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1 hour ago, TrueTomHarley said:

Notwithstanding quirks as Michael Shermer’s forsaking his own ad hominem attack ban to indicate by voice intonation that those who oppose him are nuts

Why does he do this? After declaring ad hominem attacks off limits, he does nothing but engage in them throughout his lecture series. It would not be apparent in transcript form, but it audio it is pronounced. Each time he quotes an advocate of creation, or “pseudoscience” or “conspiracy theory” or—in short, anyone he disagrees with, he lowers his tone to convey paranoia or lunacy. 

It is better to vow not than vow and not pay. I would never swear off ad hominem attacks. Although I agree with his rationale to ‘attack the faulty idea, not the faulty person,” some people have such disagreeable ad hominems that you almost can’t help but call them out on it. In fact on matters of philosophy, psychology, or behavioral science, is an ad hominem attack not directly relevant? If the ideas they peddle were any good, wouldn’t they have done more for them personally?

So I haven’t ruled them out. But he has. That’s way it is so blatant when he continually indulges the temptation them through inflection. 

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This helped me to see the source of Alan’s enmity towards me. It is pure envy.

I'm making a catch-all place for the discussions on these topics that were currently under different topics/subjects. As I move old posts into this new topic, the oldest ones will appear to identify the starter/owner of this topic, even though that person didn't create this topic.

For the life of me, I cannot take this fellow seriously. With a level of abuse (granted, I provoked it here, but it is just so much fun. And this is not really an example of it) that is off the charts, it is virtually the only thing about him worth mentioning. I can’t imagine why the Librarian (that old hen) puts up with him, when she has dropped the abuse hammer on others. Poor CC suffers it every time you turn around—not necessarily unjustly, but certainly no worse than this fellow. Even

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2 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

[to Alan] Why you think they should strive to capture the nuances of what both you and they think is faulty is beyond me.

It is a little bit like—in fact, it’s exactly like—what is now done in teaching the Bible to those of non-Christian background. One drawback of the Live Forever book and the Truth book before it was that they assumed people were indoctrinated with church teachings.

But as the ministry increased outside of the West, the situation more and more became a matter of teaching church doctrines to people who had never believed (or knew) them in the first place just so as to tell them to forget them—they’re wrong. Why teach them in the first place?

Present study material does not teach them. It deals with them in supplemental or appendix form if students have an issue with them, but otherwise lets them slide.

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8 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

But as the ministry increased outside of the West, the situation more and more became a matter of teaching church doctrines to people who had never believed (or knew) them in the first place just so as to tell them to forget them—they’re wrong. Why teach them in the first place?

This is so funny.  BUT, the Watchtower / JW Org was built on, deliberaterly putting down other religions.

In fact it still happens even on here. JWs on here compare the Org to other religions, big time.  CSA being a 'case en pointe'. 

Other comparisons being : the trinity, war, dead go to heaven, et al.   As TTH says, why even mention them as they are wrong anyway ? 

Did they really teach non Christians, false teachings ?  Nothing much has canged there then. 

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2 hours ago, Srecko Sostar said:

Do you have information to what religions these scientists belongs? Or they are just independent believers?

Shermer gives no data as to what scientists gravitate to what faith. I would imagine the majority go to faiths that have no issue with evolution. My own personal physician, a practicing Catholic, might be one of them. He, after I had asked about how his practice is weathering Covid restrictions, said it has had no impact on his practice, and added (unbidden), “they never should have shut the State down—they didn’t follow the science,” demonstrating once again the increasing reality that “science” is what anyone says it is. Politicians these days take just the opposite approach on the basis of “following the science.”

Still, some scientists trickle into Jehovah’s Witnesses. It takes awhile to reach critical mass, but I would imagine that they eventually originate our science material. A lot of brothers seem to think that David Splane, or some brother who got straight A’s in high school science, holes up for a weekend or two and then writes our material, but I think it must be as I wrote in Tom Irregardless and Me:

Regardless of venue, the model of seeking intellect on an as-needed basis, works. Dr. Gene Hwang is a professor emeritus at Cornell University. He was, for years, among the most published authorities on statistics. His work provides mathematical support for scientists who study gene function. Dr. Hwang became a Witness in the late 1990’s and associated for a time with the nearby Ithaca Congregation. Although my wife and I visit Ithaca frequently (the terrain is spectacular) I have never met Dr. Hwang. What I write next I’ve just made up. Okay? I don’t want Dr. Hwang approaching me some fine day saying: ‘Why are you telling lies about me?’ The following is mere fiction.

But it is historical fiction. It will be parallel to the truth. It will be Mark Twain’s take on history: it doesn’t repeat, but it does rhyme. For all I know, it is the truth. After many years a Witness, Bethel approaches him: “We’re having a little trouble in our science department,” they say. “We don’t know much about it, but we want to be sure whatever we print is cutting edge. Could you look it over, offer suggestions, and maybe write something yourself?” Today there are two excellent brochures for those who would grapple with questions regarding evolution: ‘The Origin of Life – Five Questions Worth Asking,’ and ‘Was Life Created?’ Not to mention periodic articles in the Watchtower and Awake magazines.

