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Physicist, Claims Teaching Creationism Is Child Abuse

Creationism science

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#1 Balderdash

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 12:33 PM

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Host Pakman brought up the subject, asking Krauss to clarify his earlier comments, in which he indicated teaching creationism -- which states, among other things, that the age of the Earth is about 6,000 years old, not 4.55 billion years old -- is a form of child abuse.

“If you think about that, somehow saying that, well, anything goes, we shouldn’t offend religious beliefs by requiring kids to know – to understand reality; that’s child abuse,” Krauss said in a video published by Big Think earlier in February. “And if you think about it, teaching kids – or allowing the notion that the earth is 6,000 years old to be promulgated in schools is like teaching kids that the distance across the United States is 17 feet. That’s how big an error it is.”

I really don't want to offend anyone but damn I'm tired of bending over backwards not to offend someone when they are just being foolish and really are harming their kids.  I know a 14 year old girl, quite bright in every way but we were talking about dinosaurs and she informed us that there is no such thing as dinosaurs or fossils.  I was dumb struck and didn't know what to say because I want to be respectful but this young lady is ruined.

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#2 offworlder

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:58 PM

I say that teaching beliefs or faith should be in faith orgs not schools- teaching in schools should be based upon evidence and facts- a quick good carbon dating can disprove this 6000 year thing- I never, never once, got taught in any school that our world is only 6000 years old and Neanderthals walked among the peoples of Canaan and the Assyrians and the Phillistines, that the man young DAvid hit with the lil rock was a Neanderthal because they were not back twenty thousand years before. So yeah, I think it is child abuse to teach falsehoods to children, and we should keep faith, and yes I have faith and my mum's bible is just six feet from me as I type this, keep faith and school separate. This should not extend to 'dont mention any faith not even to say this belief exists' or keep any art out; I say it's stupid to keep any mention of Christmas or pilgrims giving thanks to God at Thanksgiving time out of mentioning that it happend in school; but beliefs not proven with evidence do not belong in teachings of children out of the home or out of faith org or place; school is for the sciences and the evidence, the tech, maths, stuff in museums, not what some Baptist state senator might get from a religious conservative 'we can make it different than the federal way because they'r all a bunch of liberal liars' posturing. So yes, creationism in schools, forced upon our children is child abuse.
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#3 SparkyCola

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 09:17 PM

^ I think it is fair enough to teach about different beliefs and cultures. But in Religious Studies. Not in a science class. Religion is no more science than it is politics. Like anything - you can't blur the lines between fact and fictoin; for example, it's important to know a bit of literature-  but you wouldn't teach Shakespeare's Richard III in a history class as fact.

Baldy - that is a disheartening anecdote (although there's hope she will come to her senses and ask some critical questions, she's only 14 at the moment) - but perhaps has more to do with her parents than her schooling? I think people probably get those kind of ideas from their parents. Bear in mind: My school specialised in Science, but I still knew someone at school who was otherwise very intelligent, but devoutly Catholic and refused to believe in evolution. In the UK if you're a teacher, you are not allowed to go into your religious beliefs with students, and our science classes wouldn't have DREAMED of teaching anything other than evolution, so she got that exclusively from her parents and school could not persuade her otherwise.

Krauss is kind of the American Dawkins so no one should be surprised that he's making these comments. I basically agree with him. One commenter made an interesting comment on that thread:


Quote

The most telling difference between all religions and science:



If we were to take all of the written words in both religion and science and make them disappear, then fast-forward a few centuries, the science would be rediscovered and be the same as the principles found today, but the religions would all be very, very different from anything that appears now or has in the past.


Sparky

Edited by SparkyCola, 15 February 2013 - 09:23 PM.

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#4 sierraleone

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 09:32 PM

View Postoffworlder, on 15 February 2013 - 05:58 PM, said:

Why is ancient Greek religion called Greek mythology anyways? Can modern religions be called myths? Why not? Is it disrespectful to the dead to call ancient religions myths? Or is it not because they are sufficiently long dead?

It's not a description of their religious practices -  mythology, is simply a narrative, usually in story form, that explains how things came to be - all cultures have their mythology, their explanation of the world's beginnings, and the beings responsible for the good and the bad in their lives.

A lot of Genesis could be called mythology. Other parts of the Bible are not, being based on proveable historical facts or religious rites and rules like Leviticus.

I don't know if that helped. I could go on, but I won't. ;)

Edited by Rhea, 16 February 2013 - 01:43 AM.

