Nicholas Lukowiak


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Religious folk need to stop downing non-religious folk and vice versa. Faith is not where character lies, what we ask, preach, and say is.

TED has proven to dictate that intellectualism does not mean non-fundamentalism in respect to thoughts, opinions, and ideals.

Faith holders: Understand that those who do not have faith in a God(s) are skeptical to evidence, and to any of these skeptics do not find any one source, a bible for example, to being a credible source therefore it is just one source and not many. Do not think the skeptics mean you harm by denying your beliefs, they are just trying to understand, most of the time.

Skeptics: Understand faith unless willing to be mixed with logic, reason, and hard evidence will remain abstract. Do not down in any manner someone's faith because then their eyes and mouths shut to you automatically and you will really not be able to argue and have a discussion with them (if that is your choice). You must mix your own faith values within your reasoning against religion in order to be respected when disagreeing with them. Remember this is all about faith, not just the cold hard facts. Even facts are updated, wrong, or irrelevant as can anything else be.

Stop thinking these two ideals are so separate. Science vs. Religion. Religion started due to not knowing and wanting to answer the biggest questions in human history, science started to answer the same questions. The difference lies within the practices and the traditions carried throughout history.

Where is the common ground, is where we must discuss and see eye to eye. This is the biggest evil of all time, that fact ideologies will prevent people from helping and even starting people to hate another based on thoughts not actions.

I am generalizing, but this topic is too big not to.

Atheism does not mean they are immoral people, it actual seems to be the opposite. While religious faith holding does not mean ignorance, however remember ignorance does lie with not seeking/accepting information.

My idea is simple, find tolerance and practice it, love is what every human wants so lets start there.

  • May 13 2011: Science tries not to step on people toes, but religions tap dance and trod all over science. Stem cell research, abortion, all sorts of different things have been blocked by Christianity based off of silly bronze age superstitions. Scientists are perfectly willing to let the Christians go on being Christian (you shouldn't tell a small child their imaginary friend doesn't exist just to upset them,) we can't make Christians grow up, but they can't try and dumb down sciences the way they do. I wish we Atheists would allow them to see what its like to live in the time period that they base their whole belief system off of. No medicine, plumbing, cars, phones, television, printing press. God didn't make the universe, but we can't these poor sightless children of that. But god sure as hell didn't give those hypocrites all those other things they are happy to make use of. Im sure Christians will try some stupid argument to take credit for all those inventions, but the ever-growing enlightened masses know better. Give them a while without medicine. If they're right, they'll all survive because they are bestest friends with a funny bearded magician in the sky. Or we atheists are right and natural selection happens. No more religious people, so then science can finally flourish, Darwin FTW!
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      May 13 2011: How can skeptics vs faith holders find common ground ultimately?
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      May 13 2011: darwin believed in god?
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        May 13 2011: If anything Darwin was an ignostic.

        Check it out Tim.
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    Apr 23 2011: Maybe people who don't like downing people need to stop downing people who like downing people and vice versa. :-D
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      Apr 24 2011: are you suggesting that"people who like downing poeple" are useful contributors to conversations here or anywhere?
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    Apr 23 2011: A nice post Nicholas and a good conversation..isn't the heart of what you are addressing very similar to the heart of the TED talk on being wrong?. that we get so attached to our own ideas and beliefs that we build a wall that prevents real communication or even seeing real possibility. And it's not just's greenies, advocates,. peace & social justice people.Intolerance..a quickness to judge and dismiss those who disagree or just do it differently seems to be especially prevalent amongst people who think they are speaking and living from a moral high ground. Again critical thinking, something I know you value, is what can keep us from that...allow us to do good, serve others, work for peace and economic justce from a place of equanimity, a place without walls.
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      Apr 23 2011: Exactly, you learn far more from being wrong than right. This is what is what is wrong with academia. They make it yes or no questions while the world works on negotiable answers. It leaves a lot of room for error as children develop.

      Critical thinking is the enemy of the modern world, if we taught every child to be able to ponder ideas that our fore fathers of thought wished they could have considered (including advanced philosophies of both western/eastern) the world would know peace or become closer to it in no time.

