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jimmydasaint

A New Faith and Science Forum

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Having read with interest the numbers of threads, in the past few weeks, attempting to discuss religion through a circuitous route in a Science Forum, I think it would be extremely good sense to start a new forum for this debate. The Science Forum has grown substantially quite recently, with new members from all continents, many of them believers. Any new thread which hints at religion or Creationism can be easily diverted to such a Forum and avoid the type of emotionally draining debate which has dominated certain 'taboo' topics. Does this make sense?

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You should try the stickied thread in this forum. However, I'm not sure it will do any good. A look through the archives reveals just how horribly it worked last time.

 

The problem with this site's religion forum was not just the "politically correct, accepted majority here at SFN, which clearly believes that religion is a bad influence on society, and that it must be attacked"(as Pangloss would say) but also people who get too emotional any time anything even close to what could be perceived as challenging religion comes up(almost bordering a martyr complex). Both sides are the problem; not just the religion bashers. It is almost as if each side is a parasitic meme using the other as one of their hosts; the more the religion bashers bash religion, the more the martyrs cry persecution and the more the martyrs cry persecution, the more the bashers think the martyrs are messed up in the head.

 

Both extremes are present here and neither, imo, are mature enough to post about religion.

 

That is why religion on SFN has yet to succeed. If we are to bring it back, the list of users unable to access the religion forum due to a lack of maturity would most likely take out the majority of the users interested in the forum, so it may be best for those wanting to post about religion to find a separate religion forum.

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A very mature and balanced opinion there YdoaPs. I agree, the 'debate' would probably sink into the usual bad-tempered to-and-fro. But these have become more frequent in the past four weeks. All I am saying is that many of the new sfn members are likely to come from countries where faith means that they have to defend a Creationist point of view. For example, people from India are likely to be Hindu or Muslim. People from Arabian or North African nations are more likely to be Muslim or Christian. Those from South America are more likely to be Roman Catholic in origin. I am sure all approach their faiths in a unique way, but some will feel the need to preach from the pulpit to the collection of atheists here... I don't feel there is a need to attack religion in turn though - what happens is what we continue to see in Threads ranging from Evolution through to Psychology.

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but some will feel the need to preach from the pulpit to the collection of atheists here...

 

Only the creationist trolls do that. The rest of us will sit back quietly until we are addressed specifically about our religious beliefs.

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Having read with interest the numbers of threads, in the past few weeks, attempting to discuss religion through a circuitous route in a Science Forum, I think it would be extremely good sense to start a new forum for this debate. The Science Forum has grown substantially quite recently, with new members from all continents, many of them believers. Any new thread which hints at religion or Creationism can be easily diverted to such a Forum and avoid the type of emotionally draining debate which has dominated certain 'taboo' topics. Does this make sense?
We've even launched sister sites centered around the origins debate and religion in general, using the SFN style of respect, rigor and rationality, but they all failed miserably. As ydoaPs said, one side or the other inevitably lost it and nothing meaningful was accomplished.

 

It's difficult to respond scientifically to matters of faith, and equally difficult for those of faith to have sacred beliefs held up to scientific scrutiny. Natural and supernatural are poor instruments to measure each other by.

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Only a few people here attack religion any more than they would any other unsupported idea/claim/theory.

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jimmydasaint,

 

I talk to a guy at work outside often during smokebreaks, and would consider us friends. Somehow today our conversation revealed he was a creationist, with a few misunderstandings of the facts, and a definite need to prove scientists wrong about evolution. I on the otherhand, had a need for him to see the validity of the TAR worldview. I think we both felt a little threatened and dissapointed at the other's obvious blockheadedness.

 

There is a lot of baggage that entries into the discussion will be carrying, and a lot of people, like myself, who are quite solid in their worldview, who would wish to preach it, and convert the wanderers, to the true path, so to speak.

 

But that being said, I'll use a saying another guy at work uses everytime a new problem frought plan is announced at our company, "Sounds like a bad idea...let's DO IT!"

 

Of course that means its not a very good idea, and will cause problems and bad feelings and could well go down in flames, but maybe, just maybe we can make it work, and get some value out of it.

 

I like intractable problems though. I like Soduko, and tough riddles, and am a troubleshooter by trade. I have a saying at work, when trying to figure out why something isn't working. "It's got to be something."

 

And so I think it is with our beliefs. There are reasons why we believe what we believe. And there are reasons why the beliefs are important to us, and why we feel they should be important to others, and why we defend them so strenuously.

 

Sure I have an axe to grind (Sept. 11th), and I am an Atheist, but I believe our morals and values are based in our religious history, and there are good reasons and value in religion. And all of us have to yield our pride to "that which is beyond our understanding" and all of us must yield to the fact of our mortality.

