142: In His Name We Pray, Ramen

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BrainFromArous:

Religious persons are not the only ones with this problem. Anyone who believes 'all men are created equal' has to deal with the ways in which the creation of humans is very unequal. Anyone who believes in human rights has to deal with the same issue as religious people deal with in deciding when a leaky sack of amino acids acquires a soul: when does, in the words of Bill Mahr, "a pile of goo" become a person worth marching on Washington to demand civil rights for.

1) "All men are..." poses no problems when seen as a profession of egalitarian principles and a repudiation of social systems based on hereditary castes.

True--just like Genesis poses no problems when seen as a metaphor.

2) Is this about the Pro-Choice/Pro-Life thing? My personal answer is: at the point of extra-maternal viability*. This is a flawed answer, to be sure, but then I'm not one of those "people of faith" claiming that the Creator of the Universe whispers things into my ear.

This is more a 'even if you don't claim supernatural beings are whispering in your ear, you have metaphysical beliefs that can be undercut by science' thing. What if science pushes extra-maternal viability back to the point that even a non-implanted fertilized egg can be extracted and grown into a healthy baby in some sort of nutrient tank? Are you saying that a mother can't choose abortion for a group of cells that is no more complex than, say, the bacteria we kill with mouthwash, just because it has human DNA different from hers?

Just like I said religion can consist of more than faith, faith can be found outside religion. And like you said, anytime our faith is tied to some belief about the way the natural world is, we can find that we either have to become irrational or modify our dogma in some way.

Just pointing out that you don't have to have a religion to wind up having to deal with the same issues people with a dogma do--all philosophical beliefs share that characteristic with religions dogma: to the extent they are based on beliefs that fall within the realm of science, they are not necessarily safe from the 'go irrational or modify' choice you talked about.

religion is the enemy of god

Geoffrey42:

Singing Gremlin:
Apple pips contain cyanide. Yet we can eat them.

For the most part, apple seeds aren't digested. They pass unharmed, and thus get to be trees, with a handy source of fertilizer.

But, as a general thing: nearly anything can be bad for you or be irrelevant, depending on the dose. Not enough water? Bad. Enough water? Good. Too much water? Bad (drowning/hyperhydration). Small enough amount of mercury/cyanide? Meh. Threshold amount? Death.

Dammit man, stop proving me wrong!! :p

Edit: And to the babel-fish chap, you're quite welcome. Nothing like a Douglas Adams reference to make one smile.

I think a more appropriate to a game related discussion could have been about the Digiclipse believers.

> http://digiclipse.digi-pop.net/about

image

It's lovely when a comic sums something up better then you possible ever could've.

(Hrrm, perhaps I should've posted a link instead)

Melty Blood:
It's lovely when a comic sums something up better then you possible ever could've.

(Hrrm, perhaps I should've posted a link instead)

Probably would've been best. Oh well, 'tis done.

I remember that strip... I seem to recall that XKCD readers ended up holding a party at those coordinates, just as a lark... and for the irony, I guess. But yeah, I think this is representative of most prophecy, as either false (in the comic), self-fulfilling (as the comic turned out to be), or so vague that those wishing to believe can ret-con it later.

(Dangit, now I'm tempted to go searching for double-blind prophesy trials. Not now... I've got work to do!)

-- Steve

PurpleRain:

DreamerM:
There's the Stupid Faith that values obedience and submission and order above curiosity and observation, the kind that demands you not eat certain foods or mix with certain people or take your children to the doctor.

So it's now stupid to take your child to the doctor and eat healthy. Your arguement keeps getting stronger.

At least if you're going to bash someone's argument, you might put a little more effort into parsing it. I read it as "the kind that demands you not (eat certain foods, mix with certain people, or take your children to the doctor)". All 3 of which have been proscribed by religion in one way or another over the years. You can fault him grammatically for not using "nor", but does it really get in the way of his point?

Cheeze_Pavilion:

True--just like Genesis poses no problems when seen as a metaphor.

