Author Topic: Penn and Teller: BS!  (Read 32079 times)

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Offline sarcasm_made_Easy

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Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #135 on: March 26, 2007, 03:47:32 AM »
thats assuming too much,  the concept of reward punishment heaven or hell is the 5 year old understanding of Christian theology (not meant as an insult). 

even if we assume that it is a punishment reward logic, how is it any different from blindly following something you merely feel like doing because you've been conditioned to feel that way by your environment? 

You make the statement that its a conscious decision but you say that the religious "blindly" follow as if their will or decisions never happened.  But the truth is that both are conscious decisions of belief.  If anything the religious man must make a harder choice because he has to follow something that may not agree with his personal feeling at a particular moment.  It would be much easier to just ignore it than to actually believe it. 


Offline ScottotD

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Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #136 on: March 26, 2007, 03:54:55 AM »
why would I be insulted by being compared to a 5 year old?

No, I think making your own choice is far harder than having the crutch of a 'guide' you can blame or fall back on.
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Offline sarcasm_made_Easy

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Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #137 on: March 26, 2007, 04:00:16 AM »
i think the guide is harder because it clearly disagrees with you, its usually easy to do what you already want to do.  which means that point is nearly at an impasse if weve come to the "I think this" and "I think that" stage of a debate.  Is there any rationale weve missed here?

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why would I be insulted by being compared to a 5 year old?

didnt mean to compare you to a 5yr old.  i meant thats what is usally taught to children.  Its not a very deep understanding of christian theology at all. 

im still curious about these questions:
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Does this mean that people intrinsically know what right and wrong is?  Further is it a genetic thing?


Offline ScottotD

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Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #138 on: March 26, 2007, 04:12:21 AM »
My question is if you disagree with something enough for that to be a major consideration then why believe in it or follow it at all?
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Offline torgosPizza

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Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #139 on: March 26, 2007, 05:10:38 AM »
since everyone wants to banty this around so much lets REALLY examine it.  Does this mean that people intrinsically know what right and wrong is?  Further is it a genetic thing?

I know I've talked about Dawkins here before, and he has a lot of interesting points to make about why morality can be hereditary. Survival of our own species is the main culprit. Back when we lived in smaller tribes with our own kin, which of course included elders, siblings and children, it was only natural that we would want to protect our gene-sharers from harm. If one of them were to fall into a river, it was instinct to try and scoop them out of harm's way. One might argue that we don't live in small bands anymore so the tightness of the group is gone, but the instinct is still there, a product of evolution, because it was beneficial to the survival of our species.


Offline sarcasm_made_Easy

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Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #140 on: March 26, 2007, 05:30:20 AM »
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My question is if you disagree with something enough for that to be a major consideration then why believe in it or follow it at all?

You saying youve NEVER done something that you didnt already want to do?  Sometimes your wants are overruled by other things. 

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know I've talked about Dawkins here before, and he has a lot of interesting points to make about why morality can be hereditary. Survival of our own species is the main culprit. Back when we lived in smaller tribes with our own kin, which of course included elders, siblings and children, it was only natural that we would want to protect our gene-sharers from harm. If one of them were to fall into a river, it was instinct to try and scoop them out of harm's way. One might argue that we don't live in small bands anymore so the tightness of the group is gone, but the instinct is still there, a product of evolution, because it was beneficial to the survival of our species.

If it is genetic what does that mean when things like genocide happens?  Does he say something are actually wrong or just merely instinctual suggestion?


Offline torgosPizza

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Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #141 on: March 26, 2007, 06:51:54 AM »
He doesn't really make a point to explain "why" genocide happens, because I think that's something no one can answer. Except to say, much more lavishly, that there are always a few bad apples in the bunch.

I love Chris Rock's famous line - "what ever happened to CRAZY?" Some people are just nuts, whether they are religious or not. It's interesting that you bring up genocide, though - Hitler was Christian  and Mussolini (I've read somewhere) had ties to the Vatican. Some argue that he was atheist. If that's true then it's plausible that evil happens on both sides of the aisle, religious or not.


Offline pyro

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Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #142 on: March 26, 2007, 06:58:44 AM »
He doesn't really make a point to explain "why" genocide happens, because I think that's something no one can answer. Except to say, much more lavishly, that there are always a few bad apples in the bunch.

Except for just explaining genetics, that it's a random process and there's no guarentee you're going to inheret every positive trait like morals but you're just more likely to since I'm assuming if it is genetic that it's dominant....  And the idea of it being genetic seems entirely possible to me given psychopaths and etc.


Offline torgosPizza

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Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #143 on: March 26, 2007, 07:00:59 AM »
It's true, if alcoholism (sometimes described as a disease, sometimes described as a mental condition) can be inherited genetically, what else can be transferred to new generations in the same way?


Offline pyro

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Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #144 on: March 26, 2007, 07:04:15 AM »
And randomly back on topic, Penn & Teller actually did an episode on Alcoholics Anonymous and had a couple people debating on whether alcoholism is a disease or not...  And coincidentally, they also attempted to prove that AA is essentially a religion.


