TED Conversations

Harun A.M Hassan

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Most of the worlds population believe in some sort of higher being, deity, god... even though the world of science has produced things that would make many people think twice about how things function... there are much more simpler things such as yawning which actually has no scientific explanation I'd like to know what the TED community has to say...?


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    Jan 29 2014: Whether you believe in God or Science depends on how you "interpret" the available evidence.
    To me, it is more likely that the fossil layers were formed by a tectonic flood than by slow accumulation. All we actually observe is fossils in layers. How they got there is conjecture. We didn't witness the event.

    • Jan 29 2014: Sigh!

      For the Nth time Peter. No, it is not mere interpretation. It is not conjecture. Scientific investigation is not about wild guesses, but about the data confirming or falsifying the hypotheses until there's strong enough evidence that we are right. There's no evidence of a "tectonic flood" forming those layers, there's evidence of some floods, some dry seasons, some this some that. Geologists don't go around making up things. They check, analyze patterns of erosion, patterns of deposition, what water does, what wind does, what the materials are, the way crystals form when rocks solidify, what that means in terms of being able (or not) to date those rocks, long long long etc. On the scientific side it is not conjecture at all. On the creationist side it is cherry-picking and misrepresentation of data. On the creationist side it's all about blurring people's mind and keeping them ignorant of how science actually works. That's the only way someone like you could claim with such confidence that it is just a matter of interpretation and conjecture: because they make sure that you will not know how it is actually done.

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        Jan 31 2014: Repetition honors your optimism! But for some, simplicity is essential for their peace of mind.

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      Jan 29 2014: I suggest not all proposed explanations for things not directly observed are equal. Some better fit the evidence than others.
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        Jan 30 2014: Agreed; but the 'fit' is down to individual interpretation.

        • Jan 31 2014: Just because on the creationist side it's down to individual interpretation does not mean that this is so on the scientific side.

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          Jan 31 2014: Hi peter, I guess some things are a matter of interpretation or opinion.

          You and I might have different interpretations about what a movie meant. Fair enough.

          When it comes to the best scientific explanations not all interpretations or presuppositions are equal.

          just explaining what we observe, say catching a cold and getting better, you can apply whatever supernatural framework you want ......believe you were cursed by your neighbour poor upset some spirit, but then were healed by the great juju, or because you prayed to some saint. All unverifiable.

          Some things can be twisted to support religious dogma . Others you have to ignore or interpret in some dodgy way.

          again not all interpretations are equally valid.
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          Jan 31 2014: So you accept Thor as a valid individual fit for the cause of thunder? Still?
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        Jan 31 2014: The scientific community is split on this subject, albeit with the vast majority on the evolution side. The dissenters do so for perfectly valid scientific reasons however; nothing to do with spirits or juju or anything like that. This means that, at core, we have a difference of scientific opinion.
        We don't need rocket scientists to understand the fossil problem; common sense is enough. No-one denies that a creature must be buried rapidly to fossilise. There are fossils all over the world at all depths. Why is it silly do draw the conclusion that they were all buried rapidly? Scientists have been drawing this conclusion for years, as have ordinary guys like myself. Perhaps someone would care to explain where the logic fails.
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          Jan 31 2014: Given the fact, that nature is bursting full with its creatures, as it was back at those times as well, we'd find surprisingly little fossils for the abundance there once was if a single incident was its cause, don't we?

          Highly dense finding sites of fossils are known to have been of the right conditions in the past to preserve corpses from natural decay, such as swamps, quicksand or changing sand banks within rivers, which logically explains the mismatch in numbers of fossils vs the abundance in which life thrived on this planet at those times as well.
        • Feb 1 2014: The ****knowledgeable**** scientific community is far from split on this subject. You have to understand the many sources of evidence before your opinion can count. Those who deny evolution, for example, are either in the wrong scientific field, or else they are not scientists, but charlatans posing as scientists to make a living out of creationists. A clear sign of charlatanry is that creationists will not willfully distinguish between the sciences they deny. They will call them all "evolution."

