This conversation is closed.

How, if any at all! can we minimize the conflicts of religion and atheism.

Finding reasonable ways to bridge religion and atheism. As an atheist I firmly believe there is no God or Gods that exist and there are many others that have this conviction. We all know the antagonism that our group receives and such. And we know the antagonism that the religious receive from those that call themselves militant atheists'. Religion is widely dispersed throughout the world, the cultures and customs associated with it are vast and the ethics that radiate from it is breathtaking. These are elements I think that we can't and should never ignore. Which leads me to say that we should seek a middle course between these two systems. But how?

Closing Statement from Kevin Hernandez

This conversation has inspired heated debate among a number of you and only seeks to solidify how robust the antagonism is between these two groups. Some incredible points were brought up, but It looks like we still have a long way to go before harmonizing these far-flung groups.
Thank you for your participation, it was most welcome.

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    Sep 12 2011: I think there are more conflicts between different religions than between theism and atheism.
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    Sep 12 2011: I think it is always more important to acknowledge that we are all humans that share this planet, before looking at differences.

    Disagreements don't need to result in violence. (and most of us never do so)
    We will always experience differences in political or religious views (or which team is the best in a sport)

    I do think that trying to convince one another or just relate viewpoints enriches both parties.

    Like Alain de Botton says:
    What can we learn from religions? What can we use from religions? Which rituals should we copy?
    Same goes for a religion: what can they learn from other religions? What can they use from the brights or skeptics? Which scientific claims should they copy?

    Indeed, polarization and demonizing one another will not help in the first place, but it helps to create an initial contrast between groups.

    As for teaching religion and other worldviews in class: I follow Dennett on that account
    (I think it's here: )
  • Dan F

    • +3
    Sep 15 2011: I became an atheist by personal choice as I grew up. I am now a senior. My upbringing was in a Christian home as a middle child of a large family. I took a social pass in school, but that changed in my late teems, when I enrolled in a bonehead junior college english class and I read "The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is so comprehensible." A quote by Albert Einstein. I committed to be a student, but that was at odds with how I was raised and how I perceived the world. I was truly uneducated.

    I compulsively studied in college. I was a naturalist at heart and biology and chemistry opened my world up and it did not weave well with my religion. That part of my life became frozen in time.

    Religious organizations endorse ignorance as bliss, especially in science. Their appeal is persuasion and common to that tactic is that the awe and wonder of the world is beyond man's comprehension. They certainly have the advantage of inspiring music, rich traditions and are more numerous than nonbelievers, but one thing is missing -- perspective. The evidence and knowledge of the physical world can set you free from this kind of self deception, but it requires an open mind and it is not achieved without the discipline of study.

    So should we try to get along together? I stand for liberty and what I believe. I have that and do that and somehow have good friends that agree to disagree with me on religion and other things for that matter and that's fine with me. I feel extremely lucky to live in a country that enables this personal liberty. No one should underestimate how contentious and dangerous such a position can be for the nonbeliever where religious zealots rule many parts of the world.
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    Sep 13 2011: A good place to start would be to properly understand what each side is. I'm tired of hearing people calling evolution an atheist doctrine. Atheism is not a subset, superset or equal to science. If your religion is incompatible with scientific theories, those theories don't become atheism. On the other hand, if your personal belief is incompatible with scientific theories, it's just wrong. The existence of God may be debatable, but scientific theories aren't. Evidence speaks for science not belief.

    Conversely, I am tired of people saying that Muslims are all a certain way because the Koran tells them to. Just like many Christians, many Muslims don't chose a literal interpretation of their sacred text. People tend to forget that the Bible asks Christians and Jews to do and believe some crazy stuff too and most just don't do it because by so many other standards, it's wrong. So I don't want to have to hear "oh they are like that, it's in the Koran".

    To that I add the more secular a religious person is, the better. Secularism is necessary for all beliefs to flourish without preferential treatment.
    • Sep 13 2011: "The existence of God may be debatable, but scientific theories aren't." - Oh yes they are ! Modern Science - so called - a long time ago moved away from evidence and proof and attempts of this sort of thing and moved in the world of Hypotheses – Today it’s all about Karl Popper’s “Conjectures and Refutations”. Scientists create Paradigms – much like medieval theologians - as to the nature of the Universe – i.e. they make it up, then they agree to agree – This is called the “Scientific Consensus” and then proceed to persecute anyone how disagrees with this – the reality is a lot more medieval than you seem to think – Hence the Sneering is very much part of it – if they could actually prove a critic was wrong by simply proving it quietly they would, as they can’t they sneer and ridicule. When you are trying to find a secret passage in an old house in a movie you tap the walls till you hear the sound change then you know there is a false wall – when you here a sneer from a “scientist” it means you’ve found a dodgy paradigm.
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        Sep 13 2011: Placing scientific jargon and buzzwords amidst the ramblings will not convince anyone but yourself here on TED. If your sole goal is to reassure yourself you are right, may I suggest finding a location with a nice echo. I don't think scientists can do much more than ridicule intelligent design advocates when they seem impervious to argument (to be honest, only a few really bother at all).
        • Sep 13 2011: No, in response to "when you hear a sneer from a “scientist” it means you’ve found a dodgy paradigm." I have not hacked Matts account to do his state of the art sneer reply - he did it all himself - not a fact in site, not a refutation of Popper’s modern scientific method even attempted. I do agree with Matt though: scientists can't do much more than Ridicule Intelligent Design this sort of thing is part of the great unknown – pretending it to be known is just plain dishonest.
        • Sep 13 2011: My main point is about the unknown of these things : so Athiesm is only a belief and a religion
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        Sep 13 2011: Krisztian you're right, I got confused there. You're totally right. Good thing someone clever like you is watching!
      • Sep 16 2011: I believe I see the point that Bianca is getting to. Amid all this information-technologies that are at our grasp whether it be Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, BBC, etc etc etc.., it makes it harder and harder to assort all these different sets of information about pretty much anything. What do we believe and what don't we believe? Global warming and evolution are concepts that are backed up by scientific evidence. I believe it because I see/read the facts and evidence. There are a good amount of people who say they don't believe it, but haven't even bothered to research it or ask people with better knowledge concerning the matter. That's why we have experts of various subjects who clearly are better educated than the common man about these subjects. Which brings me back to Bianca's point: there is definitely a lot of "science" that could be debunked, but for that it has a name: pseudo science. There are countless examples of it in the media. My creative writing teacher is making us watch a documentary titled "Kymatica" which is based on "actual" research and yet is full of inconsistencies and redundancies. Pretty interesting though I guess. But the fact of the matter is that if you are willing to question the so called experts then one must actually do the research himself/herself about a given matter before questioning whatever your questioning. Bianca I would love to hear some "scientific theories" that are false and yet don't fall under the realm of pseudoscience. =)
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    Sep 13 2011: Being just what we are and not trying to impose our views over the others is the best way to avoid any sort of problem or even war. Why are there wars in the name of religion? It happens only when one is trying to take over the other, if things are kept in their places it do be a more peaceful place to live in.
  • Sep 18 2011: Haha! I'm pretty pessimistic on that one.

    Of course I would say promote tolerance and free-thinking. If religious people could stop their condescending stare full of "you'll go to hell son", and if atheists could stop to despise the religious people, automatically labeling them "fairy tale believers", if we could just show a little respect toward each other, and try to understand why one person believes and another does not.

    The problem is, we can't even prevent fans from two opposing soccer team to hate each other, let alone religions and atheism! I say religion vs atheism conflicts are only the symptoms. The root of these conflicts is pride, and the lack of empathy.
  • A Latif

    • +2
    Sep 18 2011: I would like to mention a misleading tendency usualy found in creationist sites: i.e. misinforming the layman that whatever scientists present is no more than “making things up”. Example:

    On the site of the Institute for Creation Research, the link: I found the following:” In order to have an ocean over a billion years old, yet possessing a meager carpet of sediments, the evolutionist must have some process which constantly removes sediments from the sea floor... the evolutionist MUST SUPPOSE SOME PROCESS (the capitalization is mine) which plunges deep ocean sediments into the depths of the earth! The favorite method is called sea floor spreading and suggests that the ocean floor is like a conveyor belt”. End of quotation.

    The above presentation suggests that scientists have a prior intention of a certain concept then they start “making up things” to overcome a difficulty or to make an explanation.
    This incorrect presentation aims to despise science and this lead me to contribute with this comment by which I’ll show below how the concept of ocean evolution developed from actual observations.

    In 1963 Fred Vine (then a post graduate student) and his supervisor Drummond Matthews observed, from actual oceanographic surveys of the deep sea, that there are symmetrical alternating magnetic bands (of opposite polarities) on both sides of midoceanic ridges. This instrumental observation laid the quantitative foundation for the sea floor spreading hypothesis.

    It is the observation of the natural world and the collected empirical data that lead to a scientific theory and not an “intention to make things up” as misleadingly disseminated by creationists propaganda.

    It is interesting and saddening at the same time to observe this repudiation of science, science that affords humanity with real and working knowledge and that lays the basis for our marvelous technological progress.
    • Sep 18 2011: " science that affords humanity with real and working knowledge and that lays the basis for our marvelous technological progress" -no there are two different types of science there is the we have scientific proof of “X science” – this is the stuff that makes Space Shuttles, and there is a we make it up and say it’s true until it’s proved false stuff : Friends - Ross in hospital :“Hi I’m Dr Geller” – “Shut up Ross the word Dr means something in a place like this”
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    Sep 18 2011: Kudos to all human endeavours! Our science is not omniscient or omni- anything, unlike the god of creationists. Scientists are people and they make mistakes trying to figure it all out for your benefit and mine. What is the god of the creationists doing? Or rather, what are creationists doing in favour of advancing our quest for answers other than blowing their fearful horns forever. They seem to take pleasure in blocking all human attempts aiming for provable solutions to the riddle of existence. "No need to try, we already have it, look here,it's in the Bible".
    Give us doubting Thomases a break. We prefer to think for ourselves. No scientist worth his salt claims to have found the "truth". Omniscient gods have been silent about human predicaments for how long? Every time they say something it is through the mouths of interpreters professing nothing less than having a hot-line to divine counsel. They are more sure of themselves than any scientist would want to be.
    Believe in a god if that is what you need to believe in, but please, don't thwart the valiant strivings of your fellow humans. We are travelling on this planet together. Many of us would like to know where we are heading.
    • Sep 18 2011: " No scientist worth his salt claims to have found the "truth". here here !
      And this is what many so call scientits claim - that they have proved the ancient age of the Earth when it turns
      out just to be an assuption they started with
      • Sep 18 2011: Says the super-expert who changed, within a couple days, from "C4 can't be used to date anything older than 5,000 years" to "I am happy with Dino flesh dated by C14 to be 20,000 years." An expert who does not read the history of how the age of the Earth was determined, and just makes such history up, out of her own biased and miseducated assumption that it is all about denying some god. Checking the actual history? Why bother? She just knows that scientists started as follows:

        -What do you want the age of the Earth to be?
        -Well, since we don't want a specific version of some god let us make it 4.5 billion years.
        -Oh but that specific version of a god would be denied with much less than that.
        -Does not matter, if we have to lie, let us lie big time.
        -What when future scientists check our numbers?
        -We will teach in the classroom that they have to make things up to fit our numbers, and chant, as a creed all the way until they become indoctrinated to the idea. This has worked for religions, why wouldn't it work for us?
        -But how will we ensure they do this all over the world?
        -We will find a way.
        -Why not just 6 million?
        -No, 4.5 billion. Start chanting
        -OK. Because we don't want to believe of some specific version of a god the Earth is 4.5 billion years old ... Wait, I just remembered, assuming no salt cycle, salt in the ocean gives me 62 million years!
        -You failed because you did not plonk numbers in a cereal-box calculator. It should be 30,000. Some super-expert in the future will figure this out. So, no, don't even publish that number. We have to get to 4.5 billion years. Evolution demands it.
        -Ah! Evolution, but we can instead claim that evolution can happen in 62 million years and presto! One less lie to keep.
        -You forgot our super-expert. Her numbers have to look more ridiculous than that.
        -OK, OK ... chanting continues ...

