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Thread: Study shows that IQ decreases with religiosity

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    There's something to be said for C.S. Lewis' arguments, in my opinion. I don't agree with Kierkegaard when he says things like this:

    "The world has perhaps always had a lack of what could be called authentic individualities, decisive subjectivities, those artistically permeated with reflection, the independent thinkers who differ from the bellowers and the didacticizers. The more objective the world and individual subjectivities become, the more difficult it becomes with the religious categories, which are precisely in the sphere of subjectivity. That is why it is almost an irreligious exaggeration to want to be world-historical, scholarly-scientific, and objective with regard to the religious...even wanting to be subjective enough to appeal to another subjectivity is already an attempt to become objective, is a first step toward getting the majority vote on one’s side and one’s God-relationship transformed into a speculative enterprise on the basis of probability and partnership and fellow shareholders is the first step toward becoming objective. Concluding Unscientific Postscript

    However, at the end of the day, I think Kierkegaard has it right. Reason only takes you so far. Then, you must decide whether, no longer relying only on yourself, you will take the leap into the loving arms of God, or not.

    Anyway, as I said, he was required reading. The good Sisters who taught me were very fond of the Lutheran theologians like Kierkegaard and Paul Tillich and Bonhoeffer. They were fond of Hans Kung too. Now there's a case for you...I guess they don't formally excommunicate anyone nowadays.
    Okay, you seem to really know this stuff, so I'm going to ask you a question that, AFAIK, an insular European such as Kierkegaard didn't feel the need to address. After one ponders spiritual issues, if one decides to make a leap of faith and believe in a god, why should one decide to believe in the christian god rather than some other deity? Is it simply a cultural issue? It seems to me that, just as with positing the idea that the existence of a universe necessitates some unspecified creator, deciding on the need to believe in some kind of creator does not get you to a justification for believing in a specific creator.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aberdeen View Post
    Okay, you seem to really know this stuff, so I'm going to ask you a question that, AFAIK, an insular European such as Kierkegaard didn't feel the need to address. After one ponders spiritual issues, if one decides to make a leap of faith and believe in a god, why should one decide to believe in the christian god rather than some other deity? Is it simply a cultural issue? It seems to me that, just as with positing the idea that the existence of a universe necessitates some unspecified creator, deciding on the need to believe in some kind of creator does not get you to a justification for believing in a specific creator.
    It’s been a long time since I’ve read any of these theological works. Most of my copies of their books are in a box in the attic. (You can see how far I have fallen away.) All I have on my computer are quotes from them that I’ve kept.


    Here is a very Kierkegaard like one from Hans Kung:
    “historical arguments; traditional apologetics breaks down here. Since man is here dealing with God and this by definition means with the invisible, impalpable, uncontrollable, only one attitude is appropriate and required : believing trust, trusting faith.”

    FWIW, I don’t remember Kierkegaard ever addressing even the question of Judaism. For him, Christianity is an absolute.

    A few of their books are still in my bookcases, and I’ll see if I can find some pertinent quotes.


    I can say that personally, if I were to be a believer, I would be a Christian.


    Christianity, and Judaism before it are totally different from paganism and the eastern religions-Hindusim, Buddhism, Tao.


    My reason leads me to believe in a transcendent God, the creator of the universe, not a god(s) who is part of the universe. The pagan gods were just immortal men, subject to all the vices and sins of ordinary men. Buddhism and Hinduism, while they are profound religions which exhibit deep reflection on the nature of reality, the divine, and the meaning of life and suffering, are really pantheistic religions in which, reduced to their essence, the godhead is basically the universe itself.


    It’s only in the monotheistic religions of the Near East that we have an individual transcendent God who creates the universe. That makes more sense to me.


    Moreover, he is a God who manifests himself in history and with whom we can communicate. He is a personal God.


    Also, the eastern religions do not, in my opinion, satisfactorily address the question of human suffering. The “solution” to suffering in the eastern religions is to stop existing. That is the goal. When, after multiple reincarnations you have learned the necessary “lessons”, you will be rewarded by never being incarnated again, and merging into the formless universe. In Christianity, suffering is the means…it’s through the redemptive suffering of Christ and our participation in that suffering, that we and the world are redeemed. That redemption leads to an afterlife in which the individual identity remains intact.