          Of course there is nothing, and I mean NOTHING, wrong or silly about proposing that maybe all these fossils were buried rapidly. Nothing wrong or silly about proposing that maybe this was due to a global flood. What would be silly is to conclude so before examining much further evidence. This is the part that seems to escape you Peter. We indeed propose all kinds of stuff. But those proposals, hypotheses, don't make it to the main scientific frame until loads and loads of tests support it. So it happens that many actual scientists thought that Noah's flood explained many things. But after tests and tests and evidence on that and evidence on this, they concluded that such is not the case. That things are much more complex than a single global flood would look lille. That nothing looks as if there was a single global flood a few thousand years ago in the first place. That layers here and layers there have different geological histories. That there's been all kinds of events and that these events have taken quite a long time. That this fossil-rich layer has a completely different history compared to that other fossil-rich layer. Etc. Etc.

          But you will not let something as minuscule as understanding the scientific endeavour to deter you from thinking that it's all on equal footing. Right? All conjecture. Right?
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        Feb 3 2014: Hi Lejan,
        You say there should be more fossils because there were many more creatures. Normally I get the opposite argument; that there weren't enough creatures. Why ? Because the coal & oilfields must be taken into account as well. I guess you pays your money & makes your choice.

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          Feb 4 2014: Hi peter, would you give up on your particular interpretation of the bible, biology, geology and cosmology if you came across compelling evidence some elements of this were wrong?

          Or would you look to find a way to make it fit your foundational religious beliefs?

          Personally, I think the scientists would find compelling evidence for a flood or young earth and reach a consensus on this if this was reality.

          I suggest plenty of scientists are theists or deists, but don't find the yec position supported by the evidence.
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        Feb 4 2014: Hi Obey,
        Some of what I believe is undoubtedly wrong. None of us has the complete picture. Eg. At the moment I am investigating my long held belief that Hell is a literal place of eternal torment, at present this looks like it may not be the case.
        Admittedly I use the bible as my main source, but only because it has proven reliable in the past.
        I am open to all evidence, I was not always a Christian. I have always been a practical kind of a guy; that's what led me into engineering. I am fascinated by what makes things tick, & the notion that the complexity around us formed without intelligent input is a non-starter. I am fascinated by the faith of folks who believe this, & enjoy interacting with them. But, no, no-one has come up with a convincing argument yet. Mostly it boils down to ad homonym stuff. YEC's are bogus scientists, we aren't educated, rednecks, etc. etc. When it gets to that, then dialog is a bit pointless.

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          Feb 5 2014: Hi peter, your spirit of enquiry often comes through in your comments, and I respect that.

          I understand the issue about the complexity of life, and the universe. It may be that much of the universe. is not fully comprehensible to most humans. I have learnt lot about atoms but don't pretend to really comprehend what they are. I have mental models around them being made from bits of concentrated energy etc.

          What I don't get is how plugging this gap with a god really helps. The atom is just as complex as it was, now we just have some unexplained agency and process to also explain. To me it looks like personifying our ignorance

          Would you agree that most aspects of life and the universeare operating without supernatural agency. That when a snowflake forms or some lava solidifies or a seed grows into a tree, there is no supernatural force involved.

          My point is life and the universe seems to be operating without gods, it's very complex. Incomprehensible when you get into the details about gravity, and matter and life processes. Maybe origins are similar.

          Just on the bible, big call imo to have confidence in a particular interpretation of a verse, in the English translation being accurate, in the compilation of books in your particular version, in the actual originals being inspired by your bid concept and exactly worded as god wanted, if acid was involved.

          I find the juxtaposition of the Christian texts with the Jewish bible messy. I note the bible, says very little about the trinity, a foundational Christian dogma, very little about help, and mixed messages on so many issues.

          I admire you honesty about changing your views as your understanding develops. There seems lot in different Christian doctrines that is open to interpretation even if you make the implausible leap that what you are reading is the exact words the creator of the universe. wanted us to have via an incredibly add hoc process.

          Yes some times some non theists fall into the fallacy of ridicu
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          Feb 5 2014: Peter,
          I LOVE this.....you say....." At the moment I am investigating my long held belief that Hell is a literal place of eternal torment, at present this looks like it may not be the case."

