The problem with atheism...

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by Adam, Apr 17, 2002.

  1. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

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    Q,

    Under the scenario you quote, yes Adam is an atheist. Your scenario is perfect.

    It may be worth adding the current definitions of atheism –

    (from the latest Merriam-Webster)

    Atheism: 2 a : a disbelief in the existence of deity b : the doctrine that there is no deity.

    This conforms to actual usage by organizations such as the International Atheist Alliance, American Atheists, etc.

    The two variations are distinct and important. (a) Represents the scenario you have described, i.e. A disbelief based on lack of evidence.

    The second definition is a claim that there is no god and atheists who make such claims usually do so by supporting the claim with evidence against a particular god.

    Note that for (a) a disbelief in something is not the same as believing that the proposition is false where the latter is what many religionists think atheism means.

    So the hypothetical Adam being a logical person is an atheist because he does not believe the claim that a god exists because there is inadequate or no evidence.

    The theist sees the same claim, and says “hey no problem I believe that easily”, despite lack of evidence. This is irrational since to reach a reasoned conclusion there is a requirement for factual premises, and facts require evidence. To conclude otherwise is to conclude outside of reason and that is the definition of irrationality.

    Hope that helps.
    Cris
     
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  3. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

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    Chris,

    The point I'm making is that "belief" never comes into the equation with Adam. He simply asks the question, "Where is the evidence?" He does not think to believe the theory or not. He simply puts it aside for further review upon evidence.

    That would not constitute making Adam an atheist IMO.
     
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  5. Counterbalance Registered Senior Member

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    Q...

    Just curious to know if I’m understanding you correctly.

    By setting aside the proposed theory of a supernatural creator simply because there is insufficient evidence, Adam is being rational, and only being rational. The same kind of rationality he’d used for any type of consideration whatsoever. An individual like “Adam” doesn’t think in terms of “belief” but rather in terms of “acceptable as far as we know.” The label of “Atheist” doesn’t apply to Adam because “belief” itself doesn’t apply. The proposed theory isn’t acceptable because there isn’t evidence enough to warrant any further interest at that time or of any kind from Adam.

    Would this be a fair translation?

    I see a fine line between what you and Cris are saying, but a line nonetheless.

    Appreciate you bringing this up.

    CB
     
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  7. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

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    CB

    Yes, you've summed up a good translation.
     
  8. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

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    Q,

    That’s fine and that is atheism.

    Atheism in its basic form is not a belief system.

    What you have said is that Adam has considered the proposal and has rejected it because no evidence has been provided. In effect it is not worth considering further without some evidential support. He is not saying it is false. And he is not saying that it is or might be true.

    I think what you are trying to say is that he is neutral on the subject, i.e. he has an absence of belief either way. Is that fair?

    But absence of belief is the same as disbelief. If you are not sure if that is true then consider the opposites. The opposite of ‘absence of belief’ is belief. The opposite of ‘disbelief’ is belief. The belief can be one of two forms –

    1. Belief that the proposition is true (i.e. a belief that a god exists).
    2. Belief that the proposition is false (i.e. a belief that a god does not exist).

    The proposition is not supported by any evidence in either direction, so the rational person cannot opt for either (1) or (2) since both would require evidence. And that is atheism – it is a purely rational position.

    Atheism is (a)(theism) where –

    (a) = no or absence of.
    (theism) = belief in a god.

    = no belief in a god, or absence of belief in a god.

    Are we in agreement?

    And Counterbalance I don’t believe there is a fine line between the positions here. However, I’m open to suggestion.

    One could argue that this view of atheism is the same as skepticism and that would be true; they are essentially the same. Both are rejecting a claim because the claim is not convincing. Neither is saying the claim is false or true.

    Cris
     
  9. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

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    Cris,

    (a) = no or absence of.
    (theism) = belief in a god.

    = no belief in a god, or absence of belief in a god.

    Are we in agreement?


    I would agree if you could apply this logic to other theories. String theory or Brane theory for example.

    Are the theorists in these expamples "A-Stringists" or "A- Branists?"
     
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

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    Atheism is soulless

    Or so it would seem. I believe it was Diderot who wrote that whether or not God exists, (he) is sublimely useless.

    To claim atheism as the natural state (via birth) and to disregard the processes of the attainment of knowledge (including superstition) is to equate ignorance as the natural state (via birth) and thus render knowledge as useless as superstition. To tell a child that there is no monster under the bed certainly settles the question, doesn't it? And it means that Mom and Dad will sleep well for the next few years because Junior's fears have been quelled by the definitive statement that there is no monster under the bed. Right? Works every time, doesn't it?

    Atheism is a natural state, but to remain so objectivist as to expect mere factual statements to be conclusive in another's consciousness reflects in itself a myth about people, that we are all the same in our biological, electrical, and higher functions.

    To take the examples of two people close to me:

    • My father is an atheist, and one who actively dislikes religion and religious people. He finds Christians to be weak people who depend on God like an addict depends on his drug of choice. Yet at the same time, he allowed the attempted indoctrination of his sons into the Lutheran church and even went so far as to employ his paternal authority toward that end. Nonetheless, in his broad rejection of myth, he has chosen to define what is or isn't a myth based purely on subjective (personal) definitions. We'll get to that in a moment.

    • My brother and I being adopted, we have different cultural heritages. His happens to be native American, and while the public school he attended fostered this cultural identity, and his education at Stanford came largely through that cultural identity (after all, he is that intelligent) via scholarships and a cohesive community, he actively rejects much about that cultural identity. Myth in his presence deserves active scorn, but selectively. As I said, we'll get to that.

