A seperate religious debate thread

February 10th, 2010 at 8:22 am by David Farrar

A couple of people have commented to me that they are finding the daily threads are being dominated by religious debates, which of course tend to never get resolved.

Their suggestion was that we have two general debate posts a day. One “General Religious Debate” and one “General Debate”, with the latter out of bounds for religious comments and debates.

I don’t spend a lot of time in General Debates myself, so unsure how much of an issue this is, and whether the proposed solution is necessary or preferred. On the face of it, it seems sensible and in fact it mirrors what we did on Usenet many years ago – set up a nz.soc. alongside nz.general.

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218 Responses to “A seperate religious debate thread”

  1. big bruv (13,450 comments) says:

    Thank GOD (ha ha) for that DPF.

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  2. Captain Neurotic (206 comments) says:

    Ahhhh so how about that Jesus fella aye?

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  3. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    It will ONLY work DPF
    if you police the anti godders for their asides and sideswipes and direct attacks on people of faith. ( I don’t mean 10 demerits or a wet bus ticket either)
    In general people respond (rightly or wrongly) to attacks and lets face it you already know who does this.

    Also there is no way in hell one can divorce ones worldview from ones opinion/insights as it is the lens one sees through.
    Unless of course you want to deny other than secular (religions) viewpoints or make them conform to secular.
    Anything that impinges on the social aspect of life/society will involve worldview and therefore faith.

    my 2cents

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  4. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    I rest my case.

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  5. Pete George (23,123 comments) says:

    But if most of it can move here it may help Mike. Except that “debate” isn’t an accurate description, it’s more like stated beliefs as connected as apples and orangutans.

    Having said that, it’s curious how two quite different lifeforms evolved from something in common.

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  6. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Good idea. Religious debates are also very boring.

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  7. Say Goodbye to Hollywood (556 comments) says:

    I think the people that wish to debate religion should all gather at a field and arm themselves with swords. Last one standing wins. A bit like the old days.

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  8. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    Pete
    different life forms??
    Oh you’re being funny…
    different mindsets rather?

    SGTH
    They are doing that at the moment and when they’ve finished, the one is coming for you if we let them win.
    and don’t expect any help from the big brother the UN.
    http://www.unwatch.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=bdKKISNqEmG&b=1314451&ct=7974315

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  9. dime (9,603 comments) says:

    great idea.

    nail the fuckers in the general thread who constantly bait the christians. like pete george.

    and seeing as though its a religious thread, id just like to say … im not a fan of muslims :)

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  10. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    Theres an old saying that goes – “one should never debate religion and politics in polite circles”.

    Oh shit – that puts an end to Kiwiblog then.

    I see reported today that the Archbishop of Canterbury has issued a profound apology to gays and lesbians. It was only a month or two ago that he was doing the same sort of thing to the rest of the church for even thinking that gays and lesbians might be OK.
    This guys been captured by the religion of Apologies – apologize to everyone for almost everything.

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  11. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    welcome to PC world Barry

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  12. Pete George (23,123 comments) says:

    Barry, I’m waiting for all the Christians on Kiwiblog to apologise to gays and lesbians. If that’s too hard they could at least apologise to non gays and lesbians.

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  13. wreck1080 (3,778 comments) says:

    You’ll still get the religious nuts invading the general debate. Because the general debaters will never read the religious debates.

    How about a philu debate too? Although , haven’t noticed philly boy for a while, is he in jail?

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  14. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    Pete
    What exactly do you think they should apologise for?

    Dime
    I like Muslims, can’t bear Islam.
    Same as I like secular people but can’t bear their worldview and ideas as they make society degrade.

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  15. Johnboy (15,377 comments) says:

    Hopefully for 20years. But seriously folks if Phil comes back can Magpieism be declared an official religion so he stays off the general debates. :)

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  16. Pete George (23,123 comments) says:

    I like Muslims, can’t bear Islam.

    Good to hear.

    Same as I like secular people but can’t bear their worldview and ideas as they make society degrade.

    Do you think all secular people make society degrade?

    Do any non-secular people make society degrade?

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  17. Dave Mann (1,183 comments) says:

    So this is where the Global Warmongers will congregate in future, huh? Cool… it’ll be great to get ‘em off the general threads :-)

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  18. Pete George (23,123 comments) says:

    But seriously folks if Phil comes back can Magpieism be declared an official religion so he stays off the general debates.

    Redbaiterism is carefully non-religious so wouldn’t qualify. But maybe a separate tread on General Berating would cover that.

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  19. Bed Rater (239 comments) says:

    I’ve always found it fascinating that otherwise rational people actually believe in crackpot moonbat theories about a higher power, or a ‘God’

    Should these people be allowed to have children? Should CYFS keep an eye on the moonbats? I think so.

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  20. Dirty Rat (504 comments) says:

    thank Dog for that

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  21. Auberon (873 comments) says:

    I’m fond of cheese, but would be happy to bend to a general Gastronomy General Debate thread.

    In other words: GOOD GOD!!!!

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  22. Pete George (23,123 comments) says:

    Seriously, as Mike suggests, it is impossible to divorce all religious views from other debates. And this thread could get a bit stale without anything else. But it could work well if religious points arise in other threads (as they do), if they look like becoming more of an ongoing religious argument just transfer to here.

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  23. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    Bed Rater, how about the people that let their kids watch “sensing murder” and tell them that Santa, the easter bunny, and the tooth fairy are real?
    Should you be allowed children because of your ignorant bigotry? people like you usually do more damage in my experience than a few mentally ill but largely benevolent Christians do.

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  24. Zapper (945 comments) says:

    These poor helpless christians getting baited, I feel so bad for them.

    Apart from the fact that ones on here are up there with the biggest c**ts I’ve ever encountered. So f**k them if they get their feelings hurt. Go and cry to the Spaghetti Monster about it

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  25. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    # Pete George (3687) Says:
    February 10th, 2010 at 8:46 am

    Barry, I’m waiting for all the Christians on Kiwiblog to apologise to gays and lesbians. If that’s too hard they could at least apologise to non gays and lesbians.

    Pete
    What exactly do you think they should apologise for?

    you obviously missed my question to your statement.

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  26. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    *slam*
    *snick*
    *rattle*

    *clomp clomp clomp …*

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  27. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    You see DPF, it’s not the Christians that are causing the problems, it’s the nasties that just can’t quite accept people a little different to themselves.

    Perhaps a better thread would be the “ignorant bigot ‘slash’ smug prick” thread.

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  28. Zapper (945 comments) says:

    My goodness, how could anyone accuse the non-religious i.e. sane people around here of being a “smug prick”. Have you not met Kris K?

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  29. Scott (1,723 comments) says:

    To be honest I can sense DPF’s frustration at the hijacking of the general comments thread. I think those of us that are Christian should be more sensitive to the purpose of the blog. Not every General Comments thread should be turned into a religious debate or seen as an opportunity to proselytise. I agree that has been happening a lot lately and I think we abuse DPF’s generous tolerance and hospitality if we continue to do so.

    On the other hand there is a need for a lot more civility as a general rule. To me it is just not polite of some people (whose contributions as usual are on this thread) to just abuse people because they come from issues from a Christian point of view.

    Indeed there is a need to be more civil generally. If we just abuse each other how is debate possible?

    So I would like to see civility, politeness, respect for one’s fellow man to be the general rule on this blog. If that were so, then there would be no need to separate out “religious issues”. Indeed it would seem to me to be a shame if DPF had to resort to such a measure.

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  30. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    HAIL THOR!!!!

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  31. Pete George (23,123 comments) says:

    “ignorant bigot ’slash’ smug prick”

    There is a lot of that from both sides. “I’m going to heaven and you’re not” comes across as smug to some.

    Christians don’t seem to like being called fairy story believing nutters.
    Non-christians don’t seem to like being told if they don’t believe x or y or abc (depending on which Christian version) they will go to hell in a handbasket.

    Perhaps we could get really radical, and find a way for religious and non-religious to accept different beliefs and non-beliefs, and find common ground to move forward together.

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  32. slightlyrighty (2,499 comments) says:

    The two things that divide us are politics, and religion. I have often found it best not to combine the two. To have religion debated on a politics forum is a recipe for disater.

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  33. Pete George (23,123 comments) says:

    Scott nails it. It’s not just Christian bashing, it’s all sorts of “difference” bashing that is a major negative. I’m guilty of some of it, but sometimes feel a need to respond in kind, I’ve been bashed for trying to be moderate at times.

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  34. Chthoniid (2,029 comments) says:

    I was of the view that the Kiwiblog was built on a freedom-of-speech value, and with that, comes the rough-and-tumble of people making their views known. Freedom-of-speech was hard won right- and hindered at every historical step by blasphemy rules- rules that said that religion deserved special privileges. Satirizing religious beliefs- contesting their truthfulness- is part of what gave momentum to Western secular societies.

    I’m content for religious beliefs to have the same standing as any other political beliefs in the general debate. That means people who state religious beliefs have to take their lumps. They are accepting that these beliefs may be mocked or derided or contested. Religious beliefs get no free passes.

    (Plus I agree with MikeNZ, I don’t think it is feasible to cleanly separate religion from the other things we discuss).

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  35. Johnboy (15,377 comments) says:

    Still it sometimes makes an old atheist feel good knowing that a certain christian here is praying for him on a regular basis.

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  36. petal (705 comments) says:

    “I like secular people but can’t bear their worldview and ideas as they make society degrade.”

    Your problem is failing to see there is a spectrum/continuum of people in any camp. I know “christians” that are mean, nasty and plain dishonest and I know secular people that support their communities through hard work.

    It’s simply not that simple Mike

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  37. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    ‘Religious debate post debate’ post requested.

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  38. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    Pete show one single occasion in DPF comments where someone has claimed they are going to heaven and you are not.

    You’re a godless crapweasle so you’re not, but thats a side issue. You’re just making shit up again.

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  39. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    “Christians don’t seem to like being called fairy story believing nutters.
    Non-christians don’t seem to like being told if they don’t believe x or y or abc (depending on which Christian version) they will go to hell in a handbasket.”

    Fair comment.

    To be really honest some of the best conversations I have had regarding faith/atheism has been on frog blog, so it is possible to have reasonable debate on this issue with out it turning into a sh!t fight.
    But to be honest I think lots of people here just loves a good sh!t fight! :)

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  40. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    Socialists believe communism is a workable system so who are the fairly story believing nutters shunda?

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  41. andrei (2,526 comments) says:

    This is just silliness – if you don’t want to talk about any topic, not just religion, just don’t engage.

    I don’t get it, the threads end up dominated by endless back and forth between a few commenters with little to say other than to insult previous commenters who then respond in turn and not only on religion.

    Religion forms my world view, sometimes there is a religious aspect to a topic – actually probably always but whether or not it comes forth depends upon circumstance.

    In any case our cultural heritage is Judeo/Christian and that forms the basis of our thinking whether you like it or not – trying to airbrush it out of existence is never going to work.

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  42. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    Petal
    I don’t have that particular problem, I don’t fail to see the spectrum and it’s ends at all. I actually see it clearly (as my prejudices allow ;-).
    Please don’t make incorrect assertions to label me or put me down.

    What is simple to most Christians is that as secular reasoning and worldview has got more of a hold in western society this has has led to a degradation of society and the vacuum created by churchianity is being fought over by other ideologies/worldviews.

    This is at the crux of our differences, that and where we start from in the debate. Sure there are partial agreements in areas, but on basic cause not.

