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#61 of 182 Old 02-16-2010, 12:36 AM
 
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I do not believe in god and never did. I have seen/heard/felt no compelling evidence to the contrary. I just cannot believe in something without any evidence.
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No. There is zero evidence to support the existence of god. I believe in looking at the evidence in every other facet of my life, so why should religion be different?
I'm happily an atheist, and these two quotes pretty much sum it up for me. I have to add that in no way do I feel like my life is lacking b/c I don't believe in a god. I know some believers feel sorry for those of us who don't believe - but I can honestly say that I have zero desire for religion/belief in a god, and that there is no reason to feel any pity for me.

(Now I'm off to read the rest of the responses; I stopped after the above two posts.)

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#62 of 182 Old 02-16-2010, 12:41 AM
 
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I don't believe in God. Why would I? If I had been raised on a remote island somewhere among people who never brought up the idea of God, I'm sure it would never have occurred to me to imagine such a thing, let alone believe in it.

This is something I have argued many years ago in high school. It just proves (to me) that god is an idea created by people, who have convinced others he exists. If you have never been introduced to the idea of a god, it seems unlikely that you would come up with that on your own - and convince yourself that it's really a possibility.

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#63 of 182 Old 02-16-2010, 12:47 AM
 
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Why do you think intrinsic value needs to come from some "higher power?" Intrinsic means "belonging to a thing by its very nature." To me, that's exactly the opposite of something having value because it is bestowed by some god.

Right! Intrinsic, to me, means something coming from inside myself. It has nothing to do with some higher power/god's beliefs.

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#64 of 182 Old 02-16-2010, 12:52 AM
 
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yes i do, and that she/the divine manifests herself in many forms, but hey I also believe in angels, spirits and re-incarnation too.

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#65 of 182 Old 02-16-2010, 04:33 AM
 
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This is something I have argued many years ago in high school. It just proves (to me) that god is an idea created by people, who have convinced others he exists. If you have never been introduced to the idea of a god, it seems unlikely that you would come up with that on your own - and convince yourself that it's really a possibility.
I am agnostic as I posted above, but I find this argument confusing. Basically you are saying that any given individual would be highly unlikely to come up with the idea of God on her own, right?. So, given that virtually every culture throughout history has "come up with" some concept of god or the supernatural, wouldn't this be an argument FOR the existence of God? Otherwise where did the concept come from originally?

I personally don't think it is a good argument for the existence of a god or gods, but that is because I don't believe the initial premise. I think a group of people raised in isolation from modern culture and science is actually extremely likely to come up with some concept of god. A single individual who somehow managed to survive from infancy without contact with any other people whatsoever probably wouldn't of course, but such an individual would barely qualify as human in my opinion. No other people means no language and no language means a thought-pattern completely alien to what we generally recognize as human consciousness.

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#66 of 182 Old 02-16-2010, 04:52 AM
 
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A single individual who somehow managed to survive from infancy without contact with any other people whatsoever probably wouldn't of course, but such an individual would barely qualify as human in my opinion. No other people means no language and no language means a thought-pattern completely alien to what we generally recognize as human consciousness.
That is assuming that all people think in some form of language. Not everyone does that. Many, many people think in images more then in words. They still have a human though-patterns though.

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#67 of 182 Old 02-16-2010, 11:18 AM
 
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I am agnostic as I posted above, but I find this argument confusing. Basically you are saying that any given individual would be highly unlikely to come up with the idea of God on her own, right?. So, given that virtually every culture throughout history has "come up with" some concept of god or the supernatural, wouldn't this be an argument FOR the existence of God? Otherwise where did the concept come from originally?
I think the idea of God is one most people are unlikely to come up with on their own - but it's the kind of idea that has the potential to become very popular once someone does think of it. Kind of like the idea of making a wheel. It wouldn't occur to most people, but a few people did think of it, at various times and in various places, and the idea quickly spread.

I suspect the idea of a god or gods is something the average person is more likely to think of than the idea of a wheel (or any other technological advance), because it doesn't require any big insight or understanding. It probably just arises naturally out of a wish for some way to explain and influence things like weather or accidents. But I don't think it's an idea that would seem obvious to most people.

