1495 Get Along Gang.

I worry about this sort of conversation. Not in a logical way, because I don’t have anyone to have it with, but I do worry about that sort of thing. Falling in love with someone who doesn’t share your beliefs must suck, and no two people match exactly anyway. There’s going to be something, from who your favorite magical sky entity is to where bowls go in the dishwasher. There’s a level of religiousness I could deal with because there are positive aspects in faith. It’s at that infringing on the rights of others area that I start having a problem. At the same time, I act pretty shitty when people use literally incorrectly, so it’s not like I don’t understand the zealousness of the righteous. At what point are you willing to trade your faith for your humanity?

My sternum pops out, for lack of a better way to say it, a lot. By that I mean that the top two ribs on my left side slide a little out of place where they connect to my sternum. At least that’s how it feels. Sometime I actually hear it when it pops in or out. I think it started from folding my chest in half when I sleep. I try to do things to keep me from doing that now, but every so often I’ll wake up and realize my chest is folded way in. It also seems to mess up my left shoulder. Recently my shoulder will pop in and out audibly if I move it certain ways. I’ve tried various exercises to strengthen it, but nothing seems to help. I suspect my use of drawing tablets contributes to the shoulder problem too. I used to pull the swing arm down with my left arm for hours at a time when I used my pc. Now that I use the surface I hold the tablet with my left arm a lot of the time. You’d think my left arm would be stronger from this, but my right is still the one with the most strength. Maybe because it’s constantly moving and the other is static. Anyway, the other day I did something, not sure what, that messed up my sternum bad enough that it’s really sore when I move certain ways. Basically my whole left chest and back are popping in and out at random. As you might know, problems with your chest right there can cause anxiety because it can mimic the feelings you get when you’re sad, anxious, and pretty much anything else you feel in the center of your chest. It’s very unpleasant. I’m accustomed to a certain level of this all the time from it being a constant issue, but since the other day it’s been ramped up. I can’t figure out what it is I need to do to fix it. I’ve never been able to build up strength in my chest. Even when I was young no amount of activity would build my chest muscles. My legs and arms would look like they had strength, but my chest only looks like it has any mass because of my moobs. This is unique in my family. The Teen’s father had such strong chest muscles at one point that he was able to survive a tractor falling on him. He held it up long enough for someone to find him stuck under the thing. In contrast I’ve never had any definition there at all. In fact, you can’t even tell there are muscles in the center of my chest. You just feel the middle of my ribs. The next time I go to the doctor I need to remember to ask about all of this. I feel like someone should know how to make me not feel shitty all the time.
I’ve been up doing stuff in spite of all these problems. If I don’t keep moving I feel like things are just going to get worse, even though I get worn out really fast. On the other hand, it seems like if I don’t lay down someplace soft for a few hours a day my kidneys don’t process things properly. I had been sleeping exclusively on the floor for support, but that was making me not ever rest properly. At least that’s how it seems. I have to balance between the floor and the bed. If I do too much of one or the other one of my issues flares up. If I sleep in the bed too much my chest gets messed up, if I sleep on the floor too much my foot swells up. You have to lay down for your kidneys to work right. I assumed the floor was laying down enough. Apparently it is not.
My allergies have also flared up because mom is taking care of my grandparents. (Grandpa fell at work.) The dogs have been around me, sleeping with me sometimes, more than usual. Dorothy has also been rolling in the dirt which means she’s dragging the outside inside. The left side of my face is affected much more by this for whatever reason. The lymph nodes on that side swell, and the muscle of the jaw. Strangely I clench my teeth on the other side, but it makes the left side hurt. My teeth are uneven though, maybe that’s why.

That was a long series of words. I need to start on next week’s pages, but I hurt. I want to lay down. I also want to feel that warm, secure, feeling of having my pages done. Man I miss that. I miss feeling like I’m making the best pages I’m capable of too. Treading water is what I’m doing here. I should’ve brought some floaties.


When autoimmune shjt hits your body all sorts of things act weird. I’m sorry you’re in pain. I’m also in inexplicable back spasms and weird swelling. I’m not holding onto salt, which means I’m not holding onto water, but I’m swelling. GO FIGURE. Hope it evens out.

I’m with Carol on this one, and have been for a long, long time. I’m not even religious, but it makes sense to me.

Oh jeez. Sternum popping is miserable even with chest muscles holding everything where it belongs. Hopefully someone can help you with that. Swollen lymph nodes are no fun either.

Back in the day when I was a Marine, I had two distinct events when my sternum popped. Of course, I was developing some really impressive pectoral muscles at that time, but I digress.

I would be breathing, doing whatever it was I was doing. Suddenly, it would hurt to breath, and my breathing would become shallow and quick. So, I would take a few breaths, hold it for a moment, then slowly start to take in a deep breath.

*POP!* My sternum would be set loose from whatever it was snagging on in my chest. Hurt like all get out for all of two seconds, then nothing; As if it never happened.

What Jackie has described seems like he doesn’t have enough muscles on his sternum. I haven’t read the rest of the comments, so I don’t know what has been said already, but I never developed muscles over my sternum. Just the pectorals that attached to the sides of it. Not sure if that’s what Jackie meant.

Pure religion, is any revelation, or scripture, spoken or written from God through a living Prophet.
Pure Science, is any scientific Fact, that is easily retested and verifiable through observation.
Pure religion will never contradict Pure science.
Any religion that contradicts a scientific fact is false, whether it be taught by church leaders, or is actual written scripture.

And being willing to teach her children if they’re interested in going that route makes sense. A parent should teach the route if they’re familiar with it.

I fee like Carol’s opinion in the last two panels could solve a lot of issues in the world.

problem is there are assholes on both sides, a world view in which science shows us how god created the universe has the potential to reconcile the overly religious with science but does nothing about the bigots who keep trying to use bad science to disprove the existence of a god or gods.