    And so we shall. A few myths to consider:

    • The myth of the car (I get this one from Markale, and it's particularly poignant in Seattle, as transportation has become quite an issue of local politics in recent times.)
    • The myth of the state.
    • The myth of the President of the United States (myth of authority).
    • The myth of the value of a US dollar.
    • The myth of patriotism.
    • The myth of familial obligation.
    • The myth of social propriety.
    • The myth of artistic soul (e.g. music, painting, drama, &c.)
    • The myth of right and wrong.
    • The myth of men and women.
    • The myth of environmentalism.

    Shall I explore each? It would be inappropriate of me to assume that any atheist does or does not understand the sense of myth in each instance above.

    The myth of the car: The myth of the car becomes apparent whenever transportation issues are involved in social deliberations. It also becomes apparent whenever one is the parent of a teenager. E.g.--

    - Why does any teenager need a car? It is subjective social conditions which dictate this, a comparison 'twixt people. Does a car make you cool? Does its practical or luxurious aspects form the basis of the teenager's desire?

    - We have up here a growing traffic problem. Our highways can't handle all the traffic, and the local politicos are trying to blow mass transit out their asses, intentionally overspending and under-achieving our regional light-rail plan, and stalling on the construction of a voter-approved, 45-mile monorail. Furthermore, we passed a $30 car-tab law; this is intersting, since some people's licensing fees actually rose (grandfathered cars under the previous MVET). In the meantime, there is another myth at play, that the $30 law worked. My brother, for instance, "Yes, it was $30, plus a couple of fees." Well, that's funny, because what I remember you all voting for was that you would walk into the DMV, put down thirty dollars exactly, and walk out with your tabs. However, the whole debate points toward a myth of necessity. People apparently need cars to get to work. Hey, I've lived in the Seattle metro area for six years now, and I still don't need a car. What it seems to me causes the necessity of the car is the idea that people need to live between thirty and sixty miles from their place of work. The thousands of metro-area residents who bus, bike, or walk to work cannot offset the thousands of north- and south-county fools who foam and whine about traffic inbound in the morning and outbound traffic in the evenings. Furthermore, there's the several thousand directly entering the downtown from its western border (the water) because they ferry across Puget Sound from another county across the water to the west and southwest. The necessity of the car is only fostered by the necessity of living that far from your livelihood. When I was living in Salem and working in a pizza joint, I once got a call from one of our Portland stores, asking if there was anyone who could drive up and open their store. Unfortunately, being the nature of franchise, nobody on our end had keys to the store. What happened was that the underpaid manager, who felt the need to live forty miles east of town, got stuck in traffic on his way into work, and the other guy with the keys ... I'm not sure what ever happened to him.

    The myth of the necessity of the car, the myth of the "classic" car, &c. ... my brother and father alike are possessed by them, but choose to look upon such myths as necessarily factual. It doesn't create that much of a daily moral problem, but by and large the result of converting fact to myth in pursuit of a myth-free lifestyle is just as religious as any number of churches in the area.

    The myth of the state: What is the state? What is a political map? What are the arbitrary divisions prescribed by people between territories? What of the motherland, the fatherland, the homeland? What do such myths earn us? Do I need to clarify beyond that? Oh, and these are rhetorical questions, demonstrating the sense of myth. Only answer them if you really feel like going out on that limb.

    The myth of authority: (e.g. President of the United States) There is a certain elevation of status we award to authority.

    - What, for instance, about the assassination of a political leader is so different from any murder? In a truly utilitarian society, the death of one leader is inconsequential, and we can shift to the next leader as a matter of utility. But there is sentiment, outrage, all manner of of nastiness that such an event sparks in people. It's our president, for instance. Who cares, technically? We'll either get the bad guys or, as shown so far by the current crisis (a matter of the myths of state and patriotism), not. One way or the other, the world will continue.

    - In the US, the typical law of a state dictates capital punishment for anyone convicted of killing a police officer. First off, why is this? That officer is no different from any other citizen, and that human passing somehow carries greater weight? And let's not hear about the danger a police officer undergoes in daily life. That officer chooses that path. For instance, if I choose to socialize with drug dealers, I can expect a certain amount of duplicity in people. If I choose to make my career dealing with duplicity and danger, I can expect a certain amount of duplicity and danger. Furthermore, the states routinely award police officers greater credibility than anyone else in a court of law, their badge apparently demanding it. As such, we see outrages such as Tulia, where hundreds have been sent to prison and 16% of the town's black children orphaned by a single police officer known to be corrupt who has failed in his accusations to provide a shred of physical evidence indicating the guilt of the accused. Or the Amadou Diallo shooting? Forty-one rounds? Hey, if you don't want the guy's hands to move, don't point a gun at him and order him to produce identification. Rudy Giuliani's illegal opening of a juvenile record in the wake of the Dorismond killing smacks of this myth. The cops assaulted and then shot a man to death for the crime of not having drugs, and Giuliani defends the officers' sterling credibility by calling the victim a career criminal and opening a court-sealed document pertaining to a never-prosecuted report that Dorismond might have committed petty shoplifting at age 13 (he was 26 on the occasion of his apparently-righteous murder).

    Can anyone show an objective reason for the elevation of law enforement as morally and legally superior to their neighbors?

    The value of a dollar: If anyone can tell me A) what a dollar is worth at any given moment, and B) how they figured that, I'll withdraw this one. In the meantime ....