        ... and so the history of science developed. Oh. One of these guys was called Popper. The other, I am not sure.
        • Sep 18 2011: Gabo,
          "I am happy with Dino flesh dated by C14 to be 20,000 years."
          as long as you accept it's a rough figure so maybe it's 30,000 or 15,000 years - or even wider.
          In terms of Dnio Flesh 15,000 to 30,000 is miles off 65,000,000 - it it was this old it would have zero C14 in it. You can't say it's 21,254 years or anything like that as you can't calibrate it to anything known once you are past about 2,000 years - so ball park only as we already know C14 varies form year to year.
          The rest of your post on the history was pretty much on the spot ! Well done ! we do communicate !, the age of the Earth is derived from picking an impressive number they think might be large enough for life to come into existence by accident and develop by accident to what we have today... with no external, verifiable, conclusive, Objective scientific proof fo this 4.6 Billion year date.
          It might be this old, if it is, it can't be proved as there is no dating technique known we can use. Other dating techniques like salt increases in the sea and Helium in the air point to a very young ocean and atmosphere - well actually is shows it was 30,000 years since both were cleaned out of salt and Helium - this might have been the start of the air and Oceans or they might just get cleaned out every few thousand years of salt and Helium. Thats what the evidence shows, the numbers is your calculator.
  • Sep 15 2011: As you might note, given the many posts that have been deleted, the conflicts between atheists and creationists are not solvable. But the conflict is not just between atheists and creationists, but between scientists (theist or atheist), and the creationist propaganda machinery that pretends to teach religious beliefs as science. Creationists of certain inclinations spread misinformation with such gusto that it is impossible to feel any respect for them. You give them an answer, and they give you back more loads of misinformation without making the slightest attempt at understanding, or at least acknowledging, that they were given an answer.

    This is why I see no way and no reason to minimize this conflict. These creationist charlatans have earned the mockery and despise. I know. I was very tolerant just a couple of years ago. But not any more.
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      Sep 15 2011: Nothing is for nothing. Maybe your good intent learned something.
    • Sep 15 2011: Gabo, Can you tell us more about how you used to be tolerant ? : If two years ago I told you how due to the lack of a salt cycle the oceans get saltier every year and how this can be used to date them at approx 30,000 years old how would “Gabo the younger” - “Gabo the tolerant” react ?
      • Sep 16 2011: Hello Bianca,

        OK, since this explanation might help you understand my intolerance, it might be considered related to the point of this conversation and not be deleted. So here: what I would have done then is just explain very calmly to you how and why you are wrong (the teacher in me would have surfaced). I would have tried really hard to make the points very clear and then I would have been very surprised that you would jump all over the place adding more and more stuff, often unrelated to the point I am trying to clear up, as if I told you nothing. Even then I would have insisted in the explanations and even added careful explanations to the new points. Of course I would have been very surprised by your confidence at describing me as someone who chants in agreement to every proposal by other scientist, not matter if crazy, but would have not have gotten angry and would have calmly tried to make you see that you have been misinformed about the scientific endeavour. I would not have said anything about despicable creationist propaganda, nor would I have assumed from the beginning that you would be jumping all over the place with more and more misinformed claims, not letting me know if you understood any of my answers to your previous claims or not.

        (There are many processes taking salt out of the water by the way. According to reputable geologists and oceanographers, the rate of salt accumulation is very variable over geological time--meaning it is not constant--, as it is the rate of taking it out, but it seems that these rates ***tend*** to cancel each other out. It seems also that creationists cannot agree on this one, since I found some claiming that the oceans would be around 60 million years old, while accepting, unlike you, that there are processes taking salt out. Only they don't accept these processes to be enough for the true age--billions of years--of the oceans. Of course.)
        • Sep 17 2011: “According to reputable geologists and oceanographers” and if you don’t say this then you become a disreputable quack so “reputable” is not the same as “all” – a tad ‘circular’ this bit.
          “but it seems that these rates tend to cancel each other out.” Can’t you see how they got to this ? they looked at the salt increasing every year then said yieks this dates the oceans at 30,000 years and we 'know', ‘assume’ from our base belief and assumption that the Earth is ancient so somehow somewhere the salt must have come out again.”
          You can’t plonk an assumption in a theory and see it pop out at the other end and call it a ‘conclusion’- you can see how I’m not much impressed with the so called reputation of these ‘reputable’ scientists.
      • Sep 16 2011: Bianca,

        In just a few minutes search I found the following link explaining why the salt cycle is not a good metric for the age of the oceans:
        • Sep 17 2011: Carlin,
          Thank you for this link, I saw your post late tonight and thought "wow a real challenge ! maybe by the end of me reading the link I'll have different view on everything ! I then went out to have a drink with some friends - all night I had at the back of my mind what will I think after reading this article. I've just returned home and I've just read it :
          "The dates calculated by all who attempted this method were wrong because of several fundamental flaws in the system. First of all, to use the salt clock as an actually clock, you must assume that the starting point would be 0% salinity"
          - Yes this 'first flaw' is true... for dating the age of the Oceans but not for dating the maximumn age of the oceans - it they had salt in them to start with the 30,000 years date would be less - that's their first (and major? ) point - this is no point at all when yo think about it !
          In the article the statement is made "In fact, the amount of salt lost from the ocean and the amount it gains are about the same" - wow so there is a salt cycle - go on... explain it to me... they don't ! they just 'declare it"... as a 'fact'. - bit weak (Ok a lot less than a bit weak more like 'nil point'). At the sentance I'm reading I'm thinking "go on show me Millions of tones of salts being dumped from the oceans back on land every year - Come on you can see huge rivers pouring into the oceans on National Geopgraphic - but you can't see millions upon millions of tonnes of sea salts being dumked back on land every year. The article simply 'declares' equlibrium in salt exists but does not show one.
        • Sep 17 2011: Next major point in the article : "the rate might change" - ok point taken but I'm not after precision, I'm after ball park, I'm after 'order of magnitute' and you can see the rivers pour into the oceans, so what if they are up one year and down the next ? these will be percentage points year to year - but not millions of times different - millions upon millions of times 'less' than the present rate - which is what is needed for ancient oceans.
          It says "Despite the known scientific reasons for which this method cannot be used as an accurate natural clock..." what are these 'known scientific reasons' other than the stuff in the article ? is it the hyperfine 'accuracy' stuff - I don't care about that I'm after "order of magnitude stuff" and 'ball park' and 'ball park' dates the Oceans as very young. I mention 30,000 years as the date using this technique. If I'm out by a huge factor of 10 it's 300,000 years - it's still millions of miles away from the 'concensus' date of 4,5400,000,000 years old.
          (PS Helium increases in the atmosphere date the atmosphere at about 30000 years as well) Anyway thank you Carlin for your post : Despite being a girl I so much prefer a "meat and potaotes" fact debate where we can all get stuck in on facts and figures to as opposed to the "you have upset me" sort of posts that have been the reponse so far. Thanks
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          Sep 17 2011: Hi Bianca

          I read this as well. There seem to be two systems which are claimed to remove salt.

          1) Uplifting of the sea bed. Surely if the land uplifts, the water (sans salt) runs back into the sea.

          2) Subduction. Well maybe, but I doubt if much water can squeeze between the tectonic plates.

          What we really need is a history of past salt levels; which hopefully someone is forming. Likewise with Helium & Carbon 14. Keep up the good work.

        • Sep 17 2011: Pete,

          I truly admire that you read the link and saw what Bianca missed, and you told her about these points against her thesis despite you being a young-Earth creationist. This is amazing. I am speechless. Maybe there are communication channels after all. Not with the main creationist quacks. After all their business is lying. But at least there might be communication with the common creationist. Those who have just trusted the quacks and thus not know much better.

          I know that you don't think scientists are right about the age of our planet, but you proved to me that honesty is in the list of at least one creationist. Thanks Pete.

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          Sep 17 2011: Hey Gabo

          Like the new 'you', very sophisticated.

          I do try & read from both sides, but isn't the point that these two alleged routes for salt out of the sea are less than convincing. An uplift removes zero water from the sea; maybe some salt trapped in the mud at the bottom, but not from the sea itself.
          Likewise with subduction. It at least is a possibility, but how do we measure this? Gut reaction would be that very little water would escape the sea this way. More likely that the mantle would escape into the sea, given the probable pressure differences.
          Your side seems to think that the sea salt is in balance; we can (after a fashion) measure the input; but how do we measure the output? May I be forgiven for not just believing scientists when they say it is in balance? I will if I get a tangible mechanism.

          That's some post; my head is twice normal size; I hope Matt reads it!

        • Sep 17 2011: Hey Pete,

          I knew you did not trust scientists, and I knew that you did not agree with the salt-out mechanisms too much. But that's besides the main point: that the guy mentioned at least two ways for salt out, and that you noticed it.

          I don't know yet how they measure/estimate/calculate how much salt goes out by plate tectonics. As for the uplifts. You seem to be imagining that uplifts rise the ocean floor as a tip of sorts, but no. The uplifts can elevate huge basins and salty-water kept up there isolated from the ocean until it evaporates leaving lots of salt up there. Other times huge volumes of water have been isolated from the main oceans by land formations and evaporated leaving salt deposits behind. There is more, and I found the stuff to be quite interesting, but that's, again, besides the point. The point being that you are an example of possible civil and honest communication. You might not agree with me too much. But at least you saw what Bianca did not. Thus I was at least partially wrong about these possibilities for communication (I should have remembered our other exchanges. Those exchanges have been civil, but no way of knowing if you were getting something out of them). That is some advance I would say. But if there is hope for more and better is still an open question. One where my hopes are not high at all.
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          Sep 17 2011: Hi Gabo

          I take your point about uplifts. However the salinity of the oceans worldwide would not be affected by portions being isolated & evaporated. Hence any age calculation made on the oceans would be unaffected by uplifts.
          Of course whether one accepts a worldwide flood or not is also relevant, but I better not chance my luck farther.

        • Sep 17 2011: Hey Pete.

          In order for the evaporated basins not to change the salt concentration of the oceans, you would have to say that none of the evaporated water goes back to the oceans. Then what do you suppose happens with the evaporated water?

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          Sep 18 2011: Hi Gabo

          Yes some of it will find it's way to the sea, and some will find it's way back to the separated sea. Difficult to assess just what difference there would be overall. I guess it would depend on the shape of the surrounding land.

      • Sep 17 2011: Bianca,

        You asked: "Can’t you see how they got to this?" and followed with a wild speculation. I on the other hand, checked a lot of information, both from academic resources, and from creationist propaganda too. I know how they "got to this." It was not the way you suggest at all. But you can check by yourself.
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    Sep 12 2011: Theism will eventually become obsolete so this will solve itself.
    • Sep 13 2011: I agree...but I believe this will take time, a lot of time to achieve. How many generations will it take? Who knows?
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      Sep 13 2011: This is pretty profound!
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      Sep 13 2011: the fifth point you said is really a problem :D . Have to debate that once...
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    Sep 12 2011: Atheism is not completely unrelated to religion...

    Ah, how western scientist destroyed the core meaning of "atheism"... Today when it is said, everyone should immediately think "gnostic atheist" because that is what most "atheist" are practicing (in a belief system)... they do not believe in the idea of "God" as a reflection to an "omni-being" of some sort. Many religions believe the idea of "God" or "enlightenment" can be found in atheistic approaches to philosophy... Thus I feel this question is not well thought out...

    Culture should be more looked at then the "religion" of that culture itself... Christianity in the hands of some is beautiful, they practice being a modern Christ... however in the hands of others whom wish to gain profit from selling religion... can make even the greatest religion, a double sided coin. I mean even Buddhism had suicide bombers in history.. extremism. Nationalism. Conforming to ideas... ideas that are not lined with facts but with imagination are destructive..

    Culture... I must detest should be where you at the question of societal differences.. and then look at what it is to be an individual... Shakespeare says something like 'Everyone wants to be the best'.. well it is no different for cultures.. Cultures are created by the individuals trying to make their groups culture the best! Thus if your religion is apart of your culture, it is part of who you are as well as your want to be the best..

    When confronting someone strongly religious, bear in mind you are not just telling them their ideas are wrong... you are telling them they are wrong for feeling they are right... which is difficult for anyone.

    Come from the grounds religion does not dictate character and that character does not dictate religious philosophy.