(R)Amen, brother! The problem is that the "metaphor" approach is something retroactively imposed on scripture as part of a rescue operation by the faithful once literalism becomes untenable in the light of increasing knowledge.

Their dilemma, then and now, is that once they admit that any part of God's Word is wrong - sometimes hilariously so - how can they claim ANY of it is accurate?

So I'm all for the "metaphor" thing, personally. But it's still just a tactical retreat for believers, as opposed to what will really set them free: Admitting to themselves that human beings, not God(s), wrote their scriptures.

This is more a 'even if you don't claim supernatural beings are whispering in your ear, you have metaphysical beliefs that can be undercut by science' thing. What if science pushes extra-maternal viability back to the point that even a non-implanted fertilized egg can be extracted and grown into a healthy baby in some sort of nutrient tank? Are you saying that a mother can't choose abortion for a group of cells that is no more complex than, say, the bacteria we kill with mouthwash, just because it has human DNA different from hers?

I don't see where metaphysics enters into this. I don't believe there is a binary distinction between "entitled to rights" and "not entitled."

In the case in question... Ok, we could grow the new human-in-progress in a tube somewhere. However, if it's NOT in a tube and instead takes place inside an actual woman... what are her rights and powers over her own body?

There may never be a final, satisfactory answer to things like this.

Another one: Should we shut down NASA and spend that money on medicine and food for people in need RIGHT NOW, or keep funding it because of the potential benefits to all mankind from future space exploration? Even the most optimistic estimates for the Space Program admit that asteroid mining and orbital pharma labs are nowhere in sight, nor likely to be in the near future. There are, of course, sick and starving people aplenty who could use that money.

Tricky, tricky problems... which will NOT be solved through "faith" in some Bronze Age collection of fairy tales about the Sky-Father spirit. :)

BrainFromArous:

(R)Amen, brother! The problem is that the "metaphor" approach is something retroactively imposed on scripture as part of a rescue operation by the faithful once literalism becomes untenable in the light of increasing knowledge.

That's not always true. Plenty of "the faithful" have looked at it and thought this simply can't be a literal truth even though science hasn't disproved scripture. I think you're reducing religious people to a couple of stereotypes that don't capture the variety of human religion experience.

I don't see where metaphysics enters into this. I don't believe there is a binary distinction between "entitled to rights" and "not entitled."

It's metaphysics because nothing about rights can be proven by science. I can't prove to you that murder is worse than assault the way I can prove to you lead is denser than aluminum, right? So if it's not physics, it is, literally, meta-physics.

In the case in question... Ok, we could grow the new human-in-progress in a tube somewhere. However, if it's NOT in a tube and instead takes place inside an actual woman... what are her rights and powers over her own body?

There may never be a final, satisfactory answer to things like this.

So much for abandoning "faith" leading us to being able to answer all our questions, right?

And instead of a tube, let's call it a tank...an Axlotl tank, maybe? ;-D

Another one: Should we shut down NASA and spend that money on medicine and food for people in need RIGHT NOW, or keep funding it because of the potential benefits to all mankind from future space exploration? Even the most optimistic estimates for the Space Program admit that asteroid mining and orbital pharma labs are nowhere in sight, nor likely to be in the near future. There are, of course, sick and starving people aplenty who could use that money.

Tricky, tricky problems... which will NOT be solved through "faith" in some Bronze Age collection of fairy tales about the Sky-Father spirit. :)

That's not the really tricky problem. The really tricky problem is why someone gets to spend someone else's money on the "sick and starving people aplenty" OR on NASA. The tricky problem is deciding just how much we owe our fellow human beings.

That's the problem people were trying to solve with fairy tales about the Sky-Father spirit. At least Classical Age religious thinkers grappling with such Bronze Age collections. That's why those people had so much "faith": those fairy tales answered the trickiest of problems about whether I am my brother's keeper.

