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Old 08-07-2014, 12:14 PM  
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Atheism vs Theism: A discussion between Dave and Eric

While I find myself enjoying formal debates (for nostalgic purposes), I agree with Dave that a discussion is more thought provoking and ultimately will go further on this topic.

To begin, let me identify myself when I use the term "theist". I grew up in a very strict religious household which I ran away from my senior year in high school. I identified myself as an atheist up until my sophomore year of college, when I read the Bible in its entirety following the death of my best friend. While I would argue that my belief in God and the Bible can be supported intellectually, scientifically, historically, and philosophically, I would concede that my "born-again" conversion was wholeheartedly an emotional one.

Notice I said scientifically. I love science. Even though I am a philosophy major, it was the scientific arguments for a transcendant being (or lack thereof) that got me interested in the theism vs. atheism debate. I would argue that the beauty of my specific belief (Christianity) is that our worldview is not defined by a specific theory of how life began. For the atheist, it's evolution or nothing. If Darwinian Evolution is debunked, then the atheist has precious little to lean on without invoking a designer. As a Christian, I would say that I'm agnostic on a lot of parts of macroevolution. There are a lot of questions that I have regarding the theory that seem to be unanswered. With that said, accepting the theory as true in its entirety would not affect my faith in the Bible in any way, shape, or form.

I've often said that the belief in a young Earth is about as scientifically literate as saying the distance between Texas and California is 6 inches. Francis Collins was a leader on the Human Genome Project and is on the National Institutes of Health. Alister McGrath is a molecular biophysicist who teaches at Oxford University. C.S. Lewis, is well, C.S. Lewis. What do all of these brilliant minds have in common? Not only are/were they all evengelical Christians, but all accepted the theory of evolution as true. It certainly does not contradict the Old Testament when read figuratively.

So with all of that said, now you have a basic background on my faith. What say you? Did you grow up in a household that was anti-theistic? At what age did you begin to question the belief in a higher power? And perhaps the most important question I could ask you throughout all of this, what evidence would it take for you to accept a theistic worldview?
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Old 08-11-2014, 02:03 PM   #121
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Originally Posted by Dave Lane View Post
I agree. I opened a romper room up for these other conversations to go to. Ok if you understand the difference between life origins (abiogenesis) and evolution (the explanation of diversity of life) we can move on.

One question I do have for you is why christianity? And why whatever strain of it you subscribe to? How much reading have done on other religious books, holy or otherwise?

So in your mind when you were having Eric's Comparative Religion 101 how many religions did you really give a chance? With the same zeal and effort as you did Christianity?
There are many reasons I've accepted Christianity over all other religions. I read the Qu'ran in high school, and was forced to read the Book of Mormon numerous times throughout my childhood, so to say that the Bible was my first stop would be inaccurate. I suppose I could provide a priori arguments on why I was inspired to accept Christ as my savior, but being that this is a discussion with an atheist, I doubt it'll go far. Instead, I would cite my non-biblical studies on the Christian faith, and specifically its history. The eyewitnesses recorded the miracles of Jesus, and the gospels have been reliably transmitted to us. Therefore, we can believe what Jesus said about Himself for two reasons: one, because what He said and did agrees with the Old Testament; and two, because Jesus performed many convincing miracles in front of people who testified and wrote about what they saw Him do. I believe that by studying 1st century Palestinian history, I can confidently conclude that not only did Jesus Christ exist, but He was who He said He was. This of course is consistent with my readings of both the Old Testament and New Testament, which I started as an atheist and ended as a born again Christian.
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Old 08-11-2014, 08:28 PM   #122
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I read the Qu'ran in high school, and was forced to read the Book of Mormon numerous times throughout my childhood, .
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Old 08-11-2014, 10:19 PM   #123
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High Tech is Sorcery and the people who are really powerful are literally telling people to commit crimes using the psychic interspace created by the WWW and Wireless. They are controlling peoples actions like drones . The two things are deeply intertwined. The more man's brain interfaces with machines the creepier it gets. They use brains separate from a human body in a supercomputer and you have The Image of the Beast. The military has been doing this since the 50s
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Old 08-11-2014, 10:37 PM   #124
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Originally Posted by Eric Fisher View Post
There are many reasons I've accepted Christianity over all other religions. I read the Qu'ran in high school, and was forced to read the Book of Mormon numerous times throughout my childhood, so to say that the Bible was my first stop would be inaccurate. I suppose I could provide a priori arguments on why I was inspired to accept Christ as my savior, but being that this is a discussion with an atheist, I doubt it'll go far. Instead, I would cite my non-biblical studies on the Christian faith, and specifically its history. The eyewitnesses recorded the miracles of Jesus, and the gospels have been reliably transmitted to us. Therefore, we can believe what Jesus said about Himself for two reasons: one, because what He said and did agrees with the Old Testament; and two, because Jesus performed many convincing miracles in front of people who testified and wrote about what they saw Him do. I believe that by studying 1st century Palestinian history, I can confidently conclude that not only did Jesus Christ exist, but He was who He said He was. This of course is consistent with my readings of both the Old Testament and New Testament, which I started as an atheist and ended as a born again Christian.
OK thanks again for responding. I'm curious why you were "forced to read the Book of Mormon numerous times throughout my childhood" What was that about? Numerous times? Why? I'm curious if you believe Mormons are christians or not?

