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Showing content with the highest reputation on 07/21/2018 in all areas

  1. 3 points
    Here's one suggestion: Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne. This is an excellent++ book.
  2. 3 points
    Religions clearly manipulate people, that's how they survive. That preacher was being more honest and forthcoming than he realized or intended. Oops, it seems he accidentally let the cat out of the bag. It doesn't matter most of his congregation probably wasn't listening anyway. And those that were likely didn't make the connection.
  3. 2 points
    I feel foolish to say it now, but I did not realize what I was doing for the longest time. While the title of this writing may be true, I should also add on that I forgot how to be skeptical and I know exactly why. Perhaps this will help some others who can relate if they are on the path I was. I remember the day I stopped being a skeptic (when I say a skeptic, I mean it in the sense of never giving something the benefit of doubt before accepting it as true). I was in high school, probably a freshman or sophomore. Something had come up in conversation within the group I was in and a claim was made. I do not remember what the claim was, I just remember I doubted it. Other people then chimed in and said that the claim was indeed true (and it turns out it was true). For reasons I am not able to string together now, I felt stupid for not believing the claim and chastised myself for looking foolish in front of everyone else. In that moment, I clearly remember telling myself to never do that again and from that point forward, I gave everyone the benefit of doubt. My goodness, that was a stupid mistake. It made me absolutely credulous and gullible. From there on out, everyone had a fair chance in my book unless they proved otherwise. No joke, I am 37 and I just realized I have been doing this since I was in high school. Now I get why I had so much trouble within Christianity. Every wild claim, no matter how outlandish, was automatically given equal grounds with every other claim. Because I was not thinking critically, I would then read authors and give all of them the benefit of the doubt, and then someone would give a rebuttal and they would get the benefit of doubt. It was driving me insane because I could not pin any one thing down. Reflecting on it now, I feel like an idiot. Now, I get skepticism (I should say I am learning to - I have to rewire some things). When the atheist are arguing against a claim of religion, they are simply asking if it can be demonstrated to be true. Why are we expected to accept a claim based merely on the claim or on a book that makes a claim? People lie, people lie all the time for different reasons. People make mistakes, eyewitness forget things. Look at all of the religions out there. and if one happens to be true, then people have made serious mistakes contriving 9,999 other ones. Based on that information alone, it should be encouraged to be critical and skeptical of every claim, especially in religion. What I like about science is that is open to inquiry. Do not believe something is true, go test it for yourself. You may need to get a doctorate in order to do such a thing, but the possibility is there, and it is open to anyone who would like to investigate it. Scientific methods work because they lead to realities everyone can attest to (unless you want to deny the possibility our material world is real). I asked a question to myself a few weeks ago and it was related to the idea of "how can we know what we know." Some definition, maybe wikipedia, said reality - or what we now to be true - is defined by what we can demonstrate to be true or by reasoning it out. I disagree with the later part, but I am definitely up for discussion on this because perhaps I do not exactly understand what that means. I say this because attempting to determine reality by reasoning could lead to all sorts of weird ideas that cannot be actually demonstrated to be true. Reasoning is based upon worldviews, cultures, backgrounds, conditioning, and a lot of other things. So, I suppose I have to wonder if the definition of reasoning provided there means thinking something through to its logical endpoint and leaving it at that, or coming to a logical conclusion or hypothesis and then attempting to demonstrate its veracity via existential means.
  4. 2 points
    Holy shit. You (and LF) are just little toddlers. I hadn't realized. Aren't you both just so cute in your deconversions. When you get to be old and cynical teenagers then you'll stop caring since you will think you know it all like all us teens do. I sort of remember how I was a couple years out. I was still on a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I still was big into researching all sorts of shit. I got really angry if people tried to call me out for not me a True Christian and all that jazz. I occasionally had some doubts but never really anything significant since I don't really think that way. They would be more along the lines of maybe I missed something and so I'd dig deeper into research and not so much what if, in spite of what I know, it's all true? Or something like that. I more cared about what I knew as opposed to what I didn't so I made sure to know all I could. I didn't want to load up on whatever anti-xian apologetics are or just turn to some "experts" since that just seemed like the same crutch from a different angle so I thought I'd take it upon myself to do some studying. If you look back at my posts (if that's possible) you'll see I started reading ancient history from as far back as possible (in English translations...my attempts at learning other languages were failures) and worked forward through time. I read a mountain of history over years (and would take even longer now since even more is available and I occasionally browse through these new ones and re-read things). I eventually stopped around the first centuries because there was just too much to read. I was never going to get through it all. And remembering it? Unfortunately, I've forgotten the vast majority. It helped me at the time though and if you need to do something like this then I might suggest it. mwc
  5. 2 points
    The Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way are approaching each other because their combined velocities towards each other is greater that the speed of the expansion between them.
