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(Huffington Post)   There really are no true atheists   (huffingtonpost.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, Pol Pot, social responsibility, Origin of Species, creativities, scientific evidence, secularists, theisms, C.S. Lewis  
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5417 clicks; posted to Politics » on 11 Feb 2011 at 3:39 AM (10 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2011-02-10 11:01:58 PM  
Wow, he just summarized every FARK religion/atheism thread ever!
 
2011-02-10 11:15:56 PM  
 
2011-02-10 11:16:14 PM  
FTA: "To them (the Jews) we owe the idea of equality before the law, both divine and human; of the sanctity of life and the dignity of human person; of the individual conscience and so of personal redemption; of collective conscience and so of social responsibility; of peace as an abstract ideal and love as the foundation of justice, and many other items which constitute the basic moral furniture of the human mind. Without Jews it might have been a much emptier place."

At the risk of sounding anti-semetic, this is absolute historical nonsense. The Jews have contributed very little to human civilization since they spent most of their time marginalized in ghettos, subjugated, occupied, or enslaved, which means most of the cultural diffusion has been to Judaism not from it. Most of what has come from Judaism to us has passed through Christianity, which most Jews are quick to point out is not an extension but fundamentally different.

Most of the ideas he presents have their foundation in classical Greek though, preserved by the Ottoman Empire, revived by the Italians, and finally passing down to the philosophers of the Enlightenment. Our roots are, quite firmly, pagan, despite the propaganda asserting otherwise.
 
2011-02-10 11:18:06 PM  
How about this, Rabbi, I can be as certain that there is no God as you are entitled to be that there is one. Fair enough?
 
2011-02-10 11:44:16 PM  
[popcorn.jpg]
 
2011-02-10 11:45:55 PM  
As a radical atheist, I would have to say that is true, since I am untrue.
 
2011-02-10 11:50:23 PM  
An Open Letter to the Atheist Community

Ummm, I hate to break it to you, bubby, but the whole point of being an atheist is that you're not a joiner. There is no "we" in "no yaweh".
 
2011-02-10 11:55:58 PM  
A true atheist must

Wear the proper kilt of his clan
Have a hairy sporran
Toss the caber
Drink constantly


Oh, wait, that's a true Scotsman. Never mind.
 
2011-02-10 11:57:40 PM  
So if I'm reading this correctly, his argument comes down to:

A. It's impossible to prove that there is not a God, so we will ignore that it's impossible to prove that there is, and just assume that there is.

B. Religion might not be inherently bad, so God must exist.

C. Charles Darwin might have been a theist, so clearly God must exist.

D. Scientific theorizing requires assumptions, which means that you have faith, which means that my particularly narrow and specific conception of a singular deity must be accurate.

E. Hitler was sort of secular, and did bad things, so God must exist.

Because if I want an argument for the existence of a deity, particularly one that claims to care about human life, I'm going to cite Hitler in my arguments...?
 
2011-02-11 12:06:31 AM  
Jesus, AOL gets their paws on HuffPo...

/already morphing into reader's digest online
//yes i'm aware that i prefaced that with 'jesus'
 
2011-02-11 12:07:27 AM  
Odd how former atheists are converted to a whole religion as opposed to simply believing in god.

FTFA: "The faith to which I ascribe has brought substantial light and unique meaning to the world."

Ok. So how is this relevant at all to the god or no god argument? If anything he has just validated the beliefs of fundamentalist Wahhabi that would exterminate his kind. Besides, atheism means "not theist" as opposed to asserting the negative. Just because a bunch of emo attention whores want to treat atheism like a religion it doesn't mean that your semantic argument isn't as invalid as Nicolas Cage bird hair.
 
2011-02-11 12:11:16 AM  
He is simply stating that people like say, Ricky Gervais*, who says he KNOWS there is no God are as full of shiat as those who say they know there is one.

Such things, at this point, are unknowable. The religious and atheists are both being stubborn if they claim to KNOW one way or the other.

