Christian Tunes?

Christian Tunes?

Anyone know of any Christian tunes?

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No.

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The Preacher And The Slave:

Long-haired preachers come out every night,
Try to tell us what’s wrong and what’s right,
But when asked "how ‘bout something to eat?"
They will answer in voices so sweet:
"You will eat
Bye and bye
In that glorious land
In the sky
Work and pray
Live on hay
You’ll get pie in the sky
When yoiu die!"

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De’il Stick the Minister

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There’s the old slow airs "Caoineadh Na dTri Mhuire" (the Lament of the Three Marys [at the death of Jesus]) or "An Raibh Tu ag an gCarraig" (Were You at the Rock [for the Illegal Catholic Mass]),

But, for the most part, the Catholic church didn’t like dance music ("a vertical expression of horizontal intentions"), so you’re not likely to find too many religious overtones in dance-tune names. The fiddle is known as the "Devil’s Box", after all—largely because fiddle playing encouraged dancing (shudder).

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But, for the most part, the Catholic church didn’t like dance music ("a vertical expression of horizontal intentions"), so you’re not likely to find too many religious overtones in dance-tune names. The fiddle is known as the "Devil’s Box", after all—largely because fiddle playing encouraged dancing (shudder).

The Catholic church didn’t like dance music aye? Ugh, some of us can be soooo annoyingly religious…

The bible tells us to Praise The Lord with Singing and Dancing! The Fiddle does BOTH! Lol. Well, i don’t care what the Catholic church said, i can praise the Lord how i want to if it’s alright with Him.

("a vertical expression of horizontal intentions") I feel stupid cause i don’t know what that means… or maybe i do know what it means…

"The Devil’s Box" huh. I wonder where that term came from. Well, i can praise God with it all day, and that is what I plan on doing.

This wasn’t an attack on you Georgi, but an attack on "Religion". Thanks for the insight 🙂

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Some tunes have an echo of religiosity in their names, but they’re as likely innuendo as anything sacrosanct:

The Priest’s Leap
The Reverend Brother’s Jig
The Musical Priest
The Priest in his Boots
Christmas Eve (which got the name only because of the date, not anything to do with Christmas, really)
Easter Sunday
Palm Sunday
St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Thank God We’re Surrounded by Water
Some Say the Devil’s Dead
All Around the Christmas Tree
Christmas in Killarney
St. Ruth’s Bush

well…if you have any sense of humor, some of these are downright funny…..

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Usually when people use that terminology they’re referring to
"born again" Protestant holy roller culture - not that there’s
anything wrong with that - not my cup of tea, but lots of people
are into it. There’s great gospel material in bluegrass and old timey music but not in Irish Trad, to my knowledge.

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"There’s great gospel material in bluegrass and old timey music but not in Irish Trad, to my knowledge."

Awesome! Since i plan on moving on to these styles a while from now(probably 2-3 years) this is good to know. Thanks Hup.

"well…if you have any sense of humor, some of these are downright funny…"

Yes, some tune names are quite hilarious 🙂 People get a kick when i tell them my "The Burnt Old Man" story 🙂

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It’s not a catholic thing, it’s christians latching on to something they believe is theirs by divine right. carrying all the ethnocentral and cultural baggage that goes with it. christianity has nothing to do with it. BY the way, St. Ruth was a French general who was beheaded by a stray cannonball at the battle of Aughrim, nothing to do with christianity at all.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marquis_de_St_Ruth

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> i can praise the Lord how i want to
> if it’s alright with Him.
And how will you know? Will he come to your session and buy you a pint?

> ("a vertical expression of horizontal
> intentions") I feel stupid cause i don’t
> know what that means…

The dancers are still on their feet but are thinking of getting down and having a good shag. For various historical reasons those middle-eastern religions tried to control sex, and told people it was bad. Weird, or what?

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How could one tune be any more christian than another, save in the name? I can understand christian metal or christian hip hop because of the lyrics, but a tune? I honestly don’t think god would care too much whether you played The Congress or Paddy’s Leather Breeches, its not going to make too much of a difference.

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I don’t see how a tune can express any religious or political ideas - you need words for that.

Take a tune like ‘Gin ye kiss my wife, I’ll tell the minister’. If you play the tune and don’t tell someone the title, will they still get the message?

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"An Raibh Tu ag an gCarraig" is not a religious song

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"For various historical reasons those middle-eastern religions tried to control sex, and told people it was bad. Weird, or what?" Lingpupa

Risque extract from "Tam O’Shanter" as he observes a session in full flight (Burns):

"Warlocks and witches in a dance:
Nae cotillion, brent new frae France,
But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels,
Put life and mettle in their heels.
A winnock-bunker in the east,
There sat Auld Nick, in shape o’ beast;
A tousie tyke, black, grim, and large,
To gie them music was his charge:
He screw’d the pipes and gart them skirl,
Till roof and rafters a’ did dirl.
Coffins stood round, like open presses,
That shaw’d the dead in their last dresses;
And, by some devilish cantraip sleight,
Each in its cauld hand held a light:
By which heroic Tam was able
To note upon the haly table,
A murderer’s banes, in gibbet-irons;
Twa span-long, wee, unchristen’d bairns;
A thief new-cutted frae a rape—
Wi’ his last gasp his gab did gape;
Five tomahawks wi’ bluid red-rusted;
Five scymitars wi’ murder crusted;
A garter which a babe had strangled;
A knife a father’s throat had mangled—
Whom his ain son o’ life bereft—
The grey- hairs yet stack to the heft;
Wi’ mair of horrible and awefu’,
Which even to name wad be unlawfu’.
Three lawyers’ tongues, turned inside out,
Wi’ lies seamed like a beggar’s clout;
Three Priests’ hearts, rotten, black as muck,
Lay stinking , vile, in every neuk.

As Tammie glower’d, amaz’d, and curious,
The mirth and fun grew fast and furious;
The piper loud and louder blew,
The dancers quick and quicker flew,
They reel’d, they set, they cross’d, they cleekit,
Till ilka carlin swat and reekit,
And coost her dudies to the wark,
And linket at it in her sark!

Now Tam, O Tam! had thae been queans,
A’ plump and strapping in their teens!
Their sarks, instead o’ creeshie flannen,
Been snaw-white seventeen hunder linen!—
Thir breeks o’ mine, my only pair,
That ance were plush, o’ guid blue hair,
I wad hae gi’en them off my hurdies
For ae blink o’ the bonie burdies!

But wither’d beldams, auld and droll,
Rigwoodie hags wad spean a foal,
Louping and flinging on a crummock,
I wonder did na turn thy stomach!

But Tam kend what was what fu’ brawlie:
There was ae winsome wench and wawlie,
That night enlisted in the core,
Lang after kend on Carrick shore
(For monie a beast to dead she shot,
An’ perish’d monie a bonie boat,
And shook baith meikle corn and bear,
And kept the country-side in fear.)
Her cutty sark, o’ Paisley harn,
That while a lassie she had worn,
In longitude tho’ sorely scanty,
It was her best, and she was vauntie.
Ah! little kend thy reverend grannie,
That sark she coft for her wee Nannie,
Wi’ twa pund Scots (‘twas a’ her riches),
Wad ever grac’d a dance of witches!

But here my Muse her wing maun cour,
Sic flights as far beyond her power:
To sing how Nannie lap and flung
(A souple jad she was a strang);
And how Tam stood like ane bewitch’d,
And thought his very een enrich’d;
Even Satan glower’d, and fidg’d fu’ fain,
And hotch’d and blew wi’ might and main;
Till first ae caper, syne anither,
Tam tint his reason a’ thegither,
And roars out: ‘Weel done, Cutty-sark!’
And in an instant all was dark;
And scarcely had he Maggie rallied,
When out the hellish legion sallied."

The church wasn’t getting the virtue message across that night, sounded like a good tune though. Sex and music, the devils work!

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I know it’s alright with Him if it tells me to do it in His word. Psalm 150 says enough for me 🙂 Also, music is very spiritual wheather we believe it or not. When music is played, things happen in the spiritual that we don’t quite understand. This is easiest seen in "Theme Music" for movies, television shows, and video games. Fight music sounds a lot different than peaceful lullabyes. and happy party music sounds different than mournful funeral music. It’s because the spirits are different wheather there are words being spoken or not.

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Blimey! You’re yer actual Bible basher!

Anyone got any Muslim tunes?

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Or Jain or Hindu or Sikh or Buddhist or Wiccan or Man U’ist or Wotteffahist…

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fornication and music don’t always have to go together. i hate how we allow religion to take away from what our Relationship with God could be like.

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"But, for the most part, the Catholic church didn’t like dance music …The fiddle is known as the "Devil’s Box", after all—largely because fiddle playing encouraged dancing (shudder)…"

That belief is not peculiar to a particular denomination - but it was certainly taken to extremes by reformists in parts of Scotland. You’ll find that parts of Scandinavia considered the fiddle as the instrument of the devil too.

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"BY the way, St. Ruth was a French general who was beheaded by a stray cannonball at the battle of Aughrim, nothing to do with christianity at all."

But presumably St. Ruth was also a Christian saint, after whom a parish was named, whence this General or his ancestors came. So there is an indirect Christian connection.

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"Blimey! You’re yer actual Bible basher!" yhaalhouse

In fairness, fiddlelearner hasn’t actually done any of your actual bashing as such, just waxing lyrical regarding the spirituality of spiritual stuff.

I’m all up for a spot of spirituality, it’s just that I’m rather cynical when it comes to the words of men or women in relation to such. So that puts all religion in a rather difficult position in my world view as all the books were written by, well, men, in the main.

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The Kill Flesh project. "The Victory Reel" Is a tune i can play to proclaim "Victory" in this war against the flesh. I came across a tune tonight titled "Soldier’s Joy", definetly a tune fit for playing after a long day of working for Christ 🙂 "Banish Misfortune" is a tune i play now to claim "Good Day and Blessings". But these aren’t played just for my pleasure. These are played to God 🙂

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fiddlelearner - For what it’s worth, you are more likely to find hymn tunes in, say, the Manx or Welsh tradtional repertoire than in the Irish.

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…Not *Christian*, just an interesting observation - in the klezmer tradition, instrumental (dance and other) music is very closely linked to devotional (Jewish) music.

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Well for what it’s worth there are a significant denominational minority round my part of the world who don’t play any music what so ever, they do sing (and wonderful it is too), but only in praise of a certain sky god.

Actually they are talking about getting a casio or some such device installed at the kirk but that’ll no doubt lead to more infighting splits and ecclesiastical arguments about who the socket for plugging the bugger in to the wall actually belongs to.

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The Altar Boys of Ballisodare
Father Kelly’s
and there is a tune in O’Neill’s (Krassen) Pg 69 "The Man Who Died And Rose Again.

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If research found that the original title of ‘Soldier’s Joy’ was, for example ‘Soldier’s Bottle of Whiskey’ it wouldn’t change the tune - but would it still be ‘fit for playing after a long day of working for Christ’? Tunes have no morality, no politics no religion. However they do have emotion and if ‘Soldier’s Joy’ makes you feel good after a long day’s work of any kind, then play it.

What’s the Kill Flesh project? Sounds a bit worrying to me!

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I hope not

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I don’t care if it rains or freezes,
I find comfort in the arms of Jesus,
I am Jesus’ little lamb,
Yes, by Jesus Christ I am.

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"fornication and music don’t always have to go together. i hate how we allow religion to take away from what our Relationship with God could be like"

If, unlike me, you feel the need to celebrate your god, aren’t fornication and music both good ways of doing that?

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I know He’s ubiquitous, but it’s a little surprising to find Him in Yellowland. Is nowhere safe for us heathens?
Incidentally, I always struggled to find a satisfactory mental image of the devil playing the fiddle — until I saw Martin Hayes. Now whenever I see him I can’t help checking his brow periodically for a sign of those little horns.

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Tony, "and there is a tune in O’Neill’s (Krassen) Pg 69 "The Man Who Died And Rose Again." Was that after he popped a viagra?

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Gam - having seen Martin Hayes live for the first time here recently, I just gotta say your post left me chuckling for a good five minutes… and no doubt will bring me unexpected moments of recall laughter in the future.

Good stuff.

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"The Kill Flesh project. "The Victory Reel" Is a tune i can play to proclaim "Victory" in this war against the flesh. I came across a tune tonight titled "Soldier’s Joy", definetly a tune fit for playing after a long day of working for Christ"


I suppose since the names of the tunes don’t mean anything, you can interpret them as you like. But by that logic, you might as well just rename them all to have the biblious connotations you’re looking for.

However, I should point out that "Soldier’s Joy" was interpreted by Michelle Shocked at least as a song about morphine, and in any case the joy in the title was almost certainly not one that one would usually consider "godly".
Does it bother you to make up imaginary stories about the origins of tune titles, knowing that they’re completely unrelated to the tunes? Could you not just play the tunes and enjoy them and chalk that up to your god without dumping a load of hokum on them?

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Wait, what on earth is a "war against the flesh?" Dare I ask…

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The "morphine" words for Soldier’s Joy date from the American Civil War, which was when morphine was first used. It wasn’t exactly recreational.

I suspect there is a song text behind the title "Banish Misfortune" and I doubt if the song was Christian.

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"Wait, what on earth is a "war against the flesh?" Dare I ask…" TSS

I suspect it may have something to do with radical vegetarianism, "Are you vegan?", "Na, it’s just the way I’m standing".

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Then there’s "Easter Snow", and "Adam and Eve" (which, admittedly is more old-testamenty)

Or I could be snarky and suggest:

"the [Church] Bells of Tipperary"

"Off to California [to spread the gospel]"

"Roll out the Barrell [and dump it outside because alcohol is the vehicle of the devil]"

"The Girl that Broke My Heart [Because she was unwilling to accept Christ as her one true savior]"

"The One that Was Lost [because he married an agnostic, and started to question his faith]"

Liz Carroll’s "The Diplodocus [whose skeleton was planted in the ground 4,000 years ago to test your faith]"

I could go on… But I’ve got limited amounts of snark, and I need to save some for the workday.

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How about the Contradiction, like when it says in Deuteronomy that you must do something, and in Leviticus that you mustn’t.

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Then there’s the Flogging Reel - flogging being the prescribed punishment for onanism, right?

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>I suspect it may have something to do with radical vegetarianism

Or anti-vegetarianism, I suppose. As my part of the war against the flesh, I’m eating only meat from here on out.

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Given the probable date of Soldier’s Joy it was either
a) a full stomach
b) dry feet
c) somewhere indoors to sleep
d) anasthetic of choice (morphine, whisky … .)
e) the sergeant-major being hit by lightening
f) female company

I think it was unlikely to be the comforts of religion.

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Douglas Hyde collected (and translated to Bearla with bi-lingual commentary) a huge number of hymns in Irish in the late 19th century in his "Religious songs of Connaught" which is, for some reason I wouldn’t know, less read than his "Love songs of Connaught."

Alas he didn’t write down the airs to which they were sung, though he may have mentioned the name of one or two.

Many of the Love songs were translated into English, but few of the religious ones.

Dan

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I don’t see how a tune could be Christian, or not be Christian. Songs of course could indeed have a Christian theme.

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Does anyone know any Jewish tunes, like the Gefiltefisher’s Hornpipe?

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Tommy Coen’s?

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That reminds me, I was going to set up a Gefilte Feis for passover… maybe next year…

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"Does anyone know any Jewish tunes, like the Gefiltefisher’s Hornpipe?"

The oy vey leaf?

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Danny Goy

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St Ruth’s Bush refers specifically to the St Ruth of Aughrim.

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"Be Though My Vision" is a good one, and it is pretty popular.

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Yep, ‘Be Thou My Vision’ is a very old Irish hymn afaik and a strong melody - as close as you’ll get Fiddlelearner.. you have to have sung this though in a church of several hundred people to realise the power and drive in it. After that, you’re in the wrong place unless you take a very wide view of ‘Christian Tunes’

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I think of the Hitler’s Downfall jig as an honorary Jewish tune. 🙂

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Since so many are so concerned, The "Kill Flesh" project, is a self project i started working to start the process of Sanctification. Since so many people claiming to be "Christian" are Hypocrites, the main excuse people have for not wanting to turn to God is believing that He isn’t real, because His own "followers" don’t even follow His teachings. Now the "War Against The Flesh" is different. The war is The Holy Spirit in us fighting against our own evil, sinful desires(the flesh)This is talked about in the Book of Romans. If i want to minister Christ to people, i need to make myself look as much like Him as possible. It’s hard cause i’m so young and there are a lot of things that i don’t yet know. Also there are things that i struggle with in sin. But in time, God will do His good work in me, and i can represent Him the way i`m suppose to.

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So the "Kill Flesh" project basically is what i’m doing to make myself less prideful, less selfish, and less hateful(which covers all sin). Learning how to love others like God loves them. And Learning how to respect and love God. So that i don’t sin(offend the Creator of The Universe).

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fiddlelearner - I admire your energy and your indefatigable desire to wear your heart on your sleeve. However, you will find many within this particular musical community are atheist/agnostic, even more so as you travel across the pond.

However, If you want some solid Christian tunes that use fiddle, pick up the Soldier of the Cross CD by Ricky Scaggs. I promise you’ll be inspired.

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Yeah, bluegrass has more connections to "spiritual" music given its gospel influence.

The church in Ireland and Scotland, on the other hand, has a long history of doing its damndest to quash traditional music gatherings on the grounds that it promoted "sins of the flesh."

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The context of tunes… Hmmm. Well, if all those tunes are about drinking, "shagging", and partying with satan and his "fairies", then maybe i shouldn’t play this genre of music. As amazing of a genre as it is, if i can’t use it to Worship God, then i’m not using it at all. But there was a Brother talking about "Taking from satan what is rightfully Gods’" in reference to music. He’s a Christian Rapper and took the beats from worldly perverted songs and put Christian lyrics over them. I don’t know if this is possible with lyricless music, to change the context of a tune… But if not, i’ll get over it. There’s more music in the world than ITM.

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…and traditional music has responded with a fairly jaundiced view of religion. See, for example the song "Parish of Dunkeld". (which, granted, may be an Andy Stewart original for all I know)

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If you’re going to try to stamp out the "ungodly" parts of this music, you’ll be welcome to the door as far as I’m concerned.

You can have your religion if it brings you something you need, but keep it in your pants when you’re in polite company.

(previous post was in response to TSS, of course)

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"I think of the Hitler’s Downfall jig as an honorary Jewish tune. "

Every time I hear or see the name of the tune "I Buried My Wife and Danced on Top of Her", instead of conjuring a picture of someone dancing on the grave of a wife, I picture Groucho Marx doing the Charleston on the pile of rubble over the bunker where Hitler topped himself.

http://www.slc.edu/magazine/whats-so-funny/Whats_So_Funny_and_Why.php

I wish I’d been there to play the fiddle for him.

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Tunes are tunes, no matter the title, it still has the same meaning. You can’t make them religious: Christian, atheist, pagan, or even satanic. The titles mean nothing. So many tunes have more than one title any ways. I don’t get trying to learn Christian tunes. Maybe you should look up old Irish hymns or something with words in them.

Irish trad is Irish trad. You have your drinking songs, your laments, your poverty and famine songs, your comical songs, your love songs, etc… Every genre of music has those in it, and that would leave you to play no genre except for contemporary Christian music. Irish music isn’t to worship God either. It is just getting together with friends and having a good time. Plus, you can’t worship God with tunes. Maybe you can by playing with a Christian band with a Christan song, but you can’t by playing normal tunes.

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"which, granted, may be an Andy Stewart original for all I know"

I believe it is indeed by Andy M Stewart - not to be confused with Andy (where’s yer troosers) Stewart.

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He based it closely on a traditional song which tells a true story.

As far as I know "Be Thou My Vision" didn’t have Christian words until a 20th century English hymn writer created them. Dunno what the original song is about.

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fiddlelearner - there is rarely a spiritual context to these tunes. The fact that Paddy Fahey tunes are called "Paddy Fahey’s" neither conjure up Jesus or Satan.

Keep in mind what Thomas Jefferson said - "It does me no harm whether my neighbor believes in 20 gods or no god. It neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket."

And so it goes with music.

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I think fiddlelearner must be a very young fellow. There’s a lot of blood on some of these tunes, places, and people they came from— all in the name of religion and politics.

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pipersgrip, it is very possible to worship God by playing tunes. I worship with my Piano "tunes" all the time. Psalm 150 says to praise the Lord with the instruments. We can sing but it’s not our limit cause our instruments can sing with us, for us. 🙂 God is The God of Music.

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fiddlecraver. Yes friend, i am very young. Just turned 20 the end of feburary. There’s still so much, too much, that i don’t quite know, or even realize yet. But hey, at least i have some time to learn right?

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Playing Devil’s advocate for a moment as it were:

anyone remember :

Deartháir don phaidir an port ?





.

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Following the rendition of certain tunes by crap musicians I have often heard listeners refer to them as ‘Jesus Wept’ or ‘Holy Mother of God’ or even ‘Sacred Heart of Jesus’ !

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All I know is, you can merrily kiss the Quaker’s wife. But try to plant one in other situations, and …

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I have been told that Presbyterians don’t like sex because it can lead to dancing 😉.

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fiddlelearner — if you believe you shouldn’t be playing this music because it is not ‘godly’ you are a fool. Only you (and presumably your invisible friend) know what is in your heart, so don’t let any self-appointed guardian of morals tell you how to think. It is not ‘sinful’ to enjoy yourself.

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gam i have a lot of respect for you ok, but if i’m not calling everyone else foolish for what they believe, then it’s only fair that i get the same treatment. The Bible says that a man is a fool if he believes in his heart that there is no God, for the world and the heavens proclaim that there is most definetly a God. But im not calling you a fool. I’m just saying what The Word says. And No it’s not sinful to enjoy ourselves, but sometimes sin is how we enjoy ourselves. For example, Dancing itself isn’t a sin. The sin would be "Hey! Look at my amazing dancing! Aren’t i sooo awesome! Look at how good i am! Glory to me! Glory to me!" That’s called pride cause we are glorifying ourselves instead of God. Or, in another sense, dancing to cause each other to have lustful ideas about one another. But David danced to worship and give attention to God.

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Fiddlelearner. I know you can worship with an instrument, but not by playing Irish music. I am not going to please God by playing him the Kesh jig, or even Palm Sunday. A tune is a tune. If you want to worship him, write something from the heart just for him, don’t look for a tune with a Christian name to play him. In Psalms, people played from the heart, they didn’t copy other people’s tunes and dedicate them to God.

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I am not trying to be mean at all, nor am I trying to offend you. I just don’t think that a tune with a Christian name makes it a Christian tune. Same with a tune with a dirty name. I am not sinning if I play the Choice Wife(aka it has another dirty name), and I am not rejoicing playing Easter Sunday. That’s all.

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Oh and, if it’s not Godly, chances are it summons the other spirits. I don’t want to play music that summons demonic spirits. The Flesh is bad enough on it’s own, i don’t need the spirits helping it. And if it’s "free context" like "Paddy Fahey’s" and the others, then maybe i could use them.

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oh ok pipersgrip, sorry i misunderstood you. When you said "tunes" i thought you just meant "music without words". I see what you are saying now. Thanks for clearing that up 🙂 I’m not trying to be offensive either, but as others have learned about me, i can be quite defensive sometimes. I’m still working on that, it’s bad :/

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I would like to compose my own fiddle pieces, but i feel that i’m a little too new on it, which is another reason why i took this "studying ITM" route(cause this music is hard! and it works a bunch of skills) But my American styles of fiddle don’t seem too easier either. Even though it does sound different, i guess i could still enjoy it. But maybe, i could compose some tunes on piano and then learn them on fiddle! It’ll be hard but, i think i can do it 🙂 Glory to God for prior knowledge!

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I know a man who feels all the best tunes were about riding.

He was once teaching a class of pipers and found himself explaining playing the c natural on the pipes. The piper’s C. He went on a bit about how a C sound like feeling up a woman for the first time.

He told me ‘once I had that explained I looked back at the class and saw all those ten and twelve year olds looking at me with big question marks all over their faces and I realised it was time to find a different way of explaining it’

anyhow, move along…

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I should go to your sessions - around here, ungodly music only summons beer, spirits you pay for yourself.

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We have our sessions in a little buildng we call "the barn". It’s behind the music shop. A guy did bring a couple beers last time, but it was the only time i knew of. But i don’t go to sessions for the beer, i go for the musical fellowship 🙂

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fiddlelearner — "The Bible says that a man is a fool if he believes in his heart that there is no God" this is tantamount to calling me a fool, as I know in my heart that there is no God. I also have respect for you, more it would seem than you have for yourself. We — mankind — have been through all this many times: people electing themselves to tell others what they should and shouldn’t do. Just play the music the way you want, and let God decide whether you are good or bad at heart.