That can be done with just a handful of scientists? Yes. Our scientists don’t squabble. They don’t fight turf wars. They’re not the ones who think of their own careers and who scheme to undermine their rivals. Pretentious ones don’t become Witnesses to begin with. The one who declares we must, above all, “not let a Divine Foot in the door,” stays far away from us and doesn’t muddy the waters. Our scientists are humble and honest hearted, if few. They know how to bring their gift to the altar so that God’s organization is up to speed in an area hardly its line of expertise.

By the way, what kind of a teacher is Gene Hwang? He gets up and down ratings at ratemyprofessors.com, but the one that sticks is: “Although he has a very thick accent, he genuinely likes teaching (a rarity at Cornell) and cares about his students. He makes sure that everyone understands the material.” It’s a description so typical of Jehovah’s Witnesses: he ‘genuinely likes teaching’ and he ‘cares about’ people – a rarity among professors so caught up in their research that students are a distracting nuisance to them. If Dr. Hwang gets any bad ratings, they can be chalked up to ratemyprofessor.com’s bad rep among professors: lazy students have equal say with industrious ones; the only way to appease the former is to award easy A’s. Nonetheless, even those who had trouble with his accent, found him, to the person, a decent human being – again, entirely typical of the faith he represents.

Another thing I found myself largely agreeing (but for one important caveat) with Michael Shermer about was his end-of-lecture contention that there need be no conflict between religion and belief in God; just adjust your mindset, if you are a believer, as to how He brought life and you are home free. It won’t work for Witnesses, who realize the ransom sacrifice is key to alleviating suffering, and also that that sacrifice becomes meaningless in the absence of an Adam. But it will work for many church traditions where that truth was long ago discarded for gobbledygook about the trinity. The trinity makes the ransom of Christ as meaningless as does the evolution theory, so why not just cut out the middleman idea? Makes sense to me. If your sole objection is that “The Bible says what it means and means what it says,” well—I’m not willing to die on that hill. I’ll concede that perhaps symbolism or metaphor is at work somewhere. However, I do believe in the ransom sacrifice of Christ and all the elucidation that stems from it, so I do have to die on it, hopefully not literally. 

I’d even be willing to entertain a combining of the two ideas, as though that evolution produces hominids to the point where God says, “Okay, this one is Adam.” But there are all sorts of things that don’t fit here, so someone else will have to hash it out, maybe JWI on a subsequent thread. Or maybe Kos can squeeze it in between interpretations of prophesy, once he finishes discerning any possible connection with “standing where one ought not in the holy place” with rioters invading the Capitol.

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True Tom Harley is the resident expert in deliberately missing the point:

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18 hours ago, AlanF said:
Note, in the following excerpts from Watchtower publications, that the Society has wrongly equated "creationism" with "young-earth creationism":

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Why you think they should strive to capture the nuances of what both you and they think is faulty is beyond me.

"They" obviously don't think that their false equation is faulty. Rather, "they" do it in order to create a false impression of what constitutes the two in the minds of their ignorant followers: "We JWs are NOT creationists!" When, of course, they're both generic creationists and what I'll call "young-life creationists" -- creationists who claim that life is at most 20,000 years old. Of course, since the Society has abandoned explicit mention of "7,000-year creative days", most JWs under the age of 45 are not even aware of the abandoned tradition and have no problem accepting modern scientific dating for the age of life.

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  18 hours ago, AlanF said:
But believers in the Bible God have a much bigger problem: they cannot explain the origin of their God.

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They’ll live.

Point being: it is grossly hypocritical and intellectually dishonest to rail against science for being unable to explain the origin of life -- which scientists freely admit -- yet refuse to consider the much worse problem of the origin of God.

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4 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

Notwithstanding quirks as Michael Shermer’s forsaking his own ad hominem attack ban to indicate by voice intonation that those who oppose him are nuts, I overall appreciated very much his Skepticism 101: How to Think like a Scientist. I learned a lot as to how they think and I came to find I agreed with Shermer in many things. Alas, skepticism, when it becomes a movement, is like all new trends of the world. What might work if it was to try to integrate itself into the overall pattern rather than take over fails when in opts for the later goal. Overall, a measure of skepticism is a good thing. But it is also covered by verses such as ‘does not the palate test out words?’ ‘a fool believes every word, but the wise one considers his steps,’ and so forth.

When skepticism imagines itself the be-all and end-all, then what could be beneficial becomes a way to stifle discovery. It throws the baby out with the bathwater in its presumption to be THE answer to life. 

It reminds me of my friend Bud, who fixed many a clunker for me back in the day. An old-school mechanic, he was disdainful of the then newfangled electronic diagnosis methods. He told me of the younger guys of the shop stymied when such methods told them there was nothing wrong with a certain car. “Well,there must be something wrong with it,” he said, “It doesn’t run.”