*huge fan by the way
 
2011-02-11 12:17:39 AM  

AdolfOliverPanties: He is simply stating that people like say, Ricky Gervais*, who says he KNOWS there is no God are as full of shiat as those who say they know there is one.

Such things, at this point, are unknowable. The religious and atheists are both being stubborn if they claim to KNOW one way or the other.

*huge fan by the way


It's a matter of degree. No one can be 100% certain of anything (without getting all Cartesian about it), but one can be relatively certain.

I generally shun the atheist/agnostic debate because I don't care what label you want to use, but the way I see it is that the agnostic is saying "I have no farking clue" while the atheist is mostly certain that there is no god.
 
2011-02-11 12:20:07 AM  
Also FTFA: "You deride us as anti-science, to which we respond that we're really not, but, rather, see scientific proof and inquiry as subject to certain inherent limits."

Really? So where are these limits? Why does everything have to be under the umbrella of "scientific proof*" or religious faith? What is wrong with not having an answer for everything?

*And there is no such thing as scientific proof. The only thing science really does is disprove. Everything else is a yet to be disproved theory. It is part of god's plan.
 
2011-02-11 12:25:51 AM  

revrendjim: the atheist is mostly certain that there is no god.


No. I'm certain. I'm not "mostly certain," no matter how much you'd like me to be. I don't mind your need to have a different belief. But, please don't tell me what I think. Please don't tell me what I know.
 
2011-02-11 12:25:54 AM  
Some people are atheist, in that the don't believe.
Some people are agnostic, in that they don't know.
I'm an apatheist, in that I don't care.
 
2011-02-11 12:27:10 AM  

AdolfOliverPanties: He is simply stating that people like say, Ricky Gervais*, who says he KNOWS there is no God are as full of shiat as those who say they know there is one.

Such things, at this point, are unknowable. The religious and atheists are both being stubborn if they claim to KNOW one way or the other.

*huge fan by the way


I'd say the burden of proof lies with the believers. There's no way to prove that something does not exist, only that it does. If you're going to tell me that, say, there are 8-foot purple-polka-dotted talking lemurs down at the pub, you'd better be prepared to back that up. Otherwise, I'm calling bullshiat. But the religious/atheist argument seems to boil down to,

"Hey! Have you seen the 8-foot purple-polka-dotted talking lemurs?

"Bullshiat."

"You can't prove there are no 8-foot purple-polka-dotted talking lemurs, so there must be."

"Bullshiat."

"Well, I believe and that's good enough for me. And there are other people who believe too, and some of them were famous, and some of them said they didn't believe in them at first but later said things that made it seem like, under the right interpretation, they might believe in them."

"So? It's still bullshiat."

But... 8-foot purple-polka-dotted talking lemurs ARE real! They are!"

"No, they're not."

"Well, just because you don't believe in 8-foot purple-polka-dotted talking lemurs, you can't tell me what to believe. Oh! Hey! School Board! There are lots of us who think you should be teaching kids about 8-foot purple-polka-dotted talking lemurs as fact. Because everyone knows they're real."

"Ummm... 'scuse me. I know no such thing."

"Shutup. You're in the minority here."

"Look - I have nothing against lemurs, but 8-foot purple-polka-dotted talking lemurs Do. Not. Exist."

"Ah-HAH! See?? You believe!"

"WTF?"

"You said 'lemurs'!"

"So?"

"So that proves there is a spark of belief in you. Just goes to show, there are no true unbelievers."

"You're insane, you know that?"

"WHY ARE YOU PERSECUTING ME????"
 
2011-02-11 12:29:18 AM  

Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: At the risk of sounding anti-semetic, this is absolute historical nonsense.


You know who else was anti-Semitic?
 
2011-02-11 12:31:32 AM  

Eddie Adams from Torrance: Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: At the risk of sounding anti-semetic, this is absolute historical nonsense.