    Pete
    Barry, I’m waiting for all the Christians on Kiwiblog to apologise to gays and lesbians. If that’s too hard they could at least apologise to non gays and lesbians.

    What exactly do you think they should apologise for?

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  43. Pete George (23,123 comments) says:

    show one single occasion in DPF comments where someone has claimed they are going to heaven and you are not.

    You’re a godless crapweasle so you’re not, but thats a side issue.

    Haha, but at least I know I’m not.

    Have to take the good with the bad – I’ll be helping new grass to grow, but it will be unavoidable to help thistles and weeds as well.

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  44. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    “Your problem is failing to see there is a spectrum/continuum of people in any camp. I know “christians” that are mean, nasty and plain dishonest and I know secular people that support their communities through hard work.”

    I totally agree petal, the “us and them” attitude is not constructive and only creates unnecessary tension.
    In my experience there is no connection with people claiming to be a Christian and personal integrity, claiming to follow Christ’s example does not mean people are actually doing it.

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  45. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    Show me anyone who has claimed they are going to heaven. Either prop up your strawman or have him burned at the stake.

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  46. MT_Tinman (3,033 comments) says:

    Oh that the real world could move the god botherers to the side and out of view as easily.

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  47. Fletch (6,092 comments) says:

    To be honest, it doesn’t really bother me in the General Debate threads. I can skip over what I’m not involved in, or sometimes I might leave a remark if I think someone has made a point which I think needs addressing (or if I think someone has said something stupid :))

    I think having a separate thread would work to a certain extent, but I think MikeNZ hits it on the head with his post @ 8.29: If there is a thread regarding abortion, sex education, morals or the Pope (DPF started one of these the other day) or it could be on a completed unrelated topic then a post I make may relate (or may not) to a religious viewpoint as that is the lens of my world view.

    People have different views and they like to express them.
    It’s good to get a point of view from everyone, no matter how much some people dislike reading views that don’t coincide with their own.

    That’s life.

    [edit] Andrei just said pretty much the same thing while I was typing.

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  48. MT_Tinman (3,033 comments) says:

    Murray (4527) Says:
    February 10th, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Show me anyone who has claimed they are going to heaven.

    Murray, I put my hand up as one who thinks they are going to Heaven..

    It’s called the Waitaki Valley and I shall be fishing there most of next week.

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  49. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    Shunda
    Your assertion is correct in part and that I label churchianity not Christianity.

    There is/was a connection between being a Christian and personal integrity but sadly the dozens of people who have claimed that in my life and haven’t lived in in their business and personal lives has underscored that.
    I too also meet good decent people who profess no faith but live lives of worth, mostly in little NZ when I travel.

    One problem is the ability to, live an anonymous life in the urban setting, which in the case of criminal behaviour means that one can move to the other side of town or even another and carry on life as before.
    This is true of churchianity as well.

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  50. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    “It’s called the Waitaki Valley and I shall be fishing there most of next week.”

    Can I come?

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  51. KiwiGreg (3,211 comments) says:

    My first and last post here DPF – “Thank you”

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  52. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    Pete
    Barry, I’m waiting for all the Christians on Kiwiblog to apologise to gays and lesbians. If that’s too hard they could at least apologise to non gays and lesbians.

    What exactly do you think they should apologise for?

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  53. TimG_Oz (922 comments) says:

    Why not just setup a whole separate blog – something like KiwiReligoBlog. There people can argue all day from point to point.

    Religion as a topic will often touch on all subjects, but the full on debates / wars are hardly productive as neither side (or any spectators) are ever going to change their mind.

    Where religion is relevant to current events, then why not have it covered with everything else?

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  54. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Chthoniid 9:43 am,

    I was of the view that the Kiwiblog was built on a freedom-of-speech value, and with that, comes the rough-and-tumble of people making their views known. Freedom-of-speech was hard won right- and hindered at every historical step by blasphemy rules- rules that said that religion deserved special privileges. Satirizing religious beliefs- contesting their truthfulness- is part of what gave momentum to Western secular societies.

    I’m content for religious beliefs to have the same standing as any other political beliefs in the general debate. That means people who state religious beliefs have to take their lumps. They are accepting that these beliefs may be mocked or derided or contested. Religious beliefs get no free passes.

    (Plus I agree with MikeNZ, I don’t think it is feasible to cleanly separate religion from the other things we discuss).

    Here, here – agree 100% Chthoniid.
    (Even though we may not on all topics eg Evolution vs Christianity/Intelligent Design)

    As MikeNZ and others have said; often your worldview flavours your take on the world. And politics is no exception; especially when we get into the area of morals/values. So while, perhaps, if someone wishes to ‘witness’ to someone in particular it may be appropriate to go to a General Religious Debate, often it is more a matter of contrast between, say, a Christian vs an Evolutionary worldview, in which case, perhaps, this is still within the bounds of the existing General Debate where it’s essentially a free for all.

    And, of course, much of what we debate here revolves around Islamic (religious, etc.) issues; and the impact that has on politics, laws, values, immigration, freedom of speech, the Middle East, Israel, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, Terrorism … you get the general idea. It’s hard to separate out ones views/opinions into nice compartmentalised areas where there is zero crossover.

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  55. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    Hey Pete
    I’ve gotta go so will look forward to your answer to my question to your assertion.
    Barry, I’m waiting for all the Christians on Kiwiblog to apologise to gays and lesbians. If that’s too hard they could at least apologise to non gays and lesbians.</I.

    Here's some thought from a much more educated man than I and dare I say it, one who cares for homosexual people far more practically than I do.

    http://narth.com/docs/pieces.html

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  56. Brian Smaller (4,013 comments) says:

    You should name it the KrisK and Ryan Sproull thread so no one gets confused.

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  57. Angus (536 comments) says:

    This will make Billy Borker happy. (when he is finally allowed to return at the end of this month)

    “Barry, I’m waiting for all the Christians on Kiwiblog to apologise to gays and lesbians.”

    Much of this “atheism” and virulent anti-Christian sentiment disseminates from politically active homosexuals who don’t like religion. Actor Ian McKelen claims to rip the page containing Leviticus 18:22 out of the Bible in every hotel room he stays at !

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  58. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Johnboy 9:44 am,

    Still it sometimes makes an old atheist feel good knowing that a certain christian here is praying for him on a regular basis.

    … and probably not just one, Johnboy.

    I think many other non Christians here, too, may get similar treatment, truth be known – even those who openly denigrade Christians/Christianity/God.

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  59. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    “Your assertion is correct in part and that I label churchianity not Christianity.”

    Yes Mike, church worship is a big problem for those among the faithful. One of my pet peeves is Christians referring to non believers as the “un-churched”.
    Quite frankly I think much of the flak the church receives is self inflicted, if people act like jerks then someone is going to call them on it, and that is actually part of a healthy society.
    My own faith has developed largely because of the difficulties I have experienced with other Christians, that’s why I don’t see any distinction on the worth of an individual as to whether or not they are religious.
    Jesus himself made it quite clear that being self righteous was a far greater sin than pretty much everything else.

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  60. Atheist1 (174 comments) says:

    DPF – it’s an “A”

    “SEPARATE”

    My 2 cents worth :)

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  61. Pete George (23,123 comments) says:

    Murray at 10:05 am Show me anyone who has claimed they are going to heaven. Either prop up your strawman or have him burned at the stake.

    A few for a start….

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2010/01/anti-abortion_activist_found_guilty_of_murder.html#comment-656830
    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2010/02/general_debate_1_february_2010.html#comment-656329
    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2009/05/jesus_weeps.html#comment-563240
    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2009/10/karma.html#comment-617323

    And Shunda is aware: ” Jesus himself made it quite clear that being self righteous was a far greater sin than pretty much everything else.”

    That is no reason for countering with self wrongeous though.

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  62. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Brian Smaller 10:29 am,

    You should name it the KrisK and Ryan Sproull thread so no one gets confused.

    To be fair, Brian, we usually only have our little set-tos about once a month – I like to think I knock the stuffing out of Ryan, and he takes a month to recover :twisted:

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  63. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    “Kris K (1530) Says:

    So while, perhaps, if someone wishes to ‘witness’ to someone in particular it may be appropriate to go to a General Religious Debate, often it is more a matter of contrast between, say, a Christian vs an Evolutionary worldview…”

    Kris, what is an “evolutionary world view”?

    I suspect the dichotomy you really mean is an irrational worldview v a rational worldview. The vast majority of christianity’s leaders, especially those with a decent education, accept that evolution is fact and by far a better explanation of life than anything in genesis.

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  64. Chthoniid (2,029 comments) says:

    @LeftRightOut

    From time-to-time I do bring up Creationist topics on my sciblogs (not opera) blog site, and that may be a better vehicle than kiwiblog to discuss creationism (& safety valve for KB)

    I’m pondering doing something on the age of the earth to coincide with Darwin’s birthday this week :)

    I get the sense that most Christian denominations have moved largely to a ‘theistic evolution’ interpretation. It’s very unusual outside of the US and Northern Ireland to find a significant core of Young-Earth Creationists. In contrast, Harun Yahya- if he is representative of Islamic thought- is an Old Earth Creationist.

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  65. lyndon (330 comments) says:

    “one should never debate religion and politics in polite circles”.

    Actually, I think Kiwiblog can continue quite happily.

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  66. lyndon (330 comments) says:

    Actor Ian McKelen claims to rip the page containing Leviticus 18:22 out of the Bible in every hotel room he stays at !

    I would submit that Leviticus started that argument.

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  67. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    Hindus, in the main, are also very old earth creationists, although there are some (hindutva, I think) who are using the USIDiots game plan to attack rationality and science in India.

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  68. Jack5 (4,745 comments) says:

    I think that Chtoniid is pretty much on the mark in his posts above.

    Debate about religion can be interesting or mundane, like other topics in general debate threads, but often religion cannot be separated out. You couldn’t have a genuinely two-sided debate on abortion or evolution if you shut out religion.

    DPF the best thing you can do to rejuvenate General Debate is reintroduce the karma buttons. Even if you do this only for this thread.

    This is a brawling debaters’ forum, and without the karma buttons it’s the Colosseum without the mob, an opera without a chorus, a (rugby) football match in an empty stadium. What is debate without some feedback from the audiences or judges?

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  69. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Pete George 10:48 am

    Murray at 10:05 am Show me anyone who has claimed they are going to heaven. Either prop up your strawman or have him burned at the stake.

    A few for a start….

    [Four links]

    And Shunda is aware: ” Jesus himself made it quite clear that being self righteous was a far greater sin than pretty much everything else.”

    Nice to know I get cited twice, while MikeNZ and Scott only get cited once each.
    So does that make me the most “self righteous” or the most loving for pointing out the truth?

    Truth be known, Pete, the reason most of us (Christians) share God’s word, and our hope is so that others might have the opportunity to better make an informed choice. Of course many of us may use forthright language from time to time, but this is because we believe these are important issues, not because we feel we have to win the argument or show that we are better than others necessarily.
    Remember, Christ didn’t pull His punches much, and I’m sure you wouldn’t want us to ‘candy coat’ the truth, and therefore insult your intelligence?

    You have asked me and others many direct questions on our ‘beliefs’ and, in response, you have generally been given our honest opinion if we have sensed your question is a genuine one, rather than a wind-up.

