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In the Name of God بسم الله


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Pascal last won the day on September 16 2011

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  1. Science does not make ruling or determinations of truth on matters of religion. As you say, it is true evolution is a well established fact, this does not cancel out religion. The Catholic Church (the largest religions organisation in the world) accepts the truth of evolution but they are still obviously highly religious. The scientific method can only apply to things that are falsifiable (things that are capable of being proven false); we can prove it false that Drug X cures cancer (proving it false would mean it DOES NOT cure cancer), we cannot prove something does not exist, that is impossible, prove to me that Shiva or Vishnu do not exist, it would be very hard. Since the idea of God (and religion to a great extent) is not falsifiable, science cannot determine whether it is true or not. That said, religion is not a scientific endevour either. According to scientific method, you cant prove God exists (or disprove any other God exists). Hardly anyone lives their entire life by the scientific method though. On a point of interest, surveys have shown that a majority of scientists do not believe in God. Philosophy, logic and other fields are open to debate whether or not God exists.
  2. That is not an accurate depiction of historical scholarship, so, no, in this case you are mistaken. Of course in this thread i see two approaches: (1) The secular academic historical perspective based on evidence; archaeological, literary, linguistic, etc (2) The approach based on what any one certain belief system (say Islam) dictates. The general consensus of (1) is that the very first religions were not organised or unified religions (like the religions today are). They were likely small local cults to local Gods. If Pagan is the only term you have an understanding of, you could approximately call them Pagan. However, Pagan only has meaning when you contrast it against monotheism. To the best of our historical knowledge, monotheism hasn't always existed, especially on a prevalent basis, in early human history. The first religions were likely animistic/based on fertility rites (fertility of the fields, the flood of the river). Certainly, in the Indian historical record, we find religions that come before Hinduism. There are many archaeological finds (statues, etc) that depict religions that predate Hinduism. In terms of the oldest large religions around today, my best guess is that Hinduism and Zoroastrianism are among the oldest. You may find a little more information in this wikipedia article but it is of poor quality. If you are interested and have access to a library, i suggest you obtain a good book and take it from there. Edit: You may find this timeline very interesting. ~ Pascal
  3. Do you willingly choose to believe or does it just seem like a true fact about the world? It seems like it would be very hard to choose to believe any fact unless you first felt that fact was true and actually represented reality. An example i often give - Imagine someone ties up your family and points a gun at their heads, they threaten to kill them unless you form the belief that a large, pink elephant is in the room, could you do it? It seems impossible. Likewise, even if you try really hard i doubt you could suddenly choose to be hindu or i could suddenly choose to be a Buddhist. So, It seems to be impossible to believe something without first thinking that thing is true, so, "disbelievers" aren't choosing, they're simply believing what they feel to be a true fact. Therefore it is probably impossible to "choose" to disbelieve.
  4. Done Taekwondo for a number of years and i wouldn't recommend it as absolutely the best style to use. The idea is your leg is the longest part of your body and puts a lot of distance b/w you and your opponent and the leg is rather powerful. There are a lot of fairly fancy kicks though. In a real situation, you want something simply and very effective because you might not get to make a mistake twice. You really don't want to have to recall a complicated series of steps to pull of a kick. Of course, a lot of the martial arts, are arts like painting or dancing, they have philosophy, spiritiuality, history and meaning behind them. All the moves have an underlying philosophy and method behind them but none of these things will help you out when push comes to shove. For looking after yourself, you don't really want an art. As a general rule, the more modern a style is, the more useful it will be for protecting yourself or someone else, easily as well. Things like Krav Maga are a combination of what works best, theres no real philosophy, art or history behind them, its just a simple collection of what works. They include things like poking your opponent in the eye or punching them in the throat. Obviously, its serious about defending yourself, only when you absolutely need to as well, no playing around here. Even something just called '(Wo)men's Self Defence' will do just fine, i've seen a lot of classes around for things like this. The army and the police force don't teach their soldiers Taekwondo or Karate for a reason, its not the most efficient way.
