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world renowned whogivesafuckologist
retired moderator
Original Poster
#26 Old 26th Sep 2010 at 4:45 PM
Be kind, courteous, and respectful toward your fellow debaters, no matter what they believe!

This means:
  • Taking their arguments seriously, even if you don't agree.
  • Responding in a respectful manner - do not be condescending, rude, inflammatory, ridiculing, or insulting. Tone matters.
  • Don't be a jerk.
  • Do not use excessive profanity (yes, you can swear - no, you can't swear -at- people - if you don't know the difference then don't swear).
  • Not taking things personally.
  • Not making personal attacks.
  • Debating the topic - not the debaters. Focus on your point, not the people involved. If you find yourself using the word "you" a lot in your posts, look at your points made - has it become more about the individual than not? If that's the case, rephrase and rework your argument.
  • Remembering that it's a debate - you're not supposed to agree or it would be boring. The point is not to make everyone agree with you but to make well-reasoned and thought-out points based on your position.
  • If you are getting upset and cannot follow any or all of the above points, then DO NOT POST. Step away from the thread, go do something else, and come back when you can be cool-headed. If you cannot do that, then you need to remove yourself from the thread.


Fresh blood...

In light of the above points and the fact that tempers have flared a bit here...

If you have posted on this thread or the All Other Religions thread in the past 24 hours, you may not post again on either thread for at least 24 hours from now. Take a break, let some other folks make some points, and come back with a cool head.


And if you can't...

If you choose to ignore this message, or if you come back after 24 hours and cannot stick to being kind, courteous, and respectful toward your fellow debaters, you may be asked not to post on this and/or other threads in the Debate Room again. We don't like to thread/forum ban people but we will if their presence is disruptive and causes us to write big long tealdeer posts with lots of purple text.

If any part of this is unclear, please contact me via PM and I will be happy to explain further.
Lab Assistant
#27 Old 27th Sep 2010 at 5:21 PM
I've read that atheism is a faith, it worships materialism (which most people would think is just dumb).

Everyone lies, but it doesn't matter since nobody listens.
world renowned whogivesafuckologist
retired moderator
Original Poster
#28 Old 27th Sep 2010 at 5:34 PM
Modfanatic, if you keep it up you will no longer be welcome to participate in debates here. You have been asked before to make a decently well-reasoned argument - not just a single sentence or a handful of sentences. You cannot continue to just drop in, post something that is insulting (atheists = materialistic = dumb), and expect that to work as part of a discussion.
Scholar
#29 Old 27th Sep 2010 at 6:16 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nekowolf
1. Purpose? I can't say it has any purpose other than that I believe in it in some context. Those with a "purpose" seem to be, if anything, the monotheist faiths; they seem to be the ones who have the biggest concept of "purpose."


What I mean is, why do you follow the particular religion you do? If you don't have empirical evidence of the truth of it, what motivates you to believe in it at all?

Quote:
I ask, you say "in your experience," but just how many faiths do you know of in our experience? Not just mere basics, but like their communities and practitioners? How many of them were not monotheist faiths? How much communication have you had with them?


I have encountered people of the three main monotheistic religions (and probably the full spectrum of Christian denominations), Buddhism, Wicca, Satanism, Pantheism, Jainism, Baha'i, and those with a general feeling that there is something greater. I have spoken at length with people about Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Wicca, Baha'i and Pantheism. I have read about, in varying degrees, all of the above, Hinduism, Shintoism, Druidism, and various ancient pantheons of deities. All of these religions seem to have some sort of purpose to their tenants. Ancient religions typically tried to explain the world, modern monotheistic religions seem to focus on morals and achieving the best possible afterlife, and most other religions seem to have some sort of enlightenment in mind.

Quote:
3. *sighes* I'm not going to explain it again.

"It's a choice."
"Yes, but-"
"No buts. It's a choice."
"In a way, however it is still a part of my-"
"It's a choice."

