At the invitation of Professor Robert, I'm starting a new thread.

Dr Bob, you are continually trying to draw clear distinctions between Catholicism and other (especially Christian) religions. I grant that Catholics are (a little) different, but, as they still fundamentally believe in the magic, invisible daddy in the sky, there is really NO difference.

Two points: The Bible (whether or not you take it literally) is the foundation of your (and all Christian) religions. A cursory examination of the Bible reveals a SMALL handful of usable tenets along with pages and chapters FULL of utter nonsense. The fact that any religion would base itself upon such a holey book, makes that religion as creditable as Joseph's golden tablets from God which he, unfortunately, misplaced.

God: I will be heartily disagreed with here, but I find the idea of God to be completely understandable. Here we have, at the dawn of civilization, various groups of totally ignorant people trying to put words, meanings, and causes to all manner of things which they couldn't possible understand. Combine this with a clever but ruthless set who have come to realize that, if they ascribed words, meanings, and causes to the world around them, people would actually BELIEVE them (as they no other source of information). These priests could and did use this power to govern the people - insisting that everyone in the tribe bow before them.

Then came the age of knowledge. We could start to actually understand all these things that the priests had, up till then, kept to themselves. As the power base for all civilized people rested with these priests, they were (and, of course, still are) wildly defensive of their position.

There is, however, NO CONCEIVABLE REASON for any educated person to believe in the supernatural - aside from these historic pressures.,

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I don’t think belief in God and I.Q. are conflicted. People don’t initially work out through intellectual reasoning or critical thinking that a specific god exists. Most people were never “reasoned” into their belief. Most have their parent’s religion and that is determined on the culture they are from.

The Supernatural is whatever defies a natural explanation. The belief that god exists is just a belief. There is no way of testing the validity of anything supernatural unless we use supernatural methods. Unfortunately no such tools exist. We do however have the Scientific Method. This is the best tool mankind has to test the validity of any hypothesis.  There is nothing it can test therefore a religious belief is a belief in the “supernatural”.

I get irked when Jehovah Witness callers attempt to assert some scientific validity to faith based views by juxtaposing religion and science whenever they can. There is nothing scientific about religion. They have become completely separate. They are not compatible. Science continues to investigate and evolve and at ever increasing speeds. All the while the need for god as an explanation is further squeezed out of the picture.

Whatever the theological differences are between Christian sects, the bottom line is that they all profess to believe in the same God.

So for any Catholics (or others) can I ask for answers to these few questions?

Do you believe your God created the Universe and everything in it? Yes/ No.

Does your god hear and answer your prayers? Yes / No.

Do you believe in an afterlife in Heaven or Hell? Yes / No.

Do you believe that the communion wafer is actually God or is it symbolic?

I would tend to disagree . The question of wether or not a god or gods exist , is ABSOLUTELY a scientific question . The answer provided by science , which , as you very correctly stated , is humanity's best tool for determining truth , is that there are almost certainly no gods or a god .

Can you outline the method by which science has reached such an answer?

Science answers the question as to wether or not something exists by placing the burden of proof on the individual making the claim . Unless Kris, you have available a fund of knowledge unavailable to any other human primate , your inane question has been answered . How are you on this blog and not know something so fundamental as this ?

This doesn't answer the question. Science is a methodology which can offer us accurate descriptions of the natural universe though theory, observation, and experimentation. By what theoretical, observational, or experimental means can scientific method make conclusions on the supernatural?

Placing the burden of proof doesn't establish veracity.

If the supernatural has any interaction with the real world , it is subject to scientific investigation . For a list of the multiple debunkings of supernatural claims and so called powers , as well as the specific methodologies used , I would suggest a perusal of Youtube . If , on the other hand , the supernatural , or supernatural entities exist , and do not interact with our world , then they might as well not exist , and should be regarded as such .