  5. Cardinal Bergoglio (now the current pope) was actually a favorite two elections back. After Pope John Paul II died, Bergoglio was one of the favourites to win (instead, Ratzinger [AKA Benedict XVI] obviously won). It's not a massive surprise really. Unexpected, definitely. The bookmakers and gamblers offering odds on this all got it totally wrong. It was unexpected but not outlandish, he's been a front runner before. http://ncronline.org...ould-be-pope-13 None the less, it is a good sign. For a few hundred years there, almost all the popes came from an even smaller pool, pretty much all Italians. Then they moved onto Europeans and now the first non-european in over a century, times just might be changing. Not to mention that many people thought Turkson was close to winning this time, it shows a lot of people are ready to accept it as a real option and hopefully this will filter down to the cardinals.
  6. I'm not sure if you mean arguments that try prove God exists or arguments that try show God doesn't exist. If its the first case, i can assure you, most of the well known philosophers go to quite some length. Summa Theologica by Aquinas goes into roughly 3000 pages across 5 volumes for example. I think the problem with how most people interpret these arguments and how some atheists attack them is they see a skeleton outline of an argument and assume it *is* the actual argument. For example, in his Kalam cosmological argument, William Lane Craig goes into quite some depth proving why we cant have an infinite regress whilst the skeleton version of the argument would be more like "(2) An infinite regress is impossible" and people would say he hasn't proved it. Still on the topic of people who believe in God, you can deduce some of them. Surely, God is absolute perfection or in a counterfactual way, God is not imperfect. Likewise, God is all powerful or in a counterfactual way, there is no logical power that God lacks. There has been some debate whether these properties are actual things and/or properties or if God is just one kind of thing and the properties we give are just human descriptions, rather than things God actually *is*. If you mean in the case of arguments atheists put forward, say the problem of evil, they don't go on to prove these assumptions because its generally agreed most believers would accept these assumptions. Indeed, many arguments, including the problem of evil, are based on the idea that believers will not reject God is all powerful, all knowing and all good. If they rejected one of those things, there would be no problem of evil but obviously, 99% of believers are unwilling to deny those things. So, the reason they're claimed from the atheist side without proving why they're valid or why believers hold them is because...believers generally believe them (not very clear, i know, sorry).
  7. I don't think anyone actually likes testing drugs on animals, i know it makes me squeamish. The problem is there is no alternative. It's one of those unpleasant facts of life - Children starve every day while we throw away food, an animal had to die for you to eat, likewise, unfortunately, we must test drugs on animals. There is no way around it. Before we test it on something alive, we have somewhere between a bit of an idea and absolutely no idea how it will behave. If we were to regularly test it on humans, we would have people dropping dead which creates numerous ethical, legal and money problems (and much more). There is very huge trend to the 3 R's (Reduce the number of animals, Replace animal testing or possibly leathal testing with other forms and Refine experiments so they cause the least pain and discomfort possible). No doubt it is sad that animals have died this way, in the past we didn't have very strong ethical codes and it sometimes got inhumane but at the same time, this testing has allowed us to safely develop drugs that have probably saved or improved billions of lives, at least their sacrafice was worth it. Dissection just for the sake of dissection should be avoided. There are some very good computer tools available to teach highschool students. Indeed, 99.99% of highschool students will never need or use the skills and knowledge they gain dissecting an animal anyway, it is rather pointless. When we did it at our university, we used a naturally captured local pest species (they were going to be killed either way, so, they weren't killed for this express purpose).
