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Thread: The Evangelical Atheist

  1. #261
    Encephaloid Martini (Q)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by S.A.M. View Post
    I have it right here, could you direct me to the page numbers that would answer my questions?
    If you had read the book, you'd already know the answers. Sheesh.

  2. #262
    SAM:

    Quote Originally Posted by S.A.M. View Post
    Dawkins like many fundamentalists, is a polariser who does more harm than good. His polemic has been accompanied by the building of a creationist museum in the US and a creationist park in the UK.
    Those were in the works long before Dawkins wrote his book.

    What he has done is drive a wedge between the religious and atheists...
    Do you think that wasn't there before?

    ...has contributed little to the advancement of science...
    The God Delusion does not seek in any way to advance science.

    If you want to look at Dawkins' scientific work, I suggest you read The Extended Phenotype, or his papers in the biological journals, instead.

    You appear to be confused as to his aim in The God Delusion. He sets it out quite clearly at the start of the book. Why don't you read it?

  3. #263
    Quote Originally Posted by James R View Post
    SAM:



    Those were in the works long before Dawkins wrote his book.
    The typical tendency is for one extreme to draw an opposite extreme response - and as a further interesting point - these two extremes are often practically identical.

    For instance - compare fascism and communism - they are at opposite ends of the political spectrum, but the social environment is practically identical.

    And likewise, compare the argument structure of Dawkins with that of Creationionists - they are practically at opposite ends in terms of ideology, but the intellectual propriety required to accept either is practically identical.




    Do you think that wasn't there before?
    There are two types of people in this world.
    Those who drive in wedges and those who try to remove.
    Both are associated with a long history ....



    The God Delusion does not seek in any way to advance science.
    pardon me?


    If you want to look at Dawkins' scientific work, I suggest you read The Extended Phenotype, or his papers in the biological journals, instead.

    You appear to be confused as to his aim in The God Delusion. He sets it out quite clearly at the start of the book. Why don't you read it?
    You some how missed his theme of religion preventing the evolution of scientific progress?

  4. #264
    When I said that The God Delusion does not seek to advance science, I meant that it is not intended as a scientific treatise. It makes no new scientific claims. It contains little, if any, scientific investigation.

    To read it as a science book is to miss the point.

  5. #265
    uniquely dreadful S.A.M.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James R View Post
    SAM:
    Those were in the works long before Dawkins wrote his book.
    And now?

    Do you think that wasn't there before?
    Do you think there was greater polarisation before Dawkins? I have been in the field for at least 10 years professionally and only in the last two years had religion become a discussion point in science, not politics.


    The God Delusion does not seek in any way to advance science.

    If you want to look at Dawkins' scientific work, I suggest you read The Extended Phenotype, or his papers in the biological journals, instead.

    You appear to be confused as to his aim in The God Delusion. He sets it out quite clearly at the start of the book. Why don't you read it?
    I've actually read all his books except Ancestors Tale and God Delusion. I read the GD in bits and pieces but frankly his thesis makes no sense to me. [I had the same issues with his memetic theory and also with his extended phenotype. I rather liked River out of Eden, though and Ancestors Tale, which I have barely begun, looks promising] Its one of the few books I read when I have the energy to sift through his specious arguments. I see a parallel with some of what I have read in Soviet anti-religion propaganda on Godlessness for example.
    Last edited by S.A.M.; 03-22-08 at 09:04 PM.

  6. #266
    SAM:

    And now?
    And now what?

    Do you think there was greater polarisation before Dawkins? I have been in the field for at least 10 years professionally and only in the last two years had religion become a discussion point in science, not politics.
    Which field? Biology?

    I'm not sure what you're trying to get at.

    I've actually read all his books except Ancestors Tale and God Delusion. I read the GD in bits and pieces but frankly his thesis makes no sense to me. Its one of the few books I read when I have the energy to sift through his specious arguments.
    It's a bit silly to presume you have a good grasp of what's in a book when you haven't read it, isn't it?

    As far as I can tell, his "thesis" in The God Delusion is primarily that religion has done more harm than good in the world, that there is no scientific evidence for the existence of God (as defined in the Abrahamic religions, in particular), that the apparent taboo on criticising religion is counter-productive, and that indoctrinating children into religions is a form of child abuse.

  7. #267
    uniquely dreadful S.A.M.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James R View Post
    SAM:
    And now what?
    Has Dawkins created a better environment for understanding evolution in those people?