Offline torgosPizza

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Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #145 on: March 26, 2007, 07:07:32 AM »
Well when you look at the 12 steps, it does smack of religion.

#6.[We are] entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

#11. [We have] sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

All of them are here: http://www.serenityfound.org/steps.html

I wouldn't mind carrying on the morality debate, but perhaps in another topic, if someone would like to start it. I won't ban anyone. It's a really important question, just make sure it doesn't become a flame war, ok?

I would also recommend the Boy Scouts episode from last season. Very enlightening.


Offline pyro

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Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #146 on: March 26, 2007, 07:29:11 AM »
I'm not trying to take it full off course, I just found the connection to the actual topic funny...

But yeah, and it was great watching them try to cover up I think step 2, "2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." by saying the greater power could be anything and most of them used the example of a tree  :D  ....  I liked on Lucky Louie when he was forced into AA and it's his turn to speak and he says that he's realized that he's not powerless, he's just an asshole.


I wasn't aware of all the Boy Scouts stuff though till I saw that episode, enlightening is indeed a good word for that one.....


Offline J-Proof

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Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #147 on: March 26, 2007, 07:51:15 AM »
Dang! We went from Penn and Teller to social debate??

This happens too often =P

My stab:

Counter 1:
"And my personal opinion? If you need a book or a person to tell you what's right and wrong, then there's somethiong seriously wrong with you."


This argument is well-engraved in the belief that through personal reflection, one may find truth for oneself, free of any other doctrine or dogma getting in the way of personal enlightenment. The reason I take issue with the above (incredibly general) statement is thus: In order to understand /anything/, one must be educated. If you isolate a small child for his/her entire life up through the teen years, he/she will have no concept of what good or bad behavior is (it's been done). If you don't seek out some way to feed your intellect, your intellect will not be fed.

And on this subject, I'd say that just about everyone is told to believe something by someone else, which is how social trends have gotten the way that they are. For example: Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert -- nowadays, it's nearly impossible to have a discussion about anything political with a "youth" or "young adult" without one of these two men's opinions being mirrored by someone in the discourse. It should therefore be noted that while we have no control over how the world tries influences us, we have the ability to choose /what/ we turn to for influence.

Counter 2:
"How do you get philosophy from a vengeful, murderous being such as the god of the old testament?"


The God of the old testament is no different from the God of the New Testament. The difference between the two testaments is never claimed to be that the Father "changed." Absolutely not. As Christ said "I did not come to change the law, but to fulfill it." This underscores the major difference between the two testaments: Christ's redeeming presence. Now, regardless of whether or not you believe in the Christian religion, it is valuable to note that why things are apparently "different" regarding God's reaction to sinfulness is /not/ because He changed, but because Christ's sacrifice removes the sins of all who believe in Him.

As for God being "murderous" and "vengeful," and resultantly being impossible to follow in the incredibly moral sense of religion and Faith, the overall idea of good and evil from the beginning of time has always been "every action has a consequence." Actions without consequence simply don't exist, and God supports this idea with different consequences for righteousness and immorality. In the case of Pharaoh Ramses, whose firstborn was taken by the Angel of Death during the last plague of Moses, it is incredibly significant to note that God sent a messenger to tell Pharoah several times to let free his slaves or else a temporal punishment would be wrought upon his kingdom. Nine warning were given and ignored before the final retribution.

Counter 3:
"oh, yeah, that part about loving they neighbor is great for what i believe in. but the part about killing kids and raping women, and god seeking justice. that can't possibly be true, since it doesn't make sense to MY OWN BELIEFS. i guess i'll ignore it.."


I'm sorry you've gotten this sort of response from an uneducated apologetic, because this should never be the attitude of an evangelist.... However, if you are referring to the Old Testament God, then I think you've mishandled how things in the old testament are presented. To the best of my knowledge, rape was never condoned by God. Just because some of His chosen people did it, doesn't mean He didn't punish them for it. In fact, many of the patriarchs of the Old Testament were punished just as severely, if not more so, than the Egyptians were for their transgressions.

When God sent the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sanai, He was giving firm commandments to His people on how they /should/ live. But the people didn't always do that, and third parties didn't always respect it. Thusly, civil wars that erupted throughout the Kingdoms of Israel resulted from disobedience, and wars were fought with other countries to stop attempts of foreign invasion. Also something to consider is what society was like back in that time, in that culture. We look upon some of the images in the Old Testament with modern, western eyes, and turn away in disgust. Yet a movie like "The Last Samurai" comes out and no criticism is given toward the way the Japanese kill themselves and slice off their heads because of shameful defeat in battle.

Counter 4:
"So the god who holds us accountable for the sin of a man who lived thousands of years ago, shouldn't expect his history to be at all relevant? "


Adam and Eve are representative of everyone's sinfulness. Catholics believe that Jesus wasn't simply a plan B, he was the one and only plan that God always and forever knew would /have/ to happen. That being said, I don't understand God's logic to be: "Because Adam sinned, all of humanity must be doomed to hellfire unless..."