Shermer’s lecture of evolution vs creationism was fascinating as it laid out four distinct battles (in the U.S) of the “war:” the Scopes trial of 1925, the later battle that Genesis be given equal time with evolution, the next battle to declare creation a science, and give it equal time on that basis, and finally the stage of “intelligent creation,” which makes no mention of religion at all (but whose proponents almost always believe in the God of Abraham, Shermer says, no doubt in violation of another one of his rules of thinking that one’s religion is relevant to the merits of whatever ideas he brings to the table). I agree with Shermer that “creation science” is not science, and said it here on JWI’s 607 thread:

“It’s not, and we shouldn’t argue that it is. That does not mean that it is not reasonable. It is eminently reasonable, and the fact that science has not endorsed it says more about the limitations of science than it does about creation. Furthermore, whatever Shermer may do in his private capacity, in his public capacity as Great Courses lecturer, he acknowledges that there are some places that science is not equipped to go, and therefore he passes no judgment on those places. What we should be arguing is not that our beliefs are scientific, but that science is a flawed system for measuring existence. In some areas it works pretty well; in others it comes up empty handed. When it attempts to encroach on what Shermer says it is not equipped to encroach, it becomes an overall obstacle to gaining insight and @Araunais right—it becomes a false god and those who follow it where it has no authority become it’s “clergy.”

Shermer’s contention that creation science is not science, upheld by the U.S Supreme Court in 1987, gives me renewed respect and some insight into the reasoning of the WTS, who at least since that time have not said that it is. Instead, we have become accustomed to reading such things as “the Bible is not a book of science, but it is in harmony with true science.” Materialists will choke at this phrasing, for they assume that ALL science is true, and if it is not there is no other way to correct the problem than a further advance of science. But the WT’s phrasing is in accord with the truth that not everything is examined physically; some things are examined spiritually, and when science encroaches on that field where it has but clumsy and inapplicable tools, it is apt to come up with something other than “true science.”

I’ve previously coined a category of materialists with the acronym SPCA—“science/philosophers/cheerleader/atheists.” These are not the same as scientists though there is overlap. Scientists just go about doing science. Michael Shermer acknowledges that many scientists believe in God, no doubt because they sense there are limitations to science. But SPCAs assume human science is all there is and ram it down everyone’s throat as the be-all and end-all.

It is also worth noting that the Bible never speaks of proving faith in a scientific way. Instead it speaks of “taste and see that Jehovah is good.” Can you really prove that something tastes good? Plainly it is subjective. It will appeal to some hearts and not others.

Yet another fine example of, as Wolfgang Pauli once said of an errant colleague's paper: "it's not even wrong".

TTH is not even able to give a source for "Shermer's lecture".

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3 hours ago, Arauna said:

You cannot even explain  the zillions of miracles in evolution that took place "per chance" - there is no evidence that explain any of them (only theories) and then you want us to explain a much greater being - BUT at least our miracles have a purpose and did not take place per chance.  There is also enough evidence of God's  existence by the intricate "information"  in every aspect of the universe.  DNA (an operating system giving instructions in sequence of every  event to take place), mathematics, different energies and frequencies - natural phenomena  that all operate by natural LAW etc.   So yes, start to explain these natural phenomena and look into that more thoroughly before you judge and take sides with human inadequacies.

Point being: it is grossly hypocritical and intellectually dishonest to rail against science for being unable to explain the origin of life -- which scientists freely admit -- yet refuse to consider the much worse problem of the origin of God.

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2 hours ago, Arauna said:

That is an empty taunt - lol.  I do believe the earth itself was created when the heavens were created and it is very old - that is why one should be careful that animal fossils are not contaminated with rock that is much older.

The animals only appeared when the earth had cooled down and after god started preparing the earth for inhabitation such as proper light, balancing the gasses in the atmosphere, plants and water and then only humans...... These epochs only began when the earth was ready to prepare for habitation... so yes young earth means the earth was prepared much later than the universe appeared

"Young-Earth Creationism" by the usage of those who call themselves that includes not just the idea that the universe was created some 6,000 years ago, but all life as well. As the Society itself said, that is ridiculous and unscientific. Why? Because it goes against well-established science.

Equally ridiculous and unscientific is the claim that life is only some 27,000 years old -- which the Society itself more or less abandoned 40 years ago, but you are too stupid to accept.

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2 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

Why does he do this? After declaring ad hominem attacks off limits, he does nothing but engage in them throughout his lecture series. It would not be apparent in transcript form, but it audio it is pronounced. Each time he quotes an advocate of creation, or “pseudoscience” or “conspiracy theory” or—in short, anyone he disagrees with, he lowers his tone to convey paranoia or lunacy. 

It is better to vow not than vow and not pay. I would never swear off ad hominem attacks. Although I agree with his rationale to ‘attack the faulty idea, not the faulty person,” some people have such disagreeable ad hominems that you almost can’t help but call them out on it. In fact on matters of philosophy, psychology, or behavioral science, is an ad hominem attack not directly relevant? If the ideas they peddle were any good, wouldn’t they have done more for them personally?

So I haven’t ruled them out. But he has. That’s way it is so blatant when he continually indulges the temptation them through inflection. 

Another "Meh" post.

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