Evolution, Politics and Religion

Discussions related to politics and social issues
(the impact of religion on society)

Re: Evolution, Politics and Religion

Postby AB517 » Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:14 am

Bill wrote:I think the real issue is not the actual question that should be used to probe a candidate's ability to reject faith in light of scientific evidence, but whether such a question is ever appropriate.

If you turn the questioning around, it might become clearer how inappropriate that line is. Imagine how you might feel if you were on the campaign trail and were required to answer the question "Are you now, or have you ever have been an agnostic or atheist?" If I hold that my lack of faith should not be of any concern to the electorate at large, I think that I am forced to concede that my opponent's faith, or equal lack of, is also a matter that should not be at issue in any decision to cast a vote one way or the other.


If I am asking them to support me? I want to do so on their terms. I am there to meet their needs so I feel they can ask away.

1) I like young girls (25-32 ish) and I don't believe. I liked them when I was 27 and I like them now. I am atheist as long as I can remember, maybe since 10.
2)Yes, if you want me too Isis will no longer be a concern for anybody,
3)no, I can't tell you how I did it. but btw you can leave your doors unlocked and kids have the right of way now..

err ... wait a min ... :foul: forget I even said that :mrgreen:
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Re: Evolution, Politics and Religion

Postby romansh » Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:52 pm

Bill wrote: A passing comment was that there is not one fundamental Christian at large in the British parliament


A couple of comments ... firstly the comment above refers to a comment made by a British journalist in the clip that the Canadian pundits are discussing. So this is an inaccurate misrepresentation of the discussion.

Secondly I am not sure what you mean by Canadian talk-jockey.

If anyone bothers to listen to the clip she (the host) is scrupulously neutral.
The three pundits includes a professor and an author ... but more importantly the third pundit is an MP and the leader of the Green Party in Canada. (OK not a heavyweight) ... but well qualified to express a valid viewpoint. Also she is an Anglian and has studied theology.
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Re: Evolution, Politics and Religion

Postby Bill » Fri Feb 27, 2015 2:15 pm

romansh wrote:
Bill wrote: A passing comment was that there is not one fundamental Christian at large in the British parliament


A couple of comments ... firstly the comment above refers to a comment made by a British journalist in the clip that the Canadian pundits are discussing. So this is an inaccurate misrepresentation of the discussion.

Not ascribing a comment to its source makes citing it an inaccurate representation? Sheesh. It was jumped upon and relished but it was not her who actually said it. I apologize for my wretched failure to live up to the high standards of debate you demand from others.

Back to the core.

From the Madame Curie database:

The invention of DNA required the appearance of enzymatic activities for both synthesis of DNA precursors, retro-transcription of RNA templates and replication of singleand double-stranded DNA molecules. Recent data from comparative genomics, structural biology and traditional biochemistry have revealed that several of these enzymatic activities have been invented independently more than once, indicating that the transition from RNA to DNA genomes was more complex than previously thought. The distribution of the different protein families corresponding to these activities in the three domains of life (Archaea, Eukarya, and Bacteria) is puzzling. In many cases, Archaea and Eukarya contain the same version of these proteins, whereas Bacteria contain another version. However, in other cases, such as thymidylate synthases or type II DNA topoisomerases, the phylogenetic distributions of these proteins do not follow this simple pattern. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain these observations, including independent invention of DNA and DNA replication proteins, ancient gene transfer and gene loss, and/or nonorthologous replacement. We review all of them here, with more emphasis on recent proposals suggesting that viruses have played a major role in the origin and evolution of the DNA replication proteins and possibly of DNA itself.


Huh? Well, the latest and most up to-date opinion is that there is not a single falsifiable theory of how abiogenesis happened. Most scientists assume that it was abiogenesis and not divine intervention that turned lumps of rock into what eventually became bowls of tomato soup. But each of the three major possible theories of abiogenesis has at least one major flaw, which is why no consensus has ever been reached on the topic. And with the absence of time travel, it may never be reached. Ever.

