Why do atheists follow false beliefs?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by John J. Bannan, Jul 31, 2007.

  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    John, I notice that you're not much of a scientist. I presented one of the most detailed arguments on this thread, in which I responded to several of the key points, and you simply ignored it.

    You're not on your home turf in the Religion subforum here, where the rules of the website are suspended. You're in the Philosophy subforum. This may not be a science subform so you're not obliged to slavishly follow the scientific method, but this is nonetheless a subforum of scholarship. Please at least follow the principles of scholarship. When a dialog is engaged, don't pretend that it didn't happen.

    Please stop acting as though my post doesn't exist. I called you out on several of your assertions. Please respond.
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  3. John J. Bannan Registered Senior Member

    Fraggle Rocker. You may not claim religion is false, but the majority of the atheist on this website certainly do. They say God does not exist - not that we can't prove that God doesn't exist. Don't blame Abraham for the downfall of Egypt, I think the Romans had a pretty big hand in that. Besides, isn't Abrahamic religion supposedly based on monotheism created in Eygpt? The destruction of the Incas and Aztecs had far more to do with gold for the Spanish empire than religion. Also, let's not forget smallpocks.
    Humanism fails to take into account man's natural evil side. It's premised on the belief that man can be taught to be good. It's unnatural and false, because it doesn't believe man has an inherent evil and violent side. Therefore, humanism is not a natural product of man's nature, but false brainwashing just like any other religion. And there's the rub - atheists don't recognize the similarity between the invented foundations of religion and humanism.
    There is no way humans are genetically programmed to care about the welfare of the pack and all its members. Perhaps parents are programmed to care about their children, but certainly not the rest of society. I certainly don't feel that way. Criminals don't feel that way. Society doesn't feel that way. Why would we as a nation continue to spit out toxic gases into the air damaging the planet, if we cared about the people in China? Certainly organized effort is more effective than singular effort, but that does not mean that genetically we are pack animals. Being in a tribe may be another man made idea - not a genetic instinct.
    You equate civilization with genetic pack behavior. Tribal behavior may be nothing more than a man made cultural behavior - not genetic. Again, I would choose my own safety over the safety of almost all others. I don't see any instinct to the contrary.
    Since when is monotheistic religion a dismal failure? Why are so many billions of people around the world worshipping one God if this were true? There would be no modern civilization without monotheism. Remember the Spirit of '76? All men are created equal under the natural law of God? In the name of God, political machines created our civilization. When has the name of humanism created anything of the sort?
    So, it's not good for the pack for the uglies to be having sex with the good looking chicks? Tell that to the uglies.
    Humans are not pack-social in the sense that they give their right arm for the pack. And humans are very successful, thank you.
    Why is humanism better than religion? Both transcend instinct. Both have similar philosophies. Both are man made inventions not based on instinct (unless of course God does exist - then you better watch out). Yet atheist claim religion is false, but don't understand how false their own belief is as their belief is not based on nature.
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  5. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    Atheist's, for the most part, don't really make claims that gods don't exist. They simply don't believe the claims of theists that gods DO exist.

    Demonstrate YOUR god exists, and you'll make believers out of them all.

    Have you got any sources to back up that claim?

    Indoctrination. And, for the record, those billions of people may worship one god, but they don't agree on the multitude of "one" gods claimed to exist.

    No, there would be no modern civilization as we know it today. Had religion not been invented, mankind would be far more advanced as a society, possibly having rid itself of hunger, disease and famine by now. Had mankind been built on rationale, reasoning and critical thinking, with the scientific method as it's guide... well, one can only imagine our world today.

    Unfortunately, mankind has been plagued by the ignorance and oppression of religion, sadly, a tragedy of global proportions.

    Remember the Dark Ages.

    When will the oppression of religion allow such a thing?

