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Posts posted by Memammal

  1. I was really not expecting to have a serious discussion on a science forum re divine intervention with people that have such strong anthropocentric views. This is turning out to be akin to a god of gaps kind of debate. Obviously every one is free to believe in what ever superstition he/she wants to, but to uphold such superstition while questioning the validity of my reference to our knowledge re the origin of our species in terms of what could possibly set us apart from fellow mammals and other animals when it comes to spirituality seems rather absurd. May I suggest this article as a good starting point to get up to speed: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_origin_of_religions


    Anyways, we have the ability to sin, (IMO) because we are sentient, and understand what's right and wrong.
    Do you follow that so far? I know its complicated, but it becomes more complicated ahead.

    I am not sure that this is a scientifically accepted fact. Why do you think only humans are sentient? Here is an opinion on this:

    Evolution doesn't predict that only humans would be "sentient", whatever that is. Sentience is poorly defined, but whatever it is, there's no reason to expect that precisely one species should have it. Just the opposite: evolution predicts that whatever features arise in one species could arise in another, especially if they're closely related. And even if they're not closely related, there's no reason to expect that the same mechanisms couldn't happen by another route. There are countless examples of convergent evolution out there. So it's not surprising that any property attributed to humans has at least an echo in some other species. "Sentience", in the sense of "having senses", is pretty common all over the animal kingdom. For that matter, even plants and bacteria have at least some notion of detecting the world and responding to it. The notion that humans are special because we talk about what we think is largely just self-centeredness on our part: yes, what we do is distinctive and remarkable, but treating it as if it were some kind of super-power that everybody else should want is no more sensible than bees looking down on us because we can't make honey. We're special primarily in our ability to look down on other species for not being as awesome as us.



    Your statement also touches on consciousness.

    Several psychologists and ethologists have argued for the existence of animal consciousness by describing a range of behaviors that appear to show animals holding beliefs about things they cannot directly perceive— Donald Griffin's 2001 book Animal Minds reviews a substantial portion of the evidence. (He suggests a gradual evolution of consciousness.)

    Consciousness is likely an evolved adaptation since it meets George Williams' criteria of species universality, complexity, and functionality, and it is a trait that apparently increases fitness. Opinions are divided as to where in biological evolution consciousness emerged and about whether or not consciousness has survival value. It has been argued that consciousness emerged (i) exclusively with the first humans, (ii) exclusively with the first mammals, (iii) independently in mammals and birds, or (iv) with the first reptiles.



    As for morality, please educate yourself: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_morality#Human_Social_Intelligence. Referring to behaviour, the contemporary school of thought among behavioural scientists is that our behaviour is strictly guided by an interaction between genes and environmental factors. Our behaviour is thus largely automated.


    We have souls, because god gave us them. Once again, IMO.
    Still with me? Great.

    I must just take your word for it then?


    This next part will blow your mind.
    I don't consider myself equal to animals. In my opinion, we're smarter then them. Now I'm not anti animal , I'm just saying perhaps, if we can build space craft, and they can't so much as write, that we might be a little bit higher on the food chain. Or what ever yard stick you would measure stuff like that on.

    Mind blowing indeed. It is called evolution and sorry to tell you that even though we are indeed more advanced, scientifically speaking we are still animals. Humans are classified as animals. The human's phylum is Chordata (vertebrate). The human's class is mammalia. It's order is primate (the same as apes). It's family is Hominidae (apes that have no tail and can gather food with their hands.) The Human's sub-family is Homininae. It's tribe is Hominini. It's genus is Homo and it's specie is scientifically named Homo Sapiens.

  2. You can't answer that. You don't believe it happened. Who cares. But you can't use science to show that your belief is correct. How are you going to scientifically test for divine intervention? How are you going to objectively measure a "soul"?

