Monday, June 16, 2014, 11:18 PM [General]

    It is the best of times, it is the worst of times, it is the age of wisdom, it is the age of foolishness,it is the epoch of of increduality, it is the epoch of belief, it is the seaon of Light, it is the season of Darkness, it is the spring of hope, it is the winter of darkness, we have everything before us, we have nothing before us, we are all going directly to Heaven, we are all goiing directly to Hell, in short the present period, is no different from the past, nor the future.  In short the nosiest authorities insist on being accepted wether they right or wrong.  

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    Thursday, June 5, 2014, 9:57 AM [General]

    1. Respect your fellow thinkers ...This one is pretty obvious, if someone is talking don't interrupt and try to make sure you do not hog the conversation.
    2. Attack the opinions not the people ... We want to make the group conducive to a discussion and if people are being attacked or feel that they are being attacked then they will stop contributing or stop coming all together.
    3. Consensus is not expected and agreement is not necessary ...We know that most questions have no one answer and we don't get together to figure out how to achieve world peace. We get together to have a conversation to discover what we think and what others think, whether we all agree or not. We want to leave knowing that it's okay to disagree.
    4. We want a safe environment for an argument ...Now when lots of people hear or see the word "argument" they think yelling and screaming, but that's not the best idea of an argument, it's not even the proper meaning. defines argument as "A discussion in which disagreement is expressed; a debate." and this is exactly what we are trying to do. We are trying to have an intellectual argument.
    5. Look for the "good question" ... This is a more difficult point to cover. Basically when choosing and discussing a question we look for four main things:
    6. Examine the question for built in assumptions. For example the question: "How do we stop evil?" assumes that all evil must be stopped. Someone could then ask "Doesn't evil have it's place in the world?"
    • Examine the question for embedded concepts. In the question: "How do we stop evil?" we might ask "What is evil?"
    • Examine the question for differences in kind and degree. Are there different kinds of evil? Can one "evil" be more "evil" than another?
    • Examine the question for logical consistencies and inconsistencies. Would stopping a naturally occurring idea such as "evil" be an evil in itself? What are we without evil?


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    Monday, January 16, 2012, 12:34 PM [General]

    This is a post I made reflecting my understanding with regards to science and religion:

    Howdy Ben

    Jan 10, 2012 -- 4:52PM, Ben Masada wrote:

    The Myth of the Big Bang
    Before you jump into the conclusion that I am about to bash the believers of this myth, I need to bring to your attention that the title of this thread, I have borrowed it from the great Astrophysicist Carl Sagan in his book "Cosmos," page 258.
    After going through some quotations about the myths of creation, Carl Sagan refers to them as tributes to human audacity, being the chief difference between them and "our modern scientific myth of the big bang, that science is self-questioning through the performance of experiments and observations to test our ideas." Never mind how a myth can be tested or experimented upon.[/quote
    As Mr. Sagan said in the quote there is a difference between the scientifc "myth" and the "religious" myth.   To mind the difference you would have to learn astrophysics and learn the what experiments were done to develop the "scientific myth". 

    Jan 10, 2012 -- 4:52PM, Ben Masada wrote:

    The bottom line is that it was rather magnanimous of Carl Sagan to admit the big bang as no more, no less, a myth, just like any other mythological account of creation, which, nevertheless, is "equally worthy our deep respect."

    You either purposely or by ignorance misquoted from the book. 
    The correct quote is
    "But those "other" creation stories are worthy of our deep respect.
    They are worthy of our deep respect because they are stories that the universe in the form of man attempts to question its own existence.  
    There are many different religous creation myths.   They cannot all be true.   They cannot be all "equal". 
    Carl Sagan also wrote on the same page that you quoted from that on page 258.
    "The Hindu religion is the only one of the world's great faiths dedicated to the ideal that the Cosmos itself underoes, an immense and indeed infinite number of deaths and rebirths.
    It is the only religion in which time scales correspond, no doubt by accident, to those of modern scientific cosmology. Its cycles run from our ordinary day and night to the day and night of Brahma, 864 billion years long, longer than the age of Earth, or the Sun and about half the time since the Big Bang. And there are much longer time scales still."
    Unlike the religious myths of the so-called Abrahamic faiths which have a linear conception of the creation of the cosmos the eastern religous myths of Hinduism and Buddhism have a cyclic myth of creation.    The so-called Abrahamic faiths myths say that the creation of the cosmos occured in six days and nights.   Some adherents of the so-called Abrahamic faiths believe this to be "literally' six days and nights others believe it to be a vague "six periods of undetermined length".

