"Can we talk" about

A chance to meet up with friends and have a chat - a general space with the freedom to talk about anything.
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oldjerry
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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257292Post oldjerry
Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:38 pm

It's disappointing,but not that surprising,that this thread should degenerate into the usual rational \ irrational sloganism.For me the whole belief \ empericism thing is just so much horse shit.For what it's worth(and who's interested anyhow?) for me,Solopsism is a refuge for periods of depression.(and the similarity of some quantum theory to Parmenidean thought is weird)

Above all ,what people say,and even more,what they do,is all that really matters.
So step forward:Tolstoy,Prince Kropotkin,the Nearings ,et al.

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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257297Post Graye
Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:43 am

I am a complete non-believer as far as any religion is concerned. Two interesting points arise from this.

The first is a born again Christian friend who can't see that I feel insulted that she is forever trying to talk me out of this viewpoint. I don't try to "convert" her and I become annoyed when she tries to do the same to me, especially when I never inititate the various discussions. She apparently doesn't see my views being as firmly held and as valid as hers for some reason and keeps trying, despite my usual eye-roll when she does.

Secondly my family heritage is Jewish and as Judaism is a matriarchal religion and my lovely maternal grandma (now in her late nineties and as bright as a button) is the source of this then although I'm so definitely not a believer I still find the familiarity of knowing the various tenets of it, the little prayers, rituals and the dates/reasons behind the different commemorative festivals all very comforting in some strange way. I somehow manage this despite not believing what these stand for.

So at the end of the day I think everyone should be able to believe in whatever they like as long as it in no way interferes with anyone else and also as long as they don't spend their time proslytising.
Growing old is much better then the alternative!

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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257302Post oldjerry
Wed Mar 28, 2012 5:14 am

Yes I recognise that irritating trait in all evangelism,and recently it seems to have been taken up by the Humanist movement.It's as though their beliefs are strenghthened the more followers they have in their tent(so to speak).
I cant be the only person who by nature turns away from the idiot on the soapbox,and am more influenced by what a person has acheived.

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safronsue
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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257304Post safronsue
Wed Mar 28, 2012 5:41 am

wow, interesting start to the day with reading all this with my morning tea. Parmenides had some ideas didn't he?! personally i feel drawn to paganism, well this week anyway, as a kneejerk reaction to the disrespect shown to the earth by the orthodox greek church.
However, whilst things are falling apart around our ears in greece, society is somehow held together in a way i never feel it is in my other home around brighton. is this to do with the church? as church is so central to life here i suspect it is. it's also the source of much misery, wish they could lighten up a bit. soooo sombre and mournful all the time, a little halelooooyah would be very welcome. and most of it's in ancient greek so the plebs don't understand what the man in the dress is on about anyway.
off to celebrate my seeds' germination now. amen. thanks for a good start to the day folks. :wave:

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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257318Post grahamhobbs
Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:59 am

KeithBC wrote:
grahamhobbs wrote:KeithBC, now we have set aside religion and science, would you like to lead on how we develop a moral code? Can anyone else follow?
Well, I certainly don't subscribe to the "morality = obedience" school of thought. :icon_smile:

Buddhism is all about how to reduce suffering, both our own and that of others. That seems to me to be the best basis for morality: moral conduct is that which reduces suffering. That makes many people uncomfortable because it requires situational judgement. You actually have to stop and think about which course of action will reduce suffering the most given the circumstances. People like not having to think. To my way of thinking, conduct is moral when the person has sincerely considered which availabble options produce the least suffering and makes a serious effort to implement the best option.
Being a socialist, I'm more for Equalite, fraternité, liberté but I like your considered approach to the question KeithBC, I was expecting the usual 'do unto others as would be done unto you', which always struck me as being too simplistic.

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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257324Post chickenchargrill
Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:21 am

That'll make me one of the few Christians on here. Which is something I rarely admit too as people are prone to making assumptions.

But how to explain my beliefs? As the name would suggest, I am a follower of Christ, which does not mean in any way, that I take all of the bible as facts. Personally, I'd say the Bible is the best selling piece of fanfic out there. Humanity has always been driven to find explanations for things, 2000+ years ago, the best way to explain everything was to say this great being created it all. Now we know better. Whilst there are far too many people who believe in Creationism, the majority of Christians would look at the old Testament in particular as morality tales and fables based on how life was back then.

