Sunday School

Sunday School September 4th 2022

This topic contains 22 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Simon Paynton 2 weeks, 5 days ago.

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    A Texas school only wants to indoctrinate children with their version of god so I hope they get the chance of attending After School Satan clubs to cure them of the delusion.

    FFRF agnostic student billboard creates ripples in Sacramento.

    This article on belief is….OK, you decide?

    Justice Alito’s Crusade against a Secular America isn’t over and he will be helped by the Apostle of Right-Wing Christian Nationalism.

    Thou shall not give public money to a private, Christian school, SC lawmakers.

    Stand in ‘firm solidarity’ with victims of violence based on religion or belief, urges UN chief.

    World of Woo: Is Olive Oil Good Medicine?

    Environment: 2021 was an alarming year for climate extremes.

    The world is getting exponentially more complex – here’s how we navigate it.

    Rebooting Critical Thinking.

    The ethical problems with AI bias.

    Long Reads: Inside the theatre of nightmares.  Japan and single use plastic. The human species has been walking for millions of years. Karl Popper and the link between certainty and extremism. ‘Our souls are dead’: how I survived a Chinese ‘re-education’ camp for Uyghurs.

    Sunday Book Club:  The Human Predicament: A candid guide to life’s biggest questions.

    Some photographs taken last week.

    While you are waiting for the kettle to boil.

    Podcast: Ask me anything with Sean Carroll.

    Coffee Break Video:  The Tree of Life. Can machines be emotionally intelligent?


    Have a great week everyone!



    Thanks, Reg 🙂



    This article on belief is….OK, you decide?

    From the article:

    More to the point, they claim that the more they understand the world through their science, the more they admire God. To them, science is a form of religious devotion. Many great historical thinkers have shared this position, and many still do. What irks more aggressive secular thinkers is that they consider this in-between approach to be inconsistent with the tenets of science.

    Now, if someone holds a personal belief that their god and science are mutually compatible, I don’t care. The idea that science reveals some insight to or evidence of a god is wishful thinking perhaps. God inserts an unnecessary variable with no explanatory power. Why bother if you didn’t start from the perspective of being a believer in the first place?

    In reality, religion and science do overlap. They intersect in people’s minds, in their life choices, and in the difficult moral challenges society faces. To strictly deny the power of religion in the world, with billions following a diversity of faiths while they seek a sense of identity and purpose in difficult lives, is terribly naive, and frankly, cruel.

    While that is true, it’s not actually a contradiction of what proceeded. Scientific method, information generated by scientific method, human perception and interpretation of that knowledge, and the space it holds in a person’s life are all different things.

    Coffee and cars intersect in my mind, in my life choices, and in my pursuit of joy in life. And yet I don’t think this means the person working at the local café is well-served by also being an auto mechanic. Doesn’t mean it’s bad for them to be both, but neither does it mean the disciplines of making a great latte and keeping my car running are overlapping in any meaningful or useful way.

    Belief is an essential need for all humans. It is not just about God or ghosts.
    Science extends its reach into all aspects of the world, but its reach is not unlimited. We have to choose how to deal with what we cannot know.
    This is where belief comes in. It fills the space of the unknown so that we can sustain our sense of purpose.

    So, the ‘key takeaways’ version is something I agree with. Belief is necessary. Even when we account for what science does know, no human can verify and assimilate all of that knowledge, so belief of some sort fills in that gap. Either that or ignorance/ indifference. Does that sustain our sense of purpose? Eh… it lets us have one in the absence of omniscience, I guess. “Purpose” is such a flimsy concept absent context.

    It’s just ‘belief’ itself has little intrinsic value without considering what that belief is about. Certainly some beliefs or some patterns of belief are more concerning than others. Some are less warranted than others, perhaps. So the need for belief doesn’t really draw a clean line to a need for religious belief per se.



    Fellow Unbelievers,

    Happy Labor Day Weekend, Everyone, and Happy Preparedness Month!

    Here’s to the only life that there is and to preserving everything that make it both possible and worth living!

    It is especially timely to think about Preparedness, since between natural disasters, tyranny, war, inflation, shortages, unemployment, and general irrationality, you can basically pick-and-choose your own SHTF (Shit Hits The Fan) scenario to survive and overcome! May we all choose well!

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 5 days ago by  TheEncogitationer. Reason: Spelling and punctuation


    I didn’t know preparedness month was a thing. I do need to re-sort my emergency supplies.




    As much as we’ve experienced in the past generation alone, not to mention the past century, too many U.S. citizens also don’t know or piffle away the necessity of Disaster Preparedness.

    Apocalyptic Religionists and “reality” TV have given it a bad name as well. But really, all Disaster Preparedness is just acknowledging that “LIfe Is Good” and “Shit Happens” plus planing and acting accordingly.

    And the disasters most likely to hit are not Global in scale, but ones that hit the fewest number on a daily basis, e.g. inclimate weather, an auto breakdown, unemployment, a household accident, a medical condition, crime, etc. Yet too few think ahead about these too.



