1. Atchemes Beagle

    Atchemes Beagle Member

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    Hello from a Darwin-lover

    Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Atchemes Beagle, Dec 31, 2017.

    Hi all. Looking forward to sharing. I have a science background and have worked with earth-scientists, but my true love is evolutionary biology and nature photography. I've published nonfiction articles and photography in nature and children's magazines.

    But now I have a book idea. I'll be up front that it's irreverent, as I'm not a fan of religion. (Boot me now if this is offensive!) However (if I survive here) I'll be asking your opinions on a big question: can skeptics and critical thinkers -- especially nonbelievers, like me -- engage in compassionate, respectable and civil conversations with believers?

    I'd better leave it at that for now. One more thing: I see myself as a positive person who sees great meaning in life, and I look forward to sharing this with like-minded people. Thank you!
     
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  2. crappycabbage

    crappycabbage Member

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    This sounds really interesting, and I think/hope you'll find a lot of people with plenty of opinions on the subject here. Welcome to the forums! :)
     
  3. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Contributor Contributor

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    Sure they can! It always amazes me how people who don't believe in a higher purpose do find a great meaning in life but I understand it to some degree. One life, make the best of it, etc. It doesn't cut it for me and I fear all that "it's survival of the fittest so why should I obey to morals" extreme, but this is too much philosophy for an introduction.

    Welcome!
    Maybe we can chat some more. :)
     
  4. Atchemes Beagle

    Atchemes Beagle Member

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    Thank you!
     
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  5. Atchemes Beagle

    Atchemes Beagle Member

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    Thank you! Looking forward.
     
  6. JLT

    JLT Contributor Contributor

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    The best fictional reference to Darwin and evolution/natural selection, I think, is Kurt Vonnegut's comic novel Galapagos. If you haven't read it, do so; I think you'll enjoy it.

    As for your question about eliciting meaningful conversations with believers, I guess it can be done, but I haven't had much luck with pursuing it very far. The times that it's worked best is when we can start from common things we agree on, and then find out where and why we diverge. But it usually stalls when somebody brings out the ...."Well, I believe it because that's what the Bible says, and everything in it is true." That's usually a conversation stopper right there, unless you can convince them that the problem might not be the Bible itself, but the interpretation of the particular Biblical passage that they're citing. That may result in a philosophical stalemate, where they say "Well, I can certainly see where you're coming from. That's a perspective I hadn't considered before."
     
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  7. Atchemes Beagle

    Atchemes Beagle Member

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    Yes I've certainly had that experience before as well. I'm by no means here to seek out these kinds of conversations or debates. But it is, mostly, what my writing is all about, so if people were uncomfortable with this, I'd be happy to bow out. Otherwise, I do try to put good humor and fun in my writing. I had a wonderful childhood, and I've had some crazy life experiences I'd like to share. But I am, I guess you could say, strongly committed to what I believe in. Obviously I feel it's important to put this up front. It would not be fair to y'all to do otherwise. But what is writing without a certain impact? :)
     
  8. Oxymaroon

    Oxymaroon Contributor Contributor

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    Writers, almost certainly. Proselytizers, not a chance in whatever passes for their respective netherworlds!
    Why would you want to?

    I have to add a caveat here:
    I'm an atheist who has had enormous respect for some Christians, and it is their example I take as a standard for judging faith. It seems to me that the overwhelming majority of people who identify as christian have little or no sincere belief, as demonstrated by their actions. That makes respectful discourse problematic -- at best. If these insincere people are also aggressive and intolerant, the encounters can't be anything but mutually hostile.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  9. Atchemes Beagle

    Atchemes Beagle Member

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    I would sure like to talk more about "judging faith," but I fear I'm getting too deep into things for an "Introduction." LoL :) But basically I agree. I think.
     
  10. Atchemes Beagle

    Atchemes Beagle Member

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    ..... and your diabolical cat spooks me. Mine is the same way.
     
  11. Foxxx

    Foxxx The Debonair Contributor

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    The Heaven and Hell in my mind.
    Don't censor yourself or leave because some people get offended. People are offended by anything and everything.

    I'm agnostic.

    Welcome to the forums.
     
  12. Oxymaroon

    Oxymaroon Contributor Contributor

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    It's your intro thread; seems to me you can talk about whatever you like in it - so long as it's within the bounds of reasonable, polite discourse. (except advertising, iirc.)
    By judging, I do not mean condemnation or discrimination; I simply mean the kind of evaluation we must necessarily bring to every encounter. We judge things, persons and situations all the time, whether we intend to or not; whether we admit it or not, and we react accordingly and record the results for future reference.
    Is this dangerous? Well, it's got big eyes, big ears, big teeth.. Yeah, looks pretty dangerous. Is the perceived danger imminent? Well, it's approaching at considerable speed. Run!
    Or: Is it beddable? Is it biddable? Is it edible? Is it credible?
    Here is what he says he believes. Here is what he does. Do they match? No; on closer inspection, I don't think he'd do this if he really, truly believed that an omniscient god who commands that is paying attention and taking names.
     