So, at least for now, if you believe that life started without divine intervention, you do so as an article of faith. And if you believe that life started by divine intervention, you do so as an article of faith. If you hold that you do not know which is true, you accept that either alternative may be the valid one.

Which leads me to think that it is not the faith we ourselves have we find disturbing - it is the faith that others have that is counter to our own cherished belief. Those that do not think like us are different.

That is OK in so far as it goes. For we agnostics allow others to be not-agnostic as part and parcel of our make up. They are free to choose. As are we.

But we appear to be entering into a new age - where, without once explaining why, it is opined that people who have a faith of the wrong sort are not fit to serve in public office. The defect in accepting certain Christian dogma is so huge that such idiots simply cannot be trusted to vote in a rational manner on some proposed piece of legislation.

Please, someone, anyone, connect the dots between "Fundamental christian" and "unfit to serve in public office". (And while doing so, I personally would be grateful if it did not rely on some One True Way of Reasoning that everyone has to follow or be chucked into the nearest trash can).
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Re: Evolution, Politics and Religion

Postby AB517 » Sat Feb 28, 2015 6:21 am

I did .... 30 years ago. OMG maybe 53 years ... OMG iam old, lucky I can look back 40 years and be young, my mum can't, she was old 40 years ago too. ops, sorry, add and dissy leck kicked in there .... ranted and 53 = 35.

Thats why its a valid question bill. The question does not tell me who I am voting for. But people pulling that lever, well, filling in to oval, have the right to ask that question. Its no big deal for the "honest".
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Re: Evolution, Politics and Religion

Postby Bill » Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:48 am

In the not recent past in the USA, if you did not attend Church regularly - virtually every Sunday - you had no chance whatsoever of getting elected for any post at all. That bigotry is all but dead, but until it did die, if you wanted to serve your community, the first item on your check list was to go to church for a year or so before you announced you were running. You did not have to have one speck of faith, just a good church attendance.

If it should be decided that a belief in Evolution is now to replace that acid test, there are a number of ways a would be runner could appear to pass muster. And I would encourage them to use any subterfuge that works, for intellectual arrogance by a group professing to have the One True Rational is to be torn down as quickly as it is erected.

Unless someone can actually connect the dots that show a person who thinks god created man in unworthy of serving the public. Unless that case is proven, we are simply asking the mob to howl emotionally in a way that makes us feel smug about ourselves.
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Re: Evolution, Politics and Religion

Postby romansh » Sat Feb 28, 2015 11:18 am

Bill wrote:Not ascribing a comment to its source makes citing it an inaccurate representation? Sheesh. Back to the core.

Sheesh indeed.
No, not ascribing the source does not make it an inaccurate statement. In fact I too wondered about the clip from the British journalist. What makes your post inaccurate is the tarring of the whole interview is with Tony Blair's position on faith based schools. The interview was about what are appropriate questions of politicians. That you were not convinced by their arguments is fair enough.

But I do think your post mischaracterized the whole discussion that occurred.
Bill wrote: Please, someone, anyone, connect the dots between "Fundamental christian" and "unfit to serve in public office". (And while doing so, I personally would be grateful if it did not rely on some One True Way of Reasoning that everyone has to follow or be chucked into the nearest trash can).


While many fundamental Christians will fall foul of this question on belief in evolution, in of itself is not does not disbar any person from getting elected. The fact that you confounding a scientific question with a faith based question is interesting. Believe it or not, this discussion is not about whether a politician with or without faith will get elected. it is about how I, as a voter, choose topics to decide who I want to vote for.

Now The One True Source may say, join the dots ... and I, as a voter, say this is one way of assessing the quality of the candidate..

Many people simply just vote Democrat or Republican regardless of the quality of the candidate. No doubt there are a whole bunch underlying reasons ... and I suspect many of this reasons are not overly well thought out.