    The middle course, is the human believing in any of the many many "belief systems" that exist. The details reside in their belief systems. Mine = naturalistic (daily), transhumanistic (life) and ignostic (religion)
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    Sep 12 2011: For me, it is fairly simple. I have to admit that I have no definitive proof for my own point of view. From that place, it is easy for me to admit that others are in the same boat- just trying to get a handle on the way the world and the universe work and doing their best to construct a coherent world view.
    This leaves me free to be fascinated by the way others see the world and open to hearing their reasons for it.
    It also allows me to reject any attempt to impose their views on me or on others and to actively oppose that imposition in governmental and public forums.
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    Sep 12 2011: Hi Kevin
    A laudable objective. I am a Christian; I have faith in Jesus. You are an Atheist; you have faith there is no God. Neither of us can be 100% certain, therefore we have to apply faith. I think sometimes Atheists miss this point; we are all the same; all in the same boat so to speak.
    If we recognise this fact and treat other faiths as we would treat our own, then we would make progress.
    There does seem to be a self-destruct gene built into most humans though. We seem determined on wipe each other off the planet & if we can use a belief system as an excuse then so much the better, it shifts some of the blame.
    Want to make your faith the one that everyone will join ? Then love your neighbour above yourself; then, whether your faith is true or not, the world will be a better place.

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      Sep 12 2011: I don't think Peter that everyone has that gene of yours. But to treat others in the way you say makes all the difference.
  • Sep 12 2011: Maybe we should teach that Atheism is as much a faith-based system as any other religion?

    Otherwise we can promote thumb wars between the groups (instead of real war) and we all know that victory in thumb wars are determined by who has the biggest thumb.
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      Sep 13 2011: "Maybe we should teach that Atheism is as much a faith-based system as any other religion?"

      That'll just piss off atheists.
      • Sep 15 2011: Honestly, I don't think there is a way to bring two groups together that really want to be apart.

        It is like trying to force two electrons together except I think it might be easier with electrons than with people.
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      Sep 15 2011: i would advice against teaching false statements, even if the goal is respectable.
      • Sep 16 2011: How is the statement false? I have literally heard atheists say that "There is nothing after death."

        Well I guess they would know since they died and came back to life to tell us. (Sarcasm)

        I'm not saying there is a god, but I am saying that atheists DO NOT know if there is NO DEITY or afterlife so they are coming from a stance of faith. (A faith that there is nothing in the afterlife, or no deity)
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          Sep 16 2011: they are wrong. people are often wrong, so better not ask them, but test them with a thought experiment.

          what if a religious christian hears that scientists found out that actually hinduism is right. would they say, ah, damn, i was believing in the wrong thing. lemme catch up on hinduism now? probably not, but simply dismiss the idea.

          on the other hand, what if an atheist hears that scientists found out that the mind exists as a quantum state that survives the death of the body, and in fact eternal. what will the atheist reaction would be? would it be "those scientists must be wrong, i'm quite sure we disappear after death."? or would they saw "wow. that's a game changer."

          conclusion: atheists confuse their guess with their knowledge. but deep inside they understand that this is a guess only. atheist belief system is NOT based on the fact that the mind does not survive the body.
        • Sep 16 2011: game changer.
    • Sep 15 2011: "Atheism is as much a religion as not collecting stamps is a hobby."
      • Sep 16 2011: With the way some Atheists tout their beliefs, forgive me for mistaking it as a faith based system.
        • Sep 16 2011: Are you trying to provoke me?

          Can you name but one of those "beliefs" I am supposed to be "touting"? Please be very careful that it is both a "belief" and that I am "touting" it.

          [Edited some unnecessary stuff out. Right from here.]
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        Sep 17 2011: Once you recognize you are an "atheist" you start collecting stamps...
      • Sep 17 2011: Are you trying to provoke me?

        No, I was implying that even though Atheism does not have some aspects of an organized religion, there are still some aspects to how some try to spread their views that are reminiscent to religion. Thus even if it is not a traditional religion, it may seem like one at times.
    • Comment deleted

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        Sep 15 2011: kids will be bored to hell if you throw out 90% of the school curriculum :)
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        Sep 15 2011: surely not a compulsory one. but i believe in organized schooling, and those schools will have some curriculum-like thing.
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        Sep 15 2011: if it is ontopic, i'm going to respond.

        we have organized everything. companies serve us food, clothing, phones. we go to cinema or theater in a crowd. i see no reason why would it be different with education. training a few persons how to teach children, and having them working with groups of children seems to be a good middle ground between quality and being economic.

        beware! i'm not advocating a solution. i'm merely trying to predict what would naturally emerge in a free society.
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        Sep 15 2011: organized (that is, formal, in group, institutionalized) does not mean standardized (one size fits all). as of now, we cannot afford one teacher per one child. the actual number will vary, but say 5-50 is a safe bet. how to give personalized education in a group? there are a lot of ways i can come up with or know about, and i can safely assume that i know an insignificant fraction of all the possibilities. just some to get the idea: group activities, in which kids can find their most fitting part. autonomous learning with occasional supervision/support from the teacher. thematic temporary group that is composed of kids of similar level and learning capacity in the area (e.g. basic financial decisions and calculations lesson). common learning material (movie, lecture, etc) but individualized testing or not at all (children pick up what they find interesting).
      • Sep 16 2011: I wish people would stop teaching faith based ideals as if they were fact but that is not going to happen.

        Atheism claims to know that there is a lack of something in the afterlife. Humans do not know about the afterlife and thus Atheism is a faith based system. They have faith that there is no deity.
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          Sep 16 2011: no it does not. atheism claims that according to our current knowledge, we expect afterlife not to exist. and they claim that since there is no signs of a deity, we have no reason to believe in any.
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      Sep 15 2011: Normally I stay out of the religion threads, but as an agnostic person, I kind of agree.

      It seems like the exact same underlying personality, only focused on the opposite belief.
      - Belief in something that is utterly unprovable? Check. (Granted, that's by virtue of the idiotic construct of the premise.)
      - Need to convert people to their way of thinking? Check.

      Honestly, the existence or lack of existence of Sky Man is about as relevant as whether there is a hole at some precise set of coordinates on the back side of 51 Pegasi b. How will this make a difference to my day to day life?
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        Sep 15 2011: "Belief in something that is utterly unprovable? Check."

        what would that be for atheists?
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          Sep 15 2011: That it doesn't exist.

          And yes, that is indeed because you can't prove the negative, hence the comment about the idiotic premise.
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        Sep 15 2011: atheists do not say god does not exist. atheists say they don't believe in it. not more than they believe that zeus exists, or rama exists. they have no more reason to believe in god than in rama. they can be wrong about it, and one day god might show himself. but so far, there is zero evidence, so why bother to give a damn? that is the atheist position.

        see also: the celestial teapot argument. (or the modern versions: the invisible pink unicorn, or the flying spaghetti monster.)
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          Sep 15 2011: Thank you for proving my point.
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          Sep 15 2011: Krisztián:

          ''they have no more reason to believe in god than in rama.'':
          a fake position because it use the way of thinking of cause-effect , and this way of thinking is so useful when it comes about god as much as it is useful when it comes about quantum mechanics , in other words it's not useful at all: atheism=a fake . (even though the atheists are more right than we the theists are usually)
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          Sep 15 2011: Just to be clear, this last business from Eduard has nothing to do with anything I said.
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          Sep 15 2011: right all i said have to do with what Krisztián said .
        • Sep 17 2011: That would be an agnostic.

          "God does not exist." How does that categorise one if not as an atheist?
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        Sep 15 2011: wut?
      • Sep 16 2011: "How will this make a difference to my day to day life?"

        Sadly, it makes a difference to our lives because Atheists, some as radical as those that practice other religions, will influence our world because of their beliefs. To understand Atheism is to understand better the positives and negatives that may influence our laws and nations.
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          Sep 16 2011: the atheists influence in good the world more than many theists do Bob
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          Sep 16 2011: i wonder what "atheist policy" differs from "rational policy". i hope you don't complain about not being supported by those policies.
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          Sep 16 2011: Yeah, that answers "how will people annoy me?" rather than how will the existence of a deity (or lack thereof) make a difference.

          Kindly do not underestimate the ability of religious people to be equally annoying, and generally more destructive.
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      Sep 15 2011: From Bob Shingles’ profile: “TED is one reason I still put faith in the survival of humanity.”
      Could atheists be persuaded to claim they have “faith in the survival of humanity?” I doubt it; they’re so overprotective of “reason,” that “faith” sends them into unreason.
      I spent the better part of two years in dialogue with a group of seculars, humanists, atheists, self-monikered “freethinkers.” Often I heard, “. . . because we are people of reason,” an uuencoded code phrase
      Each time, I waited patiently for the chance to respond, “I contend you are also people of trust and commitment to something, perhaps understanding. Thus, you have faith in understanding. And you have allowed the religious community to appropriate the word ‘faith’—to equivocate ‘faith’ to ‘religion’. Out of your zeal to denigrate ‘faith,’ you alienate yourselves unnecessarily from religious visitors. Consider the number of religious people who have passed through and found the group unwelcoming, when a softer approach might have helped them.”
      When I got the chance, I asked them to consider changing their unofficial name to “Open-minded thinkers,” or better, as a reminder that they wanted to be inviting. They said, “We considered our name and what we are and do not want to change.”
      They remind me of Aunt Margaret, one of the greatest people I have known. She asked me, “Phil. What’s your latest line of thought?”
      I said, “We humans do not even need religion; facing reality is much more fun.”
      Without hesitation, she responded, “Oh, I wouldn’t say that. Reality can be harsh and uncertain. Religion gives me comfort in this cruel world.”
      It reminded me of the time I tried to tell the kids they should prefer butter-pecan ice cream.
      I miss her.
    • Sep 16 2011: "Maybe we should teach that Atheism is as much a faith-based system as any other religion?"

      Sure, like I will love you if you would only just be like me instead.
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        Sep 16 2011: It's a group of people pointlessly compelled to convert others to their way of thinking.

        I'm not convinced the lack of ritual should exempt them from the description.

        (I should point out that I think mission-work is one of the purest forms of evil there is. Hence my objection to both sides.)
        • Sep 17 2011: Gisela,
          Re: "It's a group of people pointlessly compelled to convert others to their way of thinking."

          In the context of the preceding postings, I gather that "It's" refers to "Atheism". I think that's a sweeping generalization that is more incorrect than it is correct. I (and other atheists that I know) do not feel compelled to convert others to my way of thinking. Nor do most theists that I know,. Most theists and atheists quietly believe or disbelieve and let others believe or disbelieve what they will. Of course the more vociferous theists and atheists are more noticeable, so they may skew your perception.
        • Sep 17 2011: Gisela,
          Re: "I'm not convinced the lack of ritual should exempt them from the description."

          Based upon the previous postings, I assume that "them" refers to atheists and "the description" refers to religion. That is, I gather that you are saying that perhaps atheism should be considered as a religion despite the lack of ritual.

          I flatter myself that my nonbelief in the supernatural (whether ghosts, or leprechauns
          or Yaweh) is based on a lack of evidence, but of course there is an element of faith to this nonbelief. For instance, because most events have a natural explanation I have faith that there are natural explanations for all events. I can't prove that of course, but it seems to me that it is a good working hypothesis. As you noted in an earlier posting, the nonexistence of gods cannot be proved. So of course I an open to the possibility of Zeus or Rama or Yaweh etc. showing up at my front door and demonstrating his/her/its/their existence via a number of supernatural feats. But it didn't happen yesterday, or the day before, or the week before, or ever. I don't think I am going too far out on a limb to have faith that it won't happen tomorrow. So that is the nature of my atheism. If that makes atheism a religion, then anyone who believes that a leprechaun won't show up at the front door tomorrow is a practitioner of the a-leprechaunism religion.
        • Sep 17 2011: Gisela,

          Re: "(I should point out that I think mission-work is one of the purest forms of evil there is. Hence my objection to both sides.)"

          I'm not sure of your definition of "mission-work", but I assume it includes various forms of proselytizing. In my book that would include teaching religious doctrine to children, placing the Ten Commandments on public buildings, and ringing doorbells to deliver "the good news". I haven't seen examples of atheists doing that (unless you count the recent billboards that say "Good without God" or "Don't believe in God? You are not alone.") If merely pointing out the existence of atheists is "mission-work", then I guess I've engaged in "pure evil" in these last three postings.
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        Sep 18 2011: @Carlin: "Attempting to convert people" is the charitable interpretation of spending hours arguing with people, when you know aren't going to change their minds.