I did notice that it appears that you were pretty much convinced by the eye witness testimony. Everyone knows that eye witness testimony is the lowest form of evidence. And eye witness testimony copied and recopied with as you stated errors could be magnified over time. Do you agree?

So would it seem more reasonable if Jesus were appear today and work his miracles and you could talk to the people that actually saw him do these miracles first hand it should be more believable?

If you had people that he cured you could actually talk to and would swear under oath that he cured them would it strengthen or weaken your belief?

Also are we cool on the abiogenesis v. evolution thingee or no?

One last question, What did you study books, pamphlets or what have you that you came to this conclusion?

"studying 1st century Palestinian history, I can confidently conclude that not only did Jesus Christ exist, but He was who He said He was."

Be as specific as you can please.

Thanks.
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High Tech is Sorcery and the people who are really powerful are literally telling people to commit crimes using the psychic interspace created by the WWW and Wireless. They are controlling peoples actions like drones . The two things are deeply intertwined. The more man's brain interfaces with machines the creepier it gets. They use brains separate from a human body in a supercomputer and you have The Image of the Beast. The military has been doing this since the 50s
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Old 08-12-2014, 11:17 AM   #125
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Here's a very very short and non-scientific friendly bit on abiogenesis.

It is now widely agreed that at the origin of life there was not the current DNA/(RNA)/protein system for gene information on one hand and catalysis, regulation, and structural function on the other. It would beg the question, what came first, protein or DNA? Protein catalysis without gene information, which allows it to be maintained and propagated, is not sufficient in the long term, and DNA gene information without catalysis, necessary for the function of life, would be useless as well.

Instead, it is assumed that RNA acted as a precursor of both protein and DNA, in the sense that it can serve both as catalyst (like protein enzymes) and as carrier of genetic information. Even in the modern cell ribozymes (catalytic RNAs) still play a vital, albeit limited, role. In the ribosome, the synthesis of the peptide chains of proteins from RNA code is accomplished by ribozymes. They also catalyze splicing of RNA.

DNA

The hypothesis that a so-called RNA World was involved in the early evolutionary stages of life is now an almost universally held view (Joyce 2002, Orgel 2004, The RNA World 2006). Could this RNA World have stood at the ultimate origin of life? This is currently still an open question. The RNA system may be too complex to have arisen without synthesis by a genetic precursor or prior enzyme-less metabolism (options discussed below). Yet while there are still substantial problems, there are now good leads for simple, spontaneous processes on the early Earth for both the synthesis of nucleotides and their concatenation to oligonucleotides.
DNA is all right handed, except for the biologically inactive forms (A and Z), that are merely structural half way points of normal (B) DNA during transcription. If DNA, and thus RNA were to have formed naturally, there would be a 50/50 right and left "handedness" to the helical form. No matter what you believe, you can't ignore the fact that DNA completely defies science here.
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Old 08-12-2014, 01:12 PM   #126
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I don't want to be pressed on the 98% figure as it's just a number I threw out, but I think your statement is fair and accurate.

As for the information provided on evolution, I have no qualms whatsoever. To the guy who said "I have it all figured out", that couldn't be further from the truth. I'm more than willing to learn more, especially on scientific topics that I'm no expert on. Just don't expect me to endorse a naturalistic philosophy in the process.
So what do you think about all the other matching stories from different cultures and religions?
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Old 08-12-2014, 01:58 PM   #127
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DNA is all right handed, except for the biologically inactive forms (A and Z), that are merely structural half way points of normal (B) DNA during transcription. If DNA, and thus RNA were to have formed naturally, there would be a 50/50 right and left "handedness" to the helical form. No matter what you believe, you can't ignore the fact that DNA completely defies science here.
That's been an intelligent design talking point for a long time. But it's not necessarily true. And there are several quality explanations for why there's not a 50/50 split in handedness. Science doesn't claim to know for sure. But it has some really good possibilities, and the topic certainly doesn't defy science.

Here's some good reading on that:

Quote:
We know that in fact amino acids can form in interstellar space, since they were found in parts of the Murchison meteorite (and later others) that were uncontaminated with Earthly material. Furthermore, there's one definite way that amino acids which existed originally in an equal mixture of L and R forms on a chunk of rock hurtling through space could have their proportion tilted in one direction or the other:
These amino acids "seeds" formed in interstellar space, possibly on asteroids as they careened through space. At the outset, they have equal amounts of left and right-handed amino acids. But as these rocks soar past neutron stars, their light rays trigger the selective destruction of one form of amino acid. The stars emit circularly polarized light--in one direction, its rays are polarized to the right. 180 degrees in the other direction, the star emits left-polarized light.