      Our short sighted educations do not make us practice moral issues in thought. So, when we are faced with moral dilemmas it is up to the cognitive education they received from family, religion, and community to perform. An education where morals are not only practiced and understood they would be at the root of all other thoughts. Ideally making students consider the biggest, most logical, and soundest path of thinking. Today, kids "hate" math. 1 + 2 = 3 is a logical conclusion. Teach it as such and math before calculus is childs play. Opinion of course, no system really teaches math in due process of logic.
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        Apr 23 2011: what if instead of learning math by rote..even tiny (young) people via skype could skip over the mediocrity of normal schooling al together and explore math with leading mathemeticians??? have interactive discusions with top mathemeticians and scholars? Adults come to thsi weddedness to their own knowledge and expertise because they have never been in a setting that encouraged or required critical thinking. That weddedness to our own ideas is deeply imbedded in our culture. our identity. I think one can see even through the e-Salon of TED conversations that some light begins to shine through..that we all move together to a different page..a different way of thinking about important issues..and moving together toward solutions. Lots of stuff on TED asking what we can do for children..maybe you could chair grade school e-salon here at TED that brought live interactive convesrations via skype with great thinkers and leaders?Maybe we could get some of our TED talk people to do talks aimed at stimulating critical thtinking in young people?
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          Apr 23 2011: I would say TED is already stimulating critical thought by having this website available for anyone. These short simplified videos of complex theories is the critical thought in action, however people are just not aware of that. We do not recognize automatically what it takes to think in due processes. I would say a great lesson to teach is to teach a mental scientific theory in which children can reflect on to analyze.

          Ideas like Descarte formulated.
          - To accept nothing as true that is not recognized by the reason as clear and distinct.
          - To analyze complex ideas by breaking them down into their simple constitutive elements, which reason can intuitively apprehend;
          - To reconstruct, beginning with simple ideas and working synthetically to the complex.
          - To make an accurate and complete enumeration of the data of the problem, using in this step both the methods of induction and deduction.

          This is a structured way to go about critical thought, but really any challenge to mental awareness is critical thought. As far as doing something in public eyes, I have no credibility beside my thoughts. I am only 20 with no degree or publications. I rather just give my ideas out to anyone willing to use them to better the world of education for the better of the world.

          Even if i did publish, I wouldn't take profit. Ideas are supposed to be free. Profit would go to the education systems that promote critical thinking to expand.
  • Apr 21 2011: Science vs. Religion is depressing. I think people lose sight of the fact that science is just controlling variables to get at the heart what's really going on. There is obviously room for debate on the precipice of knowledge but to argue with what is considered hard fact based only on the presumption that the truth makes us uncomfortable is something we need to get over. Mose religious people don't have a problem with science, and dare I say the people that do seem to be either uneducated or at least uneducated to the field of which they are contrarian. There is too much at stake to continue to have such a discouraging debate, and yet it goes on and on and on, and one can't help but try to do his part to shed whatever little light he can. It's too bad.

    As a side note. If there is some intervening god we should be thanking him for the idea of science because without not only would the world be a much more dangerous place, but the dangers that still pervade are enormous, so without it we would be in a lot of trouble. So thanks God, for showing us the way :)

    Also as to the main point to stop criticizing religion is like ceasing to criticize politicians who oppose our view. Debate, even if it become fervent and downright insulting is what Democracy is all about!
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      Apr 21 2011: Deaven,

      How can skeptics vs faith holders find common ground ultimately?

      Great response though!
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    Apr 19 2011: I think faith is a very personal experience and should be as opposed to more of a community experience because when the latter is enforced, you see a lot of politics and opposition. What happens is that people feel like they are not only carrying their faith but their entire community along with their problems, bias, beliefs, mistakes, and so on. I've heard so many people say that they don't reveal they're faith because people tend to judge them not based on who they are and what they believe but rather what they're religious community has done. It's very weird and is definitely one of the reasons why people feel repelled from faith, religions, and so on, which in turn is why people don't really have a good opportunity to explore their faith, what they believe, and ultimately who they are.
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      Apr 19 2011: So where is the common ground Sargis?

      You have pointed out the traditional flaw with faith, it privatizes it and makes faith a value and not just faith. Which I agree on.

      I think everyone needs to place their morals into everything they say and do then anyone religious or not would be able to group together under a bigger blanket. Everyone wants the same things even if they are on different levels of want/need. Food, shelter, companionship, entertainment, and education so what stops the world from giving 5 things to everyone? (Now, that is tough)
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        Apr 20 2011: Where is the common ground? Good question. I think that first and foremost, people need to not be afraid of exploring their faith and religion because exploration is a large part of the equation...exploration of yourself, of your thoughts, of your life, belief, and so on. If this is prevented, faith becomes a dictation, not faith, and this is why religions fail a lot. Not because they are bad but rather because a lot of religious leaders tend to dictate what they believe and kill the exploration, creating some sort of one-way road for all theists to walk of and if they don't, they are threatened to face a lot of problems. This naturally generates fear and it creates a bad impression of what faith really is or what a religion preaches at its core. If this stops, the common ground will start to appear but while people are fear stricken, forget about that ever happening. Religion is not supposed to be about fear. It is supposed to be about destroying all of your fears when approaching God. So its a bit ironic.

