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Blessed are the Cynical

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by NOG (No Other Gods), Feb 17, 2008.

  1. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Actually, I think you're on target with the "completely accurate" thing. Although oral traditions are extremely accurate over a few generations, they can change slightly to account for the ability or inability of the particular historian to understand the entire story.

    In the case of the great flood, the oral traditions were handed down form generation to generation and the end results are remarkably alike -- the oral tradition worked. That the flood was a punishment of the Gods indicates how close these cultures were. A few names were changes -- let's face it "Zi-ud-sura" is a lot more difficult to say than "Noah" during a oral telling (Noah would be easier to remember as well).

    Which is more accurate? Does the fact that minor details change over the course of generations mean the story is less accurate? The big picture is still there. The causes of the flood are slightly different because of the different beliefs and diety systems.
     
  2. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    Well, I actually wasn't trying to prove that they were accurate, especially compared to written records. I'm not advocating an illiterate society for a second. I was just trying to show that the date of the writing of the texts in no way reflects the origin of the story. Even if oral histories were accurate, you have a significant difference between the oral history of the Sumerians and that of the Israelites, so, assuming they reference the same events, somewhere along the way, something got distorted, and badly.

    As for a global flood, there's no hard evidence for it, but neither is there any against it, and there is some evidence much more severe flooding than is commonly attributed to these areas. For example, with the exception of the face which was re-carved within recorded history, the Great Sphynx has three types of identifiable erosion marks on it's entire body. Wind/sand erosion is obviously explainable, and vertical water erosion is understandable by knowing that this region was not always desert, but there is also a rather substantial amount of horizontal water erosion indicative of submergence in a powerful flow of water. This erosion is found over the entire body of the Sphynx (except for the face), which suggests that at some point there was such a flood as to completely cover the Sphynx! Anyone know how high that is above sea level?

    To carbon dating, I will say this, there is some geological evidence that, up until 10,000 years ago, there was a layer of water in 'orbit' in the upper-upper atmosphere. I believe this was in vaporous form, though I can't find the source at the moment. You may ask what this has to do with carbon dating. Well, carbon-14 is produced in the atmosphere when CO2 rises to very high levels and meets cosmic radiation, which excites the carbon and creates carbon-14. Water, especially water vapor, is one of the best radiation blockers known to man (in fact, as much as 95% of the Greenhouse Effect is due to water vapor). So, if up to 10K years ago, there was a large amount of water vapor in the upper atmosphere, blocking much of the cosmic radiation before it could interact with carbon, that severely reduces the amount of carbon-14 in circulation. This means that life would start out with far less carbon-14 in it, thus making it appear much older if we assumed it had roughly current levels. We're not talking 20% here, but much more. Coincidentally, if you look at carbon dating, you will find a great gap from about 9K years old to much, much older, which can be explained by this change in carbon-14 levels in the atmosphere.

    Unfortunately, as T2Bruno pointed out, tree ring dating (and other forms of dating) cannot be used to corroberate carbon dating at these ages.

    By the way, I didn't know that about tree rings and carbon dating. That was interesting.
     
  3. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    NOG, current theories of the "horizontal water erosion" point to natural changes in the rock itself due to long term exposure to air. Also, the Nile floods did partially cover the Sphinx at various times in history. Given the Great Flood of the Bible occurred before Moses led the people of Isreal out of Egypt, I think the time line might be a bit off.

    Carbon-14 is actually formed in a reaction where a neutron (which is a by product of cosmic radiation) interacts with a nitrogen-14 atom. The amount of nitrogen in the air is fairly constant, so the production of carbon-14 is fairly constant. The concentration of carbon-14 as compared to total carbon changes with things like volcanic eruptions and vast temperature variation in the world (which affects how much carbon dioxide is released by plant life). A 20% variation is fairly accurate given the quantities of these elements we are talking about.

