1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThNozzleman View Post
    Immature? Heh...more people smoke cigarettes than there are Christians; does that make that the right thing to do, as well? Attempting to make a point by appealing to the masses must mean you're digging deep in the ol' ammo pouch.
    The comparison to smoking is bizarre.

    I wasn't defending others being christian. I guess this discussion is a bit too philosophical for some on these boards.

    I guess if you are so threatened by a belief in a supreme being that you have to call those beliefs silly, then you have more important issues.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Is the test now "objective evidence"?
    For logical reasoning aka rationality, yes. It always has been.

    As for the definition of faith, it's merely believing in something for which you have no proof,
    Agreed. Believing in something for which there is no objective evidence, "proof," is contrary to reason or "irrational."

    I see no requirement in the definition that it's an irrational belief or that faith requires a lack of logic.
    It's inherent in the meaning of reason, rationality, and logic. A beleif without logical support is "irrational" by it's very nature. That's not judgment; it's just what the words mean.

    There are many examples in science where there is a lack of "objective evidence" and yet we wouldn't consider their theories irrational.
    Such as? (BTW, theories are by nature speculative anyway. They aren't considered facts but tentative models that seek to connect and explain objective evidence or "facts.")

    Why are we applying different standards to a belief for which there is no "proof".
    "We" aren't.

    Other comments from the believers is that logic is a limited man-made process being applied to something supernatural.
    So? Language is manmade as well. If that's their argument, they shouldn't be concerned that their beleifs are "irrational" since it's a manmade concept.

    science that cannot be proven through any replicable experimentation (macro evolution), but is accepted as good logical scientific theory.
    1) "macro evolution" is a red herring dreamed up by Creationists.
    2) Evolution is accepted as a theory because of the mountains of objective evidence supporting it and the virtual absence of evidence contradicting it. Is it a fact? Of course not, but it's a theory with every reasonable probability of being substantially correct.

    The mere fact that "logic" is not black and white blurs the test you are applying here.
    What's blurry to you? The rules of logic say that faith is irrational. That seems pretty clear and sharp to me.

    There is no no objective evidence that the plane will make it safely to your destination, either. Therefore, you rely on faith.
    Of course there is. SC touched on it already. We know why the plane can fly, we know what factors effect the successful completion of the flight, and we have fair amount of flight experience to make predictive models. Unlike "faith," there are objective facts on which to base our predictions.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    You are playing odds, really. You have no objective evidence about that flight, that aircraft.
    Specifically? Not many. But we do have ample evidence about the general classes of flights and aircraft and repeated observation supports the theory that we can predict future behavior of flights and aircraft by past behavior. You can't make that statement about "faith."

    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    I guess if you are so threatened by a belief in a supreme being that you have to call those beliefs silly, then you have more important issues.
    Taking a defensive posture and assuming that people who dismiss "faith" as silly feel threatened by it is counterproductive, IMHO.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    There are many examples in science where there is a lack of "objective evidence" and yet we wouldn't consider their theories irrational. Why are we applying different standards to a belief for which there is no "proof".
    "Faith is believing what you know ain't so."
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    For logical reasoning aka rationality, yes. It always has been.

    Agreed. Believing in something for which there is no objective evidence, "proof," is contrary to reason or "irrational."

    It's inherent in the meaning of reason, rationality, and logic. A beleif without logical support is "irrational" by it's very nature. That's not judgment; it's just what the words mean.
    Rational means "governed by reason".

    Reason is our method of developing conclusions based on assumptions. Theologians will tell you that reason alone is insufficient to explain the origins of the universe. In fact, the origins of the universe are only theoretical.

    I think that is a fair assumption, because there is a tremendous amount of information that we do know about the universe and its origins. In fact, I would say that we have only scratched the surface of what will be the ultimate answer (if ever discovered). Even at that point, the answers will still only be theoretical.

    Remember science has been wrong before...

    Such as? (BTW, theories are by nature speculative anyway. They aren't considered facts but tentative models that seek to connect and explain objective evidence or "facts.")
    The theory on the origin of the universe, even the "big bang" is now being questioned..

    2) Evolution is accepted as a theory because of the mountains of objective evidence supporting it and the virtual absence of evidence contradicting it. Is it a fact? Of course not, but it's a theory with every reasonable probability of being substantially correct.
    I'm an evolutionist, let me be clear about that. However, as you point out, it's a theory.

    What's blurry to you? The rules of logic say that faith is irrational. That seems pretty clear and sharp to me.
    The rules of logic do not say that about faith. That is how you are applying the "rules" of logic.