All earthbound meteors catch an excess of one of the two polarized rays. Breslow said that previous experiments confirmed that circularly polarized light selectively destroys one chiral form of amino acids over the other. The end result is a five to ten percent excess of one form, in this case, L-amino acids. Evidence of this left-handed excess was found on the surfaces of these meteorites, which have crashed into Earth even within the last hundred years, landing in Australia and Tennessee.

So, one asks, is it possible that this imbalance of R and L amino acids was transferred from a meteorite to prebiotic Earth? In a series of experiments Breslow confirmed that this could happen:
Breslow simulated what occurred after the dust settled following a meteor bombardment, when the amino acids on the meteor mixed with the primordial soup. Under "credible prebiotic conditions"-- desert-like temperatures and a little bit of water -- he exposed amino acid chemical precursors to those amino acids found on meteorites.

Breslow and Columbia chemistry grad student Mindy Levine found that these cosmic amino acids could directly transfer their chirality to simple amino acids found in living things. Thus far, Breslow's team is the first to demonstrate that this kind of handedness transfer is possible under these conditions.

On the prebiotic Earth, this transfer left a slight excess of left-handed amino acids, Breslow said. His next experiment replicated the chemistry that led to the amplification and eventual dominance of left-handed amino acids.
The Origin of Biological Homochirality

Quote:
Chirality, the molecular version of right- and left-handedness, has intrigued chemists ever since Pasteur found mirror-image tartaric acid crystals. The synthesis of molecules in a single chiral form is usually achieved by using a chiral entity from the outset. But in some reactions the formation of a chiral product seems to be further amplified. Most current explanations implicate autocatalysis as the source of this asymmetry. An alternative mechanism is demonstrated this week. This new approach generates a strong bias towards one chiral form from a small initial imbalance, based on the equilibrium solid–liquid phase behaviour of amino acids. As this takes place in aqueous solution, the process might explain how a prebiotic world, with left- and right-handed molecules present in equal numbers, could turn into a living world where biomolecules favour one chiral form.
It's also known that left-handed DNA does occur, but is quickly edited to conform to be right-handed.

Quote:
In some cases -- perhaps fewer than 10 percent, but the figure is not known -- the reading of DNA itself changes the DNA's shape. It relaxes the strand and permits it to flip over into the left-handed variety.

When that happens, they say, another molecule comes into play. This ''editor'' molecule, RNA adenosine deaminase, according to the theory, can change DNA coding as it is being read, and it is very attracted to the left-handed DNA. When the left version appears, the editor molecule jumps in, attaches itself to the Z-DNA, and alters the message being read out. As a result, there turns out to be more than one way to read a DNA message, the regular and the edited version.

In life, proteins produced by cells with edited DNA turn out to be important. One of them is used as one of the key receptor molecules in the brain, Dr. Rich said. Without it, animals tend to develop epilepsy and often die. Another edited molecule is a receptor for serotonin, the molecule whose level is increased by antidepressants like Prozac. The edited version of the molecule gives a more muted response to serotonin, and thus allows mixed, more finely tuned, reactions rather than only those with the unedited version.

http://www.nytimes.com/1999/06/29/sc...tudy-says.html
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Old 08-12-2014, 01:59 PM   #128
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So what do you think about all the other matching stories from different cultures and religions?
Provide some specific examples and I can respond to them.
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Old 08-12-2014, 02:05 PM   #129
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OK thanks again for responding. I'm curious why you were "forced to read the Book of Mormon numerous times throughout my childhood" What was that about? Numerous times? Why? I'm curious if you believe Mormons are christians or not?

I did notice that it appears that you were pretty much convinced by the eye witness testimony. Everyone knows that eye witness testimony is the lowest form of evidence. And eye witness testimony copied and recopied with as you stated errors could be magnified over time. Do you agree?

So would it seem more reasonable if Jesus were appear today and work his miracles and you could talk to the people that actually saw him do these miracles first hand it should be more believable?

If you had people that he cured you could actually talk to and would swear under oath that he cured them would it strengthen or weaken your belief?

Also are we cool on the abiogenesis v. evolution thingee or no?

One last question, What did you study books, pamphlets or what have you that you came to this conclusion?

"studying 1st century Palestinian history, I can confidently conclude that not only did Jesus Christ exist, but He was who He said He was."

Be as specific as you can please.

