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#17523 - 12/29/06 07:35 AM Re: Evidence for God [Re: terrytnewzealand]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1031
Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
I've now read reviews and note committed Christians maintain he's biased (in spite of degree in theology) and the agnostic cheer. Nothing unusual in that. Presumably says not much I am not already aware of.

I've just finished "The Closing of the Western Mind" by Charles Freeman (ISBN 1-4000-4085-X). Like Edward Gibbon he regards the rise of Christianity to have been responsible for holding back the development of science. I've now moved back to a book "The Story of Civilization- man's own show" by a George A. Dorsey who I'd never heard of. Short biography at:

http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/information/biography/abcde/dorsey_george.html

The book was written in 1931, the year of his death. The first page of the bit I have come back to (p.455) contains the passage:

"That civilization reached its culmination with pagan Imperial Rome; with Christian Rome it went into a thousand years' sleep. No other event in human history worked such havoc with man's handiwork, such momentous change in his outlook."

The idea was obviously accepted by at least some people 75 years ago. How come we hear so little of it yet?

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#17524 - 12/29/06 03:30 PM Re: Evidence for God [Re: terrytnewzealand]
DA Morgan Offline
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Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
The idea was actually rather commonly held by America's founding father's long before that. Here are a few short quotes to illustrate the point:

John Adams 2nd President of the United States:
labeled Christianity the "most bloody religion that ever existed." The Senate, during Adams presidency, ratified the Treaty of Tripoli that proclaimed, "the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion."
~ John Adams, letter to F.A. Vander Kamp, Dec. 27, 1816.
~ Treaty of Tripoli, 1797, Article 11

Thomas Jefferson 3rd President of the United States:
"I concur with you strictly in your opinion of the comparative merits of atheism and demonism, and really see nothing but the latter in the being worshipped by many who think themselves Christians."
~ letter to Richard Price, Jan. 8, 1789

Jefferson also wrote:
"I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature."

James Madison 4th President of the United States:
proclaimed Christianity to cause "pride and indolence in the
clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."
~ "A Memorial and Remonstrance", 1785.

Ethan Allen stopped his own wedding until the presiding judge affirmed that "God" referred to the God of Nature and not to the God of the Bible.
~ Sense of History compiled by American Heritage Press Inc.,
p. 103 (1985, American Heritage Press)

James Monroe 5th President of the United States
"That diabolical, hell-conceived principle of persecution rages among some, and to their eternal infamy the clergy can furnish their quota of imps for such a business."
~ letter to William Bradford, January 24, 1774

Interestingly enough the two most prominent Christians in the pantheon of the US's founding fathers were George Washington and Alexander Hamilton: Both military men. Perhaps there is something about the type of mind that enjoys war that also requires a justification for the horror they so relish.
_________________________
DA Morgan

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#17525 - 12/29/06 03:31 PM Re: Evidence for God *DELETED* [Re: terrytnewzealand]
DA Morgan Offline
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Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
Post deleted by Amaranth Rose II
_________________________
DA Morgan

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#17533 - 12/30/06 09:50 PM Re: Evidence for God [Re: DA Morgan]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1031
Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
Perhaps the country's history is not being properly taught in the US today? You may have hit on something with your idea:

"Perhaps there is something about the type of mind that enjoys war that also requires a justification for the horror they so relish."

That would certainly account for the attitude of Tony B-liar, Gorse W. Bush and John Coward.

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#17535 - 12/30/06 10:22 PM Re: Evidence for God [Re: terrytnewzealand]
DA Morgan Offline
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Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
TNZ wrote:
"Perhaps the country's history is not being properly taught in the US today?"

Perhaps? ROFLOL!

To the point that it should be considered a felony punishable by public whipping.

It is not coincidence that those leading these preposterous militaristic forays have never actually been in combat. This bunch thinks in terms of John Wayne movies.
_________________________
DA Morgan

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#17567 - 01/04/07 10:19 PM Re: Evidence for God [Re: DA Morgan]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1031
Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
More from my new acquaintance George Dorsey:

"Religion is a disease. It is born of fear; it compensates through hate in the guise of authority, revelation. Religion, enthroned in a powerful organization, can become incredibly sadistic. No religion has been more cruel than the Christian. Again and again it has raised its hands in protest against atrocities - but has it ever turned a hand to put an end to any one atrocity or social injustice? Has it diminished a crime, stayed a war; does it rate sincerity above hypocrisy, respect the conscientious objector, insist that treaties be kept in spirit and in truth, or hesitate to be the servile slave of any avaricious ruler or despotic power? To what church could a single oppressed minority today appeal for sympathy and understanding?"