        I don't know that I could be so charitable in describing "arguing with agnostics".
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    Sep 17 2011: It's better to find way of minimizing inter and intra religion conflict first...... as that already proven to be fatal many times
  • Mind S

    • +1
    Sep 17 2011: Frans,
    Your post "In Holland they ..."

    Misconduct in scientific research, done by few unscrupulous researchers who constitute but 0.1% of the scientific community, is a phenomenon related not to science per se but to other individual/personal traits that undermine scientific ethics. Even so, the rigorous scientific surveillance and scientific checking wouldn’t permit such fraud to gain any ground, and it is the scientific community which declare such rare misconducts to the public.
    • Sep 17 2011: Do you smoke ? Did 0.1% of GPs recommend it in the 1950 - where is your 0.1 % from - the institute of totally spuriously accurate statistics – I think if you check your figures you’ll find it was .01234842 % of GP’s who recommended it – nothing like a good old % sign to lend false credibility to a scientific statement eh ? (only teasing !) – but seriously, it’s not outright fraud I’m talking about it’s more sort of institutional psychology sort of stuff so that when a dried un-fossilised skin of a dino is found the institutionally trained ‘scientists’ don’t think – ‘wow this might be a recent Dino, maybe they only died out a few thousand years ago rather than a few million years ago’ they ‘think wow that’s amazing the skin has survived 65 Million years’ – the initial paradigm is not challenged like a ‘real scientist’ trying to falsify his paradigms would do, Unfortunately so far it’s only been ‘Religious nuts” that have made this challenge and this only serves to reinforce the image that all sensible clever people know Evolution happened and it’s only nutters who object. It’s interesting to ask – what would happen if a top scientist started to say the same thing I’m saying ? I think the institutions will call him a nut and he will no longer be ‘respectable’ so they would quickly return to the state of “All respectable scientist believe”- Institutions are funny places.
      • Mind S

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        Sep 17 2011: 1- The 0.1% is from the statistics of European Science Foundation (ESF).
        2- “when a dried un-fossilised skin of a dino is found the institutionally trained ‘scientists’ don’t think – ‘wow this might be a recent Dino, maybe they only died out a few thousand years ago rather than a few million years ago’ they ‘think wow that’s amazing the skin has survived 65 Million years’ “

        Your above statement proves, unmistakably, your ignorance not only about the fundamentals of disciplines such as paleontology and geochronology but also your blatant ignorance about the procedures and research requirements to be followed by scientists in these fields when they find a Dino fossil or any other fossil. A scientist knows well how it is hard, painstaking and demanding task to try to publish an article about a finding in a peer-reviewed journal. May be you should be thankful for this age of the worldwide web that permit you to write such worthless prose about scientific issues. Your case is that of unlearned ignorance. I am not going to elaborate and provide you what you miss, and what you miss is awfully grand, as this forum is not science education platform, but I sincerely advice you to avoid discussing topics that are outside your field of specialization. After all each one of us is ignorant outside the domain of his/her education.
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          Sep 17 2011: Hi Mind

          You may be interested in this talk; from 7mins if you are short of time.

          This is the story of dino soft tissue being found; blood vessels etc. Now was the idea of the samples being any less than 65 million years old voiced at any time; no. Prior to this find, & others like it, I doubt any scientist would have entertained the idea of soft tissue surviving more than a few thousand years. Why do we swallow 65m year old blood vessels without question ?

          OK like Bianca I have no idea what I'm talking about; but humour us with your opinion on this case.

        • Sep 17 2011: Hi Mind,
          I find your "too beneath contempt to talk to" rather siliy on a debate you ?
          If you don't, I'll use it on you : "Mind S you are too beneath me to talk to... ergo I win !" - doesn't really hold together much does it ? - I don't get the point of you taking the time to type it.
          In terms of the 0.1 % did it include all the "Tobacco Docs ?" is it 'open fraud' or 'mistakes you should have known better not to make' numbers ?
          Type in Pharma (or any big Pharma name) and Fraud into google and quite a few things pop up. These are the ones we know about and have been prosecuted. Does the ESF have a statistic for the average 'science fraud iceberg' - bit on top is the proved fraud. The best thing to do with a stat like that is to see how it changes and even then, is the change the increase or decrease in fraud and stuff or the prosecution rate chaning ? - it's a silly stat any day of the week if you think about it - come on be more cynical ! Thanks Pete for the link I'll watch it later
  • Mind S

    • +1
    Sep 17 2011: Bianca,

    Your TED profile indicates that you have no training in natural sciences. Can you tell me on what basis you indulge, vehemently, in a topic related to geochemistry, geochronology and oceanography? Integrity and honesty call to refrain from such practice. You may choose to live in denial but don’t spread ignorance wrapped in linguistic sophistry.
    • Sep 17 2011: ”Can you tell me on what basis you indulge, vehemently, in a topic related to geochemistry, geochronology and oceanography?” – On no basis all ! as I am not “indulging vehemently” in anything – I got the impression as it was a debate site that people debate on it – maybe you should goolge ‘agreement site’ and go there if this is an issue for you (only teasing !) . No, the basis of my debating is an “O” Level in maths. When I was 15 I qualified to answer questions such as “If you walk into a room with a dead body and you want to know how long ago since the last sort of things happened in the room, then if you see the end of a cigarette burning in an ash try do you.
      a) Carbon date the floor boards to 30 years ago when the house was built
      b) Figure out the maximum time is about 30 mins as the cigarette is still burning ?
      - that’s all you need for this debate anything more is being a bit la-di-da :
      “geochemistry, geochronology and oceanography” – wow nice big words what’s geochemistry ? salt dissolving in water like sugar in tea – do I now need a scientist to put sugar in my tea ? as it’s “a complex chemical process involving Van der Vaal’s forces” …- and you now need a qualified scientist to this - come on stop being so pretentious ! You don’t need to be a qualified scientist to divide the current concentration of salt in the oceans by the current rate of increase in this and to work out a ball park figure as to how long ago it was when someone started pouring sugar in your tea.
      And what’s “geochronology” for Pete’s sake ! – does it mean “how old is it?”
      “ignorance wrapped in linguistic sophistry” – this sort of sounds like a confessional accusation, be a nice fella and try not to project you own flaws onto others in public. You essential post is "How dare you - you unqualified in concensus science young lady" - If this is the best argument you have in favour of Neo-Darwinism then Neo-Darwinism is in big trouble
      • Sep 17 2011: This is not a debate site Bianca, this is labeled as a conversation. And it is about how if at all can we minimize the conflict between creationist and atheists. That sounds an awful lot like "agreement site."

        I totally agree with you on one thing: You are a master of rhetoric (read "linguistic sophistry," which means you proved Mind S' point). Your answer is beautifully constructed by all rhetorical measures. That does not say anything about you being right or wrong about evolution, nor about salt-clocks, though. But I am authentically impressed.

        Should I mention that you came back to "consensus science" here? That thing that you call a "side point"? Because by your insistence I would guess that it is rather central.
  • Sep 17 2011: Bianca,

    Thank you for taking the time to read that article. Your response was very well reasoned. But it occurs to me that the claim that this metric supports a young age for the Earth is yet another "gap" argument. Essentially the argument boils down to "I know how a lot of salt gets into the ocean, but I don't know how a lot of salt leaves the ocean, so since the oceans aren't at full salt saturation the oceans (hence the Earth) must be young." The argument is based on a knowledge gap. The premise is that "If I don't know of a mechanism that removes enough salt from the ocean, there must not be such a mechanism." Lack of knowledge of such a mechanism is not proof that there is no such mechanism.

    • Sep 17 2011: Hi Carlin,
      Yes you are right, I can't deduce that the Earth is young based on this as a QED. The only QED I can do with it is say that the claims made by "Consensus science" that "All dating techniques are consistent and point to an ancient Earth" - this is from an earlier deleted post by Jim who was quoting a Dawkin book he'd just read - are not true. If Dawkin is not aware of this salt thing then he is not quite so top in his field as he makes out, if he is aware of it then it might be interesting to know why he omitted it - did he not have an answer for if ? If he sees himself as a lawyer in a court of law trying to prove Darwin to the public Jury and so only showing evidence that supports his client's case then he needs to let people know this is the game he is playing. If you are going to do a TV show on the BBC you need to be unbiased, if he is talking a brief then he should tell the BBC this so they can get a 'defense lawyer' in to put the other side of the argument.
      The Build up of Helium in the Atmosphere also has the same the same thing. But of course something might happen every 20,000 years or so, something that wipes the air clean or even replaces it and dries up all the seas and starts fresh oceans. If you had something as dramatic and frequent as this - maybe caused by a long orbit "Planet X" that comes close and wrecks and renews the Earth on a frequent and regular basis then this could provide the salt out - and Helium out - mechanism - I'm open to other less theatrical hypothesises to explain the salt thing yet keep the ancient Earth stuff as well - but remember it’s an awful lot of salt that gets poured in to the Oceans on an daily basis so to reverse this salination, if you are not going to use a Planet X, I think it’ll need a certain amount of theatre of some kind
      • Sep 17 2011: Why didn't Dawkins mention salt clocks? because they are a thing of the past. Tested and discarded by the scientific community because it does not work, and only held high by a few creationist charlatans, who, by the way, disagree with your calculation. "Unbiased" does not mean comprehensive to the point of ridicule. How long would you expect a book to be if it has to contain all the proposed methods ever tested and discarded, plus whatever else creationists might make up? (Actually this gets to show once again how wrong you are. If science works by making up stuff then why don't we all just believe the creationist propaganda?)

        Who would read such encyclopedia and why should everybody in the scientific side of things write everything ever proposed by creationists whose efforts consist in isolating data and phrases by cherry picking from here and there and come up with loads of misrepresentations of science?

        Do you really think that such a request is reasonable?
    • Sep 17 2011: Carlin,

      I agree that she is using a "gap" argument, but even then her answer is not well reasoned except in rhetorical terms. For instance, she said that they "just declare" that there is salt going out, but the guy mentions at least a couple processes. Curiously, she did see the part where the guy said that the assumption of no salt to begin with is wrong, which would work "against evolutionists." This is because in rhetoric you hold to anything that might look like an admission by your "opponent," rather than try and understand the real point. Creationists train a lot in this sort of thing (rhetoric) because their business is not about finding truth (they think they already know The Truth), but about winning debates. Scientists don't think that way, we mention pros and cons because that is how science works. Thus, the guy was mentioning reasons not to trust a salt-clock, regardless of the reasons being for or against the creationist stance. Right there he also mentions processes taking salt out, but Bianca did not see that. Isn't that something? Furthermore, if she was really interested she could have checked and found more information about these and other processes. She sees what she wants to see then declares victory. Pure rhetoric. No reasonable conclusion can be drawn if all you want is to win debates. This again, is why reducing a conflict between creationists and atheists of a scientific inclination is close to impossible (I just changed my stand a little because of something Peter, a Y.E.C., said to Bianca). We expect honesty and we get rhetoric instead. Same applies to her interpretation of falsifiability: word play coming from equivocating whatever words she has heard about the issue. Same goes for C14, where she equivocates the meaning of half-life and hides a false premise: that ancient fossils are dated as millions of years old by C14 radiometry ... it goes on.
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    Sep 16 2011: Think of a Hi Def 3-D DVD disk which plays two hours of sound and video. Divide that into your waking hours, say 16. That's 8 DVD's a day. For a 50 year old person, that's 365 X 50 X 8 = 20,000 DVD's worth. Now make the same calculation for the other 3 senses and the other not so well known senses such as balance, heat, dampness, motion, muscle tension, emotion, pain, appetite and a couple of others. That's a big stack of DVD's. There is no known neuronal mechanism that can not only store, but index that amount of data. Neurons are mostly pipes, gates and valves that process info, not store info. Not only that, but people can lose large areas of their brains and not lose memories. People can stand next to strong electrical, radio or magnetic fields and not lose memories. Their thought processes aren't even changed or degraded. Until it can be demonstrated that a specific memory resides within a specific nerve cell or an arrangement of cells, my hypothesis is as logical as any.
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    Sep 16 2011: I think that even death can be beaten. There is no rigorous evidence that memory is stored in the brain. Memories can be accessed by electrical activity in the brain as a kind of transduction, but there is too much data using too much bandwidth for memory to use neurons as the recording medium itself. Wherever memory is stored- zero point energy field, Dirac Sea, the stressed vacuum, the ether, the static referent, we may one day be able to access and download it, put it in a new body and off we go. There will always be mystery, but the trend is that there is less of it today than yesterday, at least as it involves solving terrestrial problems. I've vowed to not let death be a factor in any of my affairs until 15 minutes before it arrives. I seem to be a happier person for it.
    • Sep 16 2011: Re: "too much data using too much bandwidth for memory to use neurons as the recording medium itself"

      Walter, I am skeptical of this assertion. Do you have any evidence you can present?
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    Sep 15 2011: I think we are all agnostics. Even Mother Theresa. (She had her doubts)

    It would be great if we all could just reach an understanding that none of us know much if anything when it comes to the afterlife and all the baggage that comes with it. We just don't know at this point in time. The fundamentalists are not at all religious in my book - they are sick.