  6. 1 point
    If Gods exists he will not be found in Grim Churches or dusty volumes full of both chapter and verse. He has no part in unfulfilled promises or strange visions that isolate and confuse. He is not in the laying on of sweaty hands or the droning voice of inflated male ego at the front. If God exists he no more comes in human form than in the splendour of a garden worm. If God exists he is not he or she but it. The it that is a tree or river The it that is the universe in which we all stand The it that is a single breath of mine. The Its that claim nothing and just happen to be.
  7. 1 point
    Or they turned it into a positive. "YES! Manipulate me Jesus!" Kinda kinky when I say it that way... Which reminds me of a lady in my former congregation that sounded like she was climaxing with Jesus during worship. Made others uncomfortable enough to complain.
  8. 1 point
    Second the Jerry Coyne recommendation! He also has a blog with a wide spectrum of posts -- from science/evolution to current news to cat humor. He travels frequently and shares a lot of those experiences too. You can also sign up for emails. https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/
  9. 1 point
    But the omniscient god, who supposedly inspired those ancient people to write down his inerrant, infallible "word" did understand how we came to be. So why isn't the bible more accurate. It's got insanely detailed instructions on how to sacrifice a goat; but nothing on speciation via natural selection? Why not, if it really is the inspired word of the creator?
  10. 1 point
    I'll look through some posts of yours when I'm not on my phone, but this well describes where I am. My even bigger problem is that I don't feel like there's enough time in the day to devote to just education what with being a multiple job holding wifey with bills to pay and shit to clean and what not. I can't even fathom children holy shit lol. I've recently settled in listening to audio books in my office job. Any suggestions for books? My history and science could use a lot more work. It seems Jesus/my homeschool parents couldn't put a sin spin on math and logic lol..
  11. 1 point
    I dunno, man. People tend to project their own worldview onto the world, and assume every other person behaves and thinks the way they do - thereby justifying their thought and behavior. I once met a person, who looking back I am now convinced was nearly-psychopathic, who manipulated people a lot. When I cornered him on it, he argued that "It's ok to use people as objects because that's just what people do to each other." At the time I thought he was probably just being eccentric and edgy, but over time I realized that that is actually how be believed and lived. I distanced myself from him. I for one thinks it's irrational to think of everything in terms of manipulation, and the casual assumption in doing so speaks to me of a really disturbed person. I get what you're saying in that it's refreshing in a weird, unexpected sort of way, but I worry that the speaker/preacher probably means what he's saying more literally and more viciously than you realize - like that it's ok to lie to your children or threaten your wife because "everything is manipulation anyways". Or maybe I'm waaaaaaaay overthinking this and you're just pointing out a funny unexpected thing you heard on the broadcast. lol. Just ranting.
  12. 1 point
    @MOHO Yeah, I've noticed that. I think that plenty of people with hypocritical or crazy religious beliefs are "intelligent", but that doesn't mean they apply that intelligence consistently - which I think is an aspect of wisdom. Being intelligent doesn't necessarily make a person wise. I think I read back in the day that intelligent people are actually easier to brainwash since they often assume they're above the irrational tactics used in brainwashing - all the while being vulnerable to the emotional nature of those tactics. @TinMan It sounds to me like you spent a lot of time wanting to believe the best about people. That can be a really good thing since it guards you from the kind of cynicism about humanity that can really mess people up sometimes. I think there are comments above that address this better than I am right now, but it's possible to have skepticism about people's beliefs without necessarily undercutting their intentions or assuming that they're coming from a bad place (although some do - but most people tend to be simply wrong rather than outright evil, in my experience) - and that's a type of "giving the benefit of the doubt".
