those. I said a speculative proposition is less probable than a mutually exclusive proposition supported by empirical evidence. It's your choice which to believe, but why choose the less probable? Also, I might have said something speculative can't be 100% true, but if so, it wasn't well worded. I meant speculation cannot be assumed to be 100% true.

"I really do not see how the spread of believers around the world is even suggestive, let alone evidence that man created god." Let me explain. Let's assume there's only 1 god, and he created everything. You'd expect that his identity or existence wouldn't be questioned anywhere. After all, very few people question who their mother is, or even if mothers exist. Evidence tells us that humans started in Africa and then spread around the world. So you'd expect humans to have known about the one god right from the beginning, and there would be no reason to introduce new gods. We'd expect a world where 99% know god did it, and don't bother questioning him every day, and 1% who are insane.

But instead we see a world that looks like "man made god" in every respect. Different religions pop up all over the place, and start spreading like viruses. Some die out, others prosper. From thousands of religions, we are now down to a few biggies. Islam spreads from northern Africa to Indonesia, Hinduism got stuck in India, Christianity got into the Americas and still has a stronghold in southern Europe, Scandinavia has ditched religion altogether, and Buddhists still hold much of the Far East.

How could that be a world created by one god?

My question "How is a Christian who believes his religion 100%, certain that Jesus was not human?" was to point out the glaring contradiction in a religious person's belief. That is, that since religion is speculation, it is impossible to be certain that it is 100% true, as they claim.

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Original comment

"No, the Bible doesn't say the universe is 13 billion years old, why should it? It's not a science book." But it does say it was created in 6 days. That's symbolic you say. I think it's symbollocks.

"I'm not remotely trying to 'blind you with philosophy' - that's hilarious" If theoretical philosophy was used in a court case, you'd never come to a verdict, because nothing is 100% sure. That's why the term "beyond reasonable doubt" is used.

Your paragraph on probability is confused. I thought it was obvious, but I'll rephrase. "Of two mutually exclusive propositions, one with supporting empirical evidence, and one without, there is a higher probability that the proposition with evidence is true compared with the propsition with no evidence." So all religious stories have a lower probability of being true than the science based evidence-heavy story of: ? > BANG! > stars form > Earth forms > life evolves > etc.

In your example of fish and Obama, the 2 propositions are not mutually exclusive.

"Before special relativity etc, there were countless more theories which have nearly all been disproven." True. But I think it is different today. We are now beginning to understand the nature of nature at a fundamental level. The final piece of the Standard Model, the Higgs bosun was confirmed recently. This is the model that describes the smallest particles in the universe. By looking deep into space, we can see back to almost the Big Bang. We recreate conditions very similar to the Big Bang at CERN to study what actually happened in the first nanoseconds of the Big Bang. Special Relativity and Quantum Theory don't quite fit yet, but the Theory of Everything is not far off. We understand how life evolved, and maybe even how it started on Earth. It is very believable that we will be able to create new life forms ourselves.

It is inconceivable that all of that is fundamentally wrong. Maybe not theoretically, but beyond reasonable doubt. If the universe was a jigsaw puzzle, we have found enough pieces to be confident what the picture is of. The missing pieces will fill in the detail, some of which may be surprising, but the overall picture will remain the same.

"Just because saying something is 100% true might be speculation, doesn't mean to say it's false …" Saying your religion is 100% true is false, because religion is speculation, and speculation cannot be assumed to be 100% true.

"You have now moved from saying 'if something is speculative, you shouldn't believe it', to 'if something is speculative it cannot be 100% true'." I said neither of those. I said a speculative proposition is less probable than a mutually exclusive proposition supported by empirical evidence. It's your choice which to believe, but why choose the less probable? Also, I might have said something speculative can't be 100% true, but if so, it wasn't well worded. I meant speculation cannot be assumed to be 100% true.

"I really do not see how the spread of believers around the world is even suggestive, let alone evidence that man created god." Let me explain. Let's assume there's only 1 god, and he created everything. You'd expect that his identity or existence wouldn't be questioned anywhere. After all, very few people question who their mother is, or even if mothers exist. Evidence tells us that humans started in Africa and then spread around the world. So you'd expect humans to have known about the one god right from the beginning, and there would be no reason to introduce new gods. We'd expect a world where 99% know god did it, and don't bother questioning him every day, and 1% who are insane.

But instead we see a world that looks like "man made god" in every respect. Different religions pop up all over the place, and start spreading like viruses. Some die out, others prosper. From thousands of religions, we are now down to a few biggies. Islam spreads from northern Africa to Indonesia, Hinduism got stuck in India, Christianity got into the Americas and still has a stronghold in southern Europe, Scandinavia has ditched religion altogether, and Buddhists still hold much of the Far East.