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#17575 - 01/09/07 12:09 AM Re: Evidence for God [Re: terrytnewzealand]
Ellis Offline
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Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 1490
Loc: Australia
Why do you even need evidence of the existence of God,when all you need is faith and belief in His existence? You cannot prove either. If you have need of an invisible friend to help you on your way through life and scare you into reasonable behaviour so be it. I can accept your faith and belief in this entity. All I ask is that you allow me my unbelief. You cannot prove God exists-- neither can I prove he/she/it does not. I do know that however much good is done in the name of the particular supreme being that a person believes in it will be amply couterbalanced by the bad things also done in its name. This is particularly true as people try to prove the superiority of their particular invisible friend over that of another equally inscrutable invisible friend. Craziness indeed!

I am of course pointing out the vagaries of Religion, which is sometimes different to belief. Religion codifies belief- but both still need the invisible friend on side somewhere!!

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#17576 - 01/09/07 12:09 AM Re: Evidence for God *DELETED* *DELETED* [Re: terrytnewzealand]
Ellis Offline
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Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 1490
Loc: Australia
Post deleted by Amaranth Rose II

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#17578 - 01/09/07 12:49 AM Re: Evidence for God [Re: Ellis]
DA Morgan Offline
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Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
Ellis wrote:
"If you have need of an invisible friend to help you on your way through life and scare you into reasonable behaviour so be it."

You know I once thought that way too: Then I got older, studied more of history, and realized how much horror and atrocity is committed by those who use religion as a tool to control the behaviour of others.

I've no objection to someone worshiping the invisible purple rhinoceros in the privacy of their own house so long as they don't harass me, as long as they don't ask me to subsidize their insanity with my tax dollars, and as long as they don't get involved in matters of state and science.

I can not think of a single religious group, save the Quakers and the Pennsylvania Dutch, that have ever done so.
_________________________
DA Morgan

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#17597 - 01/09/07 11:36 PM Re: Evidence for God [Re: DA Morgan]
Ellis Offline
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Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 1490
Loc: Australia
Gods etc can only exist in the presence of faith and /or belief. There is no god if you do not believe in it and, in fact,it is very presumptous of you to ask for proof of his/ her/ its existence. The acceptance of gods is done as an act of blind faith - sometimes to ensure that he/she/it will reward you by giving you Eternal Life and possibly a few favours on the way. I do not believe in a Supreme Being-- and if I did my first question would be, 'Where have you you BEEN?"

Whilst I have no belief, I am interested in the welfare of others, helpful to the unfortunate and compassionate those who need it because I am a human being, not because I am racking up points for the hereafter or afraid of a lightning bolt from the sky! Living by the Golden Rule (the basis of all religions- do unto others as you would have them do unto you) will get you through most situations.

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#17599 - 01/10/07 12:05 AM Re: Evidence for God [Re: Ellis]
DA Morgan Offline
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Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
Ellis wrote:
"in fact,it is very presumptous of you to ask for proof of his/ her/ its existence."

Not at all. If that little entity truly exists it has gone to a tremendous amount of trouble to put me into the position where it is natural to ask. You don't give a cat a toy if you don't want it to play with it. In this case, if the presumption is that I am going to let some entity decide for me what is right and wrong, good and bad, the least it can do is sit down at Starbucks and let me buy it a latte'.
_________________________
DA Morgan

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#17601 - 01/10/07 12:16 AM Re: Evidence for God [Re: Ellis]
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
Ellis wrote:
"in fact,it is very presumptous of you to ask for proof of his/ her/ its existence."

Not at all. If that little entity truly exists it has gone to a tremendous amount of trouble to put me into the position where it is natural to ask the question. You don't give a cat a toy if you don't want it to play with it.
_________________________
DA Morgan

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#17611 - 01/11/07 12:01 AM Re: Evidence for God [Re: DA Morgan]
Ellis Offline
Megastar

Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 1490
Loc: Australia
At least then you'd get a drinkable coffee at Starbucks-- truly a miracle!