Now of course the 'proof' they had was that God had commanded it so, so those must be the answers. And that proof has been undermined to the point that no one can possibly trust those texts enough to force what is written in them upon another person the way I can enforce, say, a version of history written by able scholars based on research on someone who has wacky tin-foil hat ideas about history.

However, (rightly) denying the authority of those fairy tales as literal truths because their authority has been undermined just lands us back in the same place as--to continue talking about historical ages--Stone Age humans. We've got to find another authority for how we behave--at least how we behave towards others--besides revealed religion.

You should just carefully distinguish between the answers not being "solved through "faith" in some Bronze Age collection of fairy tales about the Sky-Father spirit" because those collections *don't have the requisite authority* or because those collections *never tried to answer those questions in the first place* Only the former is true.

The Bible does not give any claim as to the age of the earth. People make assumptions about it based on the English translation. The six "days" that are mentioned in Genesis are written simply as "periods of time" in the original Hebrew. In fact, the interaction between the sun and the earth is not even truly established until around the fourth "day", so our concept of "day" can not be applied.

Please do not spread false assumptions about the faith of millions of people.

kylereardon:
The Bible does not give any claim as to the age of the earth. People make assumptions about it based on the English translation. The six "days" that are mentioned in Genesis are written simply as "periods of time" in the original Hebrew. In fact, the interaction between the sun and the earth is not even truly established until around the fourth "day", so our concept of "day" can not be applied.

Please do not spread false assumptions about the faith of millions of people.

I'm a student of the Bible - most atheists are, you know - and I know a great deal about what it actually does and does not contain.

The fact remains, though, that millions upon millions of sincere Christians over the centuries have in fact bolstered their opposition to everything from heliocentrism to evolution on what they BELIEVED their scriptures to say.

The "age of the Earth" thing is but one example of people making claims based on the authority of their scriptures even when the scriptures themselves don't actually make those claims. That didn't stop them, of course, because the fidelity and accuracy of their scripture citations were irrelevant to their agenda.

Their objective was to ground their claims in (what they imagine to be) an unimpeachable divine imprimatur as opposed to empirical evidence.

THAT is the point and is the essence of my grievance to this whole "faith" business.

Consider the tale of Noah and the flood. No hiding behind translation issues there... the story has been faithfully "ported" from the oldest extant sources: GOD FLOODED THE WORLD and KILLED EVERYONE EXCEPT THOSE ON THE ARK. Period. The end.

Of course, this did not happen. No matter to those "of faith," because they believe it did. How shall we deal with that? Should their belief be given equal time with the accumulated weight of all available historical, paleontological and geological evidence against this flood having taken place?

And this brings us back, at last, to the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Henderson's point was that when it comes to empirical evidence, there is no more reason to believe in Abraham's deity than in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Genesis has the same relationship to biological science that Gygax's Monster Manual has to zoology.

PS - If you really want to have some fun, go rooting through the Old Testament for remnants of Hebrew polytheism insufficiently "ret-conned" by later editors. It's eye-opening.

Cheeze_Pavilion:

It's metaphysics because nothing about rights can be proven by science. I can't prove to you that murder is worse than assault the way I can prove to you lead is denser than aluminum, right? So if it's not physics, it is, literally, meta-physics.

Except, of course, the distinction between injuring a body vs causing it to stop living - a distinction wholly objective and quantifiable.

So much for abandoning "faith" leading us to being able to answer all our questions, right?

Show me where I said that, exactly. My point is that "faith" gives us answers rooted in myth and magic or, even worse, proscribes us from even asking questions in the first place.

You should just carefully distinguish between the answers not being "solved through "faith" in some Bronze Age collection of fairy tales about the Sky-Father spirit" because those collections *don't have the requisite authority* or because those collections *never tried to answer those questions in the first place* Only the former is true.

I agree that the works in question sincerely address and are informed by human problems. How could they not? Humans wrote them.

My point, though, goes to WHY the requisite authority was (and is) lacking.

Quite an enjoyable article; a good read.

