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Postby B. Tribe » February 17th, 2011, 12:09 pm

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:most of the anecdotes i've heard you guys talk about your childhood church experiences have sounded like they've approached God as an object of fear, submission and obedience.


My church was pretty chill, actually. Methodists are much more New Testament than Old these days.

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:i don't believe God is cruel, in any aspect. i think we are cruel to each other, and God allows it because that's the only way free will can work. and the pain and strife are tools for us to learn and grow.


FUCK, I'm about to go off. I'll try to remain calm but when I'm forced to think about horrific things I get overtaken by emotion. What the fuck have we learned from [insert horribly graphic depiction of genocide, rape, murder, apathy, slavery, mass destruction here]? What does someone learn from seeing [graphic description of a loved one being violated]? I just read a story where a man in Africa was forced at gunpoint to rape his own daughter. When he refused he was mutilated as punishment. What did anyone learn from that? How did someone grow from that? Did the daughter learn about the glory of human existence, the transcendent glory of God, the beauty of Christ's sacrifice on the cross? Did the soldiers who initiated this atrocity suddenly decide they were wrong? And if they did realize they were monsters, how could they ever atone for it?! The only responsible thing would be for them to take their murder tools, put them under their own jaws and blow their heads off. The reporters who were covering the story left and a week later the village was MASS RAPED. If God had the power to stop this from happening, then where the FUCK was he? Why would he create such flawed creatures and then step back and let them run wild? Does he like it? Does he disapprove? Is he powerless to stop it? WHY WOULD HE CREATE US?! And why would you hold him in any esteem? Because he was nice to you? I just don't get it! By that logic I should beat my kids so they'll have the tools to learn and grow. I'm doing them a disservice if I don't! The mental gymnastics involved to resolve worshiping such a cruel/impotent/flawed entity must be more exhausting than an Olympic floor routine.

Dammit, I was done with this thread and now I'm super pissed. Sorry, Jordan, I know you didn't mean to set me off, but that reasoning just plain infuriates me. GRRR I WANT TO TRADE CHOPS WITH RIC FLAIR NOW!!!
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » February 17th, 2011, 1:03 pm

B. Tribe wrote:My church was pretty chill, actually. Methodists are much more New Testament than Old these days.


right on. i've got a lot of Methodist friends (even dated one back in high school), so i've inevitably gotten roped into all manner of services and choirs. lol!

B. Tribe wrote:FUCK, I'm about to go off. I'll try to remain calm but when I'm forced to think about horrific things I get overtaken by emotion. What the fuck have we learned from [insert horribly graphic depiction of genocide, rape, murder, apathy, slavery, mass destruction here]? What does someone learn from seeing [graphic description of a loved one being violated]? I just read a story where a man in Africa was forced at gunpoint to rape his own daughter. When he refused he was mutilated as punishment. What did anyone learn from that? How did someone grow from that? Did the daughter learn about the glory of human existence, the transcendent glory of God, the beauty of Christ's sacrifice on the cross? Did the soldiers who initiated this atrocity suddenly decide they were wrong? And if they did realize they were monsters, how could they ever atone for it?! The only responsible thing would be for them to take their murder tools, put them under their own jaws and blow their heads off. The reporters who were covering the story left and a week later the village was MASS RAPED. If God had the power to stop this from happening, then where the FUCK was he? Why would he create such flawed creatures and then step back and let them run wild? Does he like it? Does he disapprove? Is he powerless to stop it? WHY WOULD HE CREATE US?! And why would you hold him in any esteem? Because he was nice to you? I just don't get it! By that logic I should beat my kids so they'll have the tools to learn and grow. I'm doing them a disservice if I don't! The mental gymnastics involved to resolve worshiping such a cruel/impotent/flawed entity must be more exhausting than an Olympic floor routine.


no gymnastics required. but yes, it is trying to witness the atrocities man visits upon himself. it has tested my faith on occasion, but the conclusion i continue to come to is that it is MAN who does these things, not God. and in the grand scale of our spiritual evolution, we are still closer to beasts and children than not. but God is not Superman. we still have free will, and the price of that is that we choose to do some fucked up shit to each other sometimes...we choose to kill and rape and wound and steal. and we choose to lie and cheat and betray. and we choose to neglect and ignore and manipulate. and all the other abuses and sins, both grand and mundane, we visit upon each other on a daily basis. and God "allows" it because it's the only way for anything we do or learn or achieve to have ANY kind of meaning. because you can't take the good without the bad. because suffering is the price of passion (hell, it's practically the definition). because we do learn and grow and evolve through the trials and horrors and fire we face. no, i don't know what specific "lessons" there are in rape and genocide. but i know it allows for moments of individual growth and grace and greatness, to rise above or lend a hand. i know that coming through that kind of tribulation teaches you about who you truly are. i know that travesties inspire outrage which can in turn inspire change.

it seems unjust and sloppy...but nothing worth doing ever came without some kind of struggle. and i much prefer a world where we're free to choose, even if it's the wrong choice, than one where our every action and decision is rendered moot by constant divine intervention. Jesus said the kingdom of Heaven was within us. and it is up to us to manifest it in the world around us. and it's down to us when we do the opposite as well.