 

Jimmydasaint, I for one would like to share my insights (preach TARism) in such a forum, and would suggest we might be able to keep it civil, if we sort of announce ourselves, and our intentions, and look for common ground. And I look forward to gaining some insights from the thoughtful, knowledgable, good people that I have found frequent this board.

 

 

So, yes, I think it makes sense.

Regards, TAR

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I think the folks currently participating on this board could discuss faith without becoming hostile - or even deeply annoyed.

 

However, the discussion will not be limited to current participants.

 

There are plenty of forums all over the web where such discussions are encouraged or are the whole point of the forum's existence. I don't honestly see how bringing such a subforum to SFN would bring enough value to offset the problems, or be more valuable that the forums already hosting such discussions.

 

The mods here do one thing particularly well over any other science forum I've experienced - herd discussion back to evidence. It gives SFN a particularly nice atmosphere for the discussion of science and discovery. By the nature of requiring evidence, any "fungible" idea or ideology can't easily be discussed here. I'd rather that not be alloyed nor diluted just to host discussions that can already be held in a multitude of other forums.

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For a religion subforum to work, imo, it would require a lot more work from the moderating staff(and possibly and expansion of that staff) who volunteer their time to keep this site nice for free. Time spent moderating is time that could be used for discussing.

 

It should also have a special usergroup. That, however, would be a little tricky. You can't tell maturity by postcount. Perhaps the politics criteria could allow a probationary entry into a religion usergroup or something. But that would require moderators to have to decide who is mature enough to post and who is not. See above about moderation.

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And though I'd really like to see one...I mean...come on. Anyone discussing on the side of religion is going to lose...badly. We have no evidence and are making an incredible claim. As such, the burden of proof lies on us and we are not able to fulfill that.

 

Though there could be some very interesting discussions if they were held to the level of opinion that the politics forum was, and not, say, the Physics forum.

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I don't think "Is religion right?" arguments belong anywhere, really, because they'll never work. The only discussion you could feasibly have is discussion about the philosophical bits of it, not the truth of it. Faith is not easily argued.

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I don't think "Is religion right?" arguments belong anywhere, really, because they'll never work. The only discussion you could feasibly have is discussion about the philosophical bits of it, not the truth of it.

 

That's not necessarily true. When you nail it down to a specific religion that makes specific claims, then you can test the truth of those claims. While the falsification of claims within a religion does not necessarily falsify the religion itself, it can lend a greater understanding of the mindset of the authors and thus a greater understanding of the religion as a whole.

 

An example I often use is the Birth Narrative in Christianity. It makes specific claims who veracity can be checked.

 

Herod reigned until his death in 4BC. Upon Herod's death, his kingdom was split among his sons. In 6AD, Herod Archelaus(one of King Herod's sons) was deposed and his land thus fell into Roman control. One of Archelaus's replacement was a man by the name Coponius. At the same time as the appointment of Coponius, Publius Sulpicius Quirinius was appointed governor of Syria in 6AD. Upon the appointment of Quirinius, since this was the first time the land was under Roman control, it was decreed by Caesar Agustus that there should be a census. This census was the first Roman census of the area.

 

"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him."-Matthew 2:1-2

 

"And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son."- Matthew 2:13-15

 

"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. ([And] this taxing was first made when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child." Luke 2:1-5.

 

Now, there is a problem. Jesus was said by one gospel to be born prior to the death of Herod the Great(4BC, but another says he was born after the census(which is a direct result of Herod's death) in 6AD. Prior to 6AD, Rome didn't even have the authority to take a census of that area.

 

We are left with a 10 year discrepancy. This cannot be a simple case of mistranscription during copying, because one gospel's chronological anchor is a direct result of the other's.

 

Does that mean Christianity is wrong? Not at all. Does it argue about the truth of certain specific claims? Yes.

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Two things really keep religion from being a measurably meaningful topic here, omnipotence and a lack of observable deities.

 

The idea that a deity can work outside the physical mechanisms known to science keeps any scientific relevance from happening. And ultimately someone will explain a religious discrepancy with the phrase, "God is all-powerful". The only response is, "Prove it". Oh snap, nothing more to discuss.

 

The fact that deities choose to remain unobservable means science can't even form any meaningful speculation. Supposed religious phenomena can be explained in natural ways, and where it can't, rational thought tells us not to leap to supernatural conclusions, and once again the discussion grinds to a halt.

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Two things really keep religion from being a measurably meaningful topic here, omnipotence and a lack of observable deities.

 

There are a lot of religions with observable deities. Like that one with the god demolishes cities. Or the one with the god that got nailed to a cross.

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There are a lot of religions with observable deities. Like that one with the god demolishes cities. Or the one with the god that got nailed to a cross.
Yeah? Where are they, again? I don't see them.

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Yeah? Where are they, again? I don't see them.

 

Well, one of them died. :'(

 

But he came back to life bringing with him a lot of his friends! By golly, that sounds like an observable claim. :o

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There are a lot of religions with observable deities. Like that one with the god demolishes cities.