How could that be a world created by one god?

My question "How is a Christian who believes his religion 100%, certain that Jesus was not human?" was to point out the glaring contradiction in a religious person's belief. That is, that since religion is speculation, it is impossible to be certain that it is 100% true, as they claim.

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Guest: Rufuscz (688 days ago)

You return time and again to the same old assumptions that we don't share. Religion and science are mutually exclusive? How? Please demonstrate, as this seems pivotal to your case. The very most I think you would claim, is that there are certain interpretations within certain religions that don't seem to fit with our current scientific evidence - but I thought you were wanting a much stronger claim than that? Anyway, I'm keen to see what evidence you have that 'God set off the Big Bang or its preceding conditions' is mutually logically exclusive with 'The Big Bang causes the universe to expand'.

If you're talking mutually exclusive metaphysical claims, then as you've accepted, elsewhere empirical evidence won't come into it because it's not revelant. I'm scared to mention the word 'probability' again, but hopefully you agree that it can be dubious in real-world physical situations, and is outright redundant when it comes to the big questions. Whether there is free will or not, whether there is some kind of creator God or not, whether there is an objective set of ethics or not. Nothing you can pull from the real world will help you, otherwise it wouldn't be metaphysics. And no, of course we could never try such things in a court of law, because there is reasonable doubt on all sides. As you've said, it's speculation.

Back to the physical, your complete faith in science providing truth is a little bewildering. Yes, we do understand far more than we ever have done, but that has been true of every era in civilisation. There have been countless times when scientists have congratulated themselves at their level of insight, only for their theories to be tweaked or rewritten in following years. That is a natural part of the process. I'm sure you can find better qualified people than either of us to discuss the clear merits and guaranteed problems with various empirical cosmological models. Anyway, my issue is not with science, and I share that attitude with most religious people too. The idea, as I've already explained, is that they cover different ground and there's very rarely a head-to-head and certainly no mutual exclusivity in the key beliefs.

"You'd expect that (God's) identity or existence wouldn't be questioned anywhere" . Whaaaat? That's another crazy Walter definition. Why on earth not? I know for a fact it's an integral part of the Christian, Islamic and Jewish faith that belief is not widespread, and degrees of it vary. It's also a very weak case to argue that if God existed, more people would believe, because rightly or wrongly faith in supreme beings is pretty much the one constant of every culture that has ever existed. Anyway, your conception of many multiple religions gradually blending into several key systems could equally be considered evidence for either there being multiple gods manifesting themselves in different ways, or perhaps one that everyone is gradually coming round to understanding. After-all, the similarities between world religions are greater than the differences.

OK you've changed the wording, even better. Speculation cannot be assumed to be 100% true. Brilliant. If that is the case, then logically the opposite is also true; speculation cannot be assumed to be 100% false. The fact is, you are as certain of your speculation as the religious are of theirs. As Sagan said, two extremes of over-confidence. Well. No doubt I'm misrepresenting you, but you seem to have moved from a ballsy atheistic argument, to one of several far weaker claims: I think your argument against 6 day creationists is relatively sturdy, so good luck finding one; I understand your beef with those who take very literal interpretations of ancient texts; You have a compelling case in the exceedingly rare occasions where religion imitates science; You also sort of end up with a case for there perhaps being more than one god, responsible for the pockets of faith worldwide, but I think that was an accident; And ultimately, you have a very good case that being a confident atheist or a confident theist is unjustifiable, as they're both extremes of speculation, and dare I say it 'faith'. But your great case for atheism? For there not being a god at all? A little shakey I reckon.

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You return time and again to the same old assumptions that we don't share. Religion and science are mutually exclusive? How? Please demonstrate, as this seems pivotal to your case. The very most I think you would claim, is that there are certain interpretations within certain religions that don't seem to fit with our current scientific evidence - but I thought you were wanting a much stronger claim than that? Anyway, I'm keen to see what evidence you have that 'God set off the Big Bang or its preceding conditions' is mutually logically exclusive with 'The Big Bang causes the universe to expand'.

If you're talking mutually exclusive metaphysical claims, then as you've accepted, elsewhere empirical evidence won't come into it because it's not revelant. I'm scared to mention the word 'probability' again, but hopefully you agree that it can be dubious in real-world physical situations, and is outright redundant when it comes to the big questions. Whether there is free will or not, whether there is some kind of creator God or not, whether there is an objective set of ethics or not. Nothing you can pull from the real world will help you, otherwise it wouldn't be metaphysics. And no, of course we could never try such things in a court of law, because there is reasonable doubt on all sides. As you've said, it's speculation.