Why can’t people see that science and religion are two different things. They are not ment to be interchanged.

Very true. Science and religion often don’t get along. However, spirituality or faith is not the same as religion. It’s easy to feel that a deity of some kind (or even higher power) exists alongside science provided you’re ready to accept that religions texts may not be the complete truth. Religion’s been around as long as anyone can remember, but a lot of religions texts that were conceived around the time writing came into the world were likely as influenced by the churches that wrote them – having a lot of power and wanting to keep it – as much as any actual ‘word of god’.

The bottom line is that science and religion both have some gaping holes in what they’re each trying to say, alongside the things that they argue over and the things neither of them want to touch. Attempting to find some unification between the two doesn’t seem an unreasonable way to learn more about the universe.

Very true. Spirituality can take any form, and many can peacefully coexist with science. It is when spirituality is organized, dictated, proclaimed as unquestionable truth, when it becomes religion, that it clashes with reason, and in turn science.

They are not just different things, they are polar opposites.

Science is all about questioning beliefs to adjust your view to approximate reality, while religion is all about unquestioning faith in doctrine that attempts to bend reality to your view.

There is no spoon.

I don’t see it that way at all. Religion talks about how life began and how we should live our lifes from a moral and ethical standard. Science talks about where we’ve gone since then, and why and how certain things do what they do.

Religion does not “talk about things”, it dictates a doctrine about them. Confusing those two kinds of behaviors is a grave mistake, and an indicator that you mised the most vital part of my post.

Morals obtained by religion are not worth anything, since they root in the simple principle of doing what the doctrine declares right and not doing what doctrine declares wrong. Morals supported only by faith are easily discarded or manipulated. Even worse, they can not adapt to times, since the holy scriptures they are based on can not be changed without losing divine status.

Morals obtained by application of empathy, reason and critical thought root in the understanding of not only what is right or wrong, but also why right is right and wrong is and wrong. They will remain strong in the face of despair or propaganda. Because they are obtained by questioning, they can adapt to evolve along with society.

I always facepalm when someone brings up the “religion is for morals” point. One could just as well say that piggyback rides teach how to walk.

Also, apart from the obvious ones like “Murder is bad”, people pick and choose what to follow from their Holy Book – see Why Can’t I Own A Canadian? http://www.humanistsofutah.org/2002/WhyCantIOwnACanadian_10-02.html

Picking passages is actually a good thing. Some followers are applying critical thought to the scripture of their religion. They prefer reason over accepting the idea that their scripture is the holy, irrefutable word of their respective god/prophet/dish. I commend believers who reject the parts of their scripture they deem wrong.

Sure, some might find that it becomes harder to deconstruct the “absolute truth” of a scripture when parts of it are rejected by believers. But that “absolute truth” has been forfeited anyway when they chose reason over blind faith.

You say Religion does not “talk about things”, it dictates a doctrine about them. To which I say “Which religion are you talking about?” If you go back to the “source” (the books ostensibly written by the founders of the faith) you might note that they all say much the same thing, with the differences being ascribable to the exigencies of the time and place. It’s after people start adding culture & content that we start seeing clergies, and then Doctrines. Dogmas which when originally postulated, were a solution to a situation, but then became, over time, the new problems.

Every major religion has the Golden Rule in some variant(s), is that a “doctrine” or just a damn good idea? They all ask that we pray and meditate. Are those bad ideas, or potentially useful, even for the most modern of scientists who needs to contemplate an issue? They all ask us to marry, so that the support of children will be better assured. Is that a terrible thing? And so on.

It’s when man, as clergy, starts interpreting the original message, or more like “misinterpreting” it, that problems arise. But if you look closely you see that all religions have a cycle, like so many other things. It’s born, it’s fresh and new, the beauty is radiant and self-evident; then it matures, reaches the height of its potential, raises up a civilization, produces great art and advances the lives of people; then old age starts to creep in, that which was once young and vibrant starts having a mid-life crises, people start to forget the message, and worshiping the messenger, this is when the really odd doctrines, and dogmas start to appear, you might call this that religion’s “dark ages”. and finally a winter, or old age comes along and the faith is dead, though the body of it might still be worshiped by many. At which time, somewhere, a new faith starts the cycle over again.

This has happened time and again. And will continue to happen. Dogmas just mean that the spirit has left that religion. But the solution to a bad religion is not “No religion” any more than the solution to bad science is no science. The solution is to find that new religion which speaks to the needs and exigencies of the current epoch.

Happy hunting. I don’t intend to respond to this as I rarely read these comments and only found this one by accident.

There are quite a few points I agree with in your post, and quite a few I can’t agree with. Setting aside the question if your arguments would withstand scrutiny, you bring up actual arguments instead of misquotes and poor semantics, which is a pleasure to see. I commend you for that. Although it is a bit strange to ask questions and then leave the room.

Now, to answer your question (which religion) I will simply say: “all”. Religion is organized spirituality. See also my earlier post making a distinction between spirituality and religion. Leading another person on a predefined path of spirituality robs them of the opportunity to walk their own path, which is the reason religion should not be considered a good thing, even – no, especially – from a spiritual point of view.

It is untrue that all religions are the same. The only way to come to that conclusion is to focus on the few similarities and willingly ignore the discrepancies. Yes, there are a few simple things that appear in many religions. They are the basic ideas that are hard-wired into the human brain. It is due to mechanisms like causal pattern recognition, empathy (caused by mirror neurons), libido, survival instinct, and other functions of our brains that most humans come to certain conclusions naturally. Practically everybody learns very early that being loved feels better than being hated, that two are stronger than one, that killing is bad, and so on. The emergence of certain memes throughout different religions only shows that there are natural traits in human beings that are independent from religion. In fact, the constant emergence of the golden rule is the perfect evidence that humans do not need religion to create a functional set of moral values.