    No, both are diametrically opposed to one another. Even the simplest of concepts is obvious, life is preferred with humanism while death and the afterlife is the preferred state of theists.
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  7. Hapsburg Hellenistic polytheist Valued Senior Member

    Claiming god is false does not equal claiming religion is false.

    Religion is simply the measure of devotion to a particular philosophy. Meaning, humanism can be considered a religion. Communism can be considered a religion. Stoicism can be considered a religion. Any philosophical idea can be taken to religious extremes.

    Theology is merely an aspect of metaphysics, a branch of philosophy. It's a small part of general philosophy.

    You are correct, sir.

    Humans have a bad streak, but it doesn't mean people don't have a natural sense of altruism. We're pack animals, inherently. Altruism is part of our nature.
    And because of our advanced minds, we can be taught to broaden our "pack" to be the whole of the species, and thus our altruistic tendencies can be extended to all of humanity. That is the core functioning principle of Humanism.

    Humanism is a religion. It just doesn't make theology an important aspect of it. It concentrates almost entirely on ethics and aesthetics.

    Tell that to other pack animals, like chimps, or wolves.
    We are altruistic to our respective packs. Whether that pack is "the family", "the clan", "the tribe" or "the ethnic group". Humanism's aim is to broaden that pack idea beyond all that, to "the species".

    Monotheism has generally failed to established good morals or ethics, and generally they are intolerant to other beliefs or ideas.
    This is, of course, not uniform, but it is the general result of the "one true god, and no other ones" mentality inherent in most monotheistic faiths.

    Argumentum ad populum. A logical fallacy.

    The renaissance and enlightenment, for one. Their achievements were established on the precept of the betterment of all humanity, not just the people of their petty principalities.
  8. VitalOne Banned Banned