Back to the physical, your complete faith in science providing truth is a little bewildering. Yes, we do understand far more than we ever have done, but that has been true of every era in civilisation. There have been countless times when scientists have congratulated themselves at their level of insight, only for their theories to be tweaked or rewritten in following years. That is a natural part of the process. I'm sure you can find better qualified people than either of us to discuss the clear merits and guaranteed problems with various empirical cosmological models. Anyway, my issue is not with science, and I share that attitude with most religious people too. The idea, as I've already explained, is that they cover different ground and there's very rarely a head-to-head and certainly no mutual exclusivity in the key beliefs.

"You'd expect that (God's) identity or existence wouldn't be questioned anywhere" . Whaaaat? That's another crazy Walter definition. Why on earth not? I know for a fact it's an integral part of the Christian, Islamic and Jewish faith that belief is not widespread, and degrees of it vary. It's also a very weak case to argue that if God existed, more people would believe, because rightly or wrongly faith in supreme beings is pretty much the one constant of every culture that has ever existed. Anyway, your conception of many multiple religions gradually blending into several key systems could equally be considered evidence for either there being multiple gods manifesting themselves in different ways, or perhaps one that everyone is gradually coming round to understanding. After-all, the similarities between world religions are greater than the differences.

OK you've changed the wording, even better. Speculation cannot be assumed to be 100% true. Brilliant. If that is the case, then logically the opposite is also true; speculation cannot be assumed to be 100% false. The fact is, you are as certain of your speculation as the religious are of theirs. As Sagan said, two extremes of over-confidence. Well. No doubt I'm misrepresenting you, but you seem to have moved from a ballsy atheistic argument, to one of several far weaker claims: I think your argument against 6 day creationists is relatively sturdy, so good luck finding one; I understand your beef with those who take very literal interpretations of ancient texts; You have a compelling case in the exceedingly rare occasions where religion imitates science; You also sort of end up with a case for there perhaps being more than one god, responsible for the pockets of faith worldwide, but I think that was an accident; And ultimately, you have a very good case that being a confident atheist or a confident theist is unjustifiable, as they're both extremes of speculation, and dare I say it 'faith'. But your great case for atheism? For there not being a god at all? A little shakey I reckon.

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (688 days ago)

"You return time and again to the same old assumptions that we don't share. Religion and science are mutually exclusive? How? Please demonstrate, as this seems pivotal to your case." On a fundamental level, a science theory is never 100% true, a religious "theory" is always 100% true. The positions are mutually exclusive.

On a higher level, there are literal claims in the holy books that are obviously mutually exclusive with science (6 day creation, Noah's Ark etc.), but you say those don't count because most Christians don't take the Bible literally. In 2011, 3 in 10 did in the US. LINK And I thought the Quran states that it should be taken literally "It is He who has sent down to you, [O Muhammad], the Book; in it are verses [that are] precise –they are the foundation of the Book –and others unspecific."

I would argue that the history of religion is mutually exclusive with monotheistic religions. If god is the almighty, omnipresent, all-loving interventionist Christian god, it makes no sense that he gave the Aztecs no clue that they were barking up the wrong tree for hundreds of years, before slaughtering them with a band of Christians, the Conquistadors. That fits perfectly a world of man-made gods.

About probabilities, we don't even need to involve science. There are a gazillion interpretations of religions that are all mutually exclusive. So the probability of a particular interpretation being true is 1 in a gazillion, ie. zero beyond reasonable doubt.

Religion doesn't even make sense. It claims 100% accuracy, yet there is no empirical evidence, and it allows for interpretation. The allowable scope for interpretation is so wide that a 6 day creation story can be interpreted as a bang followed by the laws of physics acting out over 13 billion years.

Also, WTF is a miracle? A glitch in reality? A suspension of the laws of physics for a brief moment? The cynical among us would say it's a get-out-of-jail-free card, useful to explain anything too ridiculous for someone older than 4 to accept.

"Back to the physical, your complete faith in science providing truth is a little bewildering." I don't think it's an unreasonable thought if it is limited to this universe. By truth, I mean a description of our universe and how it works from the beginning to the end. Flat Earth theory made sense and was probably consistent with available evidence at the time - basically evidence limited to the surface of the Earth.

If we discover the Theory of Everything, it will be consistent with the available empirical evidence in the universe, from the beginning of time to the very end, from the smallest particle to dark matter and black holes. The idea that the Theory of Everything will fundamentally change quantum theory or relativity, is highly unlikely because both theories work so well, and together cover pretty much everything in this universe. We don't need a new theory to explain god.

