13
   

Problems with Atheism

 
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 11:56 am
@ebrown p,
You're not challenging any "sacred cows" of mine, i hold no cows, nor anything else, to be sacred.

I seriously doubt that you can find a quote of mine that i don't launch personal attacks. I probably have said that i respond that way to people who have treated me to personal attacks. In this case, i prefaced my remark with a qualifier--if you claim to be an atheist, my response is that you are a liar. Someone who tells a lie is a liar, and it's not a personal attack to point that out. If you truly are an atheist, why did you start that incredibly stupid thread about atheists ruining Easter for the religionists? If you truly are an atheist, where did you come up with the horseshit you've posted in this thread? No, pointing out that you lie, and are therefore a liar is not a personal attack if it's true.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 11:58 am
@Setanta,
Quote:
Someone who tells a lie is a liar, and it's not a personal attack to point that out.


lol
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 11:58 am
@ebrown p,
If you claim that there is a deity, but can't prove it, we are definitely talking about an imaginary friend--a product of your imagination, and not of any evidence. If you're an atheist, where do you come up with **** like this? This is yet another reason that i consider you a liar if you claim to be an atheist.

Saying imaginary friend is not intended to be derogatory to those who don't "share my world view." It is intended to be an accurate statement of the case. Anyone who has a problem with it need only provide reliable evidence that their friend is real, and not a product of imagination.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 12:01 pm
I think it is fair that you get one thing straight. You are not "challenging" any beliefs that i have. Once again, based on your posting history at this site, i consider you a liar to claim that you are an atheist. From the very beginning of that other idiot thread of yours, you demonstrated that you don't know the first thing about atheists by your inferential claim that all atheists think and act alike. I find it really pathetic that having been thoroughly trounced with the stupidities of that thread and this one, you are now trying to claim that you're an atheist.
engineer
 
  6  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 12:28 pm
eb, you really got some fireworks on this thread.

I read your original post to say that those aggressive atheists who insist on converting or maligning diests are just as bad as those aggressive deists that insist on converting or maligning atheists. On that I would agree. I also agree that there are many more aggressive deists, but that doesn't invalidate the point.

I disagree with those who say that religion is not based on observation, but on blind faith. Religion consists of codified hypotheses generated to explain centuries of observations, it is just that many of the hypotheses are incorrect. I was listening to a story about interesting ideas that children come up with and it described one story about a little girl who woke up while her father was replacing the tooth under her pillow with a dollar. From this, she made an astounding leap of logic - her father was the tooth fairy! While this hypothesis doesn't stand up to testing for very long, it makes sense given the point of view it was generated in. Does the hypothesis that the sun goes around the Earth make sense? Sure. Does it make sense to cling to that idea when evidence shows that it is clearly not the case? No. Religion generally consists of an effort to explain the world as seen by people hundreds or thousands of years ago.
engineer
 
  3  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 12:47 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

Once again, based on your posting history at this site, i consider you a liar to claim that you are an atheist. From the very beginning of that other idiot thread of yours, you demonstrated that you don't know the first thing about atheists by your inferential claim that all atheists think and act alike. I find it really pathetic that having been thoroughly trounced with the stupidities of that thread and this one, you are now trying to claim that you're an atheist.

I considered his other thread to be a reaction to the unprovoked attack against Christians on other threads. Someone decided to comment how Christians were disturbing his (or her) holiday with all their religious stuff. I didn't see any Christians slamming atheists about not following the Christian Easter story (although we have seen militant Christians here before), but out of the blue we see slams on Christians celebrating Easter. Eb has risen to the defense of those he considers unfairly attacked and this time it is Christians. I didn't assume he was a closet Muslim when he defended them, I believe his claims of not being a closet Christian now. Personally, I think his point has merit. If you don't care about religion why are you maligning those who are quietly doing their thing? If they're not getting in your face, why get in theirs? Zoe Williams, one of my favorite writers in the Guardian, did a similar column once. She was railing about atheists who were going nuts over the Narnia movie, complaining about Christians reveling in the religious themes. Her point (she's an atheist by the way) was that non-Christians seem to go out of their way to get bent out of shape at Christians being Christian. If Christians come on A2K attacking others, have at them. If they are quietly celebrating their holidays, who cares and why the fuss?
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 12:54 pm
@engineer,
Your thesis is flawed because the little girl already believed that such a being as a tooth fairy existed at the time that she applied that belief to her observation. She believed that because it had been told to her.

All cosmogonies of which i have ever read suffer from a similar problem. Genesis tells us that darkness was upon the face of the waters. Well, the waters must already have been there prior to the theistic "creation." Legends among the Ojibway claim that Turtle heaped up mud from beneath the waters to create the first land. Therefore, both Turtle and the water, with the mud beneath it, already existed. Any cosmogony which claims that man were made from the mud or the dust inferentially claim that that mud or dust already existed.