"If the supernatural has any interaction with the real world , it is subject to scientific investigation"

I agree, but that is nevertheless something of an oxymoron. If some "supernatural" phenomenon does interact with the real world and is subject to scientific investigation, it is, ipso facto a natural phenomenon.

This honestly is not a difficult request to comprehend. I already know how supernatural claims are debunked and it is by dealing with natural explanations. Science deals with natural explanations. Natural explanations may, incidentally, rule out supernatural claims, but it is incidental. Science does not directly deal with the supernatural.

You can examine the origin of life and the origin of the universe scientifically, but you cannot apply the method directly to dealing with a supernatural deity. So I am questioning why the existence or nonexistence of God "is ABSOLUTELY a scientific question". I am requesting you demonstrate how science can be applied toward this end.

I can't - because I have encountered no evidence to support the existence of anything supernatural. If I DO find evidence, I could use it to support the physical existence of whatever phenomenon we've encountered. This will, of course, incidentally, show the phenomenon to be natural - thus the oxymoron.

@Reg

Have you ever asked theists such questions as your four? Have you ever gotten straightforward answers? I (and others) have asked these questions SEVERAL times. I've come to understand why Professor Robert will not answer these questions. It's one thing to leave your opponent demanding answers for simply-phrased and pertinent questions such as these. It's quite another to answer them and leave no doubt that your entire argument is without substance because your core tenets have no logical or physical basis in fact.

@Ray

The question of whether a god or gods exist , is ABSOLUTELY a scientific question.

The question of whether no god or gods exist , is less so. :-)

One can demonstrate that God exists by providing falsifiable evidence for it. Inability to find evidence to support the existence of God does not, however, prove that God does NOT exist. It may simply mean that, while evidence might exist, you have not found it.

I'm personally of a slightly different bent. Hitchens said that, on a scale of 1 to 7 where 1 is absolute certainty that God exists and 7 being absolute certainty that he does not exist, he rated himself a 6.9. I am a 7 - fully understanding that being a 7 is impossible. If I pick up a pen from my desk and then release it, it WILL drop to the floor. The possibility that some freak of nature might happen between the time I release the pen and the time it hits the floor, say a magnitude 25 earthquake hits and pushes the floor out from under the pen, is something I am willing to ENTIRELY discount in the real world. (Besides, if such an event occurred I wouldn't be around for the purists to say, "ha ha".)

Hah.  I am a 7, at least with respect to the Christian god and any other god described as infinite, because such entails a logical contradiction about as basic as a square circle.

Thor, Zeus, and Ishtar, on the other hand, I have to say 6.999.

No, not dodging questions, just finding these multi-level threads hard to navigate.

I think part of the issue is that it is difficult and time consuming to lay down the necessary background to jump a novice to an expert in any discipline.  The questions are a bit like

Do you really believe that you can create matter out of empty space?

Do you really believe that my hat is made up of invisible faeries called quarks that get married in threes to make up other invisible things that stick together and attract other invisible things that are waves, and well, particles, and, well, their interactions make still more invisible things that attract other invisible things..."?

That's before we even get into weirdness like quantum entanglement.

The point is that expertise in any discipline requires study, and it's just as easy for the ignorant or novice in science to dismiss real science as being absurd.  After all, the notion of pulling matter out of a vacuum is absurd to a layman, right?

In that way yes/no answers to questions that involve complex understandings aren't really helpful, and are often just childish. 

So now, having said that, let's try those questions.

Do you believe your God created the Universe and everything in it?  Yes, although I'm pretty sure the folks at Subaru created my Forester.

Does your god hear and answer your prayers? Sure, although that's not really the purpose of prayer.

Do you believe in an afterlife in Heaven or Hell?  I'm a Catholic, remember.  You forgot Purgatory! <g>

Do you believe that the communion wafer is actually God or is it symbolic?  The wafer is just a piece of unleavened bread.  Really cheap unleavened bread, usually.  The consecrated host is the Body of Christ.

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