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Won_Hip's big giant angry atheist thread - enter at your own peril

Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS
edited October 2008 in Debate and/or Discourse
There is a double standard in America. In almost all things, people will demand rationality, empiricism, evidence, and logic of others. Rational individuals are expected to carry themselves with a certain amount of accountability for their beliefs and behaviors. Any subject can be approached with reason, criticized, and judged, except for one: religion.

Not only does religion receive its own unique little protective bubble where it is allowed to exist free of criticism, it's often regarded as admirable if you operate in your religious faith in a way that is wholly contrary to evidence and reason. This has created a force of untouchable destruction in our society. Values voters can arbitrarily make decisions about others people's lives, and religious fanatics are driven to blow themselves up in crowded areas.

But despite this, those that do choose to operate on rigorous reason are, at best, misunderstood in this country, and often despised. Admittedly, very few on these boards are likely to hold this opinion. But what they do say, on the other hand, is that militant atheists (I'd take issue with labelling somebody on a fucking debate forum a militant atheist because of the nature of the god damned environment) are just as bad as evangelical Christians.

Personally, I can only conceive of two reasons behind such a statement. The first is that people wish to appear enlightened and above the fray, despite the facts of the situation. The second, and what I'd estimate is the most common reason, is utter ignorance - willful or otherwise - to the facts. Here are some things that the people that make claims about "militant" atheists need to consider:

1. This debate is not two equally-weighted sides. The existence of any meaningful gods is not just as likely as the inexistence of those gods.

2. Personally, I don't care what a person believes. I really don't. I know many of you reading this are positively laughing at it, but I don't. What I do care about, however, is when people start making claims about my reality, your reality, all of reality that they cannot substantiate in any way whatsoever. This is the necessary action of a religious person. They are always making claims about everybody's reality if their god or gods have any meaningful power or ability because that's what religion is all about.

Even then, I only really care when they voice their beliefs, otherwise how else am I going to know? But, thing is, none of you making the accusations likely know me or any of the other "militant" atheists outside of the context of these boards in which discussion and rigorous review of stated opinions is accepted and expected. So what the fuck's up? Why do you feel so offended when a person holds just one more belief up to a standard of evidence on a board in which literally everything else is approached exactly the same way?

I have yet to see any of these so-called militant atheists do anything but demand internal consistency of beliefs. Maybe you should grow a thicker skin, maybe you should learn to defend your position, or maybe, just maybe, you should learn for yourself that you can't forever overcome the problems with your religion or spirituality by incessant rationalization and running from these debates.

Just because we hold spiritual beliefs to the same standard as everything else doesn't make us militant. Just because we confront these issues on a forum dedicated to intellectual debate doesn't mean we're proselytising atheists. Just because you can't handle criticism of this shit that American culture says we can't touch doesn't mean we're the same as evangelicals.

Wonder_Hippie on
Spoiler:
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Posts

  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Man alive I love me some deism.

    PSN: allenquid
  • Psycho Internet HawkPsycho Internet Hawk Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Speaking as an atheist, a lot of atheists seem to forget there is a difference between judging religions and judging the religious.

    This is why I rarely talk to other atheists about religion anymore, because it very quickly turns self-righteous and from there into "those fucking religious people."

    ezek1t.jpg
  • TL DRTL DR Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I like to consider myself a pretty sympathetic guy. I try not to get overly pissed when people try to convert me to (whatever faith), because I know that it must be hard being mentally deficient enough to believe that an omnipotent being is constantly judging your life. That's stressful just to think about. But when my morning commute takes me past drilledfetus.jpg on a 6' poster board in front of Planned Parenthood, I want to hurl me some bricks.

    eokNV.jpg
  • Psycho Internet HawkPsycho Internet Hawk Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Well religion is a pretty fucking huge tent. Beyond a single vague concept of a semi-sentient creator there's no other universal claim you can make about it.

    For example, it's not really right to compare a baptist to a baha'i.

    ezek1t.jpg
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I have yet to see any of these so-called militant atheists do anything but demand internal consistency of beliefs.

    I will make one statement that is internally consistent, yet I am sure that you would challenge: it is not intellectually dishonest to hold a belief in the absence of any supporting evidence if there is also no evidence to the contrary.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • SheepSheep Registered User, __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2008
    My main problem with athiests and cynics in general is that they tend to attack the stereotype of Christianity. Yes, that stereotype largely exists, like all stereotypes, but not all Christians are the Bible thumping loons you see on TV.