God. You know what. You're not the one who is experiencing it, alright? Don't go around telling me this crap when you don't ever get it. Your mind is set and it won't change. Just like those who believe homosexuality is a choice. But now you'll probably go into how that's a poor comparison and- you know what, shut it. That's not the freaking point here, and either you know it, or you're not thinking about it hard enough to see it.


My point is that you're making a choice that is not based in evidence. Typically, those sorts of choices are not wise. I can understand the feeling of religious experience, as it is an emotion that is hardwired into the brain and can be triggered by non-religious things. What I don't understand is the belief in unsupported claims.

Quote:
5. Forget it. Once again, I'm not going to re-explain everything. You're just looking at things in black and white.


I understand that you're saying that personal experience varies from person to person. What I'm saying is that personal feeling does not provide evidence for claims about the world. When you say that you worship a particular deity, you are saying that that deity exists. If the existence of that deity cannot be supported through empirical evidence, it is unlikely that your claim to the existence of that deity is correct. Can you understand that you are essentially trying to make an objective claim when you claim to follow a particular religion? As much as you favor subjectivity, once you try to state something as true, you are in the realm of objectivity.
Lab Assistant
#30 Old 27th Sep 2010 at 6:48 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by HystericalParoxysm
Modfanatic, if you keep it up you will no longer be welcome to participate in debates here. You have been asked before to make a decently well-reasoned argument - not just a single sentence or a handful of sentences. You cannot continue to just drop in, post something that is insulting (atheists = materialistic = dumb), and expect that to work as part of a discussion.


As I said before, it is not aimed to offend the people with the belief but it is to offend the idea.

Also, I am not often comfortable with making or reading extremely long posts, I prefer to be brief.

Everyone lies, but it doesn't matter since nobody listens.
world renowned whogivesafuckologist
retired moderator
Original Poster
#31 Old 27th Sep 2010 at 6:58 PM
Modfanatic - Since you apparently can't see how calling someone's beliefs materialistic and dumb is offensive and insulting, and aren't willing to make decently thought-out and explained arguments that are more than a bumper sticker slapped on a complex subject, please do not post in the Debate Room anymore unless you're willing to, um... actually do those things what I said.
Site Helper
#32 Old 27th Sep 2010 at 7:40 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwi_tea
Whoa. What kind of point are you trying to make with this?


My point was in response to Oaktree's comment:

You can have your own subjective thoughts and perceptions of the world, but they do not equate to truth, even if you believe them. In the case of two people disagreeing on the composition of a table, one or both is wrong.

My point was also not about two people observing light at the same time (and therefore observing the same thing), but two people arguing over their general ideas about the nature of light. If one person has only ever observed light as particles and the other has only ever observed it as waves, they're going to draw conclusions based on their personal observations and disagree about light's true nature.

I was just trying to make an analogy, which seems to be a fruitless task in a forum where everything is nitpicked to death.

How about the story about the blind men and the elephant? Or the Allegory of the Cave? We don't know if what we're observing when we do scientific experiments is the "truth". We might just be seeing shadows on a wall or feeling a very small part of the elephant. Everything is highly subjective simply because we can't magically "know" things; we have to make conclusions based on our own experiences (and experiments). And those conclusions can be affected by so many variables that it's kind of presumptuous to think that we know everything that's going on, to the point that we can conclusively rule things out based on a simple lack of evidence.
Theorist
#33 Old 27th Sep 2010 at 7:41 PM
I personally believe that Atheism is a religion in itself; one which follows the spectrum of peer-to-peer known Human intelligence. That means it's based on what one can See, Hear, Touch, Not See, Not Hear, Not Touch... That stuff. Am I explaining myself correctly?
What I do think is crude in the matter is when some people come across as being "Non-Religious"; The Idea of "Religion is pathetic" and active methods and arguments to undermine those who are of a Faith are an Oxymoron, if you ask me. To myself, Atheism is a different tree in the vineyard, with it's own roots and branches [just like Christianity and Buddhism.] I don't quite understand how some can see things on a lateral 0 - 1 scale with religion in general. It's more like a Bouncy ball which goes into a Slot, or even slots. Oh, and "Religion is Icky" is silly. Faith is a better word, because it's [to me] impossible to truly NOT believe in ANYTHING. You'd.. well, go insane, I guess. Imagine thinking that nothing was real, your senses were lies, and it were all a dream? Oh wait, then you'd be believing in that then.. urgh, It's near impossible to cut a strait path.
What I also dislike is the Stereotype that Science =/> Religion. Or, alternatively, Religion =/> Science. Just like how Physics dabbles in Chemistry, and Art Dabbles in Poetry, Religion and Science have a Huge Overlap to be explored and shown in a more positive light.