You know who else was anti-Semitic?


Walt Disney?
 
2011-02-11 12:34:13 AM  

MorrisBird: revrendjim: the atheist is mostly certain that there is no god.

No. I'm certain. I'm not "mostly certain," no matter how much you'd like me to be. I don't mind your need to have a different belief. But, please don't tell me what I think. Please don't tell me what I know.


That's the last thing I want to do. I wrote only what I think, but in retrospect I could have worded it better so it didn't sound like I was speaking for the imaginary "atheist community."
 
2011-02-11 12:37:29 AM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: If you're going to tell me that, say, there are 8-foot purple-polka-dotted talking lemurs down at the pub, you'd better be prepared to back that up


But by the same token, by assuming the existence of one or more deities is somehow comparable to an 8-foot purple-polka-dotted talking lemur, you are simply defining your argument into "correctness." Its a form of begging the question. If you assume one or more God/dess/es is like a 8-foot purple-polka-dotted talking lemur and then ask why there are none such things around, it really doesn't tell anyone anything--other than you think a God/dess is like a 8-foot purple-polka-dotted talking lemur. This is why philosophers usually don't take arguments such as these seriously. Russell's teapot perhaps being the exception, but he's guilty of doing this same fallacy too.
 
2011-02-11 12:39:46 AM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: Eddie Adams from Torrance: Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: At the risk of sounding anti-semetic, this is absolute historical nonsense.

You know who else was anti-Semitic?

Walt Disney?


Henry Ford?
 
2011-02-11 12:40:36 AM  

Dinki: Sigh.. No matter how polite you may think you are being Mr. Jacobs, telling us what we believe is simply rude.


I took what he said as analyzing atheist behavior in terms of rational categorization and extrapolating thereof. If he is telling anyone what they believe, rather than analyzing it, then he's certainly no more guilty of that than people like Dawkins and Hitchens who may know a great deal about biology and politics, but have no training or expertise interpreting or understanding religion.
 
2011-02-11 12:42:39 AM  

revrendjim: That's the last thing I want to do. I wrote only what I think, but in retrospect I could have worded it better so it didn't sound like I was speaking for the imaginary "atheist community."


Good, because there is no "atheist community" that I know of. There are just people.
 
2011-02-11 12:44:54 AM  

doyner: Odd how former atheists are converted to a whole religion as opposed to simply believing in god.


Perhaps that's because there is no such thing in the practice of religious culture as an abstract "god." Even the closest such things for many people, Deism or deus absconditus/otiosus (new window), have interpretive traditions around them.
 
2011-02-11 12:45:07 AM  

Somacandra: Benevolent Misanthrope: If you're going to tell me that, say, there are 8-foot purple-polka-dotted talking lemurs down at the pub, you'd better be prepared to back that up

But by the same token, by assuming the existence of one or more deities is somehow comparable to an 8-foot purple-polka-dotted talking lemur, you are simply defining your argument into "correctness." Its a form of begging the question. If you assume one or more God/dess/es is like a 8-foot purple-polka-dotted talking lemur and then ask why there are none such things around, it really doesn't tell anyone anything--other than you think a God/dess is like a 8-foot purple-polka-dotted talking lemur. This is why philosophers usually don't take arguments such as these seriously. Russell's teapot perhaps being the exception, but he's guilty of doing this same fallacy too.


Ok, then. Substitute "8-foot purple-polka-dotted talking lemur" with "un-describable entity" and we get to the root issue: that it is a cop-out argument. Again, the believer has a concept of what god is when making a theistic argument; a concept that would apply as the 8-foot purple-polka-dotted talking lemur as well. The burden of proof is on the one making the positive argument.
 
2011-02-11 12:48:25 AM  

Somacandra: doyner: Odd how former atheists are converted to a whole religion as opposed to simply believing in god.

