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Athiests and Offensiveness

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    Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2008
    Sarksus wrote: »
    Religion isn't the root of the problem. Irrational thought is.

    Yes. Exactly. Which is why irrational thought, no matter how sacred an incarnation it is, needs to be kept out in the open for criticism.

    Quoth: I don't think you really comprehended what I was trying to do. We know there is no demon in the child because demons don't exist. We know this because we take a naturalistic approach to objective reality, and unless you morph the definition of "demon" to include things like tumors and such, we know demons as they are generally defined don't exist.

    Wonder_Hippie on
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    Burden of ProofBurden of Proof You three boys picked a beautiful hill to die on. Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Quoth wrote: »
    This is sort of the problem that Wonder_Hippie is getting at, which is that the religious guy* can be shouting over a megaphone and handing out pamphlets that explain in detail why their god will set you on fire, but if you shout back that you think they're wrong, you will be considered the asshole of the situation.

    I rarely hear anyone defend the "religious guy shouting about hell over a megaphone", religious or otherwise.

    Burden of Proof on
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    skyknytskyknyt Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited December 2008
    Quoth wrote: »
    I can pretty much get behind everything you've said here. We weren't comparing screaming religious asshole with screaming atheist asshole, though; it was nativity versus asshole sign. Surely the atheists can do a better job of getting their message across without being dicks about it. They don't HAVE to, but maybe they should.

    Well, I hestitate to put words in anyone's mouths, but it's perfectly possible (let's not discuss the reasonability of it, because I vacillate on that myself) that they view the placement of the nativity scene to mean the rough diametric opposite of what's on their sign. Sort of a "We're right, you're wrong, deal with it, Jesus is here."

    Really though, it's REALLY REALLY HARD to come up with a "non dick atheist message" because by default atheist messages are assumed to be dickish.

    No, really, I don't mean this in a gotcha way or anything, but I've been racking my head on it in this thread. What's a non-offensive, positive, but directly and unambiguously atheist message? Even that bus ad, that I thought was pretty mild, was considered highly offensive.

    skyknyt on
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    QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Sarksus wrote: »
    Religion isn't the root of the problem. Irrational thought is.

    Yes. Exactly. Which is why irrational thought, no matter how sacred an incarnation it is, needs to be kept out in the open for criticism.

    Quoth: I don't think you really comprehended what I was trying to do. We know there is no demon in the child because demons don't exist. We know this because we take a naturalistic approach to objective reality, and unless you morph the definition of "demon" to include things like tumors and such, we know demons as they are generally defined don't exist.

    How do you know that? I assert that you are begging the question of whether they exist.

    Quoth on
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    JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    edited December 2008
    MikeMan wrote: »
    So, like, these people. Can anybody give me an argument of why they're wrong for how they expressed their religious belief?
    I suspect you'll get a lot of wishy washy answers about them going against the spirit of christianity or whatever the fuck.

    But it comes down to this: people consider them crazy because they don't conform to the societal standards of the 21st century Western World. Whenever a given religious belief comes into conflict with said standards, it is suddenly wrong and against the "true" religion.

    The Bible has demonic possession but I don't recall infanticide being posited as the solution.

    Jacobkosh on
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    MorninglordMorninglord I'm tired of being Batman, so today I'll be Owl.Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    skyknyt wrote: »
    Really though, it's REALLY REALLY HARD to come up with a "non dick atheist message" because by default atheist messages are assumed to be dickish.

    This was my first thought when I saw this thread.

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    Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2008
    Quoth wrote: »
    Sarksus wrote: »
    Religion isn't the root of the problem. Irrational thought is.

    Yes. Exactly. Which is why irrational thought, no matter how sacred an incarnation it is, needs to be kept out in the open for criticism.

    Quoth: I don't think you really comprehended what I was trying to do. We know there is no demon in the child because demons don't exist. We know this because we take a naturalistic approach to objective reality, and unless you morph the definition of "demon" to include things like tumors and such, we know demons as they are generally defined don't exist.

    How do you know that? I assert that you are begging the question of whether they exist.

    I'm begging the question? You don't know what that means. You're begging the question by asking how I know she wasn't, when I'm approaching the problem from the starting point of objective reason and concluding that demons don't exist to begin with. It's the same as reaching the conclusion that a dropped rock will accelerate towards the earth.