These are what I think on the matter: I don't think it could be perceived rude or insulting, but if you think I've made an error then feel free to explore the ideas.


BodyShopped /// ShoofleedSims
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Scholar
#34 Old 27th Sep 2010 at 7:48 PM
@Oaktree

1. Well to simplify it into a single sentence:

"I don't know."

But I do anyway. It's like asking why I love the person I do, or why I like certain genres, or a lot other similar things. You can give specific things you like about them, but not why you like them. You just do, and it's just a part of you.

But if you were to ask "why not other faiths," the same answer. Why don't I like country music? I can tell you things I don't like about it, but not as to why.

You may see it as easy to be an atheist, but that's only because who you are. Instead, think of yourself being a Christian or something. It's easy to imagine that it's easy to believe what you personally believe in, because it makes sense to you, but that can be quite contrary to others.

2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oaktree
Ancient religions typically tried to explain the world, modern monotheistic religions seem to focus on morals and achieving the best possible afterlife, and most other religions seem to have some sort of enlightenment in mind.

Completely agree on monotheism. And I agree that others are more about enlightenment.

Paganism is much harder to define. We are not the ancient faiths. We may share their gods and ceremonies, but we generally do not share their knowledge of the world in the context of what it was in those times. We understand the world through the sciences. I would say, generally, neopaganism is more about enlightenment. In a sense. I don't think that's quite the right word to use, though. How to put it...

It's not really about enlightenment of the mind. It's not so much about seeking "truth" or whatever. It's more about enlightenment of life. The focus in a lot of neopaganism isn't about "truth" or even a lot of times, about what comes after death. Take Christianity; it has all the sins and stuff, and this horrific punishment (Hell), y'know, all these things that prevent from getting into Heaven, or even being condemned to Hell. All these sins and rules.

Neopaganism is more like, screw that. Sure, the old faiths usually have some kind of punishment after death, yeah. But there's not all these sins and rules. It's more like, don't be a jackass, and don't commit crimes (such as rape, murder, stealing, etc; things generally consider throughout civilization as bad). Basically, as long as you're not like that, don't worry about it, enjoy life as is. That has much more weight than what you sometimes see in the Abrahamic faiths, where this life isn't all that important, it's the next life.

So getting back to the point, we know the Sun is a giant flaming ball of gas and nuclear fusion. We know the Moon circles the Earth through gravity just as the Earth circles the Sun. We know lightning is a discharge of electricity created through molecular friction. We're not reverting back to that, rather, we're adopting their pantheons and festivals and such from them.

3. "My point is that you're making a choice that is not based in evidence." - I'm not saying we are. Just that to us, it really doesn't matter, anyway. It's sort of half-empty/half-full. You can look at it either way, but no matter what, it's always empty-ish and full-ish. Then there's some like myself who are more like, "it's both, so what? Seeing it as one or the other is missing the point of the glass itself."

"What I don't understand is the belief in unsupported claims." - It's not really something anyone understands, even those who are believers it something don't understand it, really. There's plenty of excuses, but no one really gets it. Sort of like yawning; no one really knows why we do it, but do it anyway. Best just to find the place that fits you and accept whatever it is.

4. "When you say that you worship a particular deity, you are saying that that deity exists." - Now that would be correct, traditionally, but not so much anymore. We're at a point of spiritual progression where you actually still "believe" in deities, but not in a physical sense like is traditionally presented. You could still worship the gods believing that they don't have physical form, but rather, are representative. Think about this for a moment; every god in polytheistic faiths are gods of "something." It was only until monotheism came did this start to change, because monotheism was something new. Now, they were partially gods of "something" because they did not understand back then what we know now. They took their representations more literally. But if you move away from that literalness, they are still representatives of aspects of nature, or something universal, or something exclusive of humanity.