My sister is pretty sure she would have come up with the idea of God even if she had never heard of it. But I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have. And if there were a God, especially one who actually wanted people to know and communicate with him, you wouldn't expect it to be that easy for someone to live her whole life without ever noticing anything that even made her consider the idea that there might be a god - would you?
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#68 of 182 Old 02-16-2010, 11:40 AM
 
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That is assuming that all people think in some form of language. Not everyone does that. Many, many people think in images more then in words. They still have a human though-patterns though.
You are correct that I am making an assumption, but it is not a baseless assumption I made on the spur of the moment.

Yes, there are many people who think in images more than words (my father is one), but the organization of their thinking, their thought patterns, is still based in some form of language. It may even be a visual language (like deaf people thinking in Sign for example), but many people believe that the development of human thought is closely tied to the development of language.

Here is an (admittedly off the cuff) quote from Cecil Adams:

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Can you think without language? Answer: Nope, at least not at the level humans are accustomed to.
This quote is from a response to a The Straight Dope question that can be found here.

Here is a quote from the Wikipedia article on language:

Quote:
Concepts themselves are signantia for the objective reality being conceived. When discussed as a general phenomenon then, "language" may imply a particular type of human thought that can be present even when communication is not the result, and this way of thinking is also sometimes treated as indistinguishable from language itself. In Western philosophy, language has long been closely associated with reason, which is also a uniquely human way of using symbols. In Ancient Greek philosophical terminology, the same word, logos, was a term for both language or speech and reason, and the philosopher Thomas Hobbes utilized the English word "speech" so that it similarly could refer to reason, as presented below.
So, one could argue that a thought-pattern recognizable as human is language-based by definition, but I am still making an assumption: I am assuming that a human being raised in complete isolation from any other human beings and human communications would not develop on her own a language and/or a thought-pattern recognizable as human. I believe this is true, but since no human is going to survive from infancy with absolutely zero contact with all things human, it is impossible to prove. Kind of like the existence of God.

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#69 of 182 Old 02-16-2010, 11:41 AM
 
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My sister is pretty sure she would have come up with the idea of God even if she had never heard of it. But I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have. And if there were a God, especially one who actually wanted people to know and communicate with him, you wouldn't expect it to be that easy for someone to live her whole life without ever noticing anything that even made her consider the idea that there might be a god - would you?
It's an interesting theoretical, but it's not really any less speculative than whether or not god exists in th first place. In other words, it's interesting to think about on its own, but it makes a really poor supporting argument. What would or would not happen, what evidence for or against god would or would not be available, what can and can not be imagined outside of the context of human cultures ... there's just not really any more substance to those questions than there is to efforts to prove the existence of god through appeals to a sense of wonder at the immense complexity of the universe. (You know, "It's just not possible for it all to have happened on its own like that.") In both cases we're just talking about the capacity of the human imagination.
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#70 of 182 Old 02-16-2010, 11:43 AM
 
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I think the idea of God is one most people are unlikely to come up with on their own - but it's the kind of idea that has the potential to become very popular once someone does think of it. Kind of like the idea of making a wheel. It wouldn't occur to most people, but a few people did think of it, at various times and in various places, and the idea quickly spread.
I disagree. I think most people have experiences that lead them to wonder whether god (for lack of a better word) exists. I also think it is quite normal to ask the big questions - and a higher power is an answer people come up with (regularly). I think most people, if deserted on an island as a child, would still have experiences and questions that made them contemplate if there was a higher power in the universe.

I don't think the idea of "god" is merely an idea a few people thought up that gained in popularity. I think humans have experiences and questions for which a higher power is a possible answer.

I think religions are cultural stories to explain a common human conclusion (and religions spread due to popularity). This is separate from the existance (or not) of a higher power, which I see as a question most human grapple with.
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#71 of 182 Old 02-16-2010, 12:09 PM
 
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And if there were a God, especially one who actually wanted people to know and communicate with him, you wouldn't expect it to be that easy for someone to live her whole life without ever noticing anything that even made her consider the idea that there might be a god - would you?


Yes, this argument makes a lot of sense to me. I think it is different though because it is an argument against a specific type of god - one who wants people to know it. If there were really a god who wanted people to believe in it wouldn't that god make its existence obvious? But I don't think it is a valid argument against the existence of any type of god at all. Many things are true that are not at all obvious - the earth revolving around the sun for one example. I'm sure lots and lots of people lived their whole lives without ever considering the idea that the earth revolves around the sun, but it does just the same.