"The idea, as I've already explained, is that they cover different ground and there's very rarely a head-to-head and certainly no mutual exclusivity in the key beliefs." Fundamentally, I think religion and science do cover the same ground. They are both trying to answer the big questions, why does anything exist? where did we come from? etc. And they are mutually exclusive unless the particular interpretation of a religion happens to match the scientific story.

"You'd expect that (God's) identity or existence wouldn't be questioned anywhere" . Whaaaat? That's another crazy Walter definition." If there is a single god, you'd expect him to let everybody know, otherwise they'll make up their own, and all hell breaks loose. So if god informed us of his existence, then we'd all be sure and get on with living. After all, no one questions the existence of the moon? That's because there's no controversy. And why should there be a controversy if there's only one god?

"Anyway, your conception of many multiple religions gradually blending into several key systems could equally be considered evidence for either there being multiple gods manifesting themselves in different ways …" I don't think so. Not equally. It is much more plausible that is the result of man made gods.

"OK you've changed the wording, even better. Speculation cannot be assumed to be 100% true. Brilliant. If that is the case, then logically the opposite is also true; speculation cannot be assumed to be 100% false. The fact is, you are as certain of your speculation as the religious are of theirs." What are you talking about? Every religion claims to be 100% true even though they are all speculation. Even Sagan would agree that is bullshit.

"No doubt I'm misrepresenting you ..." You do often misrepresent me. I'm not sure if you do it knowingly, or if I was not clear in the first place.

I challenge you to find any example of anything that you could reasonably conclude: it is beyond reasonable doubt that man did NOT create god, but god created man.

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Original comment

"You return time and again to the same old assumptions that we don't share. Religion and science are mutually exclusive? How? Please demonstrate, as this seems pivotal to your case." On a fundamental level, a science theory is never 100% true, a religious "theory" is always 100% true. The positions are mutually exclusive.

On a higher level, there are literal claims in the holy books that are obviously mutually exclusive with science (6 day creation, Noah's Ark etc.), but you say those don't count because most Christians don't take the Bible literally. In 2011, 3 in 10 did in the US. LINK And I thought the Quran states that it should be taken literally "It is He who has sent down to you, [O Muhammad], the Book; in it are verses [that are] precise –they are the foundation of the Book –and others unspecific."

I would argue that the history of religion is mutually exclusive with monotheistic religions. If god is the almighty, omnipresent, all-loving interventionist Christian god, it makes no sense that he gave the Aztecs no clue that they were barking up the wrong tree for hundreds of years, before slaughtering them with a band of Christians, the Conquistadors. That fits perfectly a world of man-made gods.

About probabilities, we don't even need to involve science. There are a gazillion interpretations of religions that are all mutually exclusive. So the probability of a particular interpretation being true is 1 in a gazillion, ie. zero beyond reasonable doubt.

Religion doesn't even make sense. It claims 100% accuracy, yet there is no empirical evidence, and it allows for interpretation. The allowable scope for interpretation is so wide that a 6 day creation story can be interpreted as a bang followed by the laws of physics acting out over 13 billion years.

Also, WTF is a miracle? A glitch in reality? A suspension of the laws of physics for a brief moment? The cynical among us would say it's a get-out-of-jail-free card, useful to explain anything too ridiculous for someone older than 4 to accept.

"Back to the physical, your complete faith in science providing truth is a little bewildering." I don't think it's an unreasonable thought if it is limited to this universe. By truth, I mean a description of our universe and how it works from the beginning to the end. Flat Earth theory made sense and was probably consistent with available evidence at the time - basically evidence limited to the surface of the Earth.

If we discover the Theory of Everything, it will be consistent with the available empirical evidence in the universe, from the beginning of time to the very end, from the smallest particle to dark matter and black holes. The idea that the Theory of Everything will fundamentally change quantum theory or relativity, is highly unlikely because both theories work so well, and together cover pretty much everything in this universe. We don't need a new theory to explain god.

"The idea, as I've already explained, is that they cover different ground and there's very rarely a head-to-head and certainly no mutual exclusivity in the key beliefs." Fundamentally, I think religion and science do cover the same ground. They are both trying to answer the big questions, why does anything exist? where did we come from? etc. And they are mutually exclusive unless the particular interpretation of a religion happens to match the scientific story.

"You'd expect that (God's) identity or existence wouldn't be questioned anywhere" . Whaaaat? That's another crazy Walter definition." If there is a single god, you'd expect him to let everybody know, otherwise they'll make up their own, and all hell breaks loose. So if god informed us of his existence, then we'd all be sure and get on with living. After all, no one questions the existence of the moon? That's because there's no controversy. And why should there be a controversy if there's only one god?