By the way, I’m not hunting. I ‘m even in favor of people who have an interest in spirituality and explore it, which is why I can’t condone hijacking it. I just have that urge to reply when I see a thoroughly faulty argument. Today I indulged in it a little.

I have to agree with you, and I love that you mentioned causal pattern recognition.

Most of the social structures that humans create, be it religions, cults, political parties, and so on, are created as a result of basic causal pattern recognition. We have that function in our brains because raw data cannot be processed quickly enough to be useful. We simply do not have the calories and the brainpower necessary to take it all in and process it en masse on a moment by moment basis all the time. So we form patterns in much the same way that a hard drive will come with a cache for quicker access to data. It allows us to see dangers and opportunities very quickly, and allows us to predict outcomes so that we can act accordingly and quickly.

This is a direct consequence of our survival instinct which may go some way to explaining why some people are so vehement about defending their adopted patterns. If it is tied to the survival instinct, it isn’t much of a stretch to see why some folks who have their beliefs questioned behave in a similar way as they would to a life threatening situation.

Religion is a giant set of patterns to adhere to. Political parties, hobby groups, you name it. All of them offer a set of rigid or loose patterns that an individual can adopt. If someone finds them useful, they stay in the group. If they find them useless, a mental dichotomy forms and they distance themselves from the group. If they are given opposing information from outside the group, they have to attempt to stymie the flow of contradictory information. Remember, if they find their group-think useful, it’s useful on an instinctual level, and will therefor be very important to them. This is largely (I believe) where violence to the “others” in the world stems from.

Add to that the instinct to propagate and survive in groups, and you have a drive to “be a part of something bigger than yourself.” Which means that we as humans are always a) looking for “hidden meanings” (patterns) in life and b) vaguely feeling as if we should be part of a larger pattern or group or structure (grouping up) ourselves.

Which leads, inevitably, to grouping up as nations, religions, political parties, cults, etc. The most dangerous thing that happens at this point is when the individuals in the group sacrifice themselves for the collective “good.” When that happens, not only does it go against the entire reason people attached to the group in the first place, it pretty much always ends up with people outside the group getting killed or silenced.

It’s not, therefor, religion so much that is the problem but group-think and zealotry. Which can happen, and has happened, to any community (even atheism).

Now, I think that religion stems from natural instincts, as I’ve said. But I don’t think that religion itself is a natural state for people. You have to put effort into being religious. If you stop going to church/temple/synagog, it’s very likely that, though you may remain spiritual and continue to adhere to the “hidden meanings” and “being a part of something bigger” mentality, it’s very unlikely that you will think seriously about the specifics of the group as relevant. People keep going to church (or what have you) because they want to stay religious.

Anyway, that’s long enough. Good stuff.

You bring up a very interesting point. For years now, I have a great reluctance against putting religions, nations, fandoms etc. into the same category, but the only reason for that is the scope and importance of the topic. Seeing the inner workings, there are so many uncanny similarities…

Personally, it comes from years playing MMOs and videogames. You see a lot of similar mechanics between games, but very different styles/graphics. Same goes for stories, and (I believe) same goes for human behavior and belief.

Not that it’s all equal, anymore than all houses are equal. But they are built on similar structures and foundations.

Wow did not think I’d stir up a hornets nest on that one. Here’s my take, science explains how the world works. There are things like ethics and politics these are things that science can’t answer. To me that’s what religion is for. The questions science can never explain. The human condition if you will.

It’s as if you never heard of philosophy before. Philosophy has contributed the most to our understanding of ethics, way more than religion ever could. And it did so from a position of informed analysis, not by belief in scripture.

Dear goodness. I have nothing against people holding on to their religion, but why do they always present such poor arguments? That’s like climbing trees in a thunderstorm while wearing a copper helmet.

Thank you that was the word I was looking for philosophy.

… Oy Vey…

I mean, I’m going to point the “Science and Religion don’t mix!” crowd to Newton, Mendel, Lemaître, The University System, and… well, History in general.

As for Philosophy, it falls quite neatly under the umbrella of Theology. As Philosophy is a study of Life, The Universe, and Everything, and Theology is the study of the divine and the way the divine interacts with us. They are together two thirds of the triune sciences of Philosophy, Rhetoric and Theology.

Presenting them as conflicting isn’t just fallacious, it’s factually incorrect.

Oy Vey indeed.

You are conflating the conflict between principles of science and religion with the ability of certain individuals to pursue both individually. That is fallacious. Driving a car and wearing a blindfold does not mix, the ability of a person to do both individually does not change that.

Philosophy is NOT a part of theology. Philosophy uses reason to to analyze ideas and concepts in order to gain insight into life, the universe and everything. Philosophy and theology are completely different in their goals, methodology and the general approach to the nature and acquisition of knowledge. If anything, theology would fall under the umbrella of philosophy, and take up a relatively small fraction of dry ground..

Socrates (or is it Plato) would be whacking you with his stick if he’d still be alive to hear you utter such nonsense, and Nietzsche would happily let you know that he made theology redundant by killing his god before moving on. Philosophy a part of theology, I don’t think I’ve seen such a blatant attempt at misinformation before. Don’t be surprised when you are not taken seriously.

The fact that the men in question dedicated their lives to, were funded by, guided by, and encouraged by their religions means that your analogy holds no water unless blindfolds are building cars, founding driving schools and telling people to drive cars. I mean, look at the Jesuits. In 1775 their order had published a full third of the research on electricity. They exist on the very specific principal that I’ve mentioned. I also note that you haven’t shown *why* the two don’t mix, you’ve just made a bad comparison.

Yes, because Aquinas isn’t widely available, for free. He’s made this argument far better than I can in the first articles of his Summa Theologica and Contra Gentiles.

