Atheists and the soul

Discussion in 'Religion' started by DaveC426913, Sep 11, 2014.


Do you sign?

  1. Yes

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  2. No.

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  1. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    It was me who reported the thread to the mods and got a swath of bible-thumping posts removed.

    Don't take my word for it. Ask the mods.

    I've been here all along, fighting it. Ask the mods.

    You continue to cross the line from arguing the argument into ad hominem attacks. You accuse me of infractions that you yourself are committing.

    Aqueous, I'm trying to treat you with respect, despite the fact that you are actively hostile. But ad hominems are the lowest of the low.
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  3. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    Mod Hat

    Aqueous, et al... that's enough. Seriously.

    No, Dave is not a sockpuppet of anyone else (as far as we can tell anyway). And yes; Dave has been in contact with me to try and help keep this thread on topic (something several of you are making exceedingly difficult).

    This is going to be my final verbal warning in this thread- keep it on topic to the ORIGINAL QUESTION. My next warning will be in the form of infractions being issued.
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  5. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    And since it doesn't, the thread has nothing to do with God.

    So that's settled then. A question remains: is why you would separate out the atheistic soulful from the theistic soulful in the matter of your wager? Curiosity?

    And if you believe not only in souls generally but in the specifically Judaic version, why are you risking yours by asking Satan's questions for Him?
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  7. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    I am having trouble parsing that.

    Since what doesn't what?

    Are you saying a soul doesn't co-suppose that god exists?

    I'm OK with that too. I am simply trying to separate what is relevant from what is irrelevant to the thread. It would be simpler if god didn't come into it, but I don't think I can speak for everyone else to think so.

    It would be a little too controlling to start a thread about souls, and then try to rule out any discussion of god. The conceit of the thread does suppose that, if a soul did exist, the contract could be binding, so I have no choice but to grant the possibility of some sort of enforcement. Otherwise, the thread would be two posts long:

    1. "What if you signed a contract giving away your soul."
    2. "Even if the soul existed, who would enforce the contract?"
    So yeah, a supernatural entity is implied, and required, as the enforcer of the contract.

    What is an "atheistic soulful"? Where I come from, atheists do not believe in souls (specifically, eternal souls) , so I don't understand the question.

    I do not believe in souls. I'm not sure what Judaism has to do with anything (I thought they didn't believe in any after life? That may be my ignorance) For the purposes of this thread, the only property a soul need have is that it carries on after death.

    What I do believe in, as a rational thinker, is that I can't prove a negative.

    Let me lay out a similar hypothetical.

    Your discussion is, instead of about the soul, about Russell's Teapot.
    You argued that it is surely not there.
    Your friend asks if you are willing to bet your life on it.
    He says 'I can prove whether it's there or not. But if you claim it's not there, and you are wrong, I will stab you in the heart'.

    Are you willing to bet your life on something you are very sure of, but cannot know to be true?

    I'm not stating this a challenge because it is fraught with even more difficulty than the original (why would anyone agree to anything involving getting stabbed?). It's a rhetorical theoretical.

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    I'm simply using it to demonstrate that - for a scientifically-minded person - being really really sure of something is not the same as knowing something - especially when the stakes are as high as they can possibly be.
  8. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Of course. Explicitly now for the third or fourth time.

    That depends on the nature of the soul involved - in most systems, one condemns one's soul in the same sense (mutatis mutandis) as one condemns one's body - the laws of the spiritual aspect of reality are its structure, not its government, and do not require an entity to enforce them.

    Hence the conception of the spiritual savior - not to intervene in the judgment of an entity, but to rescue the falling/drowning/etc soul from its spiritual circumstances.
  9. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    I was not asking what your stance was, (though you may have stated it before, I don't keep a chart handy), I was asking what you meant by the sentence.

    Let me clarify. I can grant that soul could exist without a god. I can't grant that a contract regarding that soul as a commodity could be meaningful without a god to give it meaning. This thread supposes that such a contract could (at least conceivably) be enforced, therefore this thread must also suppose that there is an enforcer.

    Are you asserting that a contract binding the possession of a soul could be meaningful without an entity of some sort to enforce it? If so, I'd like to see that spelled out.

    I'll have to defer to you on this. This is beyond my ken. It doesn't really convince me though that a contract "giving away one's soul" could be enacted without some entity doing the enforcing. To me, a binding contract must presuppose an entity that: reads the contract, interprets it, decides what actions are warranted, applies those actions, and enforces them.

    And all of that pre-supposes that these actions have some meaningful consequence, such as - and I'm at a loss here - uh, banishment of the soul to some sort of - I don't know what. I haven't thought it through this far. My only ideas involve whatever this god entity deems a suitable -er- punishment? I'm guessing here because this delves into the realm that is the silliness of a whole eternal soul thing in the first place.
  10. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Yes, in the sense (common among believers in the soul) that one's soul is injured - possibly condemned - by one's entering into such a contract, regardless of its terms.

