Three guys talking about comic books, sports, movies, TV shows and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Can I get a “HELL YEAH!” for the G-O-D?

In an earlier post concerning morality, dr. bitz posted the following comment -

In my defense, it depends on what denomination you are. Some say the fourth commandment is Keeping the Sabath Holy and combine the covets and others do not. According Wikipedia anyway.But aside from all that, my real point is that the whole I'm your God and there's no other God's but me and keeping the sabath holy stuff has nothing to do with ethics in my opinion. And everytime I see the results of a survey that say something like 80% of Americans would not vote for a person to be president no matter what if they were atheist simply reminds me why I hate people.

He brings up a good point about atheism.

According to the completely reliable folks on WIKIPEDIA,

A 2005 survey published in Encyclopædia Britannica finds that the non-religious make up about 11.9% of the world's population, and atheists about 2.3%. This figure does not include those who follow atheistic religions, such as some Buddhists

I think a similar poll found American atheists in the 2 - 4 % range.

In recent years, GOD has taken a huge backlash from many Americans. They don’t want him in public schools or government fixtures in any way pointing to the 1st amendment as evidence Church and State are supposed to be separated.

Let’s look at the amendment verbatim -

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”

People spend a lot of time concentrating on the first potion of that phrase while completely ignoring the second half. Forcing judges to take down statues of the 10 Commandments or forbidding prayer in public schools are perfect examples of “prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.

Why are many Americans so adamant of doing away with God when only 4% claim he does not exist?

It all correlates to morality. No one likes to be told they are doing something wrong. The main reason many people do not go to church or want to talk about GOD is because they do not want to feel guilty. The fact of the matter is we all make mistakes. Keeping God in your life and answering to him for your mistakes is an excellent way to prevent you from repeating them or being immoral in your day to day actions.

The next level to the discussion would be what makes someone “atheist”?

It seems most atheist denounce the existence of GOD or gods sighting the lack of empirical evidence provided by science.

There are many things science cannot prove the existence of such as hope, love, dreams, Genghis Khan, gravity, evolution, maturity, black holes, or ghosts. There may be evidence for or against those subjects, but nothing can be proven as a concrete fact.

Evolution – The biggest joke in human history. The idea of evolution is about a hundred and fifty years old and has never been proven. I live for the opportunities to debate how bogus a notion this theory is and it fires me up that an ‘idea’ is taught to our children as fact. Most of science concedes that it is not proven yet they continue to base discoveries and new theories on this bias.

Where is the proof or the concrete evidence? The transient forms of life? Fossil records that supposedly show the various stages of man’s evolution from an ape-like being to our present form could all fit in the trunk of a Buick. In order to work, evolution needed time, so all of a sudden we began teaching that the world was millions and millions of years old. How did scientists prove that the world was this old? They didn’t. Carbon Dating has been proven wrong and inaccurate.

I have a ‘science’ book in my personal library that indirectly shows how delusional scientists can be. It states –

In 1938 scientists were startled by the discovery in South Africa of a lobe-fin fish called the coelacanth. Many fossil coelacanths were known, dating back to nearly 400 million years old. Experts had thought they had died out 80 million years ago, but it seemed local people had been catching them for years. They are “living fossils,” survivors from prehistory.
More than 100 coelacanths have been caught, and some have been filmed swimming in the sea near Comoro Islands, off southeast Africa.


So, according to scientists who believe in evolution, in the past 400 million years, the entire planet has evolved into a new ecosystem and thousands upon thousands of species have evolved to better adapt to these changes, however, this ONE fish has not had a single cell change in any minute way ! ? ! ? Wow. That’s amazing. Evolution must be true. (place sarcasm here)

Michael Behe, a biochemist and intelligent design advocate, wrote a book titled Darwin’s Black Box in which he lays down his thesis that evolution as is generally accepted by science is impossible due to the irreducible complexity of several cell structures. Behe uses examples of modern irreducibly complex devices such as a mousetrap to illustrate his point. Without the base, the catch, the spring, or the hammer, a mousetrap could not fulfill its function of catching mice. All parts are needed to accomplish its design just as all parts of several cells in animals and humans are required to sustain life.

Leading scientists’ rebuttal to this argument hinders upon ignorance – give us time and we can discover how cells could properly function without all of the required components or they point to variations in species and combine them to form a perfect life sustaining being, one that hasn’t nor will ever exist.