    Water is an excellent shield for neutron radiation. So it is possible high amounts of water could interfere with the production of carbon-14, but I've never heard of this water based ionosphere (or whatever it is). However, carbon-14 dating can also be calibrated by using cave deposits back ~40,000 years -- this is not as accurate as tree ring dating, but is still quite good. It should be noted that calibrating carbon-14 dating needs to be done with local resources -- different plants have different capabilities incorporating carbon-14 and the animals ingesting those plants can give readings much older than is reasonable if local resources are not used for calibration.

    Another problem with carbon-14 dating I've seen is dating fossils from the sea. This is really not a valid procedure (but commonly done by those trying to discredit dating techniques), carbon dioxide diffuses through the ocean much slower than through the air and corresponding levels of carbon-14 are much lower (and give highly inaccurate results). Experts in the field all agree carbon-14 dating in unreliable in oceanic fossils.
     
  4. Gnarfflinger

    Gnarfflinger Wiseguy in Training

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    It's called a leap of faith. AS I've studied it, it made more sense than anything else. As I followed the teachings, I found the promises coming true. Other things I hear (Scientology, Islam, Secularism) seem to be the loonies spouting crap that you allude to...

    If something happens, and you are the only one that saw it, does this make it complete crap? No, it does not. Joseph Smith, like many of the ancient prophets in the Bible, were alone when they received their revelation. If you want to call them liars, that's your right, but be ready to eat crow if they were telling the truth...

    But you claim there to be inaccuracies in these traditions. Should we, by this logic, discount it because of this? If that's the case, you would have to give me 65 of 66 books of the bible because they were recorded. The Book of Mormon was a record of an ancient people, and the plates of Brass and translator stones were shown to 11 other specific people, who all signed off on it at the begining of the Book of Mormon. Unless, of course, there is more to add to skepticism.

    I've heard of this, but can't document it. But again, it's not perfect.

    This is where faith comes in. It is faith that it was given as revelation so that Moses would have accurate information to record.

    Faith, by definition, requires a lack of evidence.

    I heard somewhere that Sodom and Gamorah may have been under or on the coast of what is now the Black Sea. Scripture states that Lot's wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt. This could account for the high salt content of the Black Sea.

    So it can be counted on for the big things, like creation or the Flood, but the little details would be subject to scrutiny...

    Remember too that there would be differences in language. Another mythical example would be the Greek hero Odysseus being refered to as Ulysses in the Roman records.
     
  5. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Okay Gnarff, so your basis of deciding which prophet/liar out of thousands is for real is that you have studied one of them. I should start studying the possibility of my local football team signing Messi if studying things make them true. Me, I would be scared ****less if I was religious. If I had accepted the existence of the divine and that it has an earthly representation I would always be worried that I had choosen wrongly. No matter what you choose the odds are heavily against you. Almost admire your courage Gnarf.
     
  6. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Oh...my...God. Have you ever taken a science class in your life? Or geography? The Bible places the two cities near the Dead Sea, the Black Sea is the other side of Turkey. Perhaps Lot's wife was divinely teleported to the Great Salt Lake as a testiment the Mormon church was true -- that would explain the high salt content there as well.

    Hundreds of tons of salt are mined from the Dead Sea every year -- she must have been enormous.
     
  7. Goli Ironhead Gems: 16/31
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    Well, T2B, they were known for horrible sins. I doubt gorging was the worst of them :D
     
  8. LKD Gems: 31/31
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    I saw a National Geographic video on the Dead Sea, it was quite interesting. One of the things that it stated was that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah and the Lot's wife element was that it was a SYMBOLIC explanation for the saltiness of the Dead Sea. I have no doubts that Lot's wife was destroyed, and for more than merely "looking back", which is another idiom/figure of speech for disobedience. I don't think Gnarff is saying that one woman @ 300 pounds (I'm assuming she was a big woman ;) ) could LITERALLY account for the salt level of the Dead Sea. The biblical record is a piece of LITERATURE, inspired though it is, and is full of idioms, figures of speech, symbols and word plays. Mormons are fully aware of that and a look at any of our literature demonstrates that. Mormons also believe that it requires divine inspiration to understand what is literal and what is not in all scripture. That belief in inspiration is a tough pill to swallow for people who rely wholly on science, but I want to make it clear that that belief does not preclude a respect for science.