"Anyway, your conception of many multiple religions gradually blending into several key systems could equally be considered evidence for either there being multiple gods manifesting themselves in different ways …" I don't think so. Not equally. It is much more plausible that is the result of man made gods.

"OK you've changed the wording, even better. Speculation cannot be assumed to be 100% true. Brilliant. If that is the case, then logically the opposite is also true; speculation cannot be assumed to be 100% false. The fact is, you are as certain of your speculation as the religious are of theirs." What are you talking about? Every religion claims to be 100% true even though they are all speculation. Even Sagan would agree that is bullshit.

"No doubt I'm misrepresenting you ..." You do often misrepresent me. I'm not sure if you do it knowingly, or if I was not clear in the first place.

I challenge you to find any example of anything that you could reasonably conclude: it is beyond reasonable doubt that man did NOT create god, but god created man.

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Guest: Rufusz (688 days ago)

To be continued...

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To be continued...

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Guest: Rufuscz (682 days ago)
Latest comment:

Apologies for the delay - I've been away.

"On a fundamental level, a science theory is never 100% true, a religious "theory" is always 100% true." That's quite a controversial statement; can you say where you've found that definition? Surely some parts of scientific theory (water is 2 hydrogen and 1 oxygen atom) are presented as 100% true more often than some parts of religious interpretations (Jesus didn't want female disciples). As you've been saying, there are many interpretations of both, so claiming religion only offers a single absolute truth is nonsense.

OK you seem to have sent me a link to rather perfunctory poll that still backs up what I was saying - that most Christians do not take the whole Bible literally. For the survey to be genuinely useful, it would be asking which parts they take literally. I'm sure the numbers would be even smaller if you were only talking about the Old Testament - and once again, that seems to be the only parts you feel equipped to challenge ( "6 day creation, Noah's ark ").

A miracle presumably is an act of God or a divine being. It'd be hard to understand how anything could be identified as a divine being without some such act, don't you think? "If there is a single god, you'd expect him to let everybody know". Again, another very basic misunderstanding. Like I've said, it is an integral part in the religions that I've studied that there ARE non-believers, and therefore it is a test of faith etc. You seem to be arguing against a very particular type of god - one that would intervene all the time, that would be all powerful and would therefore have to let everyone know. An interventionist god with a bit of an ego maybe. Bizarre. Weren't you trying to argue against *all* possible gods?

"There are a gazillion interpretations of religions that are all mutually exclusive. So the probability of a particular interpretation being true is 1 in a gazillion" . Yep you've shown you really don't understand probability. That's not how it works, not remotely. I feel it'd take a week to explain this. Briefly, if your name was actually Walter, me listing every other name that you could have does not alter the probability of Walter really being your name. I could also list names of biscuits, and say that it's technically possible you were named after a biscuit, and that would be mutually exclusive of you being called Walter too, so all those biscuits reduce your likelihood of being named Walter. Etc. Etc. Etc. The number of mutually exclusive theories does not necessarily affect whether a single one of them is more or less likely.

We basically disagree about the remit of science and religion. I think that's why you struggle with metaphysical beliefs - because you think ultimately they should be talking about the physical, or that they try to describe the empirical world. Of course, they fail to do so. But equally, I would say science fails to answer the why questions, and only looks at how. It doesn't address the human condition, but my view is that it doesn't need to.

I have explained that I will find no evidence to prove "it is beyond reasonable doubt that man did NOT create god ", and that you will find no evidence to prove the contrary. So no, neither would wash in a court of law, and no verdict would be returned. I suppose, the only irony is that as there are more theists in the world than atheists, if you were ever to reach a verdict with a jury system it would probably be in favour of there being a god. Just saying.

"The fact is, you are as certain of your speculation as the religious are of theirs." What are you talking about?" This is the clincher Walter. You imply every religious person would claim their beliefs are 100% true. Possible. I say that the same is true of every atheist, yourself included. My point (and that of Sagan), is that both firm belief and disbelief in a god are two extremes of unjustifiable metaphysical speculation . By being so sure of your speculation, you've accidentally ended up in the same camp as those you're criticising.

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Apologies for the delay - I've been away.

"On a fundamental level, a science theory is never 100% true, a religious "theory" is always 100% true." That's quite a controversial statement; can you say where you've found that definition? Surely some parts of scientific theory (water is 2 hydrogen and 1 oxygen atom) are presented as 100% true more often than some parts of religious interpretations (Jesus didn't want female disciples). As you've been saying, there are many interpretations of both, so claiming religion only offers a single absolute truth is nonsense.

OK you seem to have sent me a link to rather perfunctory poll that still backs up what I was saying - that most Christians do not take the whole Bible literally. For the survey to be genuinely useful, it would be asking which parts they take literally. I'm sure the numbers would be even smaller if you were only talking about the Old Testament - and once again, that seems to be the only parts you feel equipped to challenge ( "6 day creation, Noah's ark ").