    I have for quite some time ponder this question. I think it is only natural (survival instinct) to want to believe in an immortal soul and anyone is welcome to do so. The soul, apart from being largely undefined and entirely open to personal interpretation, preferences, etc, remains a sticky subject. Personally I tried to rationalise it by virtue of our known evolutionary stance among our fellow animals and my anti-anthropocentric views, hence my argument. I see no reason why our species should qualify for special divine treatment, the mere notion of it sounds horribly unnatural and unscientific - as I have argued. It also adds a lot of baggage to the equation, some of which I already highlighted. To just shrug them off by saying that science cannot test for divine intervention or measure a soul seems short-sighted, back to the gaps so to say. Other complications include questions about the deity itself, its role in creation, its purpose with this act of intervention, etc.


    Whether I want to, or don't want to believe in divine intervention or in immortal souls is irrelevant. I am attempting to think and rationalise about it in a logical and scientific manner. How would one define a soul? Is there an alternative like conscious energy/information that may survive bodily death? Where does it leave us w.r.t. sin and heaven/hell? Personally I perceive the original sin doctrine, or the so-called "sinful nature" of man, as a deeply disturbing psychological menace for those who (willingly or unwillingly) fall for it. I really struggle with the idea of a theistic god, slightly less so with a deistic god, but not so much with the idea of a pantheistic god of nature.

  3. "Well, duh. Obviously not through evolution."


    As such our species cannot be different to other animals w.r.t. having immortal souls or the ability to "sin" unless there was some sort of divine creation/intervention. Only we know our species was not created, we evolved. That leaves intervention. Exactly how and when would something like that have happened? Was it something in that darn apple? How would an entire species suddenly (naturally or supernaturally) acquire said traits? How and in what form are these traits being passed on to our children?


    All just hypothetical questions of course. We should know better by now.

  4. I sense a communication gap between us. No, of course they don't claim that it has anything to do with evolution. They claim that their god created humans differently to animals which will "explain" that humans have immortal souls and the ability to "sin" whereas animals don't. We as informed outsiders (should) know that we are in fact not unique or divine creations, that we are a product of evolution just as all the other animals and should therefore conclude that any such unique trait can only be brought about by evolution - how else? By admitting that there is no such proof of this ever happening we can dispel the idea that we are different to animals in this respect. So either all animals (including our species) have immortal souls and can "sin", or no living organism has those traits. Do you have an alternative idea as to how our species might have acquired said traits?

  5. Sorry, I was out of circulation since my last posts. Let me quickly catch up.


    As there is no science that says anything either way about "creation", I can't see how there can be a contradiction.

    I see a contradiction but since this matter has been discussed quite a bit, I am not going to elaborate on this any further.


    Is sin a genetic trait? That is a bizarre belief.

    Yet the doctrine of original sin is of paramount importance to Christians. Every human being is perceived to be born "sinful" (see my comments below) and destined for hell unless saved by the blood of Jesus. In countries such as the one that I live in (where the white population consists mostly of the descendants of protestant reformers who fled Europe in fear of religious prosecution), these things are taken very seriously. Children are being brought up with it in homes and pre-school institutions and it is generally accepted within school, family and other social environments, in fact there is great concern for the soul of someone who is known to be areligious or "sinful" who ends up on his/her dead bead, or is buried. The same applies to many other staunchly religious countries in the world. Needless to say that evolution, or the teaching thereof, is not very popular in such societies and the topic is largely avoided and even dispelled. Hence my negativity against religion...it tends to dampen knowledge.


    Are you saying that people never do bad things because evolution doesn't allow it?

    I was talking about "sin", as in Biblical/Tanakh/Quran kind of sin. Obviously people do bad things, but how can it be a "sin"? Do animals "sin" in the eyes of a god in the sense that they need to be saved from eternal hell? Hence my reference to the so-called "extraordinary ability to sin". If such an idea would be considered from a scientific perspective...what evolutionary process could have explained the notion that (only) humans can "sin"?


    As such things are not detectable and there is no evidence they exist, what does evolution have to do with it?

    As per above. If such an idea would be considered from a scientific perspective...what evolutionary process could have explained the notion that (only) humans have immortal souls? Because that is what monotheistic religions claim.


