ForumsWEPRThe Religion Debate Thread

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nichodemus
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nichodemus
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So yeah, our threads on religion have long since died out, so I figured it would be time to start afresh here!

Do you believe God exists (I know almost all of you don't)? Do you feel religion is important today? Is it a force for good? Discuss everything related to that here!

I'm going to start the ball rolling:

We all know about the rise of ISIS and the terrible acts it perpetuates. Does that show that Islam and religion in general is an awful concept? Is it the people who twist it? Or is it fundamentally an evil force?

Roping in the WERP frequenters
@MageGrayWolf @Kasic @Hahiha @FishPreferred @Doombreed @09philj

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HahiHa
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HahiHa
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Grand Duke

But micro- and macroevolution are fundamentally the same processes, at different time scales. A ring species for example is a great example of genetic drift, or there's the example of the London Underground mosquito. And, of course, the always recurring Darwin's finches.

lozerfac3
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lozerfac3
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Shepherd

Well sure. Microevolution allows for speciation but it doesn't necessarily support evolution. When I say evolution, I mean becoming a different kind. Creationists claim that there can speciation but a member of ape kind can't branch off to become human kind for example.
Edit: I found a link that deals with speciation. Click here.

HahiHa
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HahiHa
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Grand Duke

Previously, creationists denied even speciation, and now they think it supports their views and invalidates evolution? *facepalm*

Apart from the fact that humans are apes (African Great Apes, to be precise (so in a way it really did happen)), speciation is evolution, and does lead to different 'kinds' with time. You can't just say this part here is evolution and this one isn't. It's all part of the same process. The point is that, once the gene flow stops between two populations - be it through geographic and/or reproductive isolation (the latter usually being the consequence of the former, although geographic isolation is not in all cases necessary for that) - both populations will, through genetic drift, differ more and more over time, and might evolve different traits. Give it sufficient time and you get a different kind. See the evolution of birds from dinosaurs for a well-documented example. It doesn't happen all at once, but rather trait by trait.

I'm wondering, what do you define as a 'kind', anyway? I get the feeling that creationists are just pushing the limit of what they would accept as evolution further up the taxonomic scale, first it was species, now, I don't know, genus or some higher taxon? But maybe I'm unjustly making assumptions here, after all I don't keep informed on creationist views on a regular basis.

lozerfac3
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lozerfac3
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Shepherd

In the article I posted, it talks about how "real, substantive increases in information (that is, specifying for an increase in what might be called ‘functional complexity’) will never arise without intelligent cause." I'm still reading this article about how creationists define kind (I stopped right before The Concept of Information section) but it seems that the difference between kind is the amount of information stored in the DNA(?) Like I said, I'm still reading it. However, my point is that the model of the birds to dinosaurs does not take into account/explain increases in information. Then again, the first article states that "Of course, such changes (for example, speciation as a result of horizontal changes in information, or as a result of a mutational defect with a loss of information) do not in themselves offer evidence against ‘big picture’ evolution, since they can easily be assigned a place within the overall model. However, one needs to emphatically point out that they do not suffice to demonstrate the validity of such evolutionary belief, since they can be just as easily assigned a place within a creationist model."

HahiHa
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HahiHa
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Grand Duke

I plan on reading the links more in detail, but for now I just have a few short points.

- Genome size, for that is what I assume they mean by information, does not strictly correlate with complexity.

- Claiming that information will never increase without intelligent cause is an unsubstantiated claim unsupported by evidence-based research. All it achieves is remind us that creationism relies on faith alone, which would be fine if it didn't try so hard to be a pseudo-science.

- The dinosaur to bird model does take into account information changes, as each node represents a new apomorphy (a new derived character). The data might be exclusively osteological and not genetical in the cases of fossils, but both can yield valid taxonomies, as we know from research on extant animals.

lozerfac3
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lozerfac3
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Shepherd

Claiming that information will never increase without intelligent cause is an unsubstantiated claim unsupported by evidence-based research. All it achieves is remind us that creationism relies on faith alone, which would be fine if it didn't try so hard to be a pseudo-science.
They do give evidence why you can't have an increase without intelligent cause because with natural causes, only mutations produce new "sentences" in the sequence. Yet, mutations will never produce a meaningful change that way. That's what I got from it at least.