A miracle presumably is an act of God or a divine being. It'd be hard to understand how anything could be identified as a divine being without some such act, don't you think? "If there is a single god, you'd expect him to let everybody know". Again, another very basic misunderstanding. Like I've said, it is an integral part in the religions that I've studied that there ARE non-believers, and therefore it is a test of faith etc. You seem to be arguing against a very particular type of god - one that would intervene all the time, that would be all powerful and would therefore have to let everyone know. An interventionist god with a bit of an ego maybe. Bizarre. Weren't you trying to argue against *all* possible gods?

"There are a gazillion interpretations of religions that are all mutually exclusive. So the probability of a particular interpretation being true is 1 in a gazillion" . Yep you've shown you really don't understand probability. That's not how it works, not remotely. I feel it'd take a week to explain this. Briefly, if your name was actually Walter, me listing every other name that you could have does not alter the probability of Walter really being your name. I could also list names of biscuits, and say that it's technically possible you were named after a biscuit, and that would be mutually exclusive of you being called Walter too, so all those biscuits reduce your likelihood of being named Walter. Etc. Etc. Etc. The number of mutually exclusive theories does not necessarily affect whether a single one of them is more or less likely.

We basically disagree about the remit of science and religion. I think that's why you struggle with metaphysical beliefs - because you think ultimately they should be talking about the physical, or that they try to describe the empirical world. Of course, they fail to do so. But equally, I would say science fails to answer the why questions, and only looks at how. It doesn't address the human condition, but my view is that it doesn't need to.

I have explained that I will find no evidence to prove "it is beyond reasonable doubt that man did NOT create god ", and that you will find no evidence to prove the contrary. So no, neither would wash in a court of law, and no verdict would be returned. I suppose, the only irony is that as there are more theists in the world than atheists, if you were ever to reach a verdict with a jury system it would probably be in favour of there being a god. Just saying.

"The fact is, you are as certain of your speculation as the religious are of theirs." What are you talking about?" This is the clincher Walter. You imply every religious person would claim their beliefs are 100% true. Possible. I say that the same is true of every atheist, yourself included. My point (and that of Sagan), is that both firm belief and disbelief in a god are two extremes of unjustifiable metaphysical speculation . By being so sure of your speculation, you've accidentally ended up in the same camp as those you're criticising.

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Guest: Cader (690 days ago)

To be honest I couldn't be bothered to read the whole post from both you guys but here is an example of why your thinking is completely flawed and why you need to study logic as a science.

"So now we have 3 competing hypotheses:

1. God flicked the switch 13 billion years ago and the universe unfolded according to Islam.

2. God flicked the switch 13 billion years ago and the universe unfolded according to Christianity.

3. The Big Bang happened 13 billion years ago and we're still trying to figure out how.

So which hypotheses is most probable? 1 and 2 can't both be true, but they can both be wrong"

Ummm, isn't statement 1) God created the world via the big bang and point 2) is God created the world via the big bang............. They are the same point. It's like saying " Peter said God created the world" and then saying "John said God created the world" and having them as 2 different theories... Just rubbish. Complete rubbish. Also why are the first 2 "God just flicked the switch......" and how come point 3 isn't "no-one flicked a switch. There was nothing. Then there was something....from nothing. We came from nothing. All this happened by chance because.......I have no idea actually. I just don't want to believe in a God because I think I'm too intelligent"

For someone trying to talk like an intellectual .......blah. Plato, Socrates etc would take one look at you and not even bother answering.

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Original comment

To be honest I couldn't be bothered to read the whole post from both you guys but here is an example of why your thinking is completely flawed and why you need to study logic as a science.

"So now we have 3 competing hypotheses:

1. God flicked the switch 13 billion years ago and the universe unfolded according to Islam.

2. God flicked the switch 13 billion years ago and the universe unfolded according to Christianity.

3. The Big Bang happened 13 billion years ago and we're still trying to figure out how.

So which hypotheses is most probable? 1 and 2 can't both be true, but they can both be wrong"

Ummm, isn't statement 1) God created the world via the big bang and point 2) is God created the world via the big bang............. They are the same point. It's like saying " Peter said God created the world" and then saying "John said God created the world" and having them as 2 different theories... Just rubbish. Complete rubbish. Also why are the first 2 "God just flicked the switch......" and how come point 3 isn't "no-one flicked a switch. There was nothing. Then there was something....from nothing. We came from nothing. All this happened by chance because.......I have no idea actually. I just don't want to believe in a God because I think I'm too intelligent"

For someone trying to talk like an intellectual .......blah. Plato, Socrates etc would take one look at you and not even bother answering.