          After all the times you told me and others that you were warning us if we did not accept YOUR god and YOUR beliefs we were going to hell forever more! And you presented it as fact!

          The practice that causes the divide (god VS science), is often because religious folks present their personal beliefs as proven fact...because it says so in the bible.
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        Feb 5 2014: Hi Obey,
        Maybe we need to ask where atoms came from. They are miracles in themselves; all the masses & forces must be exactly as they are for them to exist. The whole universe is a miracle.
        We can examine nature & understand it to an extent. We can even modify it & generally mess about with it, but we cannot produce dirt from a vacuum, or a human being from dirt. My God doesn't fill gaps, He created & maintains EVERYTHING, ALL THE TIME.
        The bible explains this life very well. It is largely history written in advance. It has very early copies by the thousand; it has far more than any history book. The translations can be a problem, but most are surprisingly loyal to the originals, & more than able to lead one to a faith in Christ. If you want to bypass the translators the original texts are readily available ith literal translations.
        There does seem to be a mental, or spiritual 'lock' whereby it only makes sense to those earnestly seeking truth. Lots of smarter folk than me don't seem to 'get it'. I was quite sure it was buncombe & set out to disprove it to my wife. I did so with an open mind however; I got hooked & the rest is history.

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          Feb 6 2014: I don't know where atoms come from or why they are the way they are.

          is your god concept holding the atoms together and controlling chemical reactions and controlling gravity?

          If so, do you have any proof other than you can't imagine how else all this complexity could work with out a supernatural agency.

          perhaps you are overlooking some of the issues related to the Christian bible. There are several different versions, if you are catholic or orthodox or protestant. Send there wasn't a lit of forethought in regards to the new testament. A bunch of oak traditions eventually written down, dime letters, and a bunch of humans voting what would be included and what wouldn't.

          How do you know your bible is exactly the words your god wanted, to be included?

          And finally. How do Christians know which of their different interpretations are correct. We are human and any test as big as the bible, is open to a lot of interpretations. And many claiming the holy spirit is giving them the right interpretation, but they don't agree.

          I was taught the bible, was the word of god, and a particular literal interpretation was correct, that the world would end string2000, told who the anti Christ might be etc. More I looked into it, the less credible this position seemed. It is ready to get caught in the bubble of evangelical belief.
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        Feb 5 2014: Hi Colleen,
        I present everything as my belief. None of us know these things for sure, they are all beliefs, we are largely products of our environment.
        I have also stated on many occasions that I am open to new information.
        As a matter of interest, the alternative doesn't look that good either.

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          Feb 5 2014: Oh Peter....I haven't noticed that you present everything as your own personal belief. My observation of your comments for 4 years, is that you present it as the one and only truth.

          Honestly, whatever you may be contemplating as an "alternative" afterlife is not of interest to me. I am HERE, NOW Peter, and that is what is important to me. I don't spend time and energy contemplating, pondering, or speculating what may be (or not be) at the end of the human life experience:>)
        • Feb 5 2014: Hi Colen steen its very Fantasy to see Ur Happy mood as a young i want to clarify my conflicts in my life from de last 3-4 years as i m naw in 20ies.... Fist thing to get xplained is Y GOD Need to Create this Vast Universe???
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          Feb 7 2014: hey colen does it not surprise that with such a powerful brain and I reckon you've got several UNI-Degree's and educational background.... spending hours reading and researching... don't you think it's a pity that you don't contemplate on the end of your journey... unless you've got everything figured out
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          Feb 11 2014: Hey Harun,
          I do not perceive a "powerful brain" in myself....no more than any other human. And I do not have "several UNI-Degrees".

          I have indeed contemplated on the end of my journey Harun, and I do not spend a lot of time contemplating the end of the journey, because I am HERE, NOW, and as I wrote in the previous comment....spending time in the moment is what is important to me. I do not have everything figured out, nor do I have a desire to figure everything out.
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        Feb 6 2014: Hi Obey,
        Hebrews 1:3 NIV
        [3] The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
        Looks a bit like. He controls the whole thing day by day, but I'm not sure.
        We can go back to very early scrolls, of which there are loads incl the Dead Sea scrolls, if we want to find exact meanings. The translations are pretty good, but not perfect.
        However, the message of the bible radically changes lives, & has changed the face of the planet. It is unwise to look a gift horse in the mouth. While you ponder the detail, you miss the message. I think your past experience weighs too heavily in the balance. I was blessed with a neutral upbringing.

