TED Conversations

David Roemer

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Evolution only applies to the bodies of humans, not their souls. Natural selection only explains the adaptation of species.

The science of biology includes the metaphysical concepts of form (soul) and matter (body) because it is necessary to exclude free will and other functions of the human mind from evolutionary biology. Materialists think that the soul is just an idea, but religious people think the human soul is spiritual.

Many laymen think that natural selection explains common descent, but PhDs in biology know the limits of Darwinism. In my narrated YouTube video/slideshow (“The Truth About Evolution and Religion” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKaF8vX6HXQ) I give quotes from peer-reviewed articles to prove my point.

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  • Jan 9 2012: A lot to talk about and clarify, with not enough time or space. It is unfair to try and convince anyone that one or another religious belief is the right path. Our responsibility is to assist individuals to thrive in their beliefs as long as they are not clearly harmful to others and themselves. If someone finds god sitting by a pond watching a log floating, then that's their answer and we should be thrilled at their success. If Catholicism or Buddhism is the answer for others, than we must respect that as well. Ausmane makes some very good points, but perhaps his most important one is the here and now of this marvelous equation that continually seems to elude us as we wonder what there is or might be in the after life. It really is about the collective good of all of us, in fact, all of us sharing this discussion during which it seems that tempers have risen needlessly. There is enormous power in our words. These words affect feelings, and cast shadows on our belief systems that we have no right to intrude upon. If there is one thing i would like to leave all of you with is the following: compassion is key to our survival especially in this modern, rapid world where we hardly notice the suffering of others. This is an interesting but not so compassionate a conversation based on some of the tones. There's a lot to learn from each other here. Let's listen.
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      Jan 9 2012: Hi Alexander,

      You might be mistaking clear, direct and unequivocal communication as "needlessly risen tempers."

      I tend to be quite blunt in my communication. I am not angry.

      I do not get the sense anyone else is angry either.

      QUOTE: "Our responsibility is to assist individuals to thrive in their beliefs as long as they are not clearly harmful to others and themselves."

      Actually, that is not "our" responsibility. You may have chosen it as your responsibility. Which is fine.

      QUOTE: "There is enormous power in our words."

      I agree and I choose mine very carefully. And I know many other TEDsters who are quite disciplined in their communication.

      QUOTE: "These words affect feelings, and cast shadows on our belief systems that we have no right to intrude upon."

      I do not think anyone cast a shadow on David's belief system.

      On his motives in posting here? Yes, definitely and appropriately.

      This is not the forum for such an endeavor. (I'm not sure but I think proselytising is prohibited on TED forums.)
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      Jan 10 2012: Alexander, appreciate your sensitivity towards possible offense from this type of debate. However, religions are not off limits for discussion, analysis and debate in a modern secular state.
      Not our responsibility to help someone thrive in their chosen belief system if we think it is bunk.

      On the other hand, I support a secular state with religious freedom (within reasonable limits) and freedom from religion if that is what people choose.

      Also, a wise person weighs up freedom of speech for a particular opinion against the likely reaction and results.

      I haven't seen anything that crosses the line as being unreasonably offensive. Some blunt comments - sure. Some passionate. Offense is in the eye of the beholder I guess. Suggest anyone who strongly holds religious beliefs and is likely to be offended from this type of debate is not open to other views or has not been exposed and appropriately densensitised.

      I learn and develop my world view by reading these comments and responding but expect most people aren't going to be convinced to suddenly change religion or become an atheist from these discussions.

      While may own comments may vigorously debate an issue I recognise some people, smarter than me have considered and reflected more on life, the universe, more than I. Others less so, but I hope I don't mock them when I challenge. Every year my world view has refined and hopefully improved. It's a journey, even for a religious believer.

      My ideal would be debate in good spirit and an openness to be challenged and perhaps made a little uncomfortable - recognising on some subjects all comments are just opinion, no one knows for sure, although some opinions fit what we know about the world better than others.

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