    Wonder_Hippie on
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    tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Quoth wrote: »
    Quoth wrote: »
    So, like, these people. Can anybody give me an argument of why they're wrong for how they expressed their religious belief?

    Uh, because they killed an innocent child?

    Alternately, thank goodness they got rid of that demon before it did any damage?

    Seriously though, the fact that they lied to the police says they knew what they were doing was wrong.

    No, no, let's assume they actually believe what they said. Whether or not they did is immaterial to what I'm trying to illustrate.

    And besides, you showed just how preposterous attacking the "why" of a person's expression of religious belief is. They can say literally anything they want. Anything at all, and they're perfectly accurate if you accept the premise.

    No, the only answer is to attack the problem at the roots: the premise itself.

    I'll keep playing devil's advocate then. How do you know there was no demon in that girl?

    Even if there WAS a demon (or demons existed), our society says that it's wrong to beat people to death with a hammer...

    Those people are just crazy.

    tsmvengy on
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    FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Sarksus wrote: »
    Religion isn't the root of the problem. Irrational thought is.

    Yes. Exactly. Which is why irrational thought, no matter how sacred an incarnation it is, needs to be kept out in the open for criticism.
    So what would an absolute negative irrational thought be? Would that need to be criticized as well?

    Fencingsax on
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    LeitnerLeitner Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    skyknyt wrote: »
    Really though, it's REALLY REALLY HARD to come up with a "non dick atheist message" because by default atheist messages are assumed to be dickish.

    This was my first thought when I saw this thread.

    Pretty much. Even the rather reasonable nice ones (see the "God probably doesn't exist: So stop worrying and be happy" or whatever the Guardian ran) have people practically shitting themselves in rage at those arrogant atheists.

    Leitner on
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    QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    skyknyt wrote: »
    Quoth wrote: »
    I can pretty much get behind everything you've said here. We weren't comparing screaming religious asshole with screaming atheist asshole, though; it was nativity versus asshole sign. Surely the atheists can do a better job of getting their message across without being dicks about it. They don't HAVE to, but maybe they should.

    Well, I hestitate to put words in anyone's mouths, but it's perfectly possible (let's not discuss the reasonability of it, because I vacillate on that myself) that they view the placement of the nativity scene to mean the rough diametric opposite of what's on their sign. Sort of a "We're right, you're wrong, deal with it, Jesus is here."

    Really though, it's REALLY REALLY HARD to come up with a "non dick atheist message" because by default atheist messages are assumed to be dickish.

    No, really, I don't mean this in a gotcha way or anything, but I've been racking my head on it in this thread. What's a non-offensive, positive, but directly and unambiguously atheist message? Even that bus ad, that I thought was pretty mild, was considered highly offensive.

    Maybe something like "You don't have to believe in a god to believe in peace on earth and goodwill toward men"?

    I'm certainly not the most eloquent person around, so I'm not saying I'm the right person to come up with a message. But someone out there must be able to. Maybe it's not possible, I don't know.

    Even if the nativity can be perceived as actively offensive, that doesn't justify an equally offensive sign or symbol from another group. That's stooping to their level, whoever "they" are.

    Quoth on
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    SarksusSarksus ATTACK AND DETHRONE GODRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Sarksus wrote: »
    Religion isn't the root of the problem. Irrational thought is.

    Yes. Exactly. Which is why irrational thought, no matter how sacred an incarnation it is, needs to be kept out in the open for criticism.

    Quoth: I don't think you really comprehended what I was trying to do. We know there is no demon in the child because demons don't exist. We know this because we take a naturalistic approach to objective reality, and unless you morph the definition of "demon" to include things like tumors and such, we know demons as they are generally defined don't exist.

    See I think this is where we disagree. Before I get into that, though, I want to say I am not against criticizing religion, I am not against applying a critical lens to the subject. Religion is irrational, I just don't think it is inherently harmful or the actual cause for concern and so I don't care if someone chooses to believe in a God and I am willing to ignore that while also realizing their belief does not necessarily damage their ability to think rationally in other subjects.