That little girl did not come to the conclusion that her father is the tooth fairy based on an "untainted" observation. We are too far removed from, and totally devoid of any reliable evidence about, early modern humans to confidently assert that they observed that there were a cosmos, and from thence concluded that there must be a deity.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 01:00 pm
@engineer,
I am impressed neither with Brown nor with Williams. That there are militant ranting atheists is not something i've ever denied, and in fact it is something about which i have frequently commented in these fora.

My reference to the other thread, and to this one, has nothing to do with whether or not there are obnoxious people who call themselves atheists. It has to do with Brown's unbelievable claim that he is an atheist. I've know literally hundreds (perhaps thousands--you usually don't know) of atheists in my life, and that they are atheists is just about the last thing you learn about them when you are getting to know them. But life online is not like real life. Political and religious opinions are not something you discover about someone after having known the for years, they are among the first things that you learn about them.

In the other thread, and in this one, Brown has made a set of completely bogus assertions about how atheists behave and what they "believe." In fact, about the only thing that atheists have in common is what they don't believe. If Brown truly were an atheist, and had been one all of his adult life, he'd not have made so many hilariously stupid assertions about atheists--he'd have known better. That's why i consider him a liar, and that's why i brought up the other thread. That militant atheists and militant theists have at one another hammer and tongs is a matter of complete indifference to me.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 01:16 pm
@Setanta,
All hypotheses we form are tainted by prior beliefs. That's why so many of them are wrong. This is true in science as well as everyday life. I'm not saying that hypotheses generated by early societies are consistent or even reasonable, only that they represented an attempt to explain events happening to them. Of course you are correct that I wasn't there, so that will have to be a hypothesis of my own.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 01:25 pm
@engineer,
Thank you engineer for restoring my faith in the possibility of intelligent discussion here Wink

There is a big difference between scientific questions (which can be answered conclusively with experimentation and observation) and questions involving meaning, values or morals.

I have a deep respect for science-- in answering the types of questions that science is designed to answer (i.e. does the earth orbit the sun). But, there are very important questions about the value of human life, or what it means to be a good person, or what are human rights. Science has absolutely nothing to say about these things.

Some people claim that these things should be based on facts about "human nature"-- which ends up with odd contradiction in telling some group of humans that they should stop acting contrary to human nature.

Many people find value in having a life with meaning. Again science can't do this for you.

0 Replies
 
Diest TKO
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 02:23 pm
ebrownp - It seems that if you do not believe in god, and are declaring you are an atheist/Atheist, the point of this thread becomes your declaration to all that hear, that you are the atheist/Atheist with the greatest perception and contextual understanding of atheists/Atheists.

Nothing posted so far really supports that your view on atheism/Atheism is any more advanced. In fact trying to over-simplify and dichotomize atheism/Atheism in the ways you have suggest to me quite the opposite.

T
K
O
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  4  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 02:33 pm
@ebrown p,
ebrown p wrote:
Any system of morality is based on core assumptions that can't be proven. In this way systems of morality with a god are not substantially different then systems of morality without a god (other then the minor fact that one of them states its unprovable assertions without referring to a god). I am not saying that world views that have a belief in god are better then world views without one. Rather, I am challenging the idea that world views without gods are any better.

They are equal.

That's rather like saying "because I can reach my destination by either Route A or Route B, there is no substantial difference between those routes." That ignores the possibility that one route might be a straight line and the other a series of curlicues.

There are systems of morality that are better than others. Some rely on a deity, others do not. As a general matter, deity-centered systems of morality fall afoul of Ockham's Razor, but I'm sure that there are some non-deity-centered systems of morality that suffer from even greater flaws. But to say that systems of morality are not substantially different because they all rely on unprovable assumptions is to say that all unprovable assumptions are alike, and I'm sure you don't agree with that.
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 02:44 pm
@ebrown p,
ebrown p wrote:
This thread is to discuss to the type of Atheism that has the following beliefs.

1) There is no God.
2) Accepting that there is no god gives an exclusive understanding of absolute truth (as grasped by reason logic and science).
3) People who don't accept this truth are inferior.

Or in other words, this thread is to discuss a strawman, which is convenient for you to find "problems with" -- never mind that virtually no atheist actually fits the definition. (Specifically no atheist I know holds beliefs #2 and #3.)
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 03:00 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
Or in other words, this thread is to discuss a strawman, which is convenient for you to find "problems with" -- never mind that virtually no atheist actually fits the definition. (Specifically no atheist I know holds beliefs #2 and #3.)

To illustrate the point, I started an analogous thread of my own, purporting to discuss "problems with Judaism" ..... NOT!
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 03:30 pm
@engineer,
Sure, we're both indulging in speculation. That's all the more reason, though, to dissent from the claim that blind faith is based on observation.
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 03:34 pm
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
. . . is to say that all unprovable assumptions are alike, and I'm sure you don't agree with that.


Why ? ! ? ! ?

