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(LA Times)   10 myths -- and 10 truths -- about atheism   (latimes.com) divider line 1211
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41400 clicks; posted to Main » on 24 Dec 2006 at 6:28 PM (7 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2006-12-24 09:32:45 PM  
The Ham of Truth

Unless you're telling me that huge squirrel nuts turn people against Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, et al.

Do not underestimate the power of huge squirrel nuts, heathen!
 
2006-12-24 09:32:47 PM  
21-7-b
from the increasing understanding that we are amassing - in the 500 years since the invention of the telescope, o' believer in an outdated system, salty - it is becoming apparent that there is, largely, an increasingly reasonable, natural explanation for the universe. an explanation where no god is necessary and where the rational person becomes ever further in space and time from the god that the religious claim to have a relatioship with.

Actually, it's not entirely true that the history of science for the past five hundred years has been a long unbroken sequence of pushing God out of explanations. Classical physics was basically mechanistic: it assumed that every event in the universe could be explained by physical laws. Quantum physics, however, is probabilistic: laws only apply statistically, or up to a point. Beyond that, events can only happen by chance. Sounds like a good place for God to step in to me. ;)
 
2006-12-24 09:33:14 PM  
21-7-b,

"what the big bang does, salty1, is move the point of proof. from the increasing understanding that we are amassing - in the 500 years since the invention of the telescope, o' believer in an outdated system, salty - it is becoming apparent that there is, largely, an increasingly reasonable, natural explanation for the universe. an explanation where no god is necessary and where the rational person becomes ever further in space and time from the god that the religious claim to have a relatioship with. we can no more know whether we are existing in a world inside a guinness bubble on a table in an irish theme-pub at a table of the ogds or not, but it is irrational to suppose that is the case - just as it is irrational to suppose that there is a god who desires our worship"

But now you're sounding more like me, that your 'feelings' draw you to this conclusion.

Well I'm sorry to say, that discovering there is no proof or evidence in the big bang is not empiricle evidence that there is no god.

Furthermore, I do not believe in the 'old ways'.... that should be apparent. I'm one of those wackos who believes that science (the search for truth) is one of the roads to discovering God.

I'm one of those guys who gets awe inspired by evolution and the big bang, and Pi and Phi... and says, wow, this seems connected to me. This does not seem by accident to me.

You see this things, and believe the opposite (then call it nature)... with no more or less evidence than I have.
 
2006-12-24 09:33:53 PM  
Garble
If God exists (and since this is philosophy, we can discuss theoretical assumptions without fear someone will label our conclusions as religious) couldn't he say "I'm going to give you the ability to think for yourselves, a sort of 'free will' as it were. And even though at any time I could easily reach down in your head and zap you into thinking the way I want you to, I've decided I won't. Doing so would defeat the point of giving you free will in the first place. So even if I give you a whole lot of hints and you still do something really stupid, I won't take away your fee will, no matter how easy it would be."?

Would deciding not do something mean he isn't able to do so?

Does the potential of free will to be taken away negate it's existence when the premise is that it was given by the same means in the first place?


Omnipotent means he knows the future too.

So if he knows what you are going to do in the future, is there free will?

Of course, your argument would be he can know the future, but has chosen not to know it.

Boy I hope the guy who created God and gave him his superpowers takes it back, because he ain't using any of it.
 
2006-12-24 09:34:02 PM  
Holden C via AXESMI: The seat of belief for me is in FAITH. It is a way of knowing outside of human reason.

Frankly, faith isn't a way of "knowing," it's a way of believing. I can appreciate someone putting a lot of faith in faith, but faith in something itself does not make it true.

As the author of this article points out, there is such a thing as "wishful thinking," and general, generic faith can be a large part of that.

I don't mean this particular statement as a condemnation of your religious beliefs, but it's incorrect to assert that "faith" is a form of knowledge.
 
2006-12-24 09:34:28 PM  
enave

Your talking about hitler pol pot and the like.

With the exception of Stalin on that list, every single one of those was RELIGIOUS.

Please remove your head from your @$$ and learn a bit. For more on this, read Michael Shermer's Science of good and evil. Chapter's six and seven go into those instances in detail.

/apologize if someone has already dealt with this.
 
2006-12-24 09:35:02 PM  
Russian Pooper,

"salty1

The number of people who have been killed in the name of religion is moot to you? You're not one of those compassionate conservatives are you? I feel the light emanating from you're presence right now."

When you start adding up some of the athiest 'killings' in contrast, and see that in 100 years you guys caught up pretty well.... one begins, yes, to see the point as moot.
 
2006-12-24 09:35:37 PM  
The_Shoggoth
I know this is just one little post in a sea of flames, but I'd like to address the people arguing about atheism being a religion.