    Taking a defensive posture and assuming that people who dismiss "faith" as silly feel threatened by it is counterproductive, IMHO.
    I think you need to take a step back. Calling a belief in faith "silly" is not only counterproductive but insulting.

    Finally, to deny that you are being judgemental is bizarre. When you state that one must have proof in a belief or it is "irrational" you are then passing judgement on that "proof".

    It's not a matter of definitions, it's how you, as the observer, are judging that proof. Someone else, will have a different opinion of the proof.
    Last edited by ChiefKN; 09-07-2010 at 12:05 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    Agreed. Believing in something for which there is no objective evidence, "proof," is contrary to reason or "irrational."
    So if someone cannot see, prove, or explan something they have faith, or believe in, they are irrational?


    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    Taking a defensive posture and assuming that people who dismiss "faith" as silly feel threatened by it is counterproductive, IMHO.
    You appear to be very agressively trying to dismiss him as irrational. Why is that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by scfire86 View Post
    "Faith is believing what you know ain't so."
    --Mark Twain
    Here are some more.... although, I'm sure you are familiar with this page.

    http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/quotes/twain.htm

    Here is one that didn't make the list:

    “God has put something noble and good into every heart His hand created.”

    Mark Twain
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Acklan View Post
    So if someone cannot see, prove, or explan something they have faith, or believe in, they are irrational?
    According to Dictionary.com there are a few definitions for irrational:
    1. without the faculty of reason; deprived of reason.
    2. without or deprived of normal mental clarity or sound judgment.
    3. not in accordance with reason; utterly illogical: irrational arguments.
    4. not endowed with the faculty of reason: irrational animals.
    While the underlying concept of the word describes something that it's not based on logic all of the definitions have a negative connotation.

    Faith can be described as irrational since it is not based in logic. That doesn't in and of itself make it a bad thing. Unfortunately doing so also brings the negative connotations with it..
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    I must object to your reasoning and logic on your two points.
    1) macro evolution is not a red herring. It is a way to separate what has been scientifically proven from what is a theory. Call it a classification or subcategory. Micro Evolution would be the other subcategory.
    2) Recent studies done by atheist organizations have shown that more 50% of scientists do not believe in the "accepted" big-bang theory that states the universe and everything came into being approximately 14-15 billion years ago. But again, you are bringing in popular opinion to something that should be based completely on observations and reproducible tests.

    There has been much observed, tested, and reproduced that show "micro-evolution". Speciation, adaptation, and loss of genetic information fit perfectly with entropy and the "laws" of nature. I also have not seen anywhere that this has been disputed. There has never been a test or experiment that reproduced the theory of "macro-evolution".

    To take it one philosophical step further,
    -The big-bang was not observed.
    -The big-bang cannot be reproduced (if it were it would most certainly destroy everything in the massive gravitational collapse leading to the bang)
    -"Macro-evolution defies several accepted "laws" such as entropy, physics (having neighboring galaxies rotate in opposite directions when they were created by the same event), known astro-physics, and other "laws"
    ----Therefore, it does not meet the requirement of true science in that it is not observable, reproducible, or conforming to scientifically proven laws. So let's call it what it is; "Macro-evolution" is as much of a religion (actually called naturalism) as creationism.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Acklan View Post
    So if someone cannot see, prove, or explan something they have faith, or believe in, they are irrational?




    You appear to be very agressively trying to dismiss him as irrational. Why is that?
    There is no God before the athiest looking in his mirror.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scfire86 View Post
    Would that make his point less valid?
    Couldn't say for sure.It would be interesting to see the reaction he'd get by announcing in the middle of one of the biggest religious gatherings in the world that there is no God in any shape,form or name.
    I doubt that wheelchair has that many horses under the hood to allow him to escape.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fireinfo10 View Post
    There is no God before the athiest looking in his mirror.

    Or,the atheist could be proving the joke about ,"If you don't think that the Good Lord has a sense of humor,just look in the mirror".

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    Quote Originally Posted by fireinfo10 View Post
    There is no God before the athiest looking in his mirror.
    I cannot remember where I heard it but it is also said, "There are no athiest in fox holes".

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    I typed a lengthy reply to ChiefKN this morning which my laptop promptly devoured... Let's try this again.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Theologians will tell you that reason alone is insufficient to explain the origins of the universe. In fact, the origins of the universe are only theoretical.
    Theologians may well be right but, alas, they're only speculating.

    Remember science has been wrong before...
    The nice thing about science,however, is that is expects to be wrong and adapts when new evidence is discovered/understood. Religions, OTOH, tend to remain steadfast in their dogmas despite evidence that contradicts them.