As for Jesus, I do believe he existed. I believe he was a philosopher and healer. But that his 'miracles' were merely testament to those qualities. For example, we all know hygenic practices when someone has a bad case of conjuntivitis, rather than allowing it to get to the stage where we are blinded by it.

Take any great person from the past 50 years or so and transport them back to that time, and their stories would be seen as miracles, exagerated through word of mouth and written by people who weren't there at the time something happened.

One interview I love is George Coyne's with Richard Dawkins. RD went in there expecting the ridiculous stuff to be said, but he actually seems a bit confused by how sensible the whole interview was, think it's still on YouTube. George Coyne was also about the only religous person who came out looking okay in Religicous.

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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257368Post southeast-isher
Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:15 am

Religously i am a militant agnosticist with buddhist sympathies and politically i am subversive.

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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257369Post the.fee.fairy
Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:57 am

I edge towards the pagan point of belief - I believe Mother Nature brings you here, and she takes you away again. We come from nature and return to it.

But I wouldn't say that I'm particularly religious at all. I have pagan leanings, but not the full on witchy rituals.

I prefer to think that everyone has a moral code and it doesn't matter what your beliefs, you should follow your own morals. I've met some pretty bad Christians, and some pretty bad Pagans! Every sector of society has it's bad apples.

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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257372Post safronsue
Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:18 am

i was wondering where the christian element was represented in the discussion chickenchargrill. as you put it the bible sounds ok, it's the creationism bit that sticks. must look up that RD interview.

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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257630Post Zech
Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:24 pm

I realise how late I am coming to this party, but there's so much interesting stuff in this thread, it's taken me a while to decide what to say first! I'm going to start with the nature of science.

This fairly commonly held view:
sleepyowl wrote:
demi wrote:science will allways exist even if religion doesnt.
but then science becomes the new religion & what we are talking about is all academic
(i.e. science is the new religion) is well illustrated by this earlier exchange (I hope you'll forgive me, JuzaMum, for using this as an example):
gregorach wrote:
JuzaMum wrote:Some science is just theoretical - anyone checked how far away the stars are?
Actually, yes - you use parallax (which is just geometry) to establish your first baseline, and then you use Cephid variables (which have a well-established relationship between their luminosity and their period, discovered via parallax measurements) and Type 1a supernovae (which have a known luminosity set by the laws of nuclear physics) based on that to calibrate out far enough for the Hubble constant to become useful, and then it's red-shifts (general relativity, proven in hundreds of ways) all the way out to the edge of the observable universe. It's all solid stuff - every bit as solid as the science which makes the computer you're using to post on this forum work.

"Theoretical" doesn't mean "we're just making it up". Technically, it's only "theoretical" that the Sun will rise in the East tomorrow.
JuzaMum wrote:I know there is good evidence regarding the stars but there may be unknown factors unaccounted for. I imagine (and even believe) the sums are right but I cant 'know'.
For those not familiar with parallax, Cephid variables, supernovae and red shifts, the way of knowing how far away the stars are is not based on empirical evidence, it's based on believing what someone says. The fact that the results of science are in principle knowable directly - i.e. you could take the measurements and do the calculations for yourself if you wanted to - becomes increasingly remote as science becomes more advanced.

We have reached a stage where believing "what scientists say" is much the same experience as believing "what priests say". Most people don't understand how science works, and this isn't helped at all by the people who communicate science to everyone else - the journalists. So often new developments are reported as, "Scientists have proved..." with little reference to how they came to their conclusions. The general public are expected to accept "facts" on the say-so of "scientists" as if this group of elite people have special access to knowledge unavailable to everyone else.

The phrase "scientifically proven" is a particular bugbear of mine. Nothing is ever "proven" in science. The way science works is to come up with theories about how the world works and seek evidence to test those theories. It is possible to disprove things - the evidence might knock the theory flat - but not to prove them. Either the evidence knocks the theory down, or it is consistent with (supports) the theory, in which case the theory survives another day. The more evidence we have that supports a theory, the more confidence we have in that theory, but nothing is ever proven.

Now I've got that off my chest, I just have to comment on one other thing:
MKG wrote:"Scientific" evidence can only be so termed if the work has been peer-reviewed. If it hasn't, it ain't scientific. There's not much bias possible which the peer-review system wouldn't spot and expose in two seconds flat. The bias appears when someone with a vested interest re-interprets the results for general consumption. Don't blame the scientists - it's the marketing which is at fault.
Oh, such touching faith in the peer-review system! Don't forget that the reviewers are only "peers" of the scientist who did the research, not senior experts. I have seen the most appalling statistical error in a research report that contained two types of analysis: mostly qualitative (not statistical) with a little bit of statistics. Presumably the reviewers were specialists in qualitative research and shared the researcher's weakness in statistics. That was a simple error, but it is also possible for bias to creep through if that bias is particularly widely shared, i.e. both researcher and reviewers share the same bias towards interpreting the results. This can make it very difficult for radical new ideas to get published.