I am an atheist. I am satisfied that there is no such thing as a god. I "know" there is no god much in the say way I know we are not going to be invaded by martians - which is to say, having reviewed all the evidence I have been presented I have drawn a conclusion with enough certainty as to be comfortable staking my life and future on it. However I am more than willing to carefully consider evidence to the contrary and I reserve my option to change my mind in the future. It is an option I cannot imagine to exercise, but it is there none-the-less.


I understand what you're trying to say here, but that sounds exactly like my belief in God.
 
2006-12-24 09:35:38 PM  
ReverendJasen: Why do Christians so enjoy going to "godless" 3rd world countries and starting missionaries? Because you believe the religions of those people are misguided fairy tales. Talk about smug.
So I don't want to hear any crap from any of you christians about how smug atheists are to you.


More aggressive than I would have put it, but well-said nonetheless.
 
2006-12-24 09:35:54 PM  
I'm gunna go play Black and White 2 now

/Be my own God - woo!
//Beer for some
///Death for others!
 
2006-12-24 09:37:42 PM  
OMG FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER! LOL!! ROFL!!! SO ORIGINAL! OMGROFlMAO!
 
2006-12-24 09:38:04 PM  
occasionalcontributer: I understand what you're trying to say here, but that sounds exactly like my belief in God.

If you reserve your option to change your mind about your religious faith in the future, then your form of religious belief is a rare one indeed.
 
2006-12-24 09:38:31 PM  
buttsecks?
 
2006-12-24 09:39:45 PM  
HumbleGod
If you reserve your option to change your mind about your religious faith in the future, then your form of religious belief is a rare one indeed.

Nah, I think most people just aren't as honest as me. Note the large number of apostates from any religion.
 
2006-12-24 09:39:54 PM  
hitchking: Well... no actually it isn't. Atheism is correlated with education, especially scientific education.

Couldn't agree more. Just look at the fact that religious people are taught to have faith that something is certain.
 
2006-12-24 09:40:50 PM  
salty1

excuse me for asking, but exactly what is your relationship with god, salty

you see, you seem to have accepted (you've stated) that there have been no miracles. you seem to have accepted that god played no part in the creation of the universe after the big bang. so, the thing that you are worshipping last looked in on human life 14 billion years ago (or more)
 
2006-12-24 09:41:07 PM  
occasionalcontributer
Classical physics was basically mechanistic: it assumed that every event in the universe could be explained by physical laws. Quantum physics, however, is probabilistic: laws only apply statistically, or up to a point. Beyond that, events can only happen by chance. Sounds like a good place for God to step in to me. ;)

Wait so you are saying God plays dice? No wai...
 
2006-12-24 09:41:33 PM  
The_Shoggoth

I am no wishy-washy agnostic,

Excuse me? Exactly how is not pretending to know something you don't "wishy-washy?"

Damn those wishy-washy agnostics....

members.cox.net
 
2006-12-24 09:42:19 PM  
gund
Wait so you are saying God plays dice? No wai...

I believe God loads the dice. :D
 
2006-12-24 09:42:22 PM  
HumbleGod,

Unfortunately rarity of the sort you speak seems to be true mostly in a country which shall remain nameless... but starts with the letter A.

/Armenia?
 
2006-12-24 09:42:31 PM  
ElBarto79

You have a gross misunderstanding of what the words atheist and agnostic mean. It's been beaten to death in this thread already, but the long and the short of it is that they aren't mutually exclusive terms. A person can be both an agnostic AND an atheist because they don't deal with the same aspects of the deity in question.

Think of it as being part of a grid with the X-axis representing atheism/theism (existance) and the Y-axis representing agnosticism/gnosticism (knowledge).
 
2006-12-24 09:43:51 PM  
occasionalcontributer: Nah, I think most people just aren't as honest as me.

Fair enough.
 
2006-12-24 09:44:30 PM  
ElBarto79: Saying there is no god is as much of a belief system as saying there is a god.

Not really. People don't build churches to celebrate "No god".

Of course when confronted with this contradiction many atheists will then say it's not that they believe there is no god it's that they refuse to take any opinion at all,

I believe that the faithful simply can't comprehend the idea that faith and religion play no part in someone's life. For most of the unfaithful, atheism is not a conscious denial of God, it's not a positive statement that God doesn't exist, it's not a refusal to take a stand. It's just a complete lack of interest in thinking about the idea of God because they see absolutely no reason to do so.
 
2006-12-24 09:45:08 PM  
21-7-b,

And you seem to be changing the subject a lot.

If a God created our universe than he exists outside of our space time, in which case our concept of time is completely irrelevent to him/her/it.

I'll tell you what, I'll answer those questions for you, if you'll answer one for me.

You do understand that lack of evidence is not evidence in itself, right?
 