  8. Because life is wonderful. If you don't like life so much that the only thing from stopping you killing yourself is God, then, you have much deeper problems. Surely, there are other reasons you enjoy being alive as well. All of you look both ways before you cross the road, no matter how religious. --------------------------- You are spot on. The only thing that is stopping me from literally hanging myself this single second is the quest to convince strangers that God does not exist. You have us all, the entire atheist movement. We surrender. It can't be that we don't have jobs to go to, families, girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands and wives...no... it can't be that i don't have bills to pay, goals i want to achieve, sports i train for, places i want to see, people i want to meet...none of that, we're a totally different alien species from you. I hope this is not the purpose of anyone’s life. I know it is certainly very, very, oh so incredibly far from the purpose of mine, whatever that may be. Perhaps and this is a big perhaps, i may convince a few people, a few strangers somewhere on this earth to change their beliefs...so what. I am sure there are more Muslims born every minute, who, like their ancestors before them, will also be Muslims, than i could convince in a lifetime. Perhaps i may convince 5 or 10 people but in the course of this single day, I’m sure the world has gained hundreds of thousands of Believers of all religions, just today. It's obviously a silly pursuit to say the meaning of your life is this. There are some people who can make a legitimate change, they have access to the media and the public, for these people, they might make an actual difference, they might spark a movement but most individuals will leave little change. ---------------------------------------- This is the only right part of your sentence. You really only do live once, [Edited Out]py rap songs aside, it is true. All Muslims are terrorists. They hate out freedom, way of life and want to blow us up. Whats that? It's politically incorrect and grossly wrong Pacal? I did the same thing you did, do you see the problem? All atheists are clearly mindless, selfish, uncharitable, drug addicted hedonists. That is why Sweden or New Zealand is such a hellhole after all. You are a hypocrite, its actions like this that tarnish a religion. Ever bought nice clothes or perfume? Ever bought a block of chocolate or a slice of cake? You might even be typing this on a shiny Apple Mac. These are all indulgences, if you really hate money so much i invite you to sell all your comfortable western possessions and donate all your money to charity. As Jesus said, let he who is without sin throw the first stone, you cannot criticise people for indulging in worldly pleasure or using money if you do the same. The words may be harsh but are they untrue? If you can tell me you have honestly never done any of these things or bought any unnecessary worldly possessions, then, i will apologise for calling you a hypocrite. If you have though, then, no more needs to be said.
  9. I find this idea very tantalising one. I won't lie; i come here bearing my full intentions. This view obviously springs out of my beliefs as an atheist and someone who finds the idea of hell distasteful. It's the same reason why i like the idea of anihilationism. I am obviously very partial to the idea that no one should go to hell for mistakenly holding the wrong belief. Of course, this view may be hard to reconcile with the traditional view of lack of salvation for non-believers present in many world religions. I am no expert on the matter but it might be hard to reconcile with the Quran. Do i think it is a very pleasant and likable idea that very few people will go to hell simply because of their beliefs? Certainly. Do i think it is very congruent with what religions or religious texts claim? I am not sure. To me, this certainly adds points to the claim that God of any belief system that claims this idea is all loving, contrary to the idea of sending people to hell for believing wrong things on no fault of their own. ------------------ And to you too. I think most people would disagree with a literal kind of pluralism. That all religions are literally true in the same way, it seems some of their core beliefs are inherently contradictory (as per Servidor below as well). That everyone actually agrees they are worshipping the same God. John Hick, interesting enough, went in a very different direction. His hypothesis is rather long and interesting, so, i will not really attempt to flesh it out fully here (his book or at least this chapter is very much worth reading). He appealed to the Kantian distinction between Noumena, things as they really are within themselves and Phenomena, things as they are perceived, ordered and shaded by our senses. Just at a quick glance, there seems to be something to this theory, if my colour-blind friend was looking at the same painting as i was, we would have different Phenomenal views of this object but we are essentially looking at the same object, we do not see it as it is in itself. Hick said there is one united "ultimate reality" or "real", this is a Noumenal thing, so consequently, we cannot say anything true or substantial about it. He thought that all world religions were a Phenomenal interpretation and grasping of this real, coloured by culture, place and time (see Hinduism vs. Judaism). Therefore, we reconcile the differences by saying none of the religions are literally true (Neumenal), they are just Phenomenal interpretations of ultimate reality and thus not actually true. Therefore, there is no contradiction between the triune God of Christianity and the Unitary God of Islam (let us just assume there is indeed a contradiction) if neither of them are actually real. Of course, there is a problem with this, Hick thinks it is very important we believe and yet, through his theory, it seems we would come to believe the very core things of our religion (that Jesus was divine, that God is unitary, that Karma actually exists) are ultimately false. It seems it would make it hard to keep believing coherently. Do i think religious pluralism is a very nice idea? Yes, very much so. Do i think it can be philosophically coherent in the face of religious traditions that make very specific claims? Doubtful. It seems hard to believe all these different religions are worshipping the same thing and are aiming for the exact same goal. You could adopt John Hicks idea, it would solve these problems but it would create a new one about authenticity. Interestingly enough, ideas like Hicks were explicitly condemned by the former pope in his encyclical Dominus Iesus, so, i guess that says a little about how well established religion takes to these ideas.