    The reason atheists follow false beliefs is because they don't really care about what's true or false, they just care about ridiculing religion...there are lots of things atheists easily accept without evidence because they don't care, all that matters is that they ridicule religion
  9. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    This is a scientific website and we hold scientific discussions everywhere except in the Religion and Pseudoscience subforums. We respect the scientific method. If some people are not doing that they will be slowly educated or exiled. The website is slowly undergoing a renovation so you may have to be patient but it will happen. I have personally knocked a few unscientific heads. The only atheistic arguments that represent SciForums are the ones that conform to the scientific method. Since the theory of the existence of a supernatural universe is based on faith and hope rather than observation and reasoning, it is not a scientific theory. It cannot be falsified. Our members are free to ridicule it because precisely because it is unscientific, but they are not free to make their own unscientific statements and assert that we "know" that a supernatural universe does not exist. So please do not let the straw men distract you from an argument that is supposed to remain on scientific footing.
    Rome didn't do it any good but the worst they would have done would have been to make it a province. The armies of Caliph Omar of Baghdad--the armies of Islam, the sons of Abraham, the very Forces of Darkness themselves--destroyed Egypt. Without the intolerance and hatred of the Abrahamists it would have had a better chance of surviving.
    According to your own biblical chronology, Abraham lived several hundred years before the exile in Egypt.
    If the Incas and Aztecs had been Christians, the Pope himself would have ordered the Spaniards and Portuguese to treat them with more dignity.
    Yes, let's not. Why was Europe so ravaged with plagues? Because of the anti-scientific Christian woo-woo that passed as medical knowledge. They believed that bathing was a sin! They had absolutely no concept of hygiene or public health. The polytheistic Romans invented sewers, but the medieval Christian Europeans just let the raw sewage run through the streets. The "heathen" Japanese of the early second millennium CE had government employees cleaning their city streets regularly. The Christian Europeans ran a herd of pigs through the streets once a year to eat the sewage--and turn it into pig feces on their way out. The water in Europe was not potable, which was the reason everyone drank wine and ale. By many standards, Europe during the millennium known as the Dark Ages when it was completely subjugated to Christianity was the Third World.
    Balderdash. I have offered considerable evidence of the fact that man's animal instincts are well understood, that the forces of civilization utilize reason and learning to overcome them. Yes we believe that man can be taught to be good, but that belief is based on experience, not faith. During the fifteen thousand years since man first made peace with dogs, man has become steadily better by being taught to be better. Not monotonically, we have had our periods of backsliding, but if you take periodic snapshots throughout the history of civilization, the trend is unmistakeable. And the backslides are not always but usually due to an uprising of Abrahamists.
    I have specified repeatedly that civilization (I don't know why you keep waffling between the non-identical words "atheism" and "humanism" but let's just talk about "civilization") IS NOT NATURAL. Civilization is the manifestation of man's ability to OVERRIDE HIS NATURE with reasoning and learning.
    What is false about civilization--by any name? Humans OBSERVE that living harmoniously and cooperatively in ever-larger communities presents an opportunity for improved life, they REASON that they can conquer their natural instincts and live that way, and they LEARN that they indeed can. There is no brainwashing involved. This is almost a rudimentary application of the scientific method!
    The foundations of religion are invented, based on an imaginary supernatural universe. The foundations of humanism--if you insist on using that word in the next four posts before you try to confuse us by changing your mind again--are based on observation, reasoning and learning. There is no similarity at all.
    Dude, you really need to take some more classes in biology. What you're saying is utterly false. Humans are apes and all apes except orangutans live in packs. If you don't think they care about each other, just try walking into a pack of chimpanzees and start hitting one of them. The same is true of dogs, lions, dolphins, and all other pack-social creatures. Herd-social animals like horses and goats don't have quite the same instinct, and solitary animals like tigers and wombats don't have it at all. When you come back from your next biology class perhaps you'll understand some of these principles. In the meantime your discussion is becoming incoherent because you keep stepping into scientific areas that you simply don't understand and speaking as though you're an authority. You are getting dangerously close to SciForums' definition of trolling, so watch yourself. Children come here to learn about science and we don't take kindly to having it misrepresented.
    How interesting, considering that you're the theist. I'm the atheist, and I do.
    Everyone has a Mesolithic hunter-gatherer inside him. Our job is to override his instincts with our reasoning and learning. The vast majority of us do that quite nicely almost all the time. The fact that a few people don't manage to pull it off does not mean that civilization is a failure. It just means that like any large project it has its flaws. We manage to find most of those people and put them away. The ones who escape are a pain in the butt but there aren't enough of them to do serious harm to civilization. Until a million of them get together in the same country and start marching under the banner of Abraham.
    You're distorting my hypothesis to make a fraudulent point and that is a classic case of trolling. Stop it immediately. I have asserted that civilization has only reached a certain level. We have enlarged our "packs" to the size of nations but we have not yet merged the nations. Many of us are indeed capable of feeling a sense of harmony and cooperation with people on the other side of the globe who are mere abstractions, but others still only feel that kinship with their own countrymen. Three hundred million of them. That means they have stretched their pack-social instinct seven orders of magnitude beyond that of their Mesolithic ancestors in just 15,000 years. That is phenomenal and I'm gloriously proud of my fellow humans for being able to do that. In the meantime, in the cesspools of the planet where religion still rules, like Lebanon and Serbia, tribes of only a few million Abrahamists are slaughtering each other over differences in belief that are barely understandable to an outsider. I'm sorry that many of my fellow Americans don't care about the Chinese, but I am more happy that so many of them actually do. A hundred years ago none of them did.
    As I said, your words betray your modest education in biology. You are not qualified to engage in a debate that involves knowledge of biology.
    Again, failure to understand biology. Our tribes are just extensions of the extended family groups in which gorillas and chimpanzees live.
    Once again you misquote me. I explained in considerable detail how genetic pack behavior was an impediment to civilization, how we used our uniquely massive forebrains to override that behavior, and how we have "tamed" the caveman in us to expand his pack-social instinct to include not just people he has not known intimately from birth, but total strangers, and now people whose names he does not know because they are pure abstractions. You have simplified my hypothesis to the point that you have completely lost my point. This is not honorable debate. Stop doing it immediately.
    Again you fail to understand the genetic nature of instinct and you fail to understand that tribal behavior is just a polite term for pack behavior when applied to humans.
    Again I am amused because I'm the atheist and I don't feel that way at all.
    Tens of millions of people embraced nazism, hundreds of millions embraced communism. Is number of followers the measure of success? What I call success is the ability to advance civilization. When Abrahamists destroy three civilizations I call that a dismal failure.
    "Western" civilization is merely a recent outgrowth of Greco-Roman civilization: polytheistic. Lest you conveniently forget, India and China have their own perfectly fine civilizations and they are not monotheists.
    Civilization has been advancing steadily for nine or ten thousand years, not counting the Neolithic Era before it, which set the stage. The 231 years since the Declaration of Independence are an eyeblink in history. The American rebels--many of whom were considerably wary of religion--can hardly get credit for something that has been going on for fifty times as long as their country has been in existence. Come back in another ten thousand years and see whether Abrahamism is held in high esteem by the historians of the day.