    The theory on the origin of the universe, even the "big bang" is now being questioned..
    Not really. As theories go, the general Big Bang model remains well supported. There are numerous sub-theories about the finer details but the core theory has stood up well with new evidence. The real focus now is on what happened "before" the Big Bang. (Although "before" is something of a misnomer for things that happened prior to the existence of time as we know it.)


    I'm an evolutionist, let me be clear about that. However, as you point out, it's a theory.
    And a very well supported theory at that.

    I think you need to take a step back. Calling a belief in faith "silly" is not only counterproductive but insulting.
    I think you need to take a step back. I haven't called faith "silly." I merely observed that it's "irrational."

    Finally, to deny that you are being judgemental is bizarre. When you state that one must have proof in a belief or it is "irrational" you are then passing judgement on that "proof".

    It's not a matter of definitions, it's how you, as the observer, are judging that proof.
    You could say that any statement is "judgemental" in some trivial way but that's the only way it applies. Rationality is an objective system independent of observer. There are no "opinion's" about logical deduction; just logical rules.

    Faith exists without logical proofs. It is independant of reason which requires facts and objective evidence. That's the definition of "irrational." No "judgement;" just the English language.

    irrational: not governed by or according to reason
    reason: sufficient ground of explanation or of logical defense; especially : something (as a principle or law) that supports a conclusion or explains a fact
    fact: something that has actual existence
    faith: firm belief in something for which there is no proof
    Quote Originally Posted by Acklan View Post
    So if someone cannot see, prove, or explan something they have faith, or believe in, they are irrational?
    Nobody has made that statement. Faith itself is, by definition, irrational. The question of whether someone is irrational is another, larger issue.

    You appear to be very agressively trying to dismiss him as irrational. Why is that?
    I've been no such thing. I haven't tried to dismiss anyone as irrational. (I will point out, however, the irony of your irrational inference. )

    Quote Originally Posted by voyager9 View Post
    While the underlying concept of the word describes something that it's not based on logic all of the definitions have a negative connotation.
    And there's the rub; the diffeence between denotation and connotation. There's seemingly a sort of unconscious hypocrisy where religious faith is concerned whereby people don't think twice about holding patently irrational beliefs while resenting any observation that those beliefs are irrational.

    Faith can be described as irrational since it is not based in logic. That doesn't in and of itself make it a bad thing. Unfortunately doing so also brings the negative connotations with it..
    Agreed. You summarize my point quite nicely.

    Quote Originally Posted by HuntPA View Post
    I must object to your reasoning and logic on your two points.
    1) macro evolution is not a red herring. It is a way to separate what has been scientifically proven from what is a theory.
    Which is why it's a red herring. No part of the theory of evolution has been "proven." Making such a statement shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what a "theory" is. So-called "macro evolution" is a straw man cooked up by Creationists that only obsures actual science.

    2) Recent studies done by atheist organizations
    Atheists organizations? Would you name some? In my experience, atheists tend to be rather disorganized sorts.

    the "accepted" big-bang theory that states the universe and everything came into being approximately 14-15 billion years ago
    Assuming such a study exists, that's possibly because classic Big Bang theory makes no such claim. I'd be very interested in seeing the study if you have a citation available.

    There has never been a test or experiment that reproduced the theory of "macro-evolution".
    Probably because the theory of macro evolution only exists to Creationists; not scientists.

    -"Macro-evolution defies several accepted "laws" such as entropy, physics (having neighboring galaxies rotate in opposite directions when they were created by the same event), known astro-physics, and other "laws"
    I can only suggets that you've been reading too many Creationists tracts and not enough actual science.

    Quote Originally Posted by doughesson View Post
    Couldn't say for sure.It would be interesting to see the reaction he'd get by announcing in the middle of one of the biggest religious gatherings in the world that there is no God in any shape,form or name.
    It might be fun to watch but let me observe that it's just as irrational to state that "There is no God" as it is to state that there is. No evidence exists to support either conclusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Acklan View Post
    I cannot remember where I heard it but it is also said, "There are no athiest in fox holes".
    A speculation that has been widely disputed by men who have spent time in foxholes.
    Last edited by DeputyMarshal; 09-07-2010 at 09:37 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    I typed a lengthy reply to ChiefKN this morning which my laptop promptly devoured... Let's try this again.
    And who do you think killed your laptop? It must be divine will!
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    Quote Originally Posted by voyager9 View Post
    And who do you think killed your laptop? It must be divine will!
    Considering it was shortly after 5 am I'm going with bleary eyes, fat fingers, and way too little caffeine on board.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    I typed a lengthy reply to ChiefKN this morning which my laptop promptly devoured... Let's try this again.
    I have an irrational faith in computers.