  10. No. I believe there are several things wrong with proceeding in this manner. For one, suggesting that you need something external to the holy book or the belief system, to prove such a belief system, is almost insulting to the religion itself. If the Quran is not self-evident, just on the basis of what is in the Quran and if Islam cannot seen to be true, just on the basis of what Islam is, it seems to me therein lies a gaping flaw. Secondly, to put it (semi)politely, i think the so-called scientific miracles are some of the most baffling, ham-fisted and utterly unconvincing arguments for a God or a belief system I have ever come across. They are flawed on my above point but it runs deeper than that. It relies on the interpretation of the person delivering the argument. Now, we all know the world is made of atoms but it was not always so. Some early Islamic alchemists believed a different idea, that the basic building blocks of everything were not tiny atoms but Fire, Earth, Wind and Water, just like Aristotle postulated. Today, such a view is obviously ridiculous. At the time though, some of these alchemists interpreted verses of the Quran (Man being made out of dust/earth/clay or Jinn being made out of fire or smoke) as supporting what they believed was cutting edge science. At the time, they could have said that since everything is made out of fire, earth, wind, and water, this proves the Quran. Perhaps, it would have made sense at the time. Imagine if they tried that claim today though, it would not only be a neutral argument, it would actually rather harm their case of proving Islam. Therein lays the danger. Today, i see some people using their interpretation (and that is all it is) of Quranic verses to say that the Quran contains knowledge of the Big Bang and therefore, the Quran must be true. What if tomorrow, suddenly, it is discovered the theory is deeply flawed, what happens to your proof for God? Your proof for the Quran? Thirdly, these verses are so general; they really just could be a poetic metaphor rather than a scientific statement. It is only once science proves X that people happen to notice the Quran was talking about X and that it was not a metaphor at all. All of the verses I’ve seen used to prove the scientific miracles are very far away from being specific. It seems heavily tied to the knowledge of the day (see alchemy above) and to the person who is interpreting it. Often, people do not have sufficient scientific backing to understand what supposedly proves the Quran. If someone with such knowledge asks them about it, their case might be torn to shreds. I agree greatly with what macisaac stated. --------------------------------------------------- This i agree with, it's a very sensible approach. This? Well, I am not sure about this. Almost every scientist and philosopher of science would say modern science is distinct from scientism. This seems like a fitting and pleasing definition to all: I think empirical evidence is the only way to validate and usefully work with a claim about nature (emphasis heavily). When i am sitting in a lab, testing a new drug, i honestly cannot think of any other way to test that claim or validate it except empirically. It is not as if i can work it out as we work things in philosophy, logically or analytically, i cannot exactly list a bunch of premises and deduce logically if the drug will work. I cannot sit down and meditate on whether the drug will work, besides possibly setting the lab on fire while my eyes are closed, this won't be a very good method either. Contrary to the definition above though, i do not think the scientific method is the only way of reaching knowledge about anything. It cannot tell me who i should love or which genre of music i should like and why. As we all know from philosophy and mathematics, something can be disproved or proved logically just by sitting down and thinking about it, no real empiricism needed here. We do not need to do an experiment to know that 2 + 2 = 4. We can disprove the euthyphro dilemma just by thinking about it logically. Things of that variety. As someone who is both philosophically and scientifically trained, i do not want to return to the dark days of logical positivism. If we were to return to then, according to those kinds of philosophers, my hobby of philosophy of religion would be meaningless since it deals with metaphysics, all my professors of philosophy of this kind would apparently be out of the job. I do not think its good enough to say "Well, i don't like metaphysics, so, let’s not talk about anything to do with it anymore, ever". To sum up, i think science is the only method we can really learn much of anything about nature and the natural world. I find it very hard to imagine another way we could have deduced the laws of physics or test which drugs work and how, if we do not gather this information empirically. Science has its own domain though, scientific knowledge and the natural world. It is a mistake to apply science to something that is not science or say the domain of science extends to everything, when it clearly does not. I do not know which philosophers of science or scientists you have been talking to but modern science certainly is not equivocal with scientism. 99.9% of the time, the work of science is done within the domain of science. The thousands upon thousands of journal articles every year actually relate to the domain of science, they're not articles aimed at proving or disproving metaphysics, which is outside science, rather, they are articles on science. I find very little support for the idea that modern science is somehow rife with scientism or is spending the vast majority of time on things not within the domain of science.