2006-12-24 09:45:11 PM  
Some are trying to equate atheism with theism, saying that atheism is just a different kind of religion. In my opinion, however, this is not a matter of different camps with different beliefs, it's a continuum where you have belief on one side, and lack of belief on the other side. Somewhere in the middle we have those who believe in "something" (but nothing specific), and the non-believers who leave the possibility open (just in case).

I consider myself an atheist, as I lack belief in a god. However, I'm not claiming that there can't be a god, what I'm saying is that since we have absolutely no credible evidence of the existence of a god, the default theory should be that no god exists. The difference between me and some agnostics is that I don't even see a reason to leave the possibility open, just in case. It is my opinion that since it's impossible to prove that something doesn't exist, the burden of proof lands entirely on the shoulders of believers, and I will therefor remain an atheist until there is at least a slight possibility that a god might exist. This is the only logical and rational stance I can take, based on my perception of the situation. If I were an agnostic I might, for example, be caught saying that there maybe is a god, but that I don't know, or haven't made up my mind yet. But as it is now, that kind of reasoning makes little sense. Why would I make a point out of leaving the possibility open, and argue that something might exist, when it's simply not plausible? There are literally uncountable amounts of things that could exist, all just as likely as a god, yet, given a complete lack of proof to back it up, few people would bother to stand up and seriously debate in favor of some random lunatic's fantasies and argue that he just might be telling the truth. When (if ever) there is some kind of tangible evidence about the existence of a god, I will examine draw my conclusion from that, but until then, as far as I'm concerned, gods, magical unicorns and flying spaghetti monsters alike, will all be put in the same default category with everything else that lack any evidence of existence: "Non existent". And they will stay there until proven otherwise.
 
2006-12-24 09:46:02 PM  
salty1

how did i change the subject?
 
2006-12-24 09:46:50 PM  
ElBarto79: Saying there is no god is as much of a belief system as saying there is a god.

In response, I give you:

untrustworthy: atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby.
 
2006-12-24 09:47:35 PM  
21-7-b,

Well we were talking about evidence for God or No God, and now we're talking about my belief structure again.

I'm more interested in the converstaion about empiricle evidence for either 'idea'.
 
2006-12-24 09:48:00 PM  
salty1: You do understand that lack of evidence is not evidence in itself, right?

A lack of evidence supporting a hypothesis is a pretty good reason to reject the hypothesis.
 
2006-12-24 09:48:34 PM  
CogitoIncognito2 - All agnostics are atheists - if you are unsure of something, then you certainly don't believe in it. Atheism is simply the lack of belief in something (which "not being sure" falls under).

Not so, lets first look at the definition of an atheist: "a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings."

Now, lets look to the quote "if you are unsure of something, then you certainly don't believe in it." If one is "unsure" of denying the existance of a supreme being[s], that would run counter to the aforementioned definition of atheism. Agnosticism != atheism.


/agnostic
//how can one know the truth of any perceived "absolute"
///both religious individuals and Dawkins are in the wrong IMO for trying to disprove the other, its just asshattery running in circles
////slashies
 
2006-12-24 09:50:44 PM  
HumbleGod,

"lack of evidence supporting a hypothesis is a pretty good reason to reject the hypothesis"

Very true, but are you going to try to tell me that it's also reason to reach a conclusion?
 
2006-12-24 09:51:54 PM  
Kentucky Fried Children

Please see my response to ElBarto, it applies just as much to your post as it does his.
 
2006-12-24 09:52:01 PM  
The_Shoggoth

I am no wishy-washy agnostic, but neither am I someone with a personal axe to grind with anyone who disagrees. If you choose to confront me with your beliefs, I shall certainly share my own, but if religion is the force in your life driving you to leave this world a better one than you were born to, then I celebrate the influence it has on you, and wish merely to be left alone by it.

I like your stance on that. I would contend that for many, atheism is a religion....those are the ones who dogmatically assert that there IS NO GOD and refuse to listen to any opposing point of view.
Many in my own family follow this belief system, which does not make a happy home situation for me since I'm a Christian!
I'm happy to see that there are some, like you, who are willing to at least look at the other viewpoint, even if in the end you choose not to accept it.
 
2006-12-24 09:52:08 PM  
salty

You do understand that lack of evidence is not evidence in itself, right?

no, salty. i understand your logic in isolation, salty, but not with reference to our conversation regarding god, no. you see... the lack of evidence *is* evidence, because religion has made claims based on that very evidence (which is then found lacking) - in this instance lack of evidence *is* evidence.
 
2006-12-24 09:52:27 PM  
It's really fun to argue abstract ideas with people who can't even agree on what the language being used means.

Next topic:
Buildings are better than houses because they aren't made of wood.
 
2006-12-24 09:54:17 PM  
21-7-b,

Dude I like you and I don't want to get nasty with you, but in what world of science is lack of evidence considered evidence in its own right?