We are not following traditions, we are breaking traditions, with a new-ish (within the last 50 years, but really taking an upturn much more recently thanks to the Internet), though still somewhat small (but slowly growing), movement.

Is that a shillelagh in your pocket, or are you just sinning against God?
Scholar
#35 Old 27th Sep 2010 at 9:26 PM Last edited by Oaktree : 27th Sep 2010 at 9:54 PM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by fakepeeps7
My point was in response to Oaktree's comment:

You can have your own subjective thoughts and perceptions of the world, but they do not equate to truth, even if you believe them. In the case of two people disagreeing on the composition of a table, one or both is wrong.

My point was also not about two people observing light at the same time (and therefore observing the same thing), but two people arguing over their general ideas about the nature of light. If one person has only ever observed light as particles and the other has only ever observed it as waves, they're going to draw conclusions based on their personal observations and disagree about light's true nature.

I was just trying to make an analogy, which seems to be a fruitless task in a forum where everything is nitpicked to death.

How about the story about the blind men and the elephant? Or the Allegory of the Cave? We don't know if what we're observing when we do scientific experiments is the "truth". We might just be seeing shadows on a wall or feeling a very small part of the elephant. Everything is highly subjective simply because we can't magically "know" things; we have to make conclusions based on our own experiences (and experiments). And those conclusions can be affected by so many variables that it's kind of presumptuous to think that we know everything that's going on, to the point that we can conclusively rule things out based on a simple lack of evidence.


In that case, if each person claims that light is one but not the other, both are wrong. Light has objective characteristics. A subjective view that is based on evidence, but not enough evidence, is still wrong. To return to my earlier mention of Greek astronomy, Ptolemy used precise calculations of the relative movement of the stars to create his model of the cosmos. He had information, but not enough information to make an accurate picture, no matter how well his model lines up to appearances.

I agree that we can't have direct knowledge of the nature of reality, that all of our ideas are based on flawed perceptions. Flawed perceptions that come to a certain conclusion are still almost always more reliable than an idea based on no sensory evidence.

EDIT: I should clarify that last part. It is certainly possible to come to a correct conclusion without evidence, but it can't contradict other observable things. The Atomists of Ancient Greece were correct in their hypothesis that things are made up of microscopic, indivisible subunits (though the particle that was later named after their school of thought was later found to be divisible into smaller particles). When Pauling and Corey determined the secondary structure of proteins based on theoretical hydrogen bonding, they were correct, even though the secondary structure of proteins had not yet been observed (am I going too far over everyone's head with that one?). There have been plenty of examples throughout history of people making very good extrapolations from their observations to correctly describe something not yet observed. These discoveries were based partly in empirical data, though. They were not self-contradictory or contradictory to observation of nature. Many religions are one or both.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petchy
I personally believe that Atheism is a religion in itself; one which follows the spectrum of peer-to-peer known Human intelligence. That means it's based on what one can See, Hear, Touch, Not See, Not Hear, Not Touch... That stuff. Am I explaining myself correctly?
What I do think is crude in the matter is when some people come across as being "Non-Religious"; The Idea of "Religion is pathetic" and active methods and arguments to undermine those who are of a Faith are an Oxymoron, if you ask me. To myself, Atheism is a different tree in the vineyard, with it's own roots and branches [just like Christianity and Buddhism.] I don't quite understand how some can see things on a lateral 0 - 1 scale with religion in general. It's more like a Bouncy ball which goes into a Slot, or even slots. Oh, and "Religion is Icky" is silly. Faith is a better word, because it's [to me] impossible to truly NOT believe in ANYTHING. You'd.. well, go insane, I guess. Imagine thinking that nothing was real, your senses were lies, and it were all a dream? Oh wait, then you'd be believing in that then.. urgh, It's near impossible to cut a strait path.
What I also dislike is the Stereotype that Science =/> Religion. Or, alternatively, Religion =/> Science. Just like how Physics dabbles in Chemistry, and Art Dabbles in Poetry, Religion and Science have a Huge Overlap to be explored and shown in a more positive light.