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (688 days ago)

If you can't be bothered to read the whole post, fair enough, but don't pick out a bit and say it is illogical without understanding the context.

"There was nothing. Then there was something....from nothing. We came from nothing. All this happened by chance because.......I have no idea actually." Nothing should even exist because logically, how can anything start from nothing. Perhaps the biggest of the big questions is "why does anything exist at all?"

It's looking like nothing is actually something. Laurence Krauss explains: LINK

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If you can't be bothered to read the whole post, fair enough, but don't pick out a bit and say it is illogical without understanding the context.

"There was nothing. Then there was something....from nothing. We came from nothing. All this happened by chance because.......I have no idea actually." Nothing should even exist because logically, how can anything start from nothing. Perhaps the biggest of the big questions is "why does anything exist at all?"

It's looking like nothing is actually something. Laurence Krauss explains: LINK

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Guest: Cader (698 days ago)

He isn't someone who converted from extremism to reasonableness. He's an a**hole. His basic role is to break down true Islamic religion in England. If that's what he wants to do then that is fine but he does it pretending to be a 'reasonable Muslim'. And btw if we had true Islamic religion in England then we would have even less idiots running off to Syria or commiting crime.

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He isn't someone who converted from extremism to reasonableness. He's an a**hole. His basic role is to break down true Islamic religion in England. If that's what he wants to do then that is fine but he does it pretending to be a 'reasonable Muslim'. And btw if we had true Islamic religion in England then we would have even less idiots running off to Syria or commiting crime.

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (697 days ago)

You said: "if we had true Islamic religion in England then we would have even less idiots running off to Syria"

Are you suggesting that idiots are running off to Syria because they can't find the true Islamic religion in England, but they can in Syria?

By "true Islamic religion", do you mean a version that includes Sharia law?

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You said: "if we had true Islamic religion in England then we would have even less idiots running off to Syria"

Are you suggesting that idiots are running off to Syria because they can't find the true Islamic religion in England, but they can in Syria?

By "true Islamic religion", do you mean a version that includes Sharia law?

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Guest: Cader (692 days ago)

Yes that is what I'm saying. The people going don't know what Islam is about. If Muslims in this country knew what Islam teaches some would become much better people and no doubt some would even leave the religion.

The problem is these people going to Syria are following their desires and are given a 'religious loophole' to go over. The only problem is there isn't a religious loophole, just a loophole in their flawed thinking and knowledge.

They are going over to be Bruce Willis and Arnie that they see in the movies.

Now if you want to say Muslim society in this country is to blame, then 100% no-one can argue against that point, although we are talking about a VERY small % who actually even consider going over and a smaller % trying it.

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Yes that is what I'm saying. The people going don't know what Islam is about. If Muslims in this country knew what Islam teaches some would become much better people and no doubt some would even leave the religion.

The problem is these people going to Syria are following their desires and are given a 'religious loophole' to go over. The only problem is there isn't a religious loophole, just a loophole in their flawed thinking and knowledge.

They are going over to be Bruce Willis and Arnie that they see in the movies.

Now if you want to say Muslim society in this country is to blame, then 100% no-one can argue against that point, although we are talking about a VERY small % who actually even consider going over and a smaller % trying it.

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (692 days ago)

All Muslims believe their interpretation is true Islam. That's the nature of religion.

I don't think it's a given that "true Islam" is the interpretation closest to the literal words of the Quran, Hadith, whatever. Isn't it just as valid to say "true Islam" is the interpretation accepted by the biggest group, ie. moderates?

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All Muslims believe their interpretation is true Islam. That's the nature of religion.

I don't think it's a given that "true Islam" is the interpretation closest to the literal words of the Quran, Hadith, whatever. Isn't it just as valid to say "true Islam" is the interpretation accepted by the biggest group, ie. moderates?

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Guest: Cader (692 days ago)

"All Muslims believe their interpretation is true Islam. That's the nature of religion" of course. No-one would say I have a false interpretation of Islam and I'm going to follow it, but here is the interesting point. How many people are following something and then interpret everything else around that? A LOT of people (religious or non-religious).

The thing about Islam is, you don't have to have the same interpretation as someone else for your 'version' to be valid. All you have to do is have an interpretation where there are no contrasictions, false claims or right out damned lies. If you can do that, then not a single scholar, Sheikh or whoever can argue against you. That is where groups like ISIS fall flat on their faces. Even when hand picking extracts and deciding when sentences start and finish from the Qu'ran still doesn't explain the other verses that contradict what they believe.