    Where we part ways, I think, is whether or not religion should be challenged when we take up the simultaneous task of challenging irrational thought. I think we can challenge irrational thought and educate people to think rationally, to use a critical eye when discussing a subject, and to disconnect irrational processes of thought from the process they use to form an opinion, without attacking religion. I think if we discouraged irrational thought and people were better able to think rationally they might still believe in a God but their decisions would be less influenced by that belief, so cases where people are oppressing homosexuals or other minorities because they think it's God's will, for example, will decrease, and that's all I want.

    Edit: I don't think everyone realizes why someone like Wonder_Hippie would dislike religion. As far as I can understand, it's because religious viewpoints often influence someone's process of thought and they come to these conclusions that are harmful for society. They start wars, they oppress minorities, etc.

    Sarksus on
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    Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2008
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    Sarksus wrote: »
    Religion isn't the root of the problem. Irrational thought is.

    Yes. Exactly. Which is why irrational thought, no matter how sacred an incarnation it is, needs to be kept out in the open for criticism.
    So what would an absolute negative irrational thought be? Would that need to be criticized as well?

    I'm mostly speaking in terms of statements about objective reality.

    But I don't know what you're trying to ask.

    Wonder_Hippie on
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    PantsBPantsB Fake Thomas Jefferson Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    Sarksus wrote: »
    Religion isn't the root of the problem. Irrational thought is.

    Yes. Exactly. Which is why irrational thought, no matter how sacred an incarnation it is, needs to be kept out in the open for criticism.
    So what would an absolute negative irrational thought be? Would that need to be criticized as well?

    I'm mostly speaking in terms of statements about objective reality.

    But I don't know what you're trying to ask.

    What he's getting at IIANM is the idea that we know there is no God is also irrational.

    PantsB on
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    FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    PantsB wrote: »
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    Sarksus wrote: »
    Religion isn't the root of the problem. Irrational thought is.

    Yes. Exactly. Which is why irrational thought, no matter how sacred an incarnation it is, needs to be kept out in the open for criticism.
    So what would an absolute negative irrational thought be? Would that need to be criticized as well?

    I'm mostly speaking in terms of statements about objective reality.

    But I don't know what you're trying to ask.

    What he's getting at IIANM is the idea that we know there is no God is also irrational.
    Thanks muchly, Pants.

    Fencingsax on
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    QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Quoth wrote: »
    Sarksus wrote: »
    Religion isn't the root of the problem. Irrational thought is.

    Yes. Exactly. Which is why irrational thought, no matter how sacred an incarnation it is, needs to be kept out in the open for criticism.

    Quoth: I don't think you really comprehended what I was trying to do. We know there is no demon in the child because demons don't exist. We know this because we take a naturalistic approach to objective reality, and unless you morph the definition of "demon" to include things like tumors and such, we know demons as they are generally defined don't exist.

    How do you know that? I assert that you are begging the question of whether they exist.

    I'm begging the question? You don't know what that means. You're begging the question by asking how I know she wasn't, when I'm approaching the problem from the starting point of objective reason and concluding that demons don't exist to begin with. It's the same as reaching the conclusion that a dropped rock will accelerate towards the earth.
    a type of logical fallacy (also called petitio principii) in which the proposition to be proved is assumed implicitly or explicitly in one of the premises

    You're starting from the assumption that demons don't exist. You don't know it anymore than you know there is no god or heaven or whatever else people believe in. Lack of evidence does not automatically indicate falsity.

    Quoth on
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    Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2008
    Sarksus wrote: »
    Sarksus wrote: »
    Religion isn't the root of the problem. Irrational thought is.

    Yes. Exactly. Which is why irrational thought, no matter how sacred an incarnation it is, needs to be kept out in the open for criticism.

    Quoth: I don't think you really comprehended what I was trying to do. We know there is no demon in the child because demons don't exist. We know this because we take a naturalistic approach to objective reality, and unless you morph the definition of "demon" to include things like tumors and such, we know demons as they are generally defined don't exist.

    See I think this is where we disagree. Before I get into that, though, I want to say I am not against criticizing religion, I am not against applying a critical lens to the subject. Religion is irrational, I just don't think it is inherently harmful or the actual cause for concern and so I don't care if someone chooses to believe in a God and I am willing to ignore that while also realizing their belief does not necessarily damage their ability to think rationally in other subjects.

