Okay, so I frequent an online chat room moderated by youtube apologist/egomaniac Shockofgod.  I have to say about him and the experiences I've had with other atheists and christians there, but there's just one small point that strikes me as odd.

 

It seems to me that, at least in that forum, the longer a religious discussion goes on, the more likely it is that it will tend to become a Physics discussion... in other words, not a religious discussion.  I think this is odd because physics is a field of study that the average person knows little to nothing about.  I'm going to be taking Physics in college next semester, and I personally wouldn't have been eligible to sign up for it if I didn't have adequate grades in Calculus (and I suspect that the courses I took in Chemistry will come in handy too).  Consequently, I'm amazed that your average joe christian who lacks formal education (and might even be adverse to "evil" colleges) feels that, after reading a couple articles on *enter website here,* they are an expert on the subject qualified enough to ram their "knowledge" down other people's throats and ignore all opposition.  So, if you ever want to live through the surreal experience of being lectured on the intricate details of a field of study as complicated as fucking PHYSICS by a thirteen year old christian apologist who owes his confidence to a couple articles found on Answers In Genesis, then by all means, go visit Shockofgod's online chat room.

 

So why Physics?  I'll tell you why; it's a copout.  It's a cover for an otherwise general lack of evidence of the existence of any god.  For instance, you'll hear numerous modern christians opining that their god is "beyond mankind's capacity of understanding" or that he "exists somewhere outside the universe."  Well here's something to consider:  NOBODY knows what exists outside the universe.  Isn't awfully revealing that apologists cherry-pick some intellectual grey-area and plant their god there, all the while professing absolute confidence in their being correct?  Why not plant a god in a place that humans have significantly more knowledge of?  The answer is this:  It's been done before.  Once you understand that religious types once said that gods lived on mountains (before we explored them), and then they said that they lived in the sea (before we explored it), and then they said they lived somewhere in the sky, or space (before telescopes or before we understood exactly what clouds, the sun, and the moon are), and NOW some of them say that god exists somewhere "outside" the universe, then you've discovered what I call the "retreating god" dilemma.  Every time we learn something new, the discussion changes.  And now it's physics.  Well, whatever.

 

My first exposure to Physics was in my junior year of high school.  I never thought it'd be relevant to my career in the future, so I skimmed by with B's and C's.  I wasn't the only one; in general, the entire class seemed indifferent to Physics.  If only I or my instructor knew that the key to getting adolescents interested in Physics is religion, then maybe I would have invested more interest in the subject.

 

Anyway, in the interest of making this a discussion instead of a rant, have any of you had this experience before?  Better yet, have any of you ever felt that a christian could convert you with a Physics related subject like the Big Bang?  I ask because I've met christians who claim to have been atheist who became christians once they "learned" about physics.

Tags: apologetics, college, discussion, god, physics, universe

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I have said the same thing at times. "Why can't it just be one type of climate?! Come on! Wretchedly cold winters, blistering hot summers... and little to no amount of transition between the two!"

Norway (where people actually live) is usually -25 to +35. But worse than the cold winters is the mere 4-5 hours of sunlight around Christmas, though the 20 hours around mid summer is an experience everyone should enjoy.

I once saw the sun twice between early October and mid March. Makes me very SAD. :)

Though I was not able to pursue physics as a degree in college, I have still kept up on study enough that I can generally follow most discussions on all but the deepest theoreticals.  Few things infuriate me more than the use of bad or misunderstood science; you need more than broad strokes of wiki-knowledge to adequately form a stable argument, whether theist or atheist.
Have I had this experience before?  Yes, chrsitians do this all the time. It's rather annoying.
Can a christian convert me with physics? No. Around 93% of the members in the National Academy of Sciences are either Atheists or Agnostic. I do NOT think that the other 7% will be able to convince me over what the 93% have already proven (and rather rigorously). If the other 93% happen to be in dismay over the findings of the 7% with relation to religion, then I have no choice but to listen. IF the christian is not a member of N.A.S. or a scientist of any sort, I do not feel any urge to listen to them on the subject under any normal circumstances (Special circumstances may intrigue me to do so).