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#72 of 182 Old 02-16-2010, 12:13 PM
 
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I disagree. I think most people have experiences that lead them to wonder whether god (for lack of a better word) exists. I also think it is quite normal to ask the big questions - and a higher power is an answer people come up with (regularly). I think most people, if deserted on an island as a child, would still have experiences and questions that made them contemplate if there was a higher power in the universe.

I don't think the idea of "god" is merely an idea a few people thought up that gained in popularity. I think humans have experiences and questions for which a higher power is a possible answer.

I think religions are cultural stories to explain a common human conclusion (and religions spread due to popularity). This is separate from the existance (or not) of a higher power, which I see as a question most human grapple with.


What Kathy said (and very well I might add )

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#73 of 182 Old 02-16-2010, 01:10 PM
 
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(and religions spread due to popularity).

or by force, coercion, and intolerance...
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#74 of 182 Old 02-16-2010, 01:33 PM
 
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It's an interesting theoretical, but it's not really any less speculative than whether or not god exists in th first place. In other words, it's interesting to think about on its own, but it makes a really poor supporting argument.

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Yes, this argument makes a lot of sense to me. I think it is different though because it is an argument against a specific type of god - one who wants people to know it. If there were really a god who wanted people to believe in it wouldn't that god make its existence obvious? But I don't think it is a valid argument against the existence of any type of god at all. Many things are true that are not at all obvious - the earth revolving around the sun for one example.
I agree with both of you. I'm not trying to say that I can prove God doesn't exist, just because I don't think I would come up with the idea of God on my own. That alone isn't very good evidence that there is no God. There could be a God who didn't care about making itself known, and whose existence was not at all obvious. But if that was what God was like, why would it even matter whether or not anyone believed in it? It seems to me that God is an important concept only if communicating with it or recognizing it affects your life in some way - for instance, if it can answer your prayers, or send you to heaven or hell, or guide you as you make decisions. A God who can do those things, and yet doesn't care to let everyone know it exists doesn't sound exactly good, does it?
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#75 of 182 Old 02-16-2010, 01:52 PM
 
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I'm both agnostic and atheist -- I personally don't believe there's a god and tend to believe there isn't one (atheist), but I recognize that I don't know whether that's true (agnostic). I'm not hostile to the notion of God, and it would be nice if there were some benevolent higher purpose to existence.

Afterlife of some kind would be the cherry on the sundae, but I think that's far less likely than the existence of God.
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#76 of 182 Old 02-16-2010, 01:52 PM
 
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or by force, coercion, and intolerance...
sure.
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#77 of 182 Old 02-16-2010, 02:03 PM
 
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I don't believe in Gods or Goddesses, but do believe we're all connected through energy. When we give negative energy, it's felt by everyone. Positive is the same. When we die, or energy is dispersed.

I do believe in the value of Gods and Goddesses. Some people need that, they need that to know that they're not here by chance. They need that invisible, always with them, parent figure. Throughout history, people have wanted to have Gods and Goddesses.

I'm ok with my time being here and now.

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#78 of 182 Old 02-16-2010, 02:19 PM
 
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Nope. I feel it's a VERY far fetched idea created by man to face his own immortality. I do believe in life energies and that they can hang around before disappearing completely. But definitely not life after death.

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#79 of 182 Old 02-16-2010, 06:24 PM
 
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If you have never been introduced to the idea of a god, it seems unlikely that you would come up with that on your own - and convince yourself that it's really a possibility.
I respectfully disagree. The vast majority of known cultures throughout history have had concepts of gods/goddesses/God/spirit realms/all-encompassing energy/sacred web of life, etc., whatever you want to call the divine. I think such a concept naturally arises when you are intimately connected to and in communion with your natural environment (as most people have been for most of history) in a way that modern people can hardly understand as it is almost totally outside our experience. The only culture to my knowledge that has not taken some form of the divine as self-evident is modern Western culture. And I think that the modern Western lifestyle is not conducive to a spontaneous understanding of the divine.

If by god you mean the personal, sentient God of e.g. Christianity, though, I agree with you. That form of the divine is no more self-evident than any other form that humans have come up with over the millennia.