    But we are talking about science, not whether you or I agree with their beliefs. I don't care if they believe that; science has nothing to say about it and can have nothing to say about it. Unless you think you have a soul detector?

    But Christians would not accept that. And science can't show them to be that.

    Plenty of people do. So I guess you just lack imagination or an understanding of human nature..

    Revisit the context of this part of the discussion with reference to my comments above. Many believers in many countries across the world have very strong views about these core beliefs. Keep in mind that they never experienced an enlightenment era. They believe in it so strongly that they do not accept anything that contradicts these beliefs. They are so programmed, so brainwashed by their culturally aligned religious inheritance, which is reinforced by their surrounding environments when they grow up, that they end up being close to cognitively impaired with regard to those issues. Some of them will sacrifice, even die for their religion, many do. So I am wondering what do I not understand about human nature? I am pretty convinced that the religious inclination of humanity stems from an untended by-product of evolution, which is wearing off as the result of among other things the age of enlightenment, the scientific revolution, etc. I realise that many people find it possible to live their lives with this illusion of the promised afterlife with their loved ones in heaven praising their God Almighty, or at least they want to keep that back door open just in case; or they enjoy (depend on-) the sense of spiritual belonging and gathering with fellow believers where they perform rituals such as prayers (for good fortune, health, etc) truly believing that their various programmed versions of God will provide. I presume that it must have something to do with the gene/environmental interplay. Some people will be susceptible to religion, others won't.

    BTW, isn't the big bang a theory?

    Yes, a scientific theory. Please don't steer in that direction...


    A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed through observation and experimentation. Scientific theories are the most reliable, rigorous, and comprehensive form of scientific knowledge. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_theory).

  6. As there are is no science that says anything about what created the big bang (or even if such a thing happened) I don't see how anyone's opinions on that - whether Hawking or the Pope - can be said to contradict science.

    So by your reasoning there is no contradiction between the RCC's refusal to let go of divine creation and the scientific consensus?


    While I find that doctrine bizarre beyond all belief, I can't see how evolution has any connection to it. Evolution says nothing about morality, sin or other abstract human inventions.

    Actually evolution has everything to do with it. a) Biblical Adam & Eve could not have been the first humans b) If they were not the first, how could they have passed on this alleged genetic trait to the entire human race? c) How would evolution explain humanity's ability to sin (how and when did we naturally acquire this extraordinary ability)? d) What process in evolution brought us eternal souls? I can agree with you that these are mere abstract human inventions, but trust me that is not what Christians belief. If these were accepted to be abstract human inventions, it will render Christianity as a religion rather futile, no?


    It seems to me that you are either reading too much into it, or grasping at straws in your desire to attack people's beliefs.

    Do you also think that political choices or tastes in music are contradicted by science?

    You think? I.m.o. neither. I can't see how one can reconcile true religious beliefs (faith) with science without compromising one or the other.


  7. The RCC also uses the Nicene Creed as its statement of faith (it is the most widely used statement of faith among most Christian churches). The RCC claims to be progressive in accepting modern science, yet they cling on to creationism by virtue of their opinion that something must have preceded/created the Big Bang. Creationism is part and parcel of the Nicene Creed. Arguably the biggest drawback of Christianity (and the Nicene Creed) lies of course in its core doctrine which is humanity's fall to sin which affects every single baby that has (and will) ever been born and the need for a divine saviour (Jesus) to have died for our sins in order to save our souls from eternal death (or hell) and to secure immortality for our souls in heaven. Our knowledge of evolution implies that this belief is scientifically flawed. Without it Christianity has no foundation.

  8. Because it's stacked against things for which there is no objective evidence. Belief is subjective evidence. Faith as evidence is like trying to argue that personal preference or opinion is fact.


    Quite. I think it is important to stress that science doesn't dismiss those things because they are gods or whatever. But because there is not, and probably cannot be, objective evidence for them.


    I'm not sure why this is a problem for people of faith. If you believe in God, why would you need science to validate that?