  13. Marty Kirby

    Marty Kirby Member

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    As a broad question, yes. I think sometimes you first have to ask someone, do you believe in science? Then from there, ask - if someone you really cared about had cancer, would you take them to a doctor or a pastor? If they say pastor, then the discussion is over for me. This isn't a "trick" question, but it does help people understand the vital role of science in making a better society.
     
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  14. Atchemes Beagle

    Atchemes Beagle Member

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    I agree. But, so, I don't want to belabor the subject. Let me ask two questions of you (or others): 1. what are your goals here? What do you really like about your participation? 2. How do you think I should proceed from here? What I'd like to do (and feel more comfortable with) is read someone else's work -- not to fulfill the requirements but to get an idea of what people on this site are writing. I mean maybe it's so foreign to me that I really should be somewhere else. I'm in no rush, for sure. And I'm curious about how all this works. I'm not much of an online person. I like photographing bugs and riding mountain bikes with my buddies and drinking a fair amount of beer with them afterwords. But I've always loved to write.
     
  15. Vince Higgins

    Vince Higgins Active Member

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    Well, as a Pastafarian myself, I relish discourse with all kinds if thinkers; Mormons, Muslims, Jehovites and even godless infidels like you.;)
     
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  16. Oxymaroon

    Oxymaroon Contributor Contributor

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    I haven't set any. I'm here to explore the possibilities.
    So far (one week in; not posted any work yet), people seem friendly, co-operative and interesting. Or interested, which is much the same thing.
    I guess like any newbie anywhere: Test the waters with a big toe. If it's not bitten off, dive in. Start reading and responding. The work is noticeably more mature here than on Goodreads (this is a purely subjective opinion, not an expert judgement.) but the volume is smaller. I've found I had to jump on freshly posted material before seven other people reviewed it better than I could. The critiques seem to be of a pretty high caliber, as well.
     
  17. Vince Higgins

    Vince Higgins Active Member

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    I second that.
     
  18. Oxymaroon

    Oxymaroon Contributor Contributor

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    Galapagos is almost as much fun as Cat's Cradle.
    The prophet of our times was Vonnegut. In a year of the headless chicken-hawk, don't read either of them sober - since yo can't read them drunk, you should be pretty safe.
     
  19. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Banned Contributor

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    Science is no more our salvation than is religion. I trust in neither.
     
  20. Kenosha Kid

    Kenosha Kid Active Member

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    A discussion can take place between any two people who are kind and respectful. You only have to watch a Richard Dawkins video or read one of his Twitter debates to know that more often than not, even if you try, it's hard for a militant atheist and a religious fundamentalist to have a meaningful conversation. Bring the word of Darwin to a suicide bomber is also unwise.

    As a fellow scientist, I used to have less patience for discussing science and religion with religious people, or assumed I did, but then I lived with a Catholic friend for a year and I miss it now. It worked fine because we respected one another. Don't expect instant results; rather plant a seed to grow over time, and have a fertile enough mind to have seeds planted there too.
     
  21. Marty Kirby

    Marty Kirby Member

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    You're entitled to that opinion. But think of the breakthroughs in medicine that have been created through the scientific method. We've pretty much eradicated smallpox, polio, and a host of other diseases that killed a lot in their childhood.
     
  22. Kenosha Kid

    Kenosha Kid Active Member

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    Not to mention using quantum mechanics to develop the computer chip so that we can tell people all over the world in mere seconds that science doesn't really work :twisted:
     
  23. Oxymaroon

    Oxymaroon Contributor Contributor

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    You don't need a tool to be all of our "salvation"; you just need it to solve one particular problem at any particular time, and if such a solution is found, you need it to work reliably whenever your life depends on it.
    Religion has fallen quite short, quite often both in the solution, and the reliability department.
    I'm inclined to trust science more.
     
  24. Vince Higgins

    Vince Higgins Active Member

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    I like to say I do not believe in science. Science is about finding truth in the universe around us. If you jump off a tall building, Newton gives us the tools to determine how hard you will hit when you reach the ground. You can believe you can fly, or you can do the math (or trust those who can) and decide not to jump.
     
  25. Vince Higgins

    Vince Higgins Active Member

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    And speaking of Vonnegut, Jailbird and Hocus Pocus are my favorites among many gems. Even Slapstick, which the author called his worst novel.
     

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