    I think you need to take a step back. I haven't called faith "silly." I merely observed that it's "irrational."
    I didn't say you did. You copied a response to someone else that I made... you then responded to that comment. My response to you, ugh... this is stupid, let me simplify this.

    I know you didn't say that. However, you jumped on me for calling it immature, but failed to even respond to someone using the term silly. Regardless, who cares.

    You could say that any statement is "judgemental" in some trivial way but that's the only way it applies. Rationality is an objective system independent of observer. There are no "opinion's" about logical deduction; just logical rules.
    You can try to rationalize it as being trivial, but it's judgemental, pure and simple. You and I have dithered over the definitions of many different words, however, it's clear that you have made a judgment about the "proof" that those with faith have that support their faith.

    Which is what started this lengthy (but enjoyable) back and forth.

    Faith exists without logical proofs. It is independant of reason which requires facts and objective evidence. That's the definition of "irrational." No "judgement;" just the English language.
    I think that applying the word, "irrational" here and not using it to describe unproven scientific theories is of a specific design. That design is to diminish religion. You can couch it however you want, but I think it's prejudicial and calculated.

    Nobody has made that statement. Faith itself is, by definition, irrational. The question of whether someone is irrational is another, larger issue.
    Again, I cannot find "irrational" in any definition of faith and the opposite is also true.

    We've come to a stalemate. I anticipate your response, but I'm not sure I have the energy to continue this.. I'm not accustomed to defending faith or religious beliefs.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    I have an irrational faith in computers.
    Okay, now that's silly. Computers are the evil spawn of Cthulu.

    You can try to rationalize it as being trivial, but it's judgemental, pure and simple.
    Agree to disagree on that one? I think we're at a divergent philosophical "angels dancing on the head of apin" impasse on that one.

    it's clear that you have made a judgment about the "proof" that those with faith have that support their faith.
    Good heavens, no. The faithful have no need to support their faith. They don't need any "proof" either. If they had "proof," it wouldn't be faith and the issue would be moot. Faith is irrational. That just means it stands apart from reason but reason isn't everything.

    Which is what started this lengthy (but enjoyable) back and forth.
    I'm glad we're both enjoying it. It's not a discussion I would have predicted having on FH.

    I think that applying the word, "irrational" here and not using it to describe unproven scientific theories is of a specific design. That design is to diminish religion.
    But theories are by theri nature "unproven." Is it irrational to presume that theories are facts? Absolutely. If I've led you to believe I think otherwise, mea culpa.

    You can couch it however you want, but I think it's prejudicial and calculated.
    If it's "prejudicial," it's only because I've had this discussion before and, so far, nothing new has been introduced so I'm pretty comfortable with its progress. As for calculated, only in the sense that I've chosen my terms carefully to try and avoid any confusion of meanings.

    Again, I cannot find "irrational" in any definition of faith and the opposite is also true.
    Look back at the chain of definitions in my last post. Those were extracted from Merriam-Webster.

    I'm not accustomed to defending faith or religious beliefs.
    Do they need defending? IMHO, faith most certainly does not. Were you assuming that I consider being irrational inherently a bad thing?

    (There are certainly some religious beliefs out there that are pretty squirrelly but I'm not about to start throwing stones here. )

    I've enjoyed our chat.

    Pax!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    Do they need defending? IMHO, faith most certainly does not. Were you assuming that I consider being irrational inherently a bad thing?

    (There are certainly some religious beliefs out there that are pretty squirrelly but I'm not about to start throwing stones here. )

    I've enjoyed our chat.

    Pax!

    aka Rev. Bob
    All theories or ideas get defended at some point. Religion and politics are often in the middle of these discussions.. I know I'm not telling you anything you haven't heard. Also, why its a violation of our bylaws to even bring them up in a meeting!

    I also understand the nuance of "irrational" as you are using it and that its not a bad thing, its just a "thing". However, I think that it can be seen as an elitest approach to those with faith.

    I think I've made it clear that I don't have faith in there being a supreme being. However, I think we should be careful not to mock what we don't understand or believe (no reflection on your posts, btw). Like I've said, through whatever cause, psychological or divine, I have seen people get incredible strength and healing through their religious beliefs. In fact, I respect many of the religions for the moral and ethical void they have filled in mankind's history, fully appreciating the evil that it has also brought.