    To use the old formulation, death will be no more, not because we will be blessed by non-existence, but because we will have a different, but still unique, individual existence.


    Also, in Christianity there is, contrary to the eastern religions, a definition of the godhead as a loving God. A God, moreover, who, to quote Kierkegaard again, became man and suffered because of that love for mankind, and in the process could say to mankind, "See, here is what it is to be a human being."

    The differences between Christianity, Judaism and Islam would be a whole other long post, but I think some of the differences can be inferred just from what I have written.


    Of course, I’m aware that the form my logic, my reasoning takes, even my preference, perhaps, if you will, for this definition of God, for this theology, is grounded in a very “western” oriented, “humanistic” philosophical and theological view of the world, God, and man.


    Non si fa il proprio dovere perchè qualcuno ci dica grazie, lo si fa per principio, per se stessi, per la propria dignità. Oriana Fallaci

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dorianfinder View Post
    God affords man free will to choose. If man has no free will then there can be no faith, for to have faith man must have the choice to believe. Similarly, sin is only possible if man has the freedom to choose right from wrong and chooses wrong. However, God's love affords Grace, forgiveness is deserved. Some people, me included, are too proud at times to love unconditionally. Others, myself included, have difficulty due to lack of knowledge. God affords Grace based on each individual's circumstances.

    Equality in terms of faith is necessary for man to relieve man of the choices and consequences resulting from the responsibilities afforded him.
    Ok then, let me ask you this. Why god creates people with mental disabilities, like down syndrome or others due to improper brain development and function. Such people lack understanding of good and evil concepts, therefore cannot sin or be fully responsible for making bad choices in life. It also means they can't be judged by god and go to heaven or hell. Their lives make no sense when viewed through christian understanding of the world. On other hand easily explainable by genetics and natural selection.
    Be wary of people who tend to glorify the past, underestimate the present, and demonize the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    My reason leads me to believe in a transcendent God, the creator of the universe, not a god(s) who is part of the universe.
    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    It’s only in the monotheistic religions of the Near East that we have an individual transcendent God who creates the universe. That makes more sense to me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Moreover, he is a God who manifests himself in history and with whom we can communicate. He is a personal God.
    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Also, in Christianity there is, contrary to the eastern religions, a definition of the godhead as a loving God.
    Could you elaborate on why you find a personal and loving god of creation more likely to exist, by your "reason" as you put it? (As long as I am understanding you correctly?) I assume that you see properties of the universe or human nature that point toward this, rather than simply seeing these god properties as products of different types of stories from different cultures?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
    Could you elaborate on why you find a personal and loving god of creation more likely to exist, by your "reason" as you put it? (As long as I am understanding you correctly?) I assume that you see properties of the universe or human nature that point toward this, rather than simply seeing these god properties as products of different types of stories from different cultures?
    To do an adequate job is probably beyond me for reasons of time, space, and ability( I am not qualified to provide the most learned exposition of each and every philosophical and/or theological point. It's been a long time since I read and had to write papers on these works.) Also, it's a given from my point of view that someone could find flaws in each and every reasoned argument. For every argument based on reason, a counter-argument has been presented.

    Each person has to contemplate these arguments and decide individually what weight to give to them. I personally think, as I said, that reason only takes you so far.

    What I can say with regard to philosophy/theology and culture is that I think it's sort of a which came first argument, the chicken or the egg. Is western philosophy the product or the creator of western culture?