Perhaps that's because there is no such thing in the practice of religious culture as an abstract "god." Even the closest such things for many people, Deism or deus absconditus/otiosus (new window), have interpretive traditions around them.


religion =/= god

As soon as it devolves into a dogmatic debate between ideologies that see themselves as mutually exclusive, you have gone full retard into asserting a knowledge of what god wants.
 
2011-02-11 12:49:13 AM  

Somacandra: Benevolent Misanthrope: If you're going to tell me that, say, there are 8-foot purple-polka-dotted talking lemurs down at the pub, you'd better be prepared to back that up

But by the same token, by assuming the existence of one or more deities is somehow comparable to an 8-foot purple-polka-dotted talking lemur, you are simply defining your argument into "correctness." Its a form of begging the question. If you assume one or more God/dess/es is like a 8-foot purple-polka-dotted talking lemur and then ask why there are none such things around, it really doesn't tell anyone anything--other than you think a God/dess is like a 8-foot purple-polka-dotted talking lemur. This is why philosophers usually don't take arguments such as these seriously. Russell's teapot perhaps being the exception, but he's guilty of doing this same fallacy too.


You've assumed I think a deity is comparable to an 8-foot-purple-polka-dotted talking lemur. Has the concept of "literary device" ever entered your thinking?

If it makes you feel better, replace "8-foot-purple-polka-dotted talking lemur" with "imaginary friend". But it just didn't have the same ring to it.
 
2011-02-11 12:50:13 AM  

MorrisBird: Good, because there is no "atheist community" that I know of.


Odd. I know of many communities, including college campuses, that indeed have atheist communities like this one (new window):

i.imgur.comView Full Size
 
2011-02-11 12:52:49 AM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: If it makes you feel better, replace "8-foot-purple-polka-dotted talking lemur" with "imaginary friend". But it just didn't have the same ring to it.


Same difference. You've already defined it as something you already think doesn't exist--turning "god" into some sort of fantastical object by definition at the start. Doesn't change the process of begging the question.
 
2011-02-11 12:54:04 AM  

Somacandra: Benevolent Misanthrope: If it makes you feel better, replace "8-foot-purple-polka-dotted talking lemur" with "imaginary friend". But it just didn't have the same ring to it.

Same difference. You've already defined it as something you already think doesn't exist--turning "god" into some sort of fantastical object by definition at the start. Doesn't change the process of begging the question.


Doesn't change the process of dodging the issue.
 
2011-02-11 12:55:16 AM  

doyner: As soon as it devolves into a dogmatic debate between ideologies that see themselves as mutually exclusive


Its a good thing then that many religions are neither exclusivistic (Buddhism isn't) or universal (Judaism isn't) or missionary (Shinto isn't).
 
2011-02-11 12:55:22 AM  

Somacandra: Benevolent Misanthrope: If it makes you feel better, replace "8-foot-purple-polka-dotted talking lemur" with "imaginary friend". But it just didn't have the same ring to it.

Same difference. You've already defined it as something you already think doesn't exist--turning "god" into some sort of fantastical object by definition at the start. Doesn't change the process of begging the question.


It also doesn't change my original argument - the burden of proof lies with those who claim the existence of a thing - the positive argument.
 
2011-02-11 1:00:09 AM  

doyner: Doesn't change the process of dodging the issue.


You set up an argument. I pointed out its fallacy. I'm not condemning you--I'm just suggesting that its not going to carry a lot of weight with people who are not already convinced, that's all. If people want to engage these things from any particular angle, they should take a world religions class to bone up on their religious literacy. There are lots of cultural and economic advantages to doing this, regardless of personal (un)belief. Many religions don't place a heavy emphasis on a specific belief anyway, so arguments of any kind targeted at beliefs aren't going to mean much to many people worldwide. Not everyone is a Protestant, so to speak.
 
2011-02-11 1:00:30 AM  

Somacandra: dd. I know of many communities, including college campuses, that indeed have atheist communities like this one (new window):


I'm about to turn 56. This cheese stands alone.
 