    -Three of 'em gets me a loaf of good sourdough; almost two of them gets me two litres of Pepsi. Almost six of them gets me a pack of cigarettes. This is a fine way to measure it, but how is the cost of those items determined without another way to measure the value of a dollar? If I go to work for an hour, I get approximately eleven dollars? Or, if I'm Alex Rodriguez, I get two-million of them each month for the next eight-and-a-half years?

    -In the meantime, the value of the dollar has an impact in real results, e.g. political decisions that affect people both within and without our borders. That is, the myth of this dollar's value has a real impact on people.

    -What happens if, tomorrow, the nation's ten-million or more stoners decide to stop recognizing the dollar. "Hi, Tom ... what's that? A gallon of milk? Let's just slip in the back and you can smoke me out." Of course, the myth of the value of marijuana would change if we moved to the marijuana standard; right now a gram is worth maybe six or seven gallons of milk if we make the dollar translation. Can you imagine walking into your favorite grocery or record store and being told that your money--that is, your cash currency--is no longer any good? What's the value of that dollar then? The bottom line is that despite any mathematical formula (that no one person is thus far capable of working), the value of a dollar is, in part, determined by the fact that we all in this country believe it to be so. Go to any street market and listen to the haggling. When they're arguing price, they're not debating whether or not the hand-knitted sweater will keep a person warm, but rather, how many dollars that warmth is worth. In the empirical sense of comfort, then, we see a shifting of the value of the dollar compared to its real result.

    The myth of patriotism: I have often pointed to Emma Goldman on this subject, and will do so again:
    In fact, this myth is well-played by both my brother and my father. Each sees war as a necessary thing and finds history irrelevant. Anything, that is, to justify a good old-fashioned ass-kicking by the Americans. I've even heard it from these mouths that it is cruel to the internationals (e.g. Afghanis) to raise their standard of living by paying better wages internationally. (Given how little US commerce there is in Afghanistan, this point slips by the wayside in its immediate sense, but considering child labor in Nepal, labor conditions in Central America and other places that send us goods to buy at low prices--the myth of the dollar?--we might wonder at how better wages are cruel.) I've also heard it from these mouths that they (e.g. Afghanis) ought to be thankful that we're using our rockets and airplanes and guns to raise their standard of living. In this sense, all allegedly objective factors (determined in part by the myth of patriotism) reflect the necessity of warfare as the only way to get anything done. The idea that the poverty of large numbers of people might be fostering anti-American sentiment is absolutely unacceptable to such "objective" minds. The only real truth is that we're good, they're evil, and everyone needs to fall in step with us.

    Myth of familial obligation: This one's close to me. I've seen it wreak incredible damage on human beings. It has, to my witness, prevented the revelation of sexual abuse against children, overridden decisions made by an individual on behalf of their self, and ensconced ridiculous obstacles against human progress well within the conscience.

    To start with subjective examinations:

    John Candy in Only the Lonely has a poignant scene when, as his relationship with his overbearing mother comes to a head, he must explain to her that the reason his "no-good father" blew the Florsheim account was because she sat at that business dinner making anti-Semitic jokes in front of Mr Florsheim, a Jew who happened to be the one who would be writing the checks. This was an excellent moment in terms of this example; even I am taught not to contradict my Mother, no matter how wrong she might be. In The Lotus Eaters, R.H. Thomson plays Hal Kingswood, who argues with his mother (Frances Hyland) about the fate of his father, whom Hal had always believed dead. Mother Flora has a stroke as a result of the stress, and the guilt of the situation is only compounded by the fact that this is his mother. What, for instance, if Homer and Barney (in The Simpsons) are arguing and Barney has a stroke? From Joyce to Bloch to Neil Simon and beyond, the mother-myth is strong, and even has its roots in ancient civilizations to the point that an unnatural devotion to one's mother is called an Oedipal complex.

    At this point, if the notion of the myth of family is foreign to you, I find you both lucky and unfortunate. There was, recently, in the Ethics forum, a link to an ethical survey; one of the criteria examined by the 19-question inventory involved the different ethics one holds when the situation involves family.

    Why, for instance, do the commandments demand that one honors their parents? To what degree has that been manifest throughout history?

    What is it about "family" that takes precedent over "right and wrong"?

    Social propriety: Victorianism. Edwardianism. Puritanism. Why is it any more appropriate for a heterosexual to kiss in public than a homosexual couple? Hopefully such examples will suffice for brevity's sake.

    The myth of artistic soul: This one's particularly close to me; I'm not sure quite what my family recognizes as appropriate about my literary ambitions, but it certainly has nothing to do with that soul commonly applied to music and other arts.

    My brother, for instance, has impeccable taste in music. Well, in rock and roll. Get him to see a jazz or blues show? No, way. While he denies the sense of aggression his choice musics give him, he prefers AC/DC, Soundgarden, Metallica, and so forth because they "kick ass". But it has to be said that way. You can't point out that it makes him feel superior, empowered, and aggressive or else you're just another f--king music-hater. Yet he won't go see those jazz pussies or the old f--kers playing the blues. Stevie Ray Vaughan wasn't good because he played with soul, but because his cover of Voodoo Chile kicked ass.

    Movies? Sure. Eye-candy, eye-candy, eye-candy. Anything short of mass effects and explosions is a "chick film", meant only to be viewed as a concession toward getting laid. Theatre? Not a chance.

    In such arts, it is hard to quantify his taste for comedy. That's something about acceptance, I think, since he only likes comedy according to two criteria (A) Is it popular? (B) Does it agree with what I already believe? I think he believes Seinfeld to be a documentary series.