  11. No, not really. If you get a timeline and a big red marker, you can mark out the time that you did exist. People have realised the same thing your quote states for a long time. Epicurus for example said something like this: I was not, I am, i will not be So, in that case, we can draw it a little like this |..........................|xxxx|...................................|> Buddhists have this idea of all things being impermanent. You are merely a temporary process or collection of atoms. Before you were this present collection, your atoms were in something else but they always existed. Once you die, the collection that is you will cease to be collected but the atoms will not disappear. It is a little like the desk I’m sitting at. In its present collection, it's a wooden desk. Before it was a living tree. Even before it was a tree, these atoms were something else. The tree did not always exist. It was planted and grew into an organised collection of atoms that we term a "tree". Since a persons perceptions and thoughts of reality are, to them, indistinguishable from and identical to reality itself, life can be whatever you want it to be. If you don't think its a test, well, then it isn't a test. I don't know if it’s a poor excuse but i don't think it's the best or most noble way to be motivated to do good. If you are only doing good and avoiding bad simply out of fear, i think there is some kind of deep problem with that. Extend that kind of idea out to real life, if the only reason a person doesn't murder or rob their neighbour is because they fear the punishment, there is clearly something (rather disturbingly too) lacking within them. If the punishment is severe and the person believes in it, we have another problem as well. We have a very difficult time distinguishing if someone is acting simply out of prudence (to avoid or gain) or if they are acting on the basis of morality. Indeed, it might be very hard for even the person in question to tell which one they are doing. I worry a system like this might lead to the kind of prudence problem we see above. I guess you could blame it on free will. Many people say God cannot interfere in free will (although i think he can). This leads to a mildly disturbing conclusion though, the only reason the Quran is not corrupted is that it is down to chance and probability. The only reason it is not (supposedly) uncorrupted today is that the list of things that needed to happen to make it corrupted, by chance, did not happen. Of course, you would need to prove the vast majority of humans have a corrupted holy book as well. You may do OK proving this in terms of the Christian bible but it will be much harder in terms of the Torah or Hinduism or Buddhism, especially in the latter two where we have a clear progression from earlier forms of the religion to later forms. I guess it also needs to be proved that it is corrupt to such an extent that it actually matters. If a few names or places have been changed or someone wrote down the day’s weather wrongly, it hardly affects their theology or belief. ---------- I gave some money to a charity the other day; would you argue this wasn't a good action? It seems like you would have a very hard time proving otherwise. It seems very logically possible to do good without understanding God. If i walk past a lake and a child is drowning, i know i should pull them out, anyone would know that. You might contend it's hard but it's a very strong claim to say that it's impossible. Do not mean to nit-pick (but that’s how philosophers are after all right) but your paragraph seems internally contradictory. (A) It is impossible to do good without understanding God. Then in the next one you claim they can do good (B) If one does good without understanding this, then it will be hypocrisy! ----------- Funny, Christians would say the same thing...except in reverse. Many of my friends are interested in philosophy and one of them told me "As a Christian, i believe the Islamic religion to be totally false". To the outside observer (i.e me) it is not immediately obvious any side is more right. Both sides can provide good reasons for what they believe. You are not leaving very many parts out there, why not read the rest while you're at it too? Can't hurt. How do you tell it’s authentic? The same way you tell that the Quran is authentic i suppose, i do not see any reason to use a different method. ------------ Done a little work on Pluralism lately, i think it has it's own problems as well. For example, we have three positions: Exclusivism: There is only one right and true religious tradition. This is the only path to salvation or ultimate truth of one kind of another. Inclusivism: One religion is more right or privileged than the rest but some of the others have a significant portion of the truth and can lead to salvation (The usual example here is how Islam views Judaism and Christianity). Pluralism: All religions are equally as true and valid. All provide an equal path to salvation or the ultimate truth. We run into a problem though. We start hitting contradictions. Either God is triune or he is unitary. We have either one God or many Gods. It seems like not all the religions can be simultaneously true. There have been few attempts. One guy suggested that all of these things are true on a different plane of reality. So, on one plane, God is triune and like the Christian God. On another plane, the Dao is correct. So, i guess we would have all these multiple realities co-existing. Of course, that brings its own problems. Another way to solve it (as John Hick 'famously' did) was to say that none of these is true. He uses the distinction Kant used between Noumena and Phenomena. Noumena refer to things how they actually are within themselves, the true nature of them. Phenomena refer to our interpretation of these Noumenal things as ordered, perceived and coloured by our senses. Hick's idea was that all "Great" religions are Phenomenal interpretations of the "ultimate reality" or "real" coloured by place, time and local cultural lens. Hick also thinks it is very important that you do actually have a religion to reach this real, it does not matter which one really. It's a very interesting book but this position he takes also has numerous side-effects as well.