    I've stated in other threads, and even other boards, that I simply can't believe some of the things I've been hearing lately. Before 2000 I had never even heard of Creationism as it's popular today (Jesus, Dinosaurs, 4000 years, etc). Religion was largely something people kept to themselves down here.

    Hell, before Reagan, religion wasn't really something that politicians used as a rallying cry.

    For the record, I'm largely Christian, but have no issue believing in evolution. I don't see how people can have faith in God, and go as far as assume that he directly created man, but the idea of God simply setting events in motion be completely beyond their ability to comprehend.

    People who take the Bible word for word? I generally don't believe they've even so much as read it. You can't take it word for word. There's just too many contradictions. I laugh at those who think that it can't be adopted to modern times.

    A recent "debate" I had with someone was a friends mother who disagreed with tattoos. "The body is a temple that is not to be desecrated". I pointed out that she had an empty bucket of KFC in the trash, and that eating unhealthy foods does just as much, or more, damage to the body.

    I've witnessed to people several times. If they're religious, then I'll be more up front. If they're largely athiest, then I'll be more subtle in my approach. Etc.

    QlBGc.jpg
  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    There is a double standard in America. In almost all things, people will demand rationality, empiricism, evidence, and logic of others. Rational individuals are expected to carry themselves with a certain amount of accountability for their beliefs and behaviors. Any subject can be approached with reason, criticized, and judged, except for one: religion.
    Are we talking about the same country here? Have you taken a good look at your political debates and issues? Been on Wall Street recently?
    Not only does religion receive its own unique little protective bubble where it is allowed to exist free of criticism,
    Yes, if there's one thing you don't hear every day, it's criticism of religion :roll:
    it's often regarded as admirable if you operate in your religious faith in a way that is wholly contrary to evidence and reason. blah blah blah and religious fanatics are driven to blow themselves up in crowded areas.
    Only by people who share the same beliefs. Curators of the Discovery Institute are only admired by other creationists. Suicide bombers are only admired by other (potential) suicide bombers. The extremists are only admired by slightly less extreme members of their fringe group. In that respect, extreme religious sects are no different from any other group.
    Personally, I can only conceive of two reasons behind such a statement. The first is that people wish to appear enlightened and above the fray, despite the facts of the situation. The second, and what I'd estimate is the most common reason, is utter ignorance - willful or otherwise - to the facts. Here are some things that the people that make claims about "militant" atheists need to consider:
    Here's a third option you may want to consider: some "militant atheists" just won't shut up about religion and atheism already and insist on dragging the issue on and on for no reason. I'm religious, you're not. I'm ok with that. I accept it. I know I won't change your mind, and I won't even try. Why can't you do the same?
    2. Personally, I don't care what a person believes. I really don't. I know many of you reading this are positively laughing at it, but I don't. What I do care about, however, is when people start making claims about my reality, your reality, all of reality that they cannot substantiate in any way whatsoever. This is the necessary action of a religious person. They are always making claims about everybody's reality if their god or gods have any meaningful power or ability because that's what religion is all about.

    Even then, I only really care when they voice their beliefs, otherwise how else am I going to know?
    So you're ok with people being religious, provided they don't show it or talk about it in any way, shape or fashion. How tolerant of you.
    Why do you feel so offended when a person holds just one more belief up to a standard of evidence on a board in which literally everything else is approached exactly the same way?
    I'm not. I never said I am. Why are you saying I am?
    Maybe you should grow a thicker skin,
    Right back at you, buddy.

    RichyFlag.gifsig.gif
  • JebusUDJebusUD Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Is it okay for one to be of the opinion that religion is okay, but dogma is bad?

    Cannot one be religious but not believe in any of the voodoo behind it? People like to say they are spiritual but not religious. Well, I contend that people should be religious but not spiritual.

    You haven't given me a reason to steer clear of you!
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    JebusUD wrote: »
    Is it okay for one to be of the opinion that religion is okay, but dogma is bad?

    Cannot one be religious but not believe in any of the voodoo behind it? People like to say they are spiritual but not religious. Well, I contend that people should be religious but not spiritual.

    I think you might want to define some operant terms there.

    I don't understand what you mean by "religion" or "spiritual" in that context.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • BedlamBedlam Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Are you serious? Id kind of like to see this protective bubble as I feel like religion and especially christianity is constantly under attack by atheists. It seems to be the hip thing in pop culture now as there are entire shows, and webcomics, and even movies dedicated to attacking religious people. Not to mention that posting here it is easy to see that religious people seem to be in the minority. Or at least are not as loud as the atheists on these boards (and I speak of all PA not just D&D)

    As far as your first paragraph, there is evidence for a god. I suppose you could just as logically look at the evidence and come to a different conclusion. JUst as there are people who can look at the evidence for evolution and dispute its exsistance as well. Not only that but there is much debate, even in religious communitys as to weather or not we are getting it right, there are not only many varied religions, but many denominations within those religions for this purpose.