My biggest problem with science is scientists do a couple years of research and display their findings as fact. If their hypothesis of the world being millions of years old is true, then a couple years of research (5 to 250 years) is hardly a reliable span for conclusions of things that occurred over several millions or billions of years.

Scientists generally seem to be anti-creationist because they argue that the creation theory (or belief) has not been proven by science, yet they fail to acknowledge that their "scientific" findings on evolution or the development of our world over billions of years has also not been "proven" by science either.

My point being that most scientists are also practicing a "belief". They go into a research project "believing" that the world is billions of years old and find "evidence" to support this belief.

Whether they want to accept it or not, science is a belief, and thus, by association, could be construed as a religion (kind of like the Tom Cruise Scientology thing.)

I feel sad when I see people blindly hiding behind a lie and a ruse and I challenge anyone who believes in Evolution to show me the facts that hold water behind their ‘theory’.

Back to the original topic – Why wouldn’t 80% of American’s vote for an atheist president?

My answer would be that most people prefer to practice a belief that offers hope. Science offers no hope for the future or the present for that matter. Science/ atheism says we are here for no purpose and strictly by accident. If this were truly the case there would be no repercussions for anyone’s actions because our existence is meaningless. If our existence is meaningless there is no such thing as morality.
If science is right, then a belief in God affects no one because we are all going back to nothingness. If there is a God then those who adamantly deny him will have to answer for there actions just as a child has to answer to his parents for their actions.

10 comments:

  1. All right.
    First of all, I can bring up just as many questions regarding the existence of God as you can about evolution. But I’m not interested in a theological discussion. Let’s just remember that a belief in God and a belief in evolution are not mutually exclusive.
    There are many things that are beyond human comprehension: The size of the galaxy, black holes, white holes, gravity, the complexity of the human body, porn without lesbians, etc. But I’ve always had a saying, just because you don’t understand something, doesn’t mean can’t exist. Things exist in this universe that we can’t even conceive of. This can go for the likes of God and evolution.
    It has been proven that organisms change over periods of times. I mean, on average, humans are taller today than they were 1,000 years ago. So the idea that species evolve has been proven. The idea that a single celled organism could evolve into a complex animal like a human has not. But, just because we don’t how that could happen, doesn’t mean it can’t.
    In the end, I would say we just don’t know.
    But let’s get to the crux of the issue. The idea that you need religion in order to have some sort of moral compass is just wrong. If that were the case every self proclaimed atheist would be running around pillaging and raping everything in sight. Just because a person doesn’t believe in an afterlife does not mean that person won’t strive to make the world a better place to live.
    On the flip side, proclaiming yourself as religious certainly doesn’t make you moral either. How many atrocities have been carried out in the name of God? How many believers have been guilty of deception, murder, or adultery? What about the Sagebrush Rebels of the Reagan era who believed raping the environment was acceptable because at the worst it would bring about the end of the world, and isn’t Judgement Day what true Christians are looking forward to anyway? Some of the most morally repugnant people in the world have believed in God.
    So, the idea that an atheist cannot have exceptional morals and cannot be great political leader is not only asinine it’s complete and utter bullshit. People devoid or morals and ethics come in all shapes, sizes, and beliefs and the fact that the majority of the population is too stupid to comprehend that fact makes me want to puke!
    I’m NOT feeling very leisurely right now!

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  2. I completely agree with just about everything you said above.

    Morals are NOT exclusive to religious people and more often than not those who flaunt their "righteousness" are usually the ones who get caught raping baby piglets behind the barn. The main point I was attempting to portray is that beliefs cannot be proven, just as virtually NOTHING can be proven. Many scientists and intellectuals like to think they have all the answers and only they know "truth". Thus we teach our children from kindergarten to bachelor's degree "truth".

    I went to a screening of FLOCK of DODOS, an "unbiased" documentary about the intelligent design/evolution debate, at the U of MN a few months back. Afterwards they had a Q & A session with some professors from the U and the films producer. In the audience there were maybe about a dozen intelligent design supports to the 250 evolutionists. Most of the questions and comments from the audience and the people on stage were along the lines of, "HOW CAN PEOPLE BE SOOOOOOOOOOOO STUPID? This film clearly shows how stupid intelligent design is and how completely factual evolution is. Anyone who doesn't believe it is a complete moron."