    Where we part ways, I think, is whether or not religion should be challenged when we take up the simultaneous task of challenging irrational thought. I think we can challenge irrational thought and educate people to think rationally, to use a critical eye when discussing a subject, and to disconnect irrational processes of thought from the process they use to form an opinion, without attacking religion. I think if we discouraged irrational thought and people were better able to think rationally they might still believe in a God but their decisions would be less influenced by that belief, so cases where people are oppressing homosexuals or other minorities because they think it's God's will, for example, will decrease, and that's all I want.

    Edit: I don't think everyone realizes why someone like Wonder_Hippie would dislike religion. As far as I can understand, it's because religious viewpoints often influence someone's process of thought and they come to these conclusions that are harmful for society. They start wars, they oppress minorities, etc.

    If an individual's religious belief is reduced at all, isn't that attacking religion? I think it's impossible to start teaching logic 101 in elementary schools without seeing religion get thrown under the bus.

    But why shouldn't a religious belief be challenged? I don't think it should be special at all, religious belief is just yet another illogical, unreasonable belief people hold, it shouldn't be necessarily individually attacked, but it also shouldn't be avoided for any reason?

    Wonder_Hippie on
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    Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2008
    Quoth wrote: »
    Quoth wrote: »
    Sarksus wrote: »
    Religion isn't the root of the problem. Irrational thought is.

    Yes. Exactly. Which is why irrational thought, no matter how sacred an incarnation it is, needs to be kept out in the open for criticism.

    Quoth: I don't think you really comprehended what I was trying to do. We know there is no demon in the child because demons don't exist. We know this because we take a naturalistic approach to objective reality, and unless you morph the definition of "demon" to include things like tumors and such, we know demons as they are generally defined don't exist.

    How do you know that? I assert that you are begging the question of whether they exist.

    I'm begging the question? You don't know what that means. You're begging the question by asking how I know she wasn't, when I'm approaching the problem from the starting point of objective reason and concluding that demons don't exist to begin with. It's the same as reaching the conclusion that a dropped rock will accelerate towards the earth.
    a type of logical fallacy (also called petitio principii) in which the proposition to be proved is assumed implicitly or explicitly in one of the premises

    You're starting from the assumption that demons don't exist. You don't know it anymore than you know there is no god or heaven or whatever else people believe in. Lack of evidence does not automatically indicate falsity.

    I'm going to respond to both to and sax here.

    Occam's razor. Demons and gods and supernatural explanations create logical problems, whereas naturalistic explanations operate without creating any such problems. That alone is enough to discount almost every definition of god and demonic possession.

    Wonder_Hippie on
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    DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Quoth wrote: »
    Quoth wrote: »
    Sarksus wrote: »
    Religion isn't the root of the problem. Irrational thought is.

    Yes. Exactly. Which is why irrational thought, no matter how sacred an incarnation it is, needs to be kept out in the open for criticism.

    Quoth: I don't think you really comprehended what I was trying to do. We know there is no demon in the child because demons don't exist. We know this because we take a naturalistic approach to objective reality, and unless you morph the definition of "demon" to include things like tumors and such, we know demons as they are generally defined don't exist.

    How do you know that? I assert that you are begging the question of whether they exist.

    I'm begging the question? You don't know what that means. You're begging the question by asking how I know she wasn't, when I'm approaching the problem from the starting point of objective reason and concluding that demons don't exist to begin with. It's the same as reaching the conclusion that a dropped rock will accelerate towards the earth.
    a type of logical fallacy (also called petitio principii) in which the proposition to be proved is assumed implicitly or explicitly in one of the premises

    You're starting from the assumption that demons don't exist. You don't know it anymore than you know there is no god or heaven or whatever else people believe in. Lack of evidence does not automatically indicate falsity.

    No, but it does place the burden of proof on those making the assertion, otherwise I've got a flying pink elephant in my backyard and you prove that I don't.

    edit: Bad WH! You can't explicitly mention Occam's Razor in a religious argument! It never works.