  13. 1 point
    Ironically, this is more or less the position of Ben Shapiro, namely that the Supreme Court exist to adjudicate legal cases and not to further any specific political agenda. Another conservative commentator, Daniel Horowitz, actually goes further and believes that the Marbury decision was a usurpation of power that the judicial branch should never have had. As he points out, until relatively recently the Supreme Court didn't even have its own building, and apparently met in the basement of the Capitol. Yes, I will certainly agree that packing the court with ideologues is not an appropriate use of the judicial power. My fellow pro-choicers will likely view the Supreme Court pick through the singular lens of the Roe decision. I, however, would argue that they were fools to leave an issue like this to a single court decision, opting not to protect such rights via legislation. I must say that the Roe decision appears to be on shaky legal ground, and while I am fully in favor of aborting fetuses, I don't see such a right explicitly granted anywhere in the Constitution. Failing to appoint explicitly pro-choice justices to the Supreme Court may result in a temporary loss of these rights. However, state legislatures are free to pass laws supporting such rights after the inevitable overturning of the Roe decision, and I hope they do so.
  14. 1 point
    11 out of 17. So, am I smart, kinda smart, sort of smart, meh? These things are so pointless.
  15. 1 point
    Here’s something that confuses me. I’ve watched some videos and read some articles that state that the Andromeda galaxy is rushing towards our galaxy. How is this possible if the universe is expanding?
  16. 1 point
    This is really interesting stuff. I'm currently reading Jim Holt's book When Einstein Walked with Godel: Excursions to the Edge of Thought. Despite the title, it's not actually that concerned with either Einstein or Godel. This came as a surprise to me, and, to a certain extent, caused me some disappointment. Einstein and Godel are two of my favourite people. But it's a solid read, nonetheless. It's a collection of essays on various topics including physics and mathematics. Very interesting. Really, really good stuff. The essay I just read was called "How Will the Universe End?", and it's relevant here. Just as an fyi for anyone who's interested. Check it out.
  17. 1 point
    I agree with all the ones that say I'm intelligent but I think the ones that say otherwise are a bunch of hogwash. mwc
  18. 1 point
    @ag_NO_stic Sounds like you're becoming sane to me. A friend of mine said "If you not sure you're sane that's reason to believe that you are sane." The world is a really uncertain place and I think part of the deconversion process is learning to cope with that, instead of lying to yourself of holding on to mythologies you barely understand. And about struggling to care/not-care I totally understand. I think in the long run you should absolutely care... but it helps to resolve in detail what's worth caring about. I think I'm trying to care less about correcting people who are wrong, and am trying to care more about engaging in conversations where I can actually make a difference. I think I've gone through what you're describing, and in some way still do. Keep on Trucking!
  19. 1 point
    My 'anniversary' of the very moment I stopped believing in God and didn't consider myself a Christian was May 2016... I joined this site around September 2016 by which time I had gone through most arguments and evidence for God and found them wanting. Further conversations and reading here simply consolidated that process. "Phase" loosely speaking, but I think its one where you've de-converted but still doing a lot of thinking and research surrounding the subject and discussing with Christians.
  20. 1 point
    So here's a related article. https://www.space.com/41207-dark-matter-dark-energy-planck-spacecraft.html?utm_source=notification Snipped The OP article talks about a different speed variable between closer galaxies and ones further away. It would seem the universe is expanding and moving... just at different speeds we find hard to pin down.
  21. 1 point
    There's different aspects of giving people the benefit of the doubt. We recently had all sorts of problems with people jumping to assumptions and conclusions about what others were saying and / or thinking specifically because they weren't given the benefit of the doubt first and foremost, before jumping to conclusions. So in the case of trying to judge people or make assumptions without a full working knowledge of what the other is thinking, or without first making the effort to understand what the other person is saying in the first place, the benefit of the doubt should be a default position unless proven otherwise. For instance, if someone says something that sounds over the top sensational, then it's best to ask questions and try getting them to clarify what they mean by that before knee jerking to response. But turning to belief and faith, the benefit of the doubt doesn't work out so well. That's a different issue than assuming and judging. My only point here is that you may not want to throw the baby out with the bathwater because in the correct context giving people the benefit of the doubt can serve you well. It can help to clarify a situation before you take off on a series of assumptions.