    Of all the non Christians in New Zealand; Kiwiblog commenters/readers would have to be some of the most informed individuals regarding Christianity and the Christian worldview. Most of the Christians here, I believe, are mature in their faith and well grounded in God’s word, as well as having great insight regarding the world around us, global and national politics, morality, the impact of good/bad laws on society, etc.

    And as many others here are of the conservative right; much of our worldview is similar, as are our solutions to many of the problems we see in our society. Perhaps Christians just have that extra spiritual component to their worldview.

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  70. GPT1 (2,100 comments) says:

    You might need a separate thread for name suppression debate as well!

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  71. Chthoniid (2,029 comments) says:

    @lyndon

    Actor Ian McKelen claims to rip the page containing Leviticus 18:22 out of the Bible in every hotel room he stays at !

    I would submit that Leviticus started that argument.

    Heh, very good point :)

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  72. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    Waste of time. Religion seldom spontaneously appears. By my observation it’s more often than not injected by a religious person in the context of some other issue.

    I’ll pick on Kris, only because I know he can take it. Generally whenever we’re discussing a social issue Kris will jump with “it’s all because we’ve strayed from the word of God and you’ll all go to hell… In fact I have a scripture here which completely proves my point..”. And that a perfectly valid idea and it’s also perfectly valid for me to tell Kris that’s a load of old bollocks. And so it begins.

    If you ban religion from GD then you’re effectively banning the subject altogether. I don’t think many will comment in the Religion GB, simply because a good-old-fashioned-religion-argument always needs a context.

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  73. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    LeftRightOut 10:52 am,

    Kris, what is an “evolutionary world view”?

    One where the individual views the world throught the lense of Evolution/Darwinism, although not necessarily (true) science (in my opinion).

    I suspect the dichotomy you really mean is an irrational worldview v a rational worldview. The vast majority of christianity’s leaders, especially those with a decent education, accept that evolution is fact and by far a better explanation of life than anything in genesis.

    I think many of the Christians here would have, what you call, “a decent education”; and are deep thinkers in all areas including science. And hold the view that (true) science and the observable facts actually better support the biblical account, than the many evolutionary theories put forward. (No doubt there will be some exceptions)

    For instance; I have a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) and yet also believe the Genesis account, and that the creation was of the order of 6,000 years ago (and that the science backs up this view). Similarly, that science supports Intelligent Design. Funny how we come to different conclusions when presented with the same evidence, but there you go.

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  74. Ross Nixon (610 comments) says:

    Amen Kris!

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  75. Johnboy (15,377 comments) says:

    Creation according to Kris(tian):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ussher_chronology

    Q.E.D.

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  76. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    Quite frankly I think young earth creation is one of the most destructive and legalistic doctrines to come out of the church for a very long time.
    A study on the attitudes of it’s proponents like “answers in genesis” and crooks such as Kent Hovind should raise alarm bells for any Christian that cares about the integrity of the faith.
    There are far better interpretations of Genesis that leave almost no problems in relation to science and with out compromising the word of God.
    There is also no requirement to accept the classical theory of evolution either, there is even significant disagreement and problems within the scientific community on how to define evolution and especially on how it was supposed to have started in the first place.

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  77. Scott (1,723 comments) says:

    I agree with the person who says reintroduce the karma buttons. That gives good feedback to people and hopefully assists people to be more temperate in their comments. Also the people who are just flame throwing and trolling get such bad karma that the post has to be clicked on to be read, I thought that was a good move.

    So I reckon bringing back all those features would help moderate this blog and cut down a lot of trolling and abuse, whether on religion or any other topic.

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  78. Chthoniid (2,029 comments) says:

    No, to be a science requires more than just deep thinking about the subject.

    A necessary association is a body of published work- indicative of an active research programme or body of facts and hypothesis that are being investigated. Scientific ideas have to be tested- in conferences, in peer-reviewed journals etc. E.g. Lynn Marguilis had to do a lot of publishing to get genetic drift accepted as an evolutionary mechanism. There is a quality-filter.

    When we look at Young-Earth-Creationism, there are simply no publications that have survived peer-review. Every year scientists publish thousands of papers across the globe that support evolution. Creationists do not get anything published (excepting the occasional book that evades scientific review). It is not science. You can believe the world was created 6000 years ago because of your religion. But creationism does not meet any credible definition of science used anywhere.

    For the last 30 years US courts have dealt with efforts to put creationism into the classroom as a science. Creationists have failed. Not only can they not demonstrate that creationism is a science in scientific forums, they have failed in legal forums. Creationism is not a science anymore than astrology is.

    (As an aside, appeal to authority- like a degree- isn’t a valid argument. I don’t say that people should agree with me because I have a PhD in a field that actually is relevant.)

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  79. Johnboy (15,377 comments) says:

    Its all to do with the length of a “Yom”

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/ev_date.htm

    “Computing the age of the earth and universe from the creation date of Adam & Eve:

    There is a further complexity introduced by the creation story in Genesis itself. Even if one were to accept the biblical genealogies as truth, this only traces the creation of Adam back to perhaps 4000 to 8000 BCE. But the time interval from the creation of the universe to the creation of Adam is a matter of intense debate among bible-believing creationists. That is because of the ambiguity associated with the Hebrew word “yom” which appears frequently in the Genesis creation stories. It is translated as “day” in all of the English versions of the Bible of which we are aware. But it can also mean an indeterminate interval of time.

    Most young earth creationists believe that “yom” means a day of 24 hours. This puts the date of creation of the universe according to a literal interpretation of the Bible at 4000 to 8000 BCE. However, old earth creationists suggest that each of the six “days” of creation might have taken many hundreds of millions of years. Further, there might have been one or more long intervals of time between some of the “days.”

    Like most things in life its the size that counts weither it be yom or wallet or something else.

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  80. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Malcolm 11:44 am,

    Waste of time. Religion seldom spontaneously appears. By my observation it’s more often than not injected by a religious person in the context of some other issue.

    Guilty sometimes – although often it’s usually in a moral context (homosexuality, abortion, murder, teenage sex, smacking debate, etc). But many times if I make any (non spiritual) comment at all its ‘all hands to the pump’ and lets bash the Christian (Zapper, Anne Sewel, Philu, MyNameIsJack, etc) – you either ignore it or defend your faith.

    I’ll pick on Kris, only because I know he can take it. Generally whenever we’re discussing a social issue Kris will jump with “it’s all because we’ve strayed from the word of God and you’ll all go to hell… In fact I have a scripture here which completely proves my point..”. And that a perfectly valid idea and it’s also perfectly valid for me to tell Kris that’s a load of old bollocks. And so it begins.

    You big meanie. Malcolm.
    Of course sometimes it is because, I believe, we HAVE strayed from God’s standards. And you don’t have to be a Christian to embrace biblical/moral standards – I believe you hold to many of the same standards as I do, Malcolm.
    And I usually leave out the “and you’ll all go to hell” bit, to be fair.
    But obviously it would be remiss of me to not mention, on occassion, my eternal hope, and, perhaps, that I pray for those here also.

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  81. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    Kris K (1533) Says:

    For instance; I have a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) and yet also believe the Genesis account, and that the creation was of the order of 6,000 years ago (and that the science backs up this view). Similarly, that science supports Intelligent Design. Funny how we come to different conclusions when presented with the same evidence, but there you go.

    We are most obviously NOT looking at the same evidence as there is absolutly NO evidence the earth, let alone the entire universe was created 6000 years ago. I’d be very interested in this evidence, but please remember, quoting scripture to prove scripture is not evidence.

    As to ID being science, please list

    5 scientific theories proposed by ID.
    5 scientific predictions made by ID.
    5 scientific discoveries made by ID.

    And again, please rembember, “We don’t know / understand, so god duunit” will not qualify as theory, prediction or discovery.

    Thanks

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  82. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    And I usually leave out the “and you’ll all go to hell” bit, to be fair.

    That’s true, Kris. You usually leave it for your closing remarks. And I look forward to it each time.

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  83. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Shunda barunda 11:58 am,

    Like I said: “(No doubt there will be some exceptions)”

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  84. Chthoniid (2,029 comments) says:

    @Shunda barunda

    Quite frankly I think young earth creation is one of the most destructive and legalistic doctrines to come out of the church for a very long time.

    I agree completely. I think it is a reactionary response by some religious groups that are simply unwilling to accommodate scientific discovery. There are certainly a variety of ways to accommodate evolution into religious beliefs that do not do such violence to the evidence. That is essentially why many denominations have moved towards a more theistic evolutionary approach. Someone may correct me on this, but I believe for instance, Catholic theology holds that the human creation refers to the imparting of a soul- not a physical body- to humans. (Noting Catholic scientists made major contributions to the big-bang theory and human evolution).

    I don’t know what you mean by the significant disagreements and problems in the scientific community however. There is, as always, debate over the importance and contribution of different evolutionary mechanisms (e.g. Marguilis’ mechanism of genetic drift), but the evolutionary model continues to be the over-arching theme with very solid consensus behind it.

    Technically speaking, abiogenesis isn’t part of evolution. It’s a separate area to evolutionary biology. There are a number of hypothesis on how it could occur, and these are being tested as far as we can in laboratory recreations. There are some significant differences in how we think life could emerge (was it an acid-path, was it an alkaline path?). And nobody is really say that it is a high probability event. Afterall, we needed 3bn years and a test-tube the size of a planet to do it the first time. I know that a lot of Xtian biologists attribute abiogenesis to God. It seems quite well for them as a form of integration into their faith.

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  85. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Malcolm 12:16 pm,

    That’s true, Kris. You usually leave it for your closing remarks. And I look forward to it each time.

    Being a masochist doesn’t earn you any brownie points, Malcolm.
    But you can call me ‘Master Kris’ if it makes you feel any better. :mrgreen:

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  86. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    Thank goodness for this thread, now if it is kept it might make the general one worth reading from time to time rather than been hijacked again on some religous dogma rant.

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  87. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    worth noting that this thread is running 2 posts to 1 for GD. Maybe GD is not needed? :-)

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  88. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    The unfortunate reality (and one that atheists fought hard against) is that our understanding of the origins of the universe have very much levelled the playing field in regard to the possible existence of a creator God.
    To say that nothing caused nothing to explode and here we all are seems a little illogical, and yet the evidence for the big bang is very strong.
    So is it really fair to suggest that the belief in a supernatural cause is illogical?
    Then we add into the mix the fine tuned universe, not only was there a bang from nothing, but the bang was so precisely balanced that secular scientists even speak of an almost spiritual experience when they realised to significance of their findings.
    It is an absolute fact that there is less conflict between science and religion now than for the past 100 years, it is a shame that so many Christians are not able to take advantage of this exciting new reality.
    Atheism is now proven illogical, the only rational position for a non believer is agnosticism, the scientific evidence demands it.

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  89. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Chthoniid 12:05 pm,

    No, to be a science requires more than just deep thinking about the subject.

    A necessary association is a body of published work- indicative of an active research programme or body of facts and hypothesis that are being investigated. Scientific ideas have to be tested- in conferences, in peer-reviewed journals etc. E.g. Lynn Marguilis had to do a lot of publishing to get genetic drift accepted as an evolutionary mechanism. There is a quality-filter.

    If there was no agenda driven favouritism for those pushing the party line, and no negative repercussions for those who dared voice opinion contrary to the ‘accepted’ wisdom – then I would agree with the peer review process as being one method of genuine scientific validation.
    The fact that this is not the case, though, leads one to question the whole peer review process, and just how ‘scientific’ it is.
    IPCC anyone? AGW anyone?