    Which field? Biology?

    I'm not sure what you're trying to get at.
    Science. The religion of scientists is suddenly an issue, with theist scientists apparently not practicing science all the time, and the "real" scientists being naturalists. We have scientists getting on podiums discussing their beliefs.


    It's a bit silly to presume you have a good grasp of what's in a book when you haven't read it, isn't it?
    I've heard a couple of Dawkins lectures on the subject and frankly was not impressed with his viewpoint enough to want to wade through 400 pages of it. Does he not represent his viewpoints in his lectures?
    As far as I can tell, his "thesis" in The God Delusion is primarily that religion has done more harm than good in the world, that there is no scientific evidence for the existence of God (as defined in the Abrahamic religions, in particular), that the apparent taboo on criticising religion is counter-productive, and that indoctrinating children into religions is a form of child abuse.
    Sounds like the Soviet propaganda of Stalin's regime.

    An intense ideological anti-Christian and anti-religious campaign was carried out throughout the history of the Soviet Union. An extensive education and propaganda campaign was undertaken to convince people, especially the children and youth, not to become believers. The role of the Christian religion and the Church was painted in black colors in school textbooks. For instance, much emphasis was placed on the role of the Church in such historical horror stories as the Inquisition, persecution of Galileo, Giordano Bruno, and other heretical scientists, and the Crusades. School students were encouraged to taunt and use peer pressure against classmates wearing crosses or otherwise professing their faith. In the 1920s there were many "anti-God" publications and social clubs sponsored by the government, most notably the scathingly satirical "Godless at the Workbench" ("Bezbozhnik u Stanka" in Russian)

    One of the primary methods for disseminating antireligious propaganda was through printed periodicals. The first antireligious monthly magazine, Revolutsiaa I tserkov (Revolution and the Church) was published in 1919, followed in 1922 by the short-lived Nauka I religiia (Science and Religion), which was replaced that same year by Bezbozhnik (The Godless). Bezbozhnik was published as a weekly newspaper between 1922 and 1934 and from 1938 to 1941, and as an illustrated journal from 1925 to 1941. Bezbozhnik was produced and distributed by the Society of the Friends of the Godless, founded in 1923, which became the Godless League in 1925 and the League of the Militant Godless in 1929. The League had three major goals: to demonstrate that religion in all its forms had always been an enemy of the workers; to prove that natural science explains everything, leaving no room for religion; and to convince people that socialism and religion are ethically incompatible, so religious observance was disloyal to the state.

    A competing publication, Bezbozhnik u Stanka (Godless at the Workbench) was produced by the Moscow branch of the Communist party between 1923 and 1931. This publication was blunt in its tactics, and featured crude illustrations. (Many of the posters in this exhibition were originally published in Bezbozhnik u Stanka). The goal of Bezbozhnik u Stanka was to “expose the clergy as corrupted, religious ritual as unwarrantedly costly, and sacred arts as propagandistic.” Accordingly, it featured heavy use of caricature and stereotypes to create negative views of religion and religious figures.
    Last edited by S.A.M.; 03-22-08 at 09:16 PM.

  8. #268
    SAM:

    Has Dawkins created a better environment for understanding evolution in those people?
    Died-in-the-wool Creationists have no desire to understand evolution. Nothing will change the mind of an extremist. Or, at least, its very rare for an extremist to change his mind. Especially when he can make lots of money by not changing it.

    Science. The religion of scientists is suddenly an issue, with theist scientists apparently not practicing science all the time, and the "real" scientists being naturalists. We have scientists getting on podiums discussing their beliefs.
    Scientists have as much right to discuss their beliefs as anybody, don't you think?

    As for "real" scientists being naturalists, of course they are. Science can only investigate nature. It's the study of nature. Scientists have to be naturalists.

    Supernaturalism, whatever else it may be, isn't science.

    I've heard a couple of Dawkins lectures on the subject and frankly was not impressed with his viewpoint enough to want to wade through 400 pages of it. Does he not represent his viewpoints in his lectures?
    A lecture is like a sound-bite. You can't get the full depth of a complex argument in a 40 minute lecture.

