"If you can prove God exists, I'll resign"
December 29, 2019 at 8:57 pm #29609
I feel like a virtual babe in the philosophical woods here, so let me get a couple of naive observations/questions out of the way. (Tongue in cheek.)
Is all sophistry specious?
Is it wrong to like the initials “UC” in this conversation because it fits so well with “UC Berkeley”?
Now, I hate name-calling, but calling one elitist here doesn’t bother me much right after one insists that one who genuinely believes in God should also admit to everyone else here that religion is a cancer on civilization. I wouldn’t even explain religion like that to my kids, and they both grew to become a couple of fine, benevolent and beautifully positive atheists in spite of myself never acting toward them like a preachy atheist. (And I’ll bet our dear atheist compatriot @simon would agree. Granted, religion wasn’t the most benevolent way to spark such progress, but it was the fastest. Religion went even more viral when religious memes and dogmas met the printing press, and “civilization’s” various war machines.
I am not justifying religion as a method, but merely pointing out its historical importance. I choose not (at least at this time) to declare a value judgment over the era of invented religions during an era of our cultural evolution. Look how crazy we can get in modern culture when attempting to discuss topics by overthinking them. We continually out-create previous myths. We assign human-transcendental notions of purpose, morality, consciousness, and so forth divine origins, because we can’t yet explain them with science. Our reasonings are naturally flawed, ever since our large brains gained the ability to make up all kinds of shit, only sometimes landing on a laudable understanding or explanation of reality. Hopefully we can learn to intellectually and culturally evolve beyond such foolish beginnings, which are not just religious in nature.
So here’s my Big Picture take, with capital letters to gild it; my Most Excellent Pronouncement, Y’all. Yo, woke it:
Human brains and consciousness evolved, not from some ethereal essence that pre-existed out here in the Universe before biologics and then humans became the biggest story on Earth. Human consciousness later insinuated itself into the newly discovered Physical Universe, and called itself “enlightened”.
But Consciousness didn’t start with God, either, or at least not until some self-centered intellectualists or anti-intellectualists invented God and said so. (Mr. Perfect God, aka Universal Source, endowed humans with Free Will, either not realizing how His pitiful mortals would instinctually screw themselves, or realizing it, planning it, and enjoying His Tragic Comedy unfold, headlong toward Apocalypse, Dystopianism, and of course Classic Hell.)
God, UC (and some say EU), mathematics, cubism, trance music, even some psychotropics that can shape our conscious experiences are merely human constructs (as in “made up”); humanly invented. They did not need a pre-existing force or eternal personality to get started. All it took was a bit of conscious, human creativity, and sometimes random opportunities or accidental discoveries, like magical mushrooms or rainbows from prisms. So says Pope Beanie, and so it is true.
Now, in the context of “proof or disproof of God”, or “proof or disproof of UC”… this may be a handicap of mine, but I personally cannot function (or do not care to function) productively while spending time on such proofs or disproofs. In fact I can’t understand why so many people dedicate themselves to believing in feelings that only they and a few nearby companions believe in and can trade inspirational stories about. [Dangling prepositions notwithstanding.]
Scientists, on the other hand, aim to find and describe truth and discoveries that anyone in the world can understand and duplicate, if they’re so motivated. Scientists don’t claim to know absolute truth about everything, and certainly can’t claim to know one iota about concepts like God, UC, or what it would feel like to have the brain of an ant. At least not real scientists. So in many modern [and post-modern, i.e. a shout out to @davis] discussions, there is a clear disconnect between Science, and philosophies, religions, idealisms and so on. Come on, please, y’all must respect NOMA (as Stephen Jay Gould first advocated).
Narcissistic sociopaths and authoritarians with their fake news orgs bury real science with pseudoscience. But then so too do woo worshippers. (Hashtag SoTooDoWooers. Hashtag ShroomerDude. Hashtag TrumpersVersusShroomersApocalypse.)