B. Tribe wrote:Dammit, I was done with this thread and now I'm super pissed. Sorry, Jordan, I know you didn't mean to set me off, but that reasoning just plain infuriates me. GRRR I WANT TO TRADE CHOPS WITH RIC FLAIR NOW!!!


well, give me a chest slap, a "WHOO!" and a hug and we'll work through it together, man. :)
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Postby Spots » February 17th, 2011, 6:36 pm

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:the conclusion i continue to come to is that it is MAN who does these things, not God. and in the grand scale of our spiritual evolution, we are still closer to beasts and children than not.


Here's the way I look at it. "Free will" is a historical analogy attempting to explain a biological concept that was before it's time. "Why do men act so much differently than animals? Why do we have language? Why do we have foresight and the ability to plan events & goals weeks or even years in advance? Why can we paint & make music?"

We no longer need abstractions to explain this phenomenon. (Ironic since the core of the explanation granted us these abstractions in the first place.) It's simply the neocortex. The neocortex explains every facet how man is "superior" to a beast (with exception to thumbs). We certainly are not stronger than bears. Or faster than antelope. But abstraction allowed us to craft tools and invent methods to dominate these once superior creatures.

Image
The neocortex was used three times here. Once to craft the spear. Once to plan the attack. Once to draw the sketch.

Did God give us the neocortex? You could make that argument, certainly. But the fossil record is there showing you the development of the neocortex in mammals. (the hand of God guiding the neocortex I presume*)

The fossil record also illustrates the other human-like species that our ancestors murdered off. They were not without a neocortex. So they had "free will" too.

I suppose God gave us more free will than those other guys.


* The thing that always gets me about most religious people speaking of God's place in evolution is that here they are, closer to anyone in the history of time with evidence of God's inner workings. But they can never be bothered to even research the scale of time involved. Usually all they research is just enough to gain a cursory understanding in order to draw their simple illustrations of "God works in mysterious ways."
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Postby Spaztique » February 17th, 2011, 7:54 pm

Speaking of free will, evolution, and God's place in it, here's a fun analogy I came up with.

A bunch of cakes sit in a display case at a bakery, arguing whether or not they were created by an all-seeing, all-knowing baker, or whether they just came from eggs, flour, butter, sugar, milk, baking powder, and cooking oils. One cake says it has faith in the existence of the baker, even though it has no eyes or ears or any form of sentience to see the baker, while another cake argues how there are traces of eggs and flour in nearly every cake, and that some donuts share the same ingredients. The cake with the belief in the baker says it did not come from a donut, nor is it related to an eclair or any other pastry, and that the baker gave cakes frosting and a variety of flavors that separate them from the other desserts, but the cake arguing they all just came from ingredients says the evidence for donuts and cakes having common ingredients is right in front of them, and that cakes just used their ingredients better than the other desserts. This cake then goes on to argue how belief is morally harmful, since it gets different flavors to believe that the baker favors one flavor over another, and since there are so many flavors, which one is the right flavor (what separates chocolate from dark chocolate and red velvet)? Meanwhile, the believer cake says it doesn't want to think that cakes just came from ingredients for no reason, but that each one of them was made unique and with its own purpose. The skeptic cake comes up with a full list of ingredients for how to make a cake, but the believer cakes says that the list of ingredients still doesn't answer how they got into the display case in the first place.

This argument goes on for days, accomplishing nothing. In the long run, all of the cakes end up getting eaten, unable to pass on their knowledge of who was right to the other cakes.
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Postby Spots » February 17th, 2011, 8:11 pm

Spaztique wrote:Speaking of free will, evolution, and God's place in it, here's a fun analogy I came up with.



Good analogy. My question is... who is the intended audience?
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Postby Spaztique » February 17th, 2011, 8:12 pm

Spots wrote:
Spaztique wrote:Speaking of free will, evolution, and God's place in it, here's a fun analogy I came up with.



Good analogy. My question is... who is the intended audience?


Both sides of the argument.
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Postby Spots » February 17th, 2011, 8:27 pm

For that purpose it might be a little ambitious. Personally I'm wary of evolutionary analogies using inanimate objects (especially food products):

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZFG5PKw504[/youtube]

To get to the heart of evolution debate, you have to address the scale of time and diversity of environment. The presenters in this video are completely ignorant of both.
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Postby mpbrockman » February 18th, 2011, 1:37 am

Spots wrote:My question is... who is the intended audience?