    As far as I can tell, his "thesis" in The God Delusion is primarily that religion has done more harm than good in the world, that there is no scientific evidence for the existence of God (as defined in the Abrahamic religions, in particular), that the apparent taboo on criticising religion is counter-productive, and that indoctrinating children into religions is a form of child abuse.
    Sounds like the Soviet propaganda of Stalin's regime.
    Well, no.

    Whether religion has done more harm than good, whether there is evidence for God, whether a taboo on discussing religion is harmful etc. are all questions that can be settled empirically. You can find evidence for or against each view, and discuss and debate. That's very different from propaganda imposed with the threat of persecution.

    Dawkins is hardly suppressing alternative points of view.

  9. #269
    uniquely dreadful S.A.M.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James R View Post
    SAM:
    Died-in-the-wool Creationists have no desire to understand evolution. Nothing will change the mind of an extremist. Or, at least, its very rare for an extremist to change his mind. Especially when he can make lots of money by not changing it.
    So he's preaching to the choir?


    Scientists have as much right to discuss their beliefs as anybody, don't you think?
    Is religion normally a topic of discussion in science?
    As for "real" scientists being naturalists, of course they are. Science can only investigate nature. It's the study of nature. Scientists have to be naturalists.

    Supernaturalism, whatever else it may be, isn't science.
    So Christian scientists or Muslim scientists are not "real" scientists?


    A lecture is like a sound-bite. You can't get the full depth of a complex argument in a 40 minute lecture.
    But in a lecture he focuses on the points he wants to make.

    Well, no.

    Whether religion has done more harm than good, whether there is evidence for God, whether a taboo on discussing religion is harmful etc. are all questions that can be settled empirically. You can find evidence for or against each view, and discuss and debate. That's very different from propaganda imposed with the threat of persecution.

    Dawkins is hardly suppressing alternative points of view.
    Neither did Karl Marx. The persecution follows the ideology.
    As you see, the propaganda is identical.

    You can listen to him here to see how unconvincing he is in his rhetoric.

    BBC Hard Talk: The God Delusion : Part 1


    Part Two; Part Three

    The one example he could give of religious extremism, ie suicide bombing, has been debunked by research.
    Last edited by S.A.M.; 03-22-08 at 09:46 PM.

  10. #270
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    Quote Originally Posted by S.A.M. View Post
    Neither did Karl Marx. The persecution follows the ideology.

    And what is the ideology? That science is the only way we have to separate the true from the false? That it never pays to be too certain of being correct, because new data may be found that may supersede the old? That observation and evidence trump mythology?

    When asked if he was willing to die for his beliefs, Bertrand Russell replied, "Heavens no, I could be wrong!" There is a fundamental difference between telling people to throw away dogma and think for themselves, and telling them what to think or face persecution. And people who want to cling to dogma are free to do so. I find it difficult to believe that Dawkins would have it any other way, even if it personally pains him that some choose to believe in nonsense in spite of the lack of evidence for it, and sometimes in spite of the overwhelming evidence against it.

  11. #271
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    Quote Originally Posted by Repo Man View Post
    And what is the ideology? That science is the only way we have to separate the true from the false? That it never pays to be too certain of being correct, because new data may be found that may supersede the old? That observation and evidence trump mythology?

    When asked if he was willing to die for his beliefs, Bertrand Russell replied, "Heavens no, I could be wrong!" There is a fundamental difference between telling people to throw away dogma and think for themselves, and telling them what to think or face persecution. And people who want to cling to dogma are free to do so. I find it difficult to believe that Dawkins would have it any other way, even if it personally pains him that some choose to believe in nonsense in spite of the lack of evidence for it, and sometimes in spite of the overwhelming evidence against it.
    Empirically, he himself is the evidence that his thesis is not scientific.

    Besides, according to Dawkins himself, moderates are the cloak behind which extremists can hide, or does this not apply to antitheist atheists?

  12. #272
    SAM:

    So he's preaching to the choir?
    No. He is asking those who are on the fence, and those who are not fundamentalist theists, to reconsider their beliefs about God and religion.

    Is religion normally a topic of discussion in science?
    No - by definition.

    But science can certainly examine concrete evidence put forward as evidence of religious claims.

    So Christian scientists or Muslim scientists are not "real" scientists?
    Why do you think that science and religion have to be exclusive? People manage to compartmentalise their lives all the time. When a Christian scientist is in church praying to God, he obviously isn't doing science. And when he is in the lab, he isn't doing religion.