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    You've presented quite a stirring defense of christian humanism, Angela, but a god that is both personal and transcendental is not something I could believe in. IMO, a deity powerful enough to create whole galaxies simply wouldn't care about the foibles of individuals. In any case, I think it quite likely that the universe is both the dreamer and the dream, so needs no creator. I can imagine deities of this universe interceding on our behalf, and I don't think we need to follow the absurdities of the Greeks who attributed human failings to them. But perhaps on the issue of whether a belief in a transcendent deity is a positive or negative we will have to agree to disagree.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aberdeen View Post
    You've presented quite a stirring defense of christian humanism, Angela, but a god that is both personal and transcendental is not something I could believe in. IMO, a deity powerful enough to create whole galaxies simply wouldn't care about the foibles of individuals. In any case, I think it quite likely that the universe is both the dreamer and the dream, so needs no creator. I can imagine deities of this universe interceding on our behalf, and I don't think we need to follow the absurdities of the Greeks who attributed human failings to them. But perhaps on the issue of whether a belief in a transcendent deity is a positive or negative we will have to agree to disagree.
    Humans and any other Intelligent Beings of this Universe are the ultimate state of the Universal evolution and the real goal of the Creation. Only a fool would negate the Divine design.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyc View Post
    Humans and any other Intelligent Beings of this Universe are the ultimate state of the Universal evolution and the real goal of the Creation. Only a fool would negate the Divine design.
    I think that's the silliest comment I've ever read. You're asking us to believe that Brahma (or Odin or Jehovah or some other deity) created the universe just because you assume you know "the real goal of Creation"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aberdeen View Post
    You've presented quite a stirring defense of christian humanism, Angela, but a god that is both personal and transcendental is not something I could believe in. IMO, a deity powerful enough to create whole galaxies simply wouldn't care about the foibles of individuals. In any case, I think it quite likely that the universe is both the dreamer and the dream, so needs no creator. I can imagine deities of this universe interceding on our behalf, and I don't think we need to follow the absurdities of the Greeks who attributed human failings to them. But perhaps on the issue of whether a belief in a transcendent deity is a positive or negative we will have to agree to disagree.
    If I were ever to "take the Leap", it would be to a Christ centered Humanism, though, not to Marxist theology or to the Jesus as neighborhood social worker theology.

    It's certainly true that a creator who is both a transcendent and a personal loving God is a paradox, and the human mind doesn't normally like paradox. It, or duality at least, is also in a lot of other things, however, like faith and reason, justice and mercy, flesh and spirit. The central symbols of Christianity are all about paradox, and not letting the paradox collapse: the Incarnation and the Resurrection; transcendence and imminence; life through death.

    Imagination can sometimes bridge the gap...writers like T.S.Eliot, Gerald Manley Hopkins, Flannery O'Connor, or even Dostoyevsky, another one of my old favorites.

    At any rate, none of this is the stumbling block for me. The stumbling block is the problem of evil, and the suffering of the innocents that LeBrok mentioned. I know all the intellectual and theological rationales, and I might even find them intellectually persuasive. I just can't accept it emotionally. I was told it was because I lack humility and trust That's certainly more than possible. :)

    Anyway, this is all personal stuff.

    As to the writers on these subjects, of course much of it starts with Thomas Aquinas. Then there's the Renaissance Christian Humanists. There are others in addition to the ones I already mentioned upthread. I would add Immanuel Kant. Also, the list wouldn't be complete without Pascal's Pensees.

    Oh, and Niebur and Barth. I found it amusing that McCain and Obama both claimed during the election that Niebur was their favorite theologian. Not my favorite, although a brilliant and highly influential man. I also doubt either one of them actually understands the basis for all his beliefs.

    Anyway, I will now leave you gentlemen to it; I've said about all I know about the subject. :)

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    Ok then, let me ask you this. Why god creates people with mental disabilities, like down syndrome or others due to improper brain development and function. Such people lack understanding of good and evil concepts, therefore cannot sin or be fully responsible for making bad choices in life. It also means they can't be judged by god and go to heaven or hell. Their lives make no sense when viewed through christian understanding of the world. On other hand easily explainable by genetics and natural selection.
    Here is a question for you: Why do so many people turn to God when they reach their limit. What is it about man that it is easier to believe in something greater than himself after he has failed to find happiness?

    The simple answer is 'I don't know why God does things that to me and you seem strange or cruel.' I can only guess as to the reason and say that God creates a perfect universe according to those of us who feel privileged and loved ... and a cruel and unforgiving universe to those of us who feel abandoned and unloved in the world. The sentiment is really ours to bare.