    Daedalus on
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    DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    jacobkosh wrote: »
    MikeMan wrote: »
    So, like, these people. Can anybody give me an argument of why they're wrong for how they expressed their religious belief?
    I suspect you'll get a lot of wishy washy answers about them going against the spirit of christianity or whatever the fuck.

    But it comes down to this: people consider them crazy because they don't conform to the societal standards of the 21st century Western World. Whenever a given religious belief comes into conflict with said standards, it is suddenly wrong and against the "true" religion.

    The Bible has demonic possession but I don't recall infanticide being posited as the solution.

    2nd Kings 2:23-24 sort of springs to mind.

    Daedalus on
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    SarksusSarksus ATTACK AND DETHRONE GODRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Sarksus wrote: »
    Sarksus wrote: »
    Religion isn't the root of the problem. Irrational thought is.

    Yes. Exactly. Which is why irrational thought, no matter how sacred an incarnation it is, needs to be kept out in the open for criticism.

    Quoth: I don't think you really comprehended what I was trying to do. We know there is no demon in the child because demons don't exist. We know this because we take a naturalistic approach to objective reality, and unless you morph the definition of "demon" to include things like tumors and such, we know demons as they are generally defined don't exist.

    See I think this is where we disagree. Before I get into that, though, I want to say I am not against criticizing religion, I am not against applying a critical lens to the subject. Religion is irrational, I just don't think it is inherently harmful or the actual cause for concern and so I don't care if someone chooses to believe in a God and I am willing to ignore that while also realizing their belief does not necessarily damage their ability to think rationally in other subjects.

    Where we part ways, I think, is whether or not religion should be challenged when we take up the simultaneous task of challenging irrational thought. I think we can challenge irrational thought and educate people to think rationally, to use a critical eye when discussing a subject, and to disconnect irrational processes of thought from the process they use to form an opinion, without attacking religion. I think if we discouraged irrational thought and people were better able to think rationally they might still believe in a God but their decisions would be less influenced by that belief, so cases where people are oppressing homosexuals or other minorities because they think it's God's will, for example, will decrease, and that's all I want.

    Edit: I don't think everyone realizes why someone like Wonder_Hippie would dislike religion. As far as I can understand, it's because religious viewpoints often influence someone's process of thought and they come to these conclusions that are harmful for society. They start wars, they oppress minorities, etc.

    If an individual's religious belief is reduced at all, isn't that attacking religion? I think it's impossible to start teaching logic 101 in elementary schools without seeing religion get thrown under the bus.

    But why shouldn't a religious belief be challenged? I don't think it should be special at all, religious belief is just yet another illogical, unreasonable belief people hold, it shouldn't be necessarily individually attacked, but it also shouldn't be avoided for any reason?

    I was just about to make an additional post about that, because I realized I had left it out.

    The reason why I am personally disinclined in criticizing religion is because it's counterproductive. It would be great if both sides could maintain a high level of civility when discussing this, but that is tremendously difficult here and impossible at a global scale. Until we can do this, these kinds of arguments erode our ability to make strides for ourselves and rational thinking.

    And as for education, I think religion can be left out of the discussion until later on, like say at the end of high school or in college, when a child has had years of education encouraging rational thinking already. Attacking irrational thought is technically attacking religion, but you can be subtle and avoid an uproar.

    Sarksus on
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    FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Occam's razor. Demons and gods and supernatural explanations create logical problems, whereas naturalistic explanations operate without creating any such problems. That alone is enough to discount almost every definition of god and demonic possession.
    Occam's razor only works if we have complete information, I'm afraid. Or at least better information. Unfortunately, the real rational position on "Is there a cosmic being out there, beyond our comprehension?" Is "We have no fucking idea" Frankly, I think waaaay too many people are afraid of saying they have no clue. There is no shame in not knowing.

    Fencingsax on
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    Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2008
    Sarksus wrote: »
    I was just about to make an additional post about that, because I realized I had left it out.

    The reason why I am personally disinclined in criticizing religion is because it's counterproductive. It would be great if both sides could maintain a high level of civility when discussing this, but that is tremendously difficult here and impossible at a global scale. Until we can do this, these kinds of arguments erode our ability to make strides for ourselves and rational thinking.