This kid?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miULdI-qocg[/youtube]
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Postby KathyRose » February 18th, 2011, 1:50 am

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1Sj0j0BAOM[/youtube]
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Postby mpbrockman » February 18th, 2011, 2:04 am

Very nice Kathy - I'd not seen that before.

Anyway, sorry, I was going to keep my nose out of this until we got back to porn. So here:

KIDS: DO NOT CLICK HERE!
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Postby Spots » February 18th, 2011, 2:52 am

It's too bad you're not sticking around Brockman. Because DING DING DING!!! With the past few posts we just entered the world of Intelligent Design!!!!

I for one am thrilled. Some Intelligent Design folks accept that evolution happened in the past to get to where we are today. That the current generation of species did evolve in the past but is now static.

This is falsey falsey false.

Everything in biological history did not happen so that humans could ride horses and eat bananas. Yes, its's awesome that it worked out that way but we are still changing. The ecosystem has constantly evolved and creatures were codependent on each other in seemingly miraculous ways... for oh, the past hundreds of millions of years.

This is why intelligent design is dangerous. It tells people "Do whatever you want. Dump oil into the gulf. Whatev's. God's got your back no matter what." But we could kill off any number of species of animal that we are quite dependent on for survival. The bees come to mind.

If God put this ecosystem into action, where's the failsafe? Will he replenish our bee supply?

I'm sure that dinosaurs once marvelled at how their necks were perfectly aligned with the height of tree branches around them. "NOM NOM. Life is perfect. Surely we were intelligently designed." BOOM... asteroid.

That was a rare environmental change. And guess what? Without that asteroid humans never would have existed. It was like a giant RESET button. During the age of the dinosaurs our ancestors were mostly rodents and tiny little creatures that went unseen, swinging through trees or crawling and hiding out in holes. Our ancestors survived and outlived motherfucking dinosaurs. This is the perfect example of survival of the fittest (in the short term).

[I obviously don't know but I would guess that many dinosaurs survived the asteroid but their food supply did not. Dinosaur species began going extinct whereas mammalian species began to thrive.]

I'm sure at the time dinosaurs probably felt more fit than rodents and other tiny mammals. Too bad for the dinosaurs that their perspective of Intelligent Design was "This Was the Worst Design Ever".

Image

Uh Oh! It's on now! I went there.
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Postby PyroDan » February 18th, 2011, 3:51 am

Spots wrote:Everything in biological history did not happen so that humans could ride horses and eat bananas. Yes, its's awesome that it worked out that way but we are still changing. The ecosystem has constantly evolved and creatures were codependent on each other in seemingly miraculous ways... for oh, the past hundreds of millions of years.


Well great Jesse, you spoiled my banana eating horseback riding session.

When I finished my last section of biology in college, I had a prof, in biology, that was intrigued by intelligent design. He thought the concept was an interesting theory whether it was God, or aliens, and seemed to make more sense than just the thought of primordial ooze.

I think on the terms of evolution, humanity has achieved the ability to beat out survival of the fittest to some degree, which is supremely sad to some extent, as it may mean we have stunted the whole process.
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Postby Spots » February 18th, 2011, 4:06 am

@Dan hehehe. By the way I have some bananas in the car..


PyroDan wrote: He thought the concept was an interesting theory whether it was God, or aliens, and seemed to make more sense than just the thought of primordial ooze.


I'm also intrigued by it. On the DNA level I'm still open to the loose concept of a design. It's certainly a reason to probe deeper and deeper into DNA research. To find evidence of God. I love that aspect.

But like all beliefs, we have to take on Intelligent Design one assumption at a time. And most arguments I've heard (which adopt evolution) make evolution sound like something it is not: Smart.

Evolution randomly throws shit against the wall to see what sticks. Can we rename Intelligent Design after this phenomenon?

Throw Shit Against The Wall And See If It Sticks Design

Can we please? I'm all for it. I'll register the domain right now.

PyroDan wrote:I think on the terms of evolution, humanity has achieved the ability to beat out survival of the fittest to some degree, which is supremely sad to some extent, as it may mean we have stunted the whole process.


I find this to be true. Abstract thinking stunted the old way of survival of the fittest in the animal kingdom. But as society develops, we become more and more dependent on evolving socially. Becoming socially fit is the new status quo. ( Which makes improvisers top of the food chain!)

Men are rewarded for their charm more so than for physical prowess. (I know a lot of handsome guys that spend their lives playing video games) Women are rewarded for learning how to field potential mates. So the concept is still around within our species. And as the current "fittest" species we basically dictate which animals exist.


However, just like the dinosaurs we could easily assume we are the fittest species to survive. Only to have an environmental change occur which serves as a total game changer. This appears inevitable.