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  90. Chthoniid (2,029 comments) says:

    Because the IPCC is orders of magnitude smaller, and shorter lived, than the broader scientific community across geology, cosmology, chemistry and biology. And because sceptical papers on AGW do get published in peer reviewed journals. Likewise, as I have already cited, “unpopular” ideas- genetic drift, punctuated equilibrium, group selection- have all passed the quality filter.

    Either you believe that for the last 50 years, every science journal across the planet, has been engaged in a giant conspiracy to suppress evidence- a conspiracy theory that involves massive coordination across cultures, languages, many Christians and across countries- without leaving any evidence of this conspiracy– or, creationism is- as the US legal system continues to find- religious dogma devoid of scientific merit.

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  91. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    Hey Pete
    So what’s your answer to my question to your assertion.

    Barry, I’m waiting for all the Christians on Kiwiblog to apologise to gays and lesbians. If that’s too hard they could at least apologise to non gays and lesbians..

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  92. Pete George (23,123 comments) says:

    worth noting that this thread is running 2 posts to 1 for GD. Maybe GD is not needed?

    No, I think this religion thing is just a passing fad.

    Mike, I don’t think they should discriminate, if they think gays and lesbians are worthy of apologies then why not everyone else?

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  93. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Chthoniid 12:52 pm,

    Either you believe that for the last 50 years, every science journal across the planet, has been engaged in a giant conspiracy to suppress evidence …

    Pretty much – along with most of the publishers of textbooks in schools, etc that present evolutionary ‘facts’.

    There’s nothing wrong with the evidence, per se; it’s when the evidence is misrepresented and the resultant ‘data’ is massaged to fit the ‘theory’ that I have a problem.

    I may start the occassional topic on ‘Evidence Against Evolution, and For Intelligent Design’ and see what proponents for evolution have to say about such findings – could be interesting if people are genuinely wanting to debate the issue.

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  94. Sapient (24 comments) says:

    Shunda,

    The concept that is evolution has evolved over time. It has become far more complex as our understanding of the world has increased and can now explain much more than at any point previously. That said, it is still very similar to the origional form simply because Darwin got most of it right despite not having much of the knowledge we have today.

    Evolution does not attempt to explain the origin of life, anyone that would suggest it does shows that they understand it not. Evolution attempts to explain a process through which the diversity we see today may arise given that life exists in the first place. The study of the origin of life is a totally different feild but shows, none-the-less, many ways that life could have come about in the absence of a creator.

    You are, of course, correct that pure atheism is as illogical as religion in that it makes absolute claims about reality without the evidence to support such a claim. Atheism, though, is used as a catch all phrase for people whom do not beleive. Every person I have met whom understands the matter is an agnostic not an atheist but most use the term ‘atheist’ for convienence and to avoid confusion.

    The ‘fine-tuned universe’ argument is of no use. It is true that if the universe were much different then we could not survive but that is not because we have evolved for this universe, not visa versa. There are various studies published which show that of the four fundimental forces we dont even need one of them and of the other three a substantial proportion of combinations would result in stellar formation and thus the synthesis of heavyer elements and the eventual formation of life. Furthermore, many support the idea of a multiverse in which there exists many universes, some of those universes will have favourable laws and others will not. Life will, of course, only evolve in those with favourable laws and thus 100% of evolved life that can make such an observation will observe a ‘fine-tuned’ universe.

    As much as you may like to say such, our learning has not increased the chance of a creator god, merely brought up the same questions about existence as the proposed god does (actually far less than the proposed god does). This is something I worked out when I was about seven or eight, if everything has a cause and exists of something and within something then there must either be a first cause or an infinate regression (which still requires a first cause). God could fulfil the purpose of the first cause as god is without cause, but if God is without cause then something is without cause and thus things can exist without cause and there is no need to introduce God in the first place.

    We can not observe past the background radiation, we thus have problems predicting what happened before the big bang or what exists outside of our universe. This does not mean God exists, it means we can not know and we can not rule out God entirely. We do, however, have no need to include god in our reasoning as reasoning without god bring up the question of how everything came about in the first place while reasoning with god brings up the question of how god came about in the first place and how that thing that came into existence is so complex as to be concious and why it is so powerful and why it does what it does.

    I think that is enough for now. If you desire I can disprove an Abrahamic god but that will have to wait.

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  95. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    For what Pete? being part of the screwed up mess that is humanity?

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  96. big bruv (13,450 comments) says:

    I have no time for religion, to me it is just not possible that some dude created the entire bloody world in six days then sat back with his feet up on the seventh.

    However, I fail to see why those who think like me would want to waste their time arguing with those who do believe.

    As long as religious people keep their religion to themselves then I fail to see what harm they are doing, those who take joy out of winding up Christians are, IMHO, a bit sick.

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  97. Sapient (24 comments) says:

    Kris K,

    Provide a single bit of evidence against evolution and I will admit that evolution is incorrect. Provide that one singular peice of evidence and I will spend the rest of my days showing other people that they are wrong about evolution.

    Surely, it shouldint be too hard for you to show me just one peice?

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  98. Sapient (24 comments) says:

    BB,

    Cause its to freaking hilarious.

    Until it gets so freaking frustrating.

    Then the detriment that they bring the world motivates one to continue.

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  99. Johnboy (15,377 comments) says:

    Going out of your way to upset people who have had a hard time through the family court system is of course perfectly normal and not the sign of a sicko. :)

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  100. nickb (3,673 comments) says:

    I can’t see why people cant just go this way —————————–>
    and go and post on a religious chatroom or something. Its a political blog.

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  101. dad4justice (7,898 comments) says:

    Nothing chamges Johnboy, big blouse hasn’t experienced the EVIL of the Family Court.
    Christians with morals are easy prey for the sinister system and cowardly bloggers without a life.
    God help New Zealand. keep attacking, Nothing has changed since Jesus walked the planet.

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  102. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    Both Shunda Burunda and Sapient appear to agree that You are, of course, correct that pure atheism is as illogical as religion in that it makes absolute claims about reality without the evidence to support such a claim.

    I dispute that. I am an atheist, and yet, given proof, I will change my view and accept that god(s) does/do exist. At the moment, all the evidence I see points to there being no god(s).

    That is the substantive difference between an atheist and a religionist. Ask Kris K, for example, what evidence would prove to him there is no god. He is not willing to countenance that possibilty. An atheist is always open to new possibilities, provided they are accompanied with proof.

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  103. Chthoniid (2,029 comments) says:

    Wrong approach Sapient.

    If Kris wants to establish that what he says can be taken as true, he has to provide positive evidence for creationism. That is, how it provides a better explanation (& predictor) of the set of biological facts we possess.

    It has been a creationist canard for a long time, to try to prove creationism by default. This is the ‘if I show evolution is wrong, it must be that creationism’ is right gambit. It’s unscientific and for that reason, to be eschewed. No science anywhere has done so little actual research on the theory than creationism. They need to start providing proof.

    Alternatively, some kind of smoking gun that demonstrates the existence of a half-century global scientific conspiracy would be nice :).

    We don’t need to prove evolution. It has been demonstrated often enough in scientific publications. And that’s where such proof should be.

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  104. dad4justice (7,898 comments) says:

    Evolution can’t explain morality. One has only to read the rubbish that the anti Christian folk spurt on this blog.

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  105. big bruv (13,450 comments) says:

    Johnboy

    I have no idea if D4J has had a hard time with the family court, actually, I could not give a fuck either way.

    I call it as I see it, and in his case I see him as a whack job with a anger problem.

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  106. Chthoniid (2,029 comments) says:

    Trivers, (1971). Evolution of Reciprocal Altriusm. Journal of Theoretical Biology.

    Next question please.

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  107. dad4justice (7,898 comments) says:

    You don’t know me blouse – be a REAL bloke and have a meeting with me over a cup of coffee.
    Try and grow a pair and front up. Come on tough guy or are you just a keyboard coward with a major patholoigical problem? This cannot continue.

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  108. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    Sapient, talk of multiverse’s is no different to Dawkin’s spaghetti monster, it only serves to create the illusion of the strength of an argument that doesn’t really exist.
    By definition we can not see out side of our current universe as the laws of physics are unique to our reality, if in fact big bang theory is correct. We can only imagine and never measure what may lie beyond our universe.
    So the Question of the existence of God becomes a fascinating proposition once again, we have in a sense proven the possibility of Gods existence, and that is a relatively recent development.
    If such a God exists one would expect evidence of his presence both in natural history and in human history, we certainly have a remarkable array of life that if created would certainly require a super intellect, and we have the past 2000 years of world history largely dominated by a chap that claimed to be Gods son.
    Just some of the things that should cause people to put aside the bad behaviour of some Christians (which Christ warned of in any case) and take an open minded view on the nature of our existence.

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  109. Johnboy (15,377 comments) says:

    Fair enough BB you stick to winding him up and I’ll keep on at the saintly.

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  110. dad4justice (7,898 comments) says:

    Johnboy – big blouse is a chicken far to frightened to front up in the real world. I know who he is and I feel very sorry for him. Only a real twisted disturbed coward would carry on like this lunatic does. I pray he can seek professional help.

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  111. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    This is great fun – who’d want to eviscerate religion from the GD?

    Excellent comments BTW, Sapient and Chthoniid.

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  112. big bruv (13,450 comments) says:

    Johnboy

    Winding him up?…what ever are you accusing me of?

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  113. dad4justice (7,898 comments) says:

    Where are we meeting blouse? My four children want a wee chat with you.
    Shall I bring a Bible?
    Time and place please.

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  114. Johnboy (15,377 comments) says:

    To err is human; to forgive is divine.

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  115. dad4justice (7,898 comments) says:

    Big blouse needs to say sorry to my children.

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  116. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    “Then the detriment that they bring the world motivates one to continue.”

    Name a single successful nation that has attempted to remove religion.

    I can name plenty of detrimental non religious ideologies that have caused the deaths of 100s of millions of people.

    Your concerns while well meaning are simply unfounded, it’s ok Sapient, just relax. People will believe what they want regardless of whether they are taught logic or not, I am sure you have seen many non religious examples of this yourself.

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  117. big bruv (13,450 comments) says:

    Johnboy

    Is that a biblical quote?

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  118. dad4justice (7,898 comments) says:

    What kind of coward abuses a man for over a year on the internet and will not front up when asked to a face to face meeting? No wonder ACT have the colour yellow. Haha.
    Who said evil doesn’t exist. At least Jesus didn’t have to contend with creeps on blogosphere.

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  119. Johnboy (15,377 comments) says:

    Alexander Pope. Known for his satirical verse.

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  120. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    “I dispute that. I am an atheist, and yet, given proof, I will change my view and accept that god(s) does/do exist. At the moment, all the evidence I see points to there being no god(s).”

    THen you are actually Agnostic.

    Learn the definitions mate.

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  121. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    Funny how those who claim to be the most religious, eg D4J, are also the quickest to move towards violence, just in time to negate Shundás above comment.

    And Shunda, when looking at death tolls, it is helpful to identify the ideology behine each movement, as well as the killing technology available. The Spanish, for example, killed a truckload in South America – imagine how many more they could have killed with today’s weapons. And I am sure that Pope innocent IV, Pope Paul III, King Phillip II, among others, would have loved access to extraordinary rendition, black ops helicopters, waterboarding, electrified testicles, etc.