        @ Colleen
        Like Obey, your previous experience clouds your judgement. I love every day I am spared, but that experience can only be enhanced with the hope of a more wonderful future. My beliefs have opened up channels for me that I would have otherwise missed.

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          Feb 6 2014: Peter,

          That has been your ongoing argument with me.....that my previous experience clouds my judgment. That is YOUR perception and YOUR analysis of anyone who does not agree with YOUR religious beliefs.....that is a choice YOU make. That is the behavior and belief that often causes the divide so many times between science and religion/god.

          I am thrilled that you believe for YOURSELF that YOUR life is enhanced by expectation of a "more wonderful future", and I am thrilled that YOUR beliefs have opened up channels for YOU. That, in no way, shape or form, gives you the right to tell everyone else that our judgment is "clouded" because we do not believe as you do.

          BTW Peter, I will remind you of my "previous experience", as I have told you MANY times...I had 12 intense years of bible study and catholic education, have spent 60+ years exploring various religious/philosophical beliefs, and in particular 20 years of intense, extensive study, research, and practice of several religious/philosophical beliefs. And you still argue that because of my "previous experience", my judgment is clouded......that is too much!!!

          You are preaching again.....still.......whatever!
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          Feb 7 2014: Hi peter,,

          sustains is a bit different than controls

          this verse Is open to interpretation even if you believe it is the word of god.

          Also at the time it was written the human scribes would have had a very different view of what everything is. No idea of galaxies, of atoms, of plate tectonics, photosynthesis, etc. So their interesting might be very different in the implications and details.

          and then there is no good reason to believe it is the word of a god, not just a human construct, or that the Christian god or any god exists as far as I can tell.

          I suggest the bible, is not the only vehicle for profoundly changing lives. The Koran, Buddhist teachings, eastern spirituality, political ideology, the fight for human rights and democracy. Strict adherence to many belief systems or ideologies may key into the same psychological dynamics.

          Science, technology , enlightenment values, the evolution of political systems such as representative democracy, moral development across many culture s both religious and secular have had a profound impact, not just Christianity.

          Christianity has had a profound impact in the west, but not so much in Asia where most people live

          most religions have been intertwined into culture and history to a greater or lessor extent depending on geography.

          I suggest looking at universal elements that provide benefits not the dogmas.

          as to past experience, you seem to easily write off my journey that runs parallel to yours but into the opposite direction. At one stage I may have been at a similar place to you now but my search led to different conclusions.

          I'm aware of the bubble of belief reinforced by subjective experiences and the interpretation of these, circular bible based reasoning, the feeling of community, building an invisible friend etc. It's a powerful web,.

          my position is based on skepticism,logic, reason, evidence. In fact emotion would have kept me in the church.

          look at my arguments please, not assumed experience
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          Feb 7 2014: By the way Christians don't own the Golden rule, or even invent it.

          But no issue with ideologies that promote positive values.

          However they often promote other negative values at the same time and make unsupported claims.
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          Feb 7 2014: Hi colleen, I guess our experience of open enquiry has impacted or judgement.

          for good reasons.

          it's a common Christian technique to discount arguments out positions by putting them down to some bad experience, rather than a sound examination of claims and evidence.

          Leaving the church is not because my cat died or I was molested by a priest. But that is the sort of short circuit theists often look for
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        Feb 11 2014: Yes indeed Obey....our open inquiry has impacted our judgment...for good reasons...with more information.

        I realize that it is a common technique to discount information that a person prefers not to hear, and we often see the same folks telling us that our judgment is clouded, we are uninformed, and probably going to hell if we do not embrace THEIR beliefs. Those kinds of arguments have no purpose except to tell me that the person may be very insecure with his/her own personal beliefs.
        Misery loves company??? LOL

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