At the same time, non-peer-reviewed research may be perfectly good science. I have seen high-school science projects reporting well-designed experiments with interesting results. The conventions of scientific reporting are important here: It should be possible to read a report and see details of the method and the actual data, as well as the interpretation. In this way, even without the scrutiny of peer review, it is possible for any (suitably educated) reader to scrutinise a research report and judge the quality of the study for themselves.

Science is a method for finding stuff out. Often the things we learn this way get included under the term "science", which is confusing and leads to a body of knowledge being referred to as "scientific knowledge". Essentially, science is a way of knowing things, and can be contrasted with other ways of knowing things, such as "someone told me" or "divine revelation".
---
Rachel

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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257631Post Susie
Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:55 pm

Rachel, I thought that was a really interesting post! I'm going to say as well:
Zech wrote: Science is a method for finding stuff out.
Yes it is, and I sometimes think the religion/ science dichotomy/ contrived opposition is a false one. We have many other ways of seeing the world: we see it through history, ethics, experience, philosophy, political thought, all sorts of things. When I object to the ways some people who call themselves religious act, I'm not always making a scientific judgement, because that's really, really not the issue. I don't look at the Westboro Baptist Church (sp?) for example, and think, gosh, their billboards aren't very scientific: my objection is an ethical/ political/ sociological one.
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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257632Post Zech
Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:07 pm

Thank you :)
---
Rachel

Take nobody's word for it, especially not mine! If I offer you an ID of something based on a photo, please treat it as a guess, and a starting point for further investigations.

My blog: http://growingthingsandmakingthings.blogspot.com/

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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257635Post The Riff-Raff Element
Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:58 pm

Zech wrote:Thank you :)
Just to add my vote - very clearly and rationally put, I thought. Nice work.

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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257636Post flower_hercules
Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:01 pm

Wow I usually just read the treads..not much to say, so much to learn!
But the mosts here are so interesting.

I was raised Pagan, became agnostic, then buddhist....now pagan-ish again. I believe in a divine-something...I had a profound experience aged 9 that has made me aware of the connectedness and oneness in things. I know the current flavour of the month is to ask for proof and disregard experience, buy hey...I'm human, not science itself. I don't go in for gods and goddesses simply because I have no experience of them so cannot conclude anything about their existence.

I have grandparents who are fundie Christians to the enth degree: yoga is evil, pop music is evil, tai chi is evil, curry is evil (yes really. Its from the east you know. Where satan lives).

So unsuprisingly, like Demi I had the same vitrolic hatred of Christianity and for all the reasons she posits, but having got a little older, a little more open, I am actually quite fond of bits of Christianity and know a few Christians who live up to their religious idealism every bit. I take my grandparents 'God-ing' on the chin a lot better as a result.

While I dislike being preached to by Christians, and boy, I should know all about that, I also dislike being preached to by new aetheists. My dad, brother, BF and his family are all athists and they have a live and let live attitude. This 'new atheism' where people try to force their non-religion down my throat is as annoying as the Christian fundies.

There are so many things I love about the known world, the physical world that the atheists like Brian Cox off the telly wax lyrical about; the world is awesome and science makes that awe all the more avaliable to us. I don't 'need' religion or supernatural explanations of the world in order to 'get it' or to feel that awe and reverence. But certain supernatural experiences have presented themselves to me, and I feel no need to reject their validity, especially as they have enhanced that feeling of awe even more so than science does. Those experiences have helped to shapre a world view that is earth centred and compassionate, in a way that science hasn't inclined itself to.

Edit: I just re-read this, it sounds more critical than I intended it to, so sorry if it offends anyone, none intended!

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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257651Post oldjerry
Tue Apr 03, 2012 5:59 am

[quote="Susie"]Rachel, I thought that was a really interesting post!

Me too.
I'm loath to add to this threadas it's become more erudite than I'm capable of.

The only thing I WOULD add is that whatever you believe,it's impossible to underestimate the power of belief to achieve things (for good or evil),and just because something can't be measured in empiracal terms,doesn't make it worthless.

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