It is IMPERATIVE that both sides of a debate/argument understand or at least have adequate knowledge of the opposite side. I can see that you have already verified this haha. Sadly enough, this requirement is rarely ever fulfilled (and most of the time due to the christian... at least from my experience).

The idea that an assumption is correct because it correlates to the beliefs of a large majority of a group is nothing more than an argument ad populum. Not to mention the atrocious appeal to authority, as such it holds no water in an actual debate. What if it was flipped around? What if 93% of the NAS scientists were Christians? Would that affect your worldview? The NAS isn't split where 93% of their members are atheists searching to prove their ideas through science and the 7% of religious people are religious apologists. That 7% still has some of the most profound scientific minds to date. The problem here is that a majority of people, all people not just religious folks, misunderstand at a fundamental level even the most basic scientific theories and principles.

 

I agree with your final sentiment about having adequate knowledge of the other side but the other side of religion is not necessarily science. What about philosophy, critical thinking applied to theological claims? Even If it is then we're all screwed. There are perhaps a handful of scientists on this board, and by that I mean people who spent 4 years pursuing a Bachelor's degree in science, 2 years obtaining a Master's degree and then between 5 and 7 years completing a Doctorate of Philosophy degree, all within the sciences of course. Your whole argument falls in with the many fallacious arguments applied to this subject on both sides of the discussion.

I do, however, think there is a key difference between science and religion.  Science is falsifiable; therefore if something new is discovered it can enhance the map of common knowledge.  Religion, however, has some particular presumptive conclusions that they by definition cannot yield.  Therefore, you see some religious types assuming that if god could be somewhere, then it must.

 

Again I want to stress that I, like you, have seen atheists make some notable blunders.  

 

I think the key to an honest discussion is the willingness of everyone involved to acknowledge that they may not have the authority to make broad statements.  Also, I think people in general should be prepared to admit, when appropriate, that they just don't know much about where a conversation is heading.  Sometimes it's just more appropriate to drop a discussion and do some research then just to throw blind punches with little or no knowledge of a subject.

I must apologize, you are correct in the sense that my argument was fallacious.

I am not sure about the philosophy part though. Do you see that as a middle ground? It is used by both sides, but I would think having knowledge on both sides would include it (if not in the academic sense then in a more common sense).
When I say knowledge on both sides I meant knowing the information people are using to create their claims (i.e. reading the bible, studying evolution). I wasn't making a difference between science and religion, just merely a difference between a worthy argument/debate versus a non-worthy one. You are correct in saying that religion is not a science though.
It does tend to look like more people (especially christians) have become overnight scientist with their spouting of big terms, biased links and the good ole cut 'n' paste. They can never seem to summarize in their own words that they even remotely comprehend. I'm no science guru but I do have a strong passion for it. I hate to see and hear it get so distorted by theist.
I'm with Peter on listening to the 93% of scientist verses the 7%.
But I see skeptics mutilate scientific theories all the time. I think it has more to do with the more sure someone is about being correct in their general worldview the more likely they are to fudge the details including scientific ones. Most people only know science by rote anyway, meaning even if they can go on and on about a subject it is usually only stuff they have read before and they lack any actual understanding of underlying principles involved.
This does seem to appear quite a bit. I know I am not innocent but I am honing my skills for engagement. A lot of trial and error on my part. I am trying to lean towards a more philosophical approach. During my 47+ years on this planet I have seen leaps and bounds in science and technology. Even before my life changes I did question most things. I am in awe about how science has matured to the next level.  It's boil down to whos data what want to trust all while trying to keep an open mind.
Even in the 29 years I have been alive science has come a long way. Like they say, "Science, it works, bitches!"

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