Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Oh, God

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  • Geoff Lealand,

    ... And loud clapping from the back seats

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2537 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to tussock,

    I take it back.

    I was completely wrong.

    Tussock your post was the perfect reason to continue arguing with a religious zealot.

    Applause.

    Oh and a nomination for post of the year!

    We do have a post of the year don't we?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    +1

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to BenWilson,

    This kind of obtuseness is exactly what I mean by you not engaging.

    To continiue your Dojo analogy, I think it's more like practicing on a punchbag, or one of those wooden wing chun dummies. No matter how skilled and powerful your strikes, the dummy (being an inanimate object) is essentially unchanged and is incapable of launching an effective return. All you're really doing is sharpening up your own skills and possibly showing off for 3rd parties.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    Well, this is all fun and games till someone loses their faith.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    Well, this is all fun and games till someone loses their faith

    Yeah. Logic is a fine tool, but it can't tell you what to value or how to love.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson, in reply to tussock,

    Absolutely awesome tussock. Can we make this compulsory reading in all schools ?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to tussock,

    the big bang on…

    Evidence.
    There’s nothing but evidence

    Thus far.
    But yes, that,
    and observers,
    observing

    Your soliloquy needs a book or movie written around it, if not a competition for best dramatic delivery, as well.
    Brilliant summation.
    or beginning…

    [but gosh I feel tiny speck of a thing]

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7886 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    The question of why we exist is the hamster wheel of philosophy. It's interesting if you can put up with the fact that trying to answer it will leave you where you started.

    I guess I prefer to cast this discussion in terms of what we don't know. The fact that that our efforts to explain existence are generally pretty rudimentary does not of itself dispense with the possibility that the universe has a transcendent cause.

    There were thousands of stories invented about gods, and just a handful of them survived into the modern world in a persistent enough meme to overcome the starkly obvious lack of any gods, backed by the evidence of every single thing ever turning out to not have your god in it, or anyone else's god in it.

    While science is the single most important driver of human progress, I don't agree that our current state of knowledge can be safely used to assign concrete probabilities to cosmic alternatives in the way some suggest. Maybe that will change as our understanding progresses.

    I don't think that the effort to break down the broad possibility of transcendence by identifying the absurdity of the many instances of belief is logically valid (although I am big fan of the FSM and have often basked in the warm embrace of his noodly appendage).

    In the meantime, I'm open to arguments from spooky experience. I came across this in the New Republic the other day. I'm no Einstein, and can't say that I've personally witnessed anything that hints at the divine, but I've seen some small things I can't explain and I know others have too. On the other hand, I know such claims will quite rightly be subject to scepticism.

    In other words, the whole thing is a big maybe.

    Since Nov 2006 • 782 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Brent Jackson,

    Can we make this compulsory reading in all schools ?

    Doesn’t it seem at odds with the gist of Emma’s original post to suggest that a particular belief should be made compulsory reading in schools only because you agree with it?

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    a particular belief

    'Belief' is not next to 'evidence' in the thesaurus, unless you happen to be looking at the antonyms portion in certain editions.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks, in reply to UglyTruth,

    "So, Ben, there’s nothing there that truthfully answers the question of the way to Steve Parks”

    The way to me, friend, is through prayer. Prayer or bribery.

    Preferably bribery.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    Thanks for the Marx fix there, that accorded to my needs just brilliantly. And then.

    Well, this is all fun and games till someone loses their faith.

    We here at Agnostic HQ were absolutely primed for imminent certainty, jaws agape, eyes wide, breath held, but further analysis revealed the proselytiser clipped that very last hurdle and broke our fucking microphone. The word substitution game:

    It’s not mysterious, […] There were thousands of stories invented about intelligent extraterrestrial life, and just a handful of them survived into the modern world in a persistent enough meme to overcome the starkly obvious lack of intelligent extraterrestrial life, backed by the evidence of every single thing ever turning out to not have intelligent extraterrestrial life […] All of it, everything, there’s no intelligent extraterrestrial life

    As Joe said earlier:

    Making a strident belief of unbelief can be as risible as its opposite. In some cases it can be an absolute toxin to creativity.

    [Tussock, respectfully, jotting you down as a… Scully]… Kudos WH, I never cease to be fascinated by the way two people can observe the same scene yet reach entirely different conclusions

    "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious; It is the source of all true art and science.."

    Or as that same wiseacre – with his topical quotes for Jesus – also dished:

    Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the Gods.

    Closer to home, and though it doesn’t make for great soundbites, when pressed on policy detail, I’ve found Cunliffe’s refusal to commit on issues of uncertainty rather refreshing:

    "I think, I think, uh, that it’s really important, uh, not to tell porkies to the public and I’m being very very careful, if there are things that I don’t know about in the future, not to get ahead of the public."

    Hoskings interview

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to tussock,

    Evidence. There’s nothing but evidence.

    Nice rant. The conclusion does depend on what constitutes evidence, but I do love how the picture drawn by science of the universe actually IS mindboggling, compared to the oft given claim that God is mindboggling, without actually giving us anything specific to boggle about.

    It segues nicely back to the original topic of the thread, I've been showing my little boys a documentary movie The History of the World in 2 Hours, as Defense against the Dark Arts, in case some Death Eater does get to them at school with religious bollocks. They enjoy it, but it's really quite a hard thing for children to roll with because it's packed from end to end with information, and it's not simple information, because it's not a simple story. The huge numbers are meaningless to them, and there's no narrative thread until we get to humanity somewhere around halfway. Its a good effort though.

    It's quite a contrast to religious versions of the same thing, which are basically designed as stories to be told. They'd have undue impact on childish minds, I think, so I definitely don't want it to be taught to them as some kind of credible alternative account of creation.

    Anyone know of any particularly good movies or TV series to continue embedding the scientific account of our origins for young children?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to BenWilson,

    Though it only begins 70,000 years ago, Andrew Marr’s History of the World might be worth checking out. I Haven’t watched it, but I’m enjoying the book.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • UglyTruth, in reply to Moz,

    Can you explain how your statement is not equivalent to “this factual question can be answered by counting the number of supporters of each answer”? Even using “witnesses” instead of people, the underlying principle remains that of counting people. Viz, democracy.

    Because the amount of support you have depends on popular opinion, but the amount of evidence there is depends on the the number of facts and their signficance in terms of the underlying proposition, i.e. that deity exists.

    Also, there's more to democracy than just weight of numbers.

    New Zealand • Since Sep 2014 • 89 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to BenWilson,

    I have just seen a film festival screening of The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet, Not so much about origins but a enjoyable celebration of scientific curiosity.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2537 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    I just came across this impressive takedown of the alternative legal theory earlier in this thread. Apparently it's a sufficiently popular thing to warrant some judicial attention: The OPCA phenomenon. It's a long read but a good one.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

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