Author Topic: Thoughts?  (Read 2999 times)

Arturo

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Thoughts?
« on: April 02, 2016, 04:38:13 PM »
I was having an argument with a Catholic guy about Atheism and was turning almost turning it into a problem with his character. I didn't get that far and didn't get to lay out all my ideas on the subject. So I'm wondering what you think on the points I'm about to lay out. I've summarized his ideas in the second paragraph, and my ideas in the following paragraph.

His idea was that for a scientist to be an Atheist they must accept the idea of "if I can't see it or measure it, it does not exist". He was also trying to say that evolution can't be real because small mutations can't possibly turn into a change in species over time. And finally he was saying that the Catholic Church brings in scientists to prove that a phenomenon contradicts "natural law" (laws like gravity) in order to prove what happened is a miracle or something like that.

Considering Atheism I tried to bring up that scientist explore unknown things all the time to which they don't know whats going to happen or what they will find. I would also like to point out that the absence of God is not the only path to being an Atheist, such as taking the observation that God's followers tend to be jerks like the Catholic guy. So Scientists can still be atheists and not apply the logic of "can't see, can't measure, it does not exist." In fact, that takes the logic of "I saw, I measured, therefore God is impossible." On the subject of evolution I was trying to say that small mutations eventually have a change in species, but every offspring is the same species as it's parent. It just goes against common sense to think of it that way, so common sense is wrong. Finally on to the "miracle" issue, I wondered why the findings weren't brought to the rest of the scientific community and taking into account when considering these "natural laws". Further, I know that the example of gravity is not fully understood, especially when it comes to quantum physics.


My conclusion was that this guy had a poor understanding of Atheism and science in general. But I'm curious of what your thoughts are on this.

Links
On Gravity: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_gravitational_theory#General_relativity
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_gravity
On Evolution: http://atheism.about.com/od/evolutionexplained/a/micro_macro.htm
« Last Edit: April 02, 2016, 04:48:29 PM by Apathy »

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Firebird

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Re: Thoughts?
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2016, 06:05:15 PM »
Quote
His idea was that for a scientist to be an Atheist they must accept the idea of "if I can't see it or measure it, it does not exist."
Yeah, this is the typical straw man that theists construct to claim we're close-minded. The last part of his sentence (it does not exist) is the key. It should read "there's no evidence it exists".
Atheism means you don't believe god or gods exist. The degree of that disbelief can vary. The Dawkins scale is a good way to illustrate this. It's ranked from 1-7, 1 meaning you definitely, absolutely believe there's a god, 7 meaning you absolutely, undoubtedly don't believe there is. Even Dawkins himself isn't a 7 (he's a 6 or 6.9) because you really can't prove a negative. That's pretty much where I am too, and at least some people here. Based on everything I've seen, I don't think there's a god, but I also don't think we know very much about our universe yet, so if any evidence ever surfaces indicating there's some sort of higher being, I would absolutely reconsider my views. But considering how many past deities humanity has believed in and continues to believe in, why should jehovah get a free pass over Baal, or Jupiter?

Quote
He was also trying to say that evolution can't be real because small mutations can't possibly turn into a change in species over time.
Except it's been shown to happen. Things like the experiments with fruit flies, or even the evolution of a population living in the mountains of Tibet to use less oxygen. I don't see why this flies in the face of common sense?


The last comment just sounds like a claim without any basis and you answered, so I won't even respond to that.
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Tank

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Re: Thoughts?
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2016, 06:27:40 PM »
In no particular order.

Firstly lets get evolution and evolution theory out of the way. Evolution is the change in allele frequency and epigenetic markers over time in a population. It's very simple. Evolution theory describes how natural processes, such as natural selection and genetic drift, cause changes in allele frequency and epigenetic markers over time in a population. It's time and selection pressures that cause speciesiation. We haven't seen evolution happen in the same way we haven't seen trees grow. We infer trees grow because there is evidence to support that conjecture, they get taller and is we cut them down we find tree rings that correspond to years. However nobody has seen a tree grow because it happens too slowly to see. The same occurs with evolution and it generally happens over huge periods of time.

Evolution is not a theistic issue as long as you aren't a Young Earth Creationist (YEC) or one believes in the divine creation of humanity as in Adam and Eve.

We have a thread on evolution http://www.happyatheistforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=7486.0
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Tank

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Re: Thoughts?
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2016, 06:57:02 PM »
As Firebird points out there are essentially 2 groups who call themselves atheists. 'Soft' atheists (6 on the Dawkins scale) "I have yet to see sufficient reasonable  evidence to think that a god exists". 'Hard' atheists (7 on the Dawkins scale) " don't believe a god(s) exist". About 75% of atheists are Soft and 25% Hard.

I'm a soft atheist in that the right evidence for the existence of a deity or god(s) would change my mind.

However I have sympathy with the hard atheists if one acknowledges the complete lack of evidence for the supernatural realm, let alone a deity or theistic god.  In classical logic one can't 'prove a negative'. However in reality the level of 'proof' is important. As there is no undisputed or repeatable evidence for the existence of the supernatural realm, or that part of that realm is sentient, or that the sentient part is interventionist in nature, I think the hard atheist view is very much a safe bet.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Tank

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Re: Thoughts?
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2016, 07:10:24 PM »
Consider the old joke 'Which came first, the chicken or the egg?'. This is often rolled out by science deniers and anti-evolutionists. The thing is the joke itself is wrong. There was never a divide between non-chicken and chicken just a vast gene pool with variations which spread into chicken-hood and other things. This also covers the old saw 'If we evolved from monkeys why are there still monkeys?'