    My father, by some odd circumstance, has come to believe that music is an environmental factor, and should never be the focus of anyone's attention. He has an uncanny appreciation for Muzak.

    But what is it about a painting that is particularly affecting? Okay, to simplify according to my experience with atheists: In that scene in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, when Cameron (Alan Ruck) is viewing the Seurat, focusing ever inward on each point until the frame is filled with unintelligible texturing, why is he doing this? That is, what intangible sensation is drawing him to obsess for whatever period over what he sees? What subjective connection does the painting have to what is in his consciousness? It is the soul of the painting. And the lack of this soul is among the tragedies that I have observed, not only in the immediate examples of family atheists, but among those I've known in general.

    What is it about McCammon or Bradbury that moves us so deeply? Randall Kenan? James Joyce? Joyce Carol Oates? How about Shel Silverstein? Anyone care to quantify the whole experience? What makes Emily Dickinson so easily-related? What is it about the written word, the tale spun, the fiction and the poetry, that keeps people interested?

    Myth of right and wrong: I should be able to stand on that and say, "'Nuff said." In fact, I will, unless anyone actually needs greater detail.

    Myth of men and women: For brevity's sake: The Battle of the Sexes. We might also consider recent considerations of the term date rape buried in the later pages of Goofyfish's prison rape topic.

    Myth of environmentalism: Quite frankly, if I ever hear how we're killing or destroying the planet again, I might bust a gasket. When entire nuclear arsenals are in the sky and plummeting back toward our doom, we can talk about destroying the planet. But will all the bombs kill the planet, or just what we recognize as life on its face? Short of that, however, pollution will not "kill the planet", merely the people and other living things on it.

    I wouldn't worry about this myth except for the fact that I still hear it, and if environmentalists ever want to be taken as seriously as environmental issues should be, they should drop the histrionics and stop fudging the data. (e.g. Global warming; some of the most critical global-temperature data used by environmentalists toward the global-warming process omits climate fluctuations after volcanic eruptions--e.g. St Helens and others--thus eliminating periods of data where broad regions experienced temperature drops of up to 4º centigrade; when you're dealing with averages, why cancel out factors?)

    Now, what does all this have to do with atheism? Well, and it's only experiential, it seems that atheism demands a stricter objectivity in life than other ways of thinking. But given the number of myths that atheists blindly subscribe to, the criteria for excluding myths does, in fact, seem to be about gods. And, as we see at Sciforums, that atheistic rejection is primarily aimed toward the Abramic tradition, which the rest of the theistic world sees as just as whacked as the atheists tend to view it. Thus, broad rejections of mythical ideas are selective among atheists, who live--as the majority of people do--in ignorance of the myths they blindly subscribe to. Pick any one of these myths, and ask whether it's a factor in your life?

    Or think of it this way:

    • My high school was (and still is) settled on some of the best land in Tacoma, Washington, with a tremendous view of ... well, unfortunately a TJ Maxx parking lot. But yes, developers would kill for a chance to build condos there. Thus, what is most important: a peaceful, less-distracting, aesthetically-pleasing learning environment for upwards of a thousand young students a year, or the thousands and thousands of dollars you can make building condos and selling them without a thought to infrastructure, environment, or quality (as per the American way)?

    Hey, there's a myth: The American Way. Anyone care to figure what that represents?

    But there it is; the simple problem I had with my atheistic world was that there was nobody to share the magic with. It's a tragedy, all that beauty and beauty, being intangible, becomes a mere arrogance. I'm well aware that atheism isn't uniformly this soulless, but that's just part of another myth I have faith in, the myth of human diversity. I could reject that myth, but then atheists and all humans alike become worth nothing more than their weight in fertilizer for the daisies.

    In the end, to be strictly objectivist, I can only conclude that the sample I have experienced in my life indicates that atheism is too clumsy in its rejection of the intangible, and too arbitrary in its acceptance, while also being too blind to tell the difference. It really does seem that the primary impetus of atheism, when identified, is aimed at a dominating religion--e.g. the Abramic experience--and thus seals itself primarily in that regard, and applying objectivity to myth according to a mythical definition of objectivity. That is, atheism is both arbitrary and selfish as a root philosophy. Of course, what one does with it is their own, but it's hardly a tribute to the intellect and morality of atheism when atheists say such things as the following
    In addition to demonstrating an inability to communicate with one's human neighbors, what is the connection between (A) being atheist and (B) having enough knowledge to proactively seek people to judge? Certes, such a poster is not representative of the entirety of atheism (that diversity myth again) but what, then, separates the atheist from the theism rejected except a matter of labels? It is, if we explore further, the "knowledge" that Judge not, and ye shall be crapped upon. This actually reminds me of something I see on freeways, all up and down the west coast of the US, at least: traffic bottlenecks.

    That is, there's road construction somewhere up ahead. Theoretically, with three miles of warning, X number of cars should be able to merge together and move in a clean flow through the bottleneck, reducing speed to 30 miles an hour in the interests of the safety of the roadworkers. We must understand, of course, that without this partial closure, you weill eventually suffer a full closure of the highway. Yet common-sense is not good enough for Johnny, who sees Phil race forward to get a better place in line, so Johnny whips into the closing lane, and races forward to merge in on Phil's tail so that the seventeen other cars between Johnny's original position and his merging point must come to a near-stop to avoid collisions. After about ... five or six of these incidents, the ripple effect has traffic stop-and-go all the way back past the original warning sign. So more people decide to "judge lest they be crapped on" and deem themselves important enough to break rank and force their way back into the line at the stake of someone's personal safety. The rush to judgement comes only because one judges themself that important. Washington, Oregon, California ... sure, we make fun of Canadian drivers, but come on, the drive east across Washington toward Idaho has one redeeming feature: if you hit road construction, you are statistically likely to be the only car in the line at that point. You'll see it in rush hour, too, people who are so upset at how slowly traffic is moving that they'll ask it to move even slower.