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You’ll get over it eventually fiddlelearner - it’s a phase you’re
going through

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Play the music because you want to — you have to.

Devil take the rest.

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There was me thinking playing tunes was part of the "war against sobriety."

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The world would be a better place without all the religious delusions people heap on one another (and themselves).

Thank goodness the tunes are here for an antidote.

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old yellow dog come trotting through the meeting house
who’s that rabbi with the reverend’s wife
thank god and greyhound she’s gone

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I was recently given a tune called "Jesus was a Cajun". Not sure if it is trad.

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"Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones." — Marcus Aurelius

Substitue "how devout you have been" for "what tunes you play" and that about sums it up, I think.

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"I was recently given a tune called "Jesus was a Cajun". Not sure if it is trad."

It’s not a traditional viewpoint, anyway.

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Amen Brother Will - deep fried and with extra cheese on top.
I added the extra cheese on 9/11/2001

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"fiddlelearner — " Just play the music the way you want, and let God decide whether you are good or bad at heart." gam

Amen to that gam.

For me all the rest is just the words of people "claiming" to speak for the higher power.

I’m looking onto Jabbel Mossa as I type this and the only thing I feel I can comment about that fact, is that Mosses must have been particularly hardy to climb all the way up there and cart them stone tablets back down to the children of israel, reputedly a 3 day walk from the foot further up the coast.

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Time perhaps to recycle a saying, well-known on the internet:
Religion is like a penis. It’s good to have one. It’s good to be proud of it. But don’t wave it around in public, and don’t stick it down my childrens’ throats.

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"The Bible says that a man is a fool if he believes in his heart that there is no God"
The Bible is a bunch of tosh cobbled together by a bunch of old ethnic arabs who thought they were better than the rest. It’s almost as bad as the Koran. It makes no sense, and preaches highly objectionable ideas like making a burnt offering of own children in return for victory in battle (Judges 11:29-40).
Don’t besmirch the mustard board with anything so vile.
Time to lock the thread? I would if I had the say.

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Well, you’ve certainly contributed a rather distasteful image there Lingpupa..

It’s a gas thread this though - it’s fair to say that in Ireland we have a bit of a stereotypical image of Americans as ‘bible thumpers’ which I know is quite unfair, but there you go - it sticks. And then we have Fiddlelearner here, the very embodiment of that stereotype wanting to mix that with playing Christian tunes and wrestling with his/her conscience!! I nearly split my sides laughing when I saw the opening question 🙂

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What about Pastafarian tunes?

Like The Silver Noodley Appendage.

Or Roaring Marinara.

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If you don’t know what I’m on about (meaning you really weren’t paying attention to important things that were happening in the world between 2005), you can go here and find out:

http://www.venganza.org/

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*in 2005 rather

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"What about Pastafarian tunes?"

MacAlpine’s fusilli

Ger the rigatoni

The ten penne bit

Bob o’ fettuccini

For Ireland I’d dare not tagliatelle name

Bheir mi celli o

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Gnocchi Gnoc Gnocchin’ on Heaven’s Door

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The Red-Haired Lassagna.

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"Gnocchi Gnoc Gnocchin’ on Heaven’s Door"

That would go well after ‘De Bharr an Gnocchi’.

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Sorry, ‘De Bharr na Gnocchi’. It’s way pasta my bedtime.

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And for the singers all those macaronic songs.

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Fornication and music don’t have to go together? I thought they each made more enjoyable the more pedestrian parts of the other.
Wait! The devil has fairies? Very cool. Never heard that before.

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I guess one thing to mention is that, i’m not worried about my salvation. I know i’m saved. The reason i’m considering wheather or not i should play this music, is because i’m asking myself if i can give glory to God and bring people to Him by playing this music. If people hear me playing dirty hip-hop music on my keyboard/piano, songs with cursing, and talking about sex and drugs, alcohol and what not, abusing women, hating other people, then i tell them i’m a Christian? More so i tell them that it’s wrong? What will they think about my religion if i was just playing that music? Hypocrites can’t bring people to God, and that’s my issue is here, not my salvation.

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Lingpupa— that story was taken completely outof context. God didn’t tell that man to sacrifice His daughter. That man made a vow that he would sacrifice the first thing that came to meet him when he got home. The poor man was heartbroken when he saw his daughter walk out. The poor girl said "If you made a vow you must keep it". She was so sad she went to mourn with her friends for 2 months. But he made a promise, i don’t know why that promise, but he did. But God thinks it’s evil for people to sacrifice their children. He calls it evil. Jeremiah 7:31. God tells what he thinks about child sacrifices. But see Lingpupa, you have taken 1 scripture for an argument, and you doen’t even what`s it`s saying. You have to study these things. If you had, you would know that our God is not the kndof God that commands His people to sacrifice children.

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What, just to throw a novel idea out there, if you played music for it’s own sake and let it speak for itself and leave the proselytising streak at home. It unpleasant, unwanted and will do a disservice to this music.

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There is no such thing a dirty music, wicked music, evil music, devil’s music — these are all constructs of the human mind.

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as, not ‘a’

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"But God thinks it’s evil for people to sacrifice their children. He calls it evil."

Except when he orders it. Or when he orders bears to do it. Or when he sacrifices all of the children of two cities, because their elders are shtupping people with the same junk they’ve got - what was that but a burnt offering to himself? Or when he sacrifices all of the children in the world, again because he thinks people are being bad. Or when he does it to his own son. He’s all about sacrificing children when he feels like it.

Come on, kid, do you think unbelievers don’t know the bible?

Anyway, this is all well beyond the purview of the site, and the site will be boring if we all get put in the sin bin because we’re talking about religion and not tunes, so let’s give it a rest, why don’t we? You can think about god when you play a tune, nobody’s going to give you any trouble about it, but the tunes aren’t about god for most of us. So let’s talk about the tunes and you can save the scripture for a more receptive forum - fair enough?

But here’s a nice religious song for you: a rare and authentic example of the "Jesus slays the innocents" ballad.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3jd5ptctYM

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Aaaaargh. Having flashback to my early 20’s, when I was so certain about everything in the universe. Youth is certainly wasted on the young… 😀

And I’m not trying to be mean, Jerone. Just been there, etc. Look around you and see what you can do for others, not yourself. Life is unbelievably short. Get up every day and try to bring some joy into the world. And play music for the joy of it, not with some agenda.

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xpost, Jon. Well said.

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People don’t understand that Jesus is God. He came to earth and sacrificed himself. God came in the Flesh and died for us. Also, He didn’t sacrifice all the children of the world, He destroyed the world with water. Everyone except for Noah and his family. And the world was VERY bad. Those two cities, Sodom and Gomorahh? He destroyed those cities, yes. But he didn’t do it to sacrifice children. He did it because EVERYONE practiced so much evil He couldn’t stand it. And when did God command bears to eat innocent children? Are you talking about those Demons that took on the image of human children? Because if so, those were Demons, not human children. And remember, Isaac wasn`t sacrificed. Abraham was provided a ram to sacrifice. Did you not read the whole story? Yes i know that unbelievers also know the bible, another reason why i study it, for when they come at me with false teachings that are outof context. But ok, i can stop. Back to the tunes.

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Okay, we’ve all had our last licks, let’s just walk away from this thread. Deal?

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Do that, that sort of ramblings are best kept within the confines of ones own head.

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I just love it when Fundamentalists begin arguing because, as it always turns out, it’s impossible to contest their ridiculous worldview.

Fiddlelearner, please stop proselytising here.

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Michele Sims— Thats some good advice. But i get more joy when someone gives glory to God for my music playing, than just playing tunes for myself. I get joy when people are saved from eternal death. Life is short, but that’s ok. I have another life live 🙂 And if there weren’t a God, there’s no harm in me living life like this. I wouldn’t be losing anything. It’s not like i’ll be dead and turning over in my grave saying "I missed out on so much". Because if we just come and go, all of the "fun" we have here is pointless cause one day it will all be forgotten. What a miserable existance it must be to think that everything will be forgotten. The greatest joy of all is knowing that i will be with our Father one day, and i want others to have that same joy.

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Jerone, if you want to carry on with the argument, keep baiting folks. You will get responses, probably some of them will be unpleasant, probably some people will be barred for it, possibly one of them will be you.

Let it be. Leave it. If anyone here wants saving, they now know where to go.

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Oh, so "Proselytizing"(wow what a word…) means to try to convert people. I’m not trying to convert you, i’m defending myself. It seems that the "proselytizing", is being done on the other side. Telling me things to try and make me stop believing. Calling me foolish for believing. I’m just doing what you’re doing but the other way around, really. But i guess it’s wrong when i do it. It’s ok, i’ve done my job. Maybe not well, but at least now you’ve heard. It’s ok, everyone can leave, noone is making you stay here, my OP has already been answered. If you want to learn more about Christ, email me, and i’ll get back to you.

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‘Telling me things to try and make me stop believing.’

If only it was that easy, but, maybe, you should consider the wiles of wine, women and hot-cha-cha!

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Hold on there, these gems wee written by you:

‘The reason i’m considering wheather or not i should play this music, is because i’m asking myself if i can give glory to God and bring people to Him by playing this music. ’

Proselytising is your goal when playing music, that’s what it says.

‘The Bible says that a man is a fool if he believes in his heart that there is no God, for the world and the heavens proclaim that there is most definetly [sic] a God. But im [sic] not calling you a fool. I’m just saying what The Word says.’

The cute-hoorish approach. ‘The book says it, that wasn’t me’. Oh yes it was. So who’s calling who a fool?

And there’s more where that came from . You know, whatever gets you through the night. It’s all fine. Just don’t make the assumption anyone else is interested.

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"They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Any More" - Kinky Friedmann.
[ OK - it’s a song ]

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"Proselytizing is your goal when playing music. That’s what it says." And have i played any music for you all? I haven’t even given my musical testimony, or how much God was involved… (I’ll be imature here, i was called a fool first. I know that calling people fools won’t help in converting them, so if i was trying why would i have done it?) I don’t assume anyone else is interested. This thread could’ve very well stopped at "Thanks for the insight." My reply to everyone else. But you know how these thread things work, you never know what the next poster may say.

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Proselytizing is a nicer way of saying "banging on about your own personal religious viewpoint for no apparent reason since anyone who cares, knows about it already and most of us have heard it already anyway and made up our minds so shut up already".

"I don’t assume anyone else is interested."

They’re not. So give it a rest.

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Jerone, you’re not the first one to do this and I suspect you won’t be the last one either.

You go on about pride an how you want to be rid of it. Consider how you come across when you start telling people what life is about and how God will make it all right. Grow up for a few more years, nurse a few loved ones on their death bed, w bury a few friends, wipe a few arses, feed, clothe and bring up a few children and see what life (yes, life) throws at you. i And then look back on what you’re saying here and why people respond to your posts on the subject the way they do. Humility is the key and right now, you show very little of it.

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Nobody called you a fool. I repeat: "IF you believe you shouldn’t be playing this music because it is not ‘godly’ you are a fool." I shouldn’t think for one moment that you would really consider this music ungodly. If I am mistaken in that belief, however, then I stand by what I said. And I would think the same of anybody who said as much.
While you’ve got your dictionary handy, look up ‘sanctimonious’,

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And how would i show humility here? You can’t hear my tone of voice when i say these. You can’t see the expression on my face. You probably think i’m running around my apartment hollering and screaming, that i’m all tensed up and aggrivated, trying to get my point across, when in reality i’m just laying in my bed, reading all of your words and considering how i could do better at expressing myself without everyone thinking that i think i know everything.

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No I don’t think that at all. I think you have a pretty limited view of the world and are trying to tell other people what’s what with life.

I have no problems whatsoever with anything anybody believes in in private. As I said, whatever gets you through the night. I do have a problem if people start banging on about their beliefs and how they want to bring other people to their god. As Jon said above, if any of us decide we’re in dire need of salvation we’ll knock on the appropriate doors, of any deity of our choice. In the meantime, it would be nice if the religious among us show the humility of realising that their answer to the big questions of life is one of many possible ones, equally as valid or invalid as any of the others.

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A vertical expression of horizontal intentions! Wow, isn’t that just life…. when in doubt, get horizontal!

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Just watched the Kinky link, and though its totally irrelevant, I want to give a shout out to Ratso. He’s a local boy who shows up occasionally for the bluegrass that follows the session here in Frederick. He hasn’t dropped by for the Irish yet though.

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Ahh, i see. Well i think all of us have the potential to have a limited view. I mean, this earthly life is limited, yes? I can’t see far past my own experiences. But, in combating my limited view, i look at the world around me, and the pictures of the some of the other parts of the universe, and i tell myself that i don’t know everything. There’s no way it’s even possible. This is with every human being on the planet. None of us know everything.

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And some of us know nothing.

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Hey Jerone,
Been reading this thread since you first posted knowing that it was headed for disaster. Sorry that it went there, but I suppose it was to be expected. I have been defending the urge to post along the way, and just feel like I need to share something that you might relate to. It is the blog of a friend of mine. We differ in our beliefs greatly because we are on total opposite sides of the fence. But one post she wrote awhile back that I have remembered. Even as a heathen I felt there were points I could agree on. Overall, I think, it comes down to faith. Analyze that concept for a bit and understand that faith isn’t something you can convert. And obviously it has nothing to do with tunes.

I included her link for you as you like scripture.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith"

http://mamaarcher.com/2009/12/14/ironic-huh/

Best of luck on your journey.

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Ciabatta na ho ro eile
Mo shoraidh slàn leat ‘s gach àit’ an tèid thu.

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After all this talk of demons, ‘killing flesh,’ and rationalizing children being torn apart by bears because they were the devil’s tools or some such crap, I must point out that not all of us who consider ourselves Christians have the same beliefs as some of what I have seen expressed here.
(And I always felt sorry for that General’s daughter who got sacrificed to God, and wondered, if God stepped in to stop Abraham’s sacrifice of Issac, why he didn’t intervene for the poor innocent young lady. Just another of those odd stories from the Bible that never seems to get read from the pulpit.)
Benjamin Franklin once said, "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." I think that statement works just as well when you substitute tunes for beer. Or better yet, include tunes and beer together, and thank the Lord for the good things in life.

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Pardon my jumping in, but here is a line of thought from my limited view of what is called Christianity today:

Perhaps spirituality involves accepting the possibility that we humans are not alone in the Universe/Multiverse, and then deciding what to do about it.

Perhaps, then, how far we choose to pursue that possibilty will dictate how we live our lives, and treat others.

And, it may be that professing a particular faith MIGHT imply adhering to that faith’s precepts and guidelines, at least the fundamental ones.

In that vein, I note that professing Christianity supposedly once meant trying to be "Christ-like".

Was Jesus Christ recorded in history as judgemental, or sharp-tongued, or arrogant, or, more importantly, a wimp about doing what he believed, first time every time? Did he always find a convenient loop-hole, a grey area, or an exception, to any rule that meant he had to practice what he preached?

I do not think so.
Neither did Buddha.
Neither did Ghandi.
Neither did a great many men and women of real ‘faith".

Let us then take a look at what is said and done by people calling themselves Christians.

When Christians (at least in the majority ) choose to stand up, without qualification or compromise, for what their oft-invoked Teacher taught and advocated,

Even when it is inconvenient or uncomfortable,

then they will might be "Christian".

Talk is really cheap nowadays.
Why not show what you believe in your actions?
Are you still a Christian when you disagree?
When you are angry?
When you are offended?

Christianity is not easy.
It takes some courage and discipline.
Maybe a little tolerance.

I, for one, am ALWAYS impressed by anyone who is
HONESTLY practicing Christianity.

Cheers, all.
Have a good day.

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Thanks for saying your piece, Piece. 😉

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Thanks Albrown and thanks Piece. Now THAT is what i call good stuff 🙂

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Anything by J.S. Bach (Cantata 147!). Lutherans nicknamed him "the 13th evangelist"!

Apparently they allow electric guitars and, I’m shocked to say, drums (!) in some abomination called "worship music" here in the states. Back in my day, some hippy kid strumming a 12-string and singing "Kumbaya" would be considered straddling the line of good taste at (Catholic) church. How times change.

"Contemporary Christian" is even worse. Mediocre music at best, combined with propagandistic, proto-fascist lyrics.

Humanity would be better served if every bible in the world served as kindling to burn down every church in the world to the ground, and everybody agreed to treat each other with compassion and respect.

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Oops. Fifth evangelist. Mamalujo!

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buskerjohn—you tell us that the bible’s should be burned, and that everyone should agree to treat each other with compassion and respect. The bible tells us to treat other with compassion and respect. Treating everyone with compassion and respect is one of Jesus Christs’ main messeges. He tells us to love each other. And his apostles took great note of it. One Apostle even said that if you don’t have love, you’re nothing. Unfortunately, a lot of Christians(and people in general) fail to recognize this. So True buskerjohn— The world would be a better place if everyone followed this bible teaching and showed respect and compassion for one another.

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"Great Hymns of the Faith" is a fairly good source for Christian music. It has most of traditional songs in it.

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Well, we can agree to disagree.

In any case, music.

The only time I voluntarily went to church in the last 40 years is to the Church of St. John Coltrane in San Francisco. Instead of Bach, Coltrane’s "A Love Supreme" suite was used for music. Three saxes going full bore. For 45 minutes. Straight. Not as entertainment, rather as an act of ecstatic religious devotion.

I mention this because I think many readers of this board feel the same way about ITM. For many, it’s as close to religion as a lotof us get.

Upon further reflection, I amend my previous suggestion. Burning is not ecologically sound. Bible pages would make excellent toilet paper, due to high cotton rag content.

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What a bunch of T W A T S most of you are. fiddlelearner is saying something kind of interesting in his fourth post and all you can do is bash him because he’s a Christian. I’d bet if he was telling you that his music was giving glory to Ja you’d all think he was fecking cool. What a bunch of dix. Hey buskerjohn wipe your ass wit your hand-you’ll be saving the fecking trees you hippie c u n t. It’s embarrassing for me to admit I’m an atheist when it lumps me in with dunces like you all.

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I’m puzzled. Buskerjohn writes:
"Back in my day, some hippy kid strumming a 12-string and singing "Kumbaya" would be considered straddling the line of good taste at (Catholic) church. How times change."

You mean that would now be considered GOOD taste????

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God, I HATE bigots!

Oops, sorry -

I meant to say,
"To hell with the intolerant!"

Sorry, I meant,
"Damn Those Who Judge Others!"

Oops again.

Sorry.
Kinda got caught up there.

Let’s make sense, people.

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Heavy rock - a tradition nearly as old in Western pop as the bodhran is in ITM!

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boh!!!! i envy people with such a faith , without doubts, with such definite rules. if there is a God, above us, may be He is so powerfull , onnipotent and infinite that, playing a tune rather than another one, doesnt make him much difference. As His level would be so high that we wouldnt be able to comprehend His logic. Religions, for me, are there as ways to bring down that logic to something understandable by men, by pretending to be at image of God and turn part of God into a man.

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Logic dictates there is no god. And of that, there is no doubt. Do you also envy the atheists’ lack of doubt?

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yes . i do. to be certain about something so far from my capability to understand is such an impossible task from our small and limited view. Using a musical analogy (isn’t this site about music?)…. if there were a God and he were playing a wonderful concert with his guitar, human kind would fit in the scene , perhaps, as the strings of that guitar, feeling just the pain of the pectrum hitting them, but unable to listen, comprehend and enjoy that celestial melody.

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having said that, i envy more the faithful ones. at least they can have the hope of immortality, and that, i suppose, can lessen their life in this world. but… unfortunately.. i’m not among them

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"Logic dictates there is no god. And of that, there is no doubt." - a bold claim indeed, Michael!

Not one I agree with, and nor does J.C. Lennox, whose excellent book "God and Stephen Hawking" I’ve just read. - well worth a browse.

(Lennox is Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford and Fellow in Mathematics and Philosophy of Science at Green Templeton College of Oxford University).

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It never ceases to amaze me the extent to which otherwise highly intelligent people hold on to the god delusion.

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Oh God! I’m find myself agreeing with Mr Gill more & more as the years move on.

Krishna was plainly a flautist and doesn’t the Bible say Jesus played the pipes (John’s Epistle to the Donegalians 5: 27). What would the other religious founders play? I bet Moses was a spoons player…

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Strictly speaking, for most statements of the god hypothesis, logic dictates that the god hypothesis is unfalsifiable. That is, if the hypothesis is that there is a sentient "being" which is regarded as (a) the creator of all that is and (b) a suitable target for prayer, and that is the extent of the hypothesis (aside from some ornamentation, such as what name that being prefers to be called by and which book it reads on its days off), then there is no observable physical fact about the universe which can be claimed to contradict the hypothesis. For any fact which we point to, the supporter of the hypothesis can say "yes, god made it that way".

What this means is that any such statement of the God hypothesis is meaningless and has no explanatory value, and cannot be strengthened or confirmed by observation of the world. There is no sense in trying to convince anyone else of this claim, since it is devoid of any content.

So logic dictates that there is no sense in believing in a god - since the hypothesis explains nothing, is not required by any observable phenomena, and requires postulates which are not included in any description of the physical world today. This is slightly different from Llig’s statement, but the difference is important.

Stronger claims - for example, claims of a god interfering in the material world - are of course falsifiable and are regularly falsified, so I would agree that "logic dictates that there is no god participating in the material world" - such a proposal would require some mechanism for divine involvement with the world, which is consistent with observed phenomena. Such a mechanism has not been forthcoming.

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There is a long way between "claims of a god interfering in the material world … … are regularly falsified" and "logic dictates that there is no god participating in the material world". That there are things "not yet explained by science" does not support a god hypothesis but nor does it do much for logic dictating lack of participation.

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The trouble is not that there are things "unexplained by science" - this will always be so, because we can always ask "why", and it takes longer to answer the question than to ask it. Mysteries will persist.

The trouble for the logical possibility of a god materially affecting the world is that it directly contradicts our understanding of the world as it is. This understanding of the world is well tested and robust, and the god hypothesis simply doesn’t fit into it.

Logically, if there is a well tested and robust system of explanations which has proved productive of new insights, you would not scrap it without good evidence. There is no evidence, therefore, logically, the hypothesis that god participates in the material world must be placed aside pending convincing evidence.

The evidence would have to be quite convincing, if you’re proposing we do away with things like conservation of mass, conservation of angular momentum, and so forth. Go for it.

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I said *not yet* explained by science on purpose, but I suppose that rests on the meaning of "explained". I would rather regard science as being about "How" not "Why". Hypotheses about "why" are tricky but certainty about it does more damage.

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Of course, I mean "why" as in explanation, not as in purpose. If you ask "Why is the sky blue?", an answer that refers to the way light is refracted as it passes through water vapor in the air would be an explanation. "Because God thought it would be a nice color" would be a purpose.

We can have certainty about explanations to the extent that we have certainty about the hypotheses underlying them. This certainty does no harm because it is corrigible: if it is wrong, that will be revealed precisely by the habit of relying on it, as a railing reveals its weakness best when you lean on it often and firmly.
Certainty about teleological explanations is harmful, because it is not corrigible. If I say that "God made the sky blue for his own reasons", then any real explanation is absorbed in my non-explanation. There is nothing about Newton that makes it impossible for me to say "Yes, and God made optics work out that way so the sky would be blue". This is why the God hypothesis is superfluous, and harmful. Superfluous because it does not participate in any other explanation. Harmful because it does not lead one to seek further explanation, and therefore creates stasis rather than enquiry.

Re: Christian Tunes?

"Logic dictates there is no god. And of that, there is no doubt."?

I’m sitting here looking at my PC, and I’m thinking about the histroy of computers. From ENIAC, the first electronic computer, computers have evolved. They have become better at what they do and they have diversified into PCs and laptops and microcontrollers and super-computers - each adapted to fulfil a specific role. And if a new machine is better suited to a particular application it displaces its competitors. In short, the development of the computer exactly fits all the rules of evolution by natural selection.

But every modification and improvement has been brought about by a designer. In the case of the computer, evolution by natural selection is undeniable, and involvement of designers is undeniable. So LOGIC dictates that in the case of life the situation is likely to be the same - that the evolution is driven by design. Yet people frequently cite evolution as proof that no designers are required. Where is the logic in that?

The reality is that, no matter how much we observe and measure our surroundings, we can only ever discover what exists, not what causes it to exist. Just as measuring the effects of gravity tells you absolutely nothing about what causes masses to attract each other. So if you want to know whether God exists or not, all you can do is guess.

And the really important thing to realise about that is that whether you believe that the universe was made by God, a quirk of fate or the Spaghetti Monster, your guess is no more likely to be right than anyone elses, so other people’s views on the matter need to be treated with the same respect as your own.

