ReligionSkepticism

From Theistic Evolution to Apostasy

I write on a blog called de-conversion from time to time, and I just read this post that I thought would be of interest. It’s “From Theistic Evolution to Apostasy” by the chaplain:

For much of my evangelical Christian life, I held a Theistic Evolutionary view of creation. I’ll confess that I didn’t always adhere firmly to this view. Sometimes I wavered and veered into a fairly conservative Creationist point of view. Nevertheless, I could never entirely shake free of the realization that evolution had lots of empirical support. Moreover, I realized this long before I ever read my first book about evolution.

I’m still gathering input on how people define intelligent design, theistic evolution, and other related terms and eventually I will post a summary of what I’ve learned. For now I’ll just say that it doesn’t seem like most Christians or ex-Christians use the same working definitions that readers of this blog posted in response to my query on this topic a while back.

What I found interesting is the conclusion of the post:

 If humans are not responsible for suffering and evil, and death is simply a natural process rather than a punishment, then what need is there for atonement and redemption?

Once I reached the right conclusion to that question, that there is no such need, I only needed a short, quick mental step to advance from discarding theistic evolution to discarding theism in its entirety.

It’s worth reading the post in its entirety for a look into the thought processes that can lead someone who believes in theistic evolution to question their faith and, perhaps, even abandon it when they look more closely at the evidence. It’s an interesting topic that is often debated. That is, does “believing in evolution” necessarily lead to atheism? Some people say that atheism is the only logical conclusion to come to after looking at the evidence for evolution, while many others say that you can believe both in evolution and in a creator-God. I guess there’s not a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Sometimes the questions are more interesting than the answers anyway.

writerdd

Donna Druchunas is a freelance technical writer and editor and a knitwear designer. When she's not working, she blogs, studies Lithuanian, reads science and sci-fi books, mouths off on atheist forums, and checks her email every three minutes. (She does that when she's working, too.) Although she loves to chat, she can't keep an IM program open or she'd never get anything else done.

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128 Comments

  1. I think that it would be easy to believe in a deist sort of creator god and evolution, but I think it is very difficult to rectify evolution, the doctrine of Original Sin, and the concept of a perfect God, which are both so important to Christianity (and which are both things that the author addresses very well).

  2. I think that I am not alone in being saddened and frightened by the fact that this isn’t an excerpt from a forum for six year olds to debate the existence of god. I mean, really, once you realize that …jeez, you know.

    I don’t mean to be harsh, but seriously? Sorry, everyone. There is no god, people are animals who are in the game of serving themselves/ their genetic fitness (just like every other thing in existence), and eventually, it’s all going to be irrevocably GONE.

    So, you know, you can make up fancy, pretty stories that help you sleep a little better (or, more probably, allows your self-serving ass to prey on the less, uh, self serving or, even more probably, less able to be self-serving), or you can think about these very simple realities and try to deal with them.

    You know, by having empathy? By not indulging in tribalism (which is RAMPANT in the “good” book)? By letting live and

    oh, fuck it.

    “Imagine” was written almost 40 years ago. It’s not a fucking secret.

  3. On the other hand, have you guys checked out how beautiful it is when an iridescent large beetle, lodged between some wood, is saved in a moped shop by local kids who might otherwise be watching TV on a summertime morning?

    I did. Yesterday. Here on Earth. Without god. It was awesome (and so was the coffee).

  4. Believing in evolution clearly does lead to atheism in many cases. Frankly I’m surprised it doesn’t more often. Theistic evolution requires a certain amount of cognitive dissonance, because if you really understand the principles of evolution, the idea that humans are special and separate from other animals just doesn’t make sense. And how do the ideas of Jesus and salvation fit into an understanding that we’re animals? There has been so much chance involved in our evolution, and we could easily have never evolved at all–how can anyone reconcile that with the belief that God created the world just for humans? I think most theistic evolutionists either don’t understand how evolution works, or don’t think about it much, or else they would have to compromise their beliefs to some extent.

  5. I’m still gathering input on how people define intelligent design, theistic evolution, and other related terms and eventually I will post a summary of what I’ve learned.

    If somebody hasn’t already pointed you to it Skeptoid did a good piece where he defined various flavors of creationism/ID.

    http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4082

    [D]oes “believing in evolution” necessarily lead to atheism? Some people say that atheism is the only logical conclusion to come to after looking at the evidence for evolution, while many others say that you can believe both in evolution and in a creator-God.

    I’m curious if there might be a generational divide here. I heard several atheist talk about how before the learned about evolution they had assumed there had to be a god to start things off. Most of these folks are at a generation or two older of me (e.g. Dawkins, PZ).

    I was raise in a mainstream Christian family that attended church and Sunday school every week. I had an early interest in science and knew the basics of evolution early. When we talked about the story of creation is Sunday school I remember thinking about how similar the order the animals were created in according to Genesis 1 was to the what evolution said. The order isn’t perfect by any means but I wasn’t taught that the Bible was literally true so some differences weren’t a big deal. As I learn more science and my theology matured (where maturity is merely the difference between what you think in elementary school vs Junior High) I just assumed God was who and evolution was how.

    As I got into high school the absurdity of the many other stories in the Bible however started bothering me. The idea that God created these rules where his son had to die for him to forgive you in particular just made less and less sense the more I thought about it. By the end of High School I was an Atheist/Agnostic, but the evolution and creation played no role for or against my de-conversion.

  6. When we talked about the story of creation is Sunday school I remember thinking about how similar the order the animals were created in according to Genesis 1 was to the what evolution said.

    In Genesis 1, the order is as follows.

    1. Division of light from darkness.

    2. Division of waters above and waters below by a “firmament” (the Hebrew word raqiya literally means “a dome made of beaten metal sheets”).

    3. Division of dry land from water.

    4. Grass, seed-yielding herbs, fruit trees.

    5. Stars, Sun and Moon.

    6. Moving sea-creatures and flying birds.

    7. Cattle and “creeping things”.

    8. Human men and women.

    In Genesis 2, God sounds more like a pre-teen genie.

    1. “Earth and heavens”.

    2. A human male.

    3. “Every tree that is pleasant to the sight”.

    4. Beasts of the field and fowl of the air, which the man is then told to name.

    5. A human woman.

    ALLEGORY FAIL.

    First of all, these ain’t the same story, and second, they ain’t what really happened. Either order you pick, it’s terribly wrong. Creatures moved in the sea hundreds of millions of years before fruit trees evolved. Marijuana didn’t exist before the sun and stars, m’kay?

  7. re: Blake Stacey
    In Genesis 1, the order is as follows….

    You do realize that I was talking about what I was thinking and believed as an elementary school student? The 11 year old that considered Genesis 1 a reasonable approximation of evolution is long gone. You can’t have a debate with him.

    The 40 year old that shares that same social security number with that 11 year old doesn’t believe in gods at all. So he is unlikely to defend the 11 year olds religious beliefs either. He can however recall them to provide data points when discussion the role of evolution in de-conversion.

  8. Sure. We’re not responsible for what we believed in elementary school (I also think we shouldn’t be responsible for the music we loved when we were fifteen, but that’s a different story).

    The cheerful NOMA child I was in junior high grew into a wrathful graduate student who will happily tell you all the places Richard Dawkins doesn’t go far enough. He has no patience. He finds the way stations along the path of de-conversion to lack intellectual respectability as well as emotional vibrancy. When he wants to listen to the golden oldies, he plays Kraftwerk very loudly.

  9. I think a big part of the reason so many people are of the opinion that an understanding of evolution must necessarily lead to atheism is a fundamental assumption of a particular brand of theism. Yeah, it doesn’t jive with any of the Abrahamic faiths very well at all, really – not without some serious compartmentalization. You can, however, have a belief in a deity who doesn’t particularly think humans (or even living beings in general) are terribly special, or that they are special only by virtue of survival, and that would mesh quite well. Such belief systems are highly uncommon, to say the least, but such things exist.

    In America, atheism pretty much means you’re not a Christian and little else, and while we mostly, my necessity, contrast our beliefs with those of Christianity, it would serve us better to remember the many other faiths out there.

  10. “For now I’ll just say that it doesn’t seem like most Christians or ex-Christians use the same working definitions that readers of this blog posted in response to my query on this topic a while back.”

    ————–

    But that was never the issue. The issue was that you posted about intelligent design in response to Phil Plait being worried about legislation in Louisiana. And basically, what you said was that you thought that ID, to most people, was identical to theistic evolution, and therefore, we were getting our panties in a twist over nothing.

    What you didn’t seem to understand was that the Louisiana legislation concerned the discovery institute definition, which posits that evolution is insufficient scientifically. In other words, something was actuallly mean by the phrase intelligent design.

    You made the mistake of thinking that we should not care about the symbol, because to you it stood for something benign, ignoring the fact that it actually stands for something malignant as well. And it is this malignant definition that is being used by the DI when they push it towards schools.

    The fact that there exists this trojan horse benign definition doesn’t make it less important to fight ID, it makes it more important. The benign definition allows easy access for the pushers of the malignant one. Instead of a campaign to say that ID is okay (you’re previous post) we need to make it more clear that ID is not theistic evolution. ID is not the idea that God started it all. It’s a kind of creationism, and if skeptics don’t make that clear, who the hell will?

    Of course, if skeptics are going to clear things up, we need to have clear vision. For example, we might note that people are less likely to vote for an Atheist than a Jew (http://www.gallup.com/poll/103150/Percentage-Unwilling-Vote-Mormon-Holds-Steady.aspx#2), and that Jews are not Christians.

  11. That is, does “believing in evolution” necessarily lead to atheism?

    I don’t think so; I was a strict, strict Catholic and theistic evolutionist until around age 20(ish).

    Some people say that atheism is the only logical conclusion to come to after looking at the evidence for evolution, while many others say that you can believe both in evolution and in a creator-God.

    I would rephrase this to say “Atheism is the only logical conclution to come to after looking at the world scientifically.” Biology wasn’t my entry into reason; sociology, chemistry, math, and physics were.

    Theistic Evolution is something of a cheat; you can believe god started the ball rolling and Genesis (or whichever creation myth you prefer) was allagory…so, yah, you can evolve and believe in a god-creator, but only if you don’t look at the details of either the science or the god-creator very closely.

    Once you start to look closely, honestly, and begin asking that basic, skeptical question “What is the evidence of this belief?” the mysticism falls apart…or you have to engage in some pretty impressive mental gymnastics.