    Neither did Karl Marx. The persecution follows the ideology.
    As you see, the propaganda is identical.
    Karl Marx thought that socialism would be a natural progression in society. He didn't advocate violent revolution and suppression to bring it about, as far as I am aware.

    But yes, any ideology can be subverted for selfish ends. But if an idea is put to an evil use, it doesn't mean the idea itself is wrong, or even bad. Especially when the idea doesn't advocate suppression of others, or violence or hatred or intollerance. Unfortunately, many religions seem explicitly to advocate those things. Atheism does not, as it happens, because atheism is not a creed. Atheism in itself doesn't mandate a particular ethical position, or a particular attitude to other people who are not atheists.

    The one example he could give of religious extremism, ie suicide bombing, has been debunked by research.
    Debunked in what way?

    It is quite clear that many suicide bombers explicitly avow that they wish to die for their religious beliefs.

  13. #273
    uniquely dreadful S.A.M.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James R View Post
    SAM:
    No. He is asking those who are on the fence, and those who are not fundamentalist theists, to reconsider their beliefs about God and religion.
    Why? Because as a product of an Anglican church and school he finds himself incapable of independent thought? Because everyone must avoid the labels that hold him back? Because the majority of fence sitters are latent terrorists?

    How does he distinguish between the acts of those who happen to be theists vs those who are committing violence for God? Because according to him, Stalin just happened to be an atheist, he would have caused the deaths of 20 million people anyway.

    With the theist population of the world holding at 80-85%, does he presume to analyze the motives of all those who happen to be theist as derived from religion while excusing those of the 15-20% who "just happen to be atheist"? How does he solve this confounding variable?

    No - by definition.

    But science can certainly examine concrete evidence put forward as evidence of religious claims.
    By judging the beliefs of scientists?

    Why do you think that science and religion have to be exclusive? People manage to compartmentalise their lives all the time. When a Christian scientist is in church praying to God, he obviously isn't doing science. And when he is in the lab, he isn't doing religion.
    So when he is in the lab why is he defending his beliefs?
    Karl Marx thought that socialism would be a natural progression in society. He didn't advocate violent revolution and suppression to bring it about, as far as I am aware.
    Yup.
    But yes, any ideology can be subverted for selfish ends. But if an idea is put to an evil use, it doesn't mean the idea itself is wrong, or even bad. Especially when the idea doesn't advocate suppression of others, or violence or hatred or intollerance. Unfortunately, many religions seem explicitly to advocate those things. Atheism does not, as it happens, because atheism is not a creed. Atheism in itself doesn't mandate a particular ethical position, or a particular attitude to other people who are not atheists.
    And yet people who happened to be atheists have been the biggest murderers of the 20th century secular experiment. More, if Dawkins theory that most intelligent people in power, including priests and politicians are atheists.

    Empirically speaking, isn't that something to worry about?


    Debunked in what way?

    It is quite clear that many suicide bombers explicitly avow that they wish to die for their religious beliefs.
    Thats a myth actually, or a meme, if you like.

    As the French philosopher Gaston Bouthoul argued three decades ago in a theoretical treatise on the subject, the "anonymous, unidentifiable threat creates huge anxiety, and the terrorist tries to spread fear by contagion, to immobilise and subjugate those living under this threat."

    Suicide terrorism is the most cost effective means of fighting an unequal war. It was started by Marxist groups in the 70s and until today they are the most effective suicide terrorists.
    The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism:

    Most suicide terrorism is undertaken as a strategic ef-
    fort directed toward achieving particular political goals;
    it is not simply the product of irrational individuals or
    an expression of fanatical hatreds. The main purpose of
    suicide terrorism is to use the threat of punishment to
    coerce a target government to change policy, especially
    to cause democratic states to withdraw forces from
    territory terrorists view as their homeland. The
    record of suicide terrorism from 1980 to 2001 exhibits
    tendencies in the timing, goals, and targets of attack
    that are consistent with this strategic logic but not
    with irrational or fanatical behavior: (1) timing—
    nearly all suicide attacks occur in organized, coherent
    campaigns, not as isolated or randomly timed incidents;
    (2) nationalist goals—suicide terrorist campaigns are
    directed at gaining control of what the terrorists see
    as their national homeland territory, specifically at
    ejectingforeignforcesfromthatterritory;and(3)targe t
    selection—all suicide terrorist campaigns in the last two
    decades have been aimed at democracies, which make
    more suitable targets from the terrorists’ point of view
    Besides, if they are all theists and commiting suicide in the name of religion, why don't they all commit suicide?
    Last edited by S.A.M.; 03-22-08 at 10:42 PM.