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#5 SparkyCola

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 09:53 PM

^ I disagree, I think critical thinking is at the heart of science, and that's one of the most important things (if not THE most) that people should learn in school. More important than knowing the names of bones/ body parts.

I think people call the Christian creation myth a myth, don't they? Any traditional story which contains elements of the supernatural is a myth imo.

And yes, I think the same applies to the tooth fairy et al. To have a science teacher teaching children that it is scientific fact that the easter bunny is real is exactly the same situation.

Reminds me of Tim Minchin giving his response to a direct question from his daughter, "Is father christmas real?"  "He's real in the imaginary world." -  and she got it, she already understood from films and books that things could be "real in the imaginary world" :)

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#6 Tricia

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 10:12 PM

I have never understood why some people think that you can either teach about evolution or creationism but not both. Because it is a belief that  has been previously held.  Just like it can be mentioned that people once believed the earth was flat and if you sailed far enough you'd fall off the edge.

Quote

“Sure, it is mild child abuse, but it is [child abuse],” Krauss said. “We need to encourage our children to question freely and try to think for themselves. Anything we do that counters that is unfair to them.”

To be fair, not teaching all the viewpoints, past and present, is unfair to a child.  To understand where we are now and what we believe, we have to know what was once believed to be true and has been proved wrong etc.. The evolution of knowledge and science so to speak.

I know that I expose my children to all the viewpoints on any subject...and encourage them to explore on their own and make up their own mind.  I don't think that they have to believe as I do. We've discussed evolution, creationism (Christian) as well as the many myths from various cutures as to Earth's origins. But that was in the home and in relation to their shool lessons.

And NEVER in any lessons that mentioned creationism...which was mentioned along with  evolution when I was in school...was it ever said that the Earth was only 6000 years old. But maybe this man was exposed to the more extreme who refute any evidence that does not support their beliefs completely?

I hate that the girl Baldy mentioned does not believe in the evidence of dinosaurs.I'm guessing that her parents have strongly influenced that belief and wonder about her education.  Public school, homeschooled, or a church run school?  That is definitely going to be a factor here as far as exposure to other views.

Edited by Tricia, 15 February 2013 - 10:18 PM.

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#7 offworlder

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 10:23 PM

exactly, this stuff is complicated and that does become a problem in school, especially when one kid pipes up in a lively class discussion telling things to be fact from what 'mum taught me home' or 'me da teaches me' or 'my friend told me this last month' ; then teacher should calmly explain that parents teach outside school but in school we learn things that have been approved as facts by school boards and certified texts and we keep homes and parents at home or outside school ............... but back to Sparky: it is diff in one or two lines to explain exactly, what I was getting at on falsehoods is: it is not a falsehood to teach that a fairy tale exists, to say in class that a story is told, that people say this or that, that a classic story called Santa or Night before Christmas with the sleigh taking off exists, the story is told, people say, people tell these stories; just as it is not child abuse to make kids aware of people or things told, like 'people in Cairo tell about things told and written by Mohammed who is called the prophet' or 'people in Utah tell about the things Joseph Smith told from a prophet Mormon' ................ as to mythology, a lot is about PC, about a touchy subject: it has never in US been a touchy topic to say that Zeus stories are Mythology, but to say that the story of the doings in that ole testament in the big black book is mythology would be a touchy subject ;)  .......... to teach that a thing is out there, that people say, or people write, that there was this prophet, those are facts, they were alive at least we think they were and they said these things; but to teach these content are proven facts and are part of curriculum just as Vesuvius blew in 79 (carbon dating) would be wrong.
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#8 sierraleone

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 10:34 PM

View PostSparkyCola, on 15 February 2013 - 09:53 PM, said:

^ I disagree, I think critical thinking is at the heart of science, and that's one of the most important things (if not THE most) that people should learn in school. More important than knowing the names of bones/ body parts.

I am not simply talking about knowing the names for knees and genitalia and tongues. From people that don't teach their kids proper eating thru feeding them junk processed, or convenience, foods at most meals, to people who treat/teach their children different simply due to genitalia, to people who don't ever talk to or teach their kids/teenagers about sexual relationships and sexual health. Obviously the first one has little to do with religion (though some people might argue otherwise, treating one's body like a temple and such), but religion (and culture) has certainly had impact on the latter two.