  12. I do not know if i agree with this. To me it seems that every religion is roughly equal concerning thoughtful, well-considered believers and those who only believe as their fathers before them or culture did. I would wager that Islam suffers from this no more or no less, generally. The Jewish and Christian traditions have an impressive philosophical tradition for example, it is not clear that these traditions or believers are massively more deficient than Muslims are or Islam is. This is a very provocative question in the philosophical community right now. I'll try to avoid boring you with complicated terms or explanations. It is termed, at least in clear language, peer disagreement. There are many people who are just as intelligent, well thought, considered, educated, sincere and loving than you and yet, some of these people have made a different choice. They are your equal on intellect and investigation of religions and yet, they made a different choice. This should make you backpedal at least a little. It tells you something about the nature of the case. The evidence cannot be that great or dynamite if people on a similar level to you (your peers) don’t readily accept it. We are not talking about some subjective political reality either, people disagree over the degree of government intervention but that is not an argument about what is objectively real out there, religion is. There are many examples given in the literature. I will present one. It's called the restaurant case. You and a bunch of friends are in a restaurant. You go every week on a regular occasion. You always eat your meals and split the bill. Just like every other week, you sit down and chat, enjoy their company and eat your meal. At the end, you calculate what you owe and put down your $37.50 on the table and prepare to walk off. Your friend stops you, he tells you that you put down just a little less than you owed. You actually owed $42.50. What should we do in this case? Our friend has just as good mathematical ability as we do. He witnessed the same information we did. Should we continue to maintain that we owe $37.50 without even doing our calculations twice? Should we just think he is somehow wrong or deficient and we must be the right ones, of course? Shouldn't the fact that your equal came up with a different result at least make you reconsider your position? If you were in this very situation with the bill and your friend, your intellectual peer, told you he had a different answer, would you still be as sure as you were before? I don't think anyone would. I know it would certainly make me want to check my calculations twice and have another look at it. The parallel with religion is not hard to see. There are people who are our peers on all the important levels and attributes we need to consider and yet, they came up with a different answer. Much like the bill, it seems silly and almost arrogant to maintain we are just as right as we thought before. It should make us seriously reconsider our views and their certainty. It should make us consider the nature of the evidence if such a big gulf in disagreement occurs. It isn't really easy to explain the nature of this disagreement away, i suppose you could maintain everyone that doesn't hold your particular view on a subject, subject x, is merely deficient in some way but that doesn't seem to correspond with reality. Likewise, it also holds true that there are people who are not only our peers but also far exceed our intellectual capacities, they have far more knowledge of the world’s religions than ourselves, they are more sincere and kind than ourselves and yet, these people too sometimes make a different decision.