    I really think that is the answer - that we are all agnostics if we are honest with ourselves.
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    Sep 14 2011: Their differentiation into two, practicing to a different dimension of space, but can not lack of love!
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    Sep 13 2011: Remove all threats to human survival for all time. The subsequent sense of security will solve the problem ten minutes later.
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      Sep 15 2011: Bowing my head facing mystery is my response to the unknown. I see it your way Walter, insecurity magnified into fear produced all kinds of "answers" within various belief systems. Much of humanity is incapable of living exposed to the unpredictable nature of existence. People just have to have answers in any form to assuage their fears. They bunch up in groups and find solace. The constant threat of death remains. This can be removed only by death itself, the final solution for all our problems. Only this mystery deserves adoration.
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    Sep 12 2011: "If there is a God somewhere out there", this is a stupid way of thinking by a lot of people. If God stands for being the creator than this God cannot be outside this creation and not outside anything in it. Most people that call themselves religious hasn't a clue what that religion is about. Others that say there is no God and I'm not religious they take a distance from those quasi religious ones. They say that Bible is rubbish or a fairy tale and yes for those that think that Bible to be God-given and truth in every character are deluded.

    But if you can see that Bible as an historical account of events and myths as they were told over generations than it becomes interesting despite all flaws in translation and composition. If you look at the evolution and see the beauty of it you do realize that there’s no more excellent way thinkable to bring us people about. And if men survives himself the human race can evolve further without limits for at least a billion years. As you see what has been accomplished in a few centuries it must be clear that we're on the brink of just becoming.

    In a nutshell, if everyone starts to look over his/her fence we start all together to be religious and atheists at the same time.
    • Sep 12 2011: "In a nutshell, if everyone starts to look over his/her fence we start all together to be religious and atheists at the same time."
      Thank you, Frans!
      It sounds so true to me,
      some of my friends are orthodox Christians and regard me as a convinced atheist,
      some are atheists and think I am gradually descending into the religious abyss, becoming a believer
      But I am neither of them, or both, which is pretty much the same.
      I see the grains of truth in both interpretations, they are not even contradictory, but complementary, if one knows enough to reconcile them.
      Sometimes I manage :-) less often, then I'd like to, but i believe it's the way to go.
    • Sep 13 2011: I absolutely agree with this. They could in small fashions be reconciled. The beauty of the literature of the Bible is unquestioned. One can see this through the many books written such as Proverbs or Psalms. And following the moral compass of the Bible is one element in which all groups, whether atheists or believers are accustomed to. Indeed the Bible touches society in a profound way by way of its ethics. But I wince at polls and statistics that demonstrate how most American's believe that most atheists are immoral in one way or another.

      "The brink of just becoming" couldn't be more true..we have a long way to go as a species not only on religion and God but among other things as well. This was good =)
  • Sep 19 2011: Hi Bianca,
    Concerning your inquiry (Originally I didn’t wish to go quite technical but I elaborate a little below; also I couldn't post this comment directly below yours):

    Group 2 of researchers who think that the material is likely a preserved soft tissues do know that it is wrapped by a biofilm, and that the biofilm has recent age as dated correctly by the first group, C-14 dating (In a scientific work one of the first steps in a research project is to examine thoroughly previous works). The difference between the two groups, however, is not about this point but about whether there are soft tissues/organic material or not beside the biofilms. The first group interpret the whole material as recent bacterial biofilm (an endocast). They indicate that what was reported, by the original discovery, as heme remnants (not blood cells as popular magazine stories depicted but blood cell size iron-oxygen spheres) are but oxidized form of formerly pyritic framboids. The second group, on the other hand, while acknowledging the presence of the biofilm and its recent age, do think that some of the inner material is likely to be a preserved biomolecules and elaborated more on fossil preservation processes that could preserve organic material over long geological ages, i.e. millions of years. It is to be noted that both organic tissues and microbial biofilms are composed of organic carbon and both give similar EDS (Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy) signature. This is one source that leads to two interpretations.
    The issue is not settled yet. It is a multidisciplinary research work that involves different branches of science.
    I hope this clarifies things.
    • Sep 19 2011: I'm still not really getting it :
      You are saying that in the Grouo 2 stuff that the c14
      was testing what is essentially contaminants
      Goolge something like "c14 sample preparation remove impurities" and you'll see it's not a new issue and they have all sorts of acids and alkalis and techniques to get rid of these things.
      Are you saying that they haven't got rid of what both groups agree
      is biofilm and then C14 the remaining stuff that group 2 think is real Dino flesh ?
      When you say this is still on going is this on the table - why has it taken so long ? or is it too much of a hot potato to go there.
      But then you say "both show the same spectro ya di ya and both show the same EDS - C14 dating results”
      - are you saying here that both have been dated and both show 20,000 years with or without the biofilm ? So if Group 2 are correct and part of it is Biofilm then this dates as a young Dino. Wow that’s like Galileo in reverse ! It will be interesting to see the difference in the openness of the modern Uni’s to this as compared to the Uni’s in Galileo’s time who got quite shirty about it and called him despicable for undermining all the "respectful" scientists of the day - it's a myth to say that "It was the Church" that was against Galileo as in "Only the Church" every University was against him as well - it'll be interesting to see how they've changed since then.
      If you have time to reply before the debate closes can you clarify your statement : "It is to be noted that both organic tissues and microbial biofilms are composed of organic carbon and both give similar EDS (Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy) signature" - is this 'ornagic tissues' in general or the bits Group 2 think is Dino flesh ? - if so then wow! got any good liks on this ?
      • Sep 19 2011: Hi Bianca,
        (Due to space limitation, this reply comes in two parts)
        • There is that fossil femur bone of tyrannosaur rex.
        • The original study, Schweitzer et al., 2005, claimed the recovery of soft tissue vessels and infilling by micro biomolecule remnants.
        • The subsequent study by Kaye et al., 2008 (group 1 of my previous post) found that that vessel-like material of the original study is a bacterial biofilm that mimics original long-decayed soft structures and not the original soft tissues; Also they assert that there is no blood cell infilling remnants as reported by the first study but these round microstructures are inorganic oxidized material of formerly pyritic framboids and have no biological significance.
        • The bacterial biofilm is not a contaminant within another material (so that it should have been removed) but it is the material that is found inside the Dino bone pores; it is the material that has been dated by C14 (I have my own experience with the procedures of this dating technique as well as with other radiometric dating methods).

        • The c14 dating was carried, by 2008 study group, only on the biofilm. There was no second material that has been dated. THE REPORTED 14 DATE CONCERNS A DIAGENETIC RECENT MATERIAL, the Biofilm, AND NOT THAT OF ANY ORIGINAL DINO BONE MATERIAL. Therefore the date of thousands of years is not for the Dino fossil.
      • Sep 19 2011: 2)
        • Researchers of group 2 (2010) point to the presence of both biofilms and primary soft tissues in the form of round micro biomolecules. They agree about the recent date of the bacterial biofilm. The claimed primary soft tissues or biomolecules haven’t been dated.

        • EDS is not C-14 dating (EDS stands for Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy). Any organic carbon remnants give the same EDS signature whether the material is a bacterial biofilm or it is tissue material but this has no age significance. However it hampers identifying the material.

        • The original study doesn’t talk about ”flesh” nor about “skin” but about a form of vessels that were found as hollow, flexible and branched microstructures with infilling of globular microstructures; about which there is ongoing controversy as to their actual identity as I mentioned above.

        • It is still fresh research subject and it is early to formulate an opinion. There are a lot of technical and scientific questions about the original work. We have to wait for the results of next series of investigations on the same Dino material.

        Voila !
        • Sep 19 2011: I have to say, that’s pretty amazing !
          We have some stuff that is real non-biofilm Dino tissue…
          And they have not C14 dated it !
          You suggest that we wait till the next round of tests
          But what if this C14 is not in the next round ?
          If the Dino C14 results came in as young this would more than
          swing a few seats in the next US election it could be a sort of
          modern reformation of sorts for the whole of the planet.
          Any ETA’s we should be looking out for you know of ?
          What a "Ciff Hanger" to end the debate with - thanks
  • Sep 18 2011: I can only speak for myself but my best friend is an atheist and I am not. We discuss it all the time and simply respect each others beliefs
  • Mind S

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    Sep 18 2011: Hi Pete,
    Thank you for the link "".

    It is clear that the speaker is an evolutionary paleontologist. He doesn’t consider the finding of blood fossils/soft tissue a contradiction to the old age of the Dino. The finding implies the long time an organic molecules can survive. However, for me the finding would incite scientists to look further into the process of fossilization which is, like many other natural processes, is not completely understood. Many universities are currently offering funds to investigate museum collections of Dino bones to check if the phenomenon is a common one. The story illustrates the basic qualities of science: integrity, honesty and transparency.
    • Sep 18 2011: "The finding implies the long time an organic molecules can survive" - only if you have the age dated by assumption, by axiom at 65,000,000 years. Drop this axiom, this belief derived from a Victrorian brand of Athiesm and the other implications - appear one of which is that this Dino might not be so old as you thought.
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      Sep 18 2011: Hi Mind

      Don't you think even a C14 test would be wise? You, Dr. Horner, & the whole evolution lobby just assume that the tissue is 70 million years old. (70m was the number his assistant came up with, no doubt due to the strata). There is no doubt in your mind (no pun intended). You could be wrong. Doesn't the scientific method cry out for tests to verify your assumption.

      • Sep 18 2011: Hi Peter,
        Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to elaborate a little on the subject (I hope Mind S. would excuse me for stepping in).

        When the first observation of soft tissue in Dino bones has been published by Schweitzer and colleagues the finding raised the interest of geologists (This interest is unlike that showed by popular magazines). Therefore, systematic research on the subject started and fruited in many important contributions. To be concise and save space I would cite two recent papers that suggested two different interpretations of the observed soft tissues:

        1. The first paper is that of Thomas Kaye, Gary Gaugler, and Zbigniew Sawlowicz (2008) in which they concluded that what was found inside the Dino bone was unlikely to be blood vessels and cells. Instead, they suggest, that the observed structures are microbial artifacts, a product of common bacterial activities that produce bacterial biofilms coating the voids left of past blood vessels.

        2. The second paper is that of Joseph E. Peterson, Melissa E. Lenczewski, and Reed P. Scherer (2010). In this paper the authors conclude that the preserved organic material is unlikely to be biofilms, i. e. it is likely an organic matter and they suggest mechanisms by which soft tissues could be preserved over geological time (millions of years).

        Note: The young age of thousands of years (14C dating) reported in these studies is not for the age of the Dino bone material but that of the biofilms that formed recently (I hope Bianca would read this too).

        • Sep 18 2011: Hi Latif,
          Yes if it's not dino Flesh which is what 1) is saying then there is no Dino Flesh to date.
          If 2 is correct and it is preserved soft tissue then why are you blanking out the C14 dating results for this ? - Did I miss something ?
          Group 1 Dates the "stuff" using C14 to recent times and group 2 Claims the stuff is real Dino flesh so if 2 is correct (I don't know which one is correct) then the Dino is 20,000 years old. Don't the researchers who did 2 know about the dating of 1 ? If they did they would not need to “suggest mechanisms for it surviving 65,000,000 years” intact.
          On a "religious" note can I point out that when it was thought that it was Dino Flesh (still might be if 2 is correct) and it was dated at 20,000 years old or so using C14 why did Evolutionists not say "Hey we might have to change our model with this new information"
          If you know any of these guys can you tell the 2) bods that the 1) bods have C14 tested the stuff ? - thanks for the details on the research
  • Sep 16 2011: Maybe changing the name Atheist to Secular Humanist would help. The label Atheist is such a bad connotation these days.