But seriously, we take ourselves and consciousness too seriously. I think we should sit back, relax, and watch it unfold in fMRIs, TCS, OBEs, hypoxic episodes whether sexual or unintended, ESP, EEGs, MDMA, LSD, and enjoy all the loony theories, myths, and cosmological origins it invents for itself. And program Inevitable AI to reboot a heat dead universe to start it all over again. Hashtag DefinitePurposeAI.
Almost forgot to respond to a common misconception: Science doesn’t just “change”, it updates itself, unlike static dogma. Newtonian Physics was a stroke of mathematical genius that worked extremely well for science for centuries, and then Einstein updated it and refined it with new observations and theory that Newton could never even have dreamed of. (Newton also dedicated himself to understanding Early Christianity, believing in God and defining his anti-mainstream but Christian beliefs, keeping such views private and separate from is published science.) Medicine updated from using leeches to antibiotics, while ironically, leeches are still sometimes useful. These are not revelations from a divine source of absolute truth, but from hard work and documentation subject to peer review and ultimately subject to continued reality checking and refinement. Science does not claim to explain everything, but only more and more, by trading empirical data and reproducible methods around the globe, regardless of (and often in spite of) impositions of authoritarian theologists and other belief systems.December 29, 2019 at 8:58 pm #29610
@Reg I think we just posted at the same time lol so in that LONG list what precisely is your point as it relates to MY point which is that you cannot use the “scientific method” to prove (or even produce evidence for) God.December 29, 2019 at 9:06 pm #29611
Blaming religion for bad behavior is like the alcoholic who gets drunk and punches holes through the wall saying, “the alcohol made me do it!” C’mon really? It’s like take some responsibility and stop blaming some man-made noun for all of the worlds woes. There are people who do great things and people who do horrible things all in the name of (Insert God of your choice here), so….it’s not the religion that is “doing something to the person,” it’s the person acting like an asshole and blaming the alcohol (ahem) I mean the religion for their bad behavior. Tell me where I’m wrong.December 29, 2019 at 9:13 pm #29612
@jake there is a HUGE difference between “Observation of the natural world,” and legit scientific methodology that is peer reviewed. And if your worldview places all your confidence in the outcomes of the miniscule amount of information we have been able to gain from science, then your basically cutting yourself off to the wisdom our ancient cultures all over the world have brought forth through the generations and that’s a real shame.December 29, 2019 at 9:44 pm #29613
@ivy, I do understand your point that bad people will always do bad things in whatever circumstances. But I think that your analogy of alcohol is accurate: religion can sometimes have its own special way of bringing out the worst in people – just like football matches can produce violence in the crowds, for example.December 29, 2019 at 10:17 pm #29614
Reg the Fronkey FarmerModerator
@Reg I think we just posted at the same time lol so in that LONG list what precisely is your point as it relates to MY point which is that you cannot use the “scientific method” to prove (or even produce evidence for) God.
Why do you keep talking about proof? My post shows how religions hindered the progress of science for 1500 years. In many places it still does.December 29, 2019 at 10:30 pm #29615
You asked me to explain how it is seculars have culture and what the hell i mean by THAT. I did not and still do not understand what you mean by that question. How is it germane? So i defined culture for you. I let you know that even other primates have rudimentary culture. So if other primates have culture secular humans have culture.
Of course it has occurred to me that humans have always done bad things. Undoubtedly you will find atheists who are assholes, pricks, selfish, elitists, rapists, murderers etc. However, it is undeniable that religion makes people worse than they would be without it. Watch that tape. Think about it. 1.8 billion muslims. That is a shit ton percent of humans. And i think most muslims would agree with the instruction/sentiment. Polls i have read reveal how astonishingly backwards muslims are in that they subscribe to their religion. I assume you are not in favor of a woman being beaten by her husband with hand or rod. Now lets assume that those fetuses that grow up to be Muslims had been born into a secular culture where such primitive and despicable behavior is reviled. Don’t you think fewer of those men would be rapists/wife beaters? As a consequence of their more enlightened behavior fewer children would be traumatized and the more enlightened sentiment and behavior would be cast forward. THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT RELIGION MAKES PEOPLE DO HORRIBLE THINGS AND HAVE LESSER CHARACTER than they would otherwise.