    But honestly, all Ive ever seen from militant atheists is personal attacks. They seem to have some vendetta to the point and have to gloss everything over. We are either stupid or crazy for what we belive in just because we have faith. It becomes less about what we belive in and more about attacking the person, which is a horrible way to debate things.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Speaking as an atheist, a lot of atheists seem to forget there is a difference between judging religions and judging the religious.

    This is why I rarely talk to other atheists about religion anymore, because it very quickly turns self-righteous and from there into "those fucking religious people."

    And the very next post, of course...
    I like to consider myself a pretty sympathetic guy. I try not to get overly pissed when people try to convert me to (whatever faith), because I know that it must be hard being mentally deficient enough to believe that an omnipotent being is constantly judging your life. That's stressful just to think about. But when my morning commute takes me past drilledfetus.jpg on a 6' poster board in front of Planned Parenthood, I want to hurl me some bricks.

    Seriously, I have no idea why people get the impression that atheists are dicks.
    Feral wrote: »
    I have yet to see any of these so-called militant atheists do anything but demand internal consistency of beliefs.

    I will make one statement that is internally consistent, yet I am sure that you would challenge: it is not intellectually dishonest to hold a belief in the absence of any supporting evidence if there is also no evidence to the contrary.

    Pretty much my feeling on the matter. But then, I'm a Christian.

    Of course, you'd never know it if you were talking politics with me, because I believe strongly that I have no place forcing my religious views on others. I believe religion and policy need to be separate. Hell, the only social issue I'm particularly "conservative" on is guns, and that's probably the one most removed from religion.

    But by all means, hold up an effigy of the stereotypical Christian and beat it up for a while. Mentally deficient, olol. Don't consider for a moment that you might be painting some relatively reasonable people with that brush...of course, you probably don't consider us "reasonable" anyway, for believing in our sky fairy. But then don't try and turn around and whine when somebody does the same to atheists.

    Though I'll agree that it might be a bit of a stretch to try and paint any around here as "militant." We already have a handy word to go with that does just fine..."assholes."


    EDIT: And if you're wondering about those polls that say atheists will never ever get elected if they're openly atheistic, it's because people don't like electing assholes. They'll consider it if they feel they have something in common with them, like some of the Christian assholes that get elected. But atheists have the asshole thing down as a group, so you're pretty much only going to get atheist votes at that point.

    As far as your first paragraph, there is evidence for a god.

    No, there really isn't. If there was, they wouldn't call it "faith." This is probably my biggest pet peeve after asshole atheists.

    See, I didn't use "militant" or "evangelical"...happy?

  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    JebusUD wrote: »
    Is it okay for one to be of the opinion that religion is okay, but dogma is bad?

    Cannot one be religious but not believe in any of the voodoo behind it? People like to say they are spiritual but not religious. Well, I contend that people should be religious but not spiritual.
    How would that work, exactly? Like, you pray and worship and obey all the commandments, but you don't believe that there's a god or life after death? If so, why would you do all those things?

    RichyFlag.gifsig.gif
  • IreneDAdlerIreneDAdler Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Hippie you godless ass, you misspelled "giant" in the thread title. That just goes to show there's no way you're my intellectual equal and thus I refuse to deign to address your points.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • Phoenix-DPhoenix-D Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Because you end up being an asshole about it, and drop rationality when it suits you (see: the thread I made about brow-beating religious people, when it was stated that using non rational, logical means to get people to drop religion was OK because it was 'wrong')?

    Criticize religion all you like. Act like you're superior to all religious people, those deluded idiots, and I'm going to laugh at you. I doubt you have the sheer damned persistence, curiosity, or reasoning ability of some of history's religious scientists, for example.

  • KilroyKilroy Lil' Sami :3 Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
  • Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2008
    Richy wrote: »
    Yes, if there's one thing you don't hear every day, it's criticism of religion :roll:

    Sarcasm and douchebaggery aren't helpful. Around here, yeah, you'll hear it all the time. In mainstream media it's still taboo to approach religion in any critical way. There are a few that are making headway lately with that, but most of America is still going to expect that, for instance, a presidential candidate is at the very least nominally religious, preferably Christian.

    So, yeah, it's still very much a sacred thing.
    Richy wrote: »
    Only by people who share the same beliefs.