  14. #274
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    Quote Originally Posted by SAM
    Do you think there was greater polarisation before Dawkins? I have been in the field for at least 10 years professionally and only in the last two years had religion become a discussion point in science, not politics.
    Creating awareness of a long and increasingly festering problem is not the same as creating the problem.
    W's admnistration, just for one example, has been staffing its scientific, corporate, and judicial oversight agencies with fundie Christians for seven years now. And such practices did not begin nationally, with them.
    Quote Originally Posted by SAM
    Is religion normally a topic of discussion in science?
    A few years ago fundie Christians in the US began to gain political power, in part by attacking "liberal elites", among which were included scientists and scientific education. It was the Religious Right in the US that first drew attention to the political and religious stances of liberals such as biologists and paleontologists and anthropoligists, and the various religious deficiencies of scientific textbooks or famous writings. This movement predates Dawkins writings on the subject. If scientists were truly not aware of this movement until two years ago - time to wake up and die right, as we said in my childhood.
    Quote Originally Posted by SAM

    As for "real" scientists being naturalists, of course they are. Science can only investigate nature. It's the study of nature. Scientists have to be naturalists.

    Supernaturalism, whatever else it may be, isn't science. ”
    So Christian scientists or Muslim scientists are not "real" scientists?
    This strawman of yours is overdue for retirement.
    Quote Originally Posted by SAM
    Neither did Karl Marx. The persecution follows the ideology.
    As you see, the propaganda is identical.
    The facts behind the arguments have similarities - no surprise, the world being unchanged in many respects between then and now. The propaganda is hardly identical - nothing in Dawkins criticises religion for not agreeing with socialism or a command economy, for example. Karl Marx may not have anticipated state persecution by misusers of his theories (or he may have) - that doesn't make him wrong.
    Quote Originally Posted by SAM
    Empirically, he himself is the evidence that his thesis is not scientific.
    Russell ? What thesis is that ?

    Quote Originally Posted by SAM
    Besides, according to Dawkins himself, moderates are the cloak behind which extremists can hide, or does this not apply to antitheist atheists?
    The paraphrase has missed Dawkins's point, but the question is still answerable: no, it would only apply to an antitheist atheist who belonged to a defined variety of atheists, among which were moderates and extremists. An extreme and militant Buddhist, for example, hiding behind a more moderate and reassuring Buddhist. Extreme and militant atheists in general cannot hide behind, say, Daniel Dennett - it works the other way: Dennett is exaggerated and spotlighted and misrepresented by his mere association in label with militant and extreme anti-theists he has almost nothing else in common with (see Chris Hedges latest ranting, in which Dennett (and Dawkins) is thrown into the same pile with people who want to nuke Mecca).
    Quote Originally Posted by SAM
    And yet people who happened to be atheists have been the biggest murderers of the 20th century secular experiment. More, if Dawkins theory that most intelligent people in power, including priests and politicians are atheists
    You continue to misread Dawkins's argument. He blames none of the evils of religion on its influence over the powerful and few - he blames it for its grooming of the powerless and many. A bona fide life long atheist at the levers of the kind of power that religious - especially theistic - indoctrination can deliver to an authority illustrates Dawkins's argument agaisnt such indoctrination as well as a priest - or anyone educated to be a priest.
    Quote Originally Posted by SAM
    I read the GD in bits and pieces but frankly his thesis makes no sense to me.
    So when someone points out that you have got it wrong, the possibility is worth considering, no?
    Quote Originally Posted by SAM
    I see a parallel with some of what I have read in Soviet anti-religion propaganda on Godlessness for example
    There are also parallels with Islamic criticism of Western religions - quite often rival religions make accurate observation of each other's nature.
    Quote Originally Posted by james
    As far as I can tell, his "thesis" in The God Delusion is primarily that religion has done more harm than good in the world,
    He makes that argument poorly, if at all. He associates religion with the problems of theism, and the distinction there is worth keeping in mind I think. It causes him to overlook or downplay large benefits of religion that do not ride on the supernatural assumptions or general attributes of deity - such as its ability to disentangle an entire society from Hardin's Tragedy of the Commons.
    Last edited by iceaura; 03-23-08 at 12:57 AM.