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#17616 - 01/11/07 10:07 PM Re: Evidence for God [Re: Ellis]
DA Morgan Offline
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Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
Drinkable at Starbucks is easy. Affordable? Now that would be a miracle.
_________________________
DA Morgan

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#17636 - 01/13/07 03:18 AM Re: Evidence for God [Re: terrytnewzealand]
Blacknad Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
Originally Posted By: terrytnewzealand
More from my new acquaintance George Dorsey:

"Religion is a disease. It is born of fear; it compensates through hate in the guise of authority, revelation. Religion, enthroned in a powerful organization, can become incredibly sadistic. No religion has been more cruel than the Christian. Again and again it has raised its hands in protest against atrocities - but has it ever turned a hand to put an end to any one atrocity or social injustice? Has it diminished a crime, stayed a war; does it rate sincerity above hypocrisy, respect the conscientious objector, insist that treaties be kept in spirit and in truth, or hesitate to be the servile slave of any avaricious ruler or despotic power? To what church could a single oppressed minority today appeal for sympathy and understanding?"



Terry,

I hope that as the scientific type you are, you will expect your new acquaintance to back up his assertions with some evidence, and not allow him to get away with making emotionally driven statements such as ?Religion is a disease?. In what sense is it a disease? And how does he demonstrate that with evidence?

My personal experience is that most Christians I know have some involvement in charitable work, or sustained and substantial charitable giving. Add to this the fact that it is something most Christians do privately, ?Do not let your right hand know what your left hand is doing?, then I suspect that I have no idea of the true scale of such activity.

But don?t take my word for it ? what about bringing a little scientific research to the debate:

?The Church Connection

Finally, the single biggest predictor of whether someone will be charitable is their religious participation.

Religious people are more likely to give to charity, and when they give, they give more money: four times as much. And Arthur Brooks told me that giving goes beyond their own religious organization:

"Actually, the truth is that they're giving to more than their churches," he says. "The religious Americans are more likely to give to every kind of cause and charity, including explicitly non-religious charities."

See the full study here:

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=2682730&page=1


Here it is proved the idea that the non-religious care more about others is nothing but blind and unsupportable faith. When one actually applies science to the question and experiments to obtain real data, the empirical evidence clearly shows that the non-religious are twice as indifferent to others as the faithful.

How does this stack up with George Dorsey?s unbalanced contention that religion is [entirely] sadistic, hateful, cruel and unsympathetic?

At times, certainly, but does he approach the subject with any balance? Hardly.

If any philosophy is judged by its abuse, then by the same claims levelled against religion then even atheism will be found to be dangerous and problematic for humanity's future.

It?s also a question of what?s news-worthy. Millions of Christians doing good on a daily basis isn?t. Christian terrorists clearly ignoring Jesus? words is news-worthy. So guess which one you are going to be aware of.



I have posted the following before. It clearly shows that in the 20th century the non-religious dwarfed the religious in their blood letting, despite the fact that more than half the planets population were religious in one form or another.

?The worst blood lettings of the 20th century.

1. 55,000,000
Second World War (Some overlap w/Stalin. Includes Sino-Japanese War and Holocaust. Doesn't incl. post-war German expulsions) 1937/39-1945

2. 40,000,000 China: Mao Zedong's regime. (incl. famine) 1949-76

3. 20,000,000 USSR: Stalin's regime (incl. WW2-era atrocities) 1924-53

4. 15,000,000 First World War (incl. Armenian massacres) 1914-18

5. 8,800,000 Russian Civil War 1918-21

6. 4,000,000 China: Warlord & Nationalist Era 1917-37

7. 3,000,000 Congo Free State [n.1] (1900)-08

All SECULAR

For a Grand Total of 145,000,000 dead bodies chalked up to the non-religious, and I could go on. In 80 years non-religious managed to dwarf anything the religious had done in millennia.?

The religious are less to be feared than the irreligious. Most Christians will believe that if they commit an atrocity they will be accountable to God. There doesn't seem to be this check in place for Atheists like Stalin etc.

Christianity's Weakness

As for: ?Has it diminished a crime? Or hesitate to be the servile slave of any avaricious ruler or despotic power? Or To what church could a single oppressed minority today appeal for sympathy and understanding?

How about the 50,000 polish Christians that were executed for helping Jews during the war?

So 50 thousand Christians were executed in Poland for helping Jews, despite clearly knowing that the penalty for helping them was death.

Didn?t the Jews count as an oppressed minority? Was it not a crime against humanity that was diminished by hiding many Jews? Was the Church here the servile slave of a despotic power?