And again, you’ve *stated* something without *demonstrating* them. “Nuh UH!” isn’t a reasonable point to make in a rational discussion. As theology uses philosophy to learn about Creation, and to learn about the Creator, it falls under that field of study. As Theology also uses divine revelation, it can not fall under philosophy.

All three of those gentlemen are dead. And as philosophy must take in to account the miraculous, but can not account for them without including the Divine, one can not “kill God”.

Marx destroyed capitalism, but you still have to pay to visit his tomb.

To top the mess off, you are also conflating religion and theology. Please tell me you did not study theology if you can’t tell the difference. To put it simply: It’s the difference between being a bird and being an ornithologist.

Is there no room in this world for worldviews other than the ones you have spent time studying?

Of course there is room for world views that are not studied. However, there is no room for spreading clearly false information.

Your question is a loaded one, and the accusation you are implying with it is not justified by anything I said. Keep it clean.

Okay, odd response. Didn’t even realize my tone was making an accusation.

Where to start? Let’s see…

Disclaimer: I am not a philosopher or a debater. I will break convention, and I will glass over with words I don’t understand.

I was triggered at the whole “Oy vey” exchange, and it didn’t help that you mentioned only Greek philosophers. Well, one German philosopher who appears to have studied Greek philosophy.

Having been raised as a Christian for much of my life, (Souther Baptist flavored) I always had a certain way of looking at the world, but something seemed off. I never believed the “off” aspect was God of The Bible. This forced me to look inward.

Inward led to myself, so I chased a flawed person’s ideas for a very long time. Even now, I’m still trying to shake off my mindset.

I’ve been exposed to what is called the Messianic Movement. The major point to this movement is to reach Jewish people with the idea that their Messiah has already come once.

The Greeks called him Jesus Christ. Turns out this name is extremely offensive to Jews. I never knew!

So, yes. My fundamental belief in God hasn’t changed much, but what the Bible means to me has been turned completely around and upside-down.

Not knowing how you would perceive me trying to explain something I’m still grasping at, I decided to just make a very general and broad question to see what your reaction might be.

I wrote a lovely paper on this subject, it’s the basis for my doctoral dissertation. How do I add files to these boards?

Purphoros, I get what you’re trying to say…I think…but you’re about a half bubble off plumb. Religion and `science’ are inextricably linked…as Brooksie said, light and dark aren’t fighting each other, they’re just part of reality.

Religion evolved as a way to explain events going on in the world…why does the sun rise, why do plants grow, why does rain fall. Were their answers correct? No, not really. The religious view can be summed up as: while I may not know, I believe.

Science got a little better than “the sky-gods cause it!” but is far from the unfailing omniscience you support over the religious view. Not very long ago in the grand scheme of things, science knew the body was comprised of humors, and applied elements to balance them. Bleeding was prescribed by scientific doctors for many an ailment. Thalidomide was a wonder drug. A new ice age would be upon the world by the year 2000. By 2010, the seas would have risen to swallow NYC. And so on…

Science asks questions but does not have all the answers. Religion has an answer, but doesn’t ask all the questions. Both try to explain the world we live in and experience.

You sort of negated your own argument by mentioning doctrine that `does not change’. The doctrine changes all the time as new perceptions are brought to bear. The various Councils even before Martin Luther’s famous Protest, all the way up to the most recent news from the Vatican…and that’s only considering the *Catholic* religion!

Were some of those changes politically motivated? Sure. Were some religious leaders concerned with their own power and prestige? Sure.

Has a scientist ever skewed data to support his (or her) theory? Has a scientist ever been more concerned with his grant or tenure than his scientific impartiality?

Religion and science are sides of the same coin, far more alike than you may prefer. Both attempt to answer the same eternal questions: why are we here and where *is* here, anyway? “God did it” is just as valid an answer as “Damned if I know, but God *didn’t* do it!” Possibly moreso, especially if you define God as “unknown force at work in the universe we currently inhabit”…which to me, is a pretty good definition of God.

Me, I’m with Einstein, who said something like, “My belief in God is my wonder at the universe.” Science and religion…just different methods of seeking the same answers. Every person is doing the same…doesn’t make them inherently, absolutely *right*, just means they’re looking for their answers.

That’s how I see it, anyway. You may see it different, and that’s cool.

“a half bubble off plumb”, seriously? You might want to look that up, because I like to think you were not speculating about my sexual orientation. Anyway, there are several small advices you might be able to make good use of. Maybe.

1. Don’t misread my statements. I said the holy texts can’t be changed. Therefore the doctrine is fixed in most points. Not completely unchangeable, but with a marginal potential to change and only under heavy political pressure. My point is valid until you show me a single verse that was added to the quran, a new book that was added to the bible, or any major change to “holy” scripture that was applied lately.

2. Don’t build straw men. I clearly stated that science questions knowledge to approximate the answers to truth, not that science has all answers. I don’t know where you get the idea that I would support an “unfailing omniscience”. Making guesses at my preferences in coinage is quite amusing though. You see, I take a coin at face value. Please show the same respect to your fellow commenters.

3. Don’t be sloppy. Confusing science and scientists is a huge mistake, That habit/method/trick of conflating concepts will only fool the most lazy readers.

4. Don’t use “argument from poetry” (I think it isn’t good enough to even qualify as “argument from analogy fallacy). Comparing science and religion to light and darkness is not only bare of any argumentative value (it proves no point), you will see that most will find it a no-brainer to use the analogy for their point. Example: Religion is the darkness of of ignorance. Science is the light of discovery. Whatever the light of science touches, will be purged from the darkness of ignorance. See how easy that was? Don’t use poetry in a discussion, because here’s another one: Science is not fighting religion. Religion fought science (ask plato and galileo), and now they’re losing. There is no hate, it is merely natural selection at work.

