Well, Brent, this was a post that requires multiple replies (marked JM) and a 
longer reflection (with my apologies).
"...individuals within that "belief system" will have a variety of views. Some 
will have some views in conflict with the belief system."
JM: right. Some are converted to Islam as well.
"...they may simply stop thinking about it and rely on faith ..."
JM: my late brother in law did not 'dare' to die because he - catholic and an 
excellent natural scientist - lived in sin (had a 2nd marriage) and was afraid 
of Hell. 
In my wordset an atheist requires a god to deny and agnosticism may be an 
irrelevant mindset 'who cares'. 
About my 'opinion' "Big Bang": I wrote it several times, in varied detail, that 
Hubble was a genius thinking of the redshift as an optical equivalent to 
Dopler, marking an expanding universe, but it was not scrutinized before the 
scientific establishment took it for granted. Lookiong for 'other' explanations 
was seen as heretic and unscientific.
Since 1922(Hubble) - 3 generations of scientists were brainwashed into that, 
(including you and me) and literally millions of experiments were carried out 
for *proving* it 
only. If a result was 'not good' it was rejected (alternate (oppositional) 
opinion of mine landed a quip in a friendly discussion  (1997) without any 
further word from an MIT cosmologist: "HOAX"). 

As I said: I owe myself the distinctions of  the extenf of 
a 'belief system'.  One may be a western natural scientist and have an unusual 
'belief' imbedded in it, what does not make one so 'obtuse'. The applied math 
is so reassuring. The fact that the regression counted backwards linearly and 
it was detected that the 'moves' in cosmology go nonlinearly (call it chaotic?) 
(e.g. many body interactions) - but more importantly: that the physical 
connotation was recognising in the vastly different (concentrated into a  
miniaturized?) universe quite similar 'laws' to our present (expanded?) world, 
leading to hard to swallow paradoxes - is a basis for my disbelief. Then 
marvellous ideas were invented (assumed?) to solve the controversial math: 
inflation in the first place, and others, what makes me call the cosmological 
Big Bang view a scientific narrative. However: mathematically/theoretically 
proven. Even new theories added and adjusted. 
The starting point still remains: did the spectra shift to a lower frequency by 
receding lightsources, or (guessably) by passing magnetic/electric/or else(??) 
fields that slow down the (observable/registrable) 'frequency' in our model of 
light? Or by some effects yet to be discovered, not fitting into our 
conventional (historic) model of the 'physical wiorld'? 
I consider Hubble of similar importance to the DeCusa-Copernicus duo in their 
establishing (changing?) a geocentric physical worldview into a heliocentric - 
for the coming generations - it was also temporary and later on gave place to a 
wider informatics. 
That's all, not any denigration for people with a more conventional 
'scientific' basis. I even value the practical 
results of reductionist scientists (I am one of them). 
Trying to step out from the quantized reductionist model-view  and its (beyond 
model) conclusions makes me a scientific agnostic and renders my 'talk' vague. 
I feel we are not there (yet)  and I try a different path from the UD or comp 
etc. ways, with less founding, eo ipso  struggling in a "scientifically" 
(=math) not so convincing train of thoughts. The quantized physical edifice of 
the world (in
applied math) is very impressive, results in technology admirable at today's 
level of our expectations. When it comes to fundamental understanding 
(elimination of the paradoxes at least to our limited mental capacity), lately, 
 new ideas emerged. One proof is this list. Its present lines don't represent a 
monopoly. Academic tenure or a Nobel prize do not mean the ultimate 'truth'. 
Science is not even a democratic vote. 
And I love the humor of G. Carlin.

So what else is new?

Have a good day


----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Brent Meeker 
  To: everything-list@googlegroups.com 
  Sent: Wednesday, February 28, 2007 6:35 PM
  Subject: Re: Believing ...

  John M wrote:
  > Brent,
  > as usual, you have hard replies. Just one exception:
  > I do not mean 'each and individual mindset' as the term 'belief system', 
  > but this is hard to explain. Most scientifically educated westerners - 
  > or many religious faithfuls can argue among themselves. I never tried to 
  > speculate about identifying what constitutes a 'different belief 
  > system', but 'system' must be more than just shades of individual 
  > differentiation in the details.
  > John M

  If you don't mean something individual by "belief system", but rather some 
general summary of what a group of people think, then individuals within that 
"belief system" will have a variety of views.  Some will have some views in 
conflict with the belief system.  And some can have their views changed by 
argument.  People are converted from Christianity to atheism everyday.  And 
rational argument plays a large part in this.  Most theists are also rational 
people who want to have beliefs that are coherent and consistent with empirical 
observation.  When they become sufficiently uncomfortable with conflicts 
between Church teachings and science and they may simply stop thinking about it 
and rely on faith - or if they are theologians they may assign tortured 
meanings to words to avoid the conflict - or they may reject those aspects of 
Church teaching that are empirically wrong and become agnostics or atheists.

  I notice that you frequently imply that there is something wrong with "the 
Big Bang"; but you have never, so far as I know, provided an argument or any 
evidence for this opinion.  Instead you imply that those with a contrary view 
are just too obtuse to see other possibilities.  This shows a certain contempt 
for your readers.

  Brent Meeker
  "Atheism is a belief system the way "Off" is a TV channel."
  --- George Carlin

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