    For another quick example, I'll take the creation. No serious, intelligent, Mormon who I know (and I know quite a few, obviously) believes that the world was created in a 72 hour period (6 days). The Genesis story that says that is quite obviously saying (to anyone who has studied either Biblical language or rudimentary science) that it took a lot longer. The term "day" is symbolic and poetic. That said, all the scientific facts that we can see from our narrow perspective does not change my belief that God was the power that created the earth.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2008
  9. Rallymama Gems: 31/31
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  10. Gnarfflinger

    Gnarfflinger Wiseguy in Training

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    That was a brain fart. I meant the Dead Sea. That would make more sense than what I wrote. But there is an example right there of how taking someone's retelling of a story can let an inaccuracy into the story over numerous retellings...

    Perhaps the rest of the two cities were turned to salt as part of the destruction process--but the survivors survived because they didn't stick around to find out!

    You've got it backwards. The church is not true because I studied it, but the church is true, and I learned this after prayer, study and experience. It would still be true even if I never joined it and didn't believe.

    Again, that is the role of faith. You have to have faith in something, be it a divine power, human intellect or aliens. If your faith is justified, then you will find a personal confirmation of your beliefs.

    I don't consider a continual state of spiritual paralysis because you are afraid of the consequences any kind of life. We all take a side, whether we believe it or not. You've made just as big a risk in denouncing faith in general as I have by affiliating with a religion and trying to follow it as best I can.

    Rally: That's not far off on what I've been taught in Mormon circles. Before the Earth was formed, there was "matter unorganized". This could be the result of the Big Bang. From there, the Earth was organized as described in Genesis 1.

    How's that from a man who lived about 3000 to 3500 years ago? Could this give Moses some credibility?
     
  11. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    My risk makes sense as I do not believe in hte possibility of any negative spiritual consequences of whatever faith I, you or anyone have. You belive in the fact that there are negative repercussions for people who have chosen the wrong faith.

    I am sorry Gnarff, I am sure you are a great guy but truly religious people just completely baffles me. I can not see how rational people can believe in what pretty much amounts to fairy tales and base their entire lives around it. It perplexes and almost offends me as it seems to contradict the idea that man is in essence a rational being. For me all kinds of religions are equally loony so dont feel singled out and yes in my eyes it is equally naive, silly and yes, stupid to keep your faith in Santa Claus in an adult age as to belive in mormonism, catholicism, islam or whateverofaith.
     
  12. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    Which again raises the question of why you'd believe story A was copied from story B, as opposed to B being copied from A. And "because B is the word of God" isn't an answer.

    These 2 quotes of yours seem to contradict each other. In the first one you're trying to convince us that the church is true regardless of your (or anyone's) belief and, really, that you are right and we are wrong. In the second one you're talking about personal belief and faith. So, which one is it? All of your previous posts seem to point to the first one.

    Erm... I can't find this statement you quoted in this thread, and I'm a little unclear about whether it means cosmology/paleontology/etc match the history of the world, or if the Bible matches cosmology/etc. Because if it means the latter then sorry, but the statement is completely, utterly, incredibly erroneous, hence this entire argument we're having. If it means the former then I understand it to mean the science and the world match each other, and therefore neither matches the Bible. In both cases it strips any credibility Moses and the Bible may have ever had as far as being historically accurate.
     
  13. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    :lol: Humanity as essentially rational. That's funny. Seriously, study some psychology and logic. Logic and rationality (as you use the term here) are foreign languages to the human mind. We all pick up a smattering of it here and there, but no one starts out with it. Not only that, but rationality and logic, strictly speaking, are awefully limiting. Rationality and logic can't even prove that any of you exist. Hell, it can't even strictly prove that I exist, and I'm the one writing this. As I believe Sun Tzu once wrote:
    We all rely on assumptions and faith, its just a matter of faith in what and which assumptions we make. The difference between Christianity and Santa Clause is that Christianity (and just about all surviving religions) are internally consistent and (so far as reasonalbe proof can be offered) consistent the world. Considering that the world itself, however, is only internally consistent, that's not much logically speaking.