2011-02-11 1:01:54 AM  

Somacandra: Benevolent Misanthrope: If it makes you feel better, replace "8-foot-purple-polka-dotted talking lemur" with "imaginary friend". But it just didn't have the same ring to it.

Same difference. You've already defined it as something you already think doesn't exist--turning "god" into some sort of fantastical object by definition at the start. Doesn't change the process of begging the question.


Isn't "god", by definition not just some sort of fantastical object, but THE MOST fantastical object. So fantastical as to be (almost) beyond imagination. Omnipotent, omniscient, etc.
 
2011-02-11 1:02:30 AM  
Wow, a rabbi is a moron. What a shock.

Not believing in god does not equal being certain there is no god.

I know that's an impossible concept for people who believe the Old Testament is a scientific fact.

People like this rabbi are beneath intelligent folks, and not worth discussing real philosophy with.
 
2011-02-11 1:02:59 AM  

revrendjim: AdolfOliverPanties: He is simply stating that people like say, Ricky Gervais*, who says he KNOWS there is no God are as full of shiat as those who say they know there is one.

Such things, at this point, are unknowable. The religious and atheists are both being stubborn if they claim to KNOW one way or the other.

*huge fan by the way

It's a matter of degree. No one can be 100% certain of anything (without getting all Cartesian about it), but one can be relatively certain.

I generally shun the atheist/agnostic debate because I don't care what label you want to use, but the way I see it is that the agnostic is saying "I have no farking clue" while the atheist is mostly certain that there is no god.


I'm an atheist... I can only say that "I can't know if God exists so God doesn't exist" and that the self-proclaimed agnostics that I'm acquainted with all go by the "I can't know if God exists so I have no clue"... which in practical terms is "God doesn't exist". Just like all the other things that we can think about but can't prove, in practice we go about our lives as if they don't exist. I like to give agnostics some shiat: The degree to which we (the atheist and the agnostic) both live our lives WRT the unprovable is somewhere between zero and negligible, and is such a painfully semantic argument that it almost hurts to talk about it since it's so comical.

Anyhow I think agnostics are AWing. =|

/there's just no fence-sitting when it comes to faith in god
 
2011-02-11 1:03:37 AM  

Somacandra: doyner: As soon as it devolves into a dogmatic debate between ideologies that see themselves as mutually exclusive

Its a good thing then that many religions are neither exclusivistic (Buddhism isn't) or universal (Judaism isn't) or missionary (Shinto isn't).


And?

Buddhists aren't necessarily theist either.
Jews don't accept other religions within their beliefs.
Shinto non-missionary nature is entirely irrelevant.
 
2011-02-11 1:04:33 AM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: It also doesn't change my original argument - the burden of proof lies with those who claim the existence of a thing - the positive argument.


Which is the second problem--for most religious people sacred Persons, whether gods, goddesses, or ancestors, are not "ordinary things" in the sense that of desk, a chair, a teapot or a purple lemur. You're assuming Materialism as a basis for argumentation and they aren't going to agree to that as a common denominator either because that's not reflective of how religion is experienced by people, generally speaking.
 
2011-02-11 1:05:32 AM  
Christians are Satan Worshipers, too. Some denominations more than others.
 
2011-02-11 1:06:26 AM  

Somacandra: doyner: Doesn't change the process of dodging the issue.

You set up an argument. I pointed out its fallacy. I'm not condemning you--I'm just suggesting that its not going to carry a lot of weight with people who are not already convinced, that's all. If people want to engage these things from any particular angle, they should take a world religions class to bone up on their religious literacy. There are lots of cultural and economic advantages to doing this, regardless of personal (un)belief. Many religions don't place a heavy emphasis on a specific belief anyway, so arguments of any kind targeted at beliefs aren't going to mean much to many people worldwide. Not everyone is a Protestant, so to speak.


Because the types of people likely to devout are also those who understand and are swayed by properly constructed philosophical arguments. I can;t tell you how many time's I've heard sermons preached on the straw man or no-true-Scotsman.