    Well duh. What's your point? It's still essentially people praising others for believing in spite of everything ever.
    Richy wrote: »
    Here's a third option you may want to consider: some "militant atheists" just won't shut up about religion and atheism already and insist on dragging the issue on and on for no reason.

    Give me some examples. Is it so injurious to you that some people, like myself, get tired of how fucking hallowed religion is even around here? You're perceived as an aggressive asshole regardless of your candor if you even so much as suggest that somebody might need to explain themselves and defend their beliefs.
    Richy wrote: »
    I'm religious, you're not. I'm ok with that. I accept it. I know I won't change your mind, and I won't even try. Why can't you do the same?

    No, see, here's the thing: you're suggest that I'm actively trying to make you an atheist. If you make an argument, I'll counter that argument. That's all that ever happens on these boards, stop making it sound like something else is going on. I've yet to see any of the "militant" atheists go aruond proselytising. Maybe we demand some sort of standards in an argument, and maybe we don't like it when people just throw their hands up and try to take the high road out of an argument because they can't defend themselves anymore, but we're not going around forcing people to give up their religion.
    Richy wrote: »
    So you're ok with people being religious, provided they don't show it or talk about it in any way, shape or fashion. How tolerant of you.

    As soon as a religious person makes a statement about my reality - and this is going to happen as soon as a religious person says something about their religion - I'm going to challenge them on it and call them to defend that statement. I'm "intolerant" only in that I don't abide people saying stupid shit without being accountable for it.
    Richy wrote: »
    Right back at you, buddy.

    I'm not the one overreacting to a debate on a forum dedicated to debating topics. You call it militant atheism if we demand accountability for statements. What the fuck?

    Spoiler:
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    I have yet to see any of these so-called militant atheists do anything but demand internal consistency of beliefs.

    I will make one statement that is internally consistent, yet I am sure that you would challenge: it is not intellectually dishonest to hold a belief in the absence of any supporting evidence if there is also no evidence to the contrary.

    Pretty much my feeling on the matter. But then, I'm a Christian.

    I've said this before: the atheism-religion debate is a corollary of a deeper schism, which is between two competing epistemological theories.

    The "militant" atheists - Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, etc. - and their counterparts on the forums like, for example, Wonder_Hippie, hold that you should only believe in idea [X] if you have substantial supporting evidence for [X].

    Religious people hold that you may believe in idea [X] even without substantial supporting evidence for [X], however if there is evidence to the contrary of [X] then you must abandon or revise [X] to support the contrary evidence. I happen to agree with this idea, even though I do not particularly believe in God. (Of course, some particular religious people might hold to [X] even in the face of contrary evidence, such as Creationists. I agree that those people are fit for scorn.)

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • PicardathonPicardathon Registered User
    edited September 2008
    Man, all of a sudden I'm an asshole.
    I just didn't feel like having to wake up early on Saturdays.
    Also Hippie, you're witnessing. Basically, you're challenging religion every single time its mentioned, which is like me trying to convert everyone to Baptism in every single religious thread. It doesn't matter that you're world sucks because everyone disagrees with you, it doesn't condone you taking any mention of religion and turning it into an argument.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    I have yet to see any of these so-called militant atheists do anything but demand internal consistency of beliefs.

    I will make one statement that is internally consistent, yet I am sure that you would challenge: it is not intellectually dishonest to hold a belief in the absence of any supporting evidence if there is also no evidence to the contrary.

    Pretty much my feeling on the matter. But then, I'm a Christian.

    I've said this before: the atheism-religion debate is a corollary of a deeper schism, which is between two competing epistemological theories.

    The "militant" atheists - Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, etc. - and their counterparts on the forums like, for example, Wonder_Hippie, hold that you should only believe in idea [X] if you have substantial supporting evidence for [X].

    Religious people hold that you may believe in idea [X] even without substantial supporting evidence for [X], however if there is evidence to the contrary of [X] then you must abandon or revise [X] to support the contrary evidence. I happen to agree with this idea, even though I do not particularly believe in God. (Of course, some particular religious people might hold to [X] even in the face of contrary evidence, such as Creationists. I agree that those people are fit for scorn.)

    Well yeah, and that's usually the line I draw for calling somebody mentally deficient.

    Whereas with most atheists I've ever run into, including many that I've talked to in person, merely mentioning any belief in any incarnation of a God is enough to set them off. Obviously, at that point, you are either stupid or crazy. And may or may not believe in Leprechauns.

  • Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    I have yet to see any of these so-called militant atheists do anything but demand internal consistency of beliefs.