  12. I fail to see how it would serve us better if at all to know there are other faiths out there besides the Abrahamic ones. They all succumb to the same critical examinations.

    I must second the further reading of The Chaplain’s post, her blog in general, and of listening to her interviewed on AGP

  13. They all succumb to the same critical examinations.

    No, they all succumb to quite different critical examinations, and since we are talking about one specific critical examination (evolution), that’s an important distinction.

  14. They are all subject to evidence to warrant belief, and I don’t remember any so far passing that test. Do you? Yes, if a belief lacks a creation myth then evolution doesn’t matter, but as far as all faiths subject to the same critical examination, in other words evidence, then yes, they all are and all fail.

  15. Again, this is specifically about evolution. More specifically than that, even, about people claiming that evolution leads directly to atheism, which it simply does not. It speaks not at all to the existence or nonexistence of a deity. I’m not one to sit around repeating myself, but we are discussing here one specific critical examination, and that is evolution.

  16. It’s the ability to think critically, embrace the scientific method and necessity for evidence to warrant acceptance of a claim that’s at the root of the discussion here. THAT is where evolution has the power to aid in deconversion from a faith belief.

    Evolution, or science in general is certainly no magic bullet which kills religious belief, but it can aid that expunging of woo. If you bothered to read the Chaplain’s post or listened to her interview, you’d know that she credits study of evolution as aiding her deconversion.

  17. I’m not responding to the Chaplain’s post. I’m responding to DD’s post. You know, the one we’re writing responses to. She can credit study of evolution with aiding her deconversion all she likes, I won’t doubt her word… I will, however, ask what religion she was converting out of, and let the answer speak for itself about my point here.

  18. Rystefn – While it is true that evolution does not de facto preclude a deity, here’s what it does:

    It precludes any deity that makes factual claims about creating life. If said deity, makes no such claims, what is it’s value? I suppose I can imagine some answers to this question, but evolution makes clear that there is an explanation for the abundance , variety and unity of life that requires no outside source beyond a prime mover. And if we have already slam-dunked all notions of everything after a prime mover, then it calls into question whether we will, in the future, crash that notion as well.

    Now that we have explained so much that nearly all religions based their existence on, the logical default position is – there is no deity unless we are able to empirically show it. So far no one has. I won’t say this ALL comes from evolution, but it was certainly the nail in the coffin of all religious belief in a deity that is actively involved in our lives.

  19. Look pal, DD said, “It’s worth reading the post in its entirety for a look into the thought processes that can lead someone who believes in theistic evolution to question their faith and, perhaps, even abandon it when they look more closely at the evidence” so saying you’re choosing to ignore the post but respond only to DD is ridiculous since she’s saying read the post.

    What’s also ridiculous is how what the Chaplain was deconverting from has any basis on your point. The vast majority of people you’re going to encounter stories from are going to be ex-Abrahamics so how is it that her not being from a non-Abrahamic mean those religions are immune from the effect of their followers being exposed to scientific inquiry?

    No doubt you’ll want to turn the tables and ask how then is this proof that they aren’t immune, but that was my earlier point, that all faiths are ultimately subject to evidence to warrant their claims, which is a cornerstone of science; therefore, studying science gives one the tools to question their beliefs and in the case of religion, find them wanting. You can’t study evolution in a vacuum, so you can’t simply study evolution without understanding the scientific method, which means a legitimate study of evolution then can facilitate one’s deconversion.

  20. t was certainly the nail in the coffin of all religious belief in a deity that is actively involved in our lives.

    No it’s not. It’s a nail in the coffin of any deity claiming special creation of life as is or some sort of elevated place for humanity. It leaves plenty of room for deities which do not give a rat’s ass one way another for humanity, and for any deity which only cares for humanity by virtue of the fact that we exist, and squeezwazzles do not.

    If said deity, makes no such claims, what is it’s value?

    Evolution makes no factual claims about creating life, what is its value? Gravity makes no factual claims about creating life, what is its value? My house makes no factual claims about creating life, what is its value? You make no factual claims about creating life (that I know of), what is your value?

    You seem to be thinking of deity in very Abrahamic terms, and that is not an accurate reflection of the breadth of the word.

    Philly, DD also said:

    It’s an interesting topic that is often debated. That is, does “believing in evolution” necessarily lead to atheism? Some people say that atheism is the only logical conclusion to come to after looking at the evidence for evolution

    Remember, you walked into this conversation directly addressing my point that atheism doesn’t definitively lead to atheism because there are brands of theism out there with which it does not interfere in the slightest. Well, more specifically, addressing my statement that it would serve us better to remember the other religions out there.

    You fail to see how it would serve us better to remember that, then point to how evolution lead one person away from one faith as some kind of evidence that evolution leads to atheism. That’s my point entirely. It does not lead to atheism, because it does not lead away from all faiths.

    The fact that you cannot wrap your brain around that concept serves quite well to prove my point of how we would be better served to remember that there are more than three theistic religions in this world, a fact which you may not forget in a literal sense, but which you gloss over quite readily.

    My point, in direct response to the original post here, is that evolution may be an argument against the existence of God, but it is certainly not an argument against the existence of gods. The distinction does matter, even if you’d like to pretend it does not.

    Your entire last paragraph is silly straw-man, and I won’t address it.

  21. “I will, however, ask what religion she was converting out of, and let the answer speak for itself about my point here.”

    ——————

    I’ll bite. How does the fact that Donna is an ex-Christian speak to your general point that we all need to be more aware that there are other religious traditions before….

    Wait, what was your original point? Ah, yes:

    I think a big part of the reason so many people are of the opinion that an understanding of evolution must necessarily lead to atheism is a fundamental assumption of a particular brand of theism.

    So, the 36% of American’s who think that man developed over millions of years with God guiding the process aren’t Abrahamic believers? That’s weird, since about 82% of Americans can be classified as Christians. Numbers courtesy of Gallup.

    The meme “understanding evolution is incompatible with belief in God” exists because the scientific worldview is not compatible with the supernaturalist one. Any faith can be watered down to the point where the supernaturalist elements are sufficiently weak as to allow a naturalist viewpoint to flourish, and Christianity is no exception. But there are, as far as I know, no faiths that are wholly compatible with the Naturalist point of view. Perhaps you could let us know which dogma you think is fully compatible with the scientific worldview?

  22. Seth, are you still trying to talk to me? That’s funny. Go back and reread my posts, as well as the posts I’m responding to, compose a response wherein your second sentence doesn’t include a flase assumption, and I might read more than two of the sentences you write in it. If I get to the end without encountering a mistake in comprehension or a falsehood, I might consider responding to it, until then, you’re wasting your time.

  23. Rystefn – your use of highly selective answering to points, while simultaneously begging those who talk to you to stick to some “point specific” agenda of your choosing is ludicrous.

    Science, highlighted by evolution, makes any presumption of divine existence ridiculous. I’ll ask you again what Sethmanapio asked and you skirted by setting benchmarks that he must comply with before you answering. I assume, since you haven’t set those benchmarks for me, that you’ll just answer, straight up.

    Perhaps you could let us know which dogma you think is fully compatible with the scientific worldview?

  24. I only ask people to stick a specific point when they respond to something I said by pointing to something completely off-topic of what I said. When I posted a response to DD, it was about evolution and atheism, nothing else. Someone else coming around and trying to counter my point with babble about some specific deconversion story is completely off-topic. If you think it is ludicrous of me to point out specifically what I was talking about instead of just going along and pretending I was making some other imaginary point, I suppose that’s your call. Seems perfectly rational to me, though.

    Perhaps you could let us know which dogma you think is fully compatible with the scientific worldview?

    Perhaps you could point out where I ever claimed that such a thing exists? Perhaps you could clarify what you mean by dogma, which has more than one meaning, before I answer with “chocolate is tasty.”

  25. I don’t think Rystefn ever claimed any particular religions are “fully compatible with a scientific worldview.” In fact, he wrote this:

    No, they all succumb to quite different critical examinations, and since we are talking about one specific critical examination (evolution), that’s an important distinction.

    What he wrote was that the theory of evolution has no specific bearing on the existence, or lack thereof, of a creator. What it is not compatible with are certain interpretations of very specific creation stories. So the statement, “believing in evolution necessarily leads to atheism,” seems to be tied in with the assumption that all theists are believers in the literal truth of those particular creation stories.

    Science, highlighted by evolution, makes any presumption of divine existence ridiculous.

    To my knowledge, there are still no peer-reviewed scientific studies that disprove the existence of a divine being of any sort. So I think your assertion that he/she/they do not exist is as much a leap of faith as assuming they do.

  26. Now you’re going to split hairs over “brand” and “definition”? That’s telling.

    Ok boss, enlighten us. Explain how the definition, brand, distinction or whatever of faith matters if a person has come to value evidence.

  27. Explain how the definition, brand, distinction or whatever of faith matters if a person has come to value evidence.

    Brands of faith
    Christianity
    Islam
    Hinduism
    Shinto
    Wicca

    definitions of faith
    allegiance to duty or a person
    fidelity to one’s promises
    sincerity of intentions
    complete trust
    something that is believed especially with strong conviction
    firm belief in something for which there is no proof

    Note that neither list is anywhere near comprehensive.

    If you think that’s “splitting hairs,” you’ve got problems.

  28. JSug – you would be correct IF I made a definative statement “the devine does not exist”.

    Since what I said (at least you quoted me correctly. Now all you need to do is absorb it’s meaning) was: Science, highlighted by evolution, makes any presumption of divine existence ridiculous.. (Perhaps you should focus on the word “presumption”).

    Again, as Philly stated earlier, you can’t have “evolution” in a vacuum. Our understanding of evolution is through the lens of science, reason, rationality. Once you accept this as the only effective method we have of viewing the universe, there is no reason to evoke ANY deity – even one that doesn’t make naturalistic claims that have already been debunked by said science and reason.

    What evolution has done (besides explaining current life) is make the truth about my above assertion apparent to anyone, whereas geology and physics do the same, but aren’t as vivid to most people.

  29. Rystefn – you have just explained the difference between “brand” and “definition”. What you completely neglect is answering Philly’s question about them. THIS is why your style is ludicrous and I stick to that. Have fun, partner.

  30. Evo, are you saying that fidelity to one’s promises succumbs to evidence? I would have thought the fact that the sentence doesn’t even make sense would preclude the need for an explanation of why I can’t agree to it as a premise. Maybe it was ludicrous of me to think that he would grasp that without me explaining it, but I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt rather than assuming that they’re idiots.