Tangent - I read someone on-line (I don't think it was here) that a quick way to tell if a person was probably getting near ready for romantic relationships... They could say penis and vagina without giggling. :D Maybe not completely accurate, but I thought that it could be a good sign that they just may be able to have a serious conversation about the rights, responsibilities and consequences of adult relationships. :D I suppose this wouldn't work though if everyone was cool about discussing such things with their kids ;) It would take the taboo out of it.

Quote

And yes, I think the same applies to the tooth fairy et al. To have a science teacher teaching children that it is scientific fact that the easter bunny is real is exactly the same situation.

I was thinking more broadly than just school. Some people talk about being traumatized finding out Santa isn't real. And he is just at Christmas. I am sure it much depends on the person though.  If one were to have their worldview shaken on other things I can imagine it would be too.

Quote

Quote

Reminds me of Tim Minchin giving his response to a direct question from his daughter, "Is father christmas real?"  "He's real in the imaginary world." -  and she got it, she already understood from films and books that things could be "real in the imaginary world" :)

Sparky

I like that! :)
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Rule#6: Remember the future.
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#9 Tricia

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 10:41 PM

^^^

Quote

exactly, this stuff is complicated and that does become a problem in school, especially when one kid pipes up in a lively class discussion telling things to be fact from what 'mum taught me home' or 'me da teaches me' or 'my friend told me this last month' ; then teacher should calmly explain that parents teach outside school but in school we learn things that have been approved as facts by school boards and certified texts and we keep homes and parents at home or outside school

Except that I have had the experience of a teacher or two  deciding that the classroom was the place for them to discuss their religious views and it was a public school, not even a religion class or history or anything of the sort.  So you can't trust that teachers will teach strictly the accepted curriculum either. (then you as the parent have to decide if you feel up to yelling about that...I did)

now back to subject as I just needed to go off on that tangent. ;)

Edited by Tricia, 15 February 2013 - 10:42 PM.

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#10 sierraleone

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 10:54 PM

Is it weird that I the thought that just popped into my head is that the greatest, and saddest, thing about children is they accept the world as it is first presented to them?

Sure, if later presentations contradict that there is chance for change, but depending on the duration and strength of the original message and the timing and strength of the new message, it may be very difficult to get rid of the original message. I imagine often the original message will become part of subconcious thinking and reinforcing connections/networks.

I am not even talking about religion. I've read about people raised in abusive dysfunction homes, and one reason some say they never report the abuse is that they thought, sometimes even into their teenage years, that every family was like that behind closed doors. That was normal. Normal is what one was raised in and undoing the thinking patterns developed over many developmentally fundamental years can be very difficult. For example, even if one doesn't repeat the abuse to others one may have emotional problems and have a very low opinion of themselves if they were emotionally abused.
Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

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Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
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Rule#6: Remember the future.
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#11 Balderdash

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 08:48 AM

View PostSparkyCola, on 15 February 2013 - 09:17 PM, said:

^ I think it is fair enough to teach about different beliefs and cultures. But in Religious Studies. Not in a science class. Religion is no more science than it is politics. Like anything - you can't blur the lines between fact and fictoin; for example, it's important to know a bit of literature-  but you wouldn't teach Shakespeare's Richard III in a history class as fact.

Baldy - that is a disheartening anecdote (although there's hope she will come to her senses and ask some critical questions, she's only 14 at the moment) - but perhaps has more to do with her parents than her schooling? I think people probably get those kind of ideas from their parents. Bear in mind: My school specialised in Science, but I still knew someone at school who was otherwise very intelligent, but devoutly Catholic and refused to believe in evolution. In the UK if you're a teacher, you are not allowed to go into your religious beliefs with students, and our science classes wouldn't have DREAMED of teaching anything other than evolution, so she got that exclusively from her parents and school could not persuade her otherwise.

Krauss is kind of the American Dawkins so no one should be surprised that he's making these comments. I basically agree with him. One commenter made an interesting comment on that thread:


Quote

The most telling difference between all religions and science:



If we were to take all of the written words in both religion and science and make them disappear, then fast-forward a few centuries, the science would be rediscovered and be the same as the principles found today, but the religions would all be very, very different from anything that appears now or has in the past.


Sparky

I agree with you Sparky.  The little girl is 7th day Adventist and goes to a Church school.  I know that she has other information but at this point
the brainwashing is holding and I think that she speaks from her "faith" (brainwashing).  I hope that someday when she gets away from her family
(if she does) that she gets some gentle people in her life that can help her shed her religion.

Edited by Balderdash, 17 February 2013 - 09:27 AM.