    I also enjoyed this, it really stretched the wrinkles out of my brain.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    The comparison to smoking is bizarre.

    I wasn't defending others being christian. I guess this discussion is a bit too philosophical for some on these boards.

    I guess if you are so threatened by a belief in a supreme being that you have to call those beliefs silly, then you have more important issues.
    I'm threatened by no such thing; in fact, I find it quite amusing (until the overzealous start dicking with my life and the lives of others with their do-goodery). And my comparison was sound; I used it to counter the logical fallacy you presented as evidence (appealing to the masses). Just because millions of people smoke cigarettes doesn't make it good for you...and just because millions of people believe the magic of religion (in spite of zero evidence supporting it) doesn't make the act reasonable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThNozzleman View Post
    And my comparison was sound; I used it to counter the logical fallacy you presented as evidence (appealing to the masses). Just because millions of people smoke cigarettes doesn't make it good for you...and just because millions of people believe the magic of religion (in spite of zero evidence supporting it) doesn't make the act reasonable.
    It's a bit of apples and oranges.

    There is overwhelming evidence that smoking is in fact BAD for you. Whereas there is zero evidence one way or the other for the 'magic of religion' as you put it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuntPA View Post
    To take it one philosophical step further,
    -The big-bang was not observed.
    -The big-bang cannot be reproduced (if it were it would most certainly destroy everything in the massive gravitational collapse leading to the bang)
    -"Macro-evolution defies several accepted "laws" such as entropy, physics (having neighboring galaxies rotate in opposite directions when they were created by the same event), known astro-physics, and other "laws"
    ----Therefore, it does not meet the requirement of true science in that it is not observable, reproducible, or conforming to scientifically proven laws. So let's call it what it is; "Macro-evolution" is as much of a religion (actually called naturalism) as creationism.
    As we understand those laws today. That could change at some point in time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by doughesson View Post
    Couldn't say for sure.It would be interesting to see the reaction he'd get by announcing in the middle of one of the biggest religious gatherings in the world that there is no God in any shape,form or name.
    I doubt that wheelchair has that many horses under the hood to allow him to escape.
    Would it be any different than an African-American muslim saying "Allah akbar" at a KKK rally? Or even a christian church?

    Your proposal (and mine) only prove to folks like me why religion is more harmful than beneficial.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThNozzleman View Post
    I'm threatened by no such thing; in fact, I find it quite amusing (until the overzealous start dicking with my life and the lives of others with their do-goodery). And my comparison was sound; I used it to counter the logical fallacy you presented as evidence (appealing to the masses). Just because millions of people smoke cigarettes doesn't make it good for you...and just because millions of people believe the magic of religion (in spite of zero evidence supporting it) doesn't make the act reasonable.
    Just stick with calling it silly. I don't expect any deeper comments from you.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  24. #74
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    These debates have been going on for millennium. But there is a paradox that exist with science and religion. It is possible for a scientist to not believe in God. And if that is his or her belief so be it. That is not mine. But for the religious to dismiss scientific results is a contradiction in terms. Correct me if I am wrong but I was always taught that everything is of God's will. Everything is of God's making. Therefore the factual scientific discoveries (not the theoretical) would be part of God's will. Even the theoretical discoveries would be God's will giving man the ability to think. God gave man the mind of discovery and curiosity. So when science discovers something then under Biblical belief it is God's will. I know some religious people that dismiss all scientific advancements, even health care issues. But these are the same people that drive cars, wear Nike, watch TV and fly to other countries for vacation. I call them hypocrites. Everything they do is connected to science. Up until a short time ago given the history of our world, man believed that lightning, the harvest and the flight of birds were a miracle of God. We now understand what makes all of these things happen, but does that make them any less a miracle of God? I think in today's world the two need to coexist and should. Besides I believe religious belief in God (or whatever the language interprets) envelopes those things that cannot be measured or quantified, faith, hope, love, charity and morality to name a few.

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    There are several atheist organizations:
    Atheist Alliance International
    American Atheists
    Atheist Student Alliance
    Freedom From Religion
    . . . .etc

    But back to the original article. . . .
    I believe that the main issue that I have with the whole debate is that one side will willingly acknowledge that this is theological debate while the other says that it is science versus religion. After reading this post, I would have to say that most involved are intelligent enough to realize that the origins of the universe can never be scientifically proven. This means that it will always be a debate of theories, beliefs, and conjecture.

    I state this just so that, hopefully, no one will take this banter and become overly upset, angered, or otherwise bent out of shape. I enjoy a good philisophical debate as it exercises a part of my brain that is dormant most of the time.

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