  31. You’ve clearly got a problem reading. I asked for you to “Explain how the definition, brand, distinction or whatever of faith matters if a person has come to value evidence.

    You’ve not done that. Also, you’ve come nowhere near showing how other faiths matter in this discussion since you haven’t given any distinction they have which would warrant studying them separately.

    Essentially your argument is if someone chooses faith over anything else, then nothing can shake their faith. I agree, but then why focus on evolution and why bring up the need to look at other faiths? You’re making no sense, and calling me an idiot doesn’t magically make your nonsense sensible.

  32. None of those “definitions of faith” have anything to do with our topic. Those sound more like characteristics. Very human, very natural (if not yet fully explained by reason). Those could apply to anyone (with or without a “brand”). I can’t imagine the religious sect which wouldn’t lay claim to any of them. Evolution and, in a larger sense, science need not lay waste to those notions to destroy any reason for invoking a higher force.

  33. Wait a sec…

    You aren’t claiming those definitions AS a “higher force” that evolution can’t explode, are you? I’m just asking – I’m not assuming this is your position, I just want to be clear.

  34. Philly, you can’t understand how the definition of faith matters if the person values evidence? So You insist that if a person values evidence, then fidelity to one’s promises succumbs to evidence? Really? Does that sentence even make sense to you?

    Also, you’ve come nowhere near showing how other faiths matter in this discussion since you haven’t given any distinction they have which would warrant studying them separately.

    The distinction that many faiths are fully compatible with evolution. In fact, using any of several of the definitions of faith I listed above, many faiths are compatible with all of science.

    Essentially your argument is if someone chooses faith over anything else, then nothing can shake their faith.

    Straw man. My argument is nothing of the sort, and I can’t even fathom how you could possibly come to the conclusion that it is.

    calling me an idiot doesn’t magically make your nonsense sensible.

    When did I call you an idiot? As I recall, I specifically stated that I was working under the assumption that you aren’t…

    On to Evo.

    None of those “definitions of faith” have anything to do with our topic.

    Really? Given that Philly and I were operating under fundamentally different ideas of what topic we were discussing at all in the first place, i thought it best not to make assumptions, and asked for clarification. I think that’s a perfectly reasonable position to take, especially since I did so with the specific intent to avoid further confusion of the sort we had already been dealing with – as I assume he was likewise trying to avoid such confusion, hence the complete blank-slate-style restart looking for a position on which we could both agree from which to begin discussion.

    Those sound more like characteristics

    They are definitions. I pulled them verbatim from Mirriam-Webster, in fact.

    I feel no need to address the remainder of that post, as it pertains to the idea that these were not definitions, but some characteristics.

    No, I was not claiming them as a “higher force” evolution cannot explode, I was claiming them as definitions of faith, some of which would not “succumb to evidence.” This is why the definition of “faith” must be clear before I could agree to the statement “All faiths succumb to evidence, IF you value evidence.”

    Again, in the interest of avoiding more confusion – at which I have failed, it seems – when asked whether or not I could agree to that statement, I said I could not because there are many definitions of the word “faith” and by some of them, the statement would not stand. Do I agree that all belief in the supernatural must succumb to evidence? Absolutely. Do I agree that fidelity to one’s promises must succumb to evidence? The concept is nonsensical, so I cannot.

    If I am being unclear, I apologize. I am aware that I’m prone to nonstandard grammar conventions and odd turns of phrase. Frankly, that cannot remotely account for the number of times people respond to points I’m not making or claim that my statements are nonsense and/or irrational. I find it frustrating to no end, and at this point in my life, I have little patience for it.

  35. f I get to the end without encountering a mistake in comprehension or a falsehood, I might consider responding to it, until then, you’re wasting your time.

    ————

    I’m actually pointing out to the other people where you are wrong. You yourself are sort of a secondary audience.

  36. They are definitions. I pulled them verbatim from Mirriam-Webster, in fact.

    ——————

    Are you sure you pulled all the relevant definitions? Because you called me on a poor use of “continual” in a former thread, ignoring the definition “2” on Mirriam-Webster that was actually precisely how I was using it. So really, we have to be very careful in trusting your definitions of words in a discussion.

  37. Rystefn, let me know if I’m stepping on your toes here.

    John and Philly, here’s a hypothetical for you:

    Say I don’t subscribe to any particular religion, but have spent many years of my life studying the various sciences, and have come to the conclusion that this universe seems much too well ordered to just be the result of random quantum fluctuations during the big bang. I think that maybe there was some sort of universal architect. A god, if you will, who laid out the design of this universe in such a way that life as we know it would be likely to appear, and that it would evolve into higher forms. I don’t know how or why this being created our universe, or if it has any influence once things were set in motion. But I still believe it exists. It doesn’t really have any direct bearing on my day to day life, but it fills me with wonder and awe, and I like to believe it.

    Would that not be the sort of “faith” that you’re asking about? Does an understanding of science in general, or evolution in particular preclude this sort of faith? Does it really have any bearing at all?

  38. If I am being unclear, I apologize.

    No. I now understand what you are saying perfectly, though I’ll point out – hopefully to be helpful, that when Philly used the word “faith” he was not speaking in the generic and I think you should have known that – but maybe not. He was using the “faith” as in this definition:

    belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.

    I think that becomes clear when you consider that he asked you about “A faith”, as opposed to simply “faith”.

    But I’m satisfied in your explanation: Do I agree that all belief in the supernatural must succumb to evidence? Absolutely.

    I agree entirely. I can’t imagine the religion that would not succumb. Even if it doesn’t make claims to nature. But I don’t know what religion does NOT. Do you?

  39. Let me recap:

    Originally Rys made two points:

    1. Some religions other than Christianity are compatible with evolution, but Christianity is not.

    2. In America, Atheist is equivalent to non-christian.

    Point 2 has been utterly shredded. It was total nonsense that has nothing whatsoever to do with how American’s actually view religion or atheism, and we can see this by noting that “Jewish” is recognized as a separate category from “Atheist” in Pew and Gallup polls.

    Point 1 is ridiculous. Christianity, sufficiently watered down, is just as compatible with evolution as any other faith. So clearly, unless he is actually not making any point at all, Rystefn is trying to say something about a non-watered down, I.E. fundamentalist creed that is compatible with an understanding of evolution. He mentioned certain traits that this religion has (not thinking humans are special being one), but he has not up to this time revealed what this mystery religion might be.

    So, on point one, Rystefn now has two choices:
    1. Reveal that in fact, he didn’t make a point at all, but just sort of babbled.
    2. Tell us which faith he had in mind that we should all be more aware of, so that we can be more aware of it.

    The only one that I can think of is Deism.

  40. JSug – you are talking about a god of the gaps and if you really want to believe what you just wrote about, I don’t have any particular problem with it.

    I don’t know what it does for you, but that’s up to you to figure out. For me, there is no reason to invoke that. I just acknowledge that there are things we don’t know. I feel no compulsion to insert an “architect”, just because of lack of knowledge.

    I do understand that this is a strong drive in our species though. We like answers, even if we don’t have them. I’m ok with acknowledging “we don’t know”. Your “god” (if I can call it that) is much more palatable to me than the gods of any known religions.

  41. The question wasn’t “a faith,” it was “all faiths.” The fact that the word can be used in a great many ways is the reason I could not agree, and explained as much immediately. Most people would have assumed the definition you gave, and I was fairly certain that was the point he was aiming at, but considering the fact that he was taking the “drop all previous argument and start from scratch” tack (or so it seemed to me), I judged it unsafe to make that leap without knowing for sure.

    I had though that my own statement that it would depend on the definition of faith used would have been enough to make that clear, but apparently, I was wrong. The word “all” has a pretty concrete meaning, you see, and I hesitate when I see it. What I put in as a simple disclaimer and request for a more specific stance managed to turn itself into yet another ugly stream of misunderstandings. I’m sure you can see how frustrating such things can quickly become.

    Doubly so with jackasses like seth trolling about, apparently with nothing better to do than pretend that “neither list is comprehensive” means “This is a full and complete quote from Mirriam-Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, 2008 edition.”

  42. Would that not be the sort of “faith” that you’re asking about? Does an understanding of science in general, or evolution in particular preclude this sort of faith? Does it really have any bearing at all?
    ———

    JSug, that’s basically Deism, a sort of “Spinoza’s God.” It is also a lousy line of reasoning: your conclusion of a magical precursor does not follow from your evidence of a well ordered universe.

    As such, I would say that your faith is not compatible with an actual understanding of science.

  43. …apparently with nothing better to do than pretend…

    ——–

    Once bitten, twice shy. My point is that you have shown a pattern of behavior in which you selectively alter quotations in order to make your case appear more attractive, and therefore, we cannot believe that you are communicating even the rough outlines of a definition correctly.

  44. Your point is that either you think that “neither list is comprehensive” means “This is a full and complete quote from Mirriam-Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, 2008 edition,” or you were being deliberately decietful and hoping no one noticed I put that in there.

    I’d accuse of you of not reading, but you obviously read the rest of my post, and I highly doubt, with your track record of baldfaced lying about what I’ve said in the past and failure to understand basic English, those two options seem to so heavily outweigh the odds that you just skimmed past that, I reject the concept outright.

    Of course, if you’d like backtrack and pretend that’s what happened, I’ll let you. Anyone dumb enough to buy it isn’t important enough for me to care about anyway.

    …although, I suppose I could be falling into a false dichotomy (trichotomy?)here. If there’s another option, I’d love to hear about it. That, at least, might be entertaining.

  45. @John –
    Fair enough. Again, it was a hypothetical. I’m no more a believer in what I laid out than I am an atheist. But it is an idea I toyed with when I was in college, studying biochemistry and genetics. Learning about how nucleotide sequences translate into amino acid chains was an awe-inspiring experience for me.

    @seth –
    Faith isn’t about evidence supporting a conclusion. It is about believing something in the absence of evidence (side note: blind faith is believing in something despite evidence to the contrary). I wasn’t trying to present a scientific theory, just a form of faith that might be easily reconcilable with science. I don’t see how any accepted scientific theories contradict anything I suggested. So how is it not compatible?

    I understand that science doesn’t require faith, I’m just saying that I don’t think it precludes it.