Re: Christian Tunes?

"But every modification and improvement has been brought about by a designer. In the case of the computer, evolution by natural selection is undeniable, and involvement of designers is undeniable. So LOGIC dictates that in the case of life the situation is likely to be the same - that the evolution is driven by design"

Absolutely incorrect. Your logic shows that you haven’t thought very seriously about evolution - no great sin, but you don’t understand the concept. I would suggest Dawkins’ work, he’s a great writer for popular audiences, and The Selfish Gene and the Blind Watchmaker are both excellent. Also, Dennett’s "Darwin’s Dangerous Idea" is quite interesting, linking evolution to his concepts of the mind.

Now, for your error: We speak of the "evolution" of species, or of computers, meaning, roughly, its change by variation and selection. In both cases the important feature is inheritance with variation, which produces more offspring than can survive to reproduce: some will reproduce more successfully than others, and those will dominate.
In the case of computers, the source of variation is a designer, who takes a previous model and changes some things (consciously, in this case). The selecting force is (to simplify) the consumer. Market forces, broadly speaking, but let’s say the consumer, who picks the most pleasing model which comes to their attention. Aggregated, the consumer’s choices guide the designer’s choices as to what models to modify and which features to keep.
This is evolution, in a sense.

Evolution by natural selection, however, works much more simply. Organisms reproduce, and in doing so they make imperfect copies of themselves. The source of variation is the Mendelian blending of genes, combined with occasional mutation. Of those copies, some will be more fit than others, defined by their ability to make more copies of themselves which survive. The ones which do this the best will leave to their offspring one gift: a chance to play in the same lottery.
The mechanism of selection, then, is the environment in which the organism finds itself, and the preferences of those it wishes to mate with.
No designer is required, nor any chooser. All that is required is an environment in which not all examplars of a species survive to reproduce themselves.

So there is the logic in that.

In fact, there is no room for a designer in this model.
To attempt to insert a designer into biological evolution is simply wrong. It is not "as likely to be right as anyone else’s", it is wrong, in the sense that it fails to explain, it fails to describe, and it fails to predict. It doesn’t do what a model is for. As a theory of life, it is useless, deserving no more respect than a theory of economics which requires a central planner or a theory of physics which requires many, many invisible gnomes holding everything down so it doesn’t float away.

Re: Christian Tunes?

No, you’ve failed to see it Jon. The evolution of the computer (or the motor car) is EXACTLY the same process as evolution of species. All the same processes take place. A manufacturere brings out a new model, and IF it’s superior to its predecessors it survives in the market place. You should be able to see that in your explanation above the only difference between the PC and your explanation of natural selection is the feedback from market place to designer. How do you know that does not take place in the natural scenario? The only reason you suppose it doesn’t is that you suppose there is no designer. If Dawkins is your only reference (shudder) look at his stuff about memes and the evolution of society. That includes feedback - social leaders see what works and improve upon it. But despite that feedback loop even Dawkins still accepts that this is evolution.

>>"No designer is required, nor any chooser. All that is required is an environment in which not all examplars of a species survive to reproduce themselves"

OK, I accept that as a possible explanation, but let’s transfer that to our computer factory. What you are actually suggesting is that we start off making calculators, but with a production line that makes random mistakes. We put the whole output out to market, and if the ‘faulty’ goods sell better than the originals, we adjust the line to make that ‘mistake’ every time. If we leave it long enough, let the system make enough mistakes, eventually we’ll land up making laptops?

Certainly it is theoretically possible. But if you ask me how computers evolved, I’d say it was much more likely that a designer was involved.

And so it is with the evolution of life. Random mutation and selection is certainly a possibility, but it is by no means a certainty. If you accept that design is a possibility, then design becomes much more likely than unguided mutation.

Re: Christian Tunes?

Dawkins is certainly not the only reference, he’s just a good one. He understands the material as well as anyone alive, and he explains it well for a popular audience. He wrote, for example, the standard text responding to the argument you’ve just made, a book called The Blind Watchmaker. If you want to really understand where you’re missing the point, that’s the book for you to read. If you don’t care, that’s fine.
But at present, you clearly don’t understand evolution, and you need to do a lot of reading before you do.

"How do you know that does not take place in the natural scenario? The only reason you suppose it doesn’t is that you suppose there is no designer."

No, the reason I suppose that is because there is no place for a designer in biology.

Which part do you not believe in?

Do you believe that genes encode traits? Yes, or no?
Do you believe that these genes, and hence these traits, are inherited? Yes, or no?
Do you believe that these genes, and hence these traits, are sometimes passed on imperfectly? Yes, or no?

Okay, so far, we’ve said basically that children resemble, but are not identical to, their parents. I think that’s not very controversial.

Now, of the offspring produced by a particular organism, some will reproduce more than others - still, not controversial. Those that reproduce more will pass on the genes they inherited, plus the very minor changes made in transmission, to their offspring, and this process will repeat.

Now, the selection happens quite simply: any changes which occur in transmission are either beneficial, or deleterious, or neutral with regard to that organism’s fecudity. Those changes are (we’ve esptablished) heritable - therefore, they will be inherited in proportion as they make the organism more prolific.

"If you accept that design is a possibility, then design becomes much more likely than unguided mutation"

But design is not a possibility. Sorry, but you’re completely off your turf here. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

Re: Christian Tunes?

Does anyone find that most prayers are in 3/4 time ?

I first noticed this many years ago in Christian Doctrine classes at school, four lads at the back of the class had to run through the decades of the rosary, I was near the back providing them moral support in a conducting type roll, with my shadow baton , 1 2 3 1 2 3 ….. I got to see the head master about that one, at my next confession, I got a bumper 15 hail marys….

In general the thing I used to love about confession was the bag of bullsh*t I used to make up to tell the priest, and my parents wondering why I got so much penance afterwards.

Re: Christian Tunes?

Dawkins isn’t a good reference at all. He is neither scientist nor phylosopher - he doesn’t posess the open mind required to be either. Reading Dawkins on theology is like reading what the tobacco companies have to say about lung cancer.

>>"Which part do you not believe in?"

I don’t not believe any of it. Evolution without design provides a rational explanation of how life MAY have evolved without design.

BUTwhat I cannot accept is the totally irrational supposition that because it COULD happen without design that means design cannot be involved. What I am trying to point out is that evolution only supports a designless universe if you make the a priori assumption that there is no designer. If you accept the possibility of design, then design driven evolution becomes jst as likely as non-driven.

>>"But design is not a possibility. Sorry, but you’re completely off your turf here. You don’t know what you’re talking about."

Why is design not a possibility? Unless you have some proof that there is no designer? Everything we see in evolution is explained equally well by both the design and non-design theories, so it provides no proof either way.

Just for the record, I am an atheist. I personally don’t believe in a God. But I also come from a scientific background, and have been taught to keep an open mind. So where there are vast tracts of the bible that are demonstrably wrong, and where people believe those falsehoods, I’m quite happy to poo-poo them. But that still leaves certain areas - like the existence of God and his possible influence - where there is absolutely no evidence either way. And in those areas I am quite happy to keep an open mind. I have my view of how things are, but people with other views are just as likely to be right as I am. Therefore I have to respect their views.

Re: Christian Tunes?

Wow, major metaphysical musings here!
My own opinion is that God created an evolving cosmos. And even though the Almighty doesn’t intervene in the physical world (or if He does, it is a rare event), He intervenes in my heart. I can’t prove to you He does, but you can’t prove to me He doesn’t. The only proof I can offer of what I feel is by trying to live a good life, and being kind to others.
And I think the Bible is a record of man attempting to describe the undescribable, and shows how the views of the Almighty have changed over time. I think that there is a lot of truth in the Bible, but you have to do some mental backflips to explain how every single thing in it is literally true.
A fundamentalist would probably say I am not a good Christian at all, too open to alternative viewpoints. But I would argue that a closed mind is an afront to the faith, and gives us all a bad name.

Re: Christian Tunes?

I’m afraid this is hopeless. You clearly haven’t got the faintest clue of what you’re arguing against - if you think Dawkins "isn’t a scientist" then your understanding of biology is stuck somewhere back in the sixties - from your use of Paley’s argument, I’d say the 1860s. You should probably do some reading on the subject.
If you don’t like Dawkins, read anyone you like. Or better yet, go down to your nearest local college and ask a professor of biology whether there’s room for a designer in contemporary biology. While you’re there, stop in the physics department and ask them if there’s any need for a higher power to push the planets around in their tracks or to separate the colors when light passes through a prism. It’s the same question.

If nothing else, Occam’s Razor should convince you. If "Everything we see in evolution is explained equally well by both the design and non-design theories", then you assume the simpler theory. If you’re still confused, the simpler theory would be the one that doesn’t require a spurious and unexplained "designer" interceding by unexplained means.

Re: Christian Tunes?

Dang i thought this thread was DEAD… Guess not.
All i know is, the things that have happened in my life, scream "by no consequence, but by God."
I see technology and think "Creation."
I see nature and think, "Creation."

You’re telling me, that this complicated place just popped up outof nowhere?

They call us arrogant, when they are the ones arguing against over 6,000 years of world history.

How can the scientist say that the world has existed for 15 billion years, when noone was there to prove it?

What makes us think that this earth is the only place inhabited?

What makes us think that this is the only dimension? That we are the only ones, that we are the creators, that we are the masters?

Our brains, our thoughts, or feelings, physical and emotional, our bodies, muscles, bones, memories!
The brains eye?! Dreams?!

Do we honestly think that this was not created but happened?
How many of us have met at least one person that has changed our lives?

How many of us have hopes, fears, and wishes for the future?

How many of us have learned SO MUCH, have become so arrogant in our own knowledge, have become so wrapped up in our own brain that we tell the lie to the world that there is no God.

All of these arguments, expressing the things we’ve "learned" from Logic and Science. Our past experiences. Our own little life, that isn’t even the size of an Atom, on the eternal timeline.

My Grandmother thought me something years ago, that i just remembered.
She said that people who didn’t have the Holy Spirit, did not, and could not know that there was a God.

But for the Holy Spirit to come we need to humble ourselves.
Let’s not be arrogant in our own knowledge. This thing i have is faith.

Yes God has proved very much that he existed.

When a disease that is incurable, is cured, what then? Do we say "It just happened" or admit that we don’t know?

When someone falls 10 stories, is hit by a car going 50 miles an hour, is burned, trapped, starving, dopped up on drugs that should’ve killed them 15 doses ago, and still alive, then what? Do we still say "We don’t believe?"

I’ll leave with this. I use to ask myself if there was even a God. He showed Himself to me. I’ve heard too many testimonies of things that people have been through, to say "It just happened."

Re: Christian Tunes?

Jon, I have no need to visit the local college to talk to biologists - my father was a world renowned neuro-physiologist, my mother a plant pysiologist. Both regard Dawkins as an embarassment. I myself am a consultant engineer to UKAEA, and have built toys for some well respected particle physicists.

But your last post shows exactly what science is up against. You fall into the group that I call ‘science worshippers’ - you are prepared to put blind faith in science, in exactly the same way that theists put blind faith in God.

Yes, I’ve used a version of Paley’s argument, and yse, it’s and old one. But theoriest don’t have a sell-by date. They don’t become invalid just because they are old, they only become invalid if they can be disproved, which that one can’t.

Of course we don’t NEED a higher power to push the planets about. But does that really mean we can say for certain that there isn’t one?

That brings us neatly to that awful phrase ‘God is unnecessary" (You’ll notice that even Hawking, a devout atheist, stops short of saying ‘God is non-existant’, because he is a scientist). If you read through the arguments that lead to that statement you will realise that it should be re-stated as ‘God is unnecessary TO SCIENCE’. What is being said is that we can explain the workings of the universe, everything we see, without recourse to ‘God did it’. That is very, very different to saying ‘God didn’t do it’.

If we leave creation for a moment and look at the simpler case of intervention, there is no denying that Jesus (or maybe the gospel writers) have had a massive influence on the behaviour of individuals and societies over the last 2,000 years. Is that evidence of intervention by God? If Jesus was sent by God, then yes, it is. But if the bible is fiction, then no it’s not. The question of whether there is evidence of intervention comes down to a question of whether Jesus was the son of God or not. Unanswerable. So we apply Occam’s razor (but we apply it correctly, in your post above you’ve stated it correctly, but then assigned it far more power than it actually wields).

Where there are two conflicting hypotheses, we ASSUME the simpler one to be correct.

So being logical people, we ASSUME that it is fiction. But the is very, very different to saying it IS fiction. The possibility that Jesus was the son of God still remains, and if other people choose to believe that, they have as much chance of being right as we have.

And the same principles apply to the creation argument - we know that whether God created the universe or not, it would look exactly the same, so we apply Occam’s razor and ASSUME that it is a Godless universe. We know that everything we see can be explained without recourse to ‘God did it’ - God is unnecessary to our explanation. But that doesn’t make our explanation fact - it is still based entirely on an assumption. And if others choose to build an equally valid model based on a different assumption, their model is just as likely to be right as ours.

Re: Christian Tunes?

It’s useless arguing atheism with theists, always will be.

However, the one thing that the theists cannot deny is that ever since man first walked the earth (either having evolved from an earlier ape or being magically created and placed in his garden of eden, it’s irrelevant which) some enquiring minds have sort to explain how things work by simply observing things. And some other minds were/are accepting of being told how things work.

And throughout the time that we’ve been here, those with accepting minds have had to modify their theories in the face of overwhelming evidence that they are plain wrong. Copernicus, Darwin, etc, the list goes on and will continue to go on.

The difference between these two types of mind are clear, those with enquiring minds rejoice when theories are refined and supplanted, while those who would rather be told an unerring truth either weep when their truth crashes around their ears or simply refuse to believe.

And theists break into ever more fighting factions as some accept some modicum of plain truth while others continue with their particular brands of denial.

Posted .

Re: Christian Tunes?

You’re a "consultant engineer to UKAEA" skreech?

There’s these shelves I need to put up and …



[and I’ll bet you’ve never heard in your entire life before, it’s so original, huh? 😀]

Posted by .

Re: Christian Tunes?

"It’s useless arguing atheism with theists, always will be."

Agreed. And I really should step off this particular merry-go-round, but I’ll have one more try.

"We know that everything we see can be explained without recourse to ‘God did it’ - God is unnecessary to our explanation. But that doesn’t make our explanation fact - it is still based entirely on an assumption."

You’re arguing from the post-modern fallacy, which is another piece of pseudo-logic saying, in a nutshell that "since science is not 100% certain, it can be treated as 100% false if we choose.

" And if others choose to build an equally valid model based on a different assumption, their model is just as likely to be right as ours."

And there’s the end result of that fallacy. By this logic, you have no right to tell a 9/11 conspiracy nutjob that he’s insane - but he’s insane, and you know it. By this logic, if you’re told that man never walked on the moon, because the earth is flat, you’d have to smile and nod and say "yes, you’re just as right as anyone else". By this logic, nothing can be considered true, there are no explanations, and we live in a world of shadows and phantoms.

For you, apparently, science is just another fantasy, and quantum physics is no more true than Baba Yaga. But one of those pretty stories, and only one of them, led to the computers you’re using to conduct this argument.

Here’s a challenge for you: if the God hypothesis and actual biology are "equally likely to be right", then you should have no problem referring half of your future medical concerns, determined by a coin flip, to intercessory prayer alone. If this idea is distasteful to you, then you yourself don’t believe what you’re saying.

I don’t think you’ll take up this regimen. And while there are plenty of other arguments I could use, and there are plenty of misconceptions to correct, I don’t think there’s anything further to be said here.
I look forward to more productive discussions about music and instruments. I think I’m done with this one. Good luck.

Re: Christian Tunes?

You’ve hit the nail on the head Michael. It’s not about atheism and theism, it is about open and closed minds. As I said earlier, I am an atheist, I don’t believe in God. And when I get involved in these debates, I’m not speaking in defence of a God I don’t believe in, I’m speaking in defence of science. Anyone who says with certainty ‘There is no God’ is being as closed minded and unscientific as the Creationists. And when they try to cite science as supporting their claim it really gets my back up. No one has every been able to identify any area where a God-built universe would look any different to a no God universe. Therefore, no matter how much we observe, how detailed our knowledge of how the universe works becomes, that knowledge can never tell us whether there is a God or not. Both possibilities exist, so the only truthful answer a scientist can give when faced with the question ‘Does God exist?’ is ‘I don’t know’. It doesn’t matter what you believe, or how strongly you believe it, that is the only truthful answer.

Re: Christian Tunes?

>>"Here’s a challenge for you: if the God hypothesis and actual biology are "equally likely to be right", then you should have no problem referring half of your future medical concerns, determined by a coin flip, to intercessory prayer alone. If this idea is distasteful to you, then you yourself don’t believe what you’re saying"

You obviously haven’t worked out the difference between God and religion yet. If a God does exist, and is running the world according to some great plan, what on earth makes you think he would change that plan if you ask him to in a prayer.

Now I’ll leave you with a challenge. The question that Dawkins has consistently failed to answer:

We now have a very detailed knowledge of how evolution works, and you have cited that knowledge as evidence that there is no God. Therefore, can you explain what aspects of the process would be different if a God was involved?

Re: Christian Tunes?

>>"There’s these shelves I need to put up and …"

It’s not all that far from the truth. What actually happens is that they try to put the shelf up themselves, then employ people like me to design machines to retrieve all the screws, hammers and sandwiches that they’ve dropped into the reactor core while they were doing it. 🙂

Re: Christian Tunes?

skreech, You can’t say you are an atheist if your answer to the question, "Does god exist?" is "I don’t know".

And Dawkins did answer that challenge. He said it’s like when a creationist puts the argument that just because no human remains have been found in a strata older than those where dinosaur fossils are found doesn’t mean than none will be found in the future. The answer, of course, is, "do you want a bet?"

Scientific theories are seldom based on absolute mathematically solvable equations, beautiful as the ones that are are. The whole theory of quantum mechanics, for example, is based on probability theory, and attempts to solve its observable reality with the standard applied mathematics of other branches of physics has so far failed.

Science is based on wealth of evidence.

And the theist’s response to this wealth of evidence is either to deny it, or to change the goal-posts. From a flat earth centric universe to what appears to be about as far as they can get, with their latest "just lighting the touch paper and watching it unfurl". All the weight of evidence over thousands of years has been proving the theists hypotheses wrong.

"Just lighting the touch paper and watching it unfurl" is merely the latest theist goal post shifting to the overwhelming evidence of a lack of intelligent design.

Posted .

Re: Christian Tunes?

It doesn’t matter whether you believe in God or not. Your hyopthesis is that "if others choose to build an equally valid model based on a different assumption, their model is just as likely to be right as ours."

If that is the case, then intercessory prayer (an "equally valid model", you’re claiming) should work just as well as proper medical care from an actual doctor. So, if you believe what you’ve said, you should be happy to address your next serious medical concern with prayer, and without medical assistance from an actual doctor. It is "just as likely" to work, after all, and it doesn’t involve making an appointment or sitting in a waiting room - you can treat yourself from the comfort of your home.

If you’re not willing to use prayer to address your medical concerns, then that tells us that you don’t actually believe what you’re saying, and you believe something else. I think, in fact, that you don’t believe what you’ve said, and when you’re actually faced with a real case where it matters, you will act as though I am right, that there is a big difference between science and superstition.

"Anyone who says with certainty ‘There is no God’ is being as closed minded and unscientific as the Creationists."
Okay, if you want to retreat to a pure existence question, you’ll find I’ve already covered that: "What this means is that any such statement of the God hypothesis is meaningless and has no explanatory value, and cannot be strengthened or confirmed by observation of the world"
So you’re welcome to weaken your claim and agree with me on that point if you like.

Re: Christian Tunes?

>>"It doesn’t matter whether you believe in God or not. Your hyopthesis is that "if others choose to build an equally valid model based on a different assumption, their model is just as likely to be right as ours."
>>
>>If that is the case, then intercessory prayer (an "equally valid model", you’re claiming) should work just as well as proper medical care from an actual doctor.

You’re arguing against Christianity, not in favour of a Godless universe. It’s the open and closed minds thing that Micheal mentioned. You’re regurgitating stuff you read in a book, without thinking for yourself. That argument might work if you were trying to convice a Christian that they were being silly, but it is completely spurious in this discussion, because I am not a Christian. As I said earlier, I find it absurd to think that if there was a God he would change his plans just because you ask him to. If you want to win this arguement you need to show me that you have good reason to say that you know (as opposed to just believe) that there is no God.

>>Okay, if you want to retreat to a pure existence question, you’ll find I’ve already covered that: "What this means is that any such statement of the God hypothesis is meaningless and has no explanatory value, and cannot be strengthened or confirmed by observation of the world"

No, I’m not retreating anywhere, just trying to keep things simple. If you want to keep determinism in the equation, that’s fine by me. If you want to claim to ‘know’ that God isn’t guiding the world, you’ll have to provide some proof that Jesus wasn’t the Son of God. Without that proof all you have is belief, not knowledge.

>> Okay, if you want to retreat to a pure existence question, you’ll find I’ve already covered that: "What this means is that any such statement of the God hypothesis is meaningless and has no explanatory value, and cannot be strengthened or confirmed by observation of the world"
So you’re welcome to weaken your claim and agree with me on that point if you like.

No, I’m not weakening my stand, and I’m not agreeing with you. You are able to see that science cannot give evidence of God’s existence, but you are failing to grasp that in cannot give evidence of his non-existence either.

Re: Christian Tunes?

You’re arguing against Christianity, not in favour of a Godless universe."

I’m arguing against your claim that anything anyone ever said is "just as likely to be true" as anything else anyone ever said. If you believe that claim, it doesn’t matter whether you believe in God or not. The odds of his existing and offering relief from earthly woes to those who pray to him are just as good as those that he does not exist and offer such relief, and just as good as the odds that a doctor can help you when you’re sick. (By the way, you should add statistics to the areas of your reparable ignorance: that claim doesn’t actually make any sense) If you actually believe what you say, then you can pick any hoodoo that you like, and act as though it’s true.
If you show a preference for doctors over witch doctors, that’s evidence that you don’t actually believe what you say.

"You’re regurgitating stuff you read in a book, without thinking for yourself. "

Which book, pray tell, did I read this in? And how does it happen that your arguments just happen to be the ones that this imaginary book of yours responds to?

"No, I’m not weakening my stand, and I’m not agreeing with you."

Then you think that a pure existence claim is subject to material evaluation? What would you suggest as a means to test the hypothesis?

"If you want to claim to ‘know’ that God isn’t guiding the world, you’ll have to provide some proof that Jesus wasn’t the Son of God. Without that proof all you have is belief, not knowledge."

I thought you came "from a scientific background"? If that were so, you’d know that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The claim of an intercessory god requires supporting evidence. There is no basis for believing the claim that Jesus was anything but an ordinary man, therefore there is no reason to believe the extraordinary claim. To assert that it is so is to assert that which you have no basis for. To assert that it is "just as likely" as any other view of the world is to fall into a well-known fallacy in statistics, which is the belief that all unknowns are equally likely to be true*. This fallacy underlies all of the errors you’re making, repeatedly, in this argument, and it’s responsible for the contradictions you’re uttering.
For example, you claim that all hypotheses, ever, are equally true, and then in the same conversation you claim that you don’t believe in some of them. On what basis do you believe that God doesn’t listen to your prayers and take them into account. How can you prove that he doesn’t?

*I suspect that it’s related to the Monty Hall fallacy, mathematically, but I’d have to do a bit of pencil work to verify that. I also think the fallacy has a name, but I don’t know what it is off the top of my head.

Re: Christian Tunes?

>>skreech, You can’t say you are an atheist if your answer to the question, "Does god exist?" is "I don’t know".

Yes I can. (And so can Steven Hawking, and a great many others).

If the question had been "Do you BELIEVE God exists?" then the answer would be an emphatic no, and that is all atheism is, a belief in no God.

But I can’t claim to know that he doesn’t exist, because I have no evidence, and there remains a real possibility that he could exist.

That’s actually all I am arguing - not that God exists, but that however strong your feeling is that he doesn’t, that is only your belief, not knowledge. and as such it is no more or less valid than anyone elses conflicting belief.

Re: Christian Tunes?

>>"Which book, pray tell, did I read this in? And how does it happen that your arguments just happen to be the ones that this imaginary book of yours responds to?"

Well if you’re not just regurgitating the stock answers, then your certainly not reading what I’m saying. At no point have I ever said that prayer works. There is absolutely no reason to think that even the most interventionist God would answer prayers, and yet twice (three times now) you have said that I need to prove that prayer works to prove my point.