How is that 'rational'.

Let's be clear, I'm NOT claiming there is evidence for the existance of god.
 
2006-12-24 09:54:19 PM  
untrustworthy: atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

It strikes me as odd when people do this. They call atheism a religion in order to belittle it. Yet they themselves are religious. It's almost like they are trying to bring us down to their level.

/agnostic atheist
//see BlueGargoyle's graphic for an explanation
 
2006-12-24 09:54:20 PM  
salty1: Stephen Hawking is a person of great interest to me... and I've heard him say over and over that Big Bang no more proves or disproves the concept of intentional creation than evolution does.

"Intentional creation" does not mean necessarily the Christian God, but since evidence for the Big Bang contradicts Creationism, it's evidence against the integrity of Scripture - the authority on God.

Yes, yes, believe in Him anyways, but do so with the understanding that (according to the likes of Ray Comfort et al.) you are then worshiping a false God and breaking the 1st Commandment. Scripture must be the authority on God, or else we're just making Him up.
 
 
2006-12-24 09:55:25 PM  
The Ham of Truth,

That's if your a member of a particular faith which tells you to take Genesis literally.

Luckily, I am not.
 
2006-12-24 09:56:14 PM  
salty1


i'm not sure how thatis changing the subject.

you yourself agreed that there was no evidence for any supernatural event ['Correct. As will most theists with half a brain. They call it faith, not proof']

so, how on earth can you suggest 'we were talking about evidence for God or No God' and claim i changed the subject, when you suggested 'most theists with half a brain' would claim there was no evidence? we were in agreement there. case closed
 
2006-12-24 09:56:54 PM  
 
2006-12-24 09:57:22 PM  
salty1: That's if your a member of a particular faith which tells you to take Genesis literally.

I stopped taking Genesis seriously after Peter Gabriel left.
 
2006-12-24 09:57:44 PM  
Garble, that is the funniest thing I have read in a while.
 
2006-12-24 09:58:34 PM  
salty1: Very true, but are you going to try to tell me that it's also reason to reach a conclusion?

It's reason enough to rule out the conclusion until evidence supporting it is in.

Case in point: Two hypotheses, the first positing that humans were "created" out of dirt by an all-powerful creator being, the second positing that the human species came into existence after the slow evolution of millions of years of hundreds or thousands of other "ancestral" (I use that term loosely) organisms. There is no evidence disproving the first theory; we can't 100% rule it out until some evidence is discovered refuting it, but nor can we support it either until some evidence is discovered supporting it.

Of course, in this case, there also happens to be plenty of observable evidence in the scientific world supporting the second hypothesis, and since the two are in direct contradiction to each other, it becomes fair to rule out the first theory based on strict probability. But that's not fully analogous here.
 
2006-12-24 09:58:37 PM  
21-7-b,

I am trying to get ou to acknowledge that there is no more scientific evidence for your beliefs on the origins of the universe than there is for mine.

I submit that your assertion that defaulting to the negative is the only logical conclusion one can come too is false... I further submit that if you want to get technical, the scientific mind, when presented with a situation like this that has no evidence for either option would say "well I choose neither, because I do not know."

I'm saying that mabye your conclusion is in the same ballpark of rationality as my own.
 
2006-12-24 09:58:40 PM  
84Charlie: So the atheists are not real fond of a God.
How many atheists on this thread will kiss Muslim ass in order to not offend them. Where is your atheism now?


I'm an atheist, and next time I sacrifice a small child to my master Satan, I'm praying he'll give you cancer and AIDS.
 
2006-12-24 09:59:26 PM  
salty1 - i'm pleased that such a good christian as yourself has decided you 'don't want to get nasty with [me]'

/ps try 'empirical'
 
2006-12-24 10:00:18 PM  
friendly_neighborhood_misanthrope: Atheists cannot have both morality and consistency.

"Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

See, I can quote someone on the subject, too. And I suspect Mr. Emerson is a bit more respected in the field of morality than Thad Q Nobody.
 
2006-12-24 10:00:42 PM  
Humble God,

Once again this is a problem between us in relation to borders. In your country beliving in god means not believing in Evolution.

Everywhere else in the world, this is not true. Even the catholics recognize evolution.

That ignorance and stupidity prevails so well in the southern united states is not my problem or concern, to be perfectly honest.

It has nothing to do with me.
 
2006-12-24 10:00:51 PM  
Murkanen

If you look at my post, I was replying to his assessment that all agnostics are atheists. I wanted to make clear that is not an absolute truth defining all agnostics, or atheists, or whatever the term of the day is. I agree that an agnostic can be seen as a subset of atheism, or an atheist can be an agnostic, or an agnostic an atheist...et cetera, my statement is in line with your assessment of the situation as not being mutually exclusive.
 
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