The way I understand God's reasoning is thus: "Adam and Eve sinned. So do their children, and their children's children. They will all be sinners from now until the end of time, but they still understand and yearn for dignity, so I will give them the option of believing in me and my Son to save them." In the end, we are held accountable for our own sins, not Adam's. Blame can never be placed on the father for the son's wrongdoings (which we see through several lines of kings in teh Old Testament).

Counter 5:
(General Counter)


I just want to say that I'm sorry on behalf of any Christian who claims to be preaching the word when really they are just painting a negative stereotype for the rest of us. I was told a story the other day about a Franciscan Monk who used to preach at my church here in California:

This monk (Father Ben) and three of his monk friends decided they wanted to reach out one day to the youth of America. They got together to think of what they could -- where do young kids hang out these days? They thought and they thought, and decided: Fort Lauderdale at Spring Break! so they packed up an old old van, pooled their rations together and bought an igloo container filled with water, along with a bunch of oranges, which they sliced on the way.

Upon arriving several hundred miles away from their abby at Fort Lauderdale, they were shocked at what they saw. On the sidewalk ahead of them was a man with an open bible spitting rhetoric at the faces of young collegiates walking by. Down the street was a man with a faux crown of thorns on his head, carrying a big wooden cross on his shoulders, wearing a sign that said "this blood was for you" around his neck. There were others doing similar things of a non-inviting and very aggressive nature, which floored this group of monks! And of course, so many people were simply turned away.

They set up their table, placing the igloo container of water and the sliced oranges on top, and started calling out "Free water and snacks!" And people flocked over (not that it was needed because a bunch of dudes in brown habits wearing cords around their waists is hard to miss anyway!). The result was fantastic: hundreds of people came (the water obviously needing to be refilled =P) and people got what they needed. some people were intrigued by the monks and asked questions about their Faith. Some weren't at all, it didn't matter to them. But the monks were satisfied knowing that they served by providing that which was needed, and God worked through all that.

So basically - most of the time, it is not a good idea to look at the believers and judge God based on us, cuz a lot of us aren't using the right tactics.

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Offline MasterChief

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Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #148 on: March 26, 2007, 08:19:05 AM »
thanks for the thoughts, j-proof. but i think if god's own believers and followers don't pay attention to his laws, what does that say of them? and of their belief system? if they took it seriously enough, you would think they'd be better followers.

and as far as god punishing them after giving fair warning - who wants to worship that type of deity? "i love you, but i'm going to send you to hell for this." god may not have condoned raping, but there are plenty of examples of him condoning violence and killing people for the sake of pleasuring him. or the sake of "tempting faith" in at least one example.

why does a god need such vindication? isn't being a good person enough?

and if god does seek to punish people based on their actions, why are there so many examples of many innocent people being slaughtered? why wipe out the entire city of new orleans, instead of just the homosexuals that are such a sin against god?

i enjoyed your story about the monks, and how doing the good deed far overshadowed the doomsayers and the religious extremists. unfortunately, the people who practice what they preach are few and far between. there are more bigoted christians like pat robertson and his followers, making a bad name for the rest of the religious folk, than there are good monks and missionaries helping to aid their fellow humans.
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Offline J-Proof

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Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #149 on: March 26, 2007, 08:27:25 AM »
thanks for the thoughts, j-proof. but i think if god's own believers and followers don't pay attention to his laws, what does that say of them? and of their belief system? if they took it seriously enough, you would think they'd be better followers.

and as far as god punishing them after giving fair warning - who wants to worship that type of deity? "i love you, but i'm going to send you to hell for this." god may not have condoned raping, but there are plenty of examples of him condoning violence and killing people for the sake of pleasuring him. or the sake of "tempting faith" in at least one example.

why does a god need such vindication? isn't being a good person enough?

and if god does seek to punish people based on their actions, why are there so many examples of many innocent people being slaughtered? why wipe out the entire city of new orleans, instead of just the homosexuals that are such a sin against god?

i enjoyed your story about the monks, and how doing the good deed far overshadowed the doomsayers and the religious extremists. unfortunately, the people who practice what they preach are few and far between. there are more bigoted christians like pat robertson and his followers, making a bad name for the rest of the religious folk, than there are good monks and missionaries helping to aid their fellow humans.

Yeah I see how it's hard to look upon /any/ faith really and embrace it (especially if you weren't raised in that Faith).

I am definitely not trying to condemn anyone who doesn't agree with my belief system (leastwise here in a Penn and Teller thread on a mike Nelson forum lol) , and I understand your logic (though I don't agree with it ;) )

When all is said and done, I think this question: "isn't being a good person enough?" is a very vital question to society. What is being a good person? Whose standards matter? What is the measurement of good and bad? If all is relative, than how can anyone be considered wrong or right?

The question of "isn't being a good person enough?" needs to be researched and understood by everyone, so that a totally educated and informed response can be acquired beyond that of the human instinct.
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