>>"I thought you came "from a scientific background"? If that were so, you’d know that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The claim of an intercessory god requires supporting evidence. There is no basis for believing the claim that Jesus was anything but an ordinary man, therefore there is no reason to believe the extraordinary claim.

Whoa there! I’ve already shown you the ‘extraordinary evidence’ - the guy changed the way individuals and societies behave for a period of 2,000 years. David Ike couldn’t do that. In fact the only other people that come close are other proclaimed prophets. So these prophets, with their ability to steer the course of mankind clearly have some sort of extraordinary gift. How can you be sure it’s not God-given.

Monty hall doesn’t come into it. The reason you can’t see why the probability should be balanced is that you have started with the a priori assumption that God does not exist, and you want to test the God theory against that assumption. Because there is no evidence for God you think your assumption wins. But scientific method dictates that we test two opposing hypotheses, not an hypothesis against an assumption. The universe exists, so either God made it, or something else caused it to exist. Now we have two opposing theories, and not a shred of evidence to support either. The balance is level, and the only way to tip it is to add evidence on one side or the other. If there is no evidence either way, neither side wins.

There are situations where we appear to test a hypothesis against an assumption - where the assumption takes the form of current wisdom. If everyone believes that the world is flat, and you come along with a new theory that it is round. If you can’t provide any evidence to support your idea, then we’ll just stick with the old one. I think this is the test that you are trying to apply. Certainly it is the one Dawkins uses. But there is a big, big problem: Christianity has been about a lot longer than big bang theory. So current wisdom (the assumption) is that ‘God made it’. You are going to have to test your hypothesis (that something else caused it) against that assumption, and if you can’t provide any evidence to support your claim, ‘God made it’ wins.

Frankly I think you’d be far better off sticking to opposing hypotheses, and accepting that both are equally likely until evidence can be found to support one or the other.

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“…both are equally likely until evidence can be found to support one or the other.”

Skreech, wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that both probabilities are indeterminate, rather than equal?

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skreech, why do you believe god doesn’t exist?

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>>"Skreech, wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that both probabilities are indeterminate, rather than equal?"

Yes, it would. But given that they are both indeterminant, it is normal and logical to work from the assumption that both are equal, not that one is likely and the other is not. where there is no evidence to suggest that that is the case. It’s also important to note that we are only talking about subjective probabilities - how we perceive the likelihood of one or other being true. The objective probabilities are fixed at 1 and 0, because one hypothesis is certaiin to certain to be true and the other false.

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>>"skreech, why do you believe god doesn’t exist?"

Gut instinct. Nothing more.

Enough is enough…

In the words of Steve Shaw:
PLEEEEASE JEREMY!

You should all be getting emails from Mr Jeremy saying, ‘Please keep your discussions to the subject of Trad Irish music’.

NB: I’m not trying the stir it up…

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…. when the cat’s away …

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Jon & Mr Gill = atheists.

Skreech = agnostic atheist.

Proof of existence of both these types.

Oidhche mhath / Oíche mhaith.

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"At no point have I ever said that prayer works"

" And if others choose to build an equally valid model based on a different assumption, their model is just as likely to be right as ours."

One of those models is one in which prayer works. It’s just as likely to be correct as any other. Ergo, you have said that prayer is equally as likely to be effective (its claims are equally likely to be correct) as modern medicine. If you are not as willing to believe in prayer (or witch doctors, or Galenic bodliy humors) as you are in modern allopathic medicine, then you do not believe the core point of your argument.

Which is it?

I am reading what you say very carefully, and repeating it back at you. If it doesn’t make sense to you, stop saying it.

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I am a dyslexic agnostic, and stay up all night sometimes wondering if there is a dog…

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There is. His name is Tally, and he’s a very good dog. Get some rest. 🙂

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Thanks for clearing that up. Nighty night!

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Wow Have i broken a record yet?!

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Oh I think you break a record every day Jerone. 🙂

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There’s always the danger of starting to sound like one though..

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>>"One of those models is one in which prayer works. It’s just as likely to be correct as any other. Ergo, you have said that prayer is equally as likely to be effective (its claims are equally likely to be correct) as modern medicine. If you are not as willing to believe in prayer (or witch doctors, or Galenic bodliy humors) as you are in modern allopathic medicine, then you do not believe the core point of your argument."

Ah, so if God doesn’t answer prayers he can’t exist? I see.

As to other people believing in prayer, if someone tells me their prayers get answered every time, I can disprove that very easily and tell them that they are wrong.

But if someone says that God sometimes answers their prayers, I can’t argue with that - ‘God is unnessessary’ and a godless universe looks identical to a God driven one, so if someones prayer comes true you have no way of telling if that is the work of God or just coincidence.

But your question is very loaded - you are asking if I would give up a proven cure in favour of prayer . In other words, you are actually asking if I think prayer is infallable, which is very different to asking if I think it might possibly work in some circumstances.

I personally wouldn’t bother praying, because I don’t believe it works. But I couldn’t advise someone else not to pray if they believe it does work, because I have no proof that it doesn’t. On the other side of the coin, if someone wants to give up a drug, I can advise them not to, because I can show them proof that it works.

Now do you see how stupid the question was?

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The fact that I did not die as a child was due to the scientific method.
Not some (G)god(s).

If you want some christian tunes then Biber’s Rosary Sonatas might suit you better than this music,fiddlelearner.

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Drugs go through rigourous double blind tests before being granted a licence. It would be fun to try that with prayer. Get 1,000 people with cancer, 500 atheists with chemotherapy and 500 praying theists with no treatment and chart how long they last. The results would be predictable, of course, with those few lucky theists that outlived those few unlucky atheists claiming that prayer worked for them.

"so if someone’s prayer comes true you have no way of telling if that is the work of God or just coincidence"

The whole point of this double blind test is to prove, by weight of statistics, that if someone’s prayer does come true that is just coincidence and not the work of God. But theists don’t believe in proof.

When I was an indoctrinated kid, one of the spoutings that really got me thinking about the validity of the whole nonsense was that old chestnut: "god moves in mysterious ways".

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However,

My oncologist did advise me to have a positive attitude. I quizzed him about this and he pointed me to a number of detailed studies with enormous amounts of data from many countries. The statistics clearly show that having a "positive attitude" increased survival ratings. (Respondents were asked a number of detailed questions about their life style, state of mind, etc.)

I said that that sounded unscientific but he replied, "On the contrary, the majority of cancer care is based on statistical evidence in many ways. For example, all chemotherapy treatments (cocktails of various drugs administered in various ways with varying doses) are almost entirely based on the statistical analysis of surveys carried out with the specific purpose of increasing the effectiveness of chemotherapy."

I asked him why he thought that a positive attitude helped and he said he’d love to know, and that there is much research into things like how endorphins affect cancer cells.

So, if you are a theist whose prayer helps to keep you with a positive attitude, it would be a little cruel to keep harping on about what a load of bloody nonsense it is.



However, it comes as no surprise that no study anywhere has ever found a correlation between longevity and religious belief, which is funny, given that a great deal of prayer is in the form of "please god, don’t let me/him/her die just yet"

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>>"The whole point of this double blind test is to prove, by weight of statistics, that if someone’s prayer does come true that is just coincidence and not the work of God. But theists don’t believe in proof."

It’s a bit difficult to conduct a double blind test on prayer. Subjects may not know if their pill contains a drug or sugar, but they usually know if they pray or not 🙂

But you could test the hypothesis by taking a group of atheists and a group of theists, and making them all say prayers.

I’m pretty sure that if you did that you would find a benefit to the theists. As far as I’m concerned, that benefit would be down to the positive thinking you mention (it is caused by the belief in God, not God himself). But it is impossible to argue that the benefit isn’t down to God answering the prayers of believers in exactly the way that religions tell you he will.

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"Ah, so if God doesn’t answer prayers he can’t exist? I see."

No, you’re not paying attention. It’s very, very simple:

You made an assertion. It was inane, and I can see why you regret making it, but you made it. The assertion was, in effect, that all systems of thought are equally likely to be valid. I don’t know why you would say something like that, but you did.

Do you still think that is the case? If you do, then there is no reason why you would prefer one system of thought to another.
Particularly, there is no reason why you would expect Western medicine to give you a better outcome than prayer, herbalism, ayurvedic medicine, or any other system.

I suppose you could be consistent with that statement by practicing all of those systems - all possible systems = simultaneously. Do you do that?

The point is, if you prefer one to another, than your actions are not in accordance with your stated beliefs. If you prefer actual medicine to woo-woo pretend stuff then it’s pretty useless to say that "anything is equally likely to be true as anything else" - it’s a stupid thing to say, it’s not true, and you don’t believe it.

So do you continue to insist, in the face of massive statistical paradox, any semblance of logic, and your own actions that anything anyone ever said about anything is just as likely to be true as anything else anyone ever said?

This is central to your argument that it’s just as likely that design plays a role in evolution as not. If you’d be kind enough to acknowledge that there’s an issue here, we might eventually get somewhere. But as long as you’re stuck in pomo la-la land, we’re going to be chasing our tail on this.

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I’ve been staying out of this but I’m caving just a wee bit to ask screech one question.

You’re posing kind of a binary question here — science verses Christianity, or that’s how it reads anyway, since you’ve written things along the lines of not being able to disprove that Jesus was the son of God. However, since you’re saying that in the supposed absence of "proof," all belief systems are valid, is the Giant Flying Spaghetti Monster as valid as the Christian God?

Scientific knowledge constructs models which describe how the universe works, until something up which the model cannot describe very well, at which point, the paradigm for how we understand that phenomena shifts and a new and hopefully better paradigm emerges out of rigorous experimentation. Religious knowledge is based on faith and doesn’t test anything — rather, it stubbornly clings onto existing models in spite of any and all evidence to the contrary. It’s a matter of *belief,* not hypothesis testing.

Therefore "believing" in science is not the same thing as "believing" in religion, as the manner in which they construct the environment are usually diametrically opposed. They are not equally valid, since in the case of the former, theories are constantly being tested and updated and explored and in the case of the latter, it is simply a matter of faith.

It’s not belief which makes your car run, although I’ve tried prayer when broken down on the M8 at 2am. Didn’t work.

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Sorry, to be clear, in my test the theists will all be given placebo chemotherapy (though including a drug that makes it sore and gives them alopecia, it’ll make ‘em pray harder). The test is sound. Some of the non treated theists will outlive some of the treated atheists and they will say that god answered their prayers.


but, ha ha, surely, in your test, the atheists would know that they are not actually praying?

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"Religious knowledge stubbornly clings onto its existing models in spite of any and all evidence to the contrary."

As I pointed out earlier, this is not what happens. I’d have more respect for them if it was, but religious institutions have long histories of caving in to science. Most christians now believe the earth goes round the sun and that humans are closely related to other apes, it’s just that they just move the goal posts.

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In this country they do.

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The other thing, which screech’s argument is illustrating nicely, is that most people do not have fully rational, logically consistent belief systems. You can believe two things, which by all logic should be incompatible, like believing God controls all things and faith and science are equal, but at the same time, you’re happy to go to a doctor when you’re sick.

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Most theists are pragmatic and that’s a god thing. But good science is pragmatic too. For example, quantum mechanics is not logical and this is why Einstein eschewed it, famously saying, "god does not play dice." But the model of using probability theory in Quantum mechanics has proved to be practically very useful, hence your computer.

One needs to think bigger than pure logic sometimes.

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But if you don’t act on a belief, in what sense is it a belief? At that point, it’s a meta-belief. "I believe that I believe X". "Well, P is a necessary consequnce of X, do you believe P?" "No - I don’t actually believe X, I just believe X-prime, which is ‘I believe X’."

Actually, there’s a lot of that in trad music. Recently at the session, one of our regulars was giving a new guitarist some suggestions. She said to him "One thing about trad music is, you want to stay away from thirds - I don’t really use the third when I play accompaniment." And she takes her bouzouki and she plays on the next set of tunes, and she turns to the fellow and says "Actually, that’s not true, I play thirds all over the place." And she does, and it sounds fine. But until she checked, the belief and the contrary action lived side by side, without conflict.

That’s fine, it’s not a problem until you try to convince someone else that the proposition you meta-believe is true. At that point, if you don’t actually believe it yourself, you’re going to be called inconsistent, because you assert P and act as if not-P, and others should insist on clarification of that confusing state of affairs.

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Llig - there isn’t a contradiciton between quantum physics and logic. There’s only a conflict between the logic of the very small particles and the apparent behavior of everyday-scale objects. It turns out that the probabilities by which QM operates add up to the behavior we see every day, and the laws of QM are derived by very sound logic, all the way down.
So rather than thinking "bigger than pure logic" it’s a matter of trusting the logic even when it seems to lead to strange places. I still have a hard time with Heisenberg, but people who understand this stuff assure me that it’s central to the whole business, and it’s tested, so I accept it as established, even if it is apparently illogical to my eye.

Monty Hall again - almost everyone has a hard time grasping that one. The math is not difficult, the logic is not difficult, but it’s so ingrained in us that the likelihood of two unknowns is 50% that we can’t see it. The discrepancy is between the logical and the apparently logical, not between logical and "bigger than logical".

(For those following along at home, the Monty Hall paradox goes like this: You are given the choice of three doors, on of which conceals a valuable prize, the target. When you pick a door, one of the other two doors is opened to reveal an empty room. You are then given the choice: do you stay with the door you picked originally, or do you switch to the remaining door?)

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Yes, that’s interesting, I’ll have to read more.

Probability theory is often counter intuitive, and it’s a reasonable assumption that this is one of the reasons religion was invented.

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TSS: No, I’m certainly not presenting science v. God. What I am trying to point out is that science has absolutely no bearing on theology. For every scientific observation we make, the results would be exactly the same whether God built the universe or not. Therefore science can tell us nothing about whether God exists or not.

Waht I am trying to do is to show the error in Jon’s assertion that because because we’ve done a lot of science we can dismiss the possibility that God might have made the universe.

As to ‘believing in science’, I’m about to cover that in a reply to jon.

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What’s the difference between theology and religious dogma? I’ve never studied theology, but my first ten years or so was a constant study of the dogma.

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Jon:

>>"The point is, if you prefer one to another, than your actions are not in accordance with your stated beliefs. If you prefer actual medicine to woo-woo pretend stuff then it’s pretty useless to say that "anything is equally likely to be true as anything else" - it’s a stupid thing to say, it’s not true, and you don’t believe it".

You still haven’t grasped the difference between belief and knowledge. If I KNOW one thing will cure me, why would I eshew it in favour of something that I believe might cure me?

But I’m getting tired of this. I’m going to start again, but this time I want you to defend your own position, rather than trying to ridicule what you think I might believe.

You have actually stated why you think you can dismiss the notion of God - You’ve looked at the two hypotheses and applied Occam’s razor. But you’ve applied it with a sledge hammer. Occam’s razor simply tells us that the simplest solution is most likely to be right - that it is the ‘best guess’, NOT that we can eliminate the alternative.

You’ve also said that you see no reason to consider God as a possibility because to think that God exists it to make an assumption without any supporting evidence.

Do you believe that it is possible that our universe started with the Big Bang and is expanding? Because according to your logic you shouldn’t. The whole model is based on massive assumptions (some of which seem even more absurd than the idea of an intelligent force existing outside our ken). If you strip the assumptions out of cosmology, all you are left with is a load of paradoxes - we have gravity and mass telling us the universe should be collapsing in on itself, and red-shift telling us it is expanding. We have electromagnetic background telling us the universe is 13 billion years old, and measurements made using the same technique telling us that some stars are 16 billion years old - older than the universe. The only way to tie these things together into a single model is to make massive assumptions - things like Einstein’s cosmological constant, or more recently dark matter - stuff that is assumed to be all around us, has mass and eneregy, and yet it is impossible to measure its mass or energy. There is absolutely no evidence for its existence, the only reason we work on the assumption that it exists is that it makes the maths work. If you can’t accept the possibility of God existing because there is no evidence, then by the same logic you shouldn’t be able to accept dark matter, and should dismiss Big Bang theory.

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Science has no bearing on theology, true, but theology has no bearing on the material world. You can study theology all your life and never believe in God, and you can believe i nGod and never study theology. You can study physics and theology, if you have the time, and they’ll never contradict each other, because theology is a set of claims about what a particular religion holds to be true and the social implications of those beliefs - none of which impacts the physical world - and the other is a system of experimental results and observed data, which doesn’t care one way or another about the claims made by religions.

What you can’t do is use the claims made by a guy in a pointy hat to justify statements about the physical world, if the pointy hat guy’s only justification is that he heard it in a dream.
Let the pointy hat guy bring the evidence, and we’ll talk. Until he does, there’s no basis for what he says.
The difference between the guy in the lab coat and the guy in the funny hat is that the guy in the lab coat understands that his claims are subject to verification, and he’s expected to do a lot of work to make his claims verifiable, where the guy in the funny hat expects his victims to just swallow the party line on his say-so.
You can believe pointy-hat-guy if you like, but you can’t insert his dogma into scientific discourse unless you go to the same lengths to establish its truth that lab-coat-guy did.

"What’s the difference between theology and religious dogma?"
The wikipedia definitions seem reasonable, or at least they conform to my usage:
"Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of supposed religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary."

Whereas dogma is
"Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, or by extension by some other group or organization. It is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from, by the practitioner or believers."

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Dark matter does exist, I’ve seen it on Star Trek

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Then what’s the difference between a "supposed religious truth" and an "established belief or doctrine held by a religion"?

Does it mean that theology is a study of dogma?

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Believing in dark matter, or the Big Bang, is not like believing in God. People who believe in dark matter accept that it’s the best model we have to describe something we don’t understand but are working on. They’d change their paradigm given evidence of something else, or if we are able to determine what ‘dark matter" actually is. People who believe in God believe in God and aren’t terribly interested in considering that there might not be a God at all.

It’s all about the process, dude.

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"Occam’s razor simply tells us that the simplest solution is most likely to be right - that it is the ‘best guess’, NOT that we can eliminate the alternative"

Wrong. Occam’s razor says that in the absence of evidence for added complexity, the simpler solution is to be assumed to be correct.
Occam’s razor says, if you can’t see a duck before you, and you can’t smell duck poop, and you can’t hear a quack, you do not assume that there’s an invisible, silent potty-trained duck in the room with you.

So unless you’re willing to assume the invisible silent potty-trained duck, you should also not assume God. You have the same evidence for both claims.

"There is absolutely no evidence for its existence, the only reason we work on the assumption that it exists is that it makes the maths work. If you can’t accept the possibility of God existing because there is no evidence, then by the same logic you shouldn’t be able to accept dark matter, and should dismiss Big Bang theory"

"That it makes the maths work" is a very good reason. Those maths led us to the transistor effect (useful for guitar amplifiers, among other things), relativity (without which your GPS navigation fails), nuclear power (I don’t think it’s great policy, but I know it works), quantum tunneling (apparently useful for stuff I don’t quite understand, but I am confident that a few hours of reading would clear it up), and so on and so forth. "It makes the maths work" is actually an excellent basis for believing something, because it’s been shown to work.

Now, the evidence offered for the "some guy with robe and beard waved hand and created everything" theory is a book which encapsulates some correct facts about history - some of its claims about historical events correspond to the archeological record - and a lot of claims about phyics and biology which don’t even make it to "ludicrous". We don’t need to catalog them: the bible, read literally, is a load of nonsense.

I still don’t see how you can look at these and assign them equal probability.
There are areas yet to be explored in physics and cosmology, that’s true. There are certainly some things in the current model which will not be held as true in ten years’ or twenty years’ time.
The difference between science and religion is that one is capable of admitting that it makes mistakes, and has a systematic method for finding and rooting out those mistakes, inaccurate measurements, and incorrect deductions.

Who is more likely to be right, in the long term? The guy who admits that he’s going to make mistakes, and asks for others to find them and point them out, so he can fix them, or the guy who insists that he never makes mistakes, and beats the crap out of you when you point out that what he says is inconsistent with what you can observe?

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"Does it mean that theology is a study of dogma?"

Yes, that’s what it means. But theology itself is not dogma, or at least not necessarily. Plenty of people study theology or "religious studies" with a sociological bent, looking to understand religion and how it works in the world, not to ratify its claims.

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‘The only way to tie these things together into a single model is to make massive assumptions - things like Einstein’s cosmological constant, or more recently dark matter - stuff that is assumed to be all around us, has mass and eneregy, and yet it is impossible to measure its mass or energy. There is absolutely no evidence for its existence, the only reason we work on the assumption that it exists is that it makes the maths work’

And yet Helium,which is the second most abundant element in the universe was n’t discovered until the 19th century.

So does the fact that nobody knew about it before mean it did n’t exist?

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So lets encourage more theists to study theology.

I’m reminded of the Bishop who goes and stays at Ted, Dougal and Jacks house ands up an atheist drop out hippy after studying Jack’s take on ecumenical matters

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doh, Jack’s

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"So let’s encourage more theists to study theology."

Yes, I think that would be good start. At least they might know how to put together an argument when they were done. It would make them more entertaining, which is progress.

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>>"Wrong. Occam’s razor says that in the absence of evidence for added complexity, the simpler solution is to be assumed to be correct.
Occam’s razor says, if you can’t see a duck before you, and you can’t smell duck poop, and you can’t hear a quack, you do not assume that there’s an invisible, silent potty-trained duck in the room with you".

‘Assume’ is not the same as ‘know’.

>>""That it makes the maths work" is a very good reason. Those maths led us to the transistor effect (useful for guitar amplifiers, among other things), relativity (without which your GPS navigation fails), nuclear power (I don’t think it’s great policy, but I know it works), quantum tunneling (apparently useful for stuff I don’t quite understand, but I am confident that a few hours of reading would clear it up), and so on and so forth. "It makes the maths work" is actually an excellent basis for believing something, because it’s been shown to work."

I’m sorry Jon, but there is absolutely no difference whatsoever between "Let’s assume there is dark matter, then we can explain the universe" and "Let’s assume there is a God, then we can explain the universe." If you accept dark matter you are accepting that the universe is stuffed full of invisible, silent ducks that don’t poop.

As an aside, the maths behind semi conduction, relativity and nuclear fission was all done long before the assumption of dark matter, has nothing at all to do with the expansion rate of the universe, and is therefore totally irrelevant.

>>"Who is more likely to be right, in the long term? The guy who admits that he’s going to make mistakes, and asks for others to find them and point them out, so he can fix them, or the guy who insists that he never makes mistakes, and beats the crap out of you when you point out that what he says is inconsistent with what you can observe?"

Isn’t that exactly what I’ve spent the last two days trying to show you? That any real scientist keeps an open mind and accepts that his own view may be wrong. Those who can’t accept that there is even the possibility that they might be wrong make lousy scientists.

As for the rest of your post, you’re supposed to be telling us how you know with such certainty that God does not exist, not attacking other people’s interpretation of how he might behave if he does exist.

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>>I’m sorry Jon, but there is absolutely no difference
>>whatsoever between "Let’s assume there is dark matter,
>>then we can explain the universe" and "Let’s assume there
>>is a God, then we can explain the universe."

This is actually true. However, nobody says "let’s assume there is dark matter in the universe." What is said is "in order for the model of the universe to work, we think we must make this assumption. Let’s go look for ways to test it." And other people are likely saying "I don’t think we need to make this assumption: let’s test it".
Sooner or later, the dark matter model will be accepted in some modified form, or rejected, but it will never be accepted on the basis of assumptions.
So there is a huge difference between the two propositions. One is "Knowing what we know about the universe, we can improve our model of it by including this theoretical construct - if it doesn’t work, we’ll chuck it out and try another". The other is "knowing nothing about the universe, let’s make up a fairy story and insist that it’s true, and if it doesn’t work we’ll impose it by fire and sword".

By the by, I notice that you don’t use atoms for your scare example, as you would have done a hundred years ago. Is that because you accept the atomic theory of matter? If so, why?

>> ”Assume’ is not the same as ‘know’.

But you’re asking me to assume that there’s an invisible, silent, potty-trained diety in the universe with me. I’m telling you that I won’t make that assumption without at least hearing a quack.

>>As an aside, the maths behind semi conduction, relativity
>>and nuclear fission was all done long before the
>>assumption of dark matter, has nothing at all to do with the
>>expansion rate of the universe, and is therefore totally
>>irrelevant

You’ve missed the point. Again. I think you’ll find that all of the above came about "to make the maths work" and are now accepted by reasonable people, and possibly even by yourself. So to vilify dark matter as simply "making the maths work" is to put it in some pretty good company.
This doesn’t mean it’s true, of course - there have been plenty of ideas floated "to make the maths work" that haven’t worked out, but that’s the point. A scientific proposition must first be testable. How could you test a piece of religious dogma to see whether it was true or not? Obviously, the only test is whether the currently constituted authority wants it to be true or not. You might find that convincing. I do not.