    I will make one statement that is internally consistent, yet I am sure that you would challenge: it is not intellectually dishonest to hold a belief in the absence of any supporting evidence if there is also no evidence to the contrary.

    You leave out the part where people are making claims about the universe and reality with these beliefs that have absolutely no supporting evidence. That's where the problem is.

    That, and the fact that in creating these gods, you run into logical problems. The existence of logical problems created by gods with any meaningful power operates as contrary evidence to their existence.

    Spoiler:
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    I have yet to see any of these so-called militant atheists do anything but demand internal consistency of beliefs.

    I will make one statement that is internally consistent, yet I am sure that you would challenge: it is not intellectually dishonest to hold a belief in the absence of any supporting evidence if there is also no evidence to the contrary.

    You leave out the part where people are making claims about the universe and reality with these beliefs that have absolutely no supporting evidence. That's where the problem is.

    Why is it a problem?

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • [Tycho?][Tycho?] Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Bedlam wrote: »
    Are you serious? Id kind of like to see this protective bubble as I feel like religion and especially christianity is constantly under attack by atheists. It seems to be the hip thing in pop culture now as there are entire shows, and webcomics, and even movies dedicated to attacking religious people. Not to mention that posting here it is easy to see that religious people seem to be in the minority. Or at least are not as loud as the atheists on these boards (and I speak of all PA not just D&D)

    As far as your first paragraph, there is evidence for a god. I suppose you could just as logically look at the evidence and come to a different conclusion. JUst as there are people who can look at the evidence for evolution and dispute its exsistance as well. Not only that but there is much debate, even in religious communitys as to weather or not we are getting it right, there are not only many varied religions, but many denominations within those religions for this purpose.

    But honestly, all Ive ever seen from militant atheists is personal attacks. They seem to have some vendetta to the point and have to gloss everything over. We are either stupid or crazy for what we belive in just because we have faith. It becomes less about what we belive in and more about attacking the person, which is a horrible way to debate things.

    See, this is why people criticize religious people. Namely because you say things which are demonstratively not true. It is, in fact, very reasonable to question religion, because religion has nothing to do with reason.

    I agree that it does seem to be getting kinda "hip" to do so. I attribute this partly to the rise of the religious right in the US, and how fucked they are, but also the rise of the geek subculture, and people who are keen on science. The latter are rather popular around the parts of the internet most of us frequent, for good reason.

    ragesig.jpg

  • TL DRTL DR Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    I have yet to see any of these so-called militant atheists do anything but demand internal consistency of beliefs.

    I will make one statement that is internally consistent, yet I am sure that you would challenge: it is not intellectually dishonest to hold a belief in the absence of any supporting evidence if there is also no evidence to the contrary.

    Pretty much my feeling on the matter. But then, I'm a Christian.

    I've said this before: the atheism-religion debate is a corollary of a deeper schism, which is between two competing epistemological theories.

    The "militant" atheists - Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, etc. - and their counterparts on the forums like, for example, Wonder_Hippie, hold that you should only believe in idea [X] if you have substantial supporting evidence for [X].

    Religious people hold that you may believe in idea [X] even without substantial supporting evidence for [X], however if there is evidence to the contrary of [X] then you must abandon or revise [X] to support the contrary evidence. I happen to agree with this idea, even though I do not particularly believe in God. (Of course, some particular religious people might hold to [X] even in the face of contrary evidence, such as Creationists. I agree that those people are fit for scorn.)

    Well yeah, and that's usually the line I draw for calling somebody mentally deficient.

    Whereas with most atheists I've ever run into, including many that I've talked to in person, merely mentioning any belief in any incarnation of a God is enough to set them off. Obviously, at that point, you are either stupid or crazy. And may or may not believe in Leprechauns.

    Well, if I said that I based my life around and donated money to an organization/belief structure that was chiefly concerned with a concept that a dinosaur at the center of Pluto is the cause of all existence, people would rightfully be concerned about my mental health. I don't see how it's unfair to judge someone's rationality based on their beliefs.

    eokNV.jpg
  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Kilroy wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    Man alive I love me some deism.
    Hi5!

    Rockin' the probable maybe.

    PSN: allenquid
  • PicardathonPicardathon Registered User
    edited September 2008
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    I have yet to see any of these so-called militant atheists do anything but demand internal consistency of beliefs.

    I will make one statement that is internally consistent, yet I am sure that you would challenge: it is not intellectually dishonest to hold a belief in the absence of any supporting evidence if there is also no evidence to the contrary.

    Pretty much my feeling on the matter. But then, I'm a Christian.

    I've said this before: the atheism-religion debate is a corollary of a deeper schism, which is between two competing epistemological theories.