    Victor Frankel was stuck in a Nazi labour camp during WWII and studied why, among the most unfortunate individuals, there appeared to be those who remained upbeat and helped others whereas others gave up. He found that those most resilient had found meaning in their suffering and those who wanted to die had no purpose for going on...

    Your question seems to assume that people with Down's syndrome or any other form of congenital condition lead meaningless lives. Are you sure about this? If there is anything I've learned from my life experience it's that misfortune is a part of life. The transient nature of things and fickleness of life is why purpose is so important to our existence. If man was immortal and perfect there would be no sin, no death ... no need for resurrection, evolution, growth and with these things, pain and suffering.

    I have seen people live an empty self-serving existence only to die of a drug overdose from partying too much. Then I have engaged with people who have suffered much more than I and they make it their life's work to help others. From the ashes ... Christ has truly risen as the saying goes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dorianfinder View Post
    Here is a question for you: Why do so many people turn to God when they reach their limit. What is it about man that it is easier to believe in something greater than himself after he has failed to find happiness?

    The simple answer is 'I don't know why God does things that to me and you seem strange or cruel.' I can only guess as to the reason and say that God creates a perfect universe according to those of us who feel privileged and loved ... and a cruel and unforgiving universe to those of us who feel abandoned and unloved in the world. The sentiment is really ours to bare.

    Victor Frankel was stuck in a Nazi labour camp during WWII and studied why, among the most unfortunate individuals, there appeared to be those who remained upbeat and helped others whereas others gave up. He found that those most resilient had found meaning in their suffering and those who wanted to die had no purpose for going on...

    Your question seems to assume that people with Down's syndrome or any other form of congenital condition lead meaningless lives. Are you sure about this? If there is anything I've learned from my life experience it's that misfortune is a part of life. The transient nature of things and fickleness of life is why purpose is so important to our existence. If man was immortal and perfect there would be no sin, no death ... no need for resurrection, evolution, growth and with these things, pain and suffering.

    I have seen people live an empty self-serving existence only to die of a drug overdose from partying too much. Then I have engaged with people who have suffered much more than I and they make it their life's work to help others. From the ashes ... Christ has truly risen as the saying goes.
    I said I wouldn't participate any more, (and now I won't!) but I just had to respond to this...how beautifully said. I wish I still had your acceptance and belief.

    How nice also to see someone refer to Frankel's Man's Search For Meaning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aberdeen View Post
    I think that's the silliest comment I've ever read. You're asking us to believe that Brahma (or Odin or Jehovah or some other deity) created the universe just because you assume you know "the real goal of Creation"?
    The human being (and any other intelligent life form) is the closest creature to the Divine Creator: a intelligent being with a soul and self coscience.Some humans are evil, either because they don't respect the Creator and his creations, or they oppose the universal evolution.
    Last edited by joeyc; 14-10-14 at 18:41.

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    religion is not restricted to theism just as a matter of what words mean. But the phrase might still be thought confusing. Would it not be better, for the sake of clarity, to reserve “religion” for theism and then to say that Einstein, Shelley, and the others are “sensitive” or “spiritual” atheists? But on a second look, expanding the territory of religion improves clarity by making plain the importance of what is shared across that territory. Richard Dawkins says that Einstein’s language is “destructively misleading” because clarity demands a sharp distinction between a belief that the universe is governed by fundamental physical laws, which Dawkins thought Einstein meant, and a belief that it is governed by something “supernatural,” which Dawkins thinks the word “religion” suggests.But Einstein meant much more than that the universe is organized around fundamental physical laws; indeed his view I quoted is, in one important sense, an endorsement of the supernatural.

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/arch...n-without-god/

    http://www.theguardian.com/books/201...dworkin-review

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    Regarding the OP, it depends on the country and the religion.