>>you’re supposed to be telling us how you know with such
>>certainty that God does not exist

Okay, here you go: There is no evidence for the existence of any deity, and god as described in all of the literature is inconsistent with everything that mankind has observed about the universe. Therefore, the proposition is so unlikely that it’s not worth testing, and so poorly stated that it couldn’t be tested in any case. If tomorrow god appears over Boston and says "Ego sum" or something (nah… god speaks Lisp, not latin) then I will reconsider. But barring some evidence, your assertion that "there might be a god" is worth exactly as much consideration as Russell’s Teapot, or the Remarkably Continent Invisible Duck.

Re: Christian Tunes?

"Remarkably Continent Invisible Duck"

What a great screen name.

Re: Christian Tunes?

>>"This is actually true. However, nobody says "let’s assume there is dark matter in the universe." What is said is "in order for the model of the universe to work, we think we must make this assumption. Let’s go look for ways to test it." And other people are likely saying "I don’t think we need to make this assumption: let’s test it".
Sooner or later, the dark matter model will be accepted in some modified form, or rejected, but it will never be accepted on the basis of assumptions."

Ah, so we are allowed to use assumptions (for the time being at least) as long as we are testing them? In that case, can you allow people to believe in God as long as they keep questioning his existence?

>>"But you’re asking me to assume that there’s an invisible, silent, potty-trained diety in the universe with me."

No, quite the reverse. What I’m asking you to do is merely assume that ther isn’t, rather than taking it as a proven fact.

>>"Okay, here you go: There is no evidence for the existence of any deity, and god as described in all of the literature is inconsistent with everything that mankind has observed about the universe. Therefore, the proposition is so unlikely that it’s not worth testing, and so poorly stated that it couldn’t be tested in any case."

Finally we have something. That just raises two issues:

Firstly, if the God hypothesis is untestable, how do you know that it is unlikely? As has already been pointed out by someone else, if there is no evidence you cannot assign a probability.

Secondly why do you think that the God hypothesis is "inconsistent with everything that mankind has observed about the universe."? LIke good scientists, most thinking theists have adapted their model to encompass each new discovery (exept that when theists do it is called ‘moving the goal-posts’) and their model of the universe doesn’t contradict or ignore any accepted science. I think you are actually arguing that the bible isn’t true, rather than that God doesn’t exist. Two completely different things. Whether God exists or not is not dependent on whether the bible is true or not.

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What makes people think that ‘theists’ check their mind at the door and blindly follow dogma, rejecting information from other sources? As a life-long Methodist, I have always been taught to think for myself, and make my decisions based on four sources, something referred to as the Wesleyan Quadralateral: scripture, tradition, experience and reason. Please note those last two. Believing in God does not mean you stop believing in anything else.
Don’t set up a straw man you call a ‘theist’ that resembles some closed minded fundamentalist, make fun of it, and then when confronted by ‘theists’ who don’t think that way, accuse them of ‘moving the goal posts.’

Re: Christian Tunes?

"The difference between these two types of mind are clear, those with enquiring minds rejoice when theories are refined and supplanted, while those who would rather be told an unerring truth either weep when their truth crashes around their ears or simply refuse to believe."

This thread is getting to that critical point where anything that anyone can post can be adequately replied to by merely copy/pasting from something already written above.

Posted .

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Al, from above: "Most theists are pragmatic and that’s a good thing."

See? It still works.

Try me on another one

Posted .

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>>Ah, so we are allowed to use assumptions (for the time being
>>at least) as long as we are testing them? In that case, can you
>>allow people to believe in God as long as they keep
>>questioning his existence?

Surely you recognize a distinction between "questioning" and "testing"? Since you’re such a scientific cuss, and all that?
What, in your mind, would constitute a convincing test of the god hypothesis? You can "question" quantum mechanics all day and all night and into the next morning, but you won’t confirm or disconfirm it until you either produce new evidence or find a novel relation of old evidence.

>> No, quite the reverse. What I’m asking you to do is merely
>> assume that ther isn’t, rather than taking it as a proven fact

You’re asking me to assume that it’s even plausible. That can’t be done by a reasonable person.

>>Secondly why do you think that the God hypothesis is
>>"inconsistent with everything that mankind has observed
>>about the universe."?

The god hypothesis involves violations of core physical laws which are not seen to be violated. If you violate thermodynamics, conservation of mass, or conservation of angular momentum, you lose.
If you were to prove a violation of any of those, you would simply overturn physics, period. Every result depending on those laws would be thrown out - go ask a physicist how much of physics would be left if we demoted them to "the suggestion of conservation of mass", the "the polite request to conserve angular momentum" and "three rules of thumb regarding thermodynamics."

Okay, now show me a god that doesn’t violate those laws.

Now, that brings us to your other question:

>> if the God hypothesis is untestable, how do you know that it
>> is unlikely?

You tell me how likely it is that every physicist ever has got it wrong, but produced the results they have - that there is an alternative physics that somehow looks just like the one that pays your rent but doesn’t include any of the bedrock principles. How do you assign a probability to that? That’s what you’d have to assume to assume that god is plausible. And again, balance that against the no evidence ever problem.

The simple lack of evidence would be enough to put the probability at zero, just as I put the probability of the RCID in my office at zero. But an invisible duck is not nearly as insane a proposition as an invisible, intangible, all-knowing, all-seeing, all-singing, all-dancing omnipresent omnivorous thing responsible for turning the wheels of the world and tallying falling sparrows, and designing organisms like the duck-billed platypus in his spare time, so the evidence required to shift that needle would be rather greater.
And still it remains at a pathetic zero. Nothing. God can’t even manage to light up a neon sign that’s disconnected. Can’t even hack into your gmail account and send a message saying "I’m here." Nothing. Not a blip, not a jot, not a tittle.
Why? The parsimonious explanation is obvious. What’s your explanation? What explanation could possibly serve for this? (Since you’re an atheist, I’ll just ask you to sketch out a possible theory, not one you believe in).

Re: Christian Tunes?

"This thread is getting to that critical point where anything that anyone can post can be adequately replied to by merely copy/pasting from something already written above."

llig, if you want to godwin this, just go ahead. I don’t think there’s anything more to be learned here.

Re: Christian Tunes?

"This thread is getting to that critical point where anything that anyone can post can be adequately replied to by merely copy/pasting from something already written above."


😎

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LOL. Isn’t that what evolution is, copying and pasting bits of what came before in new combinations that thrive when they better fit current environment? Or is that bringing about a new creation? 😉

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Ya’ll ARE STILLL ARRGGUUIIINNNGGGGG!!!!!!!! WOWOWOWOWOWOWOW! I had to have had broken a record here. I may have to find some time and read this stuff lol.

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I dont know that you’ve got that much to do with it, Jerone. I think it’s a couple of stubborn guys beating a dead horse into the ground without your help….

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Jon, can you not see the double standard you are applying? You are happy to accept the possibility of undetectable matter, but not undetectable intelligence.

You’ve explained how you came to the conclusion that there can be no God, but if you apply the same logic to cosmology, you mustcome to the conclusion that there can be no dark matter.

We have two sets of conflicting data - gravitation and mass observations which predict that the universe should be collapsing, and redshift which appears to show it is expanding. We have a number of hypotheses which might reconcile those two sets of data. So we apply Occam’s razor. That DOESN’T tell us that the most likely explanation is dark matter (that hypothesis requires an additional assumption, just as the God hypothesis does). According to Occam’s razor the most likely answer is the simplest - that one or other of the data sets is wrong. And that is indeed the stance that science takes - people are constantly re-checking the data, looking for a bad observation, a false assumption, or just plain wrong maths. So where does that leave dark matter? Its not the most likely explanation, does that mean we should dismiss it? No. Because although it’s not the most likely explanation it is still a possibility, so we keep on looking for evidence that might support or counter it. And that is how Occam’s razor should be applied to the God hypothesis. It ONLY tells us that the Godless universe is the most likely explanation, not that we can dismiss the God hypothesis.

Assuming that you believe that the universe is expanding, would you ridicule someone who believes in a static universe, in the same way that you are prepared to ridicule theists? Because the situation is no different.

The big problem seems to be that you have never stopped to consider what you are arguing against. You keep referring to "some guy with robe and beard waved hand " and "a fairy story imposed by fire and sword’ and ‘men in pointy hats’. Which seems to indicate that you think you are arguing against the church, not theism. The reality is that most thinking theists - of all religions- don’t believe the accounts of creation written in their scriptures hundreds of years ago, any more than you do. Their model of the universe has developed to encompass all the findings of science, just as the atheist model has. It certainly doesn’t break the laws of thermodynamics, or any other physical laws. When a thinking theist looks at evolution, they don’t think ‘that didn’t happen’, they think ‘Ah, so that’s how he implements his new designs’. I can’t argue with that, and from what I’ve seen here, neither can you.

You can argue all you like against creationists, but don’t make Dawkins’ fundamental mistake of assuming that all theists are creationists.

Re: Christian Tunes?

"You’ve explained how you came to the conclusion that there can be no God, but if you apply the same logic to cosmology, you mustcome to the conclusion that there can be no dark matter."

This is getting tiresome. Go back and read the last post. Read it again until you understand it. Then tell me how I’m going to respond. Then respond to that. Hint: there’s a difference in the nature of the propositions underlying the two claims you’re declaring to be equivalent.

"Which seems to indicate that you think you are arguing against the church, not theism"

No, just trying to keep myself amused. This has really gone on well past its time. The basic logic is very simple, and you don’t understand it, mostly because you’re stuck in that happy-clappy pomo wonderland where everything anyone has ever thought or could ever think is equally valid and nobody can ever say anyone else is wrong.
You just don’t seem to believe that ideas can be false, and I do, and that’s where we disagree.

"The reality is that most thinking theists - of all religions- don’t believe the accounts of creation written in their scriptures hundreds of years ago, any more than you do. Their model of the universe has developed to encompass all the findings of science, just as the atheist model has."

You keep explanding this out to some generalized "theists" and what they might possibly believe. I’m talking about what you are insisting on, which is that all stateable explanations of the world, regardless of how they are logically supported, are valid and must be taken as plausible. That’s what I’m arguing against - if someone wants to believe in their heart that they believe in their heart, and not in their brain, that’s okay with me. If they insist that I should believe it, or on teaching it to children claiming that it’s true, I’m going to insist that they back it up with something sort of evidence.
You say "well, science has to provide evidence as well" - it does. That’s the point. You don’t seem to understand Emily’s point above that relying on science is not like relying on religion, and I’m sick of explaining it. If you did understand the difference, you would have resigned your argument a long time ago. You haven’t, so you don’t, so I don’t think you will, because for you to maintain this level of ignorance must be intentional, and as long as you intend to remain ignorant, you will.

"You can argue all you like against creationists, but don’t make Dawkins’ fundamental mistake of assuming that all theists are creationists"

Here’s where this part of the thread started:

>So LOGIC dictates that in the case of life the situation is likely
>to be the same - that the evolution is driven by design. Yet
>people frequently cite evolution as proof that no designers are
>required. Where is the logic in that?

You’re the one who started this by saying creationism is a valid model, and can be - in fact, must be! - combined in some fashion, as yet unexplained, with evolution. That’s your mistake, you can’t blame it on Dawkins, or on me.

If you’re going to insist that creationism is true - and that’s what you say - you are also insisting that there is a creator.
You also claim to be an atheist, so I can only assume you’re confused on that as well.

And since we’ve come back around to the start, I think you can probably find the answers to anything else you might say by following the thread around.
If you’re ever in Boston, you’re welcome for some tunes and a few beers, but I think I’m done with this particular argument for the time being.

Re: Christian Tunes?

Hang on a minute, there’s plenty to argue with there:

Your position is that there is no evidence for the existence of dark matter, but there is. For a start there’s the maths, which, as said, is a good start - there ain’t no maths to support the god theory. And there’s that one theory where if you point your telescope into deep space and see see two identical mirror images of a galaxy, you are actually looking at a massive chunk of dark matter who’s gravity is bending the light coming from one galaxy directly behind it.

And I can certainly argue with, "When a theist looks at evolution, they think ‘Ah, so that’s how he implements his new designs’ ". All the evidence of evolution, every last bit of it, supports the theory that there is no design, it’s all random. There is not one single scrap of evidence to support a theory of intelligent design.

So what does the "thinking" theist do now? What he’s always done. Modify his theory of god. This time though, by demoting him to merely setting the whole thing off and sitting back to watch what happens.

Posted .

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Does anyone have the dots for song "Drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life" ?

Re: Christian Tunes?

Jon:

>>"This is getting tiresome. Go back and read the last post. Read it again until you understand it. Then tell me how I’m going to respond. Then respond to that. Hint: there’s a difference in the nature of the propositions underlying the two claims you’re declaring to be equivalent."

PK, insterad of going round in circles, let’s try and clarify the situation. You’ve repeatedly said that dark matter is ‘scientific’ and acceptable because it is testable. And you’ve said that God is ‘unscientific’ because it is untestable. Yes?

Can you tell me how long you go on trying to test a hypothesis before you decide it is untestable?

Because people have been looking for dark matter for more than a decade without success. To me that means either
a) It doesn’t exist, in which case we need to scrap the hypothesis and start again, or
b) It is undetectable, in which case, by your reasoning we should not regard it as a possibility.

In the same statements you have repeatedly referred ot the God hypothesis as unscientific. It’s the wrong word. Unscientific implies that it is based on flawed logic, it’s not. The phrase you should be using is ‘beyond science’. If you try to think beyond the known universe, nothing is provable, nothing is testable. This is the area where we get into multiverses, and extra dimensions, and vacuums that explode into matter and other things that are all far more bizzar than the idea of a God. According to your rationale we should dismiss all these hypotheses as ‘unscientific’ and not even consider them. Thankfully the great thinkers of our time don’t share your view. They know that there must be something beyond or before our universe, even if we can’t observe or test it. And what might it be that is beyond or before our universe? Well, God’s as good a bet as any.

>>"You keep explanding this out to some generalized "theists" and what they might possibly believe. I’m talking about what you are insisting on, which is that all stateable explanations of the world, regardless of how they are logically supported, are valid and must be taken as plausible"

No Jon, you introduced that crazy notion, not me. And I’ve repeatedly told you it is wrong. What you are actually saying amounts to ‘If you accept the possibility of God, then you must accept that he built the world in six days’. I know that makes it easy for you to wheel out the stock arguements, but it really isn’t very rational, is it? To accept the possibility of a God does NOT mean you have to accept every interpretation of what that God might be or do. Where someone believes in a version of God that contradicts science - the Creationists, the Scientologists, whoever - you can prove their interpretaion of God is wrong, and dismiss it. But that still leaves millions of people who believe in a God that doesn’t contradict science. They don’t believe the bits of their scriptures that are disprovable, or they’ve reinterpreted them in such a way that they fit the known facts. Any of their interpretations of God have to be accepted as possible, because they are not disprovable. But that does not mean you have to accpt the disprovable interpretations along with them.

>>"If you’re going to insist that creationism is true - and that’s what you say - you are also insisting that there is a creator.
You also claim to be an atheist, so I can only assume you’re confused on that as well"

I have never insisted that creationism is true. Quite the reverse, I have pointed out several times that it can be discounted because it can be disproved.

I have never insisted that there must be a creator. All I have ever said is that the possibility cannot be dismissed.

Are there any more of my words that you’d like to twist? You’ll be telling me next that I’ve claimed to see God for myself.

Michael:

>>And I can certainly argue with, "When a theist looks at evolution, they think ‘Ah, so that’s how he implements his new designs’ ". All the evidence of evolution, every last bit of it, supports the theory that there is no design, it’s all random."

It might look that way, but therre isn’t anything in evolution that you can put your finger on and say "That could not happen if God was involved" And that is what is required to provide evidence. To test two hypotheses you have to find an area where they predict different things, then test to see which prediction is right. Everything we see in evolution could have happened at random, but it could equally well have happened because God wanted it to happen.

>>"There is not one single scrap of evidence to support a theory of intelligent design." You have to be careful using the term ‘intelligent design’, particularly when ther are Americans in the conversation, because there is a large camp who claim to believe in ‘Intelligent Design’, but what they are actually referring to is a glorified version of Creationism, doesn’t accept evolution, and is just as easily disproved. I assume you are referring to the design driven evolution that I’ve been talking about. In which case no, there isn’t any evidence to suggest evolution is design driven. But there isn’t any evidence to suggest that it is random either. We can see it happens, but can’t tell if it is caused by God or chance, because it would look exactly the same in either case.

>>"So what does the "thinking" theist do now? What he’s always done. Modify his theory of god. This time though, by demoting him to merely setting the whole thing off and sitting back to watch what happens."

The ‘God of the blue touch paper’? I’ve never met anyone who actually believed in that version of God. I think it is an idea put up by atheists so that they can knock it down.

I think what actually happens is that if you can believe in God as a creator you will always also believe in intervention. Certainly if you come at it from the atheist point of view, exactly the same logic that leads to the conclusion that God the creator is possible leads on to the conclusion that intervention is possible..

Re: Christian Tunes?

Ok! With all of this intelligence, shouldn’t you guys be helping someone in one of the other threads now? Oh and Jon, i have EVERYTHING to do with it, lol i did start the whole thing! lol. I don’t think a record could be broken if i was the one doing all the posting in my thread lol. But i think this thread may be disqualified because of the subject matter.

Re: Christian Tunes?

What record? FFS. This is the 250th post. That is positively feeble by Mustard board standards. You have to get into thousands to even be in the ballgame. Whereas this thread has fizzled … just like both sides of the argument, it seems to me.

Meanwhile, I can’t help noticing, with a certain amount of amusement, that, so often, obsessive Christians manage to be so self-centred and narcissistic. It would seem ironic if it wasn’t so commonplace.

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Thanks, Theirlandais. Now I can’t get "Drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life" out of my head. I don’t have the dots for it though.

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"there isn’t anything in evolution that you can put your finger on and say "That could not happen if God was involved" "

The point about the disproval of "intelligent design" is that evolution is littered with examples of a lack of "intelligent" design.

Vertebrates:
For example, a mammal’s larynx evolved from a valve in fishes that evolved to prevent them from swallowing water. In fishes, the nerve that connects this to the brain takes a direct route under an artery to the heart. But an equally direct route could have not been under this artery.

Mammals:
So many millions of years later, The nerve that connects a mammal’s larynx to the briin has to take a detour from the neck, round the heart, and back up to the brain. Not such a big deal you might think, but when dissecting a giraffe, one can expose the larynx, find the nerve ending, follow it all the way down the neck, round the heart and all the way back up the neck and into the brain.

There are only two answers to the explanation of this fact:
Either evolution is random and god free, or god is not intelligent.

Posted .

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"there isn’t anything in evolution that you can put your finger on and say "That could not happen if God was involved" "


A banjo, perhaps?

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I don’t think we are beating a dead horse here. In fact, we won’t know if the horse is dead or alive until we open the box.

This argument is starting to make me think of the handy Babel fish from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:
"The book points out that the Babel fish could not possibly have developed naturally, and therefore both proves and disproves the existence of God: Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful could evolve purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God. The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing". "But," says man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn’t it? It proves you exist and so therefore you don’t. QED." "Oh dear," says God, "I hadn’t thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic. "Oh, that was easy," says man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white, and gets killed on the next zebra crossing. Most leading theologians claim that this argument is a load of dingo’s kidneys. But this did not stop Oolon Colluphid making a small fortune when he used it as the central theme for his best selling book, Well That About Wraps It Up for God. Meanwhile the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different cultures and races, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation."

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Ethical, first you tell me "you break a record everday" now you tell me "250 post is feeble by Mustard board standards"*misquote* Well, if i didn’t break a record, i could care less. What interest me is that we forget that we are all talking about theories. And Jon, "perception". You say there is no evidence, but i see evidence, everywhere around me, at all times. One being, people have Morals. That we have an understanding of good and evil. People ask, "if there is a God, then why is there so much evil in the world? "Because He gave man free will, and not all choose to obey His law. Also, the proof that God has an enemy, Satan. Satanist choose to be hthat way because they see all the evil and think that God is losing. They couldn`t be farther from the truth. Is says in The Bible that God placed the Law in our hearts.

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One thing i learned reading the first scripture in the Bible, "In The beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." So if God created the heavens, that means He exists OUTSIDE, of The Universe. *I wonder where black wholes leade to* So basically, if God exist outside of the Universe, that means that He is not bound by the laws of Science. He proved this when He resurrected Himself. Let science try to explain how someone can levitate, or predict the future. Or how a man that was beat, bled ot, and buried in a tomb that was sealed, Got Out. The evidence would hold up in court cause there are too many eyewitnesses and factsw.

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Skreech, as I say, everything you mention in your last post is already dealt with. It’s been fun, now it’s getting boring. If you keep denying the things you’ve said, it’ll get aggravating, and aggravation I’ve got enough of.
I’m going to go make computers jump through hoops, because that’s fun. Have a good night, or morning, or whatever it is where you are.

Jerone - sorry, if I’m sick of dealing with skreech, there’s no way I’m going over all this stuff again with you. Take it up with him, he’s an atheist, but you can convert him a lot easier than you would me, because he’s already halfway there.

Have fun!

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It"s fine Jon. I read most of it. For your fate and everyone elses, all i can do is pray, and try to live my life right.

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I said you "break a record every day" in the profound hope that you are a record in yourself and that there’s only one of you.

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a record in myself? i think i depend too much on the tone of someone’s voice to other stand what they mean… Well, i don’t see a record in myself. And, i’m glad there’s not another me also. I use to tell myself that i wouldn’t be able to stand him. I’ve come to like some things about myself, but there’s still a lot that i wouldn’t mind changing.

Re: Christian Tunes?

Michael. take a look at the way Windows 7 works. It performs some functions in a totally idiotic way. It does so because it has evolved of a number of generations from the original CP/M, and it’s easier to build on the old code than re-write it from scratch. It doesn’t mean there were no diesigners involved in the creation of windows 7, or that they were unintelligent.

Take a look at our high speed trains, running on idiotic 4’ 8.5" gauge rails. It proves they have inhetired characteristics from previous generations, but does it really prove that they weren’t built by design?

Jon has hit the nail on the head when he say’s ‘the God hypothesis is untestable’. But due to flawed logic he has failed to interpret what that actually means. Being untestable doesn’t make it ‘wrong’, it simply means that it doesn’t matter a damn whether it is right or wrong. If a God built universe is identical to a random one, then all our observations, all our science, will be identical which ever version we happen to be living in.

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Uhh…skreech, I believe that you implied all these competing theories had the same validity. At least that’s how it comes across. Sure, god is untestable. Doesn’t make any god theory equal to any science theory. Really. Does that help?

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Maybe if we all had Babel fishes…

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Windows is crap basically because the writers can’t see into the future. And because of this ignorance, leave a legacy of having to deal with the limitations of previous platforms.

Wow, how do you equate that with god? It basically says that god had no idea what was gonna happen when he started it all off. How low does the "thinking" theist’s appreciation of the great creator/designer have to sink before he finnally admits it’s a load of codswallup?

fiddlelearner, who/what created god?

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I’d really like to back a set of Mr Gill’s fav tunes on my baritone uke. If he plays like he talks (er..types!) blah blah blah…
Somewaht non sequetar and off topic to say ther least! Heres’s link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y33fUCuULpk


to me crossing the road and being at a wedding in India last Nov (also includes views of going up to the Himalayan foothills to Rishikesh and stuff!…)..

Re: Christian Tunes?

>>"Uhh…skreech, I believe that you implied all these competing theories had the same validity. At least that’s how it comes across. Sure, god is untestable. Doesn’t make any god theory equal to any science theory. Really. Does that help?"

No, that is the same mistake that Jon kept making. I’m not saying that ALL beliefs have the same validity at all, only those that cannot be disproved.

If someone believes that God made the universe in six day I can disprove that, so it is not a valid theory and can be discounted.

But if someone else believes God caused the Big Bang, It cannot be disproved, so cannot be discounted.

If someone thinks that God saw the tall trees going to waste, got out his modelling clay and made a giraffe, I can disprove that, so it can be discounted.

But if someone else believes that God simply ensured that the animals (whatever the giraffes ancestor is) with slightly longer necks fancied each other, and thus created the giraffe by selective breeding, I can’t argue with that - the only difference between the godless and god-driven models is where that thought came from, which cannot be tested.

Incidentally, this logic isn’t mine, neither is it flawed as many people like to believe. I think the Idea that God cannot be tested by science was first put forward by Kant, and has been throughly tested by many philosophers, including people like Huxley and Russell. I suspect that even Steve Hawkins has been through the logic, because despite being a totally convicted atheist, he has never said "God does not exist", only that God is unnecessay to our understanding of the universe.