    The "militant" atheists - Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, etc. - and their counterparts on the forums like, for example, Wonder_Hippie, hold that you should only believe in idea [X] if you have substantial supporting evidence for [X].

    Religious people hold that you may believe in idea [X] even without substantial supporting evidence for [X], however if there is evidence to the contrary of [X] then you must abandon or revise [X] to support the contrary evidence. I happen to agree with this idea, even though I do not particularly believe in God. (Of course, some particular religious people might hold to [X] even in the face of contrary evidence, such as Creationists. I agree that those people are fit for scorn.)

    Well yeah, and that's usually the line I draw for calling somebody mentally deficient.

    Whereas with most atheists I've ever run into, including many that I've talked to in person, merely mentioning any belief in any incarnation of a God is enough to set them off. Obviously, at that point, you are either stupid or crazy. And may or may not believe in Leprechauns.

    Have you gone around and asked all of your friends if they're atheists or not?
    If you figure out that someone is an atheist because they scream their heads off about god, all of the atheists you know will scream their heads off about god.

  • Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    I have yet to see any of these so-called militant atheists do anything but demand internal consistency of beliefs.

    I will make one statement that is internally consistent, yet I am sure that you would challenge: it is not intellectually dishonest to hold a belief in the absence of any supporting evidence if there is also no evidence to the contrary.

    You leave out the part where people are making claims about the universe and reality with these beliefs that have absolutely no supporting evidence. That's where the problem is.

    Why is it a problem?

    Because it's using subjective, non-confirmable experience to make statements about something that can be studied by science and reason.

    Spoiler:
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Well, if I said that I based my life around and donated money to an organization/belief structure that was chiefly concerned with a concept that a dinosaur at the center of Pluto is the cause of all existence, people would rightfully be concerned about my mental health. I don't see how it's unfair to judge someone's rationality based on their beliefs.
    I’m uncomfortable with the comparison of religious belief to a psychiatric disorder. It’s a rhetorical device used on occasion not only by Dawkins but by other revivalist atheists like Sam Harris (as with Harris’ joke that when President Bush says he talks to God every night through prayer we accept it, but if Bush were to say that he talks to God every night through a magic telephone we’d be alarmed and have the man committed).

    I’m uncomfortable with it, first off, because it demonstrates a pretty fundamental lack of exposure to some of the fundamental ethical issues in psychiatry - primarily, psych as a science has to at least give lip service (if not serious consideration) to the problem that what we consider ’sanity’ might simply be a shared delusion maintained by the most powerful majority. That’s not to say that psychiatrists walk around in a solipsist fog like the antihero of some Philip K. Dick novel, but that in certain sticky cases they might have to recognize that somebody who is “insane” may not actually be sick but might be perceiving reality in a way that is no less accurate and no less functional than our own, and the reason they appear crippled to us is because they’re trying to operate in social environment that’s designed for people who share the majority mental state. (See Thomas Szasz, Michel Foucault, and Charles Tart for more in-depth discussion of this problem.)

    The way actual mental health practitioners sidestep this philosophical dilemma is to only treat a cognition like a symptom of disease if there’s evidence that the disease does any of the following: makes the patient more likely to harm himself or others, causes the patient distress, interferes with the patient’s ability to be economically self-sufficient, or interferes with the patient’s ability to maintain human relationships. So if somebody were to claim that they spoke to God through the telephone every night, we’d be alarmed, because prior experience has shown that the only people who make claims like that are people who have diseases, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, that interfere with their lives in other ways. A simple belief in God, or a belief in the power of prayer, on their own have not shown to interfere with people’s lives in other ways. They don’t cause distress, they don’t make you more likely to cause harm, and they don’t interfere with your ability to love or work.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • PicardathonPicardathon Registered User
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    I have yet to see any of these so-called militant atheists do anything but demand internal consistency of beliefs.

    I will make one statement that is internally consistent, yet I am sure that you would challenge: it is not intellectually dishonest to hold a belief in the absence of any supporting evidence if there is also no evidence to the contrary.

    You leave out the part where people are making claims about the universe and reality with these beliefs that have absolutely no supporting evidence. That's where the problem is.

    Why is it a problem?

    Because it's using subjective, non-confirmable experience to make statements about something that can be studied by science and reason.

    Wait, what?
    How is reason not subjective and non-confirmable, at least when regarding the existence of god?

  • Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2008
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Well yeah, and that's usually the line I draw for calling somebody mentally deficient.