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  122. Pete George (23,123 comments) says:

    I’m atheist using, say, Kris’s definition of God.

    But I’m agnostic if I use my version of what a god could be.

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  123. big bruv (13,450 comments) says:

    D4J

    I had been ignoring you, however, your accusations are becoming more and more bizarre.

    I have NO plans to travel the length of the country to meet you and your brood, I try to stay out of Canterbury as much as I can due to the unbalanced nature of many of its inhabitants.

    I have nothing to apologise to you for (this is the second and last time I will make this statement) and I have not abused you “for over a year”

    I have taken the piss out of you….
    I have exposed you as a nut job….
    I have taken issue with your misogynistic statements….

    But most of all I have ignored you because I think you are mad.

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  124. dad4justice (7,898 comments) says:

    Where have I suggested violence?

    ALL I WANT TO DO IS MEET BIG BRUV FACE TO FACE.

    End of story.

    I WILL TRAVEL TO YOU BIG BLOUSE.

    Come on face to face.
    STOP TWISTING THINGS.

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  125. dad4justice (7,898 comments) says:

    I CAN GET A FLIGHT TODAY.

    Name time and place blouse.

    I pray you accept my offer.

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  126. Puzzled in Ekatahuna (339 comments) says:

    So if DPF is trying to gauge from this ‘A SEPARATE RELIGIOUS DEBATE THREAD’ whether to in fact try a separate religious threat, is it generally apparent that the answer is ‘No’ and that religious views occur in the context of general debate and should stand or fall there?
    [I am another who is disappointed the kudos buttons have gone, along with the sense of feed back that they gave]

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  127. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    Jeff83, it is you, not I who has trouble with definitions.

    Today, I am a heleocentrist. However, if you can PROVE heleocentrism is wrong, then I will modify my position.

    Today I am an atheist. PROVE god(s) exist(s) and I will modify my position.

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  128. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    “And Shunda, when looking at death tolls, it is helpful to identify the ideology behine each movement, as well as the killing technology available.”

    So my point is invalid because of what people may have done had they had modern technology?
    Well I guess WW2 would have been over pretty quick if the allies had F 16 fighter jets as well, or if the Nazis had nuclear weapons.

    Your point is totally irrelevant, time machines thankfully don’t exist.

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  129. Chthoniid (2,029 comments) says:

    Your comparison rests on an apples versus oranges argument.

    The Crusades, the inquisition, the conquistadors- all didn’t lack for a violent ideology. They lacked the technology of modern totalitarian states. Their killing was not tempered by religious restraint. It was tempered by insufficient tools.

    The common thread behind totalitarian states is that they have a violent ideology- not an atheistic one. Hitler, Franco & Mussolini did not seem to temper their ideology despite their Christian basis. Stalin didn’t murder millions because he was an atheist. These are simply regimes that had the technology and values (individual rights irrelevant) necessary to commit genocide. Hitler was not an atheist http://tinyurl.com/4ysjg

    Religious values are not always benign. Religious values cause children to die from medical neglect, because parents trust faith over medicine. In ‘The God Virus’, the author makes the point that the second-best predictor of child abuse in a family in the US- behind substance abuse- is religious belief. Countries where religious beliefs have declined greatly don’t do all that badly- http://www.gisborneherald.co.nz/article/?id=15949

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  130. Fale Andrew Lesa (473 comments) says:

    It would seem as though this particular thread is meaningless, no sense of direction or purpose.

    As a young Presbyterian I clicked onto this thread in hope of finding a constructive discussion around the creation of our universe, religious morality, principle, conduct and other elements of religious existence.

    It seems none of the above is taking place and with that, I patiently await much needed change.

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  131. Pete George (23,123 comments) says:

    Is there any difference between religious morality and non-religious morality?

    Nothing specifically religious here:

    mor⋅al
    –adjective
    1. of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical: moral attitudes.
    2. expressing or conveying truths or counsel as to right conduct, as a speaker or a literary work; moralizing: a moral novel.
    3. founded on the fundamental principles of right conduct rather than on legalities, enactment, or custom: moral obligations.
    4. capable of conforming to the rules of right conduct: a moral being.
    5. conforming to the rules of right conduct (opposed to immoral ): a moral man.
    6. virtuous in sexual matters; chaste.
    7. of, pertaining to, or acting on the mind, feelings, will, or character: moral support.
    8. resting upon convincing grounds of probability; virtual: a moral certainty.
    –noun
    9. the moral teaching or practical lesson contained in a fable, tale, experience, etc.
    10. the embodiment or type of something.
    11. morals, principles or habits with respect to right or wrong conduct.

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  132. big bruv (13,450 comments) says:

    “I CAN GET A FLIGHT TODAY.

    Name time and place blouse.

    I pray you accept my offer.”

    It seems God has answered your call D4J.

    36 Glamis Road, Forfar, DD8 1DG

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  133. dad4justice (7,898 comments) says:

    The UK here I come.
    Really blouse get some help. Just ask the Holy Spirit for assistance with your pathological nightmare.
    The real nutjob is looking you in the mirror.
    I do pray you get better.

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  134. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    Chthoniid, that is a lame approach to world history.
    The crusades were a complex political situation that happened to use religion as a proxy for political goals, any other interpretation is deliberately simplistic and misleading.
    And why do you think warfare was less brutal back then? people hacking each other to bits caused just as much death if not more than modern military weapons and strategy.
    And your approach to Stalin Mao and friends is bollocks, they had an ideology that was explicitly anti God which deliberately threw off ANY moral restraint to implement their goals, there is a much more direct link with this tyranny and atheism than the teachings of Christ and the inquisition or crusades.

    “Religious values are not always benign. Religious values cause children to die from medical neglect, because parents trust faith over medicine. ”

    Oh please, absolute fringe weirdo stuff, it has nothing to do with the majority of Christians. People from all cultures and beliefs practice such things.

    “In ‘The God Virus’, the author makes the point that the second-best predictor of child abuse in a family in the US- behind substance abuse- is religious belief.”

    What rot, that’s like saying 90% of people who abuse children have eaten carrots so carrots should be banned.

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  135. Sapient (24 comments) says:

    LeftRightOut,

    There is absolutely no reason to be certain as to the existence of a god as we have no proof of a god. We also have no proof that a god does not exist and thus to be certain of the non-existence of a god is illogical. On Dawkins scale of 0 to 7 0 and 7 can never be justified. I am at about 6.9 in relation to an Abrahamic god but I am still an agnostic because of that missing 0.1. While I can call myself an atheist and be correct in the sense that I am without god, the phrase has been taken to infer a certainty; one logically justified. Even my proof against a Abrahamic god makes the assumption of my logic being correct.

    -

    Chthoniid,

    You are, of course, correct. I was not, however, asking him to show his pet theory as better but was responding the “evidence against evolution” claim often made. If he can produce some then I will alter my beliefs, but that does not mean I will adopt his theory. I do not need another theory to be correct to discard my theory should it be incorrect.

    GTG, more latter.

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  136. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    Shunda, I thought Chthoniid did a good job of answering your psot, so refrained from answering myself, but you just don’t seem to get it, do you?

    What is the direct, causal, atheist link between Stalin, Mao, Hitler, et al?

    I see a lot more similarity with totalitarianism and religion than there is with atheism, which is not a movement, group or organisation, has no sacred texts and is far more closely aligned with humanism.

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  137. RRM (9,585 comments) says:

    YES.

    THIS IS AN EXCELLENT IDEA. DO IT.

    And 50 demerits for bringing religion into the non-religion thread too please.

    Every time I see the god/no god stuff I just scroll past. It bores me utterly.

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  138. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    “I see a lot more similarity with totalitarianism and religion than there is with atheism,”

    And you are entitled to your opinion, I just think history tells an overwhelmingly different story.

    First the deaths you guys are trying to link to people like me:

    The Crusades 1,000,000
    Spanish Inquisition 350,000
    Witch Hunts 100,000

    Deaths from the 20th century alone:

    Marxist China 77,277,000
    Soviet Russia 61,911,000
    Nazi Germany 20,946,000

    Even accounting for your weak “they didn’t have machine guns so it doesn’t count” argument, it is clear that the harm done to humanity is not coming from people who believe in God it is coming from people full stop.

    There is no justification for any special intervention into the lives of religious people, it is an argument that is based on intellectual bigotry and it is potentially a very serious erosion of basic human freedom.

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  139. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    Shunda, I think you’ve left quite a bit off your list, like the 30 years war for one. then there are the Hinus v Muslims as muslims began to spread out, plus at the later aprtitioning of India/Pakistan, or doesn’t it count as religion unless its christian? A few minutes research on the topic would be a help to you, I’d do it, but its beer oçlock and computer is being turned off NOW!

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  140. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    Yeah I could use a beer, I feel a bit cranky today.

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  141. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    Yep
    DPF
    I vote for no separate thread these bozos just need karma buttons to play Killer with.

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  142. Viking2 (11,215 comments) says:

    What a good idea!

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  143. Rufus (626 comments) says:

    I’m with whomever said you cannot separate your views from your beliefs. Your metanarrative colours your views on pretty much any subject being debated.

    Some people add something of value to debates, some don’t.

    For example, while Chthoniid and I disagree on many things, I believe he contributes something worthwhile to the GD, and appreciate his civility.

    Zapper, on the other hand rants and raves and froths at the mouth. That’s why Firefox invented RIP.

    I’m all for keeping GD as it is, but would like to echo someone’s post above, desiring more politeness and civility from everyone (myself included).

    As grown-ups, we should be able to have a discussion without calling each other f’n c*nts etc.

    Rufus

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  144. CharlieBrown (916 comments) says:

    Its a tough one but when you look at it there is no need. Isn’t general debate available for any type of debate? Although there definitely are narrowminded religious nut cases and vocal religion-haters who abuse the forum, at some point religion will be a valid debate… eg church billboards.

    As these people do not use just the general debates to express their intollerance, perhaps a better alternative will be to give them demerit points when they bring up religion in the blog posts when religion is irrelevent to the discussion. It wouldn’t take long before these idiots get banned or change their blogging habbits.

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  145. Sapient (24 comments) says:

    D4J,

    Evolution can and does explain morality. While it is an area I have studied extensively I can not be bothered explaining it to you given your presentation here and on other blogs. If you genuinely are interested in how evolution explains morality I would suggest you tube. Thunderf00t or the Richard Dawkins Institute have a good deal of videos on the matter.

    Religion can not explain morality. I know of not a single person in the world that gets their morality from the bible. Even the pope does not. People are influenced by the morals of their time and then they use those morals to select which parts of the bible they pay attention to and which they discard, or are you telling me that you would stone your children to death for disobeying you, your daughter for not being a virgin on her wedding night, a female whom gets raped in town? Come on, this is in the first few pages of my bible once we get past the crazy and contradicting creation stories (not to mention that all this stoning kind of violates the whole not killing thing).

    -

    Shunda,

    The argument is strong without the need for a multi-verse, much more so than any that involves a god. Even with the multi-verse it is far more strong than god. Even if there was a multi-verse within another and another it would still be more strong. God is totally unnecessary and rather unlikely.

    If life was created then yes, it would need a great intellect. Alternatively, if it was not created but evolved it would need no intelligence at all. That there is some bloke whom claims to have been the son of god and that he has been an important figure for 2000 years does nothing to support the existence of god. Nothing what-so-ever.