    ..... The rest of your post revisits your previous points. Not that there's anything wrong with that but there's nothing new to respond to.

    Please be careful about SciForums policies. You don't get to make false assertions about biology here, just because it's not the Biology subforum. The scientific method is to be respected throughout SciForums except in the Religion and Pseudoscience subforums.
    This discussion has become focused on the SciForums community since those are the people who are participating in it. We obviously are not able to speak for the entire world community of atheists, who in any case differ from one another as much as any broadly defined demographic group. Please ensure that your statements are accurate in that context. I agree that we spend a lot of time ridiculing religion. It's unscientific and at times anti-scientific so we find it to amusing. But we do care what's true or false... well scientific theories cannot be proven true but we care what's false anyway. As for accepting things without evidence, please provide a couple of examples of that behavior that are relevant to this discussion.
  10. Hapsburg Hellenistic polytheist Valued Senior Member

    Really, you could actually go higher. Not just the Amerindian civilizations, but the Christians also obliterated Egyptian, Roman, and Greek civilizations.
    In addition to the many cultures of old Europe. The Celts, the Gaels, the Saxons, and Alemannians; the Norsemen, and the Balts.
    They were almost uniformly replaced with Romanized, and later, Frankish, cultural aspects, by invading Christian hordes.
  11. VitalOne Banned Banned

    Well that's easy, atheists easily accept abiogenesis without evidence, knowing that it "could've possibly happened in some unknown way" is good enough, as long as something is not religious and some scientists believe it, evidence doesn't matter to atheists, they'll believe in anything without evidence as long as it has no connection to religion or spirituality...they easily critically question "how can God be causeless?" but have no problem with energy being causeless and always existing...they say there's no reason to believe in something if there's no evidence but don't adamantly speak out against many scientific theories which have no evidence...atheists only care about making religion appear false and ridiculing religion...
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2007
  12. John J. Bannan Registered Senior Member

    "The idea of Akhenaten as the pioneer of a monotheistic religion that later became Judaism has been considered by some scholars." 'http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akhenaten Eygpt may have been the inventors of monotheism - not Abraham.
  13. John J. Bannan Registered Senior Member

    Abramhamic religion did not destroy the Eygptians. It fell to the Persians in 343 BC after the last native Pharaoh, King Nectanebo II, was defeated in battle. Later, Egypt fell to the Greeks and Romans, beginning over two thousand years of foreign rule. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egypt
  14. John J. Bannan Registered Senior Member

    Conquistadors were helped by smallpox and other European diseases which weakened the native population. Unknown in the Americas at the time, Native Americans lacked the antibodies to fight them. Diseases are estimated to have killed unknown thousands of natives during the 15th and 16th centuries.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conquistador
  15. John J. Bannan Registered Senior Member