    Whereas with most atheists I've ever run into, including many that I've talked to in person, merely mentioning any belief in any incarnation of a God is enough to set them off. Obviously, at that point, you are either stupid or crazy. And may or may not believe in Leprechauns.

    It's funny because you make this sweeping statement about atheists, so let me make a statement that you're going to think is a big sweeping statement about religious folk, but is actually just a fact:

    Religious belief is an accepted form of psychotic delusion.

    Spoiler:
  • KilroyKilroy Lil' Sami :3 Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I agree with what my archaeology professor said on the matter:

    "Ask a rationalist where the proof of the existence of god is and he will say 'I don't see it.' Ask a man of faith where the proof is and he will say 'I see it everywhere.'"

    The truth of the matter is that you are simply dealing with two very different world-views, and no logic or argument can be made to convince either side to change their position.

  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    I have yet to see any of these so-called militant atheists do anything but demand internal consistency of beliefs.

    I will make one statement that is internally consistent, yet I am sure that you would challenge: it is not intellectually dishonest to hold a belief in the absence of any supporting evidence if there is also no evidence to the contrary.

    You leave out the part where people are making claims about the universe and reality with these beliefs that have absolutely no supporting evidence. That's where the problem is.

    Why is it a problem?

    Because it's using subjective, non-confirmable experience to make statements about something that can be studied by science and reason.

    Okay, first off "science" and "reason" are a rectangle and a square. It is possible to engage in reasonable thought that is not, strictly, based in the scientific method: for example, algebra.

    Second, if something is subjective and non-confirmable, that does not necessarily make it wrong. I can say that I had corn flakes for breakfast, in my home, with nobody around to see me. That is non-confirmable and effectively subjective. However, I suspect that you would not find this statement objectionable.

    Third, I thought the whole point of atheism was that the existence of God cannot, even hypothetically, be confirmed by science and reason; therefore your statement does not apply.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    I have yet to see any of these so-called militant atheists do anything but demand internal consistency of beliefs.

    I will make one statement that is internally consistent, yet I am sure that you would challenge: it is not intellectually dishonest to hold a belief in the absence of any supporting evidence if there is also no evidence to the contrary.

    You leave out the part where people are making claims about the universe and reality with these beliefs that have absolutely no supporting evidence. That's where the problem is.

    Why is it a problem?

    Because it's using subjective, non-confirmable experience to make statements about something that can be studied by science and reason.

    Wait, what?
    How is reason not subjective and non-confirmable, at least when regarding the existence of god?

    Inherent in that statement is the assumption that claims are being reviewed by many, many people for veracity and accuracy.

    Yes, human reasoning is far from perfect, but it has a tendency to self-correct. That said, the question is not, "Do gods exist?" The question is, "What does the evidence suggest?" Gods don't even enter into the equation if you approach it from that direction.

    Spoiler:
  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Religious belief is an accepted form of psychotic delusion.
    I'm okay with that. If John Nash could do it so can I.

    PSN: allenquid
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    That said, the question is not, "Do gods exist?" The question is, "What does the evidence suggest?"

    Why isn't the question, "Does the evidence suggest otherwise?"

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • TL DRTL DR Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    Well, if I said that I based my life around and donated money to an organization/belief structure that was chiefly concerned with a concept that a dinosaur at the center of Pluto is the cause of all existence, people would rightfully be concerned about my mental health. I don't see how it's unfair to judge someone's rationality based on their beliefs.
    I’m uncomfortable with the comparison of religious belief to a psychiatric disorder. It’s a rhetorical device used on occasion not only by Dawkins but by other revivalist atheists like Sam Harris (as with Harris’ joke that when President Bush says he talks to God every night through prayer we accept it, but if Bush were to say that he talks to God every night through a magic telephone we’d be alarmed and have the man committed).

    I’m uncomfortable with it, first off, because it demonstrates a pretty fundamental lack of exposure to some of the fundamental ethical issues in psychiatry - primarily, psych as a science has to at least give lip service (if not serious consideration) to the problem that what we consider ’sanity’ might simply be a shared delusion maintained by the most powerful majority. That’s not to say that psychiatrists walk around in a solipsist fog like the antihero of some Philip K. Dick novel, but that in certain sticky cases they might have to recognize that somebody who is “insane” may not actually be sick but might be perceiving reality in a way that is no less accurate and no less functional than our own, and the reason they appear crippled to us is because they’re trying to operate in social environment that’s designed for people who share the majority mental state. (See Thomas Szasz, Michel Foucault, and Charles Tart for more in-depth discussion of this problem.)