These are what I think on the matter: I don't think it could be perceived rude or insulting, but if you think I've made an error then feel free to explore the ideas.


Atheism/non-theism is a lack of religious belief, or faith, if you prefer. There are some people who try to convince people not to believe in religion, but, when they are arguing properly, those people argue based in logic, rather than authority. Religion typically argues on authority. There are some atheists who argue based in personal feeling, which, in some sense can be compared to religious sentiment, but still isn't a direct comparison. Religious sentiment is based in personal feeling, though most people have plenty of non-religious beliefs that are also based in personal feeling.

I think it is quite possible to not believe in unevidenced claims. To some extent, even evidence does not equate to proof, so, yes, people do need to have a certain level of faith in empirical reality, but it is quite a different animal from believing in unevidenced things.

I don't understand where you are coming from when you claim that religion and faith are tied together. There are some people who incorporate science into their religious beliefs, but science has no need for religion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nekowolf
4. "When you say that you worship a particular deity, you are saying that that deity exists." - Now that would be correct, traditionally, but not so much anymore. We're at a point of spiritual progression where you actually still "believe" in deities, but not in a physical sense like is traditionally presented. You could still worship the gods believing that they don't have physical form, but rather, are representative. Think about this for a moment; every god in polytheistic faiths are gods of "something." It was only until monotheism came did this start to change, because monotheism was something new. Now, they were partially gods of "something" because they did not understand back then what we know now. They took their representations more literally. But if you move away from that literalness, they are still representatives of aspects of nature, or something universal, or something exclusive of humanity.

We are not following traditions, we are breaking traditions, with a new-ish (within the last 50 years, but really taking an upturn much more recently thanks to the Internet), though still somewhat small (but slowly growing), movement.


So, is it that you simply call natural forces by another name, or do you believe that they are sapient things?

As far as calling natural forces by another name, I really don't care about it if that is what you prefer. It's the same way I don't particular object to Spinoza's pantheism because he is simply calling the universe an object of worship. I don't engage in worship, but I can understand an awe for the universe and don't care if people engage in worship of the universe if it doesn't involve any false beliefs.

I don't agree with personification of the universe, as the universe functions in very orderly ways that do not require a conscious agent and, in fact, seem to contradict the idea of a conscious agent altering the course of events.
Née whiterider
staff: administrator
#36 Old 27th Sep 2010 at 11:14 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oaktree
Atheism/non-theism is a lack of religious belief, or faith, if you prefer. There are some people who try to convince people not to believe in religion, but, when they are arguing properly, those people argue based in logic, rather than authority. Religion typically argues on authority. There are some atheists who argue based in personal feeling, which, in some sense can be compared to religious sentiment, but still isn't a direct comparison. Religious sentiment is based in personal feeling, though most people have plenty of non-religious beliefs that are also based in personal feeling.
I disagree with you here - atheism is, by those terms, a kind of religion. You point out that religious people often rely on god(s) to give their arguments authority, and that's true; atheists rely on logic to provide that same authority.

In most religious traditions, the god or gods are seen as overarching concepts or entities which hold knowledge of everything, are present in everything, and are not evil (I won't go as far as to say that they are benevolent, as there are many deities who are anything but benevolent). In the same way, logic is a concept which can, in theory, be used to reach knowledge and understanding of anything, and whose rules govern the workings of everything (although we often don't have sufficiently logical minds to perceive the logic in some things). The issue of status as evil is of course irrelevant to an atheist viewpoint.

Now, certainly, the practise of worshipping a deity, and all the sacraments and so on attached are not traits of atheism; but stripping away the religious aspect and focussing on the aspect of faith in an authority, it really is a case of choosing the authority in which (or whom) you are most willing to put your trust, and upon which you are happiest to base your assumptions about life.