Thanks.
My family read the Book of Mormon once a year. My dad's side of the family were very staunch Latter Day Saints and this ultimately led to my disdain in religion. With that said, I believe that I have taken a lot of truth from the Book of Mormon as well as the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. Do I believe Mormons are Christians? More so than the majority of Protestants in my opinion. Their acceptance of the atonement is evident in their actions.

I'm cool with the evolution/abiogenesis thing. I can't imagine it coming up again, but if it does, there's nothing wrong with the summary that you posted on the issue.

As for the historicity of Christ, I have read countless literature on the subject. While it could be said that it's simply a confirmation bias, New Testament Scholar N.T. Wright has written some awesome stuff on the existence of Christ that is generally accepted by both religious and secular scholars. "The Historical Jesus and Christian Theology" is a Wright book that I often recommend to both skeptics and believers. On the other side of the spectrum, I recently purchased a Bart Ehrman book that I have not finished reading yet. He concedes that Jesus existed, but was simply a carpenter who talked a lot. Ironically enough, Bart Ehrman wrote the New Testament textbook that we used for my college class.
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Old 08-12-2014, 02:38 PM   #130
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That's been an intelligent design talking point for a long time. But it's not necessarily true. And there are several quality explanations for why there's not a 50/50 split in handedness. Science doesn't claim to know for sure. But it has some really good possibilities, and the topic certainly doesn't defy science.

Here's some good reading on that:



The Origin of Biological Homochirality



It's also known that left-handed DNA does occur, but is quickly edited to conform to be right-handed.
You do realize that DNA is not an amino acid, but is comprised partly of them. Not arguing one way or the other on the religion front right now, but DNA is essentially right handed only except for the short transformational form (that is miraculously transformed by RNA) that is Z DNA and A DNA. The other quotes that you bolded were talking about amino acids which are incredibly simple when compared to DNA. The amino acid is the bolt, the DNA is the car, the RNA is the engine and transmition.
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Old 08-12-2014, 02:54 PM   #131
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Old 08-12-2014, 02:59 PM   #132
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You do realize that DNA is not an amino acid, but is comprised partly of them. Not arguing one way or the other on the religion front right now, but DNA is essentially right handed only except for the short transformational form (that is miraculously transformed by RNA) that is Z DNA and A DNA. The other quotes that you bolded were talking about amino acids which are incredibly simple when compared to DNA. The amino acid is the bolt, the DNA is the car, the RNA is the engine and transmition.
Well of course DNA is not an amino acid. But DNA gets its right-handedness from those right-handed amino acids. That's the point. That's where the right-handedness comes from. The other links give possible explanations for how amino acids could naturally accumulate with preference for right-handedness that would negate the 50/50 split in abundance over time that you said would be a requirement. The point is that there are many possible natural explanations for why there might not be a 50/50 split in handedness over time, and why life as we know it uses only right-handedness.
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Old 08-12-2014, 03:31 PM   #133
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Provide some specific examples and I can respond to them.
Probably the biggest one is the epic of Gilgamesh, along with the various Jesus figures around the world (Horus).
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Old 08-12-2014, 03:36 PM   #134
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You do realize that DNA is not an amino acid, but is comprised partly of them. Not arguing one way or the other on the religion front right now, but DNA is essentially right handed only except for the short transformational form (that is miraculously transformed by RNA) that is Z DNA and A DNA. The other quotes that you bolded were talking about amino acids which are incredibly simple when compared to DNA. The amino acid is the bolt, the DNA is the car, the RNA is the engine and transmition.
So I guess you must be implying that god is left handed, because other than that your point is completely meaningless and you are in the wrong thread. Beat it.
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High Tech is Sorcery and the people who are really powerful are literally telling people to commit crimes using the psychic interspace created by the WWW and Wireless. They are controlling peoples actions like drones . The two things are deeply intertwined. The more man's brain interfaces with machines the creepier it gets. They use brains separate from a human body in a supercomputer and you have The Image of the Beast. The military has been doing this since the 50s
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Old 08-12-2014, 07:59 PM   #135
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tooge View Post
DNA is all right handed, except for the biologically inactive forms (A and Z), that are merely structural half way points of normal (B) DNA during transcription. If DNA, and thus RNA were to have formed naturally, there would be a 50/50 right and left "handedness" to the helical form. No matter what you believe, you can't ignore the fact that DNA completely defies science here.
It defies statistical equivalency where the coin is tossed many times with no attachment to the history of previous coin tosses. What we are dealing with here is a persistence of what was initially the condition that randomly had a higher population of right handedness and it needn't to be by much in that initial condition.
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Even a superstitious man has certain inalienable rights. He has a right to harbor and indulge his imbecilities as long as he pleases. . . He has a right to argue for them as eloquently as he can, in season and out of season. He has a right to teach them to his children. But certainly he has no right to be protected against the free criticism of those who do not hold them. He has no right to demand that they be treated as sacred. He has no right to preach them without challenge." -H.L. Mencken
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