(I've seen precious little evidence that Brown gives much thought before he posts.)
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 03:47 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

joefromchicago wrote:
. . . is to say that all unprovable assumptions are alike, and I'm sure you don't agree with that.


Why ? ! ? ! ?

(I've seen precious little evidence that Brown gives much thought before he posts.)

Because he stated above that he has "a deep respect for science," even though science has its own set of unprovable assumptions. So, at least in one case, we can conclude that ebrown doesn't agree that all unprovable assumptions are alike.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 04:30 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas. I love your parody.

The start of this whole thing was a thread where many people openly mocked Christian celebrations of Easter-- not just challenging this cultural world view, but mocking it in the crudest way possible. It was pretty hard to read that thread without the impression that the participants think "Christians are stupid".

So I start a thread challenging Atheism. And (as engineer noted) the fireworks really began. A religious observance is clearly open game for disdain and mockery, but how dare I challenge something as sacred as Atheism?

Do you see the hypocrisy here?

The responses to this thread disprove your claim that my original post was a strawman. They clearly show a disdain for "religionists" and their "invisible friend" and a believe that non-god worldviews are better then god-based world-views.

Read for yourself.


Quote:
Your imaginary friend superstition relies on blind faith. Beliefs which are based on experience and observation have a much better foundation. For example, i have faith that crossing traffic will stop on a red light. This is based on life-long experience. It was once contradicted, when i came very close to a major collision with an idiot who ran a red light at high speed. That doesn't change the value of my faith that crossing traffic will stop for a red light.


Quote:
Whatever our intellects might decide on this issue, the fact that we are now at the mercy of religious martyrs with their hands on technology adds more than a little weight to one side of the argument.


Quote:
You only need to go into any public elementary school in the UK to find kids with "hang ups" about what they are "allowed" to learn, or eat, or do, or how they are to dress, which are are directly traceable to to religious indoctrination. And quite often, these kids are the least tolerant of others.


Quote:
If you claim that there is a deity, but can't prove it, we are definitely talking about an imaginary friend--a product of your imagination, and not of any evidence. If you're an atheist, where do you come up with **** like this? This is yet another reason that i consider you a liar if you claim to be an atheist.


Quote:
It makes religionists nervous because it inferentially casts them in the light of fanatics. They want to brand atheists as religionists in another guise so as to suggest that belief such as their own is the natural condition of man, rather than the codified fanaticism which it really is.


Quote:
Are you (ebp) completely at ease with all the limits placed on your life by religions to which you don't subscribe? Why? Would you be just as happy with a system of strict Sharia Law?


Quote:
If we fall off the bike in a natural universe, we examine the tires, brakes, we review what we were doing. We don't search for some 3rd party intervention.

In both case we can walk away still not knowing why we crashed out bike, but in the natural universe we at least are ONLY dealing with variables that we know are real.


Quote:
Inconsistency is indeed the point! I am always amused by the claims of religionists that they operate in the same league as atheists with respect to "logicality" and "rationality".


Quote:
I am also not concerned with whether or not mine or anyone else's world view is "superior." That's the kind of thing you get from the fanaticism inherent in ideological or religious devotion. There is certainly no reason to assume, as you do, that my world view proceeds from a lack of a belief in an imaginary friend who allegedly created the cosmos.


Quote:
The fact that you perhaps dismiss the "inconsistencies" cited by other posters as your supernatural friend "moving in mysterious ways" relegates you to the second division, as does your concept of "truth" as being based on a concept of "the absolute". Science, logic and semantics, have moved on somewhat from the age when simplistic mysticism was appropriate to fill in the gaps.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 04:31 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

ebrown p wrote:
This thread is to discuss to the type of Atheism that has the following beliefs.

1) There is no God.
2) Accepting that there is no god gives an exclusive understanding of absolute truth (as grasped by reason logic and science).
3) People who don't accept this truth are inferior.

Or in other words, this thread is to discuss a strawman, which is convenient for you to find "problems with" -- never mind that virtually no atheist actually fits the definition. (Specifically no atheist I know holds beliefs #2 and #3.)


Just what I was thinking but couldn't be bothered to say! You're doing that a lot lately Thomas. I don't know whether to love you dor doing it, or dislike you because I feel so useless.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 04:40 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

Sure, we're both indulging in speculation. That's all the more reason, though, to dissent from the claim that blind faith is based on observation.

My point was more that "blind faith" is not blind. It is an attempt to explain natural observations. If someone can't grasp that single cell organisms evolve into people, they might suggest another hypothesis like an omnipotent being. Don't understand thunder and lightening, create a weather god. Don't understand flowering or drought or earthquakes, maybe there are spirits or monsters in the earth. Not saying I would buy into those ideas, but you get the picture. Outside of the Spaghetti Monster, I don't think religions spring from the earth fully formed and requiring blind faith. Perhaps more a blind belief that the "signs" and "miracles" that have been "documented" are true.
 

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