Yeah.
 
2011-02-11 1:08:52 AM  

doyner: Buddhists aren't necessarily theist either.
Jews don't accept other religions within their beliefs.
Shinto non-missionary nature is entirely irrelevant.


Buddhists aren't necessarily theist--that is true--but even those that are are not exclusivistic. You're mistaken about Judaism--look up the Noahide Laws and Righteous Gentiles (new window). Shinto's non-missionary nature derives from its non-dogmatism and orthopraxis rather than orthodoxy to begin with so its as relevant as can possibly be.
 
2011-02-11 1:10:10 AM  

Somacandra: doyner: Doesn't change the process of dodging the issue.

You set up an argument. I pointed out its fallacy. I'm not condemning you--I'm just suggesting that its not going to carry a lot of weight with people who are not already convinced, that's all. If people want to engage these things from any particular angle, they should take a world religions class to bone up on their religious literacy. There are lots of cultural and economic advantages to doing this, regardless of personal (un)belief. Many religions don't place a heavy emphasis on a specific belief anyway, so arguments of any kind targeted at beliefs aren't going to mean much to many people worldwide. Not everyone is a Protestant, so to speak.


I'm not trying to convert anyone to anything, merely pointing out that TFA is BS.

And the larger point is that this isn't about RELIGION. If it is a theistic argument, fine, but lecturing someone on world religions is a diversion at best.

I'm not assuming to know your beliefs--I'm addressing the arguments.

But hey, if you insist on having a debate on world religions I'm ready for an honest, extemporaneous discussion.
 
2011-02-11 1:14:20 AM  
All I am saying is, quit telling me I don't exist. I do. I type, therefore, I am. I don't threaten you in any way. I'm a tiny, little atheist. It's okay.
 
2011-02-11 1:15:36 AM  

doyner: But hey, if you insist on having a debate on world religions I'm ready for an honest, extemporaneous discussion.


Fark knows I'm not. Philosophical pontification on incidental points in order to AW and side-step the actual point give me gas.

Wake me when you're ready to debate the merits of the different versions of Star Trek. It has more basis in reality.
 
2011-02-11 1:16:06 AM  
So... based on this article, it seems I'm a "false atheist".

Uhh... yay, I guess. :-/
 
2011-02-11 1:17:34 AM  
I swear, any religious person who whines that the universe is too complex to not be created by an intelligence, WITHOUT explaining the extra layer of complexity needed to explain where that intelligence came from, is really just not thinking anymore and just simpering like a dimwit.
 
2011-02-11 1:20:35 AM  

Somacandra: doyner: Buddhists aren't necessarily theist either.
Jews don't accept other religions within their beliefs.
Shinto non-missionary nature is entirely irrelevant.

Buddhists aren't necessarily theist--that is true--but even those that are are not exclusivistic.


That they aren't necessarily theistic IS the point. They aren't going to assert a theistic truth, so they're not relevant to this discussion. IT ISN'T ABOUT RELIGION...but of course, theistic religions are incapable of making many non-dogmatic arguments.

You're mistaken about Judaism--look up the Noahide Laws and Righteous Gentiles (new window).1>

A Jew is not going to believe that Muslims are following the one true religion.

Shinto's non-missionary nature derives from its non-dogmatism and orthopraxis rather than orthodoxy to begin with so its as relevant as can possibly be.

WTF? How is this relevant to an argument for theism?
 
2011-02-11 1:22:50 AM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: doyner: But hey, if you insist on having a debate on world religions I'm ready for an honest, extemporaneous discussion.

Fark knows I'm not. Philosophical pontification on incidental points in order to AW and side-step the actual point give me gas.

Wake me when you're ready to debate the merits of the different versions of Star Trek. It has more basis in reality.


Heh. My whole point is that when arguments about the existence of god devolve in religious discussion the point is lost.
 
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