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#12 Tricia

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 10:14 AM

^^^No doubt the strength of what she has been taught is holding tight....because  she goes to a church school which reinforces it that much more strongly.

When you get it (the same story)  at home, church and school ....well, it's hard to let anything else as far as knowledge or other theories or scientific proof in because that is most of (if not alll of) your 'world'.

That is why I have never been a fan of church run schools.  Because they often teach only what their faith supports and often deny what questions their beliefs as a lie.  

As much as people gripe about public schools, at least you get more access to other theories and sources there.  I'd rather my children be exposed to many ideas (even ones that I don't agree with) than only one thought process or belief  and learn to think for themselves, be themselves than become a  mini=me.

By odd coincidence I stumbled upon this quote attributed to Buddha earlier---"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

Edited by Tricia, 16 February 2013 - 10:20 AM.

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Do not ask that your kids live up to your expectations.  Let your kids be who they are, and your expectations will be in breathless pursuit.


#13 Omega

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 01:51 PM

Speaking as a conservative Christian from a very conservative tradition, 7th-day Adventists are out there even by our standards. When your beliefs are based on the assumption that the apostles themselves were doing it wrong, and yet you still hold the Bible to be literally true and correct, there's clearly some cognitive dissonance going on.

Edited by Omega, 16 February 2013 - 02:09 PM.


#14 Virgil Vox

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 10:24 PM

I had a friend back in middle school who didn't believe the dinosuars actually lived because the Earth wasn't that old. He was taught that God simply created their bones and put them in the ground for us to find. Not sure why he would do that, but okay.

I have no problem teaching Creationism in school as long as it's not in science class and isn't a requirement. I think kids need to be exposed to different ideas and new ways of thinking. I took a Humanities class in high school and we actually had two students drop out of the class because they said it was teaching beliefs that went against their Christian faith. Being a Christian myself, I didn't see this. Yes, we studies different cultures and that included different religions but we weren't being indoctrinated. Simple exposed to new ideas and new ways of seeing the world.
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#15 Balderdash

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 09:26 AM

View PostTricia, on 16 February 2013 - 10:14 AM, said:

^^^No doubt the strength of what she has been taught is holding tight....because  she goes to a church school which reinforces it that much more strongly.

When you get it (the same story)  at home, church and school ....well, it's hard to let anything else as far as knowledge or other theories or scientific proof in because that is most of (if not alll of) your 'world'.

That is why I have never been a fan of church run schools.  Because they often teach only what their faith supports and often deny what questions their beliefs as a lie.  

As much as people gripe about public schools, at least you get more access to other theories and sources there.  I'd rather my children be exposed to many ideas (even ones that I don't agree with) than only one thought process or belief  and learn to think for themselves, be themselves than become a  mini=me.

By odd coincidence I stumbled upon this quote attributed to Buddha earlier---"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

Exactly!  She is surrounded which is why I call it brainwashing.  And I love that Buddha quote.   :)

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#16 Nonny

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 10:33 AM

"The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it."

Neil deGrasse Tyson, in response to global warming and evolution deniers.  Possibly religion serves their belief needs?
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#17 Mikoto

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 12:18 PM

Great quote Nonny. I'm going to add it to Rhade's as my second favourite quote ever. ;) "There is no magic, just science you don't understand."
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#18 Nikcara

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 12:46 PM

I have no real issue with creationism being taught OUTSIDE of the science classroom.  If it's taught in religious studies, literature, or other humanities class then I'm fine with it.  I have real issue with people claiming that it's science and belongs in the science classroom.  It's not and it doesn't.  I think the real reason why some people insist on teaching it as science and claiming there's some sort of controversy is because they want the weight of "science" behind their claims.  A scientific theory is generally much better at convincing non-believers then one that acknowledges that it's based on faith.  As a non-Christian, if someone was able to scientifically prove the existence of God then yes, I'd be far more likely to convert than I am now.  

However what they're doing - hijacking science and lying and contorting it until it looks like it supports your religious argument does a huge disservice to the kids you teach.  Kids learn that science is untrustworthy, they don't learn the scientific method (which is really useful in general), they think that there's scientific controversy where there is none.  If they grow up and want to be nurses, doctors, engineers, or any other scientific field they're far behind kids who actually learned science.  If they refuse to give up some of their beliefs because that's what they've believed all their life then they fail classes in higher education.  Even if they don't want to pursue a career that uses science, those false beliefs continue to be a determent   If you don't believe that science is worthwhile because that's what you were taught, why bother taking your sick kid to the doctor when you think prayer works better?  Why vaccinate them?  If you honestly believe all answers are in the Bible, why ever leave your house and explore the world?
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#19 sierraleone

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 03:22 PM

View PostNikcara, on 17 February 2013 - 12:46 PM, said:

As a non-Christian, if someone was able to scientifically prove the existence of God then yes, I'd be far more likely to convert than I am now.  