5. Don’t assign unknown variables to deities just because they are unknown. It will taunt people to ask you how much god has to shrink until those lazy semantic jokes are not being thrown around.

5. Lastly, don’t conflate the proposal of a vague hypothesis “goddunnit” with declaring the absence of a solid theory and the rejection of any unsupported conjecture “I don’t know, but most probably not god”.

Discuss honestly. Building straw men makes you look bad, not me. Misreading my statements makes you look bad, not me. Conflating concepts will not prove your points, but only confuse unwary bystanders. Using pretty words and fantasy concepts instead of arguments will not get you anywhere.

P.S. Tried comparing the first and last sentence of your post? I wonder which one was honest.

“a half bubble off plumb”, seriously? You might want to look that up, because I like to think you were not speculating about my sexual orientation. Anyway, there are several small advices you might be able to make good use of. Maybe.

1. Don’t misread my statements.

Half a bubble off plumb is an engineering phrase, meaning “almost, but not quite level”. The fact that you took it as a sexual reference rather than it’s obvious intent says more about you than them.

I looked the term “a half bubble off plumb” up before posting. Language is used in many ways, and the percentage of engineers who use it in the original meaning is most probably not even close to the mass of people who use these definitions.

I clearly said: Look it up. Why? Because he was probably not aware of the way his expression is likely to be understood. It is a valid interpretation too.

“1. Don’t misread my statements. I said the holy texts can’t be changed.”
Um, do you know how many versions there are of the Bible? I don’t, but I know it’s a lot. Some people disagree on the books to be included, and probably every Church emphasizes some more than others. And each person’s interpretation is going to be a little different. Despite this, I think it’s permanence speaks to it’s importance.

There are different translations of the bible, yes. There are also different variations used by different sects. Most of which were expelled. Often enough, those splits lead to bloody wars. Some sects reject books. My point stands that none have been ADDED. Change is not just removing the old, but also creating the new.

I’m sorry, usually I would ignore stuff like this, but you seem to be arguing that you’re right without considering the possibility of your own fallibility. Granted, you are pointing out when someone argues truths, but you don’t accept any of them. That is the very opposite of learning and science. Also, for anyone else, I apologize for contributing to the eyesore that is this argument on our beloved comic’s page.

Your point does NOT in fact stand. The New Testament was added to the bible by those of the Jewish faith that believed in Christ as the Messiah. Those that did not still learned some things from him, considering him a prophet. The books did indeed have things added, and some things were taken out.
Further, the bible was originally a history of the Hebrew people. At first, the history was kept by word of mouth through generations of tribal historians. Due to human fallibility, some of the stories were likely exaggerated or slightly changed over time, and examples mistaken for actual events, until it was finally written down in the Torah. The Christian bible is a change, as you define change here, of the Torah.
Also, I submit to you the definition of “change”:
make or become different.
“a proposal to change the law”
take or use another instead of.
“she decided to change her name”
the act or instance of making or becoming different.
“the change from a nomadic to an agricultural society”

Notice the complete lack of requirement that something is added. It just has to be different.

Purphoros, you obviously take your opposition to religion/theology/spirituality very seriously. I’ve no investment in your stance, other than what you’ve freely presented in an open forum. Your view, your opinion; I presented mine. You appear to take it as an attack…sorry about that.

However…I suggest you devote a little more time to studying debate. Throwing the term `straw man argument’ does not equate to an `I win’ score. Straw man arguments are false analogies, which my post does not contain. Instead, I invite you to look up `colloquial discussion’…the tactic of discussing a subject in common terms.

Point 1) May I direct you to the Apocrypha? Books of the Bible that were edited out during various Councils. There are several versions of the Quran, as well as virtually every religious tome out there. Point 1a) Religious doctrine changes quite frequently; see divorce, homosexuality, women’s rights, and for an Eastern flavor, the changes to Shintoism, etc in the wake of WW2…religious doctrine is heavily dependent on socio-political factors. The `original’ tomes may contain the same words, but the connotation of those words can and does change frequently, and thus, the perception of the original work.

Points 2 and 3) I do not confuse science with scientists. A scientist is, literally, one who practices, studies, or adheres to the tenets of science. Exactly as a priest, nun, rabbi, imam, or church/templegoer does to the religion or faith of their choice. Each of them are looking for answers, and each of them is capable…possibly destined, if you believe in such things…of getting it wrong (in a societal sense, which is the applicable focus of the discussion). This is not a straw-man. Your taking a coin at face value is a straw-man, since you neglect to define the coin, its metallic content, or the effects of inflation.

4) Argument from poetry is not applicable, as it was drawn from the author’s body of work; did you miss Brooksie’s speech a couple days ago? I was referencing that, as should have been clear…since I attributed it to Brooksie. We are discussing a subject brought up by characters in the author’s world; thus, this entire discussion could effectively be considered an argument from poetry. And science is not fighting religion? Granted, since both are not material embodiments and are only concepts, on the surface, this can be considered true…however, I’d suggest a quick look around the schools, colleges, newspapers, news reports. Sociology *is* science, after all…and when expressions of religious faith are deemed `offensive’, it would appear you are deliberating understating or misrepresenting the facts.

Point 5) Heh. Assigning unknown variables to deities. I will most certainly do so, as soon as you are able to *prove* beyond any doubt that Schrodinger’s cat is either alive or dead before you open the box. If you are able to assign `unknown variables’ to the cat based on your belief or thought processes, then I will reserve the right to do so for any deity I choose. Did Nietzche kill his God or was he actually mourning the loss and afraid of what comes after? Overused, sadly misunderstood quote.

Point 5.2) Again, colloquial discussion. An excellent example to illustrate my point can be found in `Pulp Fiction’. Jules is certain God saved him; Vincent has a different explanation. One event, two views, each valid based on the individual.