    There was one professor, Mark Borrello - Assistant Professor in History of Science and technology, University of Minnesota, who somewhat rebuked the audience and his fellow scholars on stage after a creationist stood up and said he didn’t appreciate the spiteful reception his beliefs were receiving. Professor Borrello was more than willing to have a civilized conversation about the topics and exchange points and ideas. That’s exactly what the world needs is more people willing to talk things through rather than belittle each other’s viewpoints.

    One thing to learn about me is I like to poke the bear and get reactions out of people. If people can understand and accept that annoyance, we can usually get along from there.

    I guess my follow up question would be why does it bug you that 80% of Americans wouldn’t vote for an atheist?

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  3. Well I’m not much of a bear to poke. I’m fairly opened minded and appreciate all view points. The only time I get upset is when people are illogical. (Or if somebody says something that runs on batteries doesn’t use electricity.)
    I hope people understand that my position is not on pro or against religious beliefs. People should be free to believe in whatever high power they’d like but they should also be free to not believe.
    So, onto your follow up question.
    I felt I answered that question in the comment above but I suppose I could say it another way. Congress and most political positions are filled with republicans and democrats, liberals and conservatives, the morally virtuous and the morally corrupt. You have all sorts. There’s only one thing they all have in common, they all profess to be religious in some way. (Alright, maybe there’s an atheist somewhere, but they are certainly few and far between because, as we know, proclaiming to be an atheist is political suicide.)
    What this proves is that religious beliefs have no bearing on what kind of politician you will be. So to vote on such a thing is asinine. That is the equivalent of voting for a person simply based on what month they were born in, which would infuriate me equally. It’s that kind of illogical, backwards thinking that is keeping our society from progressing.

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  4. "Science offers no hope for the future or the present for that matter."

    Are you serious? That's one of the most assanine things I've ever read - and i've had arguments about god/vs religion with a 12 year old on a public forum.

    I can't help but notice the hypocrisy of you saying this on a public blog through a computer - i assume, therefore, that your computer was a gift directly from god, and not the scientists who built it?

    If i get cancer, i may pray to god, but i'm still going to have the chemo my doctor recommends so i don't end up like that poor girl who died from Diabetes because her parents thought it was a better idea to pray, than to bring her to the doctor to be treated.

    -S

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  5. boots~, we've had the evolution discussion already and I think we both understand where the other stands pretty well, so I won't get into that.

    And I think Dr. Bitz's second comment ties up the atheist voters/morals-aren't-solely- determined-by-religious-denomination argument.

    So I'm reluctant to fan the flames on this one, primarily because we're moving further and further away from the thematic intent of the blog (which is "Gentlemen of Leisure", not "Gentlemen of Intense Socio-Political and Theological Debate") and I'd rather not keep perpetuating this, but there's a few other points I'd like to address, and what the hell, I've always enjoyed a rousing debate...

    "Science offers no hope for the future or the present for that matter."

    Sarah already beat me to the punch on this one, but I'd say science offers a lot of hope for the future and the present. I'd say that in the 150 year existence of the evolutionary theory, whatever your feelings on it, science has also astronomically improved the quality of life for people around the world (not everyone, of course, I'm not saying there isn't still work to be done).

    Vaccines, preventive medical treatments, heart transplants, limb replacement; the increase in communications allowed by telegraphs, telephones, video, email and the internet; the accessibility of the arts, both creative and consumptive, to the masses thanks to printing, film, DVD, video cameras; the documentation of our society, our memories (both familial and cultural), the very religious beliefs you're espousing, are all possible at least in part because of science. These things are only the tip of the iceberg of what science has accomplished, and it shows no signs of stopping.

    I understand that you take issue with what you believe to be evolutionary theory's unearned place of prominence in our society, with the scientific method as a whole, and with the failure of many pro-science arguers to recognize that much of science is as faith-based as some religious beliefs, but I don't understand how you can say that "science offers no hope for the future or the present for that matter" in the face of all that science has accomplished in just the last 150 years.

    What's important to me is that it doesn't have to be science vs. religion, one or the other, all or none. I consider myself a highly moral Christian, who (when he attends) goes to a Catholic church. And there is nothing in my religious beliefs that contradicts what scientific evidence currently suggests about our world, its beginnings or the origins and continued existence of human life, and there is nothing in what I consider "accepted scientific fact" that contradicts my religious beliefs.