    Just as people, fed up with a judgemental world, only contribute to the judgementalism.

    Oh, yeah ... the judgement example comes from Goofy's Prison Rape topic.

    The only difference I mark between philosophies is the results thereof. Certainly Christianity could bring world peace, but how many bodies must we climb over to get there, and how many ideas must be reduced to nothing? Will that peace come when there is only one person left standing? Atheism, by my experience, can bring world peace, as well, but the world has already rejected Marxism as "too automatic", which point brings to mind considerations about the subjectivities of liberty, the myths thereof, and how atheists do or do not recognize such conditions.

    Incidentally, it is worth noting that my theism qualifies as atheism if we apply older definitions, Diderot and Spinoza--vital to modern atheism--were reacting directly to Christianity, and Christianity itself was accused of being atheistic in its early days for having absolutely no coherent theology.

    thanx much,
    Tiassa

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  11. Adam §Þ@ç€ MØnk€¥ Registered Senior Member

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    Jan Ardeena

    I'm not sure how you came to this conclusion, but I disagree. Perhaps you could tell me your definition of spirituality.

    It could just as easily mean "devoid of the tree spirits of the Great Gumzugwi Forest In My Back Garden". Your use of the capitalised word "God" seems to indicate that you attach only christian meaning to this matter.

    Maybe you mean Michael Jackson?

    In the same way I am curious about the life-cycles of dung beetles and the particulars of flame and wind.

    Cris

    I'm well protected from the evils of religion by my mysterious powers of Not Giving A Fnck.

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    Q

    Exactly. I was born and raised that way, and I like it.

    Cris

    Again, spot on.

    Tiassa

    You start off right and take a wrong turn. We are indeed born ignorant, unless someone wants to prove genetic memory to me. That, however, does not even come close to making knowledge useless. We are also born without the abilities to run and talk and such, yet they are very useful. There is no logical connection between the beginning of your sentiment and the end.

    I think you are under the impression that atheism = a complete rejection of all spiritual and philosophical matters. This is not the case. I strongly suspect that there is more to us than the mundane, physical stuff we see about us every day. But I have no evidence one way or the other. So it simply goes in my Undecided tray, until I have some form of support for something. I tend to think I am quite a spiritual person. I also think religions are full of crap, and are emotional crutches for the weak and tools of power for the greedy. This attitude does not mean I don't believe in ghosts or pixies, for example (and I can't say I do for sure, these are also in the Undecided tray).

    Gotta run, more later...
     
  12. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

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    37,848
    It's easy enough, Adam

    Actually, I think you've missed the point, but I'm hardly surprised at that. From the most basic lack of knowledge to mastery, the process must necessarily begin with a certain amount of speculation and one of the natural processes of the brain seems to be the speculation that, when taken factually (e.g. the monster under the bed), can become problematic. Of course, "Screaming Trees" is just a band name until you've taken mushrooms in spring.

    But if the "natural state" is preferable, how would you like to fix that? The natural state is progressive through time. We'll assume, though, for the sake of your pride, that you've never had a fear of what isn't there. It must have been an interesting childhood ... no nightmares, no strange noises in the night.

    In fact, I find your reduction of the scope of ideas at play to discount the examples included in the discussion to be quite indicative. Such as your earlier and still-running failure to examine the identity-politic of the native American tribes, or, in this case, the monster under the bed. Rhetoric is nice, but your rhetoric seems to be omitting functional reality.
    It is the most prevalent trend. However, if you are merly under the impression that I equate atheism to broader spiritual rejection, you're not paying attention. You need not be under the impression, it's quite the declaratory result of experience as mentioned in at least one prior post.
    I'll believe it when it becomes more apparent. Right now, the reasonability of some of our atheist posters is both a deviation from the norm and encouraging; for instance, I've always gotten along with Cris, so far as I can remember. If atheism in my life looked remotely like what I've experienced while communicating with Cris, I'm sure my opinion of atheism would be different than it is today. However, just as one's Christianity does not exclude a person from human dignity, neither should one's atheism. Why, for instance, should I attribute the characteristics of the atheists I knew onto another individual?
    It seems that the broader the implications on living choice, the more prone an atheist is to reject it. I know plenty of alleged atheists who believe in ghosts, and the primary difference is that the ghosts don't order them to doctrinal behavior.
    Oh, for heaven's sake, man, don't let our Christian posters see that. Here, I'll throw it out for you so you can think about it before they get to it: does that mean "God" is in your "undecided tray"? Think about it, man ... I generally think I know where you're coming from on that point, but someone is going to eventually hit that point and it might be too late to rethink that.
    I tend to think that I am, as well. It's the reason why I have chosen to maintain this less-than-demanding theology of mine.
    It seems your undecided tray is quite ... limited in its scope of what is allowed to go into it?

    Mind you, I hold with prior discussions of atheism at this website. If you're excluding God from the undecided tray, then I think you're going out of your way to discriminate against ideas you don't fully understand. By and large, the impetus is on theism to show the existence of God, but if you're going to accept other such subjectivities, we wonder why God is not on that list of undecided items. Of course, if we look to where you wrote,
    we can easily conclude a couple of things.