Of course, the majority of religious people don't dismiss logic entirely, just as vast numbers of people who put their trust primarily in logic still don't entirely dismiss the potential for divine authority; this isn't a black and white issue, and the influences of various different religious and non-religious authorities can't easily be separated out. I do believe, though, that they effect people's perceptions in similar manners, albeit in different directions.

No doubt there will now be a slew of posts exclaiming that deities cannot possibly compete on a level with logic in this contest - and if that's what you want to post, then nor should they, as you have chosen logic over a deity and that belief is no less firm and ingrained than any belief in a god.

What I lack in decorum, I make up for with an absence of tact.
Inventor
#37 Old 27th Sep 2010 at 11:18 PM
Atheism is NOT a religion, people. It is lack of theism, lack of belief in a god. Atheism itself is in no way a religion.
Née whiterider
staff: administrator
#38 Old 27th Sep 2010 at 11:31 PM
Is religion defined by a belief in god, then? What about the use of the term to describe people who, I dunno, organise their taxidermy collections religiously? If religion is synonymous to theism, then what's the distinction between religion, theism, faith, and belief? What about the similarities I pointed out above?

What I lack in decorum, I make up for with an absence of tact.
Inventor
#39 Old 27th Sep 2010 at 11:45 PM
Yes, religion is defined by a belief in a god. Religion

The word religious describes devotion, beliefs and observances relating to religious beliefs. Religious

The third definition is an adjective describing a behavior as 'like' someone who is religious, being scrupulously and conscientiously faithful. An example in a sentence being 'Sally religiously scrubs her toilet Friday evenings at 10:00 sharp'.

I would not say Sally is religious as a person, but I'd say her toilet cleaning activity is similar to the unwavering, determined beliefs of a person with religious beliefs. I surely hope you see the distinction.
Née whiterider
staff: administrator
#40 Old 28th Sep 2010 at 12:05 AM
The wikipedia article you linked to defines religion as "the belief in and worship of a god or gods, or a set of beliefs concerning the origin and purpose of the universe"; although religion usually refers to systems which involve gods, gods aren't strictly necessary. It is, though, important to separate the practical meaning of religion (Islam, Judaism, Hinduism) from the conceptual one (a belief system which sets up a framework through which adherents hope to understand life). I was referring to the latter - although it's still not entirely accurate, as religion also involves public manifestations of belief; which is why I simplified my point to address faith rather than religion as a whole.

This is a semantic discussion, though, and I'm more interested in the substance of the comments that have been made so far than the terminology.

What I lack in decorum, I make up for with an absence of tact.
Scholar
#41 Old 28th Sep 2010 at 12:14 AM
I think this is an argument of semantics, though. Essentially, it doesn't alter the main point; atheism acts like religion, once you strip away the outer stuff and break it down at the most fundamental level.

EDIT: Ninja'd by whiterider

@Oaktree

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oaktree
So, is it that you simply call natural forces by another name, or do you believe that they are sapient things?

I cannot say. I have no knowledge of their nature. There could be something sapient, or nothing but natural forces. To me, personally, it really doesn't matter. Regardless of which side it is, they are still essentially representative deities. They exist, at least, in what they represent (if that makes sense; sort of like how a person who has passed still exists in memory).

EDIT 2: Also try to remember, they don't represent simply natural forces, but also human aspects as well. In fact, most deities are both in that way.

Is that a shillelagh in your pocket, or are you just sinning against God?
Retired
retired moderator
#42 Old 28th Sep 2010 at 12:30 AM
whiterider, you're conflating two separate meanings of the word "religion". A-theism essentially means the same thing as non-religious. "Bald is not a hair colour", as they say.