  46. Wade through the obfuscation, and all you get from Rystefn is if someone’s religion is based on faith over evidence then evidence will never matter. How this defends any of his comments, including his original post, I have no idea. How this warrants study of faiths other than Abrahamic ones, once again, I have no idea. Will he ever enlighten us on this? Once again, I have no idea, but I’m guessing he won’t and will instead parade around with further obfuscation, for shallow pools muddy their waters to appear deep.

    I’ll say again for the last time, it’s possible through a study of science to foster in someone an increasing value for evidence, and further, it’s certainly possible that such a value may overcome the value of faith. If it does, then all religions are in danger since there’s no evidence to support belief in them, only faith. The study of evolution, therefore, can aid in someone’s deconversion from religion. DD cited on example, Chaplain, and there are more at that deconversion site so not only is it possible, it’s been claimed by deconverts as an aid, so objection to it being possible is nonsense.

  47. Interesting, in this whole thread, not one mention of Buddhism, a religion with millions of adherents (billions over time), a religion that has absolutely no issues with evolution whatsoever, but most importantly for purposes of this discussion, a religion that denies the existence of a creating God.
    I agree with Rystefn that in North America, we all too often associate faith with the Abrahamic religions.

  48. Right, so Philly returns AGAIN to a point I never made, never came close to making, never said anything even vaguely resembling, and already once flatly stated was NOT my point.

    I will not, nor will I ever, attempt to explain how this imaginary point defends any of my comments, because it is nothing like my point, and has no bearing of any kind.

    I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt, Philly. More than once, even, but no more. You come back to this, it shows that you are nothing more than a liar. Whether it’s because you honestly can’t figure out what I’m saying or because you simply know you can’t argue against it, you have chosen to claim my point is what I’ve already explained to you that it is not.

    In short, your stance, under all the obfuscation, is that red is a color, but if someone can’t distinguish between red and green, then color will never matter. How this defends any of his comments, including his original post, I have no idea. How this warrants reading the Chaplain’s post, once again, I have no idea. Will he ever enlighten us on this? Once again, I have no idea, but I’m guessing he won’t…

    I’ll say again, but probably not for the last time, your last paragraph has no bearing on any point I’ve yet attempted to make, and is, at best, a diversion from the fact that your entire post is based on a falsehood. More likely, however, is that it is posted there in an attempt to deceive others into thinking that I am somehow, somewhere, arguing against this perfectly rational, if irrelevant, string of facts.

    So much for the myth floating around here that the skeptics/atheists/whatevers take the high road in arguments, and that lies, deceptions, straw men, non sequiturs, etc. are the domain of the defenders of woo.

  49. Thank you, Fred. Several brands of Shinto (quite the diverse religion, from my understanding) are similarly compatible with evolution. Whether Shinto would qualify as a theistic religion, however, would depend both on the specific type of Shinto as well as the definition of deity you were working from. We in the west have been heavily influenced by the Abrahamic faiths, and the Greek/Roman-heavy history we are taught to think of the divine in certain terms which are not universal by any stretch.

    I’d say we would be better served to keep that in mind, but I might find myself accused of saying that there are no beliefs of omnipotent gods or that logic will never lead to disbelief in animism…

  50. Right, so Philly returns AGAIN to a point I never made, never came close to making, never said anything even vaguely resembling, and already once flatly stated was NOT my point.

    My question: Explain how the definition, brand, distinction or whatever of faith matters if a person has come to value evidence.

    Rystefn’s answer: definitions of faith
    allegiance to duty or a person
    fidelity to one’s promises
    sincerity of intentions
    complete trust
    something that is believed especially with strong conviction
    firm belief in something for which there is no proof

    Rystefn’s followup: So You insist that if a person values evidence, then fidelity to one’s promises succumbs to evidence? Really?

    If “fidelity to one’s promises” is a definition of faith, then Rystefn’s followup can be reworded as
    “So You insist that if a person values evidence, then faith succumbs to evidence? Really?”

    That certainly reads as if Rystefn is discounting the ability of evidence to overcome faith, yet saying his points boil down to evidence doesn’t matter if a religion s based on faith over evidence is somehow a straw man construct on my part. Yeah, ok. LOL

  51. with your track record of baldfaced lying about what I’ve said in the past and failure to understand basic English,

    ———–

    This would be, specifically, a reference to the word “continual”, a word which Rystefn pretended I didn’t understand by only quoting the first of two definitions from Mirriam-Webster, ignoring the second. Which of course he had to, because the second was precisely how I was using it.

    And that’s my point, Rystefn. You have actually been caught lying. You made a claim that was false, about which third party evidence was available.

    When you claim that I’m lying, what you mean is that I’ve revealed flaws in your statements that you had not though obvious. These are not equivalent definitions of “lie”.

  52. Actually, it turns out I’m wrong, the Cosmology of Buddhism has some gods in it. Mea Culpa.

    http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/buddhacosmo.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_cosmology

    But a fundamentalist read of that dogma would be shattered by a belief in evolution. You would have to decide that the tenets of Buddhism, the cosmology of it, was not literally true but in some way metaphorically true in order to believe in both Buddhist cosmology and evolution.

    So really, Buddhism is no more compatible with evolution than any Abrahamic faith, or Hinduism, or any other religion that has actual tenets and extant gods. Evolution doesn’t really bother the “sophisticated” believer of any stripe, because they don’t adhere to a literal interpretation of the text.

    For a fundamentalist, however, coming to terms with evolution is a much more traumatic experience and might well destroy all faith, because rigid faiths are brittle faiths.

    The key separation is not between Monotheism and some other theism, it is between a rigid faith and a flexible faith, and fundamentalists can be found in any religious tradition.

  53. You insist that if a person values evidence, then fidelity to one’s promises succumbs to evidence? Really?

    ————

    Well, obviously, yes. Fidelity to a promise is usually contingent on that promise being obtained in good faith, or in a particular relationship existing. Following evidence that such a relationship did not exist or that a promise was obtained in poor faith, it is generally considered morally acceptable to break a promise.

    For example, a person confronted by the evidence that their spouse is cheating on them is no longer considered bound by the promise to forsake all others until death.

  54. I wasn’t trying to present a scientific theory, just a form of faith that might be easily reconcilable with science.

    —————

    JSug, my point is that if sufficiently watered down, all religious traditions are “compatible” with science being correct. What they aren’t compatible with is a scientific world view. Your faith is no exception: you’ve chosen to believe in something, not based on any evidence that it is true, but on a desire for it to be true.

    So while it is compatible in the same sense that the Christian story is ultimately compatible (in the limit case, but reducing the Jesus story to a metaphor entirely), that isn’t the same as being consistent.

    Faith, in the sense of belief without evidence, is simply inconsistent with a skeptical world view.

  55. So much for the myth floating around here that the skeptics/atheists/whatevers take the high road in arguments, and that lies, deceptions, straw men, non sequiturs, etc. are the domain of the defenders of woo.

    ———–

    Actually, provided we accept that you are not a skeptic/atheist/whatever, we can still hold that belief.

    Really, guy, don’t you get tired up there on that cross?

  56. <>
    Of *course* it doesn’t. For instance, within string theory, it is entirely possible that we exist in a 3D brane (excluding 4D time). Following along from the 1D exists in 2D, 2D in 3D etc. we (and all matter) may be made up of strings whose end points are constrained within our 3D universe brane. What (or *who*) exists in other Ds, or even better, other branes, is entirely beyond our ability to know. String theory may or not prove correct, or even testable, but it is certainly a legitimate theory (as of now). So within that framework,
    it may not be rational to discuss empirical knowledge of an external (or even Spinozan) deity, it certainly isn’t “ridiculous” to contemplate the existence of same. BTW, that’s called philosophy.

    And Seth, if Rystefn is tired on his cross, how comfortable are you on your high horse?

    cheers,
    Fred

  57. And Seth, if Rystefn is tired on his cross, how comfortable are you on your high horse?
    —————–
    Okay, you realize that you wrote this immediately after writing “BTW, that’s called philosophy”, right? I mean, ’nuff said.

    I’m not sure what point you are trying to make or respond to. A word search of this thread does not find any case where it is considered “ridiculous” to contemplate the existence of a deity. What is called ridiculous is the presumption that such a deity exists. I.E., The evidence does not support the god hypothesis nor suggest that it might be likely or needed, so to assume that there is a god is ridiculous if one follows the evidence.

  58. I only got as far as Fred’s “Interesting, in this whole thread, not one mention of Buddhism, a religion with millions of adherents (billions over time),”

    Is Buddhism really a religion? I thought that a bona-fide religion had to have some kind of a deity system (and don’t go giving examples of green Taras and things – just because Tibetans might have some ideas left over doesn’t mean that Siddhartha (the philosopher) intended that with the original, basic suggestions of the 4 noble truths). I always saw Buddhism as self-help philosophy…

    And as far as all the arguing above, it seems to me like Rystefn really enjoys making things a teeny bit obfuscated/murky and then going “I never said THAT!” when people misunderstand. I remember a website a while ago, I think called the Panopticon , and they had something like the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) awards for bad writing in the arena of contemporary philosophy. The winners were always pieces that, to someone unfamiliar with any of the terms would seem impressive but incomprehensible, and to those familiar, dense to the point of absurdity. In other words, if three or more people of at least ordinary intelligence are having trouble grasping what you’re talking about, you might want to make things clearer for them instead of playing games where you refuse to address things because of a perceived ignorance of what was being addressed. I’ve just seen this before and it’s frustrating!

    Let’s be clear! We’re just discussing ideas,guys, not playing a game of semantic “gotcha!”.

  59. You’re assuming he wants to be understood. He doesn’t. He just wants to distract everyone from the silly things he opened with. The obfuscation, the arguing, the name calling and so forth are merely ways to save face from an initial embarrassment. You know, gotta always look cool for the chicks, right?

  60. Wow…. I go to bed and wake up to see seth posted half a dozen responses to me…. Obsess much? I hate to break it to you, seth, but I won’t be your nemesis. You are… what’s the word? Unworthy. Yeah, I’m going to go with unworthy.

    By the way, you did not “catch me in a lie.” It was, at worst, cherry-picking. At best, it might have been something else, but it was, in fact, actually cherry-picking. A very obvious one, and I’m surprised it took you so long to figure it out. (If you were wondering why I would call you unworthy, that’s why.)

    You see, I know you. I knew if I made a few comments about definitions, you’d have to pop your nose in and say something. I knew you’d accuse me of doing it again, even though I specifically said that it was incomplete. I thought I might have to do it more than once, but you are unsubtle, to say the least.