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Skreech, the point about the nerve from the brain to the larynx in the giraffe having to go all the down and back up it’s neck is that if the hypotheses that if there was a "thought" that "created" the giraffe, it wasn’t a very intelligent "thought".

Posted .

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I’ll try that again …. and read it before I press "post":

Skreech, the point about the nerve from the brain to the larynx in the giraffe having to go all the way down and back up it’s neck is that if the hypotheses of there being a "thought" that "created" the giraffe was true, it wasn’t a very intelligent "thought".

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Re: Christian Tunes?

I agree it isn’t very smart. And if you were designing a giraffe from scratch it isn’t the way you’d do it. But does that mean there cannot be intelligence behind the design? I don’t think so, any more than the fact that there are some very nonsensical bits of code in Windows 7 proves that there were no designers involved in its evolution.

I think what you might be trying to argue is that the giraffe contains a design flaw - something that an intelligent designer would have illiminated.

But in fact, the only conclusion we can draw from that observing that loop of nerve is that it isn’t a design flaw - it doesn’t impede the function of the giraffe in any way. If it did, you would expect natural selection to eliminate it, just as you might expect God to eliminate it.

The best way to see how God could be fitted into evolution is not to think of ‘God the sculptor’, fashioning new species and plonking the on earth. We know that that cannot happen, because it would leave detectable traces. But think of ‘God the pig breeder’, achieving what he wants by selective breeding.

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"No, that is the same mistake that Jon kept making. I’m not saying that ALL beliefs have the same validity at all, only those that cannot be disproved."

Skreech, it wasn’t a mistake. That’s the claim you made, and you refused to back away from, and that’s why I got sick of trying to have this discussion with you.
Now you’re finally backing away from it - I suppose I should be glad that there’s progress in the world, but what you’re backing away to is not a whole lot better. Your position now is that there is no difference at all between a claim which has supporting evidence and a claim which doesn’t - unless they’re "disproved", they’re "equally valid". So there’s no difference between the claim that there’s an invisible duck in the room and the claim that there isn’t, and the claim that there can’t be, because invisible ducks are impossible, and the claim that there must be, because invisible ducks are everywhere, we just can’t see them or hear them or feel them or smell them. They’re all "equally valid", because none of them can be disproved.

Now, do you believe all of them equally? That is, are they all actually "equally valid"? And what does "valid" mean, in any case? You’re obviously not using it in the standard logical sense, so what does it mean in your world?

And while we’re on the subject, on what grounds can a thing be "disproved"? What counts as evidence for that? Since you’re using a rather "special" sort of logic and apparently your own personal vocabulary, I think it’s incumbent on you to define your terms.

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" ‘God the pig breeder’, achieving what he wants by selective breeding". Blimey, God’s reputation is in tatters.

Screetch, you are still missing the point, as usual. There is reams and reams of evidence that there is no design at all in natural selection. Would you say that breathing air is a "design flaw" in a dolphin? It certainly impedes its ability to live under water. Or how about a green turtle that has to haul itself up a beech to lay its eggs? Or what about the malaria virus? Is it a design flaw in humans to be susceptible to it? In fact, while we’re at it, is death itself a design flaw? It certainly impedes one’s functions.

But if there are no design flaws and god creates species by selective breading, how does he select? I thought you said there was no evidence of intervention?

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Re: Christian Tunes?

>>"Skreech, it wasn’t a mistake. That’s the claim you made, and you refused to back away from, and that’s why I got sick of trying to have this discussion with you."

Jon, it was a mistake, and if you can’t see the difference between someone believing something that can be disproved by science, and someone believing something that can neither be proved nor disproved. Then there is very little point in continuing the conversation.

Let’s leave God out of it completely for the moment, and just look at scientific process, or logic.

We have two hypotheses, A &B, which we want to test. What we need to do is weigh the evidence for each. So we get a beam balance and label the two ends A and B. Then we go away, make some observations, but the evidence on the balance, and see how it tips. Which ever end is lowest is likely to be the right answer. Agreed?

But what if we don’t find any evidence? The beam stays level - we still have absolutely no idea which is most likely to be right. That remains the same whether the hypoteses are ‘testable or not - if we look for evidence for/against dark matter and don’t find any, the beam remains level. If we consider the untestable theory that there is a 5th dimension, we can’t find evidence, so the beam remains level - we don’t know if there is a 5th dimension or not. What we don’t do is say ‘We’ve looked for dark matter and not found any evidence, so it can’t exist’, or ‘the idea of a fifth dimension is untestable, so it cannot be true’.

So then we bring the God hypothesis into it. Hopefully you can see that if we are going to be rational about it we have to treat the God hypothesis in exactly the same way as any other - as I’ve outlined above.

But a lot of people find this even more counter-intuitive than Mony Hall. What happens is that you come to the problem with a preconception - you think it is unlikely that God exists, so you start off with the beam already tilted. You find no evidence, so the beam remains tilted. That’s actually perfectly valid IF you’re talking about belief - you find no evidence, so there is no reason to change your belief. (But notice that for a believer who starts off with the beam tilted the other way the same is true, they have no reason to change their belief). But if you are talking about truth, then you have to start from the position that we don’t know. And that means your final conclusion, having found no evidence is still that we don’t know.

Jon, there is nothing special baout my logic, nor my vocaulary. Disprove is in every dictionary I’ve ever looked at. If I have a teory that there is a cat in the box, if you open the box and find no cat, you’ve produced evidence that disproves my theory. It’s simple.

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Then you no longer believe that all beliefs have the same validity, as you claimed repeatedly?

This is a red-letter day, you realize. I just want to make sure we’re clear on this. You believe that some things are true, and some things are not, and not everything is equally true?

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How far down the rat hole do you need to go….

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Michael, If we ever get past creation and onto intervention, You’ll meet ‘God the bee-keeper’. He’s even more bizarre.

>>"There is reams and reams of evidence that there is no design at all in natural selection"

Are there? Is the fact that a dolphin breaths air really proof that it wasn’t designed? It might be evidence that the dolphin wasn’t designed by someone who thinks like you and shares your level of knowledge about the dolphin’s environment. But can you rule out the possibility that there is some factor that we haven’t yet realised that makes it a good idea for the dolphin to breathe air? and that is why neither natural selection nor God, depending on which model you are looking at, has made the doplphin brethe water?

To find evidence you have to find something that you can put your finger on and say ‘this could not happen if design was involved’, not just ‘this isn’t the way I would have designed it’.

Re: Christian Tunes?

>>"Then you no longer believe that all beliefs have the same validity, as you claimed repeatedly?"

No Jon. I have NEVER said that all beliefs have the same validity, and I’m not saying it now. What I have said repeatedly, and will say again for the umpteenth time, is that:

All beliefs THAT ARE UNTESTABLE OR UNTESTED have the same validity.

Re: Christian Tunes?

Wow, semantics can be a funny thing. So, yeah, you can’t disprove god. Nor invisible ducks. But you still seem to be dancing away from the ol’ probability factor. Are you, or are you not saying that scientific theories are no better than god theories? You might believe you’re saying something else, but if that is the case, I believe you might need to refine your position. Proven, unproven, etc. a+b seem all to be dancing around your actual position.
Is science a more reliable method of determining reality than religion?

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"No Jon. I have NEVER said that all beliefs have the same validity, and I’m not saying it now."

Okay, close enough. You did, and I’ve quoted you enough times, but you deny it now, so that’s close enough.

"All beliefs THAT ARE UNTESTABLE OR UNTESTED have the same validity."

By "untestable", do you mean beliefs that are as yet untested, or beliefs which are not susceptible to testing?

For example, Russell’s Teapot is a testable hypothesis, in principle, but it’s not likely to be tested in practice. If you could convince some space-capable organisation to mount an expedition or shoot up some sort of observing machine, you could go and check whether there’s a teapot floating in the orbit directly opposite to the earth’s. Since there’s no reason to believe that there’s a teapot floating there, nobody’s going to check.

The RCID is a non-testable hypothesis. It’s proposed in such a way as to make the hypothesis non-testable. The duck is well-trained, and will not quack. It will not make a mess, and you can’t see it. And if you try to catch it by enclosure, you’ll find that it’s also not a literal material duck, it’s a duck of the spirit. But it’s really there, and it’s the duck that the duck-billed platypus’s bill was based on - and also that animal’s vicious temper, so don’t mess.

Now, are both of those claims equally valid. One has not been tested due to practical concerns - it’s very expensive to go and observe, and nobody cares enough to do so. The other has not been tested because it can never be tested.

Are both of those claims equally valid?

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"All beliefs THAT ARE UNTESTABLE OR UNTESTED have the same validity." So, I am god. Yes, it can’t be tested so it is just as valid as any idea I am not. Yes, you may bow before me. *blessings*

Re: Christian Tunes?

Thank god, somebody’s settled that.

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You’re welcome, Jon. As you all know from TV, god is perpetually short of cash. I will be setting up a PayPal account for the faithful. And before somebody remarks on my less-than-godlike playing ability, remember that I created hell too.

Re: Christian Tunes?

Sounds valid to me.

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You’d think that the more closely a belief conformed with existing, testable theories, the likely it would be to reality. But no, here I am in my divinity.

Re: Christian Tunes?

Or is that the percocet? Hmm….

Re: Christian Tunes?

Oh Lord, what are the 10 most essential tunes?

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The ten tunes that move you most, my son. And the Bucks, of course.

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I understand & hope the mustard people send their money.

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Re: Christian Tunes?

Screech, I’ll point this out just one more time (don’t know why, you’re not listening).

There is reams and reams of evidence that there is NO design at all in natural selection. There is no evidence that there is any kind of design at all in genetic diversity, none. The whole theory was first based on Darwin’s own observations and now rests assuredly on the proof of many further generations of scientists. Darwin put forward his theory and it was TESTABLE (your caps, not mine) and it has been TESTED over and over and over and found to be TRUE.

The end of the seesaw with the idea that there is NO design is well and truly on the floor and the end that says their is design is hung out to dry. End of.

Now, if you still want to persist that there may be a god, you cannot keep, as part of this hypotheses, any assumption that he had anything to do with the "design" of the life on this earth.

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Re: Christian Tunes?

WOW, i’m so not repeating what i just thought… still on everyone i see.

"who/what created god?"

llig, when God revealed Himself to the prophet Moses, when Moses asked who He was, God said "I Am That I Am."

Basically, saying that He exist without anything else. A real God doesn’t need anything else to exist. If He was really God could He have really been created? Wouldn’t He be creation along with everything else? Yes, because then He would have been created.

You learn that He can exist outside of anything else because The Word says, "In the beginning, God created the *heavens* and the earth." (emphasis mine)

If God created the Heavens, that means that He had to have existed outside of this place we call the universe.

Just because our little human brains can’t understand it, does not mean that it is false.

Re: Christian Tunes?

"All beliefs THAT ARE UNTESTABLE OR UNTESTED have the same validity." So, I am god. Yes, it can’t be tested so it is just as valid as any idea I am not. Yes, you may bow before me. *blessings*

It can very well be tested. Your perfection can prove if you are God or not. If you know everything, and are everywhere at once, and exist in eternity, then i would probably believe you. But since you don’t, i won’t.

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So by that understanding, cannot the universe have created itself? Cannot the universe be "It is what It is"?

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Saying that "God is the universe" isn’t something I’ve thought out enough, so i won’t use that one.

Can something create itself?

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Do you want to know what was before the big bang? Microbrew and pickled eggs.

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"But since you don’t, i won’t."

Silly me, I thought presuming to know the mind of god was a sin.

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Oh, and fiddlelearner, god doesn’t do tests. Ask your local minister.

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Keep thinking, never give up thinking. Never ever let a religious dogma tell you to stop thinking. Question everything, especially faith.

Ask yourself why the scriptures tell you not to doubt your faith.

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"God doesn’t do tests."

I don’t know what you are talking about, but if you really were God, you wouldn’t say you didn’t exist, and if you did say you didn’t exist, you would be lieing, because you very much exist, and God can’t lie because everything He says is automatically true.

Re: Christian Tunes?

But fiddlelearner, God didn’t reveal himself to Moses, just showed him his backside. Said that was all Moses could handle. Then told Moses that was Him in a burning bush. And then said the same thing as Popeye in the cartoons, "I yam what I yam." Hardly an auspicious revelation. At least He left him with some tablets on the mountain, so the poor guy had something to show for his trouble.
I always wondered how Sarah got to laugh in His face, but poor Moses couldn’t even take a glimpse of Him without fearing he would burst into flames, or melt like those Germans in "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

Re: Christian Tunes?

"But fiddlelearner, God didn’t reveal himself to Moses, just showed him his backside. Said that was all Moses could handle. Then told Moses that was Him in a burning bush."

When Moses found the burning bush is what i was talking about. The bush that burned but was not consumed.

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Well, I have to leave room for doubt, or I destroy free will. Or Free Willy, I forget. Besides, I know skreetch will stand up for me. I’m just as valid as any other idea.

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Haha, i don’t really know what sckreech was talking about, but i think he was simply trying to get across the idea that, If you go by science, reason, and logic, that the idea of a God is just as valid as any.

The only problem with that, this comes from the theory of "relativity."

There is an absolute truth. A Reality. An Actuality. And whether we believe it or not, we will all either reap the rewards, or suffer the consequences, for the decisions we made on this earth.

Re: Christian Tunes?

I thought the theory of relativity was the one that said we were related to apes? Talk about relatives you DON’T want to see dropping by on a Sunday afternoon! 😉

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I thought it was how far we are away from Kevin Bacon

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"I thought the theory of relativity was the one that said we were related to apes? Talk about relatives you DON’T want to see dropping by on a Sunday afternoon!"

Haha! nice. No lol, i’m talking about the one that says "What’s true for you, is true for you. What’s true for me, is true for me."

Re: Christian Tunes?

Relativity? Good players, all of them, but I didn’t like the band much at all.

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Neither did I, Jon, the whole was definitely less than the sum of its parts for my taste…

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"Haha, i don’t really know what sckreech was talking about"

Welcome to the club….

"but i think he was simply trying to get across the idea that, If you go by science, reason, and logic, that the idea of a God is just as valid as any."

Yeah, that’s what he was trying to get across. But of course that’s nonsense, and he seems like a sensible person otherwise, so I dunno.

"The only problem with that, this comes from the theory of "relativity."
There is an absolute truth. A Reality. An Actuality."

Yes, I think that’s an assumption we have to make: that the world is as we see it, and as we observe it with the observational prosthetics we’ve devised, and it doesn’t vary from person to person and from place to place. So what we can reasonably say is true is what we can agree that we observe, and what we claim as explanations have to come in relation to what we agree that we observe. Hence the emphasis on repeatability, and the emphasis on the value of the body of knowledge devised by what we like to call the "scientific method" - not actually a method, more of a shared commitment to intellectual rigor and honesty and a set of tools by which that contributions to the body of knowledge can be evaluated against that yardstick. The body of knowledge, it turns out, is not separable: observations in any one discipline may easily be turned to creating new knowledge in other, seemingly distantly related disciplines, and even fuzzy areas like economics can fold back and provide productive methods to core disciplines like biology.
So, yes, Jerone, I agree that we must accept that there is a reality, and it can be described and known to arbitrary precision. And knowing about it and understanding it is really wonderful, and you can do that, and when you do, trying to get all of your answers out of one book will seem like the silliest thing you ever did.


I think you’ve got a misconception about relativity - two, maybe.
The first is that relativity claims or suggests that there isn’t a unified reality. This is actually not a claim in relativity. Relativity makes a number of claims - and I have to say, I don’t understand the math deeply enough to back this up - but as near as I can understand, the "relativistic" part of it says that observers in different frameworks observe the world differently. The differences are calculable and observable, and they’ve been observed, and that claim is confirmed by mountains of experimental evidence. (There was just a result the other day from a fifty-year satellite study, which found yet another means of testing the hypothesis showed data in agreement with the theory)

The other misconception, perhaps, is that relativity is a "theory", in the sense that it isn’t really real. If you use a cell phone or a GPS device, both of those use Einstein’s equations to correct for deviations between Newtonian mechanics and the actual world. If relativity weren’t really real, your cell phone wouldn’t need to account for relativistic effects. It’s real.

Re: Christian Tunes?

Ok Jon, i may need to grab a dictionary, and probably read your post about 6 more times, to clearly understand what you are saying. But i did notice one thing ——"…trying to get all of your answers outof one book will seem like the silliest thing you ever did…"—— Surely you know it’s not just one big book. But 66 books, written over a course of 6,000+ years. It has everything i need. Enough to study for a life time 🙂

Re: Christian Tunes?

jon:
>>"Now, are both of those claims equally valid. One has not been tested due to practical concerns - it’s very expensive to go and observe, and nobody cares enough to do so. The other has not been tested because it can never be tested.

Are both of those claims equally valid?"

Yes. The fact that the teapot is testable doesn’t tell us anything about whether it exists or not. The only thing that swings the probability is evidence, which you don’t get until you actually perform the tests.

Think about why you accept dark matter as a possibility and not the invisible duck. Both ideas involve having something in the room with you that you cannot detect. That is the unlikely bit, and it is the same in both cases. If you think there is something in the room with you, there is no reason to suppose that it’s not a duck - a duck is as good a guess at what it is as anything else. The problem is that you find the idea of an invisible duck incredible, you can’t believe it is possible, yet you can believe that undetectable matter is possible. There is absolutely nothing ‘scientific’ or rational to distinguish between the two, only what you find plausable or not. The matter is entirely subjective. If you believe that invisible ducks might exist, then there is nothing to suggest that there isn’t one in the room with you.

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By the time I was 16 I’d read way more books than 66. And that’s counting your 66 as just one of them.

Take a balanced view.
Read Genesis, then read Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene.

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Re: Christian Tunes?

llig:
>>"There is reams and reams of evidence that there is NO design at all in natural selection. There is no evidence that there is any kind of design at all in genetic diversity, none. The whole theory was first based on Darwin’s own observations and now rests assuredly on the proof of many further generations of scientists. Darwin put forward his theory and it was TESTABLE (your caps, not mine) and it has been TESTED over and over and over and found to be TRUE"

Waht has been tested and found true is the theory of evolution, not whether it is design driven. As I said, the only way to test that is to find something that could either only happen by design, or could not happen by design. Everything in evolution can be explained either way.

One of the interesting things about all this (or at least, it fascinates me) is that the more science we do, the more we get to understand how the universe works, far from eliminating the possibility of a God, it seems to open up the possibilities:

In evolution, Darwin’s original theory was based on mutation and natural selection. That left very little scope for God to be involved - the only way he could be steering evolution was by causeing the right mutations at the right time. Physical intervention that would leave detectable traces. But now we know that the mechanism isn’t mutation as such, but selective breeding - that leaves scope for a God to steer the process by non-physical means - simply by controlling which individuals choose to mate.

In creation, prior to Big Bang, science’s view of the universe was that it was infinite and eternal. If it had been there for ever it had never been created, so there is no case for a creator. With Big Bang theory we have a universe with a start point. Therefore it has been created by something. As to what that something might be, God is as good a guess as any.

Re: Christian Tunes?

What has been tested and found true is that there is no design in evolution.

But glad to see your still not listening

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I’m not listening because you are not saying anything that you can back up, just stating an opinion.

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"But now we know that the mechanism isn’t mutation as such, but selective breeding - that leaves scope for a God to steer the process by non-physical means - simply by controlling which individuals choose to mate."

This doesn’t make any difference to your argument at all.
Not only is it not true, but it wouldn’t help you if it were.
Darwin’s original model included both mutation and sexual selection as sources of variation, and both are still sources of variation in the current Darwinian consensus model, and both are observed and tested, so the first part of that sentence is complete gibberish.

But suppose that such a change had happened, and it were the case that mutation had been Darwin’s original variator, and and we now knew that it were not so, that the only source of variation was sexual preference. How would that help you at all? How would you find it more plausible to suppose that Zeus manipulates a lady peacock’s preferences to pick bachelor A over bachelor B, instead of supposing that he simply causes a mutation?

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It’s a difficult world where an army of scientists’ proof is considered mere opinion by the closed minded.

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Let’s try this a different way. I’ll ask you two questions:

1. Do you think there is an invisible duck in the room?

2. Is there an invisible duck in the room?

Do you get the same answer to both questions?

Re: Christian Tunes?

I do. You can’t.

How does Odin find it simple to manipulate a platypus’ mental state so it prefers a mate with a more shapely bill and not so simple to manipulate that platypus’s genetic material to simply have a more shapely bill?

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Is it possible to find human fossils in the same strata as dinosaur fossils?

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Jon, before telling me I’m stupid, you maybe ought to read a bit about the history of evolutionary theory:

"Debate about the mechanisms of evolution continued, and Darwin could not explain the source of the heritable variations which would be acted on by natural selection.[29] Like Lamarck, he still thought that parents passed on adaptations acquired during their lifetimes,[30] a theory which was subsequently dubbed Lamarckism.[31] In the 1880s, August Weismann’s experiments indicated that changes from use and disuse were not heritable, and Lamarckism gradually fell from favour.[32][33] More significantly, Darwin could not account for how traits were passed down from generation to generation. In 1865 Gregor Mendel found that traits were inherited in a predictable manner.[34] When Mendel’s work was rediscovered in the 1900s, disagreements over the rate of evolution predicted by early geneticists and biometricians led to a rift between the Mendelian and Darwinian models of evolution."

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But where’s the disagreement now (apart from with the "intelligent design" crowd of course?

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>>"I do. You can’t."

In that case you lack the objectivity to be either a good scientist or a philosopher. Because the second question is entirely objective. The only truthful answer to it is "I don’t know", or more acurately "I have no way of knowing".

>>"How does Odin find it simple to manipulate a platypus’ mental state so it prefers a mate with a more shapely bill and not so simple to manipulate that platypus’s genetic material to simply have a more shapely bill?"

I have no Idea. I’m only trying to show you that the existence of a God is not beyond the realm of possibility. I’m not claiming to know what powers he might or might not have, or how he chooses to use them.

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I’m not saying you’re stupid, I’m saying you’re ill-informed and speaking gibberish. Darwin didn’t have genes. He did have heritablility - that was intrinsic to his theory from the beginning, as your quote establishes. (You’re really not very good at this, are you?)

What your quote establishes is that Darwin didn’t know about genes and DNA, and therefore couldn’t explain how characteristics were inherited. He did know from observation that characteristics were heritable from both parents, and therefore that "selective breeding" (naturally selective breeding, in the Darwinian sense) was a source of the variation in an organism’s descendants.

How would we have the debate between Darwin and Wallace about the role of sexual selection in evolution if Darwin’s theory didn’t include heritability?

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I agree with you fiddlelearner, it is a great Book (or collection of books) that can take a lifetime to study. But if it is the only book you study, and the only source of information you trust, you will end up being quite stunted intellectually. And don’t just take people for granted when they tell you what it means, study enough to draw your own conclusions. While some might argue whether or not God gave us brains, I know that if He did, He did so because He wanted us to use them.

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>>"But where’s the disagreement now (apart from with the "intelligent design" crowd of course?"

That’s the point I’m trying to make - there is no disagreement. If someone wants to believe in God, that doesn’t mean they have to not believe in evolution.

If they believe in the six day creation, you can use evolution to prove them wrong. But if they just believe in God, without defining how he work or what powers he has (or even if they assign him ceretain powers that don’t conflict with scientific evidence), then there is nothing in evolution or anywhere else that can prove them wrong.

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"In that case you lack the objectivity to be either a good scientist or a philosopher. Because the second question is entirely objective. The only truthful answer to it is "I don’t know", or more acurately "I have no way of knowing". "

The answer to the second question is "no" and remains "no" until the presence of a duck in the room is a motivated hypothesis. To admit a hypothesis for consideration, you must have some basis for needing that hypothesis. Until it answers some purpose, until it explains some otherwise unexplained data or simplifies your understanding, there’s no need to even consider it.
I know plenty of scientists, and none of them, I promise you, would answer "I don’t know" if you asked them if there were an undetectable duck in the room. And the only reason you’re insisting they would is because you’ve backed yourself into this corner of trying to defend theism as "possible" while maintaining fig leaf of "objectivity".

"I have no Idea. I’m only trying to show you that the existence of a God is not beyond the realm of possibility. I’m not claiming to know what powers he might or might not have, or how he chooses to use them"

You’re claiming that one of those is more plausible than the other. I want to know why - not only is it balderdash, it is in direct conflict with your avowed principle that "everything is equally likely". I don’t care about what powers you ascribe to whichever deity you favor today, I want to know why one of those actions is more plausible to you than the other. And don’t try to say it’s not, you just said it was. Answer the bloody question.