    The way actual mental health practitioners sidestep this philosophical dilemma is to only treat a cognition like a symptom of disease if there’s evidence that the disease does any of the following: makes the patient more likely to harm himself or others, causes the patient distress, interferes with the patient’s ability to be economically self-sufficient, or interferes with the patient’s ability to maintain human relationships. So if somebody were to claim that they spoke to God through the telephone every night, we’d be alarmed, because prior experience has shown that the only people who make claims like that are people who have diseases, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, that interfere with their lives in other ways. A simple belief in God, or a belief in the power of prayer, on their own have not shown to interfere with people’s lives in other ways. They don’t cause distress, they don’t make you more likely to cause harm, and they don’t interfere with your ability to love or work.

    I understand feeling uneasy about using psychological terms to describe religion and the religious. However, this is not an isolated case of someone that lives a productive life and doesn't harm anyone, but happens to talk to their hairdryer every morning. This is a systemic problem in which people are allowed to simply choose not to have to justify their decisions and beliefs without relying on mythology. Again, this wouldn't be a huge issue, except for the fact that these people are organized and highly politically active.

    Again, regardless of terminology used, I fail to see how someone who holds beliefs without evidence can be viewed as rationally sound as someone who relies on verifiable data.

    eokNV.jpg
  • TL DRTL DR Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    That said, the question is not, "Do gods exist?" The question is, "What does the evidence suggest?"

    Why isn't the question, "Does the evidence suggest otherwise?"

    This gets into negative vs. positive atheism.

    The idea that god definitely exists is as unprovable as the idea that he definitely does not exist. The evidence suggests that god very likely does not exist.

    eokNV.jpg
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Again, regardless of terminology used, I fail to see how someone who holds beliefs without evidence can be viewed as rationally sound as someone who relies on verifiable data.

    Why wouldn't they be?

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    Okay, first off "science" and "reason" are a rectangle and a square. It is possible to engage in reasonable thought that is not, strictly, based in the scientific method: for example, algebra.

    Second, if something is subjective and non-confirmable, that does not necessarily make it wrong. I can say that I had corn flakes for breakfast, in my home, with nobody around to see me. That is non-confirmable and effectively subjective. However, I suspect that you would not find this statement objectionable.

    Third, I thought the whole point of atheism was that the existence of God cannot, even hypothetically, be confirmed by science and reason; therefore your statement does not apply.

    Belief in gods frequently and almost necessarily includes various other beliefs with regards to the universe. It is not very often simply "god(s) exists!" and absolutely nothing else. There are statements made about the universe that are the result of these beliefs, otherwise those beliefs are, effectively, inexistent, and the gods proposed by them are ineffectual and meaningless.

    So, that said, yes, strictly speaking science and reason are different. But my specific contention is with the claim that gods, or the spiritual, cannot be accessed by science. They can. The previous paragraph assumes that there are consequences of the existence of any meaningful gods, and science can observe for those consequences. That those consequences do not present and that naturalism still maintains consistent and accurate explanations is evidence against the existence of gods.

    Spoiler:
  • PicardathonPicardathon Registered User
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    I have yet to see any of these so-called militant atheists do anything but demand internal consistency of beliefs.

    I will make one statement that is internally consistent, yet I am sure that you would challenge: it is not intellectually dishonest to hold a belief in the absence of any supporting evidence if there is also no evidence to the contrary.

    You leave out the part where people are making claims about the universe and reality with these beliefs that have absolutely no supporting evidence. That's where the problem is.

    Why is it a problem?

    Because it's using subjective, non-confirmable experience to make statements about something that can be studied by science and reason.

    Wait, what?
    How is reason not subjective and non-confirmable, at least when regarding the existence of god?

    Inherent in that statement is the assumption that claims are being reviewed by many, many people for veracity and accuracy.

    Yes, human reasoning is far from perfect, but it has a tendency to self-correct. That said, the question is not, "Do gods exist?" The question is, "What does the evidence suggest?" Gods don't even enter into the equation if you approach it from that direction.

    The evidence suggests implies that, at some point, you have to believe something that you can't prove. You have faith in the evidence to the point that you are willing to accept the theories on something we don't know on, well, faith.

  • Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    That said, the question is not, "Do gods exist?" The question is, "What does the evidence suggest?"

    Why isn't the question, "Does the evidence suggest otherwise?"

    This gets into negative vs. positive atheism.

    The idea that god definitely exists is as unprovable as the idea that he definitely does not exist. The evidence suggests that god very likely does not exist.

    Exactly, and it's only very likely that, when I drop a rock, it will accelerate towards the Earth. We can functionally operate as if that's true.

    Spoiler:
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