The dinosaur to bird model does take into account information changes, as each node represents a new apomorphy (a new derived character). The data might be exclusively osteological and not genetical in the cases of fossils, but both can yield valid taxonomies, as we know from research on extant animals.
That's why I included the second quote:

"Of course, such changes (for example, speciation as a result of horizontal changes in information, or as a result of a mutational defect with a loss of information) do not in themselves offer evidence against ‘big picture’ evolution, since they can easily be assigned a place within the overall model. However, one needs to emphatically point out that they do not suffice to demonstrate the validity of such evolutionary belief, since they can be just as easily assigned a place within a creationist model."
FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
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Archduke

Animals release stress hormones and stuff when they are in danger of dying, but humans have very similar responses even though they might only be dealing with an upcoming test or something.
Yes. There are, in fact, varying levels of stress in the world.

In this case, some people would see this as evidence for evolution: our ancestors were in very real danger of predators and these responses are traces of that.
Uh, no. We don't all live in an environment devoid of any danger, nor have we transcended the need for stress response. Given the staggering number of valid examples that demonstrate evolutionary processes, I find it very hard to believe that these "people" exist outside of fiction.

Through my own reasoning, God could have designed those stress responses as a way for us to look to Him for help.
That would be a very poor design, then, although it would fit His M.O. remarkably well if only for that reason.

I have taken biology in high school last school year. I don't believe in macro-evolution, the evolution into another kind of animal, but rather micro-evolution, small changes and adaptations over time.
I don't believe that you believe in one of those, and not both. What exactly do you think distinguishes the two?

Creationists claim that there can speciation but a member of ape kind can't branch off to become human kind for example.
Why would an ape not be able to give rise to another ape?

In the article I posted, it talks about how "real, substantive increases in information (that is, specifying for an increase in what might be called ‘functional complexity’) will never arise without intelligent cause."
So someone on the internet wrote a blatantly false statement. What's your point?

[...] my point is that the model of the birds to dinosaurs does not take into account/explain increases in information.
Okay, well
1 It also doesn't explain mitosis or population dynamics. It certainly accounts for them.
2 Increase in Complexity ≠ Increase in Information

However, one needs to emphatically point out that they do not suffice to demonstrate the validity of such evolutionary belief, [...]
Really? Why? Exactly how often is an actual person claiming that evolution is real solely and exclusively because of mutational defects, specifically those resulting in a loss of information?

They do give evidence why you can't have an increase without intelligent cause because with natural causes, only mutations produce new "sentences" in the sequence. Yet, mutations will never produce a meaningful change that way. That's what I got from it at least.
Circular reasoning. The assertion that mutations will never produce a meaningful change does not support the claim that increases in information never arise without intelligent cause.
HahiHa
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HahiHa
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Grand Duke

They do give evidence why you can't have an increase without intelligent cause because with natural causes, only mutations produce new "sentences" in the sequence. Yet, mutations will never produce a meaningful change that way.

Of course not. Mutation, recombination, migration and genetic drift only provide the base genetic variation that occurs in populations. And even then this is enough, as we've seen, to explain speciation through isolation. But evolution is so much more than that. You forgot natural and sexual selection as non-random processes of adaptation and change. Those do not influence only single nucleotides, but can affect genes or entire gene complexes as such external selection usually acts on the phenotype (as opposed to the genotype), which can for a specific trait be based on a single gene or several distinct genes. You can even explain a change by an alteration in gene expression instead of the genes themselves. And we're barely getting started. Ever heard of Hox genes?

That's why I included the second quote:

I wasn't talking about single nucleotide polymorphisms. The appearance of hollow bones, or the loss of a digit, for example, are not the result of a single mutation. A mutation is a random error in DNA duplication or repair. Derived characters as listed in the dinosaur bird phylogeny are the result of non-random processes like those I mentioned above.

NB: non-random does not imply a plan or a will. It really just means non-random; like a population developing longer hair in colder regions, or something like that.
lozerfac3
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lozerfac3
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Shepherd

I don't believe that you believe in one of those, and not both. What exactly do you think distinguishes the two?