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"I agree with you fiddlelearner, it is a great Book (or collection of books) that can take a lifetime to study. But if it is the only book you study, and the only source of information you trust, you will end up being quite stunted intellectually. And don’t just take people for granted when they tell you what it means, study enough to draw your own conclusions. While some might argue whether or not God gave us brains, I know that if He did, He did so because He wanted us to use them"


QFT.
The most sensible thing anyone’s said yet.
If God gave you eyes to see, it seems to me blasphemy to close them, and not see. And he gave you plenty to see.

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When early science looked at "the eye" they found it impossible to imagine that such a device could have just happened without design. So they held it up as a fine example of design and gave god a reason to exist. But we now know that the eye did indeed just happen, with no design. So just like your invisible duck, there is no motivation for the god hypothesis. Which means it need not be considered.

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‘Please keep the discussions to the subject of Trad Irish Music’…

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OK …

When early diddlers looked at diddley music they found it impossible to imagine that such stuff could have just happened without design. So they held it up as a fine example of design and gave Matt Malloy a reason to exist. But we now know that diddley did indeed just happen, with no design. So just like your invisible god, there is no motivation for the Matt Malloy hypothesis. Which is a shame because I still believe in him.

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Thank you! I’m sure our man in Brighton will be well pleased!

Re: Christian Tunes?

Do you think he’ll delete the whole thread but just leave my last post?

Posted .

Re: Christian Tunes?

Just expect the email called ‘Someone at the Session’!

Re: Christian Tunes?

The Giant Flying Spaghetti Monster created Irish music (and of course, the rest of the universe).

The evidence? The uilleann pipes. They are far more sensible if you imagine playing them with hundreds of noodley appendages.

Back on topic. Now we return to your regularly scheduled row.

If screech is right, then the fact that there isn’t any evidence that the GFSM doesn’t exist means that you can’t in fact prove his non-existence, so therefore he might exist. Is that about right?

The ITM Bible…

And at that time there were wicked and un-godly luthiers working in the village. What is that thing; that devilish idol that you make? asked the faithful. And the luthiers said, Lo, it is a new way to praise the music. As well as praising with clanging utensils and goatskin drums, now we can employ this new wonderous box-like invention.
Yea verilly, the faithful were curious and tempted by the new six string devil. They worshiped it above and beyond the true faith and party-ed, like you know, like right into the night and stuff.

To be continued…(perhaps!)

Re: Christian Tunes?

Geeze, skreetch…are you still really holding to "equal probability?" It is in no way close-minded to not hold all possibilities equal. The closer a hypothesis is to known proofs, the more likely it is to be true. The further from known truths, the less likely. Probability is not equal for all hypothesis. This is not hard. The more extraordinary the hypothesis , the greater the need for extraordinary proofs. What in that do you have a problem with?

Re: Christian Tunes?

Does it completely negate the possibility that these extraordinary claims are false? Not at all. But this is not the same as having an equal chance of being real.

Re: Christian Tunes?

Come to think of it, pipes do have kind of resemblance to a Lovecraftian creature…

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TaoCat - do you suppose the problem is one of differing conceptions of "truth"? Suppose we were to distinguish between L-Truth and S-Truth, where L-Truth would mean something like "logically valid" - only propositions which are necessary consequences of the premises would qualify. This is useless in the physical sciences, since we’re precisely engaged in trying to determine the premises, but it’s fine in logic, where we can state something like the Mortal Philosopher syllogism, and declare that "Socrates is mortal" is L-True, in terms of that logical system.
On the other hand, S-Truth would be the sort of truth we’re looking for in the sciences. How best do we capture that? I’m actually a bit occupied at the moment, so this won’t be right, but for a rough draft we might say that hypothesis is S-True if it is a) a hypothesis and b) consistent with the body of S-True hypotheses and c) consistent with observed evidence.
Okay, so what’s a hypothesis? A hypothesis is a statement generalizing from a set of observed phenomena which makes testable predictions about as-yet unobserved phenomena.

That seems like it’s got some holes in it, but I think you get the idea, as I think skreech will miss it. Our obstinate friend seems stuck on the idea that L-Truth is the standard for evaluating statements about the world, which is leading him into all sorts of tangles.

Would this explain the observed behavior?
Agh. Back to work…

Re: Christian Tunes?

So that’s what the Call of Cuthulu sounds like.

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Well, it is all semantics in the end, but skreetch was arguing not from a philosophical logic point of view, but from a scientific point of view. But, as I was trying to point out, his premise doesn’t work under any stable system. Even the simple "all equally valid.." geeze, that means that if I declare I’m god, it is equally valid to the proposition that I’m not god. As one cannot be a "little bit god," that means according to skreetchian logic/philosophy/science, there’s a fifty-fifty chance I’m god. I like those odds. And before he states that godhood is testable, remember that I may just not want to reveal myself.
I cannot help but think it must be hard to live in a world of equally weighted probabilities. Especially if one plays poker.

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Oh, and to those that think I’m actually declaring my divinity, please rest assured I am only carrying skreetch’s argument to its somewhat sketchy conclusion.

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" cannot help but think it must be hard to live in a world of equally weighted probabilities. Especially if one plays poker."

Oh, don’t play poker with him.

"How can you prove that I don’t have a full house? Isn’t it equally possible that you’re hallucinating this pair of jacks?"

Re: Christian Tunes?

>>"Well, it is all semantics in the end, but skreetch was arguing not from a philosophical logic point of view, but from a scientific point of view. But, as I was trying to point out, his premise doesn’t work under any stable system. Even the simple "all equally valid.."

No, I’m not arguing from a scientific point of view. I’m tryinging to show jon that it is a purely philosophical question, which science cannot answer.

Lets take you claim to be God.

What is the objective probability that you are God? It’s unknown.

What is the objective probability you are not God? Its unknown.

Two unknowns, how can you tell which is 1 and which is 0? The only conclusion I can come to logically from that alone is that I cannnot know whether you are God or not, so it remains possible that you are God.

Now let’s look at the subjective probability. Whether I THINK you are likely to be God. I can do some testing here - I can ask you where you got that information. If you say "I made it up", I can assume that you are not a God. The subjective probability goes to zero (but interestingly the objective probability remains unchange - unknown - so there is still the possibility that you are a God, but don’t know it).

But suppose you give a credible explanation of how you know you are God. Now I’m faced with a dilema. If I think you are a reliable source, and if I find your explanation plausable, then the subjective probability goes up - it looks more likely to me that you are a God. If I think you are just a nutter, then the subjective probability goes down - I think that it is very unlikely that you are God. But in either case, the objective probability, the probability that you actually are a God remains the same - unknown.

So now we substitute Jesus for you, and find that the same thing happens - if I think the source of information - the bible or whatever - is reliable, the subjective probability goes up, I think it likely that Jesus was God. If I think that the source is unreliable or fiction, the subjective probability goes down. I think it unlikely that Jesus was God. But it is only the subjective probability - what I THINK is most likely that changes. The objective probability, the probability that you ARE God remains the same - unknown.

The same thing happens if you are given two different hypotheses with no evidence. If you trust the source you accept that the hypothesis is may be true. If you don’t trust the source you assume the likelihood of it being true is small or non-existant. The reality is that the objective probability of either being true is still unknown.

That is why jon is able to accept the hypothesis of dark matter as possible true, but not the hypothesis of God, without being able to give any explanation of what the difference is. It is simply that he trusts the source of one, and not the other.

Re: Christian Tunes?

Wait, I thought that all untested, untestable variables had the same weight. The reality of the untested is still unknown, sure. Unequal? I don’t think so.
You can go on all you like about subjective sources, but the fact remains that science proceeds largely on the basis that some hypothesis simply have so little in relation with what is proven that they are given little to no credence. Otherwise, you’d have to test every possible variable in every possible scenario before you believe something to be factual.
However nice you make it sound, it just don’t work that way. Nor should it. When you give some people an "well, it might be true" out they take it where it should not go. Cults, crazies and the like. Science works like building blocks, not like shooting darts blindfolded.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_skepticism

Re: Christian Tunes?

What you describe as a perfect "unknown" with completely equal outcomes can only exist if there is no a priori knowledge regarding the subject.

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"Jon, before telling me I’m stupid, you maybe ought to read a bit about the history of evolutionary theory:"

Quoting by pasting a chunk from Wiki (without even removing the reference numbers) and not citing the source is probably not the most impressive way to debate. Do carry on though…..

Re: Christian Tunes?

It’s not really a debate, Weejie. Skreetch asserts that because something MAY be true, it is equally valid with something that is LIKELY to be true. I am now preparing a real estate deal that skreetch should find tempting.

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>>"Wait, I thought that all untested, untestable variables had the same weight. The reality of the untested is still unknown, sure. Unequal? I don’t think so."

OK, You’ve got two untested opposing hypotheses, A & B. One is true, so by implication the other must be false. The objective probability of one is 1, the objective probability of the other is zero. But we don’t know which one is which. Their objective probabilities are unknown. Now, would you like to tell me which one is most likely to be true?

Re: Christian Tunes?

" I am now preparing a real estate deal that skreetch should find tempting. "

Should, may, or is likely to find tempting?

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>>"You can go on all you like about subjective sources, but the fact remains that science proceeds largely on the basis that some hypothesis simply have so little in relation with what is proven that they are given little to no credence."

That’s right, you put more faith in your trusted sources - accepted wisdom. But every now and then something comes along to show that accepted wisdom is wrong - we suddenly realise that the earth goes round the sun.

If you trust people who say there is no God, and don’t regard the bible as a reliable source, then you are absolutely right to THINK that God doesn’t exist. I happen to think that way myself. But it doesn’t change the fact that the objective probability is still unknown. But if someone else has learned from what they regard as a reliable source that God does exist, then you can’t tell them they are wrong - the probability that God exists is still undefined.

Science doesn’t come into it, because there is nothing in the universe you could put your finger on and say "this could not happen if there was a God" or "this could only happen if there was a God.". If there was something like that it would define the objective probability - we would know which was the one and which was the zero.

But as it is we have a two horse race. One horse is going to win, the other isn’t. If someone gives you a tip, it doesn’t change which horse is going to win, but it might well change your perception of which horse is most likely to win - the subjective probability.

Re: Christian Tunes?

>>"Quoting by pasting a chunk from Wiki (without even removing the reference numbers) and not citing the source is probably not the most impressive way to debate. Do carry on though….."

It served its purpose. It wasn’t part of the main debate, simply showing jon that he had his historical facts wrong on a side issue. If you don’t want to accept it though, feel free to google for yourself, or even read Origin of Species". You’ll find the the same answer - that Darwin did not understand the importance of selective breeding. While you’re at it, google ‘darwin’s finches’. You’ll discover that most of our current knowledge on that subject is only a few years old.

Re: Christian Tunes?

" It wasn’t part of the main debate, simply showing jon that he had his historical facts wrong on a side issue."

Well, arguably it didn’t. Wiki can be quite reliable when an article is well referenced, but at the best of times, it cannot be absolutely relied upon to present ‘facts’. I quote wiki myself from time to time, but, unless you cite the source of the article, references cannot be followed up and it becomes a weak argument.

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"feel free to google for yourself, "

I have read Origin of the Species. I gave up arguing ‘God v no God’ long ago.

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Ok, now all i want to know is why are ya’ll arguing? Does this discussion have some type of agreement point?

Re: Christian Tunes?

fiddlelearner, you are young, aren’t you? This discussion traces its roots back for thousands of years. And you think some sort of agreement will be reached here on the Mustard Board? That would be a sign of divine intervention!!! 😉

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>>"Ok, now all i want to know is why are ya’ll arguing? "

You started it.

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>>"Well, arguably it didn’t. Wiki can be quite reliable when an article is well referenced, but at the best of times, it cannot be absolutely relied upon to present ‘facts’. I quote wiki myself from time to time, but, unless you cite the source of the article, references cannot be followed up and it becomes a weak argument"

Well if you don’t agree with it you can find a website that contradicts it, and we’ll have ourselves a googling competition.

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"You started it."
Hey now, i didn’t mean to. I just asked a question lol.

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"Well, arguably it didn’t."

Absolutely it didn’t. It was posted to contradict my assertion that "Darwin’s original model included both mutation and sexual selection as sources of variation, and both are still sources of variation in the current Darwinian consensus model"

And, if you read the quote, it says

"Darwin could not explain the source of the heritable variations which would be acted on by natural selection…. More significantly, Darwin could not account for how traits were passed down from generation to generation"

Ergo, there were heritable variations to be acted upon by natural selection. Ergo, Darwin’s model included both mutation and sexual selection, ergo, this quote supports what it was meant to contradict.

And of course, anyone familiar with the history of the subject will be aware that mutation was by no means the primary generator of variation for Darwin or Wallace - further reading even in that wikipedia article will make that obvious.

I don’t know where you get the idea that Darwin didn’t think sexual selection was important, but you’re greatly mistaken on that count, among many. Perhaps you’ve been listening to too many creationists - certainly sounds like it, considering that you still think that Paley’s analogy is sound. In any case, it’s not so, and your own evidence establishes that.

(I don’t know if you are intentionally using the term "selective breeding" to refer to mate selection by various organisms, but the usual term is in fact "sexual selection" - "selective breeding" is in fact the opposite of that… "selective breeding", read literally, of course has nothing to do with Darwinian evolution by natural selection, then or now)

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"Well if you don’t agree with it you can find a website that contradicts it, and we’ll have ourselves a googling competition"

Screech, you’re the one who doesn’t agree with it, and it’s your quote!

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"No, I’m not arguing from a scientific point of view. I’m tryinging to show jon that it is a purely philosophical question, which science cannot answer."

If you are talking about the claim that some entity has a material effect on the world, you’re talking about a claim which can be settled by observation, and that is not a purely philosophical question.

And do you intend to answer the question about why you think that the claim that Baal can twiddle a guinea pig’s sexual preferences is more likely than the claim that he can twiddle its genes?
Again, you make a claim, then you dodge around it, and eventually you’ll say you didn’t say it. Why say anything, if this is your attitufde towards truth? If you simply don’t care what you say, and you’ll say anything as long as it sounds good at the time, why do you bother to open your mouth?

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"That’s right, you put more faith in your trusted sources - accepted wisdom. But every now and then something comes along to show that accepted wisdom is wrong - we suddenly realise that the earth goes round the sun."
That’s not the same as your "equally valid" premise. Let me see if I have this straight: you said that all untested and untestable hypothesis have equal weight. Do you still hold to that, yes or no? One does not have to absolutely disprove an idea before it becomes very unlikely that it is provable, yes or no?
This isn’t the "well, you can’t disprove god" thing either. You stated very clearly that you believed all probabilities were in fact, equal. Do you still hold to that?

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I think both of you should let it go. It’s over. Please, for your own sakes, get on with your lives!

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Oh, and this isn’t really "subjective reality" either. You can’t have a weight of evidence and then declare that all probabilities are equal. Well, you can, but you’re wrong. We can say "TaoCat = T and Brendan Power = B, and either has an equal probability of being a great harmonica player." While T is unknown, it’s likely unknown for a reason. They are not equally likely. Is there a chance that T = Better Player, but it is by no means likely. There is a weight of evidence in favor of B. Please tell me Me you understand how this works. I’ve lost enough faith in humanity today.

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Where is Jeremy. I wouldn’t be offended if he got rid of this thread. This is insanity *Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.*

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Jerone, surely you don’t think this is all that’s going on in anybody’s life? When you’re working at a computer all day - and for me, into the night, as well - a good argument is a welcome distraction.

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Easy there, fiddlelearner. It will be OK. This is how ideas are made, ground out, tempered and taken to battle. Ideas need to be tested, knowledge questioned and assumptions challenged. It is how we grow mentally. Or just take the urine, so to speak.

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It doesn’t look like anyone is growing to me :/ I mean, i could only imagine how long it takes to bring to the front of your brains all of that information, and then type it all out. It looks time consuming. I’d rather spend my time listening to music. And Jon. I guess we all need a little entertainment every now and then aye? -sigh- Carry on then.

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Actually, it probably takes me less time to type any of these posts than it takes you to read it. I’m a fast typist. 🙂

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Haha, nice 🙂 Hey! I always wanted to know this. Is the ultimate goal of typing, to be able to type faster than a person can speak at normal rate?

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The goal of typing, I think, is to get your ideas from your head onto the paper or the screen. If you do it long enough, you’ll probably do it pretty fast, especially if you develop good habits early on. I learned touch-typing when I was in middle school, and I’ve been on computers more or less constantly ever since.
Add to that the fact that I make my living as a writer, and I’ve learned to type about as fast as I can think.

In fact, when I do any writing that I really care about, I make a draft in pen on a legal pad. Otherwise, I tend to get ahead of myself, and I have to backtrack.

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Sorry, i meant typing as a skill, not so much why you’re typing.

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So did I. 🙂
Frankly, I never spent a lot of time trying to type fast, but as I say, by the time I’d been ten years at it, I had a fair knack for it.

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This thread can’t be dead. I’m still waiting for my comeuppance…

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All good times come to an end. But i’m sure i will, again, post something "controversial." Unintentionally though. I didn’t think that this would come to… this.

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Oh, fiddlelearner, this is nothing. When the dust settles there is just this fifty-fifty chance we’ve achieved something. Now at least I know to label all my untested variables "equal," which I didn’t know before. As I type this, I’m redoing my financial portfolio based on this premise. What could go wrong?

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I wanna know why it’s so hard to find slow solo fiddle music -.-

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Slow is a relative term. Many of my relatives are slow.

Re: Christian Tunes?

Largo type slow.

Re: Christian Tunes?

Hi Jerone - here’s a couple of Scottish slow airs:
Lament For The Death Of The Rev. Archie Beaton https://thesession.org/tunes/8587
Niel Gow’s Lament For His Second Wife: https://thesession.org/tunes/1892 (not a jig, and his second wife was his fiddle)
You might find the notation of Scottish slow airs quite accessible as you are a music reader. Good luck!

Re: Christian Tunes?

>>"I don’t know where you get the idea that Darwin didn’t think sexual selection was important, but you’re greatly mistaken on that count, among many. Perhaps you’ve been listening to too many creationists - certainly sounds like it, considering that you still think that Paley’s analogy is sound. In any case, it’s not so, and your own evidence establishes that."

It was an aside to the main debate that I just happened to mention in passing, but since you are interested I’ll explain it more fully.

Darwin did not understand the implications of selective breeding. He had no knowledge of genetics, and thought that aquired characteristics were hereditary. If a giraffe stretched it’s neck to reach high branches, then its offspring would be born with long necks. But that is really here nor there. The real point is that even though we have know that selective breeding was involved in evolution for a very long time, we hadn’t fully appreciated some of its effects on the model. That knowledge only came to light a few years ago, from a study of Darwin’s Finches in the Galapigos.

Until recently - certainly when I was at school a few decades ago, we assumed that evolution was a slow process, taking place over a number of generations. In terms of the God hypothesis that left a potential ‘testability gap’ - somewhere where the god-driven and goddless models make different predictions. If you think back to my analogy of computers evolving by design, or the production line that makes mistakes, you’ll realise that although both provide possible account of how the computer came to be, there is a testable difference - if design was involved you would expect the process to run very much faster than if it was driven by errors. The only problem was we couldn’t actually test it, because we didn’t know what constituted ‘fast’ and ‘slow’.

But it appeared to be a slow process - it had taken millions of years to reach our current state. Which appears to support the godless hypothesis.

But that project on the Galapigos has shown that evolution can take place very fast - a species can change in the space of two generations. That seems more in keeping with the design driven hypothesis, and certainly closes the testability gap, meaning that the rate of change can’t be used as a test of the God hypothesis. From a model that suggested God was unlikely, we’ve moved to one that makes no prediction.

Re: Christian Tunes?

"… and his second wife was his fiddle"

A bit of scientific testing needed on that one.

It could be in the "Gringo the Rashes" and " The Rose of Allandale was a boat" department. [Me of little faith].

Re: Christian Tunes?

Just to be nitpicky, it’s Galapagos.

To be even more nitpicky, it wasn’t Darwin who suggested that "if a giraffe stretched it’s neck to reach high branches, then its offspring would be born with long necks." That’s a suggestion loosely based on the theory of a guy named Jean Baptiste Lamarck, who suggested that organisms developed physical traits through the use or disuse of various organs or other characteristics. This was pre-Darwin and had nothing to do with natural selection, which Darwin did in fact ascribe to sexual selection and inherited traits.

Carry on.

Re: Christian Tunes?

++ … and his second wife was his fiddle
+ A bit of scientific testing needed on that one.

Yup. The original publication by Nathaniel Gow says it was just his wife.

It is a rather weird tune though. It’s a not very modified version of the Irish tune "Kitty Tyrrell" a.k.a. "The lambs on the green hills". And the collection where the Gows first published it *includes* "Kitty Tyrrell" as well. What kind of statement does that make?

There are lots of slow Scottish fiddle tunes in Simon Fraser’s collection.

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" What kind of statement does that make?"

That plagiarism was easy to get away with back then, Jack?

Incidentally, I knew the song ‘The Lambs on the Green Hills’ long before I first heard Gow’s Lament and on first hearing the latter, wondered what was going on.

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Yes I think the idea that the fiddle was his wife was just someone’s whimsical suggestion in the mists of time. However the story of his fiddle makes a good read quoted here under the heading Niel Gow’s fiddle: http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/NI.htm
It was a Gasparo da Salo.

Re: Christian Tunes?

TaoCat:
>>"Let me see if I have this straight: you said that all untested and untestable hypothesis have equal weight. Do you still hold to that, yes or no? One does not have to absolutely disprove an idea before it becomes very unlikely that it is provable, yes or no?
This isn’t the "well, you can’t disprove god" thing either. You stated very clearly that you believed all probabilities were in fact, equal. Do you still hold to that?"

Essentially yes. And no. Your analysis of what I’m saying isn’t specific enough, because you have removed the distinction between subjective and objective probability.

Looking at the objective probability, if we have two opposing hypotheses, One must be true and false, so the objective probabilities are one and zero. So if that’s what you were asking about, then the answer to your question is no. But we don’t know which one has probability 1 and which has probability 0, so their individual probabilities are unknown.

So we’re faced with two hypotheses each with unknown probability, and we need to decide which we think is most likely to be true. With no knowledge, the only logical thing we can do here is ASSUME that each is as likely to be true as the other. But be very clear, what we are talking about here is subjective probability - what we PERCEIVE the probability to be. So if that is what you are asking about, the answer to your question is "yes".

That is always the starting point when you look at a new pair of Hypotheses, with no prior knowledge. The objective probability is unknown, and the subjective probability of each is 0.5. Then we try to test the hypotheses. We might find definite proof that one is true. In that case the objective probability ceases to be unknown, so we no longer need to make the assumption that each is equally likely. Our subjective probability moves from .5:.5 to 1:0.

But what happens if we don’t find that indisputable proof, but do find evidence that seems to support one idea or the other. Obviously if you find evidence that supports idea A, your subjective probability is going to swing that way. But it is vital to realise that it is only your subjective probability that changes. The objective probability remains unknown. And also to remember that subjective probability is subjective - it is entirely personal. If I look at the same evidence but give it less credence, my subjective probability won’t swing as far as yours.

So we both look at all the evidence, you give much more credence to the evidence that supports idea A, I give more credence to that which supports idea B. At the end of the day our subjective probabilities are totally opposed. You see maybe a .9 probability that A is true- you’ll be totally convinced that that is the right answer, I might see a .8 probability that B is true, and I’ll be absolutely convinced that that is the right answer. (and if this is what you were asking about, then the answer to your question is "no", at this point my subjective probability is a long way from .5:.5).

We can’t both be right, so who has got it wrong? We have absolutely no way of telling. Because the objective probability is still unknown, and our subjective probabilities don’t depend on on the evidence (we’ve both looked at exactly the same evidence) but ONLY on the level of credence we attach to each piece of evidence.

So what happens when we substitute God/no God for A &B? You can look at all the evidence (evolution, the bible, Big Bang theory, the Quo-ran, everything) decide which bits you find plausible or not and become totally convinced that there is no God. Someone else can look at exactly the same evidence and become totally convinced that there must be a God.
You can say that you have an absolute belief that there is no God, someone else can have an absolute belief that there is. I don’t have a problem with either of those stances. You are both talking about your personal subjective probability. The objective probability is still unknown, so we have no idea which view is right.

But if someone claims that they KNOW that God does not exist, and that anyone who doesn’t share their belief is ‘stupid’ or ‘unscientific’ I have a huge problem with that, because what they are actually saying is that the objective probability is no longer unknown.