    The 16th and 17th centuries are sometimes called "the Golden Age of Spain" (in Spanish, Siglo de Oro). During the sixteenth century, Spain held the equivalent of US$1.5 trillion (1990 terms) in gold and silver received from New Spain. It was often said during this time that it was the empire on which the sun never set. The unwieldy empire of this Golden Age was controlled, not from distant inland Madrid, but from Seville. The Habsburg dynasty squandered the American and Castilian riches in wars across Europe for Habsburg interests, defaulted on their debt several times, and left Spain bankrupt (with the tensions between the Empire and the people of Castile exploding in the popular rebellion of the Castilian War of the Communities (1520–22). The Habsburg political goals were several:

    Access to American (gold, silver, sugar) and Asian products (porcelain, spices, silk)
    Undermining the power of France and containing it in its eastern borders.
    Maintaining Catholic Habsburg hegemony in Germany, defending Catholicism against the Reformation
    Defending Europe against Islam, notably the Ottoman Empire.
  16. John J. Bannan Registered Senior Member

    Humanism clearly rejects deference to supernatural beliefs in resolving human affairs but not necessarily the beliefs themselves; indeed some strains of humanism are compatible with some religions. It is generally compatible with atheism and agnosticism but doesn't require either of these. Agnosticism or atheism on their own do not necessarily entail humanism; many different and sometimes incompatible philosophies happen to be atheistic in nature. There is no one ideology or set of behaviors to which all atheists adhere, and not all are humanistic.[4][5]

    As humanism encompasses intellectual currents running through a wide variety of philosophical and religious thought, several strains of humanism allow it to fulfill, supplement or supplant the role of religions, and in particular, to be embraced as a complete life stance.
  17. John J. Bannan Registered Senior Member

    Humanism features an optimistic attitude about the capacity of people, but it does not involve believing that human nature is purely good or that each and every person is capable of living up to the humanist ideals of rationality and morality. If anything, there is the recognition that living up to one's potential is hard work and requires the help of others.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanism
  18. John J. Bannan Registered Senior Member

    The idea of "Man the Hunter" is the generally accepted paradigm of human evolution, says Sussman, "It developed from a basic Judeo-Christian ideology of man being inherently evil, aggressive and a natural killer. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/38011.php
  19. John J. Bannan Registered Senior Member

    Fraggle Rocker. Everything I posted is based on evidence. This is far from unscientific. Moreover, your claim that biology proves that man is a pack animal - not a lone hunter is clearly belied from the above site which points out how new that theory is and how the common theory is that man was a hunter. Your statements about Egypt being destroyed by Abrahamic religion is clearly not historical. Indeed, some scholars contend Eygpt created Abrahamic religion. And your conception that the Pope was behind the destruction of the Aztecs and Incas is belied by the fact that most of the gold went to the Spanish Empire - not the Pope. Please stop acusing me of unscientific thinking, as the above sites should prove to you. You must leave room for disagreements between those using the scientific method. Not everyone thinking like a scientist is going to agree with you.
  20. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

    Yeah, I've pointed this out to him before. Is he home schooled or something?
  21. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    Uh, did you happen to notice that your link contradicts your premise?
    "Humans Evolved To Be Peaceful, Cooperative And Social Animals, Not Predators"
  22. John J. Bannan Registered Senior Member

    The article contradicts my premises. But often, contradictory articles include comments about the opposition, as is the case with this article. The point of the link is to show that the theory of man the pack animal is relatively new compared to the established theory of man the hunter. Fraggle Rocker claims that there is no debate, that it's only man the pack animal. He also belittles me for my supposed lack of education in biology, but then attempts to pull the blinds over others pretending there is no debate on this issue.
  23. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Absolutely brilliant. In fact, society itself is a false concept, right? So why should atheists take part in that lie?

    In truth, society is not a false concept, but a naturally-selected attribute of human function. Equality and rules against murder are derivative of this function; without equality, society is untenable, and murder only serves to undermine the utility of the human social endeavor.

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