    • That this is untrue, as demonstrated by your need to proactively bash ideas. It seems that you do, in fact, give a fnck.

    • That none of the rest of us should give a ... fnck ... what you have to say.

    And as I tell other people who don't give a fnck about the topics they post in, we're always happy to meet you on that one.

    thanx much,
    Tiassa

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  13. Neutrino_Albatross Legion of Dynamic Discord Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    751
    I think that we've let the theists screw this planet for long enough its time to give atheism a turn.

    And what wrong with a nice harmless pastime like masturbation anyway.
     
  14. Counterbalance Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    373
    Rare opportunity, Cris. Easy for me to understand how or why *I* see a "line," though I've seldom had cause to bother explaining it to anyone else. In the greater scheme of things this sort of distinction may, at most, be looked upon as a minor deviation; don't think a lot of other "non-believers" have thought such a distinction worth noting. And they may never "believe" so.

    Clarity is good, so I'll give this some thought and see if I can't find a way to make this more clear--as I see it, anyway.

    Thx,

    CB
     
  15. Adam §Þ@ç€ MØnk€¥ Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,415
    Tiassa

    Leaving judgement to others is a moral crime. Why? If we left judgement to others, we would all be speaking Party-approved German right now. It's that simple. If I see a guy trying to rape a woman, I will not leave judgement to others; I will kick his arse. I'm sure some of you have heard stories of people getting raped while bystanders stand by and do nothing. Such weak-willed slugs don't deserve the air they breathe; it could be used by people who actually give a damn. A side point there: violence is a damn good thing under the right circumstances. (I can hear Tiassa asking "And what circumstances might those be?" Again, I have covered this extensively and many times over in other threads.)

    As for proactively seeking people to judge, well, hardly. This is an internet message board. It's all about sharing information and opinions. Being a user of a message board, that's what I do here.

    Again, Tiassa, you are unable to stick to the subject matter and must resort to insults and mockery. This is not productive.

    I wouldn't like to fix it. If it is preferable, I'm obviously happy with the way it is. That's the nature of the word "preferable". That is, we are born as atheists. We learn, we suspect, we imagine. As we
    grow, we learn to reason, to sort the wheat from the chaff. Some of us do, anyway. That is the natural way. Some have opted for an unnatural way, to cling to the chaff, to hold on to their monsters-under-the-bed. While I accept that some day there may indeed be some kind of monster under a bed somewhere, I can not define such a monster and have not yet seen one or even heard of one being proven to exist, so it again remains nothing but a mild curiousity.

    Again, you are making things up wholesale. Again, I can not be held responsible for the pictures in your head. Refer to my previous paragraph.

    I'm not sure I ever mentined any native American tribes. I'm not sure they have been relevant to any topic I have discussed at sciforums. How did I fail in something which has not been under discussion? Very strange. If, by some chance, you referred to such in your rhetorical meanderings, then I probably did not not respond and instead tried to find a point somewhere.

    I have not encountered such, ever. What I have encountered among atheists is a requirement for knowledge rather than suspicion. As far as I can tell, other atheists see religions and beliefs in ghosts and such as simply presumptuous, to define such things even vaguely when not having any actual knowledge. Doubt is one of the best things we humans can do, especially regarding each other. We should always question. Acceptance of reality, or likelihoods, of what seems to be the case, while still remaining curious enough to learn, while not introducing completely unproven and unsupported extraneous articles, is a mark of atheism.

    Atheism does not equal a complete rejection of the supernatural. It never has. It is simply not believing any religions, whether those religions involve forced beliefs or completely voluntary acceptance. I do not believe in ghosts, in spiritual remnants of people and animals and such. Hpowever I do not reject the possibility of such existing, because I have no evidence either way. I do not believe in any gods, goddesses, et cetera. But I do not discount the possibility of their existence. I just find it very unlikely.

    Yes, it means that. The christian god is in my Undecided tray, along with Thor, Shiva, the Rainbow Serpent, and honest politicians.

    Not at all. It also contains Relativity, time dilation, brane theories, multiple universes, extra dimensions, girls who dig ironing, warm-blooded lawyers, evolution, and more. (Evolution in general looks fine to me, it's the particulars here and there I'm not sure about. I'm reasonably sure most specialists in the field are also unsure about the particulars, else why unvestigate it further?)

    Nobody is forcing you to read, and respond to, this thread. Since you are reading and responding, I would think that means you do give a fnck. You have free will, use it.
     
  16. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    37,848
    This is starting to sound familiar

    Is it symptomatic of atheists to play with definitions? I don't think so; this is your own difficulty, Adam.

    To put it very specifically:

    • Proposition: I will say, however, that there are some individuals who deserve nothing good at all from anyone.
    • Response: Unless I happen to be God I have no right to make that determination of my fellow human being. And, since I'm not God ....
    • Rebuttal: Well, I never understood that position. One, I'm an atheist. Two, I firmly believe it is not only our right but our duty to judge each other.

    There is quite the difference between the judgment that one deserves nothing good at all from anyone and intervening in a crime that is taking place. Tell me, Adam, is there a reason you cannot separate the two? Or is it simply more convenient?