The story of the elephant and the blind men! Ah yes! I wrote about this recently:

Quote:
Theologians aside, it is very difficult to establish how the average Xtian interpreted the Bible. Were people literalists, or did they accept agile-minded special pleading? We cannot say. We're confined to accepting that the literalist perspective, while dominant throughout Xtian theological history, has not gone unchallenged. The weakest theological argument about Genesis has to be that of Thomas Aquinas, with his idea that scientific truths cannot (read: 'must not') contradict the truths of faith as allegedly authored by Yahweh. Aquinas therefore sought to draw a distinction between change, the changing universe, and the source of existence as allegedly demonstrated in the Bible: God. The end result is, basically, the claim that physical theories do not bear any important relationship to faith. It does not matter, concludes Aquinas, how the world was made. What matters is that God did make it. It's naturalistic dualism, cleaving philosophy off from its origins: Human minds in a material world. Aquinas encouraged believers' to use an ancient, unsatisfying rhetorical hammer: 'It does not matter how you tinker with this world, you won't find anything, you just HAVE to believe there's a world beyond this.' Here is the tragedy of faith, of prejudice, of blindness.

Remember the anecdote about the blind men who find an elephant? That is humanity in the world. We know the tail is like string, the trunk is like a hose, and the legs are like a tree. We can cooperate to get a better understanding the elephant. But if the elephant has a colour, we who are blind from birth to our deaths will not see it. We need to suspend judgement. We need not respect those who claim the elephant is green. Nor translucent. Nor grey. Not so long as nobody sees. Not without publically verifiable evidence. Not without sight.


We do rule things out without evidence. Why else do you think invisible purple table gorillas are ridiculous? No evidence.

Now, if you'd emotionally invested yourself in these gorillas to the point where you pretended your subjective experiences alone were proof (or even good evidence) that they did exist, you might have a different tale to tell. But the claim itself wouldn't cease to be ridiculous for your believing in it.

CAW Wiki - A wiki for CAW users. Feel free to edit.

GON OUT, BACKSON, BISY BACKSON
Scholar
#43 Old 28th Sep 2010 at 1:01 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiterider
I disagree with you here - atheism is, by those terms, a kind of religion. You point out that religious people often rely on god(s) to give their arguments authority, and that's true; atheists rely on logic to provide that same authority.


I think you may be misunderstanding my terms. An argument from authority is a proclamation of something or other whose proof relies on the idea that the proclaimer has some special knowledge that is true, but only he possesses. This prevents an authority from being fact-checked by others, which takes away much of the credibility of it. In religion, those authority figures are the priests. A layman has no way of communicating directly with god(s), so the word of the priest stands without any possibility for argument.

Logic, on the other hand, is accessible to all. It is part of our innate nature that we are capable of reasoning. We don't always hold strictly to logic, but we have an innate sense of what makes sense and what doesn't. We have developed that sense into scientific study and symbolic logic, but even without knowledge of those things, we are capable of pointing out logical flaws in the things that we are told. If you tell me that 1+1=3, I can come back and say that that isn't a logical deduction (on a side note, arithmetic holds a special place of being one of the few things that we have perfect objective and innate knowledge of). Even if a person isn't capable of verbally formulating it, everyone can understand that if you have one apple and you find one more apple, you have two apples. Logic is similar, although an individual person's grasp on anything beyond the most basic logic does get a little fuzzy. That fuzziness causes some dispute over logical deductions, but those are almost always a case of flawed base assumptions. Logic itself is capable of perfection.
Field Researcher
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28th Sep 2010 at 1:31 AM
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Inventor
#44 Old 28th Sep 2010 at 1:37 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nekowolf
I think this is an argument of semantics, though. Essentially, it doesn't alter the main point; atheism acts like religion, once you strip away the outer stuff and break it down at the most fundamental level.


The reason I was discussing semantics is because I disagree that atheism acts or is a form of religion in any way. Atheism just is lack of theism. On whiterider's point, 'the nature of the universe', atheists do not have one definition there. Being atheist does not make all atheists come to the same conclusions regarding the universe because atheism is not a religion.
Scholar
#45 Old 28th Sep 2010 at 2:33 AM
Hm. Perhaps a better clarification, then? While I agree with whiterider, I'll let him argue his point. I'll take a different route.

There are atheists (individuals) who act like religious individuals. I have been in discussions with these people. I even had one, when I asked him, plainly say, yes. He was trying to convert people to atheism. How? By bludgeoning religion in itself and the very concept of faith until people questioned their religion to the point where they would turn atheist.