If you want me to trawl for more examples, I will. There are more than you could know. And obviously more than your acquaintance knows about.

But obviously that doesn?t stop him spouting his unsupported contentions in his book.

He asks, ??but has it ever turned a hand to put an end to any one atrocity or social injustice??

Two powerful examples:

?William Wilberforce was born in 1759. An evangelical Christian and Member of Parliament, he carried on a battle against slavery for many years and finally succeeded in having it abolished throughout the British Empire.?

?Lord Shaftsbury was another man of clear Christian conviction and conscience, who recognized that it was inherently wrong to send the children of the poor down mines when they were eight or nine years old and make them work there 12, 13 or 14 hours a day and started that whole social revolution that ensured a decent equality for all. It was all a product of Christian conscience in our culture.?

And now to the born of fear:

No Christian I know became one to escape Hell or Damnation. Not one. They were all attracted one way or another to the positive aspects of Christianity. More is made of this 'subjecting gullible people to the fear of God's wrath' than can be accounted for. It's largely in the mind of the Atheist.

And what does science say about religion and fear:

?Religiosity and the socioemotional adjustment of adolescent mothers and their children.Carothers SS, Borkowski JG, Lefever JB, Whitman TL.
J Fam Psychol. 2005 Jun;19(2):263-75.

This study assessed the impact of religiosity on the socioemotional and behavioral outcomes of 91 adolescent mothers and their offspring over 10 years. Religiosity was defined as involvement in church and contact with and dependence on church officials and members. Mothers classified as high in religious involvement had significantly higher self-esteem and lower depression scores, exhibited less child abuse potential, and had higher occupational and educational attainment than mothers classified as low in religious involvement; differences remained when multiple factors, such as stress and grandmother support, were held constant. Children with more religious mothers had fewer internalizing and externalizing problems at 10 years of age, with maternal adjustment mediating this relationship. Religiosity, through increased social support, served as a protective factor for teenaged mothers and their children.?

Does it sound as if fear has anything to do with these people?

See the full article (link below), and a scathing beating of Richard Dawkin's assertion that teaching children about religion is akin to child abuse ? another scientist who conveniently forgets science when he wants to spout his bigotry. He did exactly the same with his assertions about suicide terrorists, which were shot to bits by the science.

It's ironic and telling that someone who is responsible for the 'Public Understanding of Science', is more than willing to completely chuck science out of the window when he wants to rant about religion and assert all sorts of rubbish.

http://telicthoughts.com/?p=1104


I have read scientific studies that talk about the socio-economic gains of those who turn to religion, the health benefits and increased life expectancy ? lower incidence of schizophrenia (for those who spout the ?religious are delusional types? line).

But of course according to George and at least one member of SAGG, there is nothing positive about religion.

You are welcome to keep posting unsupportable statements about Christianity and I will look to the science, because it appears in many places to be in conflict with the widely held views of the anti-religious.

Blacknad.

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#17641 - 01/13/07 07:00 AM Re: Evidence for God [Re: Blacknad]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1031
Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
Blacknad. My new aquaintance died in 1931. He was an anthropologist, very respected one at the time evidently but seems little known these days. I'm reading his book which I mentioned some time back on this thread. What makes the book particularly interesting is that it was obviously written before most of the events you list. Consequently he is fairly optimistic about the future. His book is actually about the development of Western thought so his comments mainly relate to the two thousand year old established church and its treatment of early scientists. Thanks for pointing those facts out though.


Edited by terrytnewzealand (01/13/07 07:07 AM)

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#17649 - 01/13/07 06:08 PM Re: Evidence for God [Re: terrytnewzealand]
DA Morgan Offline
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Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
Blacknad ... You wrote:
"Finally, the single biggest predictor of whether someone will be charitable is their religious participation."

I want to take a "Jaws" sized bite out of much of what has been written about religious people and their generosity: So I will.

First lets separate the money "donated" to the church itself as that money, to a great extent, goes down a rathole to paying for buildings, utilities, clergy, employees, and other accouterments of the church. I'd like to see the value of those charitable donations that excludes money given to the church. Bet those numbers would change dramatically.

If one wishes to examine the vast majority of charitable giving in my country, the US, one quickly discovers that the primary motivator is income taxes and public adulation.

I've yet to see the news story about Bill Gates and Warren Buffet going to church.