In closing…I don’t know you as a person, just as you don’t know me. Nothing in the opening or closing sentences of my original post is contradictory. You hold an opinion I can conceptualize and agree to the validity thereof without a problem. I do not necessarily share that opinion; I have found my own answers that work for me as yours work for you. Since both are only opinions, neither is `The Absolute Truth’. We each found answers that ring true…we can discuss our viewpoints and the depths of those answers till we’re old and toothless, but it won’t change the validity of our answers.

Now, if you shift the discussion a few degrees from religion as a concept to Organized Religion as a socio-political entity, we’ll probably be in agreement almost across the board.

Finally, let me suggest Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels; the man had a gift for distilling complexities.

Oh my goodness, Jack, you read some Discworld novels! You are so awesome! I never heard of it! I most definitely don’t own a shelf full of Pratchett’s work!!! (note the three exclamation marks)
Joke aside, Pratchett is a very good writer. You, not so much.

Pointing out a fallacy does not win a debate, no. But using making use of certain fallacies will lose you credibility. Credibility is important, as it is an incentive to partake in debate with you. For someone debating in pursue of mutual knowledge and understanding, the only loss is an end to the debate.

Don’t worry about winning or losing the debate. We have not been debating for a while now. Maybe you tried to enter debate with me, but you used poor arguments and put words in my mouth. That was the point at which the debate ended, if it ever really began. I merely criticized your arguments and gave a bit of advice. You rejected that criticism, as you are free to do, and then also tried to cover up your mistakes. This post serves as clarification of a part of that criticism.

I typed a longer reply before, but accidently lost it. So I’ll just scratch most of it explanations, recap a few points quickly,and be done with it.

“A straw man is a common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while actually refuting an argument which was not advanced by that opponent.”

Me: “Science is all about questioning beliefs to adjust your view to approximate reality”
You: “but is far from the unfailing omniscience you support”

Me: “Even worse, they can not adapt to times, since the holy scriptures they are based on can not be changed without losing divine status. ”
You: “You sort of negated your own argument by mentioning doctrine that `does not change’.”

This one might need a bit of explanation for you to fully understand.

You replaced “scripture” (the sacred texts of a religion) with “doctrine” (a belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a Church, political party, or other group). But even worse, you removed the “without losing divine status” part to make it seem that I said it can’t be altered at all.

You then proceeded to argue that parts of scripture have been removed or reintegrated, which I never even put in question. My point was about the ability of religion to adapt to times being hindered by the divine status of scripture. The simple problem is that it does not allow for new additions, especially not written by anyone living in the present, which would be the only ones who know the current situation well enough to write about it in context.

A divine scripture only changes by being pruned, but that only leads to becoming less, not to becoming something new. Reattaching pruned branches is an addition, but not an addition of something new. Adaptation requires the integration of new content.

It is like trying to get evolution by applying natural selection while suppressing mutations. You will just end up with stagnation, and never with any evolution.

I had more quote pairs with nicely typed out misrepresentations of my posts, but whatever. Lets continue to conflations, shall we?

You: “Has a scientist ever skewed data to support his (or her) theory? Has a scientist ever been more concerned with his grant or tenure than his scientific impartiality?”
You: “I do not confuse science with scientists. A scientist is, literally, one who practices, studies, or adheres to the tenets of science.”

You were talking about science and religion both being flawed, then tried to use dishonest scientists as example to back that up. Let me repeat that for you: You made a statement about a principle, then tried to back that up by showing that some do not always adhere to said principle.

That was clearly a conflation of principle and person, of “tenet” and “follower”. I refuse to allow such sloppyness in a debate that I am part of.
I might have tolerated it if you had been talking about a common behavior that is a typical result of following a principle.

Not to mention that it is an awfully obvious scotsman trap, which reeks of dishonesty when you claim to be just stating your view.

There was so much more, but I’m not typing all of it again. Have fun, Jack. If you want, raise a glass for good ol’ Terry and imagine me raising mine. One thing we probably fully agree on.

Religion without science is superstition, science without religion is a Frankenstein’s monster. They both need the other to mitigate their more extreme tendencies.

I believe that has been (mis)attributed to Einstein. However, I do find much truth in it.

Not being a very religious myself, I still have to say Thomas came out as a very dumbass sort of person with him saying the things he said.

Which is kinda sad, he seemed to be alright before and now, he just took a big step down.

What part of his behavior seemed foolish?

I am getting a similar impression, but I’m trying to articulate what is causing this impression.

Now that I think about it, I think it is the combination of expression and dialog in panels one & three. It feels like his statements are loaded, filled with preconceived baggage of how he views Catholics and Christians in general.

It feels like he might view them (on average) less then intelligent.

If this view is accurate, I am alright with exploring this judgmental side of Thomas and showing he is not perfect.

I’ll be honest, I never considered religion to be a matter of heritage. That just seems off to me as well.

As for Thomas, asking statues in the dark just doesn’t seem accurate about catholics (I’m not nor never was catholic though I did attend their services for a summer when I was VERY young).

Next him thinking they’ll infringe on others rights. He makes it come off as some wide spread act among the religious, and it’s not. They may totally hate on some things though, I’d give him that.

Denying science or reason? Again. Self righteous bs. Admittedly, he’s a BSer. Still, being religious doesn’t mean denying science or reason. IMO I find a lot of scientific people seem to readily accept things that aren’t even 100%. There’s a reason it’s called medical practice. There’s a reason you see stories of “science said so” being proven wrong from time to time.

Carol seems to be the more level headed of them, and likely more in line with my thoughts, but probably still a bit more religious :p

Thomas just came off as an ass, but he’s allowed to be an ass on something I guess. :p

Concerning the “making wishes to statues in the dark” thing, that is what a prayer to mary held in front of a candle-lit statue of mary looks like to an outsider. But he didn’t even have to go there if the goal was to point out religious practices that are ridiculous if you look at them from the outside. For example, there is a religion where the followers celebrate a ritual in which they cannibalize their deity. Guess which one that is…

Finding it weird to teach your own children those rituals is no grounds for calling someone an ass.