    For example Jews and Anglicans have a higher mean IQ than Atheists/Agnostics. 95% of Catholics in US are Mexicans with a mean IQ of 85.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gn.../#.VD092nJ1RKo

    While in Europe and East Asia, more religious countries (Poland, Italy, Japan,...) have often a higher mean IQ than Atheists/Agnostics.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendl...s-religiosity/

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyc View Post
    The human being (and any other intelligent life form) is the closest creature to the Divine Creator: a intelligent being with a soul and self coscience.Some humans are evil, either because they don't respect the Creator and his creations, or they oppose the universal evolution.
    Again, you've expressed an opinion without providing any argument to support it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aberdeen View Post
    Again, you've expressed an opinion without providing any argument to support it.
    There is no need for arguments. The faith is something you are born with. That's all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyc View Post
    Regarding the OP, it depends on the country and the religion.

    For example Jews and Anglicans have a higher mean IQ than Atheists/Agnostics. 95% of Catholics in US are Mexicans with a mean IQ of 85.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gn.../#.VD092nJ1RKo

    While in Europe and East Asia, more religious countries (Poland, Italy, Japan,...) have often a higher mean IQ than Atheists/Agnostics.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendl...s-religiosity/
    You clearly haven't understood what you read. The only part you got right is that American Episcopalians and Jews (both of which groups tend to contain large numbers of people from an educated elite background) have a marginally higher IQ average than atheists and agnostics, who tend to have a noticeably higher IQ than other believers. And no, it is not true that 95% of American Catholics are of Mexican descent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dorianfinder View Post
    Here is a question for you: Why do so many people turn to God when they reach their limit. What is it about man that it is easier to believe in something greater than himself after he has failed to find happiness?

    The simple answer is 'I don't know why God does things that to me and you seem strange or cruel.' I can only guess as to the reason and say that God creates a perfect universe according to those of us who feel privileged and loved ... and a cruel and unforgiving universe to those of us who feel abandoned and unloved in the world. The sentiment is really ours to bare.

    Victor Frankel was stuck in a Nazi labour camp during WWII and studied why, among the most unfortunate individuals, there appeared to be those who remained upbeat and helped others whereas others gave up. He found that those most resilient had found meaning in their suffering and those who wanted to die had no purpose for going on...

    Your question seems to assume that people with Down's syndrome or any other form of congenital condition lead meaningless lives. Are you sure about this? If there is anything I've learned from my life experience it's that misfortune is a part of life. The transient nature of things and fickleness of life is why purpose is so important to our existence. If man was immortal and perfect there would be no sin, no death ... no need for resurrection, evolution, growth and with these things, pain and suffering.

    I have seen people live an empty self-serving existence only to die of a drug overdose from partying too much. Then I have engaged with people who have suffered much more than I and they make it their life's work to help others. From the ashes ... Christ has truly risen as the saying goes.
    It's not surprising to me that people who find themselves in a state of anguish turn to hope for supernatural aid, and sometimes believe they've found it if their belief system helps them to better bear their anguish and/or their life starts to improve for other reasons after their renewal of faith. I used to know a not very devout Hindu immigrant who turned to his faith in a serious way for the first time after encountering some serious problems. He became convinced that the Vedas and Hindu spiritual practice provided all the answers one needs in life. He very much wanted to share this insight with others but because only people who are born Hindu can be Hindus, he suggested to me and my then wife that we embrace Hari Krishna teachings. We decided against that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    If I were ever to "take the Leap", it would be to a Christ centered Humanism, though, not to Marxist theology or to the Jesus as neighborhood social worker theology.

    It's certainly true that a creator who is both a transcendent and a personal loving God is a paradox, and the human mind doesn't normally like paradox. It, or duality at least, is also in a lot of other things, however, like faith and reason, justice and mercy, flesh and spirit. The central symbols of Christianity are all about paradox, and not letting the paradox collapse: the Incarnation and the Resurrection; transcendence and imminence; life through death.

    Imagination can sometimes bridge the gap...writers like T.S.Eliot, Gerald Manley Hopkins, Flannery O'Connor, or even Dostoyevsky, another one of my old favorites.