    And as for education, I think religion can be left out of the discussion until later on, like say at the end of high school or in college, when a child has had years of education encouraging rational thinking already. Attacking irrational thought is technically attacking religion, but you can be subtle and avoid an uproar.

    And I think it should be addressed almost immediately, because people hold these beliefs for decades before hearing a reasoned argument against them currently, and that doesn't work.

    Wonder_Hippie on
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    DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    Occam's razor. Demons and gods and supernatural explanations create logical problems, whereas naturalistic explanations operate without creating any such problems. That alone is enough to discount almost every definition of god and demonic possession.
    Occam's razor only works if we have complete information, I'm afraid. Or at least better information. Unfortunately, the real rational position on "Is there a cosmic being out there, beyond our comprehension?" Is "We have no fucking idea" Frankly, I think waaaay too many people are afraid of saying they have no clue.

    We've got a pretty good clue on whether or not that kid had a demon inside of him/her, I'd say.

    Daedalus on
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    SarksusSarksus ATTACK AND DETHRONE GODRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Sarksus wrote: »
    I was just about to make an additional post about that, because I realized I had left it out.

    The reason why I am personally disinclined in criticizing religion is because it's counterproductive. It would be great if both sides could maintain a high level of civility when discussing this, but that is tremendously difficult here and impossible at a global scale. Until we can do this, these kinds of arguments erode our ability to make strides for ourselves and rational thinking.

    And as for education, I think religion can be left out of the discussion until later on, like say at the end of high school or in college, when a child has had years of education encouraging rational thinking already. Attacking irrational thought is technically attacking religion, but you can be subtle and avoid an uproar.

    And I think it should be addressed almost immediately, because people hold these beliefs for decades before hearing a reasoned argument against them currently, and that doesn't work.

    Yeah but you're never going to see that happen right away. Gotta take small steps, gotta compromise. Without doing that, all of the arguing in the world isn't going to get you where you want to go.

    Sarksus on
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    QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Quoth wrote: »
    Quoth wrote: »
    Sarksus wrote: »
    Religion isn't the root of the problem. Irrational thought is.

    Yes. Exactly. Which is why irrational thought, no matter how sacred an incarnation it is, needs to be kept out in the open for criticism.

    Quoth: I don't think you really comprehended what I was trying to do. We know there is no demon in the child because demons don't exist. We know this because we take a naturalistic approach to objective reality, and unless you morph the definition of "demon" to include things like tumors and such, we know demons as they are generally defined don't exist.

    How do you know that? I assert that you are begging the question of whether they exist.

    I'm begging the question? You don't know what that means. You're begging the question by asking how I know she wasn't, when I'm approaching the problem from the starting point of objective reason and concluding that demons don't exist to begin with. It's the same as reaching the conclusion that a dropped rock will accelerate towards the earth.
    a type of logical fallacy (also called petitio principii) in which the proposition to be proved is assumed implicitly or explicitly in one of the premises

    You're starting from the assumption that demons don't exist. You don't know it anymore than you know there is no god or heaven or whatever else people believe in. Lack of evidence does not automatically indicate falsity.

    I'm going to respond to both to and sax here.

    Occam's razor. Demons and gods and supernatural explanations create logical problems, whereas naturalistic explanations operate without creating any such problems. That alone is enough to discount almost every definition of god and demonic possession.

    Occam was a deist, FYI. And demons and gods do not necessarily create logical problems. The fact that science cannot account for them may only mean that our current science is insufficient.

    Edit: already covered, I see. Sorry for the repeat.

    Quoth on
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    MikeManMikeMan Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    tsmvengy wrote: »
    MikeMan wrote: »
    tsmvengy wrote: »
    That's usually what happens when you have a book written by a zillion different people. This is why people pick and choose what to believe and think about their religion. That's why maybe instead of railing against believing in anything or everything, those who choose to criticize should criticize HOW people use their faith, not simply that they HAVE faith.
    That they have faith is precisely what we want to criticize, not just how they use their faith.

    That's what I'm asking - what is the use in criticizing that? How exactly does the fact that they HAVE faith affect you at all?
    This ain't a religion thread, but if Jeffe tolerates it I'd be happy to elaborate.

