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T.o.b.y

Discussions, thoughts and ramblings on religion

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2 hours ago, Artemis said:

I imagine that goes back to base 12 math systems, as well as solar cycles.  Earth chose the number more than we did, we just went with what fit best, lol.

Solar cycles? Could you explain, please? … oh, like in there are four seasons? Split 'em into 3 months each and you have 12?

Okay, we know Earth has roughly 365 days, that's a given … hmm, that doesn't seem to lead anywhere .... 

And why base 12 math? What's the history there? I thought we used base 10 because of our fingers and toes.... :unsure: Clearly my math education didn't go much beyond grade school, in spite of my teachers' best efforts.... :D 

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I think there are plenty of religious people who are also people of science as well.

Certainly. I'm just mystified by people who insist they (religion and science) are incompatible. I can't see it, so of course I keep trying to, because things that don't make sense to me drive me crazy, apparently. :rolleyes:  To me they are (as the Baha'i's would say) two wings of the same bird, and I fail to see the conflict. Differences, yes, but incompatibility, no.

 

22 minutes ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

First thing, the word "deny" implies that deep down in their heart of hearts they know it's true -- yet they are in denial.  Which is to say, it's a loaded term.  "Skeptical" would be more fair, I think.

I can't agree with that, I'm afraid. The people I'm thinking of aren't in the least bit skeptical … they are adamant that the science is fake or wrong. It has to be, because it conflicts with what their church has told them to believe. They will not allow that there might be even a smidgen of truth to the findings. So maybe denial isn't the best word (and I could quibble over your definition, but I won't 😛 ), but "skeptical" certainly doesn't fit, not with the particular people I'm thinking of.

I've had a couple of people say they don't "believe" in climate change, but that phrase doesn't entirely make sense to me; belief is a matter of faith, and the theories about global warming are based on observation, testing, etc., not on faith. It's not something to believe or disbelieve; it's knowledge. We can all draw different conclusions from knowledge, but to, er, "deny" that the knowledge exists, or that it is a real thing … that, I'm having trouble with.

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I read an interesting article a while back that proposed instead of being alarmed by global warming, we should be pleased by global greening.  There were some satellite photos showing how a good many formerly arid areas are now able to support vegetation, presumably due to the availability of more CO2, which is of course necessary for plant metabolism.

To me, that's an example of thinking locally, not globally. Assuming that it is, in fact, a good thing for a desert to bloom and thus kill off all its native species, it still doesn't take into account the devastation wrought by droughts and floods, etc. in other parts of the world caused by the same warming trend. Such things worry me. I suddenly feel the need to go recycle some plastic.

 

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21 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

Earth has roughly 365 days, that's a given … hmm, that doesn't seem to lead anywhere ...

Try rounding it down just a bit.  Ever wonder why we divide a circle into 360 degrees?

23 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

The people I'm thinking of aren't in the least bit skeptical … they are adamant that the science is fake or wrong. It has to be, because it conflicts with what their church has told them to believe. They will not allow that there might be even a smidgen of truth to the findings.

Don't you discount any church teachings that conflict with what science has taught you to believe?

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I do.

Because science provides more evidence and adapts when there is new and more sound evidence.

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1 hour ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

 the definition of "pollution" has changed rather drastically since the concept of antropogenic climate change arose.  I don't think there's much disagreement that things like toxic waste are bad.  But carbon dioxide used to be considered harmless and necessary.

And smoking used to be considered healthy. We have more data now. Maybe in the future we'll come to different conclusions again when we have accumulated even more knowlege but as things stand at this moment in time, it seems wise to me to try our best to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. Regardless of what China, Brazil, or any other country is doing or not doing. Somebody has to make a start. Things sure won't get any better from inaction. At the same time, yes, we should also be putting resources towards preparing for a warmer earth with more natural disasters. It doesn't have to be either / or.

37 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

I've had a couple of people say they don't "believe" in climate change, but that phrase doesn't entirely make sense to me; belief is a matter of faith, and the theories about global warming are based on observation, testing, etc., not on faith. It's not something to believe or disbelieve; it's knowledge. We can all draw different conclusions from knowledge, but to, er, "deny" that the knowledge exists, or that it is a real thing … that, I'm having trouble with.

THIS. I do not believe in climate change (or the theory of evolution or the benefit of vaccines etc). I find the evidence presented by scientific experts convincing. Give me more convincing information from more trustworthy sources and I will change my mind. That's the difference between science and religion, if you think scientifically, you have to keep your mind open to a new definition of truth all the time. If you think religiously, you have to cling with all your soul and heart and mind to the truth of your faith no matter what. I am not surprised that many people find it difficult to reconcile science and religion. I always wonder how my husband does it.

(Eta: My spellcheck is off and I can't seem to be able to turn it on again. Please excuse the typos!)

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2 minutes ago, T.o.b.y said:

If you think religiously, you have to cling with all your soul to heart and mind to the truth of your faith no matter what.

That's not entirely true.  I know some very devout and faithful churchgoers who nevertheless diverge from their church's teachings on matters where their own experience leads them to believe otherwise.

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This is true.

But why stay with that church?

I railed at my Christian pal who worshipped under a homophobic vicar.

She eventually changed her church, but would never admit to me I was right!