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#80 of 182 Old 02-16-2010, 10:59 PM
 
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I don't believe that any god exists, and I never have. Why don't I believe in god? From my perspective, that's an odd question. Why would I believe in a god? To me, it's like asking me to explain why I don't believe in Santa Claus.

I believe in each individual's inherent ability to be compassionate and benevolent regardless of their spiritual beliefs or lack thereof.

As for explaining how the world works, science can provide the answers to life, the universe, and everything.
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#81 of 182 Old 02-17-2010, 12:13 AM
 
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Nope. I like to say I'm a born-again atheist because I certainly didn't come out the womb believing in any gods! My parents' Christianity tried to change that as I grew up, but I have just never been comfortable with religion or seen any need for it. I love logic and reason, and religion has never given me either.

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#82 of 182 Old 02-17-2010, 01:23 AM
 
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Define God.

I'm a panentheist, I believe in something that is within everything but also more than everything.

I also profess Paganism, influenced by the Tao te Ching (and apparently Pythagoras), of this "everything plus" having both male and female aspects, and many many faces within each of those aspects.

Although figuring out how that meshes with my Asatru leanings is tough, since Asatru tend to be strict polytheists. The Celtic traditions that I'm also interested in seem to have less conflict.

So if someone asks me if I believe in God, I'll generally answer yes, but it's not the traditional view of God.

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#83 of 182 Old 02-17-2010, 01:25 AM
 
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Yes. And I'm sure glad He believes in me.

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#84 of 182 Old 02-17-2010, 01:35 AM
 
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I Believe that God is everything. I love God and Believe that I am a child of God.

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#85 of 182 Old 02-17-2010, 02:02 PM
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Since the meaning of a word is different for every person, based on their own experiances, I will explain what I mean instead of trying to use one word to define it.


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Why do you think intrinsic value needs to come from some "higher power?" Intrinsic means "belonging to a thing by its very nature." To me, that's exactly the opposite of something having value because it is bestowed by some god.
What do you use to measure the nature of something? Like, a person, one person can live their life to the fullest, one can be depressed, and beefed out of drugs. Is the nature of each life the same? Are they worth the same?
Or... the nature of life has no differings? Each person has the same nature of existence with a higher concious capacity? and so every human life has the same value? Or does every life in general have the same nature of existence? and so every living creature has the same value?


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Of course it could have evolved - culturally- over time - and the extension of universal value and respect for all humans is pretty recent (last 100 years or so).

There is a strong case for natural evolution of morality and ethics because human groups who exhibit these traits tend to be stronger and survive longer than groups that don't - they are either conquered or killed.
I think whether the "universal value and respect for all humans" and whether it is more recently recognized can also be subjected to the specific time frames and regions, and be true or false. As far as "overall" or "whole world" recognition, I think that is more of a political opinion as well as spiritual, and I think it can be argued and proven right or wrong depending on a person's perspective and perception. I don't think it's relevant to debate that.

But as far as evolving culturally......
The kind of value Im talking about couldnt have "evolved culterally" because that statement implies that a person was less valuable before the culteral evolution of value, then a person is today.
The kind of value Im talking about never lessens or increases.

People can be more or less aware of a truth at different times. And if a truth is subjective, then that truth may be more or less true depending on.... anything. But I think there are some things that are true no matter who is interpreting it in what way.

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Why does intrinsic value need to be given by a higher power? It is a value that belongs to something just for it's very nature of being, no matter why or how it came to be.
Im not really certain how to respond to this.... Are you saying that everything that exists is just as important than anything else that exists? It sounds like that's what your saying, and then my response would be; so, the pollution omitted from a nuclear power plant has just as much value as a newborn baby?


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Right! Intrinsic, to me, means something coming from inside myself. It has nothing to do with some higher power/god's beliefs.
If your own value is coming from within yourself, then it is subjected to your assesment of yourself.
1. For you personally; do you have days when you are very productive, have a lot of energy, spend good quality time with your kids, cook a great dinner, love everything and feel great?
Do you have days that you wake up crabby, respond irrateably to your kids, the house is a mess and you don't feel like you can do anything right?
Do you view yourself differently one day than the other? Does that mean you are less valuable one day than you are the other?