    Jan 10, 2012 -- 4:52PM, Ben Masada wrote:

    Here, Carl Sagan implies, IMHO, that the concept of probability is as good as gold in both cases: Creation and the big bang.
    There are two modalities of beliefs: To believe by faith, when we don't know much about what we believe in, and to believe on the basis of probability, when even imaginable things move from zero to some possibility. To believe by faith, which leads to a claim or denial of anything as a fact, Carl Sagan calls it audacity, while king David calls it foolishness. (Psalm 14:1)

    There are two modalities of belief.  With regards to the so-called Abrahamic faiths beliefs are founded on texts based on the myth that they are divine and there divine creation is not to be questioned.
    Unlike the scientifc myths in which the texts are not of divine origin and can be questioned.
    Unlike religious faiths science does not deal with "absolutes" and does deal in probabilitly.  It is in the nature of man to be curious and questioning about themselves and the rest of the cosmos..   
    As to Pslams 14:1  and King David.  The  historical existence of a person named King David is not a fact, yet.  Historians do question the existence of King David based on the lack of evidence independent of the Torah. 
    As to your comment about  Pslams 14:1 I respect your "honest opinion"  derived from it but do not respect the verse itself which you did not quote.
    Pslams 14:1 .."To the choirmaster. Of David. The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none that does good." 
    I disagree and do not respect the claim that an atheists is a fool because he questions the existence of God. 
    Nor do I respect the opinion of the alleged writer of the verse that atheists do abominable deed because they are atheists.
    Having read the Torah-Tanakah I would also add that theists have done "abominable deeds"  allegedly on the authority that God told them it too.
    I will not deny that there were and are atheists who have done "abominable deeds" however I do deny that the did on the "authority of non-belief of God." 

    Jan 10, 2012 -- 4:52PM, Ben Masada wrote:

    No wonder some theists charge atheists with equal need of faith to believe or to deny as both do each other. So, the only solution to this predicament is to believe on the basis of the concept of probability. Thus, audacity and foolishness are replaced by wisdom.


    It is true that there are "some" theists that charge  that non-belief in the existence of God is "equal" to a beleif in the existence of God.   That belief in scientific myths-theories is "equal" to a belief in the religious myths contained in the so-called books of God."

    I would also add that monotheists have a non-belief in the existence of other Gods.  They just as audicious and arrogant in their beliefs.   Polytheists belief that monotheists are "lacking in wisdom" because of their audicous beliefs.  

    For more information about Carl Sagan and what he thought about the "big bang" see:

    For more information about the Big Bang theory-myth(?):

    I would also like to add that the person who developed the theory-myth(?) of the Big Bang was himself a "theist".  

    "The Big Bang is a well-tested scientific theory which is widely accepted within the scientific community because it is the most accurate and comprehensive explanation for the full range of phenomena astronomers observe. Since its conception, abundant evidence has arisen to further validate the model.[6][7] Georges Lemaître first proposed what would become the Big Bang theory in what he called his "hypothesis of the primeval atom."

    Monsignor Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître ( lemaitre.ogg 17 July 1894 – 20 June 1966) was a Belgian priest, astronomer and professor of physics at the Catholic University of Louvain. He was the first person to propose the theory of the expansion of the Universe, widely misattributed to Edwin Hubble.

    There are "some" theists who do not believe that materalist science and religious faiths are mutually exclusionary and competive.   They believe that there are two ways in which we can obtain "wisdom". One is from the Book of God and the other is from the "Book of Nature". 

    They are essentially "dualist" with regards to "wisdom".

    Their premise expressed as:

    "Let science determine the age of rocks and religion the rock of ages."

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