Where did he say that being catholic must imply a rejection of science and reason? Of course not all catholics do. However, there is an awful lot that do. Their existence and number justifies his remark.

Right infringement… why does it matter if it is widespread? You know that all it needs to be widespread is at least one infringing nutjob in, lets say, half of the churches?
I think what you meant to say is “common practice by christians”. To that I can say, it is in fact not common practice among the christians I’ve interacted with to infringe on the rights of others.
It is however, common practice to stone unbelievers to death or wage war on them in some other religious cults. Thank goodness christians stopped doing that. All you hear nowadays is the occasional atheist student being mobbed by christian students and their parents while the school turns a blind eye because they can’t expel them for being an atheist.

I find it ridiculous to say that right infringements are not widespread among the religious.

So he comes off as bad as what he claims to be against.

“Blah blah blah, my kids will know reason and science!

I know reason and science but know nothing of religion!”

He comes off as the guy who believe blindly in science, even when it’s proven wrong or when it is done by man. You know, those people who like to skip corners or do things wrong just to prove they were right or like to disregard when it is right because it disproves what they thought was right?


Seriously, if this was an older time, I’d believe Thomas was the guy who would say “The universe revolves around us!” because that was what science said at the time and persecuted the ones who said it was wrong :p

That was a coherent argument. Not.
You would have to show that he really knows nothing of religion and that he believes in science blindly, but he gave no indication of that. I don’t see why you would think that about him unless you’re… cutting corners to justify your previous post..

All of his remarks are based on something that actually happens. When I say “viewed from outside”, I don’t mean “without knowledge”. He obviously does know something about religion, since all his remarks are referencing things that actually happen.

I would not go and call him ignorant, since you did not even try to make the connection between his remarks and the real things that justify those remarks. What was that you said about skipping corners and disregarding what proves you wrong?

In any case, you have no reason to call him an ass. He is not making any claims about all catholics being “bad”, but stating that his kids will not be like that. What he’s doing is stating what’s important to him to see if it will be respected.

I am not Catholic and I know it’s not considered pray in the dark to a statue. That is ignorant. What’s next, he says “kneels on towel and prays to the sun”?

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Pinkk.

Though I now regret it. I truly did not mean for you to become a target for trolling.

I am sorry for the verbal abuse this has resulted in. :(

My wife and I randomly lined up in terms of faith, though in opposite directions. I didn’t grow up with any religion, though my parents did. I guess they stopped going to church at some point (sometime before I was born, maybe?) and never brought it up around my brother and I. They’d answer questions I had, and on a couple occasions I went to church with a couple different friends (usually since I had spent the night on Saturday and I figured I’d just tag along on Sunday). I guess it didn’t catch on. The gatherings seemed more creepy to me, than anything else.

My wife, on the other hand, grew up in religious schools (until middle school on up) and went to church when she was a kid and all that. My lack of religion turned it into a thing to be studied, for me, but for her, she had a MAJOR backlash, at a certain point. I’m probably an asshole for saying this: But her views on it are often hilarious. I don’t have any strong feelings one way or the other, but she’s been personally burned by it, and eventually got tired of the hypocrisy of it (or so I’m trying to understand – that’s the closest I can narrow it down. It’s probably a bundle of various problems she’s had with religion over the years).

It’s kind of like the doctor. Many people who have a bad experience with one will, rather than find a new doctor, swear off doctors all together and label them all quacks.

Agreed. Ever known an overweight doctor, or a nurse that smokes? I have. You don’t say they’re all hypocrites and swear off modern medicine because some don’t practice everything they preach.

This is one of the leading contributions to my divorce. Wife was incredibly atheistic, I am fairly religious, Pagan faith, but still. I was very polite about my views and beliefs, i did not force anything on her aside from the request that she allow my occasional little bit of prayer at home in private and at a low volume as to not upset the neighbors. But after about a year of constant nagging me on it everything just kind of exploded, she moved to Texas while I was at the gym and I got an update via facebook.

Most of the scientists of the Enlightenment were deeply religious people. They viewed their work as exploring the universe that God had created. And from that we get the Laws of Thermodynamics, Modern Medicine, and proof that the Church is wrong: a vacuum CAN exist (which, BTW, is nowhere even touched on in the Bible).

You have my sympathy over the rib thing. I had something similar, I tore the cartilage at the sternum for two ribs on one side. I constantly had the ends grinding against the sternum, which was very painful, and which made exercising almost impossible. I ended up having surgery to cut away the cartilage, which fixed the problem for the most part, and the bones fused when I got older. Now it is pretty much fixed, although occasionally if I twist the wrong way I will have one pop out briefly, but still, it is a huge improvement over what it was like before the surgery. And of course, now I have a cool scar on my chest. I would suggest that you make sure to bring this up with your doctor next chance you get.

I was still quite young — about 11, well before the age of majority or emancipation, even for today’s less restrictive society — when I consciously rejected the concept of a supreme being. This did not please my religious mother and worried my probably-agnostic father. I lived my life well enough in the intervening years. I have a very strong sense of fairness, my moral compass is probably more accurate than most, I’m tolerant of people for traits they didn’t choose or chose with deliberation.

About 15 years ago I was going out with a woman with strong religious convictions. She was a lapsed Catholic and had latched onto some Evangelical Church. No biggie there; I’d gone out with women with strong religious beliefs before, including an active Catholic.

One night she asked me about my religious beliefs. I said I didn’t have any, and wasn’t interested n adopting any stray ones. She was shocked, shocked I tell you. What she said at that point made me decide my life would improve without her in it. She said I was lost and was less than half a person. The only thing that would redeem me was a good helping of that Ol’ Fashioned Religion. I said goodnight at that point, excused myself and went home.