 

Like New Orleans, as a punishment for them being immoral?

 

Or the one with the god that got nailed to a cross.

 

Wasn't that the guy who couldn't convince his own superstitious people that he was a god?

 

Anyhow, the fact remains we can't observe God. We'd have to wait for him to act, which he can do or not do at his own whim. And being an omniscient being, he could have already acted a long time ago, with the result only becoming apparent at the required time via known laws of physics (eg lobbing a meteor at Sodom & Gomorrah).

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Well, one of them died. :'(
How... convenient.

 

But he came back to life bringing with him a lot of his friends! By golly, that sounds like an observable claim. :o
Did his friends tell you this? That's not really peer review, you know.

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Did his friends tell you this?

In a way.

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In a scientifically measurable way?

 

If it is true, then yes. Surely there would be mention of someone's dead loved one walking the Earth. Or perhaps there'd be some empty graves of people who died before then.

 

Perhaps there would be a Roman record of the trial and/or capital punishment.

 

While you cannot directly measure it being false by absence of these things, the presence of these things would be scientifically measurable.

 

However, there are times where an absence of evidence can be supporting evidence.

 

For instance: Matthew mentions Herod massacring all the infants of the area. Provided it is true, there could be several things to provide evidence such as historical accounts or an unusual spike in infant graves in the area at the time. Unfortunately, since it is the veracity of the claim in Matthew, we cannot use Matthew as an example of historical record. As it stands, there's no record of it other than Matthew. Does this alone provide evidence of the story being false? No. However, we do have the history provided by Josephus. Josephus goes on and on detailing the many crimes of Herod yet this massacre is oddly missing. Based on Josephus's character, he more than likely wouldn't have left something like that out. We also have the character of the author of Matthew. To author of Matthew, Jesus HAD to be the Messiah, so much so, that he did all he could to force prophecy fulfillment upon Jesus(often to ridiculous lengths). The character of these two men in addition to the complete lack of any substantiating evidence means that it probably didn't happen. Does it prove that it didn't happen? No, it greatly reduces the likelihood.

 

As we can see, religions DO make observable claims that can be tested. If a religion's claims had nothing to do with the physical universe, they'd have a hard time convincing anyone. There are plenty of claims that could easily be confirmed via evidence that may be present.

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But you're moving the goalposts from observable deities to observable claims which prove a deity's existence. The former aren't present (though there remains a possibility that they will manifest) and the latter are easily explained by natural means, or refutable as you've pointed out.

 

I'd be open for a sub-forum that allows religious discussion, but it would have to be completely different from how we've done it in the past. Intense moderation failed because it was too stifling for most, and anything less would allow more of the same. A moderation queue might work, but many would cry censorship.

 

I've given up thinking it's even a possibility here. Mostly it doesn't work because the people who shouldn't post there can't leave it alone. ;)

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Well, perhaps JillSwift is right. The conversation will degrade to debate and the debate will not be scientific in nature.

 

And the other comments about mod oversee needs and trying to hold people to rigor and evidence who are not inclined toward such, probably says that history will repeat itself, and the rules of the forum should stand as they have evolved and not be modified for...let's say, my purposes.

 

So I appreciate the wisdom of the non-hosting of such a forum here.

 

Still, I have personally managed to form a worldview, that is consistent with reality, and scientific measurements of our world, that does not require a stack of turtles, or a greybeard sitting in a throne on planet Zork, to hold.

 

I want to share it. It comes from humanity's experience of our universe. All the writings, all the thoughts, all the philosophy and technology that have filtered down to me, through the literature, culture, establishments, and works of man, that have come before me, and are around me.

 

I am in and of this universe. The reality of this fact is not questioned by anyone. Everyone, every human that we know of, is in the same position. Religious or not. Happy or sad. Content or miserable.

 

It is the explainations that differ. And many of them are absurd. In fact, all of them are, for one reason or another when you get to the "we don't know" place in the description.

 

Scientists are content to say "we don't know...yet". Others need an intentional agent of some sort to fill the gap. I don't think this is unexpected or foolish, either on the part of the scientist or on the part of a believer. Both are taking on faith, that the gap has a filler.

 

We still have to explain ourselves.

 

Regards, TAR

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I think this thread already proves that a religious forum would not work here.

 

The two camps base their entire argumentation on a completely different set of assumptions, and neither group is willing to discuss their most fundamental beliefs.

 

However, both groups will happily discuss all the observations they make. Obviously, having two different sets of assumptions, they will always arrive at two different conclusions. And this is then discussed in forums that probably make up 50% of the internet by volume (the other 50% being mostly porn).

Edited by CaptainPanic

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The two camps base their entire argumentation on a completely different set of assumptions, and neither group is willing to discuss their most fundamental beliefs.

 

What do you mean? I think (in this forum anyways) that both groups understand the other all too well.

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