    I'd have to apologize in advance for those of us who have had enough of reading my broken-record responses to such a question.

    Anyway, if you really want to know I'd be happy to tell you.

    Ahem.

    Basically, in the realm of religious belief, it is a fundamental assumption that knowledge is not derived from any logical, rational, or externally verifiable sources. "Knowledge" about religious matters is derived from either your friends, what your church says, what a given holy book says, or your gut feeling. No proper validation is required. So we quickly come to realize (on our own, or by, you know, reading a newspaper) that this results in a whole fuckton of religious beliefs. Each one of these religious believers thinks they are right. Many of them think they know they're right. All of them implicitly assume that, since they think they're right, everyone else who does not believe the same is wrong.

    But that's not even the problem. That results in a lot of horribleness and muddy thinking and confusion and bigotry, but that's not the root problem. No, the root problem is how they arrived at those conclusions.

    How does Bob the Catholic arrive at his conclusions? When pressed, Bob the Catholic, if he can be assumed to be reasonably intelligent, will be confronted with all sorts of arguments that rationally demonstrate his beliefs to be irrational. He will then say "So what? Religion isn't about logic, it's about feeling. I believe because I want to, and that's it." Faith, in this context, is something that's held in high regard. His faith is strong, etc.

    Let's take John the Muslim. John the Muslim will have a similar response, assuming he's not an idiot. He will acknowledge that yes, there is no evidence for a supreme deity period, let alone all the trappings of the specific attributes laid out in the Koran and associated holy texts. So he, too, will fall back on his faith. And since the vast majority of people, period, are religious, no one takes issue with faith itself. It's seen as noble.

    But now we run into a problem. Let's take Jane the Fundy Christian. Jane believes that the United States should be One Nation Under God and should prohibit citizenship for followers of Islam or, even worse, Atheists. She thinks the Establishment Clause is a load of horseshit, and why shouldn't she? Her life revolves around God. Jesus is her life. Religion and everyday things are and should be completely intertwined. Her religion is the correct one, so it makes no sense for the government to make allowances or concessions for other religions; they're wrong. They have not arrived at the correct interpretation. Athiest Joe approaches Jane and questions her, very deeply, on her religious beliefs. She eventually breaks down and says no, she can't prove logically that Jesus is Lord, but she doesn't need to, because she knows it's true in her heart. She has Faith with a capital F. She is unbelievably strong and certain in her faith. It gives her strength.

    What's the difference between Bob, John, and Jane? The degree to which they express their religious beliefs. Their beliefs, however, ultimately come from the same source: faith. Or as it can be otherwise described, Jack Shit. Faith is a code word for gut feeling, desire predating belief, or just plain nonsense. Faith is empty. Faith requires no explanation, no reason, no intellectual justification. Faith requires nothing more than a declaration on the basis of nothing. And faith is valued as one of our species' core strengths. This is insane, and this is why faith must be addressed, possibly even before the trappings or expressions of said faith are factored in.

    Let's take Sally the Psychotic Cultist. Sally believes it's god's mission to bomb abortion clinics and kill abortion doctors. When pressed, she will fall back on the same excuse: faith. She knows it's the right thing to do because of her faith. She most likely has tons of Bible quotes lined up, ready to go, that prove that she's good and just for doing this. Her faith is impenetrable. It is iron-clad. It is just as based on nothing as Bob, John, or Jane's. The consequences, instead of being negligible (in Bob or John's case) or insidious and culturally damaging (in Jane's case) are instead psychotic and horrifying. But their source is the same pillar of idiocy that the entire country thinks is noble and just: faith.

    How are we to attack Sally's beliefs on her own terms? We can't. Any verse we throw at her will have five counter-verses in response, all supporting her position. Any logical argument that doesn't start at the foundation (i.e. "How do you even know there's a God, Sally?") will get shot down by infinite justifications and ways of logically arguing her case. Because once you accept nonsense at the beginning ("There is a god") it's nonsense-turtles all the way down. Arguing verse meanings is like winning the special olympics.