Convert to what? I am an atheist... if someone was able to scientifically prove the existence of a God... or perhaps something even something like intelligent design, I might have to rethink my beliefs. But why would I automatically look to any specific religion, current or dead?

I may be reading more into this than what you meant, but your statement, starting as "as I am a non-Christain" seems to imply you would be far more likely to convert to Christianity, and I don't understand how scientific proof of the existence of God would automatically impel someone who is a non-Christain (which may include followers of other religions' God(s), not just agnostic and atheists and people of various non-specified spiritual beliefs) to convert to any religion.

One may think, if the existence of a God was scientifically proven, that s/he has chosen to speak to humankind in the past (though one could only speculate on whether there would be any proof of that), and one may think they have solely use one religion as a messenger (or various religions have gotten the message wrong, or had only been inspired thru a cosmic game of telephone and never directly gotten a message from God), but that would seem to be far from provable. Even if God himself came down and told us it is not hard evidence, for those who require such. No science would yet prove that God is being honest with us (or that s/he wasn't dishonest in the past). One may explore all the religion for messages, and they may find spiritual inspiration, but I'd feel they'd be grasping at straws for finding God's message for us. That assumes some intelligent designer of the cosmos (if that is one's concept of God) wants to talk to us.

I am basically an atheist. I certainly of strong beliefs about how people should treat one another despite this ;) Whenever I think about religions though, I feel wide-eyed at the conceit that some people feel they know that God has very specific desires in how we should live, think, feel, do, say and believe. From gender roles, expression, sexuality, what we eat, what we wear, etc. Simply, it seems insanity to me.

I can think about what if I believed, for sure, that God existed? But I have trouble using religions as my guide to my own formations of what God is. Looking at the old testament I just think, if God is like that (and there isn't massive mis-intrepretation or hasn't been massive change in God), that I want nothing to do with that being. If God is being horrible represented by religion, why would I want to convert to any of them?

What is God? (going with the assumption of one God at the moment ;) )

Creator of the universe?
Sustainer of the universe?
Eternal?
Unchanging? Or changing? (for example, old testament verses new testament. Did God change, or not?)

Omniscience? (infinite/unlimited knowledge)
Omnipotent? (unlimited power)
Omnipresent (present everywhere)
Omnibenevolence? (perfect goodness)

Some would argue all of the above, that it is just our small brains, but reconciling all those characteristics isn't easy. Maybe that is why faith is required ;) Saying God is perfect but our world (and the people in it) isn't and even though he has the power to change it (or to have designed the world/us better in the first place!) isn't easy to understand. So, for me, I figure that think this is what some people have to believe to feel better about the more unpalatable aspects of life as we know it. Because if their God is as advertised I figure such a God either designed badly and/or such a God wants it this way and I would not able to bring myself to respect such a God for that. Or God is remote and/or busy with other things (which sort of contradict God's advertised powers doesn't it?).

Edited by sierraleone, 17 February 2013 - 03:23 PM.

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
- Masha Gessen
Source: http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html

#20 Nikcara

Nikcara

    confused little imp

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 05:03 PM

I was using Christianity as an example because only Christians have been pushing creationism in science classes in America as far as I'm aware, and one of the stated reasons for it is to promote the belief in Christianity.  I'm actually not atheist, but if someone could scientifically prove to me that the Christian god (or any other specific deity/deities) was the one true god they'd have much more of my attention than the typical circular "this is what I believe because this is what I believe" argument that faith generally boils down to.  I think that's what the people really pushing for creationism in science are really going for - they want to "scientifically" prove that their god and faith is the right one to convince people like me to join them.  I also think part of it stems from their own doubts - they want so badly to prove their faith is right, not just to unbelievers but to themselves as well, that they are willing to blind themselves to mountains of evidence and insist that all parts of the Bible are literally true just so they can feel that they are being 'good Christians'.
We have fourty million reasons for failure, but not a single excuse  -- Rudyard Kipling

Develop compassion for your enemies, that is genuine compassion.  Limited compassion cannot produce this altruism.  -- H. H. the Dalai Lama



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