    After all, the judgment you have proposed in your most recent response in this topic is very different from the judgment you passed in another topic recently when you wrote,
    I mean, you won't judge a man like Ashcroft because of his political assertions or his actions in public office, but you would judge him based on the fact that he's religious? Perhaps such judgment is acceptable Down Under, but in the United States, we're working hard to progress past such small-minded attitudes.
    Yes, and lacking anything of better substance, you resort to bashing and bigotry just to see your name on the board?
    Ah, yes ... again, if you'd followed through the rest of the paragraph and the one which follows, perhaps you might have understood why I think you missed the point? Even your attempts to delve into that matter show that you're reading sentence-to-sentence, as if each portion of the written unit is unrelated to the prior, the next, or any other portion of the cohesive body. Given your refined literary tastes, I can't help but wonder how this keeps happening. For instance, the point you cited: But if the "natural state" is preferable, how would you like to fix that?

    You responded, I wouldn't like to fix it. Now, I can understand how such a failure to communicate might come about, but only if we leave it at that sentence. If, however, you continue to read the paragraph and apply the interrelationships of sentences, you might have realized that it would be more productive to consider at least the next sentence, if not the whole of the paragraph:
    I noticed that, of the sentences you chose to cite and respond to, the boldfaced one isn't there. Why is that, Adam? Could you honestly not figure out what it was there for? Here, let me throw a few dictionaries your way; these are extracted from OmniDictionary, which is a wonderful little toy I recommend for all Mac OSX users:
    Now, the reason I'm giving so much data on the word is twofold:

    (A) it's there, and I think the OmniDictionary is really cool, so why not?
    (B) I want it clear that I do sympathize with your reading error; there are many definitions of the word fix.

    But you'll notice I even left out from the boldface a particular definition that can apply because it is labeled a colloquialism in the United States. But the fix we're talking about is the settling of a transitory issue in a permanent (presupposed or concluded) position in the scheme. In fact, there's a couple of applicable definitions I've skipped in there. But the point is that if you didn't go from sentence to sentence looking for something to argue with, you might, indeed, demonstrate better understanding of the points you're responding to. That is, if you had read the sentence you've utterly omitted from your response, you might not have missed the point. At any rate ... to move on.
    It's a nice way of defending your position, especially when lacking anything better. But thank you for finally getting around to the monster-under-the-bed point, and still, I can only assume that you've never had any fear (or other emotional response) to what's not there. The previous paragraph you refer to provides a bland and reasonably accurate perspective, but does not address the issue of whether or not you have ever experienced this condition. Lacking any substantive answer, would you like us to chalk it up to another thing we don't know about Adam?
    That's the point. I mentioned it.
    Well, if you'd read the point and tried responding to it, you would understand how it was relevant.
    That's for you to answer, since we don't know anything on the subject of Adam. But I will propose a couple of options for you:

    • You weren't reading the posts you were responding to.
    • You don't give a fnck.
    Well, in order to resolve that, you'll have to delineate what you consider rhetorical meanderings.
    And that makes it so?
    I have encountered a desire for knowledge among atheists, but they're just as prone to going off half-cocked as anyone else in the world.
    I won't disagree with that. Yet, as mentioned, atheists are just as prone to go off half-cocked as anyone else. It's just the nature of which superstitions they invest in. Watch the posts at Sciforums; you'll see some patterns emerge in just about any poster. Some of these patterns are fundamental while others are merely transitory accretions. For instance, and to start with your next point:
    I have often complained, of Christianity, that one of its primary faults is its presumption of the worst in people. That is, starting with the concept of Original Sin and working through the idea that humankind is weak and worthless and requires deliberate intervention (redemption through Christ), the Christians tend to expect the worst and most sinful aspects of people. After a while, this becomes a self-fulfilling expectation.

    I see a similar presumption of the worst in people in your own posts, Adam. What, then, do you doubt? Is it a doubt you hold in the fundamental nature of all human beings? Or do you doubt the presumptions assigned to people? To believe in the fundamental badness of people is just as superstitious as any other presumption. Is it that you doubt that anyone else is as good and kind and intelligent as yourself? What is that doubt, Adam, and what happens when you apply it to yourself?
    So the bigotry is a choice of Adam, and not a natural part of being atheist?
    You won't find me arguing with this part. Well, I don't throw in the very unlikely bit; all things being what they are, it's an equal shot.

    So, being that atheism does not equal a rejection of the supernatural, is it fair to say that atheism rejects the supernatural when it gets in the atheist's way? What is the atheistic criteria for when something becomes flat-out too weird to believe? Or, to be more specific, we might inquire of yours directly.
    How does the word agnostic ring in your ears?
    (Again, from OmniDictionary)
    I have included what you have cited of my post in order to mark a partial withdrawal of the point. That is, I consider the issue answered quite to my satisfaction. It's as specifically relevant an answer as I've gotten from you in this topic. Thank you.
    I'll take that as an affirmation that we need not give a fnck what you have to say. Again, a specific, relevant answer. And again, I thank you.

    thanx much,
    Tiassa

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  17. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
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  18. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    23,049
    Everyone athists are going to cause world over crouding

    Because if theres nothing after death then why go there so its going to be the Athists who want to live forever, hence over crouding
     
  19. Godless Objectivist Mind Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,197
    I'm late for work so I'll make it short...

    To whom it may concern: I never mentioned which religious preacher was doing the devouchering of childrens sexual molestation. You got that from the news!!. I only pointed it out, sorry if you are offended by the newstories, of Catholic priests, however I bet there's more out there that meets the eye, hence the ones who have not been caught yet!!.

    Is Adam an atheist? Yes

    The lack of evidence is not the argument here, it is the lack of knowledge, hence if one does not know of religious thought one is an atheist!, hence we are all born athiests. To Christians the indians of this country were savages, who didn't know of god, were they athiest? yes, in there intrepretation indians were athiest, therefore they were thought of as savages. However Indians were not athiests, they had thier own believes, so this would make them pagans, right?