    Note that the exact terms of such a contract would be, for a believer in the soul, unknowable - exactly what does the possessor of a particular soul possess? - and that the soul is constituted or altered in the very aspects of human reality directly involved in making commitments of any kind.
  11. Trooper Secular Sanity Valued Senior Member

    We know our fate. We’re not rebellious, nor provoking a nonexistent deity. We know that those who lay claim to the eternal are against us, but we, too, sometimes feel pity for ourselves.

    Unlike Faust, though, who believed in God enough to sell himself to the devil; I know true riches are transitory. And unlike Nietzsche, who said that "we have art in order not to die of the truth," where the art becomes the illusion of the eternal, I don’t want or need a graven image. I don’t want to be nostalgic or bitter. I want to see clearly. Flesh is our only certainty. And unlike Camus, I don’t want to imagine Sisyphus happy. I want to hear his cries of joy during the descent. That is positive atheism, my friend.

    Now the woman was more subtil. She lived for life itself, but poor little Sisyphus, for the desires of life. For this reason, Eden was always behind him, outside of himself, and the way back was blocked. He spent his life searching in vain, but the woman was compassionate, and when she saw his face pressed against the stone she said, "Come Sisyphus, these stones shall serve you." Let us carve our rocks into wheels, making each descent more exhilarating, and thus, the revolutionary invention of the wheel.

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    Silly boy, ice cream is good, but it was man who desired the fruit, and through his desires he carries the germ-line. Was he deceived? Sure, but it was self-deception. Besides, it is our only task. We are vessels, the carriers of life. That is who we unwittingly serve…the future.

    Hardy har har.

    I do tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. You may be right or just paranoid. We’ll see.

    Okay. Are you having trouble facing the truth or is Aqueous right?
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2014
  12. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

  13. Trooper Secular Sanity Valued Senior Member

    He was mocking me.

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    Whether or not you're a religious troll or a pious sock. He thinks you are.

    What it means to be human is deeply shrouded. This awareness also allows us the ability to deceive ourselves. We are vessels, bodies that evolved brains, not to think or feel, but simply to move, to survive, carry on the germ-line. You move on a rock that travels around the Sun, the Milky Way, and through the universe.

    The truth of what happens to you when you die. We know it. We've seen it, and yet, many-many deny it. Your energy doesn't come from within. If you think it does, don’t eat. When you eat what is dead, you make it alive. When it’s your time, other organisms will come, break it down, and harvest your energy to power their own.

    The end.

    Good day to you, Dave.
  14. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    I was mocking myself then. My only intent was to pay tribute to your colorfully edgy post.

    I'm as naive as the next guy, which means when Dave said he's "pining for the fjords" over the good ole days when God was his sky-daddy, I took it as a parlay into Christian apologetics.

    The Sock Puppet Army of Zealots (SPAZ) are agile but pretty dumb. There was one persona I noticed popping up that really started to bug me--one that tries to fake the speech errors of a non-native English speaker. Several socks of that prototype. The stupid part was that they were not screwing up the hardest part of English, idioms, but rather the most basic grammar learned in the first few units of a class in ESL, and without consistency. (BTW the same applies to folks who pick up English by immersion.)

    In parallel with this there was the overt creation of dozens of sock puppets that were being beaten down as soon as they popped up, like that arcade game with the hammer.

    Another of the prototypes I have noticed is the one who purports to be atheist, agnostic, liberal, or orthodox but is actually advocating fundamentalism. The one that comes to mind is pretending to be a Catholic. And of course the posts were protecting fundamentalism, not the more liberal Catholic position. The thing that tripped my SPAZ-o-meter was his admission that he had participated in a group attack he called "blighting" the science boards. I presume that's the equivalent of putting a pox on science. (Irony noted.)

    Dave appears to be a clone of this prototype, just based on his gambit "I'm an atheist" leading into the "test of one's confidence in atheism" by purely the most overt fundamentalist tests conceivable -- as you note, the "Faust test". But that "pining for sky Daddy" was a bit over the edge. (And I do think SPAZ enjoys most of what they're doing, even when they pretend to go off the chain.)

    It always surprises me that the creationists will attack evolution obliquely from the stance "consciousness is not explained by physics", and the community will respond with all sorts of insightful rebuttals, but almost never recognizing that it doesn't fall under the domain of physics. The question is fundamentally under the jurisdiction of the life sciences. Biology 101 teaches that the nerve cell is believed to have first appeared in hydra (to activate the umbrella to close upon tactile sensation of food particles) and the integration of these nerve cells into ganglia probably first occurred in flatworms. Since "to be conscious" means (in common speech) "to be awake/alert" the default position for the community should be "it only occurs in brains which endow the alert/awake state of perception, which is very common in vertebrates."