And that has been the gist of my argument throughout this thread. I’m not arguing that there is a God, simply pointing out that there is absolutely nothing in science that can tell us whether there is a God or not. So however strongly the evidence might convince you that there is no God, there is absolutely nothing in science (or anywhere else) that can prove your viewpoint is right, so to claim that there is is completely irrational and ‘unscientific’.

Re: Christian Tunes?

TSS:
>>To be even more nitpicky, it wasn’t Darwin who suggested that "if a giraffe stretched it’s neck to reach high branches, then its offspring would be born with long necks."

To be even more nitpicky still, I didn’t say he suggested it, I said he believed it.

Re: Christian Tunes?

I’ll tell you (again) exactly why the objective probability that there is no god far outweighs the objective probability that there is a god. (So much so that we reach a state probability theorists call "equal to zero" - it means that the chance is so small that we can effectively call it zero, like dna evidence in a court)

It’s because science (i.e., the process of observing … objectively observing, see the connection?) has for ever been chipping away at all the things that religions have ever taught. Because of science, the concept of god has been steadily reduced from an angry and vengeful miracle wielding interventionist, through being a relatively benign miracle wielding interventionist and teacher of altruism, through being a mere pig breeder, to where we are now. Which is, at best, an impotent irrelevance.

It’s because even though science in the past has created theories that attempt objectively to support the god hypotheses, all of these theories have been proven wrong. (for example, Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene was the final nail in the coffin of the church’s self claimed monopoly on altruism).

It’s because, despite all of science’s best efforts of the past to support god, it has found that it cannot.

It’s because, as the god hypotheses continues its retreat, this time behind it’s latest argument of "you can’t prove anything that’s untestable", and becomes ever more inexorably irrelevant, science continues to move ever forward in it’s objective ability to not only explain stuff, but to predict stuff that will be explained later.



Screech’s argument is a nasty one. I liken it to a current trend in America where jurors with any knowledge of science or mathematics chosen to serve in trials where dna evidence is involved are finding themselves being excused by defence lawyers before the start of the trial. The reason is so that when the dna evidence is presented by the prosecution witness, invariably a scientist, the defence lawyer then can challenge the evidence in his cross examination. He gets the scientist to admit that even though the probability that the defendant is guilty is 25 million to one, there is still a chance that he’s innocent, all be it one in 25 million. The defence lawyer then turns to the jury and says that even the clever scientist the prosecution have hired admits that there is doubt in the defendant’s guilt. And because there is no-one on the jury who understands the ridiculousness of this argument, guilty people are being found innocent.

Posted .

Re: Christian Tunes?

"He had no knowledge of genetics, and thought that aquired characteristics were hereditary. If a giraffe stretched it’s neck to reach high branches, then its offspring would be born with long necks. But that is really here nor there. The real point is that even though we have know that selective breeding was involved in evolution for a very long time, we hadn’t fully appreciated some of its effects on the model."

Interesting claims. Some comments:

a) you are the only person who I’ve ever heard suggesting that Darwin believed in a Lamarckian model, so I was intrigued. I followed up the source cited in that Wikipedia article, and found this, from Darwin:

"From the facts alluded to in the first chapter, I think there can be no doubt that use in our domestic animals has strengthened and enlarged certain parts, and disuse diminished them; and that such modifications are inherited."

http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?viewtype=text&itemID=F391&pageseq=136


This sentence certainly looks like it could support that claim, but read in context, it does not actually seem to. Reading the entire quote, which you ought to do, it is pretty clear that he is speaking of loss over generations, and there is no suggestion of a Lamarckian model whatsoever. In fact he is agnostic here on the mechanism by which the change occurs, only saying that it occurs gradually and the changes are inherited. In a sense, I suppose it’s consistent with a Lamarckian approach, but that’s far from saying it supports the claim that "Darwin shared Lamarck’s beliefs". So is there a passage from Darwin that actually supports that idea?
If not, I think we’ll need to make an edit to the article, because that claim is not supported by the evidence offered.

b)I am perfectly willing, however, to entertain the hypothesis that Darwin believed (either at some point or until his death) that acquired characteristics could be inherited, because I don’t see that it makes much difference to the model of evolution by natural selection. Darwinian evolution is based on the notion of variation across generations, and the preservation in the genome of just those traits found in animals which reproduce. While it turns out not to be actually true, Lamarckian inheritance in itself would not cause a problem for that model.

c) The fact that Darwin didn’t know the mechanism by which traits were inherited is not at all surprising or interesting.

d) You continue to use the term "selective breeding". As I’ve said, this is not the term usually used to refer to the selection of a mate by an organism - that would be "sexual selection" - and it suggests a conscious outside selector. Since a conscious outside selector is not by any means compatible with the Darwinian model, so your use of the term "selective breeding" is at best confusing.
Could you please clarify just what it is you mean by the term, so we can be sure we’re talking about the same thing?

Re: Christian Tunes?

Jon:
>>"You continue to use the term "selective breeding". As I’ve said, this is not the term usually used to refer to the selection of a mate by an organism - that would be "sexual selection" - and it suggests a conscious outside selector. Since a conscious outside selector is not by any means compatible with the Darwinian model, so your use of the term "selective breeding" is at best confusing.
Could you please clarify just what it is you mean by the term, so we can be sure we’re talking about the same thing?"

Yes, we are talking about the same thing.

Why is an outside selector incompatible with thew Darwinian model?

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You’re still wrong. Darwin *didn’t* believe in the Lamarckian model. He credited Lamarck for being one of the first people to uphold the doctrine in published work that "all species, including man, are descended from other species. He first did the eminent service of arousing attention to the probability of all change in the organic as well as inorganic world being the result of law, and not miraculous interposition" (Darwin, 1859, 527). However, Darwin did not agree with him that the way species acquired traits was through use and disuse, "the direct action of the physical condition of life" (528).

Darwin’s theory of natural selection was that individual organisms vary, from birth, not through the use or disuse of traits throughout their lifetime, and traits which serve the organisms well in its environment and enable it to reproduce more get passed onto its offspring. Obviously Darwin did not know the exact mechanism by which traits were passed onto offspring, as he did not yet have the model of genes and DNA. But lets not do the Victorians a disservice. While DNA had not yet been discovered, they had nevertheless developed a paradigm of heritability and knew traits could were passed from one generation to another.

Re: Christian Tunes?

Michael:
>>"I’ll tell you (again) exactly why the objective probability that there is no god far outweighs the objective probability that there is a god. (So much so that we reach a state probability theorists call "equal to zero" - it means that the chance is so small that we can effectively call it zero, like dna evidence in a court)"

You should be able to spot the error there. You can’t have an objective probability that is ‘nearly zero’. God either exists or he doesn’t so the probability is either one or zero. And if we have no proof then we can’t tell which. What you are actually talking about is still your subjective probability - you’ve collected so much evidence that you’re almost certain you know which is the one and which is the zero. But it is still only evidence, not proof, so the objective probability remains unknown.

I know it’s incredibly counter-intuitive, particularly when you apply it to something like the spaghetti monster or jon’s invisible duck. You would think that if you have a mess of evidence that all seems to indicate that something is true, and no evidence that you can see that points to it being false, then you can assume it’s true, wouldn’t you. But then when you realise that someone else can look at all the same evidence and come to the opposite conclusion, you should realise that something is wrong. The objective probability is….well… objective. It has to remain constant, no matter who is testing the evidence. The only thing that can stop the objective probability being ‘unknown’ is hard proof.

I’ve been through this argument several times now, each time stating exactly the same thing, but couched in the different languages of common logic, analogy and probability theory. Like the Monty Hall problem, it is so counter-intuitive that if you don’t ‘get it’ the first time you hear it (or the first time you hear it expressed in a way that you are familiar with) then you probably never will. But you can take my posts to a philosopher, a logician or a statistician (the probability explanation is probably the easiest to nail, because it is the most succinct) and they’ll tell you that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the logic. You really can’t ever prove that the spaghetti monster doesn’t exist.

So when TSS comes along and tells you that His Noodley Eminence is hovering in the sky above us, you can tell her that you find that impossible to believe. You can tell her you think she is a fool to believe something that you can see is so improbable. But what you can’t ever do is say that ‘science’ proves her wrong. Science has no opinion on the matter. The objective probability that he is there remains…unknown.

Re: Christian Tunes?

"Yes, we are talking about the same thing"

Then you’re wrong on the history - wrong twice, if Emily is to be believed on the Lamarckian claim. Darwin certainly held that sexual selection in some form was a critical mechanism of his model.
Furthermore, if you were right that Darwin held to a Lamarckian mechanism, and also that he disallowed or downplayed sexual selection, it would still not help you one iota. You would still need to give some account of why it is more plausible that the Spirit of Thomas Jefferson (who, according to some was elevated at his death to the status of a deity just to annoy him, but has since taken to the role and loves designing new organisms) would find it easier to manipulate an organism’s mental state than to manipulate its gene plasm.

This explanation would be more difficult for you, since you hold, at least some of the time, to the firm and unwavering conviction that all hypotheses are either disproven or equally likely. I’m not sure how you can consistently hold that one hypothesis is more plausible than another, neither of them being disproven, but give it a go. It’ll be fun to watch.

Re: Christian Tunes?

"That is always the starting point when you look at a new pair of Hypotheses, with no prior knowledge. The objective probability is unknown, and the subjective probability of each is 0.5. Then we try to test the hypotheses. We might find definite proof that one is true. In that case the objective probability ceases to be unknown, so we no longer need to make the assumption that each is equally likely. Our subjective probability moves from .5:.5 to 1:0. "

What y’all are dancing around still assumes that knowledge is lacking, or that it is selectively looked at. Dude, that is so wrong. Evidence isn’t evidence because it matches my expectations, it is simply evidence. Can science disprove god? Nope. Can it disprove biblical creation, eliminate the need for the god hypothesis in evolution?
Science does have an opinion on the matter. To say scientists regard all probabilities as equally weighted in demonstrably false. Stating coyly that science can’t disprove god is true. Implying that it one only cherry-picks evidence to look at and therefore finds a conclusion most pleasing to them is disingenuous at best. It implies a level of intellectual dishonesty that I find appalling.
So let’s try this again. Scientific evidence is just that, evidence. It doesn’t matter if you believe in it or not, it is still evidence. Not all evidence is equal. Your earlier bit about untested variable being equally valid is absolute rubbish. They cannot be equal unless you assume that actual knowledge is different for different beliefs. This is not only counter-intuitive, but absolute logical rubbish. Only in a pure state of ignorance of all evidence can all points of evidence equally likely.
Once again, science cannot disprove god, unicorns, bigfoot or even, yes, intelligent design. This does not make any of these as likely as theories that have sound science behind them.

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And I’m familiar with philosophies logic 101. This is not a pure state hypothesis. I am afraid the waters have been muddied. There is a preponderance of evidence already, and while it doesn’t at all disprove god, it does state that evolution seems to do just fine without her.

Re: Christian Tunes?

Man, this reminds me of my undergraduate days. Somebody would take an intro to logic class, get stoned and go on about god being in all of us, or making our own realities or some other nonsense. You try to gently bring them down, but no, they are convinced they must be right because their vision is just so very lovely. It doesn’t seem to matter that their little variables have nothing to do with the real world.

Re: Christian Tunes?

"It implies a level of intellectual dishonesty that I find appalling."

And this is why I’ve kept on this thread. I know from past communication that I’m not talking to a fool, and I don’t believe that I’m talking to someone who is dishonest. And yet, I’m talking to someone who is making the most profound errors in logic and inference, mangling historical facts, and persistently and seemingly intentionally misrepresenting the accepted view of what scientific inquiry is about.

If I thought I were talking to a dishonest idiot, I would have given up a long time ago. How does a smart and otherwise rational person assert these things, and ignore everything that plainly contradicts his beloved post-modern fairy world? That’s the fascinating thing.

Re: Christian Tunes?

It is fascinating. But it is a little sad how one moment he insists that all untested, untestable are equal, but then seems to admit that is without prior evidence, without actually admitting that there must be prior evidence…I don’t think he’s being entirely upfront, or that he’s explained his novel "equal hypotheses" exist in a world with a big ol’ mound of evidence. Although it is kind of funny how he thinks he’s just trying to dumb it down for us.

Re: Christian Tunes?

The Origin of the Species has a whole subsection on sexual selection.

Some useful quotes from that section:

"This depends, not on a struggle for existence, but on a struggle between the males for possession of the females; the result is not death to the unsuccessful competitor, but few or no offspring…Generally, the most vigorous males, those which are best fitted for their place in nature, will leave most progeny." (101)

"I can see no good reason to doubt that female birds, by selecting, during thousands of generations, the most melodious or beautiful males, according to their standard of beauty, might produce a marked effect." (103)

"Individual males have had, in successive generations, some slight advantage over other males, in their weapons, means of defence, or charms; and have transmitted these advantages to their offspring." (103)

Re: Christian Tunes?

y’all are still going at this?
sheesh.
to each their own.

There is nothing in a tune that makes it "christian."
I remember back in my jesusfreak days (late 70’s) I had friends (not really friends) that "crucified" Hotel California, by nailing it to a wall.
I disagreed with them mightily about their "theology" and as such, they were convinced I was possessed by demons. Yes. They kidnapped me and put me through their own special exorcism. yep.
I escaped. They then pretended that I no longer existed. One of them is now an international best-selling bible thumper.
yuck.
Am I a christian? yes.
Do I believe what many other christians believe? no.
Do I believe the bible is litenral? no
Do I believe it contains may types of literature? yes, full of myths, poetry, and other storytelling techniques.
Do I believe it makes good points? yes.
Do I care what others think of my beliefs? no.
Do I need to prove or disprove my beliefs? no.

and I think it’s funny that y’all are trying to take a belief system and "smarting" it up for us. ha.

Re: Christian Tunes?

wyogal, sorry about your creepy experience. but question, what makes you different than the rest of us? if you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, there’s not really much to be different. Some denominations put emphasis on some parts of the bible and neglect others. Well, now that i think about it, that’s what makes denominations huh? SO what makes you different?

Re: Christian Tunes?

Because there are so many ways to interpret, some are quite narrow and literal.
and some are quite pushy and confrontational….

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and are you lumping everyone else in the "rest of us" category?
What’s your point, other than judging?

Re: Christian Tunes?

Wyogal, are you referring to Irish tunes? "there are so many ways to interpret, some are quite narrow and literal."

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ha! very well could be….

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and, btw, I think I understand the point. I believe the character is one big wind-up…. hmmmmmm….
from the beginning, create a personality, ramble on with some half-true, half-baked comments, just to see how those here will react.

Re: Christian Tunes?

sidenote: While this discussion is interesting, the realization that we play alongside such brainiacs is even more interesting. Tis like our sessions in Boston. Many a Ph.D mixed in. It’s also encouraging to note that all that brainpower does not tranlsate into how accomplished one plays the diddly. But continue..

Salt

Re: Christian Tunes?

I’m not trying to judge anyone, i was just asking a question. If others take offense, that’s not my fault. But i want to know, how are your beliefs different? If they line up with scripture, it’s perfectly fine. If they don’t, they’re wrong. Example. I believe that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, and died for our sins, and rose again, in hopes that we may accept Him and have eternal life. I also believe that even though we are covered by The Blood of Christ, we are NOT suppose to take advantage of The Blood for our selfish sinful desires. I also believe that The Word of God(The Bible) is The Bread of Life. That if we don’t eat our daily bread, that we become weak and healthy. I also believe that prayer is the core of our relationship with God. We live by faith, are saved by God’s grace. We work for His glory, not our own. So are any of these beliefs different from yours?

Re: Christian Tunes?

"I’m not trying to judge anyone, i was just asking a question. If others take offense, that’s not my fault. But i want to know, how are your beliefs different? If they line up with scripture, it’s perfectly fine. If they don’t, they’re wrong."

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and the pitcher is winding up….. batter, batter, batter….. swing!

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Well, i’m sorry that you see it that way :( You said you’re a Christian so that means you’re a Brother(Or Sister, sorry i don’t know. If we have different beliefs then we should sort it out, maybe there’s something i’m mistaken about. Maybe you could use some help somewhere?

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hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

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Maybe i missed something?

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yep.

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So are you going to answer my question?

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nope.

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Ok. Well, i hope that Truth is what you believe in. Stay encouraged in your walk Family. Don’t let the persecutors condemn you. God’s blessings be upon you. 🙂

Re: Christian Tunes?

So what does god do to atheists?

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Wyogal, Never had any experiences quite as dramatic as yours, but I know exactly where you are coming from. There are far too many wacky zealots out there giving Christians a bad name.

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llig, That is a telling difference between different segments of the faithful. Myself, I would say that He loves atheists just as much as His other children. Others, however, still seem to believe in all that smiting stuff…

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"So what does god do to atheists?"
He makes them argumentative.

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Anyone remember the movie "The Ruling Class" with Peter O’Toole? Its great satire. At one point of the movie, he believes he is God and is being interviewed about this. The interviewer says something like "how do you know you are God" and O’Toole answers, "Easy. One day I was praying and realized that I was talking to myself." All this talk of God existing or not reminded me of this. Sorry for the interuption. Carry on.

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Yes God loves Everyone. But let’s not forget that He is a God of Justice. That goes for me and everyone else.

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"Anyone remember the movie "The Ruling Class" with Peter O’Toole? "

Yep - the bit with Michael Bryant and the Etonian Boating Song was classic.

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Is it unjust to be an atheist?

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The "sense of justice" most people’s gods have is oddly in-line with their own morals and values. Funny how that one works. If you think it’s terrible and sad for people to believe in other things, then you have a god who hates heathens. If you accept that the rest of the world sees things differently than you and that’s fine, then you have a god who loves everyone no matter what.

Re: Christian Tunes?

Yeah, what a coincidence.

The rather splendid old (he must be 80 at least) Indian bloke who has my local dry cleaners told me a great joke the other day:

God and Allah (it’s a great start to a joke) were having an argument and they decided to settle it once and for all by sending their champions down to earth. So Jesus and Mohammed were duly dispatched and both decided to do combat by computer. Down they sat with their PCs trying to spam each other and steal each other’s passwords and all that geeky stuff when suddenly there was a power cut. They had to twiddle their thumbs for a few mins but when they were back up and running, Mohammed found his hard-drive fried. Jesus was declared the winner and off they popped back to heaven. Allah was furious with God, "What is it that Jesus has that my Mohammed hasn’t?" he demanded. God replied, "Ah ha … Jesus saves."

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"Down they sat with their PCs trying to spam each other "

Nah, Jesus wore sandals and used a Mac.

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He’s always had bare feet in the photos I’ve seen … so he can show off the holes

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"He’s always had bare feet in the photos I’ve seen … so he can show off the holes"

That’s part of the publishing deal. He has to take off his sandals for the press shoots.

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Ah, I see. And he can’t be photographed smokin’ a fag.

(Except in America, where he’s often photographed setting fire to homosexuals)

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You’ve done your homework, it seems.

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He’s not the Messiah! He’s a very naught boy!

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*naughty

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It’s not just or unjust to be an atheist Michael. Judgements like that have no ultimate foundation. Moral judgements are arbitrary, and are based on expediency, societal convention and personal preference.

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"It’s not just or unjust to be an atheist Michael"

So Jerone’s response ("but he is a god of justice") is a little off the subject, in its implication that atheists will be judged by this loving god, and somehow punished for using the brain he gave them to come to a reasonable conclusion based on the facts that he provided?

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Jerone’s ideas about justice are particularly obviously absurd, the fault of his unfortunate upbringing, but nobody else’s ideas are any better justified.

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That computer joke only works if you assume that the Christian God and the Moslem God are different beings. Funny how monotheists can sometimes be so quick to say that "my god is greater than yours."
Quiz: In the Moslem Faith, who was raised up to heaven without dying, and will return to gather the faithful on Judgement Day?
Answer: Jesus. (If you look at the Quran, you will find that there was a lot of respect for the Jewish prophets and leaders of old, and for Jesus, who was seen as one of the greatest prophets of God. Disagreement on the Son of God status, but a surprising amount of agreement in teachings between the faiths. Sad to see the differences that have arisen between the three faiths that all consider themselves heirs of Abraham.)

Re: Christian Tunes?

C/mon back skreetch…we still like you…🙁

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Al, duh, the joke is funny precisely because it was told to me by a Hindu, that’s why I mentioned it. Your man was taking the p*ss out of christian monotheists and Muslim monotheists thinking that their gods are different gods

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Why should it be surprising that all the "faiths" have similar teachings? They were all invented by the same kind of sh*tty people, priests, they all work by tricking the simple-minded in the same way, with promises of eternal life and similarly far-fetched rewards for compliance.

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llig, If the identity of the joke teller was important to the joke being funny, perhaps you should have mentioned it up front…

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He did didn’t he?

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Yes and no. He said "Indian" bloke, which implies Hindu or Muslim, with other possibilities, including Christian at lower likelihood.

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So all believers are simple minded, Bernie?

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"The rather splendid old (he must be 80 at least) Indian bloke who has my local dry cleaners told me a great joke the other day…"

Pretty much. He didn’t say straight out the guy was a Hindu (there are Christians and Muslims in India), but I guess it’s implied. Or Al just skimmed the thread and missed that part of Michael’s post. 🙂 Like that never happens here!

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I think the chances of a Muslim telling a joke about about Mohammed are pretty slim eh?

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No, not skimming, not just jumping to conclusions. The Indian man could also have been a Sikh, yet another monotheistic faith that has many believers in India. India holds people of many faiths…

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"So all believers are simple minded, Bernie?"

Not a valid conclusion from what Bernie wrote, but a legitimate inference on your part.

If I make a bad argument for evolution, it would convince the simpleminded, but someone might believe that evolution is a good explanation for other reasons, such as a good argument, and not be simpleminded.
I honestly can’t think of a good reason to believe that any religion is a good explanation of the world, but since a non-intercessory deity is a meaningless claim, you can certainly choose to believe it without being simple-minded. You just can’t insist that anyone else should believe it - then you step on the waterslide to folly.

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‘No, not skimming, not just jumping to conclusions.’

The sheer fact it was mentioned was an indication to it’s relevance, wasn’t it?

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"I think the chances of a Muslim telling a joke about about Mohammed are pretty slim eh?"

You don’t hang with the Muslims I’ve hung with.

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Well, I’d be pleased to hear a Muslim telling a joke about about Mohammed

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That joke has done the rounds on the internet. It usually doesn’t involve ‘God’ as the judge.

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BTW, how did I know that Jesus would be using a Mac? Because God wouldn’t allow anyone else to touch an Apple.

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Michael, look up a comic named Aasif Mandvi for a start. Currently a correspondent on the Daily Show but he does a lot of his own stuff as well. Very funny guy.

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OK, here is a Christian telling Christian jokes:
Jesus found a crowd who was about to stone a woman for adultery. He stood in front of the woman, and lectured the crowd, ending with the statement, "Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone."
Suddenly, a stone sailed over the crowd and landed on the woman. Jesus stood on his tiptoes to see who had thrown it, and said in exasperation, "Mom, cut it out!"

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Hey? That makes "Me" Jesus then.

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Blimey Al, I remember my dad telling me that one when I was about seven

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The old ones are often the best ones! 😉

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Al,

Did you hear about those people in Rome who evacuated the city en masse the other day out of fear of an earthquake, which had been predicted by a pseudoscientist in 1915?

When people do things like that I call it simple-mindedness. Maybe weak-mindedness would be better. Whatever we call it, religious believers seem very much the same to me.

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As a Reverend once said, "It’s not my way. It’s God’s way. If you have a problem with that, take it up with Him."

Later folks.

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then why did you insist I take it up with YOU?
I still think this character is just one big wind-up.

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One thing’s sure, she’s got you wound up. 🙂

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I didn’t insist anything, i just asked if anyone knew of any tunes that i could play for my Lord. That’s all.

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I think it should be obvious to all that Jeremy hasn’t seen this discussion in recent days - presumably he is away.

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I love the way Jeremy is treated almost as a deity on this board…
the creator, the invisible presence, judging us, doling out punishments for transgressions, inscrutable…
How do we know there really is a Jeremy?
🙂

Re: Christian Tunes?

I was having a similar discussion with Phantom Button. Within seconds one of my comments was deleted. Jack responded with perfect wit. I think his exact words were, "Oh, he’s there."

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I suspect this discussion is a prime example of "feles absens, mures ludentes". We may find out in due course.

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Oh Jeremy exists all right, for I am oft the receiver of his smite.

Maybe He should bring down a great flood upon us all and wash away our years of toil. And when the murderous flood recedes and the olive branch of hope is found, Will Harmon and Zina Lee will have been saved to start all over again.

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That was "smite" and not "smile", was it?