    You see, this is what is known as hypocrisy. It’s probably too late for you, but I’m kind of hoping you can see it and turn yourself around. You’re probably justifying it to yourself, possibly even to the extent that you don’t even recognize it at all. I have little doubt that if I hadn’t shown you you would never have seen it at all. It wouldn’t surprise me to find that you still don’t, honestly.

    As I said, I know you. I know what goes on in your head. You’ve gotten so good at self-justification, that you are almost completely incapable of seeing the wrong in anything you do. Whatever you do is right by virtue of the fact that you did it in your mind.

    Let me spell it out for you, in case it’s not too late: It’s wrong when you do it, too. You know you get all up in arms when you think you’re being deceived? It’s wrong when you do it, too. You know you think the other drivers on the road are dicks for cutting you off or forcing their way into your lane? It’s wrong when you do it, too. You know how much it hurts when you get cheated on? It’s wrong when you do it, too.

    Make no mistake here, seth… I’m not claiming any kind of special insight here when I say I know you and how you think. You aren’t special. Even though you think everything that happens around you is special because you’re there, you’re wrong. You’re just another person, and I know you because you’re just like 90% of humanity.

    Come on, step away from the pack. be different. Recognize that something doesn’t become a special case just because you did it. Understand that your reasons aren’t any better than anyone else’s. I’m not asking you to stop being a douche, here… just to recognize that you’re being a douche.

    Here, I’ll start. It’s wrong when I do it, too. Deception to make a point is a reason, not a justification. I was being a douche. No excuses, no qualifications.

  61. “But a fundamentalist read of that dogma would be shattered by a belief in evolution. You would have to decide that the tenets of Buddhism, the cosmology of it, was not literally true but in some way metaphorically true in order to believe in both Buddhist cosmology and evolution.”

    I don’t think that the ancillary cultural stuff that goes along with hiniyana or whatever brand of Buddhism counts as anything more than cultural spillover…in fact,the concept of a specifically Buddhist cosmology is fairly anti-Buddhist philosophy (the same way that a literal Army for Christ,or, for that matter, a hell of a lot of what Christians who claim to be the most Christian do/think is decidedly, obviously un-Christian).

  62. “Wow…. I go to bed and wake up to see seth posted half a dozen responses to me…. Obsess much? ”

    To be fair, it looks like only four were directed at you (in individual responses,which makes them easy to read) , Rys, one was to JSug, two to Fred Nurke, and one responding to his first response to Fred Nurke where he says “oops, I was wrong.”

    ….trying to make it look like someone obsesses over you much?

  63. trying to make it look like someone obsesses over you much?

    Nah, just didn’t actually count. I had about twenty e-mails in my box of responses to various threads I subscribed to around here (I didn’t count that either, by the way, just ballparking it), and noticed more than a few from seth. I read them all before coming here to actually post.

    I’m going to continue not counting them. If it’s four, it’s four, but my point still stands.

  64. At best, it might have been something else, but it was, in fact, actually cherry-picking.

    ———–

    The lie is your claim that I misused a word, and therefore did not understand English. Your presentation of evidence to support your lie was cherry picking. You have repeated your lie at least twice since you were caught. To claim now that you weren’t actually lying merely adds another lie to the mix.

    I’m not following you on the other bit, though. What is it that I said, exactly, that you think was dishonest? I mean, can you point to the relevant quote and explain why it was not an honest statement? Because you keep saying that I claimed that you had claimed some list or another was “complete” and I just don’t see where I said that at all.

  65. I don’t think that the ancillary cultural stuff that goes along with hiniyana or whatever brand of Buddhism counts as anything more than cultural spillover…

    —————

    Okay. Let me make this point more specifically. The Tibetan Buddhists have a concept: Chenrezig. There is a story attached to this concept, a personification, that defies known facts of history. If you interpret the story as metaphor, no problem with evolution. If taken literally, problem with evolution.

    The same is true of every religious tradition on earth. If the mythology is taken as “symbolic”, no problem. If it is taken literally, problem.

    Whether Buddhism in general is more or less literalist, or how stories got attached to the various Buddhist traditions is really not the point.

  66. That’s what I thought. Oh well, I tried.
    ————————
    Not really. I mean, as much as I appreciate your admission of douchehood, it only would have meant something if you hadn’t denied doing the thing you were being called out on in the first place.

    And its hardly “trying” if I ask you to clarify your accusations, and you just throw up your hands and wander off into Egypt. By that definition, I’ve “tried” to get a PhD in cosmology because I’ve read “A Brief History of Time.”

  67. And as a side note, lest we be distracted by the fact that I Rystefn basically annoys the living shit out of me, he’s also pretty much given up any pretense of defending, or attempting to defend, any of his original points.

    He still hasn’t provided us with an example of a goddist faith that doesn’t have a special place for humans, and he still hasn’t defended his initial claim that atheist=non-christian in the general public’s mind.

    Lest you think I’m misrepresenting, I’ll quote:

    In America, atheism pretty much means you’re not a Christian and little else,

    This is bullshit, as any Gallup poll on religion will demonstrate. Americans understand that Jews and Hindus are not atheists.

    You can, however, have a belief in a deity who doesn’t particularly think humans (or even living beings in general) are terribly special, or that they are special only by virtue of survival, and that would mesh quite well. Such belief systems are highly uncommon, to say the least, but such things exist.

    This second point is unsupported: no such belief system, with an attendant deity or deities, has been presented. On top of which, any belief system, when sufficiently watered down, can coexist with evolution, and any belief system, if sufficiently structured, can not.

    So the whole idea that our fundamental mistake is a failure to recognize other traditions is a bad idea. What seems to be true is that dogmatic faith is brittle… when evolution is accepted, the dogma shatters.

  68. Whatever helps you sleep at night, man. It’s your life.
    ————-
    So, clearly, you think I did something wrong. Clearly, you think I don’t know what it was. And yet, when I ask you to explain what it was that you think I did wrong in more detail, you start throwing out one line non-sequitors….

    Gosh. It’s almost as if you can’t actually point to any quote where I said the things you’ve been accusing me of saying…

    Your inability to correctly postpredict human behavior is pretty stunning, for a guy with such deep insight into the human mind.

  69. If you interpret the story as metaphor, no problem with evolution. If taken literally, problem with evolution.

    I’d replace “evolution” with “scientific world view”. I don’t honestly see why evolution gets all the press (as it were) re: atheism.

    Oh, sure, it’s the literal creationist’s hotbutton, but if there were no theory of evolution, you’d still have plenty of other data against religion as a whole…a scientist would mention in passing that “the earth in 7 days violates the laws of thermodynamics” and creationists would be foaming at the mouth about how “godIDit”.

    Faith and reason are anathema to one another. Push far enough into reason, by whichever avenue you choose, and faith will go ‘poof’, leaving you with atheism.

  70. Interesting how your response is entirely what I said it would be. If I may quote myself:

    It’s probably too late for you, but I’m kind of hoping you can see it and turn yourself around. You’re probably justifying it to yourself, possibly even to the extent that you don’t even recognize it at all. I have little doubt that if I hadn’t shown you you would never have seen it at all. It wouldn’t surprise me to find that you still don’t, honestly.

    I’m not sure why I bothered. I was pretty certain I was wasting my time. I guess I did it more to satisfy myself than out of any hope for you. Either way, I won’t be wasting any more time on you, I just don’t have enough of it for all that. Honestly, this time. I’m not just baiting you out, so don’t bother following me around and trolling my posts anymore. Have a nice life, guy.

  71. “Okay. Let me make this point more specifically. The Tibetan Buddhists have a concept: Chenrezig. ”

    Well,that’s kind of what I’m saying. Those are Tibetan Buddhists, with all that Tibetan flavor. If you just go with the essentials – the four noble truths and the eightfold path – well, it’s all about living YOUR life, with no mention of dieties.

    (From Wiki):Eightfold Path

    1. Right Speech—One speaks in a non hurtful, not exaggerated, truthful way (samyag-v?c, samm?-v?c?)
    2. Right Actions—Wholesome action, avoiding action that would do harm (samyak-karm?nta, samm?-kammanta)
    3. Right Livelihood—One’s way of livelihood does not harm in any way oneself or others; directly or indirectly (samyag-?j?va, samm?-?j?va)

    Samadhi is developing mastery over one’s own mind. Within this division are another three parts of the Noble Eightfold Path:

    4. Right Effort/Exercise—One makes an effort to improve (samyag-vy?y?ma, samm?-v?y?ma)
    5. Right Mindfulness/Awareness—Mental ability to see things for what they are with clear consciousness (samyak-sm?ti, samm?-sati)
    6. Right Concentration/Meditation—Being aware of the present reality within oneself, without any craving or aversion. (samyak-sam?dhi, samm?-sam?dhi)

    Prajñ? is the wisdom which purifies the mind. Within this division fall two more parts of the Noble Eightfold Path:

    7. Right Understanding—Understanding reality as it is, not just as it appears to be. (samyag-d???i, samm?-di??hi)
    8. Right Thoughts—Change in the pattern of thinking. (samyak-sa?kalpa, samm?-sa?kappa)

    Numbers 5,7, and 8 seem to actually be promoting a scientific/naturalistic worldview.
    All that Eastern stuff is just leftover woo that makes the philosophy more palatable/understandable to the superstitious masses.

  72. Interesting how your response is entirely what I said it would be.
    —————-
    Even if this were true, there are two hypothesis that are consistent with this:

    1. I don’t get what you are saying I did.
    2. I didn’t actually do what you said I did.

    Since you haven’t presented any evidence to support that I did what you said I did, despite my asking twice, I’m going to go with (2) until you present some evidence. And given (2), it isn’t exactly hard to predict my response. For example, if you claimed I was an elephant, but that I wouldn’t believe that I was an elephant, you could claim to have “predicted” my protest that I am not, in fact, an elephant. Its like a magic trick, only a lot more obvious.

    But of course, you didn’t remotely predict my response. You predicted that I still wouldn’t see what you think I’ve done that’s bad, which isn’t surprising, because you didn’t actually present any new information to explain your point. You didn’t predict that I would ask you for that information, or that I would point out that you were now lying about lying. Saying that you predicted my response is just another example of a rhetorical magic trick… on close examination, there’s nothing there.

    So whether you respond or not, I’m going to continue to call bullshit on you whenever the mood strikes me. I’ll point out where you are lying, and I’ll reveal your rhetorical tricks.

    I mean, sure, eventually I’ll get bored, but until then, I’m going to keep kicking you in the ass.