    The other side of this is that the truly human form of perception seems more related to the fusion of ape Chromosome #2 than anything else. This includes our Neanderthal and Devonian cousins, which have also been sequenced. If the fundie end game is disprove evolution, it's all frivolous. They can never disprove the fusion of the ancestral chromosomes; that's cast in concrete, and it has almost nothing to do with the particulars of what Darwin found at Galapagos, except of course, to reinforce the idea of natural selection -- and even more strongly in Malthus' original idea of 'survival of the fittest'.


    I like your posts. You say the most surprising things.

    That's a fact. The core issue for the SPAZ attackers to confront is why are trying to cheat death. Obviously self-preservation is an evolved instinct. But to allow that instinctual drive to overwrite the naturally wired programming of the rational mind? That's all they're doing, but they'll never belly up to the bar over this. It's only going to express itself to us in the form SPAZ attacks.
  15. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    I only now noticed this post. I disagree, but it's your call. I withdraw from the thread.
  16. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    This is kind of disappointing. By all accounts, I think you are intelligent and rational. But I've obviously triggered your red flags. It sucks to be on the wrong end of that.
  17. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Or a guy who is just what he says he is.

    How about if I showed you 8 years and 16,000 posts of science, along with a "Science Advisor" badge - with nary a mention of gods and souls?
    Is that the internet equivalent of a resume?

    Or would you claim I've stolen the username?

    I'm not sure how this answers my question.

    Is that the truth you were speaking of?

    This is my truth.
    There's no god. There's no soul. Those are things people tell themselves because they need some sort of meaning. I can make sense of the world without them. The meaning of the world is what I make it. I know that.

    Bah. This thread has soured. And it's run its course.
  18. Trooper Secular Sanity Valued Senior Member

    No need. I remember you. How do you think I knew that Aqueous Id was wrong?

    That was for the pious readers.

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    Your modification of this post was more appropriate. I don’t despise anyone. Only a person who despises themselves is inclined to make deals with the devil. Not all people seek to gain their value. Some seek only to express it.

    You have your little truth. :bravo:

    "The philosophy that accepts death must itself be considered dead, it's questions meaningless, it's consolations worn out" - Alan Harrington

    I disagree.


    The Willing Atheist

    Wait...that sounds a little funny.

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    Last edited: Sep 23, 2014
  19. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    The inclusion of a single word speaks volumes about the speaker's unspoken thoughts. Compare:

    One makes your point - you agree to disagree.

    The other makes your point and tries to assign a (diminutive) value. That comes from your ego.

    But what I find odd is why you think your viewpoint is significantly different from mine (let alone "bigger"). From what I read, we both have the same viewpoints on the non-existence of god and a soul. Seems to me, our similarities would be more important than our differences.
  20. Trooper Secular Sanity Valued Senior Member

    Why are you testing our confidence then? Do you, too, as an atheist feel that we are arrogant and our confidence is unmerited? Is this why you explore these hypotheticals?

    Why should we chase your carrot? Are we entitled to his money for our own ends? Would it make us better than everyone else? Would we then have something to offer?

    Does your knowledge of a rainbow take from its beauty, does it?

    How can we bridge these two thoughts? "For my sake the world was created."—"I am but dust and ashes." by accepting life and death, that's how.

    We’re not perfect but our actions do matter. We may accept death but we tend to struggle with life. How can we accept the gift of life, if we think of it as an accident?

    It was a gift from those who came before us. We are the beneficiaries of a vast system of cooperation. You've inherited wisdom, language, and tools. Think of all the people who struggled to get us where we are today. The love of life pulsated through them and we are the product.

    You may not have a god, Dave, but you most certainly had parents.

    The pious, on the other hand, refuse to accept death, a foolish scheme to perpetuate them for eternity. Making life less than. When you accept death, life itself becomes precious.

    We don’t have to prove ourselves to anyone. Your friend’s money is his contribution, not yours. Robert Frost once wrote, “Some say the world will end in fire; some say in ice,” but until then, your little contributions will be enough.
  21. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    Trooper - if you don't like the premise of this thread... then why are you here dallying in it?
  22. Trooper Secular Sanity Valued Senior Member

    To promote atheism, Kittamaru. Do you have a problem with that?
  23. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    A little... because that would, essentially, be preaching... which as I'm sure you know is against forum rules, not to mention COMPLETELY off the topic of the thread (as well as incredibly ironic... an Atheist Preacher... heh).

    Dave provided a scenario from which to (from what I can tell) gather data/see how people would react in the situation provided.

    It is not to debate the "merits or intricacies of theism or atheism"...

    If you want to promote atheism, find a corner to preach on.
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