    For the most part, my camping supplies do the trick. I have stores of food that could last me for quite some time, water, water purification, basic first aid, stove and fuel, lights/ batteries, sleeping bag extra blankets etc. I don’t have the space to be a doomsday prepper, but certainly I could last for some time should a, let’s say, ice storm pass through and knock out the grid. The infrastructure here wasn’t really made for severe weather.




    Sounds like you have the basic disaster commonalities that people need in most disaster situations until normalcy is restored. That is very resourceful.

    Every square inch of Earth is prone to some form of natural and/or man-made disaster or exegency. In the Southern States of the U.S., we have both crumbling infrastructure and too many people who cannot properly drive in Winter storms. And when someone whispers “snow,” everyone flocks to stores for bread and milk, so right there, Preparedness is not a strong suit, which makes them potentially dangerous liabilities for people who are prepared for long-term threats.

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 3 days ago by  TheEncogitationer. Reason: Addendum

    Simon Paynton

    “In reality, religion and science do overlap.”

    I can think of one way in which they overlap.  The healing power of the human body.  This is like God’s unconditional love, “the rain that falls on the just and the unjust”.

    Of course, religion being the contradictory thing it is, we all know that God only loves Christians and not atheists, because atheists “hate God”.  This conditional love takes over after people die.

    Anyway, I think this kind of idea is one of the things that gives religious people the inspiration to keep believing in God.  They really hate it when you point out how scientific it is.


    Can anyone tell me what religious discoveries have benefited humanity in the last 20 years?

    I can hardly ever debate a theist that will not introduce scientific topics into the conversation almost immediately. Within a minute I know that they have no idea about what they are talking about.



    @simon. Gods unconditional love (with the torture chamber in the basement but we won’t mention that)???

    The rain it falleth on the just, and on the unjust fella
    But chiefly on the just, because the unjust stole the just’s umbrella.





    I surmise with my fries that a scientific bent is how it went when observing torture in its excruciating desserts for the heretic. In that way science won the day. The Malleus Maleficarum makes the victim squirm before the delights of the harem. And man that shit would scare em.

    In every other one needn’t discover the strident lover-the dictates of the day as torture was only foreplay.




    Can anyone tell me what religious discoveries have benefited humanity in the last 20 years?

    I can hardly ever debate a theist that will not introduce scientific topics into the conversation almost immediately. Within a minute I know that they have no idea about what they are talking about.

    I have actually heard people seriously claim that the Scientific Revolution was Christian because it happened in predominantly Christian societies.

    I’m sure they’d also say the same thing about the light bulb, even though the inventor Thomas Alva Edison said in no uncertain terms that: “All religion is bunk.”. 💡😁

    One has to ask also why didn’t The Scientific Revolution occur during that Christendom-dominated period known as The Dark Ages?

    And from another end, I’ve heard Muslims praise Islam because the Islamic World had a boom in science while Christendom was in The Dark Ages.

    Of course, the reason this happened had nothing to do with Islam. The two major cities of the Islamic world besides Mecca and Medina were Baghdad in modern-day Iraq and Cordoba in Spain. These were hub cities with trade in goods and ideas from the entire known world of the time, so of course they would have greater access to scientific ideas.

    Also, the greatest scientific Minds of the Islamic world, Omar Khayyam, Ibn Warraq, Ar-Razr, and others were not Muslim, but closeted Freethinkers and Apostates.

    Finally, with the Islamic scientific boom seen through the lens of what we see of Islam today, one naturally has to ask:

    Neil DeGrasse Tyson provides the answer:

    While numbers were actually Sanskrit in origin and imported to the rest of the world via Baghdad, the jist of what Tyson says is correct. Without respect for use of numbers and with the demonization of numbers, we can’t quantify our findings and we can’t calculate the implications or possibilities they hold and no real science is possible.

    In short, religion claiming the mantle of science and all of it’s benefits to mankind is one great big Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc Fallacy…What Edison called “bunk.”

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 2 days ago by  TheEncogitationer. Reason: Correcting Auto fill


    “In reality, religion and science do overlap.”

    I can think of one way in which they overlap. The healing power of the human body. This is like God’s unconditional love, “the rain that falls on the just and the unjust”.

    It’s a shame this doesn’t have much practical value. In the worst cases, there are those that fail to seek medical attention for treatable conditions favouring faith healing, prayer, the will of God. As a personal choice, it’s unfortunate, but when that choice is made for others it’s quite a problem. Granted, this is fairly extreme and actually not unique to Christianity or even religion.

    I haven’t looked into it in some time, but last I read a meta analysis of studies indicated positive thinking didn’t have an effect on health outcomes. One might thing prayer (coupled with medical treatment) might work well together, but probably they don’t. Perhaps for some it alleviates stress or might reduce anxiety, however. I guess that’s a plus if it happens. But then it can also increase stress situationally.

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