  73. If you just go with the essentials – the four noble truths and the eightfold path – well, it’s all about living YOUR life, with no mention of dieties.

    ———————

    Which would make that flavor of Buddhism atheistic already, thus removing it from the discussion about whether evolution leads to atheism by destroying faith with evidence.

    However, Fred’s original comment didn’t specify a sort of “purist” Buddhism, but just buddhism in general, which would include the dogmatic kinds that do have creator gods, a literalist interpretation of which is at odds with science.

  74. Here’s an anedote: I was in Nepal about 12 years ago with a friend who was studying Tibetan Buddhism. I went to a few things (chantings, lectures), but wasn’t super “into” any of it. I spent my days walking around and exploring stuff.

    I did spend most meal times with Western people who were “studying” Buddhism, though. And was blown away by how much quoting (read, not thinking for themselves) was going on. Also how much, I don’t know, ATTACHMENT to Buddhism there was.

    One day, I was wandering around and decided to get a cup of tea. I was at some cafe, when a white guy with long hair (which had one hawk feather attached) and robes sat at the other end. I struck up a conversation. We talked about all kinds of things from Jerry Garcia’s death to baseball. Not once was there any mention of anything remotely Buddhist. At the end of the conversation,when I was about to go, I asked him what he was doing in Nepal. “Oh, I’m a Buddhist Monk in the hills” was his reply.

    Buddhism: he wuz doin it rite.

  75. Some of the woo-iest woo I’ve ever seen happens in Tibetan Buddhism. I once acquired some magical medicine that contained human remains. *shudder*

    …and that whole reincarnation of lamas because some kid picks the right object?

  76. Ok, seriously… Dud, I almost fell out of my chair… Kicking my ass? I’m going to have to take back what I said earlier. If you keep being this entertaining, I’ll keep at it.

    Here, let’s see what you can craft from this:

    Your point is that either you think that “neither list is comprehensive” means “This is a full and complete quote from Mirriam-Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, 2008 edition,” or you were being deliberately deceitful and hoping no one noticed I put that in there.

    I’d accuse of you of not reading, but you obviously read the rest of my post, and I highly doubt, with your track record of baldfaced lying about what I’ve said in the past and failure to understand basic English, those two options seem to so heavily outweigh the odds that you just skimmed past that, I reject the concept outright.

    Of course, if you’d like backtrack and pretend that’s what happened, I’ll let you. Anyone dumb enough to buy it isn’t important enough for me to care about anyway.

    …although, I suppose I could be falling into a false dichotomy (trichotomy?) here. If there’s another option, I’d love to hear about it. That, at least, might be entertaining.

    You completely dodged this post (quite neatly, actually… some of your best work in that area) by dragging in something from a previous discussion. You claim that I have never pointed your lie (note, in this sense I am using lie in the general sense of deception, not in the direct sense), but here you see me directly calling you out about it. I’m calling you out again. Saying I deceived as well is no defense, because, as I said before, it’s wrong when you do it, too.

    So, let’s hear it. did you intentionally deceive, did you fundamentally fail at basic English with no vagueness anywhere near it, did you skip right past that sentence (I’ll call you liar if you try that stance now, by the way, just so you know), or is there some fun and entertaining fourth alternative I missed somewhere?

    I’m hoping for option four, but I’m guessing you’ll waffle and dodge, which is far less likely to be entertaining to me, and therefore less likely to elicit response, which I’m sure you’ll claim as a victory of some sort.

    Tell you what, if your claim of victory is amusing enough, I’ll keep on feeding the monkey to see if he’ll do it again.

    P.S. If any part of this post manages to confuse you or if you think I’m being vague or obfuscating, don’t hesitate to ask. I’ll make fun of you, but I’ll go ahead and answer, no matter stupid a question it is. I promise.

  77. Here, let’s see what you can craft from this:

    ——————-

    I craft that you don’t grok that in order to show that I said something, you have to actually quote what I said, not just quote yourself. There are two people in this discussion, you see.

    You claim to be directly pointing out where I was deceptive, but you don’t actually do it. More cheap rhetorical trickery.

    Only now you’ve given up any pretense at presenting new information, or even new interpretation, and are just quoting yourself ad nauseum. You have somehow taken cheap rhetoric to a new low.

  78. By the way, this is three times now that you have been invited to actually present a quote of mine that was deceptive and explain how it was deceptive.

    But part of your strategy of obfuscation and dishonesty is that you consistently refuse to quote your opponents. Rather than discuss what they actually said, you consistently refer to your interpretations of their comments as if this had some special significance not revealed by the comments themselves. I suppose this goes along with your delusions of grandeur and your martyr complex.

    Why do I say you have a martyr complex and delusions of grandeur? Because you constantly accuse people of lying and pretend to great insight:

    “I’ll call you liar if you try that stance now, by the way, just so you know…” (Because you have special knowledge of my reading habits)

    “I know you because you’re just like 90% of humanity…” (because 90% of humanity is the same, somehow.)

    “You come back to this, it shows that you are nothing more than a liar.” (To Philly)

    Me: “we cannot believe that you are communicating even the rough outlines of a definition” (discussing your past behavior)

    You: “Your point is that either you think that “neither list is comprehensive” means “This is a full and complete quote from Mirriam-Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, 2008 edition,” or you were being deliberately decietful and hoping no one noticed I put that in there.”
    (Notice here that there is no similarity at all between my claim, and your insistence on what my point must have been.)

    In short, Rystefn, you consistently reject reality and substitute fantasy. Even when you were pretending to admit you were wrong, you denied that you told a lie by claiming that it was just a lie of ommission, and then you took the opportunity to taunt me for not calling you on it sooner than I did! I mean, how far up your ass can your head possibly get?

  79. Dodgy, dodgy, dodgy.

    Your post, immediately preceding the one I just quoted.

    we cannot believe that you are communicating even the rough outlines of a definition correctly.

    There was also this associated with the conversation

    They are definitions. I pulled them verbatim from Mirriam-Webster, in fact.

    ——————

    Are you sure you pulled all the relevant definitions? Because you called me on a poor use of “continual” in a former thread, ignoring the definition “2? on Mirriam-Webster that was actually precisely how I was using it. So really, we have to be very careful in trusting your definitions of words in a discussion.

    So you see the deception, where you pretend I was defining a word, rather than listing off an incomplete collection of examples of definitions of the word in question.

    My personal favorite example of your deceptions is this one, though

    You claim to be directly pointing out where I was deceptive, but you don’t actually do it.

    Let’s see what I actually claim –

    here you see me directly calling you out about it.

    You see that difference? I wasn’t pointing out the lie, and never claimed to be. I was pointing out that I had already pointed it out. Terribly sorry if I didn’t directly quote the post immediately before mine, it seems I’ve once again overestimated either your intellect, or your unwillingness to pretend idiocy to avoid admitting personal fault.

    Even if I did claim to be directly pointing it out, it would not be a falsehood, since “pointing out” doesn’t mean “quoting.” Quoting parts of a conversation can easily be construed as the textual equivalent to pointing in the general vicinity of anything written more or less near it – at least so it seems to me.

    By the way – that was a highly ineffective dodge.

    One more time, for the dumb kids in the back (that’s you, seth) Did you intentionally deceive, did you fundamentally fail at basic English with no vagueness anywhere near it, did you skip right past that sentence (I’ll call you liar if you try that stance now, by the way, just so you know), or is there some fun and entertaining fourth alternative I missed somewhere?

  80. But part of your strategy of obfuscation and dishonesty is that you consistently refuse to quote your opponents.

    This is an interesting and patently false claim, as a great many of my posts here are comprised of direct quotes and sentence by sentence responses to them. I’d wager at least half of my total posts on this site contain a quote from someone else.

    Rather than discuss what they actually said, you consistently refer to your interpretations of their comments

    Sorry, you seem to have mistaken me for Philly, who claimed that “Essentially your argument is if someone chooses faith over anything else, then nothing can shake their faith.” There are, of course, others who have done the same around here lately, but that’s the one that leapt to my mind, as he continued to pretend that was my claim even after I explained that it was not, in fact, anything like my point at all.

    Yes, I accuse people of lying a great deal. This is because people lie a great deal. Welcome to the real world. If it offends your sensibilities that I call them out on it, I honestly don’t care… although I think it offends your sensibilities that I call you out on it, and you point to other cases in an attempt to legitimize your complaint. You’ll note I pointed to the same exchange with Philly as you did. that’s because I stand by it. He was lying. The first time might have been an honest mistake, and I did not accuse him of lying, I corrected him, it is only when he insisted again that my point was other than it was that I called him a liar.

    Now, I know it upsets you that you’re so utterly predictable and unoriginal, but yes, 90% (give or take) of people are pretty much the same… at least in the specific set of descriptors to which I was referring – that being the inability to see their own hypocrisy and to recognize that it’s just as wrong when you do it as it is when other people do it to you.

    This is no more a claim to special insight than pointing out that nearly all people are pretty much indifferent to anything that doesn’t directly impact their lives in an obvious and immediate way.

    in fact, while we’re on the subject of your deceptions and lies, let’s point out this one:

    Because you… pretend to great insight

    When I explicitly stated:

    Make no mistake here, seth… I’m not claiming any kind of special insight here

    How do you reconcile that? I’m sure you’ll come up with something. Probably accuse me of lying.

    Here’s one I particularly enjoyed:

    pretending to admit you were wrong

    How in the Hell is

    It’s wrong when I do it, too. Deception to make a point is a reason, not a justification. I was being a douche. No excuses, no qualifications.

    supposed to be me pretending?

    It just helps you to paint me as some sort of villain, doesn’t it? I don’t mind being painted as a villain, seth. I really don’t. In some ways, I am one. I won’t try to deny that. I would, however, appreciate it if you had the common fucking courtesy to paint me as a villain for the things I actually did. You want me to start you off? I indulge in deception and manipulation for self-amusement. I’m sure if you look, you can find more. How about this: I sleep with the significant others of people who consider me a friend, and honestly see nothing wrong in doing so. Most people would consider that pretty bad, I think. Maybe the fact that I’m a whore for the spotlight, and will stomp all over people just to keep from blending into the crowd… That’s more of an occasionally unpleasant character trait than villainous, really, but I’ll go ahead and throw it out there.

    There’s more, but I’m not in the mood to go into, I think I’ve made my point. I’m several kinds of a bad person, seth, but the one kind I’m not, is the kind that pretends to be otherwise.