  22. 1 point
    I never thought of it like that, @TinMan. Skepticism. That must be it. Some of us possess this and, apparently, some don't. Perhaps we even exercise this at different times and at varying degrees. Take Mrs. MOHO (yes, I'm going there again). She was a paralegal in a very powerful mass tort firm for decades and thinks critically about most tipics. When it comes to xanity, however, all logic, reason, and rationale go out the frigg'n window in the time it takes to read a passage. Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde I tells 'ya!
  23. 1 point
    This was so well put! I really needed to read this. I have felt suppressed living the Christian life and could never justify why I believed the bible completely. Its contradicting and confusing. Whenever I had queations I would get the general statement I just needed to "have faith." Now i am trying to question what I have believed in my whole life and have taught my kids. Its causing a lot of turmoil, especially with my 11 yr old daughter.
  24. 1 point
    ag_NO_stic has so many good things to say, especially the bit about giving it time. It's easy to be impatient. Taking the path toward separation is a viable option, but make no mistake about it, it's the impatient, easy path. It's tough to endure day by day without seeing significant results, but sometimes that's a better path. As much as I hated my time in the Army, it taught me to persevere, and through perseverance I've seen my life change for the better. I also speak from experience in a divided marriage, having lost my belief 11 years ago, but still married to a Christian woman. I can tell you that I'm glad I stuck with her. She brings out the best in me, and I love and respect her more today than at any point in the past, including the years we were both Christians. She is an amazing woman with so many good qualities that I don't have. I'm not a terrible person, but I'm certainly not the friendliest. I intentionally drive people away and end relationships when it's clear that the other person is not ever going to change, so I'm lucky that my wife didn't allow me to drive her away. I will never believe the lies again. I can't, in the same way I can never believe in Santa again. But she holds her belief. I'm not sure why her core belief endures. I have one guess, but I might be wrong. Regardless, that's not the point. Over time, her perspective has changed, and some of the non-core beliefs have started to drop off. I take this as an encouraging sign that some day she may completely let go of the lies, but I'm no longer expecting her to. She is amazing despite her belief, and if part of what makes her amazing is her belief, then I'd rather have the whole package than have nothing at all. I'll also echo part of ag_NO_stic's response from a male's perspective. I was a liar. I deliberately misled my wife about my beliefs. I had a big hole to dig out of, and I'm still working on it today. You have a similar hole to dig out of, having misled your wife, so I can tell you that being completely open and honest from this point forward is crucial. It'll be tough for you to have conversations about the things you've doubted, but if she's a good person then she'll respect you for sharing the things you struggled with openly and honestly. It'll also benefit you to be extremely humble. And I mean extremely. Don't believe that you and your priorities are more important than your wife. Commit to showing her that she is your highest priority in life, unless of course, she isn't - in which case you should be honest with yourself and with her. If she is your highest priority, then let her know that, in actions as well as words. I can't tell you how to do this, because that's something you need to discover for yourself. But when you do, as long as it's genuine, you'll have a whole new perspective on your situation. And again, I need to reiterate how wise ag_NO_stic's entire response is. I can pretty much guarantee that her advice will lead you to a good place, so long as your wife is also committed to making it work. Lastly, welcome to the site. My first post was very similar to yours. I stuck around for a few months and gained a lot of useful knowledge (and vented a lot of frustration I couldn't vent anywhere else). This place was very helpful to me during the most difficult time in my life.
  25. 1 point
    Critical thinking, aka rational thinking, is certainly used in the scientific method. It is used in other areas as well. Its necessary companions include education, intellectual honesty and knowing when to say, "I don't know".
  26. 0 points
    I was catching snippets of a local church broadcast and saw something kind of amazing: a preacher being brutally honest. It happens here in the mid-South on occasion. He was talking about how you shouldn't let Satan, the god of the World manipulate you. He then gives two options: let the World manipulate you or turn to God and let him manipulate you. He said that we have to think for ourselves and make our own decisions, but really, the message I got is that you, as a human, don't really have the will to think for yourself, so you choose what makes you think. His choice was the obvious one, and he railed against mainstream media as the agents of Satan, spent a lot of time talking about Ahab and Jezebel, realized the world is changing, and made his plea to keep members in the church. Still, the whole message was kind of refreshing. Sure his truths were toeing the party line, but outright saying that God manipulates people was pretty cool nevertheless. We're all slaves to something, even if it's salvation.

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