    I'd also argue that science does offer some hope for an afterlife, in that, according to science, when I die my physical body will break down, and provide nutrients to the soil around me, which will allow plants to grow and prosper, which will in turn feed birds and other small animals, which will provide sustenance for other larger animals, and so on, so that even though my physical body as it exists now is gone, I continue to exist as part of the larger "circle of life" (cue African singing).

    Sure, it's not a white puffy cloud paradise in the sky, but it's something. And for some, it's enough.

    (Being put into the ground after death assumes, of course, that my posthumous desire to be stuffed and left on the couch as a reminder to Mrs. Teebore goes unheeded...)

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  6. Mr. Teebore - you nailed it on the head for me.

    -S

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  7. Well,
    Not much new to add. I do enjoy a good poking off the bear from time to time. Although I almost broke the pencil that was in my hand as I continued to read the entry. I also yearn for a day when all people vote based on problem solving skills rather than the professed allegiances to religion of the candidates. I must ask what is so terrible about a secular state? A truely secular state is the kind of idea that I fantasize about. I dream of a time and place where all religions (or lack there of)can practice in peace and learn from each other. One way to accomplish this is to create a governing body and infrastructure that has been scrubed clean of any religious leanings. However, I do realize that this is next to impossible. As far as the whole scientists are anti-creationist and look down on intelligent design thing. Let me start with thanking everyone for designating "some scientists" in their comments rather than "all scientists". As a scientist and a graduate of a private catholic university I have tackled these issues over, and over, and over. My fellow scientists have always been the type to want to talk about this and really wrestle with it (after all, the most common characteristic among scientists is a passionate curiosity regarding existence). However, each scientist must resolve their true beleifs within themselves and make themselves aware of when their true beliefs may threaten their work. A "good" scientist does this at an early age and asks for a second or hundredth opionion to make sure their personal beliefs do not make their work (scientists truely contribute to the World)suspect.

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  8. HOPE -
    Noun , A wish or desire accompanied by confident expectation of its fulfillment.

    In the context of the post I was referring to the spiritual/afterlife aspect of the future/present.

    Science, of course, has led to many treats and tricks in the physical sense, but it doesn’t offer a purpose or meaning of life beyond you’re born then you die and become fertilizer.

    Like Teebore stated – some people are okay with that. I have an obviously adamant belief in the afterlife so I’d like to get people to really think about how they live their lives and for what purpose.

    I don’t have the answers to millions of questions. What I do have is the deep-rooted desire to use my body and mind to its fullest potential. Many people are only interested in fleeting pleasures and physical enjoyment. I know there’s more to this existence than eat, sleep, defecate, rinse and repeat. Can I prove it? No. Can anyone disprove it? No.

    No religion or belief can be proven. Neither can macro-evolution (variations in species is referred to as micro-evolution and does happen.)

    In response to the dream of a secular state – the history of mankind has been plagued by conflict. Animosity breaks out when people disagree about sports teams, religion, the best monkey movie, driving, ice cream flavors, money, nookie, etc. Compromise is the most important ingredient in any relationship. Many people don’t want to compromise and have only their own self-interest driving them. Most religions teach their adherents to be selfless and compassionate. Most people fail to do this.

    Human nature fails. God doesn’t.

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  9. I realize that I come a little late to the party but I would like to point out that there is a third option which would take into account both design and evolution. That would be the alien invaders that came to earth and mated or just messed around with the DNA of all creatures’ great and small that were here at the time, except for that damned fish of course. Look at it, I wouldn't mate with that either. That explains the so called missing link the evolution of many the animals today, including us. As far as the theology of the people running for the president I can only guess. I think more people are truly atheist then are willing to admit. Most folks would say they do believe mostly out of some hope that there is something out there, even though deep down they know that hope is a small one. These are the people that claim they are lapsed Catholics or only go to church out of some family obligation. Seeing a presidential candidate say there was no God would say to these people that what they feared was true. We do not vote for a person based on what they will do for or against us, Bush proved that, but on how we think that person will make us feel. If we think he will make us feel the hope, then we put them in office. I would rather vote for somebody who says things are bad and offers me the hope that they can get better, not the hope that things aren't as bad as they seem and they should stay the same.

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  10. It's like you saw into my soul! I agree with a lot of what you said, anonymous.

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