    My problem is not just with religion, shunda. My problem is with all dogmata. Religion and ideology are merely two different forms of the same stupidity. There is no need for me to name a successful nation that has attempted to remove religion, what I need to do is to demonstrate that dogmata cause detriment. I will do so in a single word; “Dubya”. If you want more I will say; “Stalin”, “Hitler”, “Crusades”, “9/11”, “Iraq”, and “Gaza” and still not be anywhere near an even partial list of the single-word descriptors.

    As to the numbers; a much larger population and weapons of far greater effacy.

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  146. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    “or are you telling me that you would stone your children to death for disobeying you, your daughter for not being a virgin on her wedding night, a female whom gets raped in town? Come on, this is in the first few pages of my bible once we get past the crazy and contradicting creation stories (not to mention that all this stoning kind of violates the whole not killing thing).”

    Sapient you are basing your argument on ignorance of the Christian faith, the teachings of Christ clearly answer those issues you have raised. You can not take the old testament and say that is what the faith is all about, Jesus taught a better way to deal with these issues than was used previously the old testament can not be understood without the new.
    Don’t you see that this could be a master stroke of God to teach us about ourselves and hence our need for him?
    Think about it, he always intended there to be a new testament and to provide a means to be free from bondage to the law.
    God described the law as bondage, do you understand why?

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  147. Sapient (24 comments) says:

    Argument A.

    Point 1: Omnipotence.

    An omnipotent being is all-powerful. In being all-powerful, an omniscient being is capable of bringing about anything which that being may desire.

    Point 2: Omniscience.

    An omniscient being is all-knowing. In being all-knowing, an omniscient being would possess knowledge both of if existence differs from any desired state and of how best to obtain any desired state.

    Point 3: Omnibenevolence.

    An omnibenevolent being is all-loving. In being all-loving, an omnibenevolent being would desire the state which is most conductive of the happiness and least conductive of the suffering.

    Point 4:

    The state most conductive of happiness and least conductive of suffering is one which is all-blissful.

    Therefore

    Point 5:

    A being which is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent would have the power, knowledge, and will to create an existence which is all-blissful.

    Therefore

    Point 6:

    An existence which is not all-blissful is incongruent with the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent being.

    -

    Argument B.

    Point 1:

    The perception of pain represents an undesirable state and thus indicates a less than all-blissful existence.

    Point 2:

    My back hurts (pain is perceived).

    Therefore

    Point 3:

    This existence is one which is less than all-blissful.

    -

    Argument C.

    Point 1:

    An existence which is not all-blissful is incongruent with the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent being.

    Point 2:

    This existence is one which is less than all-blissful.

    Therefore

    Point 3:

    This existence is incongruent with the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent being.

    -

    Argument D.

    Point 1:

    The Abrahamic god is proposeed to be an omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient being.

    Point 2:

    This existence is incongruent with the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent being.

    Therefore

    Point 3:

    This existence is incongruent with the existence of the Abrahamic god.

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  148. dad4justice (7,898 comments) says:

    “I know of not a single person in the world that gets their morality from the bible.”

    I know thousands of people that do. Get out more before you foolishly type your dribble.
    “…a foolish man devours all he has.” Proverbs 21:20 NIV

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  149. Sapient (24 comments) says:

    Shunda,

    It is fine for one to say that the old testament no-longer applies but in doing so one eliminates their ability to appeal to that portion at all and with it their ability to oppose homosexuality, abortion, and every other thing that Christians seem to be fond of opposing.

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  150. Sapient (24 comments) says:

    D4J,

    Then I am very glad I am not your child.

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  151. dad4justice (7,898 comments) says:

    Oh that’s right attack my fatherhood ability. Are you the twin brother of Brett Dugan?

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  152. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    As are, no doubt, his children. :-)

    So Shunda, let me get this right – “the master stroke of God to teach us about ourselves ” was a lot of pain and suffering, silly rules and god’s law that was, in fact, bondage. Humanity had to suffer all throught that until one day, god said “Oh fuck, I was wrong, let there be a new testament”?

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  153. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    dad4justice (5761) Says:

    February 10th, 2010 at 9:03 pm
    “I know of not a single person in the world that gets their morality from the bible.”

    I know thousands of people that do.

    Name them, and the morality they get from the bible that could only come from the bible and nowhere else.

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  154. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    “A being which is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent would have the power, knowledge, and will to create an existence which is all-blissful.

    Therefore

    Point 6:

    An existence which is not all-blissful is incongruent with the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, and omni-benevolent being”

    Sapient this is an interesting angle, but once again the core aspects of the faith deal with exactly this issue.
    The biblical account makes it clear that the world was created as you state it would have to be for a God of this character.
    The key point of conflict is the fact that God gave human beings the opportunity to reject and rebel from him, also a necessary trait of an “omnipotent, omniscient, and omni-benevolent being” there can be no true relationship with out the possibility to reject that relationship.
    The reality is that people rejected God, this is the source of the suffering you speak of, it is not punishment, it is more liken to decay, God is not the author of this, we are.
    But being an omnipotent, omniscient, and omni-benevolent being It caused God to feel a great deal of distress over this issue, which ultimately led to the provision of part of his own existence as a saviour for those that would like to chose to have the relationship restored.
    All this seems entirely consistent with a being of the required nature to me.

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  155. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    “Humanity had to suffer all throught that until one day, god said “Oh fuck, I was wrong, let there be a new testament”?”

    As per above.

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  156. reid (16,061 comments) says:

    Sapient re: your 9:02, you haven’t thought about it very much have you. But congratulations for thinking about it at all.

    The answer to your conundrum is free will.

    We have the power to be good or bad. We have been given, through G-d’s grace, the choice. If we were forced to be nothing but good 24/7, what sort of life would we have. Where would be the challenge, the adventure, the love, the romance, the juice of life?

    You might think that everyone being forced to be good all the time would make it a perfectly good world but would it? Think about it. You can’t ever do the wrong thing. You never make a mistake. You have the perfect mate. There are no arguments, ever. You are wealthy, but not wealthier than anyone else. The Olympics always end up in dead heats and everyone gets a gold medal. You never experience any of the deadly sins: no lust, no gluttony, no avarice, no pride, no envy, no sloth, no wrath. And neither does anyone else, ever. Everyone swots their butts off in school and uni. Everyone has doctorate degrees and the same IQ and the same perfect gene structure so we never get sick, etc etc.

    The presence of evil in the world and our ability to chose between either doing it or not, builds spiritual muscle, in exactly the same sense a man’s muscles expand through resistance training. That’s why it’s there.

    Like many I struggle to understand the justice of many events in the world, like Haiti for example. Unlike many, I never take it as evidence that there is no loving G-d, for I know and have always known, that even if I can’t see it, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a reason for it.

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  157. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    ‘The Crusades 1,000,000
    Spanish Inquisition 350,000
    Witch Hunts 100,000′

    THese were all Catholic inspired. Not to mention the Spainish Armada.

    Isn’t it amazing, a church with such a despicable history can keep a respectable reputation.

    Not to mention the pedophilia as well.

    Biggest con job in history.

    THey have also never publicly condemned Catholic Hitler and his Catholic lieutenants.

    But the masses blame scripture instead of the false interpreters of scripture.

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  158. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    @D4J: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18216-dear-god-please-confirm-what-i-already-believe.html This may suggest they do not really get their morality from the Bible. But our societal environment will probably be a strong part of where we get our morality from and if you come from a society with Judeo-Christian roots, your assertion that thousands of people get there morality from the Bible (though the root may be indirect) certainly has a degree of validity.

    Did this thread come about because of the comments re: the abortionist who was murdered? I can see how it could be a good way of keeping religion out of many debates (overtly anyway), but when it comes to the evocative issues such as abortion people tend to get shouty (yeah, I realise you can’t actually get shouty in textual form) and start spewing their bile, which in the case of say the murdered abortionist tends to be religious on one end and anti-religious on the other. Oh, my point? It’s more a question: will it work when it comes to the evocative issues?

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  159. Sapient (24 comments) says:

    Shunda,

    The fact of the matter is that if god is omnipotent then he could create a world where even those whom reject god would be free of suffering. That god does not indicates that, if god exists, then god is either not omnipotent or not omnibenevolent.

    I would make the further point that even those whom dedicate themselves fully to god continue to experience suffering and thus rejection of god is not a valid point.

    If god felt distress then god would be moved to remedy that distress by correcting the world.

    -

    Reid,

    First, see the above. If god was omnipotent then god could create a world with free-will but without suffering. If god was omnibenevolent then god would desire the creation of such. You make the argument that there must be bad to be good but in doing so you are assuming that god can not create a world where there is only good and all the benefits of a world of good and bad are retained; you are assuming that god is not omnipotent.

    Besides, free-will is non-existent. We don’t have it and in a deterministic universe -even assuming a soul- free-will is impossible.

    -

    Shunda and Reid,

    You can go through every single reply of Christian apologetics to the problem of evil and I can refute every single reply ever made simply by showing that you are assuming a limit to god’s omnipotence, omnibenevolence, or (less often) omniscience.

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  160. Sapient (24 comments) says:

    JiveKitty,

    The morality considered Christian had existed for thousands (probably tens of thousands) of years prior to Jesus (and prior to the Jews). This morality was a part of the society and was taken into the bible simply because those were the social convention of the time. Thus, D4J’s argument is without basis. The values may be called ‘Christian’ but they are universal to all successful societies.

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  161. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    @Reid. God is the creator, however, and all-knowing, all-powerful and wholly benevolent. Infallible. As such, if God is all these things, God would know, irrespective of free will and irrespective of the existence of Satan, what his creation will do and will have given his creation the tendencies to commit evil acts, and to be evil. This leads one to ask, if God is all these things, why did God not create an incorruptible being with free-will? The answer taken to its logical conclusion implies that one or more of these conditions – all-knowing, all-powerful (=infallible) and wholly benevolent – are wrong.

    (I am going from the general Christian conception here, as my Jewish friends tell me the Jews have quite a different view, but has not explained how this is the case.)

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  162. reid (16,061 comments) says:

    “These were all Catholic inspired.”

    One of my favourite distinctions wiki, is pointing out the difference between religion (which is a person’s individual relationship with their G-d), and mankind’s interpretation of G-d’s will as expressed through a church.

    The two hardly ever marry up and while those of us who are “religious” often chose a specific church in which to worship, that doesn’t necessarily mean that that church is anything more than a coincidental vehicle through which we express our faith. It certainly doesn’t mean that the worshippers always agree with everything that church says, although sometimes the media knowingly or unwittingly blurr that line, and ignorant people often conflate it.

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  163. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    Thanks Sapient, I am aware of this. I don’t see his point as without basis because the morality was incorporated into Christianity and given the control the religion once had over politics and society, and still has even today, it has probably been key in maintaining the moral system, despite (what I view as) many flaws.

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  164. dad4justice (7,898 comments) says:

    Oh right the troglodyte knew morality as he dragged the women from the waterhole. Oh silly me should know better. Was the moral system then based on who had the biggest club?

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  165. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    @Reid: You make a very good point especially re: the Crusades, etc, as when these were occurring to be Catholic was pretty mandatory (not sure about witch hunts) in society.

    Today, when you disagree with a general interpretation of God’s will as expressed through a church, it is much easier to leave and go to another. However, actually swapping between interpretations of the faith is still difficult: it could be extremely hard to go from the Catholic Church to the Protestant Church as your personal interpretation may be much more in line with the Catholic Church’s, despite disagreeing with the Pope’s views on gay marriage, for example. If you did so, you might also suffer socially.