Or....
2. One person thinks they are very valuable, one thinks they are completely worthless. One has a great family, great job, wonderful garden, lovely home, etc etc etc, the other lives on the streets, robbing to pay for their drug addiction.
Is one worth more than the other, just because they see value within themselves?





........As far as a god "bestowing" value. This idea applies to gods that actually do that. Like, the Buddhist gods have to be "pleased" before they act in your favor. Universal spirituallism (Idont know the actual term for this) reqiures you to be in tune with the spiritual, before you can benefit.... you are the one drawing from the mass spirtual energy.

The god I'm talking about CREATED each one of us. He took nothing, and then added each characteristic, one by one, with the end result in mind, carefully, lovingly. When we were in the womb he forsaw every thing we would do in our lives. We have free will, he forces nothing on us, the point is that He knows each one, intimately, because he created us, and loves us dearly, because he made us special and unique, and we were created out of love.
We have a value that cannot be taken away or minimized, because we simply were created valuable.
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#86 of 182 Old 02-17-2010, 05:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by bluebirdiemama View Post

Im not really certain how to respond to this.... Are you saying that everything that exists is just as important than anything else that exists? It sounds like that's what your saying, and then my response would be; so, the pollution omitted from a nuclear power plant has just as much value as a newborn baby?
No, I am saying that the value that something has is there because that something is there. Not that the value is always equal. And not because some higher power randomly decided to give it value, it's value is part of what it is, in other words the value is intrinsic.

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#87 of 182 Old 02-17-2010, 07:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
No, I am saying that the value that something has is there because that something is there. Not that the value is always equal. And not because some higher power randomly decided to give it value, it's value is part of what it is, in other words the value is intrinsic.
How does this work, exactly? How do you know the intrinsic value of anything?

I thought the alternative to an intelligent higher power creating the universe was a random, chaotic, indifferent, natural universe....so wouldn't the intrinsic value of things made from the random events of a random universe be, in fact, random?
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#88 of 182 Old 02-17-2010, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by LeilaM View Post
As for explaining how the world works, science can provide the answers to life, the universe, and everything.
I think that if you looked into it you would find science, in fact, doesn't provide all the answers.
They are struggling right now, with trying to fit evolution to the complexity of the living cell.
The cell is so miraculously complex that it doesn't fit the simplicity of the idea of evolution.
Precisely: a cell is like an engine. No one part alone is worth anything, but together they form life. A cell couldn't have evolved because one peice alone can't do anything. Two peices alone can't do anything. 10 peices alone can't so anything, and 1 extra peice makes it no better off.
Besides that, everything has to be assembled just precisely. Evolution cannot provide for that.
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#89 of 182 Old 02-17-2010, 08:23 PM
 
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I agree that science does not, and may well never, provide all the answers. But I have to take issue with this:

Quote:
They are struggling right now, with trying to fit evolution to the complexity of the living cell.
The cell is so miraculously complex that it doesn't fit the simplicity of the idea of evolution.
Actually, "they" know quite a bit about the evolution of the cell. Here is a journal devoted to the topic: http://www.springer.com/life+science...gy/journal/239

You're basically just making the standard creationist argument from irreducible complexity (another favorite example to trot out is the eye). A) That any complex structure cannot possibly have evolved over time because none of its parts would work in isolation and B) The only other POSSIBLE explanation for the existence of the structure is divine intervention -- and not just divine intervention, but intervention by whatever flavor of deity the person making the argument happens to fancy.
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#90 of 182 Old 02-17-2010, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Thalia the Muse View Post
I agree that science does not, and may well never, provide all the answers. But I have to take issue with this:



Actually, "they" know quite a bit about the evolution of the cell. Here is a journal devoted to the topic: http://www.springer.com/life+science...gy/journal/239

You're basically just making the standard creationist argument from irreducible complexity (another favorite example to trot out is the eye). A) That any complex structure cannot possibly have evolved over time because none of its parts would work in isolation and B) The only other POSSIBLE explanation for the existence of the structure is divine intervention -- and not just divine intervention, but intervention by whatever flavor of deity the person making the argument happens to fancy.
You are making the assumption that Im placing God as the alternative, while, yes I do believe in God, that is not the point Im making.
Im saying that if anyone is looking to science for all answers, they are going to have to wait a long time.

If evolution fails to explain the cell, which is fundamental to life, then I think the theory needs to be chucked out the window entirely.
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