So does the Qu'ran have contradictions? Well no because when you put all those pieces together and recognise the language, grammar, time, place, who, etc etc they actually don't contradict each other. Some are just very clear and open and others are limited to other factors at which they were mentioned.

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"All Muslims believe their interpretation is true Islam. That's the nature of religion" of course. No-one would say I have a false interpretation of Islam and I'm going to follow it, but here is the interesting point. How many people are following something and then interpret everything else around that? A LOT of people (religious or non-religious).

The thing about Islam is, you don't have to have the same interpretation as someone else for your 'version' to be valid. All you have to do is have an interpretation where there are no contrasictions, false claims or right out damned lies. If you can do that, then not a single scholar, Sheikh or whoever can argue against you. That is where groups like ISIS fall flat on their faces. Even when hand picking extracts and deciding when sentences start and finish from the Qu'ran still doesn't explain the other verses that contradict what they believe.

So does the Qu'ran have contradictions? Well no because when you put all those pieces together and recognise the language, grammar, time, place, who, etc etc they actually don't contradict each other. Some are just very clear and open and others are limited to other factors at which they were mentioned.

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (692 days ago)

There seem to be loads of contradictions in the Quran. Just google it.

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There seem to be loads of contradictions in the Quran. Just google it.

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Guest: Cader (692 days ago)

Yes there are lots of contradications IF you don't have any knowledge of time, place, situation, Arabic, grammar, rhetoric, logic (ie- the traditional Islamic sciences) etc etc. That is why if a person reads a passage from the Qu'ran in relation to actions they aren't allowed to act on it unless they have a qualified scholar relay to them the meaning of the verse and how they should act on it.

It's like reading something on 'doctor google' about SLE and thinking you know more than a rheumatologist consultant. That is the day and age we live in.

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Yes there are lots of contradications IF you don't have any knowledge of time, place, situation, Arabic, grammar, rhetoric, logic (ie- the traditional Islamic sciences) etc etc. That is why if a person reads a passage from the Qu'ran in relation to actions they aren't allowed to act on it unless they have a qualified scholar relay to them the meaning of the verse and how they should act on it.

It's like reading something on 'doctor google' about SLE and thinking you know more than a rheumatologist consultant. That is the day and age we live in.

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Guest: Rufuscz (692 days ago)

I'm afraid Cader you are arguing with a man who knows very little about any religion, refuses to learn any more, and handpicks whichever google results confirm his bias. The guy literally doesn't know the difference between the hadiths and the qu'ran, so I'm afraid it's a bit of an uphill battle.

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I'm afraid Cader you are arguing with a man who knows very little about any religion, refuses to learn any more, and handpicks whichever google results confirm his bias. The guy literally doesn't know the difference between the hadiths and the qu'ran, so I'm afraid it's a bit of an uphill battle.

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Guest: Cader (692 days ago)

I'm not here to argue with someone to "win". He's raising points and I'm responding. So far he's been respectful in how he answers (as I feel I am being in the way i'm answering). In my book that equals a discussion.

If either of us gain anything from it then there's no loss. If not, then maybe others who are reading will.

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I'm not here to argue with someone to "win". He's raising points and I'm responding. So far he's been respectful in how he answers (as I feel I am being in the way i'm answering). In my book that equals a discussion.

If either of us gain anything from it then there's no loss. If not, then maybe others who are reading will.

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Guest: Rufuscz (691 days ago)

I didn't mention winning, nor a lack of respect (though he has been known to chuck around a few choice insults!).

I was merely saying that presenting a sound argument about a religious text to someone who doesn't understand / want to understand the premises results in circular debate and not a whole lot of conclusions. It was intended as a jovial warning, not a prohibition.

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I didn't mention winning, nor a lack of respect (though he has been known to chuck around a few choice insults!).

I was merely saying that presenting a sound argument about a religious text to someone who doesn't understand / want to understand the premises results in circular debate and not a whole lot of conclusions. It was intended as a jovial warning, not a prohibition.

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Guest: Cader (691 days ago)

And at the moment his points are being made invalid. If him or others reading the conversation want to validate invalid points then nothing I can do about that.

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And at the moment his points are being made invalid. If him or others reading the conversation want to validate invalid points then nothing I can do about that.

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (692 days ago)

How do you know I'm a man? Without verifiable empirical evidence, you're only guessing. It might be an educated guess, but it's still a guess.

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How do you know I'm a man? Without verifiable empirical evidence, you're only guessing. It might be an educated guess, but it's still a guess.

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (699 days ago)

I wonder how many people convert from extremism to reasonableness (like Maajid Nawaz), compared with the other way round.

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I wonder how many people convert from extremism to reasonableness (like Maajid Nawaz), compared with the other way round.

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