She called the next day and told me she was sorry and wanted to talk. I told her I felt insulted, wasn’t interested in discussing the matter and that I did not consider her part of my life any longer. I struck my tent (as it were) and walked away.

There isn’t much more, but this will probably piss somebody off so I’ll leave it at that.

To preface this, I’m not writing this post to be offensive to anybody.
Regardless: I’m really sorry that someone has treated you this way.
In my opinion, whether someone is theistic/ religious, or not, I think it is pretty crappy to say to someone something like- If you don’t have [my god], then you’re only half human , or maybe not human at all. To me, that’s just wrong.
I also would be pretty angered if someone gave their opinion to me, that I was [ lost in their opinion].

Even if I was in his/her religion, or in one of their religion’s denominations, or in any religion’s denomination, I think- an average person, or even an established clergy-person, telling me that I was not saved, aka lost, is a horrible thing to say to someone [when I have not asked them how I can be saved by their religion].
To me- that’s just a wrong thing to do.
Anyway- I think that I would be acting really badly if I told someone that he or she was [not whole], or not a total human, for not sharing my version of theism, atheism, or agnosticism, or etc.. I think my telling someone that would be rude. I also feel it is not my choice to decide whether someone else [wants to follow my brand of theism, atheism, or any another thing, or not]. In my opinion, I think that joining a religion, should be every person’s voluntary action, If they want to join one. To me, it is a voluntary thing.
Regardless, I’m very sorry to hear that someone has treated you this way.
Once again- I didn’t write this post to offend any one, or to tell people what this that they should do. Later on.

Hmmm… From my experience, the Placing of the Bowls in the Dishwasher, and the Times of Extrication, and the Correct Ritual of Stacking *are* the more important parts of the Rules of Religion.

All the skyfairy stuff and church things are minor details compared to the Dishwasher and its Household Rituals.

Yes, it’s referred to as popping in and out.

No, You should be able to feel Your sternum;
Just do an image search on pectoral muscles.

Have You ever thought about seeing a chiropractor?
You would be surprised how much they can help with.

I go to a chiropractor regularly, but they can’t get my sternum fixed. I’m so tense most of the time they can barely do anything to me.

I am very sorry about your illness.

There are different styles & techniques with chiropractic care. Some physical therapists are real dynamite for treating ailments like this, as well.

I fully encourage you to shop around. I had to for one ailment I had. I had to go through 3 chiropractors until I found the one who knew what was wrong and how to adjust it. I asked how he was able to treat it and not the others. He told me some chiropractors just don’t keep booking up on new techniques, or brushing up on old ones.

One of my siblings has a very similar issue to the one you describe. I’ll ask how effective their chiropractor has been.

Oh! About the tension. Does the chiropractor use a compression “gun?” (Not sure if that is the technical term.)

Two chiropractors I currently know use different devices to perform most adjustments, which apparently works particularly well for tense patients.

Where I used to work, there was a sign on the wall that said,”Christians believe God to be omniscient-that is knowing or capable of knowing everything. Liberals believe themselves to be omniscient because they know there is no God, and thus know more than science, religion, and God.”

I’ve always hated the line of thinking that “if the kids are interested we will teach them”. It’s really a cop out to admitting you’re just ambivalent about faith and it’s really not important to you but you want to frame it like you are the higher person because of your “tolerance”. Think about it, do you take that strategy with everything else? “Well, if the kids take an interest in not pooping in their pants I’ll show them how to use the potty.” “If the kids take an interest in math I’ll show them multiplication.” “If the kids show an interest in reading I’ll teach them their letters.” No, we don’t do that. Why? Because those things are important to us and we want them to have what’s best. Essentially the characters are saying faith isn’t important to them. Fine, just admit that and don’t try to make it seem that those that do feel it’s important are “indoctrinating” their kids because they are sharing what they feel is a very important part of their life with their children because they want them to experience the great things they have experienced.

You people need to chill out about this science and religion stuff. You don’t need to prove yourself to anyone.

I too used to think Science and Religion were ‘non-overlapping magisteria’, in the words of Steven J. Gould, that they existed as independent methods for humans to understand or approach independent questions about reality.

But after a LOT of debate, with others of both religious and irreligious perspectives, and a great deal of introspection and meditation on my own I can only come to the conclusion that it’s an argument intended as a cop-out.

‘I don’t want to be put on the spot and made to choose when I want to have the benefits and advantages of having both, so I’ll argue that they are two separate things and that allows me to keep both, without conflict.’

The trouble is that it is based on a failure to compare the qualities of both.

Religion and Science aren’t merely incompatible, they’re the antithesis of one another.

Religion is Faith – it is belief for the sake of believing.
Science is Skepticism – it is doubting for the sake of doubt.

They are fundamentally contradictory on the single most important standard of proof: Evidence.

Faith has no need or use of evidence. A faith-based belief is utterly unaffected by the absence of evidence, the presence of contradicting evidence or even the presence of confirmatory evidence! The person who believes with faith merely needs faith, nothing else.

Skepticism on the other hand has no use for anything EXCEPT evidence. It questions the truthfulness of everything, tests every claim, challenges every assumption, always seeks verification or falsification and above all uses evidence and ONLY evidence as the decider for conflicting ideas or explanations for things.

An honest person who CARES about how the arrive at the understanding of the universe, who truly desires not to believe in things which aren’t true, who honestly examines their knowledge and beliefs and their understanding of them cannot credibly hold to both faith and skepticism, to religion and science.

As I said, those who cling to notion of holding onto both aren’t doing so from a truthful consideration of reality but out of motivations, emotions or prejudices they possess that lie outside of critical thinking or rationality.

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