I realized that I shouldn't use those terms. I really encourage you to read the articles I posted.
Increase in Complexity ≠ Increase in Information
I never claimed that. Please explain the increase in information from a single celled organism to an organism as complex as an octopus.
Circular reasoning. The assertion that mutations will never produce a meaningful change does not support the claim that increases in information never arise without intelligent cause.

I'm saying that mutations won't produce any meaningful increases in information. Please read the 2nd article. It explains it way better than me.
lozerfac3
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lozerfac3
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Shepherd

@HahiHa woah woah haha Hox genes? I don't even remember what a nucleotide is, much less know what single nucleotide polymorphisms are. I'm gonna need a little bit of walking through what you're talking about.

HahiHa
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HahiHa
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Grand Duke

He he, sorry for the technical language. A nucleotide is a single 'link' in the DNA 'chain'; the important part is that one nucleotide contains one DNA base. Single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs ( "snips" ) for short, is a variation (like a mutation) in a single nucleotide; like a Guanine instead of an Adenine, e.g. I assume this is what your links call "horizontal" information transfer, as nothing is added or lost, just changed.

The point is, and I realize now I should have mentioned that way before, yes it's true that you cannot explain evolution merely through mutation. But that has never been the claim of evolutionary theory. It's the way how external factors act on a character trait, and thus select for the underlying genes, that you can get meaningful change and not just random gene flow.

As for Hox genes, I have to admit I would need a refresher in many topics of genetics as well, but to quote directly from Wikipedia, "Hox genes (a subset of homeotic genes) are a group of related genes that control the body plan of an embryo along the cranio-caudal (head-tail) axis."

FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
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Archduke

Please explain the increase in information from a single celled organism to an organism as complex as an octopus.
1 Try here.
2 Unless you are suggesting that this plant is more than forty times as evolved as a human being, the amount of genetic information is irrelevant.

I'm saying that mutations won't produce any meaningful increases in information. Please read the 2nd article. It explains it way better than me.
Well, let's see ...
C1 P1 Line 1:
All observed biological changes involve only conservation or decay of the underlying genetic information.
This would appear to be the underlying message of the article, but rather than using line 2 to support this claim it is presented as a premise for line 2 without any support.

C1 P1 Line 2:
Thus we do not observe any sort of evolution in the sense in which the word is generally understood.
I would argue that creationists do not generally understand the term in the same sense that it is generally understood.

C1 P2 Line 3:
When a creationist says that, after all, mosquitoes are not seen turning into elephants or moths, this is regarded as a simplistic retreat.
Whereas it should be regarded as a clear indication that said creationist does not understand what evolution is. Mosquitoes are specific present-day organisms; no amount of time will make them into vastly different present-day organisms.

C2 P2 Line 3:
To put it another way—of course we have never observed variation ‘across the kind’, since whatever two varieties descend from a common source, they are regarded as the same kind.
In other words, the author admits to moving the goalposts as well as circular reasoning. The term "kind" is infinitely regressible by this definition. Even proving the common ancestry of all primates would only expand the "kind" to include all primates.

C2 P3 Line 1:
Circular reasoning does not invalidate the concept of created kinds, however.
True, but it certainly invalidates the argument that invokes it.

C2 P3 Line 2:
In the same way, natural selection is also only capable of a circular definition (those who survive are the fittest, and the fittest are the ones who survive), but it is nevertheless a logical, easily observable concept.
1 That isn't a circular definition; it's two iterations of one definition.
2 That isn't the definition of natural selection. Natural selection is the propagation of genes which promote survivability over those which hinder it.

C2 P5 Line 1:
In like manner, we can show that the observations of the living world are highly consistent with the biblically described concept of original created kinds, and inconsistent with the idea of evolution.
No, as a matter of fact, you can't.

C2 P6 Line 3:
The limits to variation—observed or unobserved—will come about inevitably because gene pools run out of ‘functionally efficient’ genetic information (or ‘teleonomic’ information).
This is just a reiteration of the still unsupported first line of the article.