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  166. dad4justice (7,898 comments) says:

    Sapient – I must head over to the Dawkins blog and tell him I lost my pet dinosaur. I think sonic stole it.

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  167. Sapient (24 comments) says:

    JiveKitty,

    Yes, I suspected as much. The response is none-the-less justified so that D4J does not start to think he may actually have his first point, ever.

    Christianity certainly played a part in enforcing the moral system over the years, but this moral system is independent of the religion itself just as the law is independent of the individual cop. The simple fact is that for much of these morals their exclusion would mean a non-functional society and thus only those societies which retain these morals would continue to function; without Christianity another system would ensure the morals upheld. In this way morals are not something religion has claim to and non-Christians can not be said to lack morality. Morals are independent of god.

    D4J,

    Yes, and I am sure the priest knew the same as he pounded the choir boys.

    I am not sure if you are referring to primitive hominids or to the common chimpanzee when you say ‘troglodyte’ but psychologists have demonstrated clearly that chimps do have a morality and that the morality does evolve with different environments. It is likely that the primitive hominid had a moral system just as advanced, or more so, than the common chimpanzee.

    I would also point out, in reference to the waterhole, that spousal rape was accepted in our society until very recently and that there was a substantial opposition to it being made illegal.

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  168. Sapient (24 comments) says:

    D4J,

    10:14 pm

    WTF?

    Is that some sort of dig at evolution? If so you really don’t understand it at all.

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  169. dad4justice (7,898 comments) says:

    Please keep those deranged psychologists from this thread. They make Cavemen seem normal.

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  170. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    Keep up the good work, Sapient. Cheers.

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  171. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    @D4J: “Oh right the troglodyte knew morality as he dragged the women from the waterhole. Oh silly me should know better. Was the moral system then based on who had the biggest club?”

    It may very well have been back in the day. I’m not sure as to that one. However, mankind eventually picked up on co-operation as a good way to survive and it probably grew from there. It may have even gone a little like this:

    “How do we co-operate and maintain functionality?”
    “Well, rules of course, and everybody has to follow them, or else it won’t work.”
    “How’re we going to get people to follow them?”
    “Well, we inculcate the rules, and make sure that following them is seen as ‘good’ and disobeying them is seen as ‘bad’.”
    “How do we do that?”
    “Well, something may be good individually, but not so good for co-operation and survival on the whole, so not only should we instill these values, but we better punish deviations from the rules.”
    “That sounds like a good plan.”
    “So, what shall the rules be?”
    “Well, don’t kill each other.”
    and so on…

    Someone with a better knowledge of anthropology would be of more use than I, given I primarily studied political science and economics, but that seems to be a workable scenario.

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  172. Ryan Sproull (7,055 comments) says:

    To be fair, Brian, we usually only have our little set-tos about once a month – I like to think I knock the stuffing out of Ryan, and he takes a month to recover

    Kris, I agree.

    You do like to think that.

    Brian, aren’t you going to miss it?

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  173. Ryan Sproull (7,055 comments) says:

    We have the power to be good or bad. We have been given, through G-d’s grace, the choice. If we were forced to be nothing but good 24/7, what sort of life would we have. Where would be the challenge, the adventure, the love, the romance, the juice of life?

    Where would be the child sexual abuse, the female genital mutilation, the torture chambers, the nerve gas?

    The “think how awful it would be if you didn’t have the option/inclination to shoplift!” argument seems pretty weak in the face of what human evil actually entails.

    On the other hand, Heaven’s supposed to be a pretty sweet situation, and no one ever sins there, right?

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  174. Dirty Rat (504 comments) says:

    So, why does God exist ?

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  175. Ryan Sproull (7,055 comments) says:

    So, why does God exist ?

    Asking “why does God exist?” is like asking “where is the universe?”

    Purpose is a concept that has meaning only when applied to things within Creation, not to the Creator, just as location is a concept that has meaning only when applied to things within the universe, not to the universe itself.

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  176. Pete George (23,123 comments) says:

    However, mankind eventually picked up on co-operation as a good way to survive and it probably grew from there.

    And commonly leaders of the pack were chosen or self imposed, and most followed with what they were “told”. And groups grew into societies. And gradually they tried to explain the unknown with beliefs and memories and fables.

    Etc

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  177. reid (16,061 comments) says:

    Sapient and JiveKitty, interesting replies to my 9:25, thank you both.

    I personally view evil as anything bad, negative, sub-optimal, etc; but done consciously: i.e. not a d’oh moment, wish I hadn’t done that. but something done with malice aforethought: i.e. you knew it was wrong but you went ahead and did it anyway. It could be minor, something perhaps like overeating or getting drunk – things that hurt only yourself, right up the scale toward doing something that ends someone else’s life in terror and pain. But it’s all evil, on that entire scale. In that context, can I ask you both: from where do you think do evil thoughts arise?

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  178. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    You mean “Why is the Christian god believed to exist?”, right, Dirty Rat?” :P Because man can’t deal with not being the apex of evolved life? Fear of death? There needed to be a system to control society and an unaccountable God seemed like a good idea at the time? A primitive need to explain certain events which were in the past unable to be explained? For example, “Why does the sun rise and then go down?” “Well, God made it so that we know when it’s time to arise and when it’s time to go to bed.”. There are many reasons there is such belief.

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  179. reid (16,061 comments) says:

    “The “think how awful it would be if you didn’t have the option/inclination to shoplift!” argument seems pretty weak in the face of what human evil actually entails.”

    Yeah but we’re not talking about simply that are we, Ryan? We’re talking about the total abrogation of the human spirit as we know it, aren’t we?

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  180. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    This is just pointless, some of you guys don’t even have a basic understanding of the central doctrines of Christianity and then try and make an argument from ignorance against it.
    You are contradicting your own position by changing how a creator God “has” to behave in order to be credible, it is not logical.
    Open your minds for just a second, it really is not that scary.

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  181. reid (16,061 comments) says:

    “There are many reasons there is such belief.”

    Yes but JK, how come its been kept up once we’d solved those problems?

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  182. Ryan Sproull (7,055 comments) says:

    Yeah but we’re not talking about simply that are we, Ryan? We’re talking about the total abrogation of the human spirit as we know it, aren’t we?

    Well, not to me. The human spirit is quite awesome to me as it is – entirely lacking “free will”, just as it is entirely lacking “square circles”.

    But if no longer being able to do any wrong is the “total abrogation of the human spirit”, then again I ask – isn’t Heaven a total abrogation of the human spirit?

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  183. Dirty Rat (504 comments) says:

    Ryan
    you go back to purpose
    why, how come ?

    are you suggesting there is a higher being than God ?

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  184. reid (16,061 comments) says:

    “isn’t Heaven a total abrogation of the human spirit?”

    Why bring heaven into it Ryan, if you’re areligious?

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  185. Ryan Sproull (7,055 comments) says:

    Ryan
    you go back to purpose
    why, how come ?

    are you suggesting there is a higher being than God ?

    Dirty Rat,

    I assumed you were asking “why does God exist?” in the sense of “what is the purpose of God?”

    Did you rather mean “what caused God?”

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  186. Dirty Rat (504 comments) says:

    well, they arguement i have always heard is that there is no purpose other than gods will as to why we exist.

    All I am asking is why does god exist ?

    a simple question

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  187. Ryan Sproull (7,055 comments) says:

    “isn’t Heaven a total abrogation of the human spirit?”

    Why bring heaven into it Ryan, if you’re areligious?

    Because I’m illustrating apparent inconsistencies.

    Firstly, we’re told that free will is so excellent that a world with both free will and child rape is preferable to a world that has neither free will nor child rape. Secondly, we’re told that no one sins in Heaven, which sounds at least a bit like there is no free will in Heaven. Thirdly, we’re told that Heaven is a rollicking good time, far better than this horrible earthly existence we have now.

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  188. Ryan Sproull (7,055 comments) says:

    well, they arguement i have always heard is that there is no purpose other than gods will as to why we exist.

    All I am asking is why does god exist ?

    a simple question

    A meaningless question, as I pointed out. God has no purpose, nor is God purposeless. Just as the universe has no location, and neither is the universe “nowhere”.

    Just because you can’t measure the temperature of the letter X doesn’t mean that the letter X is very very cold.

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  189. Sapient (24 comments) says:

    D4J,

    I am a Neuroscientist with a basis in Psychology. While you may consider psychology to be full of deranged individuals (and it is to some point) this is not universal. Those whom do these sorts of experiments (experimental psychologists and neuroscientists like myself) are very far from deranged (though I suppose you would consider me to be deranged and thus for this to support your theory).

    As to the ‘cavemen’, they were actually biologically identical to our present selves. The only difference is that our culture has evolved, this culture allowing far more complex psychological and social processes.

    -

    JiveKitty,

    Yes and no. We can not know for sure but I would say it was not deliberate and that it evolved as most memes do; unintentionally. Those societies which gain a variation which increases their ability to compete will spread that moral and those that receive one that decreases their ability will tend to perish.

    -

    Dirty Rat,

    The question presupposes that god exists. The CONCEPT of god exists for several reasons; mostly because humans do not like to not know and thus they try to explain things using what makes sense to them. Reason has reduced the number of gods as people discover there are no gods in that which they previously thought contained gods (examine the transition from paganism to monotheism). That religion is retained now, in the face of a better explanation, is mostly because it grants many security and some power.

    -

    Reid,

    Evil is a moral judgement born of an ought. An ought can never be justified due to an infinite regression. I do not believe in evil in an absolute sense. As to the cause of that which many would call evil, I would suggest selfishness and delusion. On the small scale it tends to be mostly the former and on the larger scale mostly the latter, though neither is exclusively one or the other.

    My argument as highlighted previously (quickly typed) is not the problem of evil, it is a variant that I arrived at while still in primary school. The use of the perception of pain removes all questions of the undesirability and makes the argument far stronger as the ‘evil’ appeal in the problem of evil opens up a whole can of moral worms. Anything sub-optimal may be taken as evidence against a god that is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent. Arguments that bad is needed for good or that it causes the soul to develop are ultimately arguing that god is not in fact omnipotent, omniscient, or omnibenevolent.

    -

    Shunda,

    A) Then enlighten us.

    B) The bible states clearly that god is all of these things, so does the teachings of the church. They are the most fundamental pillars of the faith.

    C) What god would do in these situations is not chosen by us but is a part of the definition. If it is not done it is simply the case that god can not have all these traits.

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  190. Dirty Rat (504 comments) says:

    Sapian
    in simple language

    We cannot explain why we exist, so there has to be another meaning ?

    Time to write a book

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  191. reid (16,061 comments) says:

    “Firstly, we’re told that free will is so excellent that a world with both free will and child rape is preferable to a world that has neither free will nor child rape.”

    So you would sacrifice your free will to rid the world of child rape with full awareness that from here on in, you are no longer Ryan Sproull but a mere number with the same thought limitations, capabilities and intellectual possibilities as the rest of us?

    Are you prepared to speak for others on your behalf?

    I applaud your example, forgive me if I don’t concur with the plan. Personally, I’d rather retain my free will and solve the child-rape problem by doing things differently than we have before, for which I have, due to my freedom of thought, developed many ideas.

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  192. Sapient (24 comments) says:

    Dirty Rat,

    There does not have to be another meaning.