Vote with your feet, people.

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15 minutes ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

Try rounding it down just a bit.  Ever wonder why we divide a circle into 360 degrees?

Er … no. But I do now. :blink: What's the connection between a unit of time, and a shape?

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I'm thinking degrees and minutes for angles and minutes and seconds in time...

😵

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20 minutes ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

Don't you discount any church teachings that conflict with what science has taught you to believe?

Probably (I'm trying to remember any church teachings, I'm not coming up with much 😛 ) but … well, what Toby said. Assuming I was taught in church to believe that the earth was born 6000 years ago (I don't think I was; I wasn't raised to take the Bible literally) once I encountered the science of geologic time, I think I would have switched from "believing" to "being convinced by data."

Yet accepting the word of science doesn't necessarily make me disbelieve the word of God … I simply disbelieve the interpretation, I guess. (In the Baha'i Faith, we were told to investigate the truth for ourselves, not rely on the interpretations of others. I don't think that's entirely possible (and in time I learned there were Baha'i's who very much thought their truth was the only truth, same as many other religions) but I do know that's one of the things that attracted me to the Faith in the first place.) Plus I think they (science and faith) operate in different, if overlapping, spheres. I would not turn to the Bible to understand why there are rainbows. But I understand the metaphor of the rainbow as a sign from God, even if I don't believe it's literally a sign, or from God. I'm not sure I'm making sense; I know what I mean in my own head, but I'm struggling to put it into words. 

I guess basically I believe religion doesn't have much, if any, bearing on fact, and vice versa. Faith doesn't need facts, it just needs belief. And morality doesn't "need" either, maybe? I think I've become more interested in moral behavior than either of the other two. To be honest, I don't get much chance to discuss this kind of thing, I'm sure I haven't thought it all through. Hence my hesitation to make a declarative statement. :D 

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I applaud your focus on moral behaviour...

Sometimes atheists like me are accused of being immoral and that makes me cross.

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38 minutes ago, besleybean said:

I'm thinking degrees and minutes for angles and minutes and seconds in time...

😵

Yeah, my brain just doesn't work that way, I never was able to make sense of that kind of thing. I can't make the connection, somehow.

However, I can imagine the cycle of seasons as a circle, always coming around back to the beginning. So in that way I can sort of see a relationship between 360 days, and a circle. But why isn't a circle, then, 365 degrees? Surely we've known about the both circles and the number of days in a year for roughly the same amount of time, haven't we?

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4 minutes ago, besleybean said:

I applaud your focus on moral behaviour...

Sometimes atheists like me are accused of being immoral and that makes me cross.

Yes, I don't see much connection between being religious and being moral. Especially not now.

 

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1 hour ago, Arcadia said:

What's the connection between a unit of time, and a shape?

 

56 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

I can imagine the cycle of seasons as a circle, always coming around back to the beginning. So in that way I can sort of see a relationship between 360 days, and a circle. But why isn't a circle, then, 365 degrees?

I'm pretty sure that the folks who decided to divide a circle into 360 degrees had already figured out that a year has about 360 days.  So either they didn't have the exact count yet, or the year is a bit longer now due to entropy, or they just preferred a nice even 360 because it's divisible by so many nice numbers.  Degrees in a circle were merely an analogy, after all, they didn't have to match up precisely with days in a year.

1 hour ago, Arcadia said:

In the Baha'i Faith, we were told to investigate the truth for ourselves, not rely on the interpretations of others....

I like that!  (And incidentally, the Baha'i Temple is absolutely gorgeous.)

But when I asked you if you'd automatically discount any church teachings that conflicted with what science has taught you to believe, my point was that you're doing basically the same thing as the fundamentalists that you accuse of being narrow-minded deniers.  It's just that you put your trust in a different place.

As Tobe pointed out, scientific truth keeps changing (fortunately!).  So I can see the appeal of putting one's trust in something unchangeable.

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But to me that sounds dangerously like clinging to a false belief, despite the evidence to the contrary.

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Of course it sounds that way to you -- that's why you're an atheist.  But different people see things from different angles.

Maybe it's kind of like trusting your friend even though they don't always live up to your expectations.  If they come through for you often enough, it's worth the other times.

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But I think as humans we are all fully aware of our mortal failings.

Shouldn't it be different with a god on high?

I mean, shouldn't we have higher expectations?

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As has been pointed out, we don't often get the word directly from heaven -- it comes through interpreters, who are human.  Which is presumably one reason why there are so many different religions.

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But suffering is very real.

How could an all loving and all powerful god permit it to happen?

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My take on that is that we're here in this physical form in order to learn things (e.g., patience) that would be far easier -- perhaps even automatic -- for a purely spiritual being.  And learning inevitably involves a certain amount of suffering, especially if the student tries to ignore what they could have learned from what they've already experienced.

And of course, just as in a university, we're all majoring in different things.

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Excuse me?

 I really don't think childhood cancer is a good education...particularly if you die in the process.

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If I believed that death was the end, I'd agree with you.

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But you see that's the thing...holding onto that 'belief'...which you don't know is true.

Whereas we know the suffering is real.

But anyway, you think that is acceptable?

For a divinity to inflict(or at the very least not prevent) that suffering on an innocent?

I cannot accept that..it is totally immoral to me.

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