    This link shows how atheists are the most distrusted minority in America. Unsettling.
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    Sep 15 2011: Thank you, Kevin, for your question and for directing me to two TED talks (Dawkins and Armstrong) for perspective as I see it.
    In another conversation (on “tolerance”), Gisela McKay taught me one may neither respect nor disrespect: can be neutral (just never occurred to me).
    For some time, perhaps two years, neutral is the position I have taken regarding the question: why does evolution seem to follow laws? First, I do not know that my perception about laws is true: perhaps evolution is chaotic. Also, I do not know that evolution follows the same pattern in other universes if there are other universes. Since I do not know, I am neither theist nor atheist nor non-theist. Now, I can add, “I prefer to remain neutral.”
    Moreover, I prefer faith in reality, whatever it is. To believe in anything else would require me to turn my back on reality (I think). Belief would inhibit my opportunity to understand.
    I want to help revolutionize—improve--the world’s attitudes toward non-religious people, because the status hurts life. Richard Dawkins changed my claim about what I am. I am a human being and member of the community of living species (the change being “living species” instead of humankind).
    I like Ms. Armstrong’s invitation to use alternative words to “compassion,” and think that would make a good TED conversation. “Compassion” seems intrusive, but I want to learn.
    It seems to me she should know more and share about the so called golden rule. Its positive form, “Always treat all others as you would like to be treated yourself,” seems egocentric. And the negative statement, “Don’t do to others what you would not like them to do to you,” while considerate of the other, seems limited to your experience or imagination. I suggest, “Treat each other with empathy.” Again, I want to learn.
    • Sep 15 2011: Philip,
      If you want to ”understand more” it might be an idea to think about the concept of “Linguistic thinking” (thinking using words, rather than thinking then trying to find words to use to express your thoughts), then consider the possibility of the severe inadequacy of the English language to provide the words needed for very much more than trade and everyday prosaic things. Greek, and ancient Greek, so they tell me is a far better language to use to ‘think in’ in terms of any kind of philosophical a stuff. I don’t speak a word of Greek but it’s adequacy is not limited to the 4 different words used for the 1 English word “love” in the New Testament so I’m told. Your “I suggest, ‘“Treat each other with empathy’ ” is then limited to the ability – sometimes very low of an individual to empathise. Too much of English philosophy and debates in general is just a rabbit hole run of trying to express an idea using an inadequate linguistic tool. I don’t know the original, but in the Greek New Testament the instruction is “Love one another as I have loved you” and I suspect in the original it meant a more balanced, less stifling, less limited to the abilities or otherwise of the ‘Lover’ sort of thing. When English people talk about such things they need to do it ‘live’ so that the tone of the voice, the body language, the hand movements… can help set the tone for what they are trying to express. Chasing a dry definitional improvement to : “Treat each other with empathy” will just lead to other problems with the new inadequate words chosen. If you are stuck with words on paper add “you know what I mean” and “Sort of” and give a few boundary ‘worked examples’. - I suggest.
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        Sep 16 2011: I'll never forget arriving in Greece in May at my age 29 with no knowledge of Greece or Greek. The following Monday, I got on a bus and many Greeks said in Greek, "Good morning; how are you." I spent the day trying to learn to respond, "Good, thank you. And you?" However, that night, I got the clerk at the hotel to teach me, "Not, good. I did not sleep well last night." (Use Google translate to try this--it ain't easy to learn.) The next morning the Greeks cracked up with my response to "Good morning; how are you?" The Greeks loved my enthisiam for their language and loved to teach me.
        In June, I got on the bus, and the sun was hot and believe it or not, the entire right side of the bus was filled. Not one seat in the shade! I sat on the left and was so sefl conscious I thought it was me, not shade that caused them to sit right. I asked, "How do I say, 'Alone, I'll balance the bus."
        A big, loud conversation started and after a few minutes, they said, "There is no popular Greek word for "balance," but we are going to teach you a sentence mixiing popular Greek with the ancient Greek word. Say 'Monos moo tha isoropiso to layophroeo."
        In all things we need balance.
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          Sep 16 2011: Oh I absolutely loved that story and the spirit within you that lived it!
          Yes, I agree. In all things we need balance.
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          Sep 18 2011: Haha love it "Not, good. I did not sleep well last night." That story is gold
    • Sep 15 2011: In terms of the current debate, the same word “Science” is used for real finding things out and proving things type stuff and for also for the new Karl Popper style hypothesis (posh word for made up) science. Far too much of this debate has been taken up with the “made up stuff” borrowing credibility from the “real science stuff” just because they share the same linguistic name Science – I’m not the 1st to point it out : On “Friends” Ross is in the hospital and says “Hi I am Dr Geller” “Shut up Ross” he is told “The word Dr really means something in a place like this”
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        Sep 16 2011: To fundamentalists, the word "science" is like a red flag to a bull. It makes the fundamentalist want to see blood. To avoid them wanting my blood, I employ the words "understanding" and "techologogy" and "researcher" or "student". I write about a process for understanding and people who are fixated on "science" tell me, "You deceiver. You copied the scientific process." Neither side can recognize neutrality. Perhaps they are more pleased with conflict than with peace.
        Other than to quote a person, I see no need for the word "science." For example, if you want to quote Albert Einstein, a person who subjected his work to understand the universe to religion, you cannot escape "science". However, even in my own text, I cannot escape the word "religion."
      • Sep 16 2011: I would suggest Bianca, that you stopped for a second giving me more reasons to despite your group of misinformed creationists. Karl Popper proposed that scientific hypotheses should take a falsifiable form. This is very different to just "made up" in the way you imply.

        One more implication of the insistence on falsifiability is that once a hypothesis is proposed, other scientists, and the proponent herself, would attempt to prove the hypothesis false. That does not sound at all like chanting in agreement, does it?

        Thus, I suggest that, before opening your mouth to say things taken from creationist demagogues, you checked somewhere else to see what Karl Popper really proposed, or how scientists really get to agree that something deserves the right to be called a theory, and so on. This way you would avoid being labeled as an ignorant and/or as a liar. This way we would at least save a bit of the conflict that this conversation is about. The self-confidence and self-righteousness with which you hold your misinformation is the main problem. You are so proud of it that you don't even try and check to see if what you have been told corresponds to reality. If you are going to describe Karl Popper and scientists, then check Karl Popper and scientists. Not creationist propaganda about them.

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          Sep 16 2011: Under people there are all kinds.
          In Holland they recently exposed a leading professor psychology for making up many experiments and publishing results from it that supported his theory.
          A bit in analogy with Bianca.
          Their self-confidence and self-esteem is that much depending on their beliefs that when those are threatened their existence of self is as well.
        • Sep 16 2011: "I would suggest Bianca, that you stopped for a second giving me more reasons" - Good idea you haven't done anything with the numbers and reasons I've given you already, you don't seem to into numbers and reasoning sort of stuff. You've continually called my numbers mis-ifo and stuff like that without ever once showing why.
          Maybe your calculator works differently from mine - or maybe it is the same and you don't like the answer it shows.
          You can do a thousand and posts telling me how beneath contempt I am or one post showing me how my simple-to-calculate numbers are wrong - you've chosen the former - fishy or what ?
          "Karl Popper proposed that scientific hypotheses should take a falsifiable form"- That's good now you've caught up with the "scientific hypotheses" stuff which is posh talk for "made up".
          "Falsifiable" means the Consensus holds this made up stuff to be true until it is proved to be false You'll hear phrases like "current thinking is ..." and "Scientists think that...".
          Most lay people have no idea that this is what is now called "science", most lay people, (and maybe even yourself at the beginning of this debate) think that science is stuff the scientists have proved true, now
          you know it's "made up stuff they haven't yet proved false" you can see my claim that the same word "science" should not be used for both of these totally different things. In terms of the technical practicalities of getting this Popper science system to 'work at all' the problem is that when an Hypothesis has been around for a while a lot of stuff gets invested in it as if it's a proven truth.
        • Sep 16 2011: When the evidence for the falsification finally turns up it puts a lot of noses out of joint and you then have to contend with not just the technical questions challenged but the politics inside the Science world, the scientific grant world, the $millions put into the science museums and TV shows on "popular science" with their famous presenters and reputations relying on the hypothesis holding ... it's quite a bolder to move. Institutionally, the science world is set up for part one of Popper : the “making it up” and agreeing or imposing a consensus, the part of the institutional framework for having falsifications accepted is poorly developed, if at all, especially so in this field
          This dating of the Oceans and Air to 30,000 years ball park is certainly one of these things. There are no two ways about it Atheists have jumped on the evolution horse and have invested very heavily in it as well, and to form they are here telling me how horrible I am as a person and how they could not even think about getting their calculators out to be bothered to look at the technical issues – Now that’s faith ! so certain are they in their belief that it’s not even worth to think it might not be true so no need to check just go straight at the heretics – that Faith is based on “made up stuff” – poshly called “scientific consensus” – As I said at the start Atheism is a faith it’s a belief… it’s a religion.
      • Sep 16 2011: Frans,

        Well, of course there are all kinds of people everywhere, but you are adding unnecessary noise to this exchange. It is one thing a dishonest scientist making up data and publications, it is quite another to accuse the scientific community of just making things up while every other scientist chants in agreement because, according to the misinformation, Popper's philosophy of science requires this to be so. In Bianca's version of science, we should have just applauded to that professor and chant in agreement.

        I hope my point was much clearer than that, and that you don't suppose that I was talking about self-confidence as in self-esteem, but about the attitude of complete certainty these creationists display when talking about things they were told by someone on a pulpit, while ignoring the information available our there for everyone to check. Bianca could check what Popper was really about, but no, she assumed that every misconception, no matter how preposterous, is absolute and irrefutable truth. I can't believe the nerve ("nerve" should have been the word to use instead of "self-confidence" my mistake) of coming here and tell a real-life scientist that his work is just about making things up while everybody else chants in agreement.
      • Sep 16 2011: [I have erased the original of this post because it is out of topic, and might be deleted again. I would like to try something though. Bianca, if Kevin is willing to consider an experiment between you and me solving but one of your misconceptions, just one, to see if there is any hope for solving at least part of this conflict. Would you accept to try it Bianca? Do you like the idea of an experiment Kevin?

        If so, I suggest we try to solve the Popper-misinformed interpretation that you hold. Let me both of you know if this is acceptable, both for you Bianca to accept discussing this "problem" and Kevin to accept it as part of the conversation. Bianca, you can still say no if you don't agree with the rules, which, we can agree on after I know if you are interested and Kevin willing to make it part of the conversation. I would start by saying what I think you mean, and then, after you agree that such thing is what you meant, we start. I will be open and try hard not to add irony nor insults.

        Let me know Bianca and Kevin.]

        [Bianca, as for answers to your ocean problem, it was answered. Seems like you did not scroll down enough. Somebody even posted a link to an answer. Search for "ocean" and you should find it. Also remember that most of our other conversation was deleted, so you did not see that I answered a lot more of your claims.]
        • Sep 17 2011: Hi Gabo, I missed the ocean link thing earlier today and spotted it later in the evening – too many lines of debate in different places with someone deleting stuff as quick as we post it (sub-ideal conditions). I saw it then had to go and have to have a stiff drink before I read it, wll I was off out anyway, but Paradigm, world view changing articles are quite stressful, but I’ve just read is and.. it turned out to be a damp squid – I replied above.
          Just because this article was a useless (but very confident and full of ‘nerve’) it does not mean that I am right (but the article does have a good picture sketch on the ‘lack of the salt cycle’ in case people didn’t get what I was saying).
          I guess you haven’t read the link Carlin posted, and I suspect if you did you wouldn’t want to pin your colours on it’s mast. But the questions it tries and fails to answer are the questions I am asking you.
        • Sep 17 2011: The thing is : the Oceans are 30,000 years old or not is independent of how nice a person I am or otherwise, independent of even the very existence of Karl Popper or not. If we go for your experiment : “I suggest we try to solve the Popper-misinformed interpretation that you hold” – then if we had a million people watching this debate most would switch off as we are now off to “angels on a pin head” neck‘o the woods.
          I’m pretty good at this sort of debate and if I beat you it will only prove I’m a clever cloggs. I already know I’m a clever cloggs, what I don’t know, and what me and everyone else reading this is interested in is this :
          I’ve pointed out
          1) There is no Salt cycle so salination rates can be used as a rough guide to date of the oceans to 30,000 years – not enough time for evolution as we know it.
          2) There is no Helium cycle in the atmosphere so Helium increases can be used as a rough guide to date the air to 30,000 years – not enough time for evolution as we know it.
          I did a few other major points as well but these will do for now – If I “beat you” on these then this will more show how weak Neo-Darwinism is rather than how clever I am compared to you or otherwise – So the question is : Do you or anyone else have a valid refutation of these 2 points ?
      • Sep 17 2011: I did not understand Bianca, so you rather not discuss the Popper thing? It is not about beating you or me, it is about showing whether we can communicate and get to an agreement. I am no debater. I care about truth, not about rhetoric.