C2 P9:
In any case, leading biologists are themselves now coming to the conclusion that ‘macroevolution’ is not just ‘microevolution’ [using their terminology] extended over time. In November 1980 a conference of some of the world’s leading evolutionary biologists, billed as ‘historic’, was held at the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History on the topic of ‘macroevolution’. Reporting on the conference in the journal Science, Roger Lewin wrote:

The central question of the Chicago conference was whether the mechanisms underlying microevolution can be extrapolated to explain the phenomena of macroevolution. At the risk of doing violence to the positions of some of the people at the meeting, the answer can be given as a clear, No.

Well, if we're going to be quote mining, I'd like to add "it depends on how you define it" and "the two can more probably be seen as a continuum with a notable overlap".

C2 P10 Line 1:
The fact that this article reaches essentially the same conclusion in the following pages can thus hardly cause it to be regarded as radical.
Sure, we'll just ignore all mention of scriptures, Floods, intelligent creators, "evolutionists", and the "no new information" claim which is oft-repeated but never supported or effectively explained anywhere in the article.
lozerfac3
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lozerfac3
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Shepherd

Part 1
Fricking shiz man. I shouldn't have brought up evolution. I don't know much as I thought I did. First of all, I wanna clear some stuff up on my part. (And maybe some more)

1 Try here.
2 Unless you are suggesting that this plant is more than forty times as evolved as a human being, the amount of genetic information is irrelevant
First part helps. Thanks. Second part I'll just ignore cuz I wasnt suggesting that.
In other words, the author admits to moving the goalposts as well as circular reasoning. The term "kind" is infinitely regressible by this definition. Even proving the common ancestry of all primates would only expand the "kind" to include all primates.
Boi, "The issue is qualitative, not quantitative. It is not that the train has had insufficient time to go far enough—it is heading in the wrong direction. The limits to variation—observed or unobserved—will come about inevitably because gene pools run out of ‘functionally efficient’ genetic information (or ‘teleonomic’ information). A full understanding of this eliminates the image of the desperately backpedalling creationist, redrawing his line of last resistance depending on what new observations are made on the appearance of new varieties."

Now I want to get to the stuff that I actually know about. I need you guys to help me out here because I've been watching atheist YouTube videos and I need somewhere that I can respond to them and people will respond to me without hurling insults. (Either the comments on youtube are silly or the videos I watched are too old that I can get a response. Sorry if I sound more aggressive than usual btw. I need someone to tell me I'm wrong cuz I'm having a crisis and I don't want to go to the same source time after time for support.

I've been watching The Atheist Voice and some of the stuff he said kinda made me cringe (for example his video about what he would ask God). I guess I shouldn't shame him for that though because he doesn't know God the way I have experienced God. But in other videos the guys brings back the argument of God's goodness and stuff. Please allow me to respond to his 78 Questions for Christians video. You have to watch the video because the script in the description doesn't match the video.

lozerfac3
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lozerfac3
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Shepherd