  15. #275
    SAM:

    Why? Because as a product of an Anglican church and school he finds himself incapable of independent thought? Because everyone must avoid the labels that hold him back? Because the majority of fence sitters are latent terrorists?
    Because he regards religion as harmful, for reasons explained in his book.

    How does he distinguish between the acts of those who happen to be theists vs those who are committing violence for God?
    He listens to what they say about their motivations. People who commit violence for their God generally don't hold back in saying that's why they're doing it. Haven't you heard the cries of "Allahu akbar!" on every propaganda video of an Al Qaeda bombing?

    Because according to him, Stalin just happened to be an atheist, he would have caused the deaths of 20 million people anyway.
    Who knows?

    What is clear is that Stalin did not cause all those deaths in the name of atheism. He sought power, pure and simple. He wasn't killing people for any cause other than to maintain and increase his own personal power.

    With the theist population of the world holding at 80-85%, does he presume to analyze the motives of all those who happen to be theist as derived from religion while excusing those of the 15-20% who "just happen to be atheist"? How does he solve this confounding variable?
    I'm not sure what you're asking.

    But science can certainly examine concrete evidence put forward as evidence of religious claims.
    By judging the beliefs of scientists?
    No. By judging the evidence. Like I said.

    If somebody claims a statue weeps because God makes it weep, that's a claim that can be investigated scientifically.

    If somebody claims that they can heal people by drawing on the power of God, that is another claim that can be investigated scientifically.

    See?

    So when he is in the lab why is he defending his beliefs?
    What are you talking about?

    And yet people who happened to be atheists have been the biggest murderers of the 20th century secular experiment.
    Who are you thinking of?

    It is quite clear that many suicide bombers explicitly avow that they wish to die for their religious beliefs.
    Thats a myth actually, or a meme, if you like.
    The relevant question is: if suicide bombers did NOT believe that they would go to heaven and live in paradise with their God, would they still blow themselves up?

    What do you think?

    Besides, if they are all theists and commiting suicide in the name of religion, why don't they all commit suicide?
    Because not all theists are fundamentalists. Many theists are wishy-washy theists. About 80% of Australians write down a religion on their census form, but 80% of Australians certainly do not attend regular religious services, or abide by the supposed tenets of their faiths. In fact, for many of those Australians, about the only time they think about religion is when they are asked what religion they are. Then they say "What are we again, Gerald? I think we're Roman Catholic, aren't we?"

    Those people are unlikely to blow themselves up for God.

  16. #276
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    Quote Originally Posted by james
    It is quite clear that many suicide bombers explicitly avow that they wish to die for their religious beliefs. ”

    Thats a myth actually, or a meme, if you like. ”

    The relevant question is: if suicide bombers did NOT believe that they would go to heaven and live in paradise with their God, would they still blow themselves up?
    Dangerous line of argument. I think many - possibly most - suicide bombers, including that majority recruited by jihadist Muslims through a shared religion, would blow themselves up without the reward of heaven.

    Sacrifice for the family, the tribe, the foxhole buddies, is its own reward.

    So while it is not a myth that most of these jihadist bombers are dying for their beliefs, it is probably not their belief in personal reward for themselves, but in the great benefit of their deaths for their "tribe" - in this case, fellow believers as identified by the religion, which is abetting (and benefitting from) the suicide.

    A belief system that fosters such sacrifice has obvious advantages, in its competition with other belief systems. For one thing, it's hard to drop or leave: do you want to admit the suicides of your friends - done for you - were just mistakes, and basically worthless wastes of a life ?

  17. #277
    iceaura:

    I didn't mean that the suicide bombers blow themselves up because they believe it will be a fast track to paradise. They blow themselves up for a variety of reasons, many of which you have mentioned.

    But my question to SAM still stands. Take away the belief in the fast track to paradise and then what?

    I'm not convinced that they would be quite as willing to sacrifice their one and only life for family, tribe and foxhole buddies, as you put it.

  18. #278
    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Dangerous line of argument. I think many - possibly most - suicide bombers, including that majority recruited by jihadist Muslims through a shared religion, would blow themselves up without the reward of heaven.
    It is a very dangerous line of argument. But it does have a lot of merit.