        How could we determine that either of us is right, rather than who has the most rhetorical skill? You will insist that there is no salt cycle (did you add helium just in case?), I will insist and name processes taking salt out. That's it. No way for anybody, you, me, any reader, to verify if the salt going in is cancelled out by the salt going out or not. This is why I chose something people would understand once the reasons for Popper to propose falsifiability came out. It is philosophy, and for that all you have to do is think (well, I am dramatizing, but it is within most people's reach). If we went for salt in salt out, the only possible final point would be who do you trust more, actual geologists/oceanographers, or a bunch of creationist maniacs. We really don't want to get there. Actually that's it. Let's save time: I trust the scientists. See? Nothing else to say. We come back to whether there is a good reason not to trust the scientists, and that goes back to loads of stupidity about denying gods in unrighteousness, and goes nowhere. But Popper could go somewhere. Also, I finally understood where your misinterpretation comes from (yes, I was paying attention).

        You get the idea? I don't care nor want to beat you on a debate, I want to find out if communication is feasible or not (the topic of this conversation). To that end, I can show you why falsifiability. But if you think salt in salt out works, tell me how exactly would we determine truth. Surely you don't think that the best rhetoric would determine truth (?!).

        But I am open if you think there is something else that does not end in who you trust more. Also something that would not take forever.

        Please focus. Just one post.
        • Sep 17 2011: I did not understand Bianca, so you rather not discuss the Popper thing ? I’m not against it but it’s rather low down the list, the salt and the Helium were busy building up before Popper was born.
          “It is not about beating you or me, it is about showing whether we can communicate and get to an agreement”. “Imagine we could communicate and get to an agreement on Popper” so what ? the salt and the Helium were busy building up before Popper was born – it’s a bit of a side show
          “You will insist that there is no salt cycle (did you add helium just in case?)”- I added Helium to show that there are more of these type of dating techniques and there may be others I don’t know about. On a debate like this it’s best to do one at a time but I wanted to show it’s not sea salt or bust. And these are easy to think about and work out with a Calculator.
          “I will insist and name processes taking salt out. That's it” – brill ! do that then we can have nice and easy meat and potatoes – if you divide this number by that debate that everyone can follow and see the relevance of.
          “No way for anybody, you, me, any reader, to verify if the salt going in is cancelled out by the salt going out or not” – well then we can look at that - they are always measuring this and that in the ocean and with satellites and every month they have better techniques as you are a scientist you can ask your mates in the Oceanography dept to give you the latest data.
          “the only possible final point would be who do you trust more, actual geologists/oceanographers, or a bunch of creationist maniacs.” – I’d go for the data
          on salt levels provided by the oceanographers – I’m not interested in their interpretation of the data as this will essentially be asking them to explain to me the current consensus paradigm and this is a bit circular in terms of our current debate
        • Sep 17 2011: “But if you think salt in salt out works, tell me how exactly would we determine truth” – we get a time line of data on salt concentrations and see what it shows. Last time I did this it showed there was no equilibrium, that it want up every year so then we extrapolate backwards and we’ve done it. You can then say well something else unknown may happen now and then that reverses it and I’ll say yes it might do but it must happen rather a lot in the last 4.6 Billion years and be quite dramatic for the current – un-reversed trend to show 30,000 years. At this point we have a very simple, very powerful, difficult to explain away without appeals to unkown de-salination things. At that point maybe we can look at the Helium and other things like that. Then Atheists can’t say “Scientists have proved the Earth is ancient” they have to say “There is strong evidence to suppose the air and water are quite young”- they can still have no God and can have the planet seeded by Aliens and asteroids… and maybe new theories but they loose their “Science” and will maybe realise more that theirs is a faith.
          I’m not against doing Popper per se – it sounds like you have something interesting to say on it and I’m now interested to know what it is. “Only one post” do you want to do Popper in one post ? – Ok go on then, but philosophy debates are frequently decided on linguistic and rhetorical skills but give it a quick go if you want.
      • Sep 17 2011: No Bianca, I did not want to do Popper in one post. I wanted to exchange with you one post at a time to decide on something to talk about and see if we can communicate and "minimize the conflict." As for the data. Of course I meant I trust the data. But the problem is how do we verify the data? Data comes from we evil scientists, so, by your rhetoric, we would be just making the data up and chanting in agreement, remember? I can tell you, among other things, of salt deposits (due to evaporites) that put the age of the oceans way back into billions of years. That's data. The problem is: why would you believe such data? Why would anybody reading this believe the data? Do you see this or not? Same for Helium, How do you know it does not get out and what kind of data would you believe if I mentioned it to you? I can tell you of a couple things taking helium out (one of them "dramatic"), but then what? Will you just believe me that such processes exist? I doubt it.

        Also, I don't understand how Popper is a side point if you come again and again to "they would just give me the made up consensus," which comes from your misunderstanding of falsifiability, which is the Popper thing. Please explain how is it a side point. I truly want to understand. If we did work our falsifiability it would not take just one post. We would go through the reasoning behind falsifiability. One step at a time. If time allows, because I bet it would be hard to keep you focused.
        • Sep 17 2011: “how do we verify the data? – they are always dipping stuff n the ocean to test this
          And that so the latest data must be out there somewhere.
          If you are working in a Uni then you might get access to Google Academic which might have lots of this data.
          “I can tell you, among other things, of salt deposits (due to evaporites) that put the age of the oceans way back into billions of years. That's data – “Yes this is the sort of stuff that I like and makes sense… and gets us somewhere : you can’t C14 date salt so you can’t say it’s age (and if salt mines like in Russian and Cheshire were due to oceans evaporating they would be full of dead sea creatures so it looks like they are not formed from Ocean evaporates either – In this can you see how the paradigm, the consensus comes first and the facts that fail to back it up – which in a proper Popperian World – would challenge the paradigm to be re-worked - are instead ignored. I don’t mind a quick one but lots of posts on Popper will get us no where.
          I prefer evidence based science – Get the data and see what the data tells us. The salt is the way to go
      • Sep 17 2011: Bianca,

        1. Well, you are not certain that there are no creatures trapped in there.
        2. You do not know if while the water was evaporating larger dead life forms could not have been degraded by microbes.
        3. Thus you don't know how abundant should creatures be in there (maybe you said "full of" for pure rhetorical effect,)
        4. You do not know if there is organic material in those salt deposits
        5. That you can't C14 something does not mean you can't determine its age. The age of salt crystals can be determined if the crystals contain other isotopes useful for radiometry and by determining the age of igneous rocks where the salt is trapped.

        I would think that if scientists have determined that the Cheshire salt mines are huge evaporite deposits they have data to support such thing (Cheshire and Russia are not the only huge salt evaporite deposits). I doubt they would just make this up. So this boils down again to trusting that scientists know what they are doing or not. Which you don't, but I do. I do because I know we don't just make things up. You do not because you think, out of your ignorance, lack of scientific training, and misinterpretation of Popper, that science is about making things up. So, salt seems to be a dead-end. You will be handwaving salt-going-out and we will get nowhere. So? Do you still think that salt is the way to go? Remember, I am not debating you. I want to test if we can communicate. Apparently only a little tiny bit (so far). But can we agree on something? That's the real challenge.

        And you went again to your Popperian thing. Sure that it is just a side-point? Sure that salt-clocks could lead us to agree on anything? Even if the agreement were that salt were an open question? (In other words, since you don't know how the age of these salt deposits is determined, nor how they know it comes from evaporites, you should be open to being wrong about this, right? Not conclusive, but open. Right?)
        • Sep 17 2011: "Even if the agreement were that salt were an open question? (In other words, since you don't know how the age of these salt deposits is determined, nor how they know it comes from evaporites, you should be open to being wrong about this, right? Not conclusive, but open. Right?) " - Right...if you mean I can't date the salt mines and neither can anyone as they have no dateable material.
          If you can't C14 something then you can't tell it's age for old things because C14 has a known start point : when the creature dies. If a cat gets trapped and dies 5 years ago in a 10,000 year old rock you can't date the cat at 10,000 because of the stuff around it – that was already old to start with. If the salt contains well salts and some were radioactive - you can't 'start the clock' when the crystal is formed, any radioactive material was radioactive and was decaying before the crystal was formed - it's a fundamental weakness/flaw/error in non-C14 dating techniques. So an Old Earther cannot say “Science has proved the ancient date of the Earth”, all they can say is that it is the current scientific consensus that the Earth is ancient but they can’t prove it. The thing is when you ask a scientist why they think this when they can't prove it, after a bit of debate about it, it usually comes out that Scientists assume there is no God and it was all created by accident and this needs a long time to do - Atheism is an assumption baked into the core of the modern Scientific Consensus in this area. “Science”, in this area, is a branch of the religion Atheism, so it’s no evidence to say Science backs Atheism when this branch of science is based on it – it’s circular
          When I told you about this salt in the sea stuff did you say “wow that’s interesting, if it’s true it’s a game changer” or did you think “This must be wrong because it clashes with my what belief, faith in science, faith in Atheism ?” A good real scientist is always on the look out for a falsifier.
      • Sep 17 2011: I meant that the most I can expect is to agree that "salt is an open question," because I can't prove to you that dating is possible and that these things were deposited as evaporites other than refer to scientific data that you won't trust anyway. But I will not say that scientists can't measure something I know they can. I just know I can't convince you. Thus? Agreed that salt is open then? Have we succeed at communicating on this point?

        There is more to radiometry than C14 and starting points. It is not about how much radioactivity is left, but how much of an isotope has transformed into a "daughter" element, and some basic knowledge about how crystals form. You would measure ratios of parent and daughter elements. You do this for as many elements as you can to cross check (consult a good book for more).

        I have never seen any scientist come down after some debate to "this is the scientific consensus from assuming there is no gods." Thus you are either lying, or have "debated" quite unprepared "scientists." I just showed you that you have no idea about dating by radiometry other than your elementary-school/creationist-propaganda-impregnated C14 assumptions. Will you admit your mistake or consult a creationist web-site for a reply from somebody else's pedestal of ignorance?

        When you told me about your salt "problem" I thought, "Which crackpot did she get this from?" Why? Not because it "clashed" with my "beliefs," but because the first thing I read from you was that we scientists just make things up, and other things I knew you were wrong about. If you were misinformed about all the things I knew, why should I have expected you to be well informed about other scientific stuff? However, I checked. I found nothing even suggesting you could be right, but found that you were clearly both quite outdated and wrong. You did not even agree with the creationist propaganda (60 million, not 30 thousand years). That was indeed a surprise.
        • Sep 17 2011: "other than refer to scientific data that you won't trust anyway" - no no I find that most Scientific data is pretty good, it's the scientific interpretation of the data that I often have an issue with. So I'm quite happy with scientists dating Dino flesh at 20,000 years old using C14 dating, I'm less convinced when they say well "a priori we know it's 65,000,000 years old so the C14 results must result from recent contaminations.
          "salt is open then? " yes salt in salt mines of course – it can’t be dated.
          "There is more to radiometry than C14 than and starting points".
          - well it's a major feature that gives it a credibility that the other techniques do not have. So it's not to be underestimated by declaration.
          "You would measure ratios of parent and daughter elements You do this for as many elements as you can to cross check (consult a good book for more). You can "cross check" - usually defaulting to "circular referencing" till Kingdom come : If you don't know how much of the parent and daughter were their at the start of your dating no amount of looking at the present combination will do you any good at all - you can be off my billions of years - it's a major fundamental flaw of all of these techniques except C14 dating which starts when the thing dies.
          Think of it this way : if Uranium dating proved I was right - because I showed you a lump of Uranium for which only 30,000 years of decay into lead was present you'd say hang on how can you show something as flaky as that ! - and you'd be right.
        • Sep 18 2011: "I have never seen any scientist come down after some debate to "this is the scientific consensus from assuming there is no gods." - yes you have ! you did a post yourself showing 'reputable scientists" saying there must be something else going on otherwise the World's oceans would be like the Dead Sea by now if the Earth was billions of years old... this is derived from assuming "there is no gods" and it's all an accident at base.