Part 2
1. Anne Frank is in hell probably.
2. Mahatma Gandhi is in hell probably.
3. Fred Phelps is in hell probably.
4. A killer who genuinely repents at the end of his life would go to heaven.
5. A kind-hearted atheist would go to hell.
6. Kind-hearted religious people who don't believe in God would go to hell.
7. Yes, I'd be happy in heaven if someone I loved was in hell.
8. If my child was dying, I would pray for them and take them to the doctor.
9. I think taking them the doctor has more of an impact.
10. God answers anyone's prayers. By answer I mean revealing his will about it.
11. I pray because God commanded me to and because it helps reveal his will.
12. Drugs are going to help treat cancer more than prayer.
13. Prayer would not bring an amputated limb back.
14. N/A
15. N/A
16. More studying helps me get a better score on a test.
17. You would not know if I was praying for you right now.
18. The quality of prayers matter more than prayers.
19. N/A
20. People die no matter what you do because it is ultimately God's will.
21. No, prayers serve to cultivate a relationship with God.
22. Yes, I would admit it if prayer only serves to make me feel good if it were true.
23. Yes, there are things that make me doubt God's existence.
24. If I had serious doubts about God's existence I would try to hit up my non-Christian crush.
25. Bruh how am I supposed to know if Jesus was white?
26. God seems more likely to answer a talented athelete's prayer than one of a starving child because the athlete has a better chance of getting what he prayed for.
27. God seems to hate Africa because they are way less fortunate that other parts of the world.
28. If African missionaries came to my community to spread their tribal faith, I would listen to them and take them seriously to be courteous, but I would not believe them.
29. Yes, God speaks to me personally.
30. Yes, if God told me to kill my child, I would do it unfortunately.
31. Yes, if God told me to kill you, I would do it unfortunately.
32. Yes, God is always watching over me.
33. Even on the toilet.
34. When Muslims claim the Koran is the holy book I say they are wrong.
35. Yes. They are wrong.
36. I never read the Koran.
37. I dismiss them so easily because I believe the Bible is the holy book.
38. N/A
39. Acting on one's homosexuality is a sin.
40. Homosexuality itself is not a sin.
41. I don't believe gays and lesbians deserve the right to get married.
42. I'm not sure if my church would marry a gay couple. Probably not.
43. N/A
44. N/A
45. If God would already punish homosexuals, some Christians feel the need to persecute them because those Christians don't get God's message of love and forgiveness.
46. God is playing hide and seek because He selected only certain people to enter his kingdom.
47. I'm not sure when Jesus is coming back.
48. N/A
49. Similarities between Jesus and other gods are exaggerated. Coincedence if not.
50. People who study the Bible's origins and stuff decide what parts are literal and which ones are metaphorical.
51. Minimum requirements for being a Christian: believe that Jesus is God and claim He is your savior.
52. I'm assuming he's asking which religious sects fall under that definition. All sects that do that are defined as Christian. Sorry Mormons and such. You don't have to be part of a church to be Christian though.
53. I assumed wrong. Well, to answer his question, Fred Phelps is a Christian.
54. Pat Robertson is Christian.
55. James Dobson is Christian.
56. Barack Obama is apparently Christian. I thought he was Muslim for some reason.
57. Yes, Mary was impregnanted without having sex.
58. I would not believe if someone else told me someone got got pregnant without having sex.
59. Haha.
60. If I had the opportunity to save Jesus through time travel, I wouldn't because He would tell me not to.
61. It would take finding Jesus's body or convincing from one of you guys to change my mind about God's existence. Actually, I think I was just really mad at myself last night. At this point probably only finding Jesus's body. I don't know. I need help.
62. It's very strange when someone says they will believe in something if all evidence points away from it.
63. I disagreed when my pastor said that black people are hypocrites for saying the n word.
64. I let it slide.
65. There are many Christian denominations because we disagree on some stuff.
66. I believe there are bad Christian denominations.
67. N/A
68. N/A
69. No one is responsible for natural disasters.
70. I can tell you the 10 commandments but not in order.
71. Some people believe that the first 4 commandment belong on government stuff because they believe that the government should be more God centered.
72. I would not be comfortable saying the pledge of allegiance if the line was "under no God".
73. I don't think that it's coincedence that different religions are popular in different parts of the world.
74. If I was born in Saudi Arabia I would probably be Muslim.
75. I believe religion has lots to do with where and when you were born.
76. Child birth is not a miracle.
77. N/A
78. N/A

HahiHa
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HahiHa
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Grand Duke

34. When Muslims claim the Koran is the holy book I say they are wrong.
35. Yes. They are wrong.
36. I never read the Koran.
37. I dismiss them so easily because I believe the Bible is the holy book.

73. I don't think that it's coincedence that different religions are popular in different parts of the world.
74. If I was born in Saudi Arabia I would probably be Muslim.
75. I believe religion has lots to do with where and when you were born.

I just browsed over your replies to the 78 questions, and the ones I quoted above caught my attention. Because you say that religion has a lot to do with where you grow up - I would agree with that, in the sense that culture coins religion - and yet you believe that your holy book is the true one. Do you understand why I'm curious about that contrast? In a way, I'm not sure if you do believe in the omnipresence of your God or not. How do you explain the very large amount of different faiths and denominations, and how can you judge without reading their holy books?
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