    Think of it this way. If there was no reward of 'heaven', would they still be willing to blow themselves up for "family, the tribe, the foxhole buddies"? If death meant the end, no heaven, no spiritual world, just a mere end, would many still be willing to go through with the act? Or is the belief that there is something else out there a comfort to those who decide to blow themselves and others up for whatever cause? Would they martyr themselves without heavenly rewards?

    In August, 2001, the American television channel CBS aired an interview with a Hamas activist Muhammad Abu Wardeh, who recruited terrorists for suicide bombings in Israel. Abu Wardeh was quoted as saying: "I described to him how God would compensate the martyr for sacrificing his life for his land. If you become a martyr, God will give you 70 virgins, 70 wives and everlasting happiness."
    Source

    Why use the heavenly reward as an attempt to recruit 'martyrs' if it not something that the bombers would care about?

    Those who attempt to prey on people's beliefs in such a fashion are despicable individuals, in my opinion.

    There are probably many individuals who commit such crimes regardless of whatever may be perceived as a reward after their death, who may be desperate enough to even consider it, heaven or not. But there are also individuals who prey on victims and use the belief of a reward in heaven as an incentive and some unfortunately buy into it.

  19. #279
    uniquely dreadful S.A.M.'s Avatar
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    So why do the Marxist LTTE blow themselves up?

    Quote Originally Posted by James R View Post

    I'm not convinced that they would be quite as willing to sacrifice their one and only life for family, tribe and foxhole buddies, as you put it.
    Read up on the LTTE. Same logic, same methods, same results

  20. #280
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    Quote Originally Posted by James R View Post
    SAM:
    Because he regards religion as harmful, for reasons explained in his book.
    which are specious.


    He listens to what they say about their motivations. People who commit violence for their God generally don't hold back in saying that's why they're doing it. Haven't you heard the cries of "Allahu akbar!" on every propaganda video of an Al Qaeda bombing?
    I also hear the cries of Allahu Akbar when they are having fun, does that mean that without religion, they would stop having fun? Saying Allahu Akbar in the middle east is like saying Jesus effing Christ in the west. Its part of the cant, jargon, slang. They say Allahu Akbar when they are arguing, does this mean they are arguing only because they are religious?
    http://akramsrazor.typepad.com/islam...tanding_t.html

    Who knows?

    What is clear is that Stalin did not cause all those deaths in the name of atheism. He sought power, pure and simple. He wasn't killing people for any cause other than to maintain and increase his own personal power.
    He used anti-religious propaganda to do it.

    I'm not sure what you're asking.
    Is he speaking for all of them?
    No. By judging the evidence. Like I said.
    Evidence for the supernatural?
    If somebody claims a statue weeps because God makes it weep, that's a claim that can be investigated scientifically.

    If somebody claims that they can heal people by drawing on the power of God, that is another claim that can be investigated scientifically.

    See?
    Is that what scientists who are religious are claiming? Are these the discussions that scientists are having about their beliefs?


    What are you talking about?
    See the quote it refers to.

    Who are you thinking of?
    Pick the biggest killers of the century and look at their beliefs.


    The relevant question is: if suicide bombers did NOT believe that they would go to heaven and live in paradise with their God, would they still blow themselves up?

    What do you think?
    Logically yes. Strategic warfare would indicate that guerilla warfare has always been practiced against a stronger enemy. Suicide bombing is a natural response to collateral damages.



    Because not all theists are fundamentalists. Many theists are wishy-washy theists. About 80% of Australians write down a religion on their census form, but 80% of Australians certainly do not attend regular religious services, or abide by the supposed tenets of their faiths. In fact, for many of those Australians, about the only time they think about religion is when they are asked what religion they are. Then they say "What are we again, Gerald? I think we're Roman Catholic, aren't we?"

    Those people are unlikely to blow themselves up for God.
    No only the ones who are most educated, secular and rational.

    The experience of the suicide bomber has a coherent and rational connection to the rest of his (and, increasingly, her) life, concerns, and values, and general sense of how the world works. One key motivator is a profound dissatisfaction with, and alienation from, contemporary secular society. What little research there is (it’s tough to find subjects, since most of them blow themselves to bits) suggests that these suicide bombers have no appreciable psychopathology and are at least as well-off and well-educated as the surrounding populations. The suicide bomber tends to be older, better-educated, more widely traveled and well-read, and more sophisticated than those populations.
    http://www.secularhumanism.org/index...ection=library

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