        Another thing that theists need to understand is that God is one. I've studied various religions, which is one of my favorite activities, and the similarities between religions and the core messages is outstanding. If you look back in history, you'll notice that religions came into existence and specific periods of time, in a specific location, for a specific group of people. Yet they all have so much in common. In my opinion God is one. End of story. And there are so many approaches/religions because there are so many types of people. One religion can never work for EVERYONE. If people realize this, as well, the common ground will be found quite easily.
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          Apr 20 2011: So you agree that the foundation of the common ground should be based on the idea of oneness, life, and needs?

          Or do you believe people still need to be educated from the beginning how to keep open-minded and practice it as a value?
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        Apr 20 2011: A lot of things do need to be taught, people don't inherently know everything, but not through threats, violence, fear, emotional blackmail, and so on. It needs to be done in a pure, open, respectful and loving manner otherwise all the teachings are taught in vain. I believe that most of the teachings in most religions are based almost entirely on life, values, morals, and so on but owing to religious politics and especially the manner that religious scripture is taught, it is belittled and the powerful messages just come in through one ear and go out the other.

        So I guess you can say that both are required in proper measure and must be conveyed in a proper manner.
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          Apr 20 2011: Ah, thank you.

          Conclusion here: Education will solve the problem of faith holder vs skeptics. By teaching critical thought and all world religions (while accepting each others heritage of religion) the world would start connecting on a scale never seen before in history.

          Sargis these idea will be written by me one day in a very creative manner, I thank you again.
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        Apr 21 2011: My pleasure. I'd like to just note that I'm not saying religion is unimportant or that it can be easily replaced or something. There is a lot of powerful knowledge in religion that is truly needed but the manner in which it is taught is outrageous at times. It's the same case in many schools I know. So the point I'm trying to make is that spiritual and material education might be different subject matters, but they are both taught in an institution and how you convey your message makes all the difference in the world. Even if you speak the golden truth which is right in every way, if you shout it out and stick it in peoples eyes, they won't see what you're saying or care enough to find out. People need to learn how to talk, especially if they aim to preach...
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          Apr 21 2011: Exceptional and exactly.

          I do not down religions, just those who are fundamental about them.

          If religions were to practice what there foundations are created on, this world would already be united!

          P.S - can't thumbs you up anymore this week!
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        Apr 22 2011: Haha thanks Nicholas. It's alright.
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          Apr 22 2011: beyond alright, spread the word find a foundation!
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    Apr 18 2011: Why do science and religion continually get pitted against each other?

    They are not opposites. They are not even different approaches to the same thing.

    Science is a measuring tool.

    Religion is a guidance programme.

    Sure, you have to take certain things for granted in order for each of these 'views' to work, but that is the only common ground.
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      Apr 18 2011: Exactly.
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      Apr 18 2011: Because they often reach conflicting conclusions on issues having political ramifications, both cannot win, and neither side can give up that ground. The next step is to attempt to resolve the divergence (at best) or undermine the opposing view (at worst) by attacking the foundations of their conclusions.

      This then becomes complicated when they even begin disagreeing over which things count as (legitimate) scientific evidence.
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        Apr 18 2011: I guess the big time atheist scientist who discredited religion as a whole has a lot to do with this, because science has a moral system in it that I could argue is way more sophisticated than any religion. Science ideals come out in Confucianism, Buddhism (Mahayana), and Christian Science.
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      Apr 25 2011: In several biographies of Einstein the story is told of his last day..his nurse asked him if he believed in God and he answered essence..what do you think all my work has been about? I have been looking for God.

      I agree though Scott that faith and science are different looks mainly to what is illumined -- what can be observed, it asks questions that contain our idea of what the answer might be and it finds comfort in replicability..religion ( as opposed to doctrine and dogma..the essence of it) is about the illumination itself.

      The problems come in when dogma and doctrine are taken as ":religion" and catapult us culturally into the polemics of "right-wrong" and to efforts to impose dogma and doctrine on others.The confluence of fundamentalist doctrines ( which have nothing to do with faith) and politics really tests the strength of our constitution to maintain a separation between church and state and undermines our commitment as a nation to religious freedom. When we are confronted every day with the dogmatic red faced fury of "political leaders" who offend our sensibilities and seem determined to make their dogma the law of the land it is very hard to rise above the paralyis of "right=wrong" polemics.
    • Jun 1 2011: Thats right
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      Jun 3 2011: I do not think the real issue is science versus religion, but instead the real issue is atheism versus theism. It is all about how we interpret the results of science. This interpretation is shaped by our worldview. No way around that.
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      • Apr 22 2011: Dear Nicholas Lukowiak,
        OK, I deleted it respecting you and talk.
  • Apr 20 2011: @ Austin and Nicholas. I agree with everything that you guys have said. Something that really sets me off is when I am called "deluded" for believing in the Christian God. I know that atheists do not like being thought as amoral or immoral people. The fire gets stoked when people like RIchard Dawkins not only questions the validity of faith, but he attacks it and attacks the integrity and intelligence of the religious.