Yes, of course their is a different culture among seculars. It is not monolithic, however. If you ask other atheist/humanist/seculars what separates them from religious culture you would get different answers. I am giving you my value judgment.
I did not indicate that atheists/seculars have discovered what is true. I simply elucidated the obvious superiority of science to religion as a way of discovering what is true. See Reg’s recent post for a much more in depth coverage of the issue.
The cellular level comment is me explaining the metaphor. Religion is cancer. Hell yeah!December 29, 2019 at 10:42 pm #29616
I take exception to your characterization of the relative offensiveness of calling me elitist v. me calling religion a cancer. A theist can believe in god and still recognize religion as a cancer. In fact i have met a number of such individuals. It is demonstrably true. If you want to sanitize religion that is your business. But it is an anachronism and we would be well served to see it as such.
In fact i grew up to despise racism and elitism. Anybody who knows me would deny i am an elitist. I also should point out that nobody takes umbrage when we upbraid despicable behavior divorced of or not couched in religion. Lets say raping, murdering, stealing from the poor. whatever. But the holy fuck religion that enables and causes bad behavior we or some of us recoil at the thought of offending those who do their little part in perpetuating it. Further, it should be pointed out that religious people have not been shy about their beliefs to the detriment of those they do not approve.December 29, 2019 at 10:47 pm #29617
Ivy, religion definitely causes bad behavior. It uses brain washing or indoctrination to instill its poison. It poisons the individual and it poisons the culture.
At some point perhaps some advanced secular civilization being aware of the neurological impossibility of many young children resisting the indoctrination will require parents to wait until their kids brains are more fully capable of questioning. 12 or 13 years old..sumpin like datDecember 29, 2019 at 10:52 pm #29618
the obvious superiority of science to religion as a way of discovering what is true.
But religion isn’t there to discover what is true, necessarily. It’s there for spiritual matters, among other things. Another thing is promoting norms.December 29, 2019 at 10:57 pm #29619
I never denied there is a huge difference between observation of natural world and modern science.
I am open to wisdom/truth whatever its source. There are primitive people who have medicine that is effective. Religion gives us the golden rule. So does common sense or reason but i approve of it.
My world view is a result of everything i have read and observed. I reject superstition, spiritualism, mythology, new age, and other such.December 29, 2019 at 11:00 pm #29620
Are you sure about that?
If religion is not there to discover what is true, it certainly has done its part in preventing nonreligious from discovering what is true. It has done enough murdering of those who contradict its version of truth.December 29, 2019 at 11:07 pm #29621
Providing a view of the cosmos, and explanations for mysterious events, was only one of the functions of religion, and one that has gradually been given up, to the benefit of all, including religion, which probably now looks less silly as a result.
There are other functions of religion that remain in the modern world, that are not to do with scientific truth. For example, spiritual matters, regulating people, holding weddings and funerals.December 29, 2019 at 11:10 pm #29622
@Reg okay now I understand your point and I agree. But what I don’t agree with is black and white thinking. Saying something is “good” or “bad” such as saying “religion is like a cancer.” That completely undermines all of the good things that the church has done and continues to do around the world. I would argue that the people in charge who stifled the growth of science and were too closed minded to see the errors of their ways, it’s their fault for being so stupid. But you can’t honestly say that everyone thought that way. You can put the responsibility of the people who did bad things and made those bad decisions.December 29, 2019 at 11:13 pm #29623
@jake you keep saying words like “cancer” and “poison” which is extreme language to describe what you deem as “indoctrination” etc….But you are the one who is sounding like you’ve been brainwashed. Just sayin.’ Any time you start invoking this sort of “us vs. them” mentality, you’re becoming the very thing you claim to be against.
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