    After reading several books, Tiassa for example, I defenetly learnt from him the defenitions of words, which have several meanings. No pun intendend Tiassa, I really enjoy your posts, however I've got to come back when I have more time.

    Jan: well another Tony1 want to be!! completely dellusional, her zeal is showing up to the point of "stupideness"

    Conclussions:

    Hell my time is Up!!

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    Sorry we'll be back!!.
     
  20. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    13,968
    Re: I'm late for work so I'll make it short...

     
  21. Adam §Þ@ç€ MØnk€¥ Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,415
    Tiassa

    Give me clear example of what you would consider worthy and unworthy of judgement, and I'll tell you if I can separate the two.

    Small-minded? Well, if you insist. However, I will repeat what I stated in another thread:

    If one pursues and accepts public office, one's own agendas should be of secondary importance to the good of the state and the people as a whole. It should be considered an altruistic service, to work for the people, rather than trying to get into office so you can force your beliefs down their throats. Put nice and simple for you: If you want to work for the people, your own agenda becomes less important than the good of the people.

    Is that sentence of yours not bashing? Again, I can not help the images in your head. Please show me an example of my bigotry.

    I suggest you choose your words more carefully then, rather than continually suggest I misinterpret phrases such as "You're full of shit".

    As for my refined literary tastes, I think I've mentioned before that I prefer to read plain old fiction, good stories. Swashbucklers and space rangers. I am far more interested in developing my own thoughts than in quoting the thoughts of others. On the subject of reading and such, have you ever read Sabatini's Scaramouche? Definitely one of my favourites.

    Fine. The natural state, as you say, does progress through time. If you'll notice, however, that paragraph you singled out has no actual point. Have a look:

    No point. Only a question, which I answered clearly.

    Again, I would not like to fix (either way) the natural state. I'm quite happy with it as it is. As previously described, and changing.

    You make assumptions like that in every paragraph.

    Again, should I post a thread labelled "Adam's Beliefs" a week after I start using a message board, or after three weeks, or two months? When is the appropriate time? Please consult your internet etiquette rules book and let me know.

    Then please make the relevent point, and I shall respond if you wish. Don't just mention them in passing, but make the point.

    I will present a third option. You tend to ramble. A lot. You can run several paragraphs without saying anything. Some people like the sound of their own voice (or the look of their typed words in this medium). You rarely make points, but rather talk and talk and talk and then claim everyone else lacks points. Try, for once, just clearly stating your points, with reason.

    Now that is a very interesting paragraph. Pointed questions.

    First, about presuming the worst in people. I try expect the worst and hope for the best from people. I always get something i the middle. If people are bad, well, it's not too great a shock, since I viewed bad behaviour as a possibility. If people are good, I get a nice surprise. All in all it works out quite well for me.

    What do I doubt? Let's take Bush for example. I doubt he desires only the good of his state and its people. Or rather, I suspect he desires only good for them, but a good the way he sees it based in his religious background. Maybe he sees it as good that all religions but christianity be expunged from the USA. Just a possibility. Doubt means questions, and questions mean vigilance and security.

    As for the fundamental nature of human beings, please define what you think it is for me. As for myself, I believe in the good and the bad that humans can do. I believe most of us reside in the middle somewhere.

    Good? I'm not a good person, but I do try to be. Kind? Another thing I try to be, although sometimes it isn't easy. Intelligent. I am very intelligent, although admittedly not as well educated in many areas as I would prefer. I have read very few books people might consider classics, I'm only just getting started on this tertiary education stuff, and I don't know a spanner from a screwdriver (well, I do, but that's not the point). I know there are people more intelligent than me, or maybe they are smarter in some areas and I am smarter in others. That's the way the world works. There's always a bigger fish.

    What doubts do I have about myself? This is not your business, I'm sorry. But yes, I apply critical analysis to myself as much as to the outside world.

    Again, please clearly point out my bigotry.

    Either you still misunderstand atheism, or you are simply pushing silly points for a response. But since you asked... It is not about what gets in an atheist's way, and it is not about degrees of weirdness. It is about rational thought, reason. There may indeed be all manner of supernatural things going on. Or there may not. Without any evidence one way or another, there is no reason to accept either side as absoltue truth. There may be ghosts and goblins, gods and trolls and pixies. But since, to my knowledge, there has never been a single shred of evidence to support any of them, I can not see any reason to accept the their existence as likely. This has all been covered by me and others before.

    Agnosticism? No, it doesn't fit. Some of my dictionaries mention it as specifically being a philosophy revolving around man's inability to know (the christian) god. The other half say it is man's inability to know anything save via observable phenomena. Both ideas I discount. The former because it simply does not apply to an atheist. The latter because we have imagination and deductive reasoning ability.

    Jan Ardeena

    To put it simply, I don't believe you.

    Okay, I'm fine with all that. As long as you recognise the true greatness of Michael Jackson.

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    I was under the impression the "sci" in sciforums was a shortening of "science". This seems to me to indicate that curiousity is a good thing here.
     
  22. TruthSeeker Fancy Virtual Reality Monkey Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,162
    Adam,

    Since Religion is based on Love, I would say that all the problems of the world is created by selfishness... not even atheism. Selfishness is the greatest problem. It hides the Love for each other... It destroies service... It creates ignorance...

    Love,
    Nelson
     
  23. Adam §Þ@ç€ MØnk€¥ Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,415
    Truthseeker, I agree, selfishness is one of the world's greatest problems, maybe the greatest.
     

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