    Also, because I don’t want to let you squirm out of it again: Did you intentionally deceive, did you fundamentally fail at basic English with no vagueness anywhere near it, did you skip right past that sentence (I’ll call you liar if you try that stance now, by the way, just so you know), or is there some fun and entertaining fourth alternative I missed somewhere?

  81. Did you intentionally deceive, did you fundamentally fail at basic English with no vagueness anywhere near it, did you skip right past that sentence (I’ll call you liar if you try that stance now, by the way, just so you know), or is there some fun and entertaining fourth alternative I missed somewhere?

    ———-

    Well, yes. The fourth alternative is that you are completely full of shit.

    Lets go over this: I asked if you had pulled all the “relevant” definitions. Not a comprehensive list, just the relevant ones. Did I say that you had pulled a comprehensive list? No. Did I say you said you did? No. Did I imply that you had done so? No. I asked if you were using the relevant subset, as opposed to some cherry picked subset, as is your wont. My question wasn’t about completeness, it was about honesty of intent.

    Did I “pretend you were defining a word”? No. I said that we had to be careful in trusting your definitions of words. Since you were presenting definitions of words

    They are definitions. I pulled them verbatim from Mirriam-Webster, in fact.

    It’s a reasonable point to make, based on your own admittance that you cherry pick definitions to suit your needs.

    I didn’t say that you were lying, I said that your claim that your prior claim is evidence of my behavior is a cheap rhetorical trick. Which it is. To claim that I am deceptive in pointing this out is also a cheap rhetorical trick requiring some serious hair splitting.

    But is it not written, “Oo, you are so sharp you will cut yourself?”

  82. Your arguments in defense of your initial silly points, Rystefn, boil down to evidence can’t trump faith. That’s the ONLY way they make sense. If you can provide another way which wouldn’t take 5 paragraphs of further obfuscation, persecution claims, or further crowing of your self believed brilliance, then I would like to see it, otherwise, quit claiming that’s not your argument and quit claiming I’m lying. What am I lying about? At best, I’ve made a mistake, and your eminence can correct me. Go for it, or shut up about it and go back to playing with Seth.

  83. Ah, so you claim option four, you completely fail at understanding the point. I really should have thought of that.

    The point wasn’t anything like a complete list of relevant definitions, since ANY definition is a relevant definition when the point was to make the distinction between faith in different things and different meanings of the word “faith.” Whether one of the definitions of the word was “Rystefn is always wrong about everything” or “the use rhetorical word games to avoid the subject” or “running really fast” any of them would be equally valid to include in the list and any of them would have been equally valid to exclude from the list.

    The only complete list of relevant definitions would have been a complete list of ALL definitions, which would have been a waste of time and space, since it was unnecessary to make the point. I notice you don’t ask if the list of “brands” of faith was a complete list of the relevant subset… did you understand that there was no need for one list to be exhaustive, but not the other? Somehow, I doubt it.

    Even so, since I specifically stated that both lists were incomplete, there’s no way that leaving anything out of either could possibly have been deceptive, since the statement “this is list is incomplete” invites the reader to look for a complete list if they care.

    I’m going to go ahead nd say that while I can’t make special claim to know for certain, I remain highly skeptical of your claim that this was anything other than deliberate deception with the intent to stir up an argument with me…

    Sonofabitch. It looks like I might have let myself be your nemesis. Damn.

  84. What am I lying about? At best, I’ve made a mistake

    Sorry, chumley, but it’s only a mistake if you don’t keep going back to it when I explain to you that it’s not my point. My initial point was nothing like that evidence cannot trump faith, it was merely that evolution does not, by necessity, lead to atheism. Nothing more, nothing less. My later point was that not all faith can be trumped by evidence because faith is a very broad-spectrum word, and by some definitions, evidence speaks not a t all to faith.

    For example: faith as fidelity to one’s promises. I promise to sit in this chair for five minutes without rising from it. Five minutes later, I’m still here. I was faithful to my word. In what way does evidence overcome that faith?

    This is why I could not agree to your premise. All you had to do in response was to clarify what definition of faith you were using, and we could have gone on from there, but instead, you became antagonistic, accused me of obfuscation because I asked for clarification, and lied (yes, lied) about my stance.

  85. Lads: here is the very first quote from Rystefn in its entirety:

    “I think a big part of the reason so many people are of the opinion that an understanding of evolution must necessarily lead to atheism is a fundamental assumption of a particular brand oftheism. Yeah, it doesn’t jive with any of the Abrahamic faiths very well at all, really – not without some serious compartmentalization. You can, however, have a belief in a deity who doesn’t particularly think humans (or even living beings in general) are terribly special, or that they are special only by virtue of survival, and that would mesh quite well. Such belief systems are highly uncommon, to say the least, but such things exist.

    In America, atheism pretty much means you’re not a Christian and little else, and while we mostly, my necessity, contrast our beliefs with those of Christianity, it would serve us better to remember the many other faiths out there.”

    Now, the response from Philly Chief:
    “I fail to see how it would serve us better if at all to know there are other faiths out there besides the Abrahamic ones. They all succumb to the same critical examinations.

    I must second the further reading of The Chaplain’s post, her blog in general, and of listening to her interviewed on AGP”

    and finally, where things start getting weird, the volley back from Rystefn:

    “(quoting PC above)” They all succumb to the same critical examinations.”

    No, they all succumb to quite different critical examinations, and since we are talking about one specific critical examination (evolution), that’s an important distinction.”
    ————————————————————

    Now,I find this confusing. What do you mean (spell it out real clear like for my slow self, please) by that last paragraph?

    It seems to me that if we are talking about the one specific critical examination called evolution, because that was what was mentioned in the original post – then we are also talking about one specific religion (christianity) or at the very least, exclusively about the Abrahamic three because THAT was what was mentioned in the original post, too.

    To bring up the fact that it is possible that there is some kind of belief system out there where the believers believe that their dieties don’t distinguish between people and non-people, as you seem to do here:

    You can, however, have a belief in a deity who doesn’t particularly think humans (or even living beings in general) are terribly special, or that they are special only by virtue of survival, and that would mesh quite well. Such belief systems are highly uncommon, to say the least, but such things exist.

    I just don’t get it. And, just for the record, are you talking about Wiccans or something?

  86. I see, you changed the goalposts by using another definition of faith which is not what the point of the post, the post DD linked to, nor the point of the discussion is about. Ok fine, if you turn away from the understood meaning here of faith as religious belief and use your “fidelity to one’s promise” then that’s different, but still I think even such a move cannot avoid the problem.

    Just to avoid any confusion, here’s your example: “faith as fidelity to one’s promises. I promise to sit in this chair for five minutes without rising from it. Five minutes later, I’m still here. I was faithful to my word. In what way does evidence overcome that faith?”

    An event can occur during that 5 minutes to make you break your promise, no? Earthquake, tornado, damsel in distress outside, etc. Such observations are evidence that the better course of action would be to get up.

    Now my turn to clear up something you got wrong about me (I won’t say you lied, because that’s juvenile, you simply were mistaken). I didn’t say your point was that evidence cannot trump faith, but that your arguments boil down to that. Capiche? In fact, that’s the thrust of your example, is it not? Let me repeat your question, “In what way does evidence overcome that faith?” Are you not, by that question, charging that evidence cannot trump faith? Clearly it can, in both the use of faith as understood by this discussion and in the use of faith for your example.

    Finally, I will agree to your carefully worded point that atheism does not, BY NECESSITY, lead to atheism. Of course this is true, but it can aid in that, and there’s evidence it can.

    DD: Very astute observation. The wife is away until tomorrow. ;)

  87. Now,I find this confusing. What do you mean (spell it out real clear like for my slow self, please) by that last paragraph?

    I mean precisely what I said. Some faiths succumb to the critical examination of evolution. Other faiths succumb to different forms of critical examination. Please note, that at this point, it is perfectly clear that we are all talking about faith as it applies to religion. If any part of that is unclear, please explain to me what is confusing you, because I’m not sure how to say it more plainly.

    It seems to me that if we are talking about the one specific critical examination called evolution, because that was what was mentioned in the original post – then we are also talking about one specific religion (christianity) or at the very least, exclusively about the Abrahamic three because THAT was what was mentioned in the original post, too.

    I have already addressed this point, when I stated that I was referring specifically to the question DD asked: “That is, does ‘believing in evolution’ necessarily lead to atheism?”

    A question which specifically references evolution as it applies to theism, not Christianity. Hence, my original post, that even though, in America, atheism is pretty much an opposition to Christianity, there are other theisms out there. More, in fact, than anyone, or everyone, in this discussion have ever heard of, I’m sure.

    I just don’t get it. And, just for the record, are you talking about Wiccans or something?

    You don’t get that it’s possible for a religion to exist which includes a distant and uncaring god? Or a god which only cares about that which is strong enough to survive on its own? Are you saying you can’t fathom the idea of a god whose only rewards and punishments are the same cold, uncaring disdain for anything which fails? That you can’t wrap your brain the idea of a god which literally could not care if every last human being died in agony? Pardon my appeal to fiction, but Crom! Please tell me there’s something else you don’t get here, and I’m just failing to comprehend your point…

    Oh, and I’m not talking about Wicca. I know very little about it except that most of its “practitioners” also know very little about it.

    I see, you changed the goalposts by using another definition of faith which is not what the point of the post,

    I did no such thing. When you suddenly dropped the conversation and began anew (as I saw it, anyway) with a simple assertion in the form of a single sentence, I pointed out that I could not agree because there are other definitions of faith. If your only problem with that statement was that you referring to one specific definition, the same we had already been talking about, a simple statement declaring such would have sufficed. Instead, you claimed that the definition did not matter, and indeed, you seem to be standing by that. Since you challenged my statement, I defended it. I continue to do so, because you continue to challenge it and I stand by it.

    Evidence did not overcome faith in any example you can make of me rising from my chair. In the case of natural disaster, I decided that my life was more important than my promise. In the case of the damsel in distress, I decided that her life was more important than my promise. The faith did not crumble before evidence by any stretch. It was a judgment call. No more. No less.

    If you’re worried about some other, imaginary placement of the goalpost, I did already agree to the premise that supernatural belief falls before evidence if evidence is valued… but that’s really not so different from saying that evidence cannot topple faith if faith is valued, is it? Neither statement says much of anything beyond “That which is valued most highly by an individual will be held in highest value.” It’s a conversational dead-end.