Sound familiar? It does to me. In some ways, I think the problem is that atheism really doesn't have groups it divides into (that I know of). The entirety of religion has that benefit. You cannot point to a Christian fanatic and say "Look! Hindu is (insert adjective) and he proves it!" That just wouldn't make any sense. Atheism, though, is more like a singular group, really. Of course, there are anti-theists, but there isn't a whole lot of definition presented between them; the line is rather blurred.

You know what I'm saying?

Is that a shillelagh in your pocket, or are you just sinning against God?
Mad Poster
#46 Old 28th Sep 2010 at 3:20 AM
Sounds like Richard Dawkins, Nekowolf. He is so aggressive in his view that religion is bullshit that even I, as an atheist, find it a bit offensive. He comes across a little hypocritical because he hates religion yet acts like a religious fanatic - is very extreme in his opinion and seems like he's constantly trying to convert people and convince them that their belief is the wrong one.
Inventor
#47 Old 28th Sep 2010 at 4:42 AM
Nekowolf, I'd say someone like that is a fanatic, and I wouldn't consider that the norm. Not that I know very many atheists, but the ones I do are more of the attitude of live and let live and are not worried about what anyone else believes or doesn't believe religious-wise and only is concerned with the person themself, as in how they treat others and the world around them.
Field Researcher
#48 Old 28th Sep 2010 at 8:12 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Purity4
Nekowolf, I'd say someone like that is a fanatic, and I wouldn't consider that the norm. Not that I know very many atheists, but the ones I do are more of the attitude of live and let live and are not worried about what anyone else believes or doesn't believe religious-wise and only is concerned with the person themself, as in how they treat others and the world around them.

Exactly why concern yourself with something that doesn't affect you.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people!
Lab Assistant
#49 Old 28th Sep 2010 at 9:51 AM
You can have a religion without believing in a god and you can believe in a god without having a religion.

Everyone lies, but it doesn't matter since nobody listens.
Retired
retired moderator
#50 Old 28th Sep 2010 at 9:51 AM Last edited by kiwi_tea : 28th Sep 2010 at 10:04 AM.
Quote:
There are atheists (individuals) who act like religious individuals. I have been in discussions with these people. I even had one, when I asked him, plainly say, yes. He was trying to convert people to atheism. How? By bludgeoning religion in itself and the very concept of faith until people questioned their religion to the point where they would turn atheist.


This raises quite a few questions, though, doesn't it? For example, are religious people wrong for activism or are they wrong because their views are plain irrational and sometimes dangerous? I would say it's the latter. I would say some level of anti-religious activism is very healthy. Shouldn't people champion learning, and knowledge, rather than pretending, and ignorance?

Religion as a concept doesn't need bludgeoning. It's irrational. It's a lie to oneself, more than anything, and it justifies to some degree lying about other things. If you're going to pretend you know there's a god, why not also pretend you can communicate with the dead. There's a great way to unintentionally exploit and hurt grieving people.

Ultimately, shouldn't there be some level of pro-reason activism, indeed, to counter the activism of the pro-religious? Dawkins and co are a bit obsessed, it's true. But they're obsessed with the fact that what in any other circumstances would be freely identified as total batshit-insanity is socially lauded.

Quote:
Sounds like Richard Dawkins, Nekowolf. He is so aggressive in his view that religion is bullshit that even I, as an atheist, find it a bit offensive. He comes across a little hypocritical because he hates religion yet acts like a religious fanatic - is very extreme in his opinion and seems like he's constantly trying to convert people and convince them that their belief is the wrong one.


You can understand why he's fanatical, though, can't you? Wouldn't you be, if you spent your life doing amazingly complicated scientific work - discovering and researching wonderful things - and a bunch of spooks started chanting "We have a deep inner experience that proves you wrong" over and over for decades? This is the problem. Religion is just fake science. It's science for the lazy and arrogant. It's pretending to know something without doing any work towards knowing it, and often it involves pretending to know things that, eventually, science comes to understand totally differently.

Religion tends to be wrong. Because it's made up. And if you care about people and learning, you're sort of duty-bound to be critical of that religious attitude.

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