    Ziad, that last bit Gnarff quoted was from the bottom of Rally's link which expained how General Relativity and the Big Bang theory can allow for the universe to be both 6 days old and 15+ billion years old at the same time. A very interesting read, Rally.
     
  14. Gnarfflinger

    Gnarfflinger Wiseguy in Training

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    I'll take what you call a fairy tale over what I see as a proven lie--that human intellect can be trusted to do what's best for society. If Religion is a silly fairy tail, then Heaven and Hell breaks down to an invented carrot and stick method to keep the masses in line (Nietzsche called it the Opiate for the Masses). By that Logic, there would be no God to order the Crusades, Spanish Inquisition, Salem Witch Hunts, assorted terrorist attacks or any other attrocity committed in the Name of God. There likewise would be no Satan to deceive men to believe as such either. Since these things had to come from somewhere, it must be the decisions of the Humans in authority. Then it follows that anyone in any form of power is prone to corruption, and thus cannot be trusted to uphold that which is truly best for those under them. Human Intellect then supplants God as a means of keeping the indulgeances of their lofty status, a goal that takes a higher value than public good.

    I would find that Secularism, Humanism and Communism would fall into that category too. Like those you mention, they sound great, but they ultimately are utopian fantasies like you claim religion to be.

    Not really. The first quote establishes what I believe to be truth, and that I believe it would be true regardless of whether I believe it or not. The second quote is how I personally came to realize that truth. It still does not impact the truthfulness of the truth, just how I came to believe...

    It is suggesting that Science is discovering that Genesis 1 may not be a fairy tale after all.

    I'll need some citation to challenge that article. Call my religion a fairy tale, I can't prove you wrong. Argue with a scientific source, and you'll have to do better than that...

    Decartes wrote:

    Literally, I think, therefore, I am.

    /me pauses for wisecracks from the readers

    Basically, it proves our own existence to ourselves. Since I type this out, and see it on the screen after I click on "Post Quick Reply", it is a logical assumption that other people, despite the fact that I have never met them, are doing the same thing. Whether I want to believe what they write is a different matter...
     
  15. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    Ah, but Gnarff, 'Cognito ergo sum' in no way addresses the real possibility that this is all a dream. Even 'Cognito ergo sum' is based on the assumption that your thoughts are real and not the product of an outside influence.

    Now I'm not arguing such as reality, I'm just trying to show that strict logic and rationality are far from the saving grace of humanity or the ultimate culmination of the mind that so many are trying to idealize them as today.
     
  16. BlckDeth Gems: 7/31
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    I believe you're thinking of Karl Marx on that last statement.

    --Excerpted from Marx's Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right
     
  17. Gnarfflinger

    Gnarfflinger Wiseguy in Training

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    But if this is a dream, would I, as the dreamer, be required to exist in order to be dreaming? Still it would confirm my existence, but not what state I exist in...

    It appears that you are right. But the quote fits the point. I remember reading in Nietzsche some unflattering opinions of religion. Though I read his reference to Christ as the Noblest man, I believe that Nietzsche believed him to be the last true Christian...
     
  18. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    I'll take that bait, mainly because Descartes's cogito ergo sum has already been debunked (a few times) as being circular reasoning. The first part already assumes the existence of I (with "I think"), rendering the whole argument useless.

    On an unrelated note, I just had a look at the article Rally linked to. Interesting read, yes. Scientific work, no. This is a theological/ontological approach at trying to reconcile science and religion. It's a very good read, a very stimulating philosophical piece, but this is not a scientific source.
     
  19. Gnarfflinger

    Gnarfflinger Wiseguy in Training

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    But if "I" am assuming, doesn't that mean "I" have to exist in order for me to assume anything? Sure , it proves it to me, but that doesn't prove jack to anyone else, thus making it less useful than one would hope...
     
  20. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    Ziad, the very attempt to reconcile science and religion, just like the concerted attempt to drive them apart, is not a scientific process. The question is, "Is his science accurate?" If you can contradict any of his claims of science, you have a point. If not, then you don't.
     
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