    I, initially, tried to stay away from the thread about beliveing in God. I knew nothing good would come of it. I knew neither side would be pursuaded. However, I joined in because I read all the malicious comments that were being said about those that believe. I was not able to stand for that. I do not think I "downed" anyone in that conversation. I think I was pretty civil. I did not attack anyone personally, like I was a few times.
  • Apr 20 2011: Religion and Science
    Action and Reaction
    F and -F
    Maybe, without the existence of one the other would fail to exist.
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    Apr 18 2011: @ Austin and Colby

    Why do you agree?

    An idea is nothing without people expanding it, discussing it, and even arguing over it.

    Where does this seem to apply more often? and why? what starts these back and forths that usually end up being personal attacks rather than an attempt to understand the others faith?
    • Apr 18 2011: Alright.

      My hypothesis on why religious individuals "down" non-religious individuals is because of the insecurity they feel as a result of the non-religious people challenging their fundamental beliefs about life.

      I am unsure of why non-religious individuals "down" religious individuals. Could be from feeling intellectually superior, or could be because they feel religion has caused nothing but harm throughout history.

      @Nicholas and Colby -- What are your thoughts?
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        Apr 18 2011: 1. Well put

        2. Well put

        now, where do we find common ground is still the question
        • Apr 19 2011: We find common ground by approaching the subject uninhibited, free of emotion, presuppositions, and prejudice. Then it is just two humans having a logical debate!
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        Apr 19 2011: Yes,

        Do you feel people have to learn this value in which you have stated or is it already a common one?

        I think in the majority of societies people do not appreciate being criticized, proved wrong, or argued with and that is the result of their environment growing up and being educated in, so how do you approach someone and dictate "you must be open-mindedness" without being offensive?

        (These questions like any other I ask, I would like answered by anyone, in fact I would appreciate it here the most!)
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        Apr 19 2011: "or could be because they feel religion has caused nothing but harm throughout history."
        That one. For me at least. I wouldn't say "nothing but" though. I'd use "more often than not" instead.

        It's a little like racism... it's a fact, it's part of you... but it's used as a barrier and that's never good.

        The real battle militant atheists are waging is for removing the barrier and putting everyone on common ground. About agreeing to go with the proven truth and only embrace the unproven ideas when they don't enforce anything upon people who don't agree with them (exactly because they're unproven). About letting people have choice when it comes to unproven ideas, as opposed to simply taking them by heritage.

        People who agree with those ideals happen to be atheists and agnostics, because religion is typically exclusive - it presents itself as best and nothing but the best. Therefore, the idea of letting other religions be on equal ground becomes ridiculous in each religion's view.

        "What? Black people voting?!? Are you crazy!" is almost as silly today to everyone as "What? Atheists with morals?!? The devil has taken over you!" sounds to any intelligent enough person (including all people of all faiths, races, [insert other separators] here at TED).
        • Apr 20 2011: @Nicholas
          "Do you feel people have to learn this value in which you have stated or is it already a common one?"
          I believe that finding that common ground is a value that does not necessarily need to be learned, but unfortunately many people are taught from birth that their ideology is fundamentally superior to others'. This discourages free thought, and therefore the common ground.

          The fact that religious individuals typically feel differing opinions, regarding religion/faith are inferior, is very unfortunate. This view actually perpetuates itself, too. When people grow up being taught their ideology is the one, true ideology, these individuals become less and less apt to be persuaded by "inferior" views. I agree with you, Vasil. (with the exception of religion causing trouble "more often than not" :))
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        Apr 20 2011: What processes can be made to create a common ground?
        • Apr 20 2011: Encourage empathy, for one. The evident similarity we all share is our humanity. We should start with that.
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        Apr 20 2011: Austin,

        e-mail me off of my profile I would like to ask you a few personal questions if you do not mind, Include a personal e-mail so i respond to. TED system of e-mailing sucks, for lack of a better word.
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      Apr 21 2011: EGO....................
  • Apr 18 2011: I totally agree. :)
  • Apr 18 2011: You are exactly, right!