    We can explain how we exist; it is a simple statistical process. Even excluding that, that we exist does not imply that there is a meaning to our existence. A meaning presupposes that there is a creator to create that meaning. Likewise, for god to have a meaning there would need to be a conscious being which deliberately created god with the intent that the creation of god would accomplish some goal.

    Our existence can not be said to have a meaning (and even if it did it would be irrelevant as oughts are unjustifiable). But if we are desperate to create meaning then we can think about what brought us into existence; our out competing other organisms. Looking at it this way, the closest thing that we can be seen to have to a meaning or purpose is to ensure that our genes win the race and to help them in doing so.

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  193. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    @Reid Some of the beliefs don’t persist, on the whole. However, because of their pervasiveness in society they can be hard to get rid of: the entrenched is always going to be difficult to remove from societal perspectives, particularly where there are those who wish to suppress knowledge of the new belief, or simply do not want to believe that what they thought they knew was wrong. People are typically resistant to changing what they believe in, perhaps out of pride. Some beliefs are also seemingly illogical to continue to hold in the face of continued evidence, yet there may not be absolute proof against them, so they remain to be held.

    I’m not sure that things are “good” or “evil”, per se, although it is convenient to use those terms. I think we are all suboptimal processors of information: we can’t process all the consequences our actions will have, and nor can we get the lieklihood of predicted outcomes to a degree that is all that accurate. Furthermore, elements of personality come into play here: whether somebody is risk-averse, risk neutral, or risk-seeking.

    Where we consciously undertake an act that is highly likely to harm ourselves, without understanding the likely consequence is where I think that the individual has large flaws and probably is not going to function at all well in society. This may be able to be corrected with some form of treatment. I do not think these actions are evil insomuch as they are precipitated by a lack of understanding of consequences. (I don’t mention harm to others here, because it is not relevant to the point of cost/benefit failure, except as it relates to harm to the individual.)

    Where we consciously undertake an act that is harmful on an overall scale to others, and understand the consequences of doing so, I’m not sure that is “evil” in terms of thought. If a cost/benefit analysis gives greater benefit to oneself, then that is not evil. It is rational.

    I think perhaps the closest I would go to a definition of evil arising would be where we do a cost/benefit analysis of actions and even though the benefit is the same in some cases, we go with the option that causes most harm to others. So I would say that evil arises not from inflicting harm upon others, but from the desire to inflict greater harm upon other through one’s actions than is necessary to gain the greatest benefit to oneself. I think that a person who acts in such a manner is also broken, in any meaningful societal context, and while their problem may be able to be corrected, it may not.

    I ignored risk profiles as they were not particularly relevant to my explanation, except with consideration to how suboptimal the processor is.

    I think it’s important to note that while I do not believe Rawls idealistic portrayal of the state of nature is wholly correct, I do believe to a certain degree in principles of harm minimisation. I also think that because individuals may act in self-interested ways and cause harm to others with their actions that laws are necessary to curb these tendencies. However, I also believe that the way a society is shaped also shapes what is acceptable and deemed harmful/”evil”. The Ancient Greeks are often characterised as boy-lovers, for example. Perhaps because of the society I have grown up in, and because I do not have the tendencies the Ancient Greeks are often characterised as having, I find such behaviour repugnant.

    I don’t know if that explains from where I think “evil” thoughts arise, but I tried. I’m sorry if I don’t make much sense. i hope I do, but yeah, sleep would be good about now.

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  194. Dirty Rat (504 comments) says:

    Sap

    I do don’t believe in a statistical purpose, statistics are a haven for manipulating data to meet ones own logical justification.

    David Farrar is the best example on this forum for that.

    And basically, all you have said is that we have reason why we exist, therefore god exists

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  195. Ryan Sproull (7,055 comments) says:

    So you would sacrifice your free will to rid the world of child rape with full awareness that from here on in, you are no longer Ryan Sproull but a mere number with the same thought limitations, capabilities and intellectual possibilities as the rest of us?

    Reid, “free will” means nothing to me. It’s an impossible non-concept. I can’t sacrifice something that does not and cannot exist. I only bring up “free will” because it was brought up earlier as a kind of justification for the existence of evil.

    I applaud your example, forgive me if I don’t concur with the plan. Personally, I’d rather retain my free will and solve the child-rape problem by doing things differently than we have before, for which I have, due to my freedom of thought, developed many ideas.

    As wonderful as that is, it’s too late for every child ever raped throughout history before you came up with your own plan to stop it. My point remains that “but if God prevented child rape, we wouldn’t have free will!” seems like a weak explanation for God allowing child rape, assuming the usual things (God exists, God is good, God is all-powerful, God is all-knowing, etc).

    And, again, if free will is so good, why is there no free will in Heaven?

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  196. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    @Ryan Sproull: you advocate determinism?

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  197. Sapient (24 comments) says:

    Dirty Rat,

    You don’t believe in statistics?

    So if there is a population of A’s and one of the A’s experiences a mutation that makes it more effective at reproducing such that it reproduces at twice the rate of other A’s, we will call it B now, then its descendants -also carrying that mutation- will not increase at a rate greater than the A’s?

    First generation: A,A,A
    Second generation: A,A,A,A,A,B
    Third generation: A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,B,B,B,B
    Fourth generation: A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B
    Fifth generation: A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B.

    Get the point?

    I have said that we have a reason and therefore god exists? No! I have said that for us to have a reason we need a conscious creator to give us that reason. I have said that we have no reason. I have said that if we are desperate enough then we can think of that which produced us as a reason but that thinking of it as such does not make it one.

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  198. Sapient (24 comments) says:

    The fifth generation should have said (there must be some filter): A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A, A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A,A, B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B, B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B, B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B, B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B,B.

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  199. Ryan Sproull (7,055 comments) says:

    @Ryan Sproull: you advocate determinism?

    JiveKitty,

    I advocate clear thinking. You’d have to tell me what you mean by “determinism” before I could answer your question.

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  200. Ryan Sproull (7,055 comments) says:

    G’night, all. Sweet dreams.

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  201. Sapient (24 comments) says:

    JiveKitty,

    I don’t know if Ryan does, but on the level of the human brain and the environment with which we regularly come in to contact; most certainly.

    Ryan,

    Quick and dirty explanation; cause and effect.

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  202. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    @Ryan Sproull: I’ll just grab a definition which fits with the theory as I am familiar with it: “all events are inevitable consequences of antecedent sufficient causes”.

    @Reid: I should have noted that my explanation is not intended to be some objective statement inferring objective universal values. It is “evil” as I see it, which obviously perhaps comes from my own personal metanarrative, as the idea of which I think somebody put it (in relation to something else) earlier in this thread. Evil as I see it doesn’t really exist, and ideas of “good” and “bad” (morality) are determined by which environment and society you come from.

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  203. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    So the real issue is that the concept of absolutes is not something many of you chaps can stomach.
    So what are you, post modernists? she’s all relative to the individual then?
    Because old dorky Dawkins isn’t to fond of those people either, seems they have liberated their minds just a little too much even for the king of the atheists.
    We are funny creatures aren’t we! :)

    I tell you what, lets all agree not to kill anyone different to ourselves for 1 week, then at least this conversation has achieved a measurable goal.
    After that we can all go back to our murderous ways in the name of religion, atheism, socialism, shortlandstreetism, post modernism and beer drinkinism.
    Wadaya reckon?
    And on that note I bid you good night.

    (remember, no killing for a week)

    Good night chaps

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  204. Dirty Rat (504 comments) says:

    Sapient
    I do not believe in statistics unless it is unbiased. Consider the position of “Y” and how it can be manipulated. Mr Farrar brought up a thread on unemployment and the alleged good things that the National Government had down.

    I took the data from the same same source and argued otherwise.

    Lies, damn lies etc etc etc

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  205. Dirty Rat (504 comments) says:

    btw
    Sapient

    all your statistics prove is that there is Chinese whispers

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABBBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABBBBBBBBBBBBBABBBBBBBBBBBBBABBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB

    geddit ?

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  206. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    zzzzz zzzzzz zzzzzzz zzzzzzz zzzzzz zzzzzzz zzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzz zzzzzzzz

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  207. Sapient (24 comments) says:

    Shunda,

    If I can be considered to adhere to any school it would be post-positivism. Post-modernism is the dark-side.

    -

    Dirty Rat,

    My statistics are not intended to prove anything, merely show that in time one strain which has a reproductive advantage over another strain is able to become far more prominent than the original strain simply through statistical processes. Where resources are limited the growth is not exponential as I have demonstrated here but it is the same principle. This is the basic mechanism of evolution.

    You are confusing statistical processes with the use of statistical data. Totally different.

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  208. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    reid (3749) Says:

    February 10th, 2010 at 11:27 pm
    “Firstly, we’re told that free will is so excellent that a world with both free will and child rape is preferable to a world that has neither free will nor child rape.”

    So you would sacrifice your free will to rid the world of child rape

    reid, what about the free will of the cild to not be raped? Why does every justification for god have to be at the expense of someone else’s sufferring?

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  209. Pete George (23,123 comments) says:

    All I am asking is why does god exist ?

    a simple question

    A simple answer – because humans developed advanced language skills and became able to share and therefore to think about advanced ideas and concepts.

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  210. Ryan Sproull (7,055 comments) says:

    @Ryan Sproull: I’ll just grab a definition which fits with the theory as I am familiar with it: “all events are inevitable consequences of antecedent sufficient causes”.

    Jive,

    In that case, no, I’m not necessarily a determinist. There may be events that are not the inevitable consequences of antecedent sufficient causes, for all I know. But “free will” is still a contradiction in terms.

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  211. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    This should be renamed “The Idiots Thread.”

    Omigod, I’m off! Bye…

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  212. Lutzie (63 comments) says:

    dime (1804) Says:
    February 10th, 2010 at 8:40 am

    nail the fuckers in the general thread who constantly bait the christians. like pete george.
    and seeing as though its a religious thread, id just like to say … im not a fan of muslims
    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    http://www.economist.com/world/middleeast-africa/displayStory.cfm?story_id=15491292&source=hptextfeature

    Seems the feeling is mutual DIME

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  213. Reg (544 comments) says:

    Results of 10/2/2010 trial
    General Debate 77
    Religious Debate 212
    Verdict: Kiwiblog comentators prefer to discus Religion than politics.
    Solution:Allow religion in General Debate and have a seperate Non religious debate for the one percent of contributors that ACTUALLY don’t want to get involved in religious discussions!

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  214. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    Reg
    No way I’ve decided I love the blood and gore, rudeness and all.
    Let’s just have the Karma buttons back!

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  215. Shunda barunda (2,965 comments) says:

    Yes mike the karma buttons were always interesting.

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  216. Reg (544 comments) says:

    Just joking
    But fully support Karma
    David are you listening.
    WE WANT KARMA BACK!!!

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  217. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    ‘ although sometimes the media knowingly or unwittingly blurr that line, and ignorant people often conflate it.’

    Quite so. And its amazing how many complain about Christianity when thwey’re drinking.

    I have to admit I sit in a Catholic pew from time to time for solitude, reflection and prayer.

    But if there was ever a solid case against Cathlocism for modern man it has to be from ‘Angela’s Ashes’ by Frank McCourt.

    Gobsmacked I was.

    “Boys, what was I?”

    “Gobsmacked sir.”

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  218. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    “WE WANT KARMA BACK!!!”

    Petition!!

    KB has certainly lost personality plus without the karma button.

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