  13. Since your post was not targeted to any specific group, I’ll throw my hat in too. The simple answer is No. Is it totally inconceivable that modern biology is true and God exists, is it really all that strange to believe both those facts can be true? I do not think so. The strongest negation we can be sure of is a logical contradiction. We cannot have a 4 sided triangle, we can even disprove the idea in our minds. It is a contradictory thing. Is the existence of a naturalistic law or processes, evolution, gravity or plate tectonics logically contradictory with the existence of God? It is far from immediately obvious to me. Therefore, i think the problem lies not so much in evolution negating God and thus if you have one you cannot have the other. No, the opposition comes from other reasons of thinking the two are actually irreconcilable or simply not wanting to reconcile them for one reason or another. People develop the latter on basis outside the two being logically contradictory, if it is not logically contradictory, it certainly is possible they can co-exist. Evolution is a naturalistic law and process, much like gravity. I do not see many of you people who oppose one science of biology, go on to oppose the other sciences of physics or geology. Much like early Muslim alchemists* used the Quran to be opposed to the view the world was constructed of Atoms, instead of the Aristotelian elements of air, fire, water and earth, i think opposition to evolution too will one day be a historical footnote. *Of course, there was diversity of opinion. There were many Muslim atomists. Much as we have some Muslims here who accept evolution and some who do not. I agree. Either way, God needed to use some kind of intermediary to create us. Much like a blacksmith uses a hammer to fashion iron, so could God use evolution. Although, i think then you reach a debate about just how literal or unliteral you are going to be then. I am sure some early Muslims believed we were fashioned directly out of clay or at least by Gods direct action. Now, we have a somewhat less literal interpretation. As our knowledge changes more and more, it seems at least a possibility that we could get so interpretative that the text is a mere former shred of itself. For me anyway, that would raise a dilemma between the text being correct and the progression of knowledge being correct. We are still made out of matter. So is clay. So, at the very least, i think almost everyone is willing to grant God utilised matter in creating us, that there was some extra ingredient or process in our creation, fashioning that matter.
  14. Hello pureethics, i am doing well, i hope you and your family are just as well. I am back again but i think only for a short while. I thank you for your reply and the time it must have taken to write a piece like that. Please note, in my post, i was not claiming the Problem of Evil conclusively shows there is no God (no argument could) nor was i even saying it might show that. My main purpose was to show that, the defense that evil necessarily needs to exist for good to exist is not a good defense. So, as such, i will not reply to most of your post, in this thread i was merely replying to that particular defense. I have read it and i will probably read it a few more times once i think it over. I have a few small clarifications on things that you seem to have misread within my argument (as you can perhaps tell from the spelling errors, it was written rather late at night, so, i cannot blame you for misreading). Note i did not mean make us all as good beings, as perfect moral agents. I meant make us in the sense of that we have an innate recognition of good and evil, thus, disproving the defense that evil needs to exist in the world for us to know what good is. I realise there are very good defenses and lately i've come to realise no issue, even one as strong as the problem of evil is black and white. I just think that this defense is not a very good one for the examples i explained in my earlier posts. All the best. I do not understand your point, will you care to elaborate? The way arguments in philosophy work is that if you accept all the premises but reject the conclusion (assuming the argument is logically valid) there is a problem with your logic and/or beliefs. Of course, you can reject the premises. As a believer though, i highly doubt you will reject the very first that God exists, otherwise, you will not be a believer. There is nothing wrong with temporarily entertaining a premise for the sake of an argument. That’s how arguments and logic work and indeed, sometimes our language. If we did not do things like this, we would have a very hard time. I categorically reject that my view of right and wrong is based on survival. You are either very misguided about the philosophical tradition many atheists entertain, you genuinely do not believe atheists can be good people or you disingenuously assert either of these things. I do not wish to engage in a lengthy debate on this matter, life is prescious and this is an argument that holds 0 interest for me, since philosophy is a hobby of mine and thus I do it for pleasure, you can see why I might not want to do such a thing. I suggest you read into the idea of secular humanismand the philosophical backing behind it. I also suggest you read into ideas like the veil of ignorance and the categorical imperative. I do contend you can be a good person and a functioning member of society without being religious. Thank you for your post.
  15. I thank you for your reply Haji 2003 and i thank the mods and admins for their time and diligence in reviewing our posts. I note you that you did not address the vast majority of my argument but instead chose to personally attack me and then go on to mention a diversionary issue, one separate to the issue at hand, which is slavery. It seems you are grasping at straws to reply to the vast majority of my post, so, i thank you for your time so far, it does not seem we will take it much further. I will point out this, if i created a religion exactly like Islam and a book exactly like the Quran, except it contained an explicit ban on slavery, which religion or book would be better? It seems you must contend either that this book will indeed be better and this religion will be better or you must attempt to defend the intuition of slavery, which is explicitly approved in the Quran. I understand it was moderated and they had better conditions but as i said above, surely, it is better to ban it outright. If you say, at the time, they could not ban it because it was so entrenched; it highly suggests to me that the Quran truly is not an eternal guidebook. Note that this book would be identical, it would have bans on alcohol, gambling, it would have all the rules of family and prayer, the only difference would be it condemned slavery for all of humanity for the rest of time.
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