RAmen to all! pastafarism 4 ever!

Jacques 2:

6,000 years is not accepted by all believers of creationism, "10,000" is more common; and not all or even most creationists disbelieve in dinosaurs, they are in the Bible. The most detailed descriptions come in Job, of the Behemoth and the Leviathan. The behemoth was something massive, with a tail like a tall cedar tree in terms of length, and it had bones like bronze (relatively strong) and iron. The leviathan had a hide covered in shields, and what's a lot like shields: scales, and was an amphibious or primarily water dwelling creature of massive size.

Yeah, because that makes ID so much more likely...

BrainFromArous:

Cheeze_Pavilion:

It's metaphysics because nothing about rights can be proven by science. I can't prove to you that murder is worse than assault the way I can prove to you lead is denser than aluminum, right? So if it's not physics, it is, literally, meta-physics.

Except, of course, the distinction between injuring a body vs causing it to stop living - a distinction wholly objective and quantifiable.

I believe what he means is that our moral code isn't based on science; i.e. because their is no such thing as measurable good or evil. From a scientific objective standpoint, there is nothing 'evil' about genocide - there is a measurable increase in dead people, and its focused on a group of people indentified by some common fact - that's it.

Which is strictly speaking, correct. Our justice systems (I'm from the UK) still has alot of legacy issues from a time where the bible was considered THE guide for living, and so our laws and courts still have alot of religious overtures. To be honest though, I'd say that we, as human beings, need to have laws and justice systems to maintain social stability, and, whilst its not strictly speaking scientific, we aren't abstract observers, we're humans involved in the system.

I felt that due to my avatar, my presence is needed in these comments

Now may we all join hands and pray "May you bless us with your noodly appendage to give us the strength to reunite our pirate brethren, Ramen"

Melty Blood:

It's lovely when a comic sums something up better then you possible ever could've.

(Hrrm, perhaps I should've posted a link instead)

image

Honestly, this one is more relevant.

EDIT:

rabidmidget:
I felt that due to my avatar, my presence is needed in these comments

Now may we all join hands and pray "May you bless us with your noodly appendage to give us the strength to reunite our pirate brethren, Ramen"

Ramen indeed brother!

i recommend 'the gospel of the flying spaghetti monster' to everyone :)

this is why i don't like religious discussions any more. they are tiresome nothing gets accomplished and we all dislike each other more. At a point and time we all need to accept that religion it self is too powerful even if is true or not. But yes Flying spaghetti monster is one of the funniest parodies of human experience I have ever seen.

sammyfreak:
Even as a christian i like FSM. It shows me what parts of my religion are stupid and superfiscial and what parts realy matter. And yes, inteligent design belongs amoung the stupid things.

Yeah, there are a lot of Christian sects and they all look at things a little differently and unfortunately they all get grouped together and the crazies make the news. I'm a Christian and I acknowledge dinosaurs, evolution, and God. Yes I can do that actually.

Geoffrey42:
Keljeck:
2. If by the "secular school system forcing their belief on their children" you mean, promoting a rational approach to science, then yes, they were forcing their beliefs. Personally, I interpret "secular" not as the bogey-man its often used as (a nice term for "atheist", non?) but as it's intended: separate from religion. Public school, being paid for and run by the government (at least in the US), is inherently a secular organization. They do their best to leave religion, and "beliefs" out of it. That's the whole point. It is not the school's place to teach theism or atheism, or even fence-sitting. They're not teaching religious belief. They're teaching science. (Key takeaway: "secular" does not mean "anti-religion". It means "not religious". Big difference.)

Yeah, but to argue semantics here, a theory that has to rely on interpretation of past events rather than observable events in the present can't be proven fact. A belief in something that can't be proven, regardless of how valid it's arguments are, is a religion. Therefore, it's effectively impossible to have an inherently secular, non-religious school system while it still teaches evolution. It is, along with Intelligent Design, ultimately unprovable.

Until I invent my time machine that is.

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