When I speak out against Intelligent Design, the stakes seem so high it's difficult to hold back. It's simply not as responsible a doctrine as natural selection. God acts as a failsafe in the equation, and the reality is that there simply is no failsafe. Once one critical ecosystem component goes missing, the wheels could all go spinning off into oblivion.

This is why the gulf tragedy deeply concerns me. Everyone seemed perfectly happy as soon as they heard BP would be compensating the fishermen for their loss of sales. You never even hear about it these days. Too much of a downer. Good indication it will keep happening.
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Postby mpbrockman » February 18th, 2011, 8:11 am

Spots wrote:It's too bad you're not sticking around Brockman. Because DING DING DING!!! With the past few posts we just entered the world of Intelligent Design!!!!

I for one am thrilled. Some Intelligent Design folks accept that evolution happened in the past to get to where we are today. That the current generation of species did evolve in the past but is now static.

This is falsey falsey false.


Well, duh. With our limited lifespans we are no more equipped to observe macro-evolution than my cats are to play my keyboard.

ID is creationism dressed up pretty to try to beat a Supreme Court ruling barring teaching of creationism. Hell, look at the fossil record, read Darwin, Dennett and Dawkins and compare/contrast with Behe, Gould and the Creation Museum in KY to check out the dinosaurs cavorting with Adam & Eve and figure it out for yourselves.

Things like "irreducible complexity" and gaps in the fossil record have all been more than adequately addressed. Historically speaking, the "We can't explain this, therefore god" argument ends smashed to flinders against new evidence.

Besides, on philosophical grounds, what egocentrism must be needed to assume we are the static pinnacle of evolution. Oh wait, this comes from the same people who think god created this vast, incredibly complex and wondrous universe we find ourselves in but has time to care for us all personally. I get it.

Dan & Jesse, y'all may be looking at evolution through antiquated glasses, assuming only biological (or social) factors at work, when we need to broaden our scope. Throw technology into the mix, use a little imagination and imagine the human race even 200 years from now. Before I start speculating, I'll let you mull over that for a while. Keep in mind things like the fact that medical and nutritional advances alone have doubled expected lifespans over the last century and that it's not unusual to see non-disabled people equipped with prostheses (say, the ubiquitous cellphone earpiece). Broaden your definition a bit and imagine, will humans be recognizable as such?

Change it to "Throw Shit Against the Wall and See if it Makes for a Better Wall" and maybe I'll think about it.
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Postby Spots » February 18th, 2011, 9:00 am

mpbrockman wrote:Dan & Jesse, y'all may be looking at evolution through antiquated glasses, Throw technology into the mix, use a little imagination and imagine the human race even 200 years from now. Before I start speculating, I'll let you mull over that for a while.


Antiquated?

Maybe you are referring to humans bootstrapping extrasomatic & extragenetic information. But no matter how exciting these concepts are, they are not synonymous with the common term "evolution."

What you basically told me was that I'm only thinking of biological evolution in regards to biology.

Well, Guilty as charged.

In my opinion it's impossible to speculate evolution. Perhaps we can speculate with some accuracy 200 years in the future. Perhaps. Postulating such details of the future is completely unreliable because environment plays an enormous role.

We can only judge "fitness" based on the environment we are currently given. Brockman, you may be looking at environment through antiquated glasses. The environment 200 years from now may be effected by pollution, cataclysmic events, socio political doctrines, disease, famine, lack of resources, extinction of various species, slight changes in climate, pop culture OR lack of all these things. Each of them represents a wide spectrum of possibility. A wide wide spectrum of possibility.

It's very well possible that we will all reside in clay huts. Then again a few of us may live in colonies on Mars, representing new ecosystems of their own.

What you seem to be talking about is transhumanism. Sure... that's a form of evolution. But less in the form of technology and more in the form of the evolving neocortex, as I've stated.

The neocortex will evolve in a completely random way.... who knows? Perhaps someone who exclusively uses iphones today will have a progeny with a mutation -- a new trait of the neocrotex that remains dominant for another million years.

Obviously biological evolution will continue to take place, no matter how much technology you throw into the mix...

Extrasomatic information actually counts as environment. And as I stated, environment is completely unpredictable. What you told me to guess accounts for only a microscopic fraction of the total variables of the environment 200 years from now. But if it answers your question I predict very little will happen in the next 200 years ( and perhaps the next six thousand years ) in human biological evolution.


I'll give you an easier task: Imagine yourself in the 1970's predicting your day to day habits of today. Seems rather impossible.


mpbrockman wrote:Change it to "Throw Shit Against the Wall and See if it Makes for a Better Wall" and maybe I'll think about it.


I like the proposed change. I hope it sticks.
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