    At any rate, none of this is the stumbling block for me. The stumbling block is the problem of evil, and the suffering of the innocents that LeBrok mentioned. I know all the intellectual and theological rationales, and I might even find them intellectually persuasive. I just can't accept it emotionally. I was told it was because I lack humility and trust That's certainly more than possible. :)

    Anyway, this is all personal stuff.

    As to the writers on these subjects, of course much of it starts with Thomas Aquinas. Then there's the Renaissance Christian Humanists. There are others in addition to the ones I already mentioned upthread. I would add Immanuel Kant. Also, the list wouldn't be complete without Pascal's Pensees.

    Oh, and Niebur and Barth. I found it amusing that McCain and Obama both claimed during the election that Niebur was their favorite theologian. Not my favorite, although a brilliant and highly influential man. I also doubt either one of them actually understands the basis for all his beliefs.

    Anyway, I will now leave you gentlemen to it; I've said about all I know about the subject. :)
    I'm not quite sure why Americans always seem to assume that the only political choices are doctrinaire Marxism, utopian socialism or laisse faire capitalism. I've always found the social democratic ideals of modern western Europe to be appealing. However, despite my sympathies for South American priests who preach liberation theology as an antidote to submission theology and American ministers who preach social gospel as an antidote to prosperity theology, I think it's a mistake to mix religion and politics. I think the job of a minister or priest is to help people have meaningful spiritual experiences. But my own experiences as a person living in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society have made me skeptical of any particular theology.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aberdeen View Post
    You clearly haven't understood what you read. The only part you got right is that American Episcopalians and Jews (both of which groups tend to contain large numbers of people from an educated elite background) have a marginally higher IQ average than atheists and agnostics, who tend to have a noticeably higher IQ than other believers. And no, it is not true that 95% of American Catholics are of Mexican descent.
    And how does this contradict my assertion that different faiths lead to different mean IQs?

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    As a child we were always fed the good side of religion. That is doing good, being generous and loving, forgiveness and so on. So far so good and as a child you don't ask and you associate with this loving caring God.

    My dilemma started when these off shoots started cropping up such as Jehovas and Evangelists who for some reason accentuated on the old testament (we were often told to ignore) much more then the gospels. Thats when i got interested in the old testament (which is similar to the Jewish torah and transcends on the Koran) This god that is always angry, permits genocides (such as the great flood).

    I had a good number of conversation with people who claim to be religious and approves of these atrocities as stated in the old testament with excuses that People were bad they sinned and sort of deserve the wrath of god. With excuses like we live at our free will and a few classical excused that bear no weight. They also say that god is perfect (!!!) How can a perfect god create such an imperfect system. Have you ever heard of a father who has children then condemns to eternal hell? The arguments just become so ridiculous and a real waste of time in my opinion. The most classical is that religious people react offensively to any argument made or questions asked, but they can insult and hurt anyone as long as they do it in the name of some god. - No thank you, Im not part of this

    PS:- and if I had any kids of my own I would keep them miles away from these scandalous stories and examples, especially when this savagery is narrated in some kind of fictional divinity - scary to say the least!
    Last edited by Maleth; 14-10-14 at 23:18. Reason: adding more text

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    Quote Originally Posted by gyms View Post
    “I only believe in statistics that I doctored myself” (Winston Churchill)
    What has science become? People with one set of beliefs claiming they are 'smarter' than those with other sets of beliefs. Their sampling methods themselves show an extreme bias.

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    2 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by MtDNA View Post
    What has science become? People with one set of beliefs claiming they are 'smarter' than those with other sets of beliefs. Their sampling methods themselves show an extreme bias.
    This isn't about being smarter, it's about putting evidence before faith.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gyms View Post
    What about Lenin,Stalin,Hitler?Intelligent people...
    Why do we assume that Hitler was intelligent? Wasn't he a terrible student who later in life failed at pretty much everything?
    It seems that aside from his IQ, his EQ wasn't that great either until he found likeminded people and his dedication enabled him to accomplish a few things, if you want to call it that, before finding the end he deserved.
    (Not only that he deserved, but a cold hearted society unwilling to take a stand against him needed to shake them up)

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    It really depends. I don't think IQ is highly influenced by genes.

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