    I didn’t say your point was that evidence cannot trump faith, but that your arguments boil down to that.

    A minor distinction, but I’ll grant you that. Pretty hypocrite I’d be if I didn’t, yeah? After all my talk about the importance of distinctions in this thread… However, when I stated that I could not fathom how you could possibly reach such a conclusion from what I said, you merely repeated yourself, more than once, which lead me to the assumption that you were intentionally deceptive, and I’m not sure I’m going to abandon that idea just now. I will, however, for the sake of argument, take you at your word and let it go for mow. Further arguing about it will accomplish nothing for anyone, except possibly to get tempers up. I’m not in the mood for that brand of fun today.

    In fact, that’s the thrust of your example, is it not?

    No, it is not. The thrust of my example is that evidence speaks not at all to that faith. It doesn’t fail to overcome it because faith is valued or evidence is not… it fails to overcome because it’s got no impact on the situation at all. It has none, because it cannot have any.

    Are you not, by that question, charging that evidence cannot trump faith?

    Not remotely. I’m charging that evidence cannot trump THAT faith. Again, an important distinction. Evidence cannot trump that faith for the same reason that my cat cannot overcome red. There is no conflict.Evidence can, and does, overcome certain faiths, and no one is trying to argue against that, least of all me, since I specifically agreed to that before.

  88. The point wasn’t anything like a complete list of relevant definitions, since ANY definition is a relevant definition when the point was to make the distinction between faith in different things and different meanings of the word “faith.”

    ————

    Ah. So a straight answer to my question, without all the whining, bitching, and moaning, was “No.” And you even had a reason. Fair enough.

    I would think that it would be obvious from the fact that I mentioned your previous transgression that my intention was partly, if not mostly, to highlight it.

    I’m not sure why you consider that deceptive, I mean, I directly brought it up. Its not like I tried to trick you into bringing it up or something, like you’re now claiming you did to me. Now that would be deceptive behavior.

  89. huh.

    “You don’t get that it’s possible for a religion to exist which includes a distant and uncaring god? Or a god which only cares about that which is strong enough to survive on its own? Are you saying you can’t fathom the idea of a god whose only rewards and punishments are the same cold, uncaring disdain for anything which fails? That you can’t wrap your brain the idea of a god which literally could not care if every last human being died in agony? Pardon my appeal to fiction, but Crom! Please tell me there’s something else you don’t get here, and I’m just failing to comprehend your point…”

    Well, I guess that it’s also possible for a whale to drop onto my house right now. Highly improbable, but not impossible. However, unless you can specifically point out any (just one)religion that functions the way that you are positing as possible, then it’s a total hypothetical and, as I see it, a little bit polemic.

    And the opposite of atheism might technically be “theism”, but as most everyone seems to be understanding it here, because the religion in question in the original post was Christianity, it seemed like that was the implied brand of theism.

    If DD wanted to make sure that Rystefn didn’t get all semantically “gotcha!” on everyone (which, it seems here,and in previous posts is his MO, which causes the misunderstanding that several people have claimed to have suffered), she might have used the phrase “lose faith in Christianity”, but since that was the faith mentioned, it doesn’t seem that was necessary for clarity.

    But hey, maybe she did mean “stop believing in a Deity that you believe in which,in your hypothetical yet possible religion, you don’t think cares about or about what humans do”.

    Yes, an appeal to fiction indeed – sounds like some absurdist sci-fi religion.

  90. But Rystefn, your point about non-western religions is not a very good one. You see, even adherents to an Abrahamic religion can accept evolution if they are not fundamentalists. And even adherents to a religion in your style could have their faith shaken if they are fundamentalists.

    I think we all recognize that, and it has nothing to do with Christian doctrines per se. Just dogma in general. The general thrust of your argument (not all faiths can be shattered by accepting evolution) is correct, but the specific deliniation you make (Abrahamic/Some unnamed other) is bogus.

  91. “in fact, while we’re on the subject of your deceptions and lies, let’s point out this one:

    Because you… pretend to great insight

    When I explicitly stated:

    Make no mistake here, seth… I’m not claiming any kind of special insight here ”

    ———————

    Well Rystefn, you’ve certainly got me there. It is clearly impossible for you to claim great insight and then claim that you aren’t claiming great insight.

    Wow. I mean, you admit to being a liar and deciever, but suddenly, we’re supposed to take your statements about your behavior as evidence about the nature of that behavior? On what fucking planet is this even remotely reasonable?

  92. How in the Hell is

    It’s wrong when I do it, too. Deception to make a point is a reason, not a justification. I was being a douche. No excuses, no qualifications.

    supposed to be me pretending?

    —————

    Because earlier in the post you denied ever lying, and claimed merely to have “cherry picked”. So the thing you were admitting to was different than the thing you were accused of.

  93. Yes, I accuse people of lying a great deal. This is because people lie a great deal.

    —————–

    And yet, when pressed, you can’t point to a single case where I’ve told a lie, despite all your accusations. Interesting.

  94. Now, I know it upsets you that you’re so utterly predictable and unoriginal

    ————

    Not really. It might if you could accurately predict my behavior. But you can’t even accurately describe my behavior, so I’m not to worried about it.

  95. No, it is not. The thrust of my example is that evidence speaks not at all to that faith. It doesn’t fail to overcome it because faith is valued or evidence is not… it fails to overcome because it’s got no impact on the situation at all. It has none, because it cannot have any.

    Well that’s one way to ensure evidence can’t trump faith, craft a scenario with rules that prevent evidence from even entering. LOL!

    I’m through with your games. See ya.

  96. Another half-dozen overnight responses… Are you alright, seth? I don’t think this is healthy, dude. Seriously, man, you need to get a girlfriend or something to lavish all this attention on.

  97. Well that’s one way to ensure evidence can’t trump faith, craft a scenario with rules that prevent evidence from even entering. LOL!

    Yes, it is. You asked, I answered. That’s precisely the reason that I said “I suppose that depends on your definition of faith… I cannot agree to that statement.” Does that make any sense to you? No, you’re going to pretend that my awareness of the existence of such scenarios and my refusal to commit to a false statement because of that knowledge is somehow me playing games or obfuscating my point.

    I’m sorry you’re so emotionally invested in this now that you can’t back out and have to pretend it’s something other than what it is: me refusing to agree to false premise and then showing you how it is false.

  98. Seriously, man, you need to get a girlfriend or something to lavish all this attention on.

    ————–

    Lets check the record:

    My output on this thread last night: 339 words
    Rystefns output on this thread last night: 1079 words.

    In defense of some lousy points… non of my critiques of which he has even pretended to address, instead spending countless hours trying to prove I’m deceptive, a task that he has failed miserably at accomplishing.

    I also, way back in the mists of time, had a critique for writerdd… but I guess that’s dead and gone, aye?

  99. Evidence did not overcome faith in any example you can make of me rising from my chair. In the case of natural disaster, I decided that my life was more important than my promise.

    ————-

    Right. You decided, when confronted with evidence that your promise had a negative consequence, to break faith rather than suffer the consequence. In other words,evidence overcame faith.

    And you haven’t even addressed my shredding of your promise case back in comment 67.

  100. Word counts? More multi-posting? I stand by my previous comment.

    Look, I know I’m harsh and abrasive and argumentative, and it may be obvious that I’m attracted to those same qualities in others, but I’m just going to put this on the table right now – I’m not going to prom with you.

  101. …although, upon further review (damnit, now I’m multi-posting), I’d just like to say that I’m flattered being listed on the side I am (if I may draw a parallel from the list). Evil is sexy. Although Wile E. Coyote isn’t really evil so much as hungry, frustrated, and more than a little insane.

    Also: Rocket skates? Not as good an idea as you might think. Stupid fireworks laws…

  102. I wasn’t trying to imply anything by what side you were listed. Only trying to inject some humor to cool discussion down a little. I wasn’t sure how to spell nemesis and didn’t feel like looking it up. Hey ! You said fireworks laws. Shouldn’t it be firework laws?

  103. I wasn’t trying to imply anything by what side you were listed.

    Awww… Damnit.

    Hey ! You said fireworks laws. Shouldn’t it be firework laws?

    Probably, but the word “firework,” as a singular, has all but fallen out of use in the English language, and falls into the same kind of category as “whom.” It’s a word which only exists because it used to.

  104. Word counts? More multi-posting? I stand by my previous comment.

    ———————-

    And I stand by mine. You post here a lot. A whole lot. More than me, and that is a lot.

    But anyway, I’m pretty much done. I mean, we’ve seen you admit to being a douche, being forced to accept that I never misled anybody, which was your main gripe, I’ve shredded what few actual points you’ve tried to make, and now you’re down to basically crying about how obsessed I am with you. I’m going to take that as you tapping out, and let you up.

    What’s sort of sad is that somewhere, in all of this, were the seeds of an interesting discussion. If people could disagree with you without you calling them liars and whining about how they’re distorting your points… ah, well. Maybe one day.

    Peace, bro.

  105. If people disagree with my actual points, I’ll discuss it with them, and have in great detail on this site. Yes, I post here a lot.. I do not, however, follow someone around and troll their other discussions when they say they’re done arguing with me. I don’t post a response, and then post half a dozen more when they don’t reply. I post here a lot because there are a lot of interesting people here having a lot of interesting discussions.

    Yes, I admit to being a douche, and anyone who does not is a liar. You have shredded no point anywhere here. You’ve declared yourself victorious after pointing out that making a value judgment is the same as evidence winning over faith, which boggles the mind, frankly. You’ve claimed victory after victory, and are doing so once again, and I’d love to call you a liar, but I’m fairly certain you actually think it’s true.

    Tell you what, when I’m gone tonight, you go ahead and post a single response to me. Just one. After that, you’ll be able to at least claim you’re getting better about your little problem. Keep it honest. Don’t declare that you’ve won, or that you’re kicking my ass, or that you’ve got me in some kind of submission hold, when (to continue the combat analogy) I’m trotting around the ring and laughing at your inability to land a telling blow. Sure, it’s possible I’ve just got the rhino-hide thing going and don’t notice something that should matter mixed in among all the blather and self-congratulatory crap, but so long as you act like a smitten teenager, following me around and calling six times a night, you’re just not going to get any kind of respect.

    If you think it’s a victory that I hold so little respect for you that I just shrug, laugh, and make fun of you more often than bothering to respond to your points, well, I think that’s a far closer to delusion than anything I’ve ever said around here – and I’ve put forward the claim that all women everywhere want to have sex with me.

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