And to quote Mr. Gates:
"Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There's a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning."
~ TIME magazine Vol. 149, No. 2 (13 January 1997)

You might want to check out this website.
http://atheism.about.com/b/a/257812.htm
with respect to Mr. Buffet and others.

In summary: I've heard the claim before. I don't believe it.
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DA Morgan

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#17650 - 01/13/07 06:31 PM Re: Evidence for God [Re: DA Morgan]
DA Morgan Offline
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Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
Addendum:

According to the Charitable Choices
http://www.charitablechoices.org/chargive.asp
Americans give a lot to charity: $260.3 billion in 2005.

They also state:
Individuals give away most of this money: $199 billion in 2005, or 76.5% of all giving.

Further down the page it says:
"People who give to churches and religious groups give more than other people, according to a 2002 survey done by Independent Sector. They give an average of $1391 to their religious institution and $958 to other charities. Those who give only to nonreligious charities contributed $623 on average."

So lets do the math:
86% (http://www.adherents.com/rel_USA.html) of the US's 217,800,000 contributes, on average $958 to non-religious institutions and $1391 to religious institutions.

0.86 * 217,800,000 * 1391 = 260,545,428,000
0.86 * 217,800,000 * 958 = 179,441,064,000
---------------
Total 439,986,492,000

But they stated total giving, religious and non-religious, was only 199,000,000,000. They are only off more than 221%. I guess that's close enough when one is trying to sell relgion.

After which we might, of course, ask how much of the money, donated to charity, is being used to patch up the lives of those destroyed by religious conflicts and religious intolerance.
_________________________
DA Morgan

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#17655 - 01/13/07 09:33 PM Re: Evidence for God [Re: DA Morgan]
terrytnewzealand Offline
Megastar

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1031
Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
Blacknad. I sincerely hope I have not offended you too much with Dorsey's comments about religion. To show what he's really getting at I quote more in relation to what he writes regarding the influence of religion:

"The one we inherited, I need not repeat, was a curious mixture of Oriental and Classical speculation. While both Mosaic and Classical cosmogonies contain some shrewd guesses and are not entirely unworthy of respect, they came to be barriers to further speculation or even to frank, open-eyed curiosity. After all, why should anyone be curious about the earth if it was made in a week and is not our home anyway?"

Regarding Wilberforce and Shaftsbury. I'll concede they were probably devout Christians but they fought the established Church for years before their ideas were more generally adopted. I'll leave DA to cover the matter of generosity.

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#17658 - 01/13/07 11:56 PM Re: Evidence for God [Re: terrytnewzealand]
Blacknad Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
Originally Posted By: DA Morgan

"People who give to churches and religious groups give more than other people, according to a 2002 survey done by Independent Sector. They give an average of $1391 to their religious institution and $958 to other charities. Those who give only to nonreligious charities contributed $623 on average."


Dan,

You obviously didn?t read the full study. Or if you did you have no interest in the facts. I suggest you have another look.

As for the above quote, it seems quite simple, and concatenating stats from adherents.com to get an acceptable result is hardly playing cricket.

The facts from Charitable Choices (I presume as you linked there, you consider it a reliable source):

Those who give $1391 to religious institutions also give $958 to non-religious institutions.

Those who give only to non-religious institutions give $623 on average.


Isn?t this clear enough?

The religious give $335 more on average to non-religious causes.

PLUS they then give an extra $1391 to religious institutions (MANY OF WHICH ARE RELIGIOUS CHARITIES DOING, SAY, DISASTER RELIEF OR WORK WITH THE HOMELESS ETC.).


A massive percentage of the money given to our church goes to our work with Romanian orphans and other causes we are involved with in places like Botswana.

The rest goes to the upkeep of the building which is used as a community centre, a day-care centre for pensioners, a day-care centre for those with learning difficulties and so on? It also supports a full-time community worker who supports and represents those who live in a deprived area.

What is not factored in is volunteer work, which in the UK is more than likely to be done by Christians.

So it appears that the religious give in total $2349 on average.

The non-religious give $623.


So as the study said, the religious outgive by 4 times

It?s nice to have some facts to support a proposition that I have made before.

But of course, don?t let facts stand in the way of giving the religious a good rubbishing.

As for your assertion that religious giving is only to fix problems we have caused ? support the statement, and show that the religious have caused as much as, or more of societies problems than atheists.

Blacknad.


Edited by Blacknad (01/13/07 11:59 PM)

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