Regarding the diatribe on Abiogenesis ... bit of a red herring. It happened; we know it happened! Whether it is god inspired or some event in the universe, I don't think anyone has the answer of how. I would not fault anyone saying we don't know. But I would be suspicious of those proclaiming divine intervention of some kind. But as a voter very often I am left with choosing the lesser of two "evils".

So the way I look at it is if someone who is not swayed one way or the other by the answer to do you believe in evolution? Fair enough. And those who are, that too is fair enough.
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Re: Evolution, Politics and Religion

Postby Bill » Sat Feb 28, 2015 3:42 pm

So: those who can be swayed by the answer to the question do you believe in evolution have a right to know. a right that trumps the vast majority who opine the question is both immaterial and irresponsible? (Anyone care to jump in here and show where this right arises from, and who decided that such a right exists? No? I thought not.)

In sum, we are to trust those who are carriers of the One True Way of Reasoning to make such decisions for the rest of us? We can see that nyone who tries to say otherwise will only have red herrings and misrepresentations to hand, so those who are carriers of the OTW of R may safely ignore any questions that such heretics ask. (The simplest way of dealing with awkward questions is to place your ear trumpet to your weaker ear while they are being voiced...)

If you cannot, or will not. show that people who do not believe in evolution are not fit for office, the question is both immaterial and irresponsible. But since such a case has not and cannot be made, we are left with a vapid and emotional demand that one has a right to know such things. By the way, why does the list stop at that one question? Say what, lets have all would be office seekers take a battery of deeply personal and very revealing psychological tests so that we are able to see every aspect of a candidate's make up. I am sure a quick revamp of the right to know rule could accomplish this.
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Re: Evolution, Politics and Religion

Postby Bill » Sun Mar 01, 2015 9:46 am

On a more practical matter, it might have come less of a shock to the US nation if before the November elections candidates had been asked "Which is more important: Protecting American citizens from terrorists, or deporting parents of American children if the parents do not have Green Cards?" The question would have needed prior-knowledge of what was going to happen, and the answers would have had no impact whatsoever on the election results, but at least we would have known what we were in for.

The funds provided by the 1% of the 1% have given us 40 delusional and dysfunctional members of Congress, and our Founding Fathers have given us a system that cannot hold that mob in check.

Who would have guessed?
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Re: Evolution, Politics and Religion

Postby romansh » Sun Mar 01, 2015 11:29 am

Bill wrote:So: those who can be swayed by the answer to the question do you believe in evolution have a right to know.
a right that trumps the vast majority who opine the question is both immaterial and irresponsible? (Anyone care to jump in here and show where this right arises from ...

One glorious huge and well beaten straw man.

Nobody is claiming that we have a right to know ...

What I am claiming is:
    It is a valid question and I do have the right to ask it. Of course the person has a right to decline to answer the question.

    I will have a higher regard for someone who answers the question openly and honestly, though it may not win my vote but depending how other (prospective) politicians answer it may.

    If a politician hides their beliefs which they might believe would make them unelectable then they have lost my trust and my vote. Tony Blair's position that you cited is a case in point.
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Re: Evolution, Politics and Religion

Postby Bill » Sun Mar 01, 2015 12:38 pm

Au contraire - we have heard the argument "the right to know" trotted out by all and sundry. That you personally do not make such a claim does not make it a straw man fallacy - it simply shows that you disavow yourself of the majority position on this issue.

I may believe that asking "have you stopped beating your wife yet?" is an equally valid question. That I believe it is valid does not give me "the right" to ask it. Saying that candidates are free to ignore such a probe seems to highlight that I had no right to start off with.

But if we are to have an acid test on whether a candidate's belief system is one that makes them unfit to serve office, would you care to explain how that works - other than your personal preference on such a matter?

At this stage all we have is that you don't want to elect anyone who does not believe in evolution. That tells us something about you, but very little about how we should modify the electoral process so that your way of thinking will prevail upon everyone else.
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