Another thing to remember is that every organism has evolved in parallel, not sequentially. The yeast that makes bread and beer today has a much more extensive genome then we do. We are not the pinnacle of evolution we are just another organism with some unique characteristics.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Tank

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Re: Thoughts?
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2016, 07:16:16 PM »
The Catholic view on evolution

Quote
Concerning human evolution, the Church has a more definite teaching. It allows for the possibility that man’s body developed from previous biological forms, under God’s guidance, but it insists on the special creation of his soul. Pope Pius XII declared that "the teaching authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions . . . take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter—[but] the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God" (Pius XII, Humani Generis 36). So whether the human body was specially created or developed, we are required to hold as a matter of Catholic faith that the human soul is specially created; it did not evolve, and it is not inherited from our parents, as our bodies are.

So the physical evolution of the human body (and by inference all organisms) is not contrary to Catholic dogma.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Crow

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Re: Thoughts?
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2016, 08:24:58 PM »
Consider the old joke 'Which came first, the chicken or the egg?'. This is often rolled out by science deniers and anti-evolutionists.

Well anyone with even a basic understanding of science should say the egg because the egg as the form of reproduction goes back an incredibly long way and chickens don't.
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Nam

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Re: Thoughts?
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2016, 04:30:15 AM »
I lean Ignostic atheist. In that a discussion of a god or gods is meaningless based on the fact there's no basic universal definition of a god or gods. All theists have their own definition of who or what they believe their god is or isn't therefore discussion with them on the subject is redundant but fun, at times. Look at the Bible: there's several gods in it that Christians try to interpret as one.

When a Christian talks about things like Evolution and/or the Theory of Evolution (which they see as the same thing) they do it in the perception of their viewpoint of a god. Therefore, talking on the subject with them is meaningless because not only do you have to prove a negative but you also, simultaneously, have to explain how they are two separate things. I'm personally in it for the argument, not to change their mind on the subject(s). Only they can change their mind.

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Re: Thoughts?
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2016, 01:48:17 PM »
His idea was that for a scientist to be an Atheist they must accept the idea of "if I can't see it or measure it, it does not exist".

Well, there might be things that we can't measure for now due to underdeveloped technology, it doesn't necessarily mean that they don't exist.

The multiverse, for instance, does it exist? A lot of people believe it does. maybe it does, maybe it doesn't, I won't risk an answer. :P

Quote
He was also trying to say that evolution can't be real because small mutations can't possibly turn into a change in species over time.

Speciation has been observed. You could arm yourself with numerous examples next time you run into another jerk like that. 

Quote
And finally he was saying that the Catholic Church brings in scientists to prove that a phenomenon contradicts "natural law" (laws like gravity) in order to prove what happened is a miracle or something like that.

 :eyebrow:

I thought the Catholic Church generally accepts that evolution happens? They learnt their lesson when they disagreed with Galileo and such.

Quote
On the subject of evolution I was trying to say that small mutations eventually have a change in species, but every offspring is the same species as it's parent. It just goes against common sense to think of it that way, so common sense is wrong.

Evolution is the change in allele frequency and epigenetic markers over time in a population. It's very simple. Evolution theory describes how natural processes, such as natural selection and genetic drift, cause changes in allele frequency and epigenetic markers over time in a population.

 :this: Gene pools evolve over time, not individuals.

"Species" can be a fuzzy concept but it generally means individuals of a group that can interbreed and leave fertile offspring. If you consider two populations of the same species and separate them geographically those mutations will continue accumulating in both subpopulations. Eventually they will be different enough as to not interbreed anymore, and that's when it's generally accepted that they are different species.


Quote
My conclusion was that this guy had a poor understanding of Atheism and science in general. But I'm curious of what your thoughts are on this.

Like most theists, it seems...
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Tank

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Re: Thoughts?
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2016, 02:01:20 PM »
Consider the old joke 'Which came first, the chicken or the egg?'. This is often rolled out by science deniers and anti-evolutionists.

Well anyone with even a basic understanding of science should say the egg because the egg as the form of reproduction goes back an incredibly long way and chickens don't.
;D Yes, this too.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Ecurb Noselrub

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Re: Thoughts?
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2016, 02:45:40 PM »
Consider the old joke 'Which came first, the chicken or the egg?'. This is often rolled out by science deniers and anti-evolutionists.

Well anyone with even a basic understanding of science should say the egg because the egg as the form of reproduction goes back an incredibly long way and chickens don't.

Eggs come first, along with coffee, bacon and toast.  Chicken doesn't usually appear until around lunch, or even dinner.

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Re: Thoughts?
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2016, 04:15:32 PM »
Eggs come first, along with coffee, bacon and toast.  Chicken doesn't usually appear until around lunch, or even dinner.

I'd just have to trust you on that one.
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Re: Thoughts?
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2016, 06:12:56 PM »
Consider the old joke 'Which came first, the chicken or the egg?'. This is often rolled out by science deniers and anti-evolutionists.

Well anyone with even a basic understanding of science should say the egg because the egg as the form of reproduction goes back an incredibly long way and chickens don't.

Eggs come first, along with coffee, bacon and toast.  Chicken doesn't usually appear until around lunch, or even dinner.

 :rofl:
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Guardian85

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Re: Thoughts?
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2016, 07:12:15 PM »

Eggs come first, along with coffee, bacon and toast.  Chicken doesn't usually appear until around lunch, or even dinner.
I am so stealing that for the next time I have a drunken philosophical discussion.


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Re: Thoughts?
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2016, 04:09:31 AM »
To YEC's: eggs are chickens.

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