And Testable Claims
I am sending this e-mail to you because maybe you can answer some questions I have. The first questions include the conflicts between Science and Religion. Science is simply defined as "that which is testable." Can Science prove Religion wrong or incorrect if Relgion is not testable? I am a aware that in the bible there are passages which some have accepted as the truth, some of the passages which conflict with Scientific theory or reasoning.
Another thing, the idea of a heaven and hell in any sense seems to be a manufactured idea. The idea of a heaven and hell seems to fit very well with human thought. The idea that one's life is useless or insignificant would be very hard for one to accept. Religion induces the sense of belonging to something, of feeling important and that your life is worth living. I have noticed that the parts of the world that are the most strictly religious are the parts that are the least educated. Does this mean anything? Does a higher education cause one to question ideas more frequently? Is there a difference in thought process between those who believe, and those who do not believe?
And finally, I have come across and article about brainwashing, perhaps you might be interested: http://www.ctyme.com/bwash/bwash.htm This article explains many of the techniques used by Religions, Poloticians, and other persuasive speakers.
I very much appreciate the Positive Atheism website, from this site I now have a better understanding of the Philosophy of Atheists.
From: "Positive Atheism" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: WebMaster:_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: Saturday, November 18, 2000 4:45 PM
Some claims of some religions are not testable, but other claims can be falsified (verified or refuted) very easily. We learn about Heaven and Hell from, among other sources, the Bible. We cannot test whether a Heaven or Hell exists, but we can test other claims made in the Bible.
Jesus, for example, says that the mustard seed is "the smallest of all seeds," but the orchid seed is much smaller than the mustard seed. Acts 1:12 says that Olivet is "a Sabbath-day's journey" from Jerusalem, but it is just outside the wall and hardly a Sabbath-day's journey! Mark has Jesus going from Tyre through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee via Decapolis: Tyre is to the north on the Mediterranean Sea, while Decapolis is to the south of the Sea of Galilee; as C. Dennis McKinsey says, "It would be like going from St. Louis to Washington D.C., while going north through Milwaukee and south through Atlanta." I Kings 17:3 says that the brook Cherith "is east of the Jordan" but all Bible maps put it west of the Jordan. And then there's the whole business of the Creation myth and the Noah's flood tale. And let's not even mention that the Earth is a globe, and is not a flat affair having a lid ("firmament") set upon it with water above the firmament! In other words, accuracy concerning physically verifiable claims is not the Bible's strong point.
Since the Bible makes so many mistakes regarding falsifiable claims, we don't need to believe the untestable claims of the Bible.
Now, even if all the Bible's falsifiable claims were somehow verified (or, rather, if some alleged scripture made testable claims that were, in fact, all verified by science), this does not make the unverifiable claims any more verifiable. We can write off all the claims of any so-called scripture if it makes claims that we find to be falsehood, but a perfect record in this respect would never verify any of the unverifiable claims. We're dealing with a one-way street, here; we can instantly write off any allegedly infallible source shown to have one falsehood, but even the most physically accurate source cannot make trustworthy claims regarding the unverifiable.
Thus, I prefer to call all unverifiable claims what they are: unverifiable claims.
As for brainwashing, the best piece I've seen on this subject is Edmund Cohen's The Mind of the Bible Believer.
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
Five years of service to
people with no reason to believe
Material by Cliff Walker (including unsigned editorial commentary) is copyright ©1995-2006 by Cliff Walker. Each submission is copyrighted by its writer, who retains control of the work except that by submitting it to Positive Atheism, permission has been granted to use the material or an edited version: (1) on the Positive Atheism web site; (2) in Positive Atheism Magazine; (3) in subsequent works controlled by Cliff Walker or Positive Atheism Magazine (including published or posted compilations). Excerpts not exceeding 500 words are allowed provided the proper copyright notice is affixed. Other use requires permission; Positive Atheism will work to protect the rights of all who submit their writings to us.