    I am sticking to what I originally wrote. What we know today (scientifically speaking) is incompatible with most, if not all religious beliefs.



    If someone states that Jesus is alive, you have to evaluate what they say, as evidence, if you have any right to preclude anything about Jesus, or about the Bible.

    Case in point.

  9. OK, poor example. I have since explained what I wanted to illustrate and I don't think it was that complicated (I was referring to a lightning strike which is normally a rather quick, almost instantaneous event). Apparently Hawking once used this example: If the Sun were to disappear, we'd still receive light for 8 minutes, but the earth would be immediately thrown off course. This would make it appear as though gravity travels faster than light, but, Hawking's explains, gravity is not a force as much as it is an effect. It doesn't travel, it's a consequence of mass. Again it should be clear that the occurrence of the event is not reliant on when it is seen...in fact in the before-mentioned scenario we may be dead by the time the sun stops shining here on earth which (again) would also imply that the event is not reliant on any observation.

  10. If you are to claim the lightning happened when it hit your eye, then you are on my side of this argument.


    The event occurs when you see it.

    No Tar, the event occurs with the electrical discharge; not when you see (or hear) it. Read my question again. I wanted to know when the lightning struck at the moment you heard it inside the house...without seeing it. I attempted to illustrate to you that an impaired sense of observation does not influence the actual event. Never mind.

  11. Yeah, that is commonly referred to as an illusion, i.e. your brain construct "something out of nothing". In this case there is perhaps merit to think of it as a delusion brought about by religious brainwashing.

  12. It's possible that the Universe is a recreation; a means to the source of existence fulfilling its need, in order to achieve its potential. In this sense the Universe isn't division from the source, but the source re-existing.

    I did not quite understand this earlier post. Were you implying that the existing whole "block" universe is already there but that the universe recreates itself "in the observers' minds" as it is being observed slice for slice..? If so, yes, but I am not convinced it is reliant on observers to achieve its potential.


    What about forums themselves? Or chat shows and newspapers? Do you think it's an error if these are not needed but part of the story of reality upgrading itself?

    In my mind, error is need being both an ability and an inability. Could the story of the Universe be the resolution of this battle?

    In a way, yes. We observe data, process it (think and comment about it) and "store" the information in a "cloud service" where it becomes our common reality.


    but there are actual photons and particles involved so the events are not "over", they are actually happening where the photons and particles from the event are striking other atoms or human eye or recording equipment.

    I was not sure how- and if I should react to your latest posts. Let me just answer this part that I copied here, which is where you get it wrong. What you are referring to is a perceived (illusionary) time delay between the event happening and it being observed somewhere else (the "time" that it takes for the light photons to reach the observer), while in actual fact (if you had a bird's eye view) the event just occurred in a different time-space configuration (location). I am expecting an answer such as we don't have a bird's eye view or a universal reader. Yes, we don't and as such we are "restricted" by our observation capacity. Our observation capacity does not change the "actuality" of the bigger picture though. Think of looking at distant lightning and only hearing the thunder a bit later. Now take yourself inside the house where you can't see the lightning but you can still hear it. When does the lightning strike? (And if you can't see or hear it, does that imply there is no lightning on the other side of the mountain?) It is important that you should realise that an event is not reliant on whether it is being observed or not. As such it does not matter how-, when- and if we observe it.

  13. Apart from the "bacteria to Buddha" gem, I also liked:

    I would add a disclaimer to the scriptures saying that none of the characters in the story represent actual people, or that the story is basically true, but that the names have been changed and the events modified or sensationalized to suit the audience.

  14. In any case, there is an interesting clip that addresses your issue: http://www.sciencechannel.com/tv-shows/through-the-wormhole/is-there-a-universal-now/

    Thank you for that clip, disarray. It should hopefully help TAR not only to get a better understanding of the block universe model but also with his time : distance puzzle. The explanation re the latter seems to stop just a bit short, but I assume that there are follow-up clips that one could retrieve.

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