          "I just showed you that you have no idea about dating by radiometry"
          - no you haven't, having a start point is vital to any dating - only C14 has this. It’s simple, if you have the end amounts, the start amounts and the rate then you can work out the age – if you miss any of theses you don’t have biscuit, not matter how much you cross reference other “missing one” techniques you do.

          "but because the first thing I read from you was that we scientists just make things up" if you have heard of Popper's 'Conjecture and Refutation' then the word Conjecture means "making things up".

          "However, I checked. I found nothing even suggesting you could be right" just how did those respected scientists explain how millions upon millions of salt wash- ed into the seas every day for thousands of years gets back out of the sea ? - all they said is it ‘must’ happen somehow if the Earth is really old - that's not science that's an assumption re-worded as a conclusion – so you did find evidence : If there were huge salt monsters that ate salt then they would show us, their lack of showing us salt monsters shows they haven’t got a clue how to get rid of this much salt time and time again.

          "You did not even agree with the creationist propaganda (60 million, not 30 thousand years). That was indeed a surprise." - not to me I just plonk numbers in a calculator and see what the answer is.
      • Sep 18 2011: I am sorry Bianca, but now not only you added loads and loads of further creationist propaganda. You openly lied about what I said, here to my own face. It is right there for anybody who might be reading to confirm. They can check what I actually said, and your twisted interpretations right here. I show one place where a lot of the salt has gone (enough to put oceans back into billions of years old), and you twist it into an exchange about the age of the salt then turn and say that nobody told you where any of the salt has gone? Clever but nauseatingly dishonest.

        Further example, instead of checking what I said about dating you just twisted the few words you got from what I said to insist on you being right about C14. You did not bother to actually learn about radiometry. Seems like dating with several isotopes and getting the same answer does not impress you because you don't understand ratios besides not understanding half-lives and the math required to dealing with them. Might be words too big for you. Oh, sorry, it must be "made up" stuff. That must be your definition of made up: whatever Bianca does not care to understand. You rather hold to your ignorance than admit that there was something you were not considering or that you do not understand. Keep "plonking" numbers to your cereal-box calculator. That seems to be the extent of your scientific knowledge. I see and confirm that there is no diminishing conflicts with the likes of yourself. You are, after all, just a despicable rhetorical creationist tool. A thing that you will be happy to confirm as an answer to this my last message to you. As an exercise about the theme of the conversation it worked. So I consider it done. I tried, but lying about what I said, to my face, is too much.

        There you have it Kevin. There is good reason for the conflict. I openly admit that I am polarized. But I became polarized because of the kinds of rhetorics and dishonesty displayed by the likes of Bianca.

        • Sep 18 2011: ""I show one place where a lot of the salt has gone (enough to put oceans back into billions of years old), " - wow you are ahead of the respected Oceanographers on this point, All they can say is there "must be a long term salt equlibrium" - which means since know records dating back to the 1800's the salt has been increasing and so in the short term they've never seen equlibrium - but you have.
          In terms of using ratios in non-C14 dating that mainly means calibtrating one inadaquate technique by another and is not worth anything at all. All you'll see coming out of the end is the assumptions put in at the start to make up for the inadaquacy of the technique - you call this science - I call it making it up. Plonking numbers in calculators is something you might try it helps to give you a better feel of ball park big numbers
        • Sep 19 2011: Bianca,

          I believe you said earlier that science can be classified as either true science or made up science. Evidently that's false. Seeing as to how once a theory or hypothesis is formulated there has to be consensus among scientists concerning a specific subject. Ask yourself what would be the point for them making stuff up? More in depth perhaps the problem is syntax. What science? It is the study of the physical or natural world using observation and experiment; hence scientific method. The creation story when scrutinized through this method is obviously false. I honestly think Gabo tried his best in informing us about the whole salt cycle in relation to the Earth's oceans (something I do not know the likes of). More to the point he shows how rigorous science can be. But let's say hypothetically he is wrong? What gives you the authority to be right? Unless of course your an expert in the field than perhaps it would be wise to be leave this entire discussion to the scientific community that dwell on these questions.

          Consensus that has been reached among different scientific inquiries are laid bare when in observance of the real world. The computer every Tedster uses to comment on, I would say, polemic subjects is the product of the scientific method. The same can be said just about everything, whether that be our car we use to commute to work everyday or our smartphones. How else have we advanced as a species?

          Even if a few scientists did make up facts for whatever reasons (even though that would lay bare the stupidity of why they would) they would be scrutinized by the entire scientific community.

          The back and forth between you and Gabo is a demonstration of why I began the conversation in the first place. I see countless examples of people who honor their religion, and I don't blame them, but when faced with true empirical evidence of inconsistencies in their belief system they just ignore it and try to find solace. And atheist's render them ignorant.
        • Sep 19 2011: But I am optimistic. In time I believe things will begin to unwind.

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    Sep 15 2011: I don't believe there is a "middle course" between fundamentalist religion and militant atheism because they are both rigid in the certainty of their beliefs. Learning to let go of fear, look past one's one ego and self-righteousness and recognizing the potential value of each human being would allow them to find some understanding and appreciation of each others beliefs but that is a very different direction for thought, not a middle course.

    Robert Reich said "the truth is not midway between two falsehoods"
    • Sep 16 2011: "the truth is not midway between two falsehoods"

      Ah but then that would be to assume that atheism and religion are false. Atheist's and devout believers don't feel that way. Religion goes deep with people no matter if God could be rendered untrue or not.

      " Learning to let go of fear, look past one's one ego and self-righteousness and recognizing the potential value of each human being would allow them to find some understanding and appreciation of each others beliefs"

      I agree with this nonetheless!
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        Sep 16 2011: It is the rigid certainty that is false.

        In the Christian gospels, Jesus consistently rails against this. The logic and reason that militant atheists espouse would do the same.
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      Sep 14 2011: kind of fun thing that the conversation is about how to minimize conflicts, and you came here to bash science. with no scientific knowledge, i must add.

      but. to be positive, i think you indeed answered the question. and the answer is: we need to somehow reduce the religious zeal, and start a reasonable, adult conversation about things.
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    Sep 14 2011: Hello, theism and atheism, to the finish is to have a loving.Love is the answer to solve all,will not conflict!Both sides should realize that, love!
  • Sep 13 2011: leave everyone alone... let them practice what they want and not publicize religion
    • Sep 16 2011: If only it was that easy -__-
      The present time I can't see how this can possibly unfold unless we have a mature and reasonable debate all around about this.
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    Sep 13 2011: The essence of the belief system that I have grown into and the NDE which I would call the"anomaly" of all belief systems (belief systems being only based on "faith") and non-theist convictions (the anomaly of scientific evidence of higher dimensions) has so far shown me our fundamental unity.
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    Sep 13 2011: I think atheists shouldn't get in arms when religion slips into things
    and I think religious folks shouldn't get in arms when religion slips out of things.
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    Sep 13 2011: Why the heck this way of thinking : because of that (a reason) we believe that ? why to think that we have to have reasons in order to believe in god or in his inexistence ? The most (to not say all) from beneath seems to use this way of thinking , why ? (maybe someone will enlight me........ ) .
    Just look at quantum mechanics : there is a clear indeterminism , this way of thinking can't be applied there (that's why we have models which explain the phenomenas that take place there ) , make a parallel between god and quantum mechanics ( this would be justified ) and answer me at the questions from above .......... if I'm right just results that agnosticism is a big muck (and your way of thinking alike) .
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      Sep 13 2011: quantum mechanics may be probabilistic, but within a set of rules. It already has countless real-world applications. Quantum mechanics isn't some wild guess in the way God's existence is.
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        Sep 13 2011: That was just a parallel which share more or less what I want to say .
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        Sep 13 2011: In the quantum mechanics we don't know the causes (even it is within a set of rules ), here we meet a clear indeterminism in how the phenomenas take place (eventually we don't know any reasons for which to believe that the sun will rise again tommorrow) and because of all these why to seek reasons=causes in order to believe in God's existence/inexistence when there are clearly a lot of things which are believed by us without reasons to do it ? (this way of thinking , especially when it comes about god is a clear failure but however it seems to be the most spread one at least among agnostics) .
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        Sep 14 2011: it's clear that you are more interested about my part of comment which is about science , look at the all comment , I'm sure you got the idea ................... "The causes of what?" : does it matter ? Idk the answer , what i'm trying to say is that in quantum mechanics isn't used (not in the most part) the way of thinking of cause-efect , why to use it about god's existence ? that's irrational and unscientific but that is what the most do , just look beneath.....:
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    Sep 13 2011: Atheism is a reaction at the failure of religion not at the religion itself therefore: atheism is a failure and the atheists are a failure ......... answering at your question : how? : rethinking atheism (will see if something remains ) and trying to be true religious people in thinking and behaviour (I use the word religion with the general connotation).
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    Sep 13 2011: "Agnostic is good enough for me. Wishy-washy, sitting on the fence? I have no problem admitting that I don't know what to believe in. I can live with uncertainty about who or what created the Universe with me in it. I want to be honest with myself : I don't know. There are "teachers" out there ready to swoop down on the likes of me who claim to have a formula, a "revealed" explanation for everything. Those, who follow are the " sheeple " , to use someone's aptly coined word to describe their disciples. I was one of these, and it took me a long time to break away. I was not yet ready to think for myself, nor did I take time to do the research ... it was easier to say "baaaa" to everything the priests or the pastors had to offer. In days gone by they threatened the flock with hell and brimstone and made sin of sex. This way they came to rule the land and the people who lived on it. Today aggressive evangelizing is the name of the game, aiming at world dominion once again. Openly countering their efforts now is the best way to minimize much more serious conflicts that are sure to arise if they are allowed to make any further gains, We, who are not prepared to base our lives on thousand-year-old fairytales may be in the minority, but we must have our say. The " american taliban " is a wealthy, well organized machine. They can do away with democracy as we know it. They have a "right" to do anything in the name of their god.
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      Sep 13 2011: For me, being agnostic boils down to "it doesn't actually matter to me one way or the other."

      Sure, the giant-man-in-the-sky directing everyone's life seems unlikely, but what the hell, I suppose it is possible. There's no actual guarantee that there isn't such a thing, with weird proclivities that involve issuing orders through other people and then not helping those people back up what they say.

      And given that he/she/it doesn't seem too interested in revealing itself to me, I'm going to continue operating my life - possibly an illusion - given the data I have.

      And because I don't actually feel all that compelled to spend endless hours arguing over the existence of an entity that I can neither prove nor disprove (or that makes a functional difference either way), I kinda find extremist atheists and religious people equally irritating.

      That to me is agnosticism: it just doesn't matter.
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          Sep 14 2011: Hi Stephen
          Did someone mention God ?

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    Sep 12 2011: To me the mighty difference among people's beliefs is how they view death. The religious strive for life after death with loved ones all around. The athesists do not. Therein lies the great battle. Is this all there is for you and me or will we be together for etermity?
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    Sep 12 2011: i think religion created the atheists and agnostics.
    i grew up in a christian school and i refused to believe in a god of domination, condemnation and judgement.
    so i considered myself atheist then agnostic..until i realized there is no such god for me.

    human spirit is indomitable.
    thats why i went with spirituality instead.
    religion can't stand spirituality.

    i would say a belief in god can hinder you.
    what you know about life can heal you.

    we have the power to end agressive religious views; if you need a reason do it out of respect for human life.