    This is why the root of the problem needs to be attacked. Will people be fucking cockwads and irrational douchebags even if organized religion completely dies out? Of course. But they'll have one less tool in their Arsenal of Stupid. We will be able to address them on their terms, in an intellectually honest and hopefully more fruitful manner. Saying "your interpretation of a nonsensical concept for which there is no evidence is wrong and mine's right, and here's why <insert hours of theological arguments based on an ancient text that is contradictory and downright silly>" doesn't help anyone. That's exactly what most Americans do when confronted with Sally, though. Because to attack her beliefs at the very core would require Americans to acknowledge that it is their beliefs, too, that are equally unfounded, although the consequences of their irrationality are less dire.

    MikeMan on
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    FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Daedalus wrote: »
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    Occam's razor. Demons and gods and supernatural explanations create logical problems, whereas naturalistic explanations operate without creating any such problems. That alone is enough to discount almost every definition of god and demonic possession.
    Occam's razor only works if we have complete information, I'm afraid. Or at least better information. Unfortunately, the real rational position on "Is there a cosmic being out there, beyond our comprehension?" Is "We have no fucking idea" Frankly, I think waaaay too many people are afraid of saying they have no clue.

    We've got a pretty good clue on whether or not that kid had a demon inside of him/her, I'd say.
    I'm not talking about the demon thing. WH said that this was in response to me as well.

    Fencingsax on
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    JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    edited December 2008
    Daedalus wrote: »
    jacobkosh wrote:
    The Bible has demonic possession but I don't recall infanticide being posited as the solution.

    2nd Kings 2:23-24 sort of springs to mind.

    Yes, and there's the psalm that advises "blessed is he that smashes the [Babylonian] infant's head against the stone." Neither of these have anything to do with demons, though.

    Jacobkosh on
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    In lacking knowledge of the presence or non-presence of an infinite possible variety of deities, it's better to just move the hell on.

    Incenjucar on
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    FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    In lacking knowledge of the presence or non-presence of an infinite possible variety of deities, it's better to just move the hell on.
    This too.

    Fencingsax on
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    DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Quoth wrote: »
    Occam was a deist, FYI. And demons and gods do not necessarily create logical problems. The fact that science cannot account for them may only mean that our current science is insufficient.

    Science can't account for what now? You need to show evidence of the effects of some "demon" before you can show that science needs to account for it.

    Daedalus on
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    MikeManMikeMan Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Quoth wrote: »
    Occam was a deist, FYI. And demons and gods do not necessarily create logical problems. The fact that science cannot account for them may only mean that our current science is insufficient.
    We have in Quoth a prime example of why the terms "atheist" or "agnostic" are merely negative. Obviously people, as we see here, can call themselves "agnostic" without having actually thought through matters to any significant degree.

    MikeMan on
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    Wonder_HippieWonder_Hippie __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2008
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    Occam's razor. Demons and gods and supernatural explanations create logical problems, whereas naturalistic explanations operate without creating any such problems. That alone is enough to discount almost every definition of god and demonic possession.
    Occam's razor only works if we have complete information, I'm afraid. Or at least better information. Unfortunately, the real rational position on "Is there a cosmic being out there, beyond our comprehension?" Is "We have no fucking idea" Frankly, I think waaaay too many people are afraid of saying they have no clue. There is no shame in not knowing.

    The real rational position is to wait for a reason to ask about that being in the first place, and I've yet to see a valid one. Naturalism has provided answers accurately thus far, there are no supernatural elements of our universe, why do we even ask about deities when we've arrived to answers every single time before without them?

    Wonder_Hippie on
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    skyknytskyknyt Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited December 2008
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    Occam's razor. Demons and gods and supernatural explanations create logical problems, whereas naturalistic explanations operate without creating any such problems. That alone is enough to discount almost every definition of god and demonic possession.
    Occam's razor only works if we have complete information, I'm afraid. Or at least better information. Unfortunately, the real rational position on "Is there a cosmic being out there, beyond our comprehension?" Is "We have no fucking idea" Frankly, I think waaaay too many people are afraid of saying they have no clue. There is no shame in not knowing.

    Well, this is always the issue there, isn't it? Religious arguments are virtually never about "a cosmic being out there, beyond our comprehension." They revolve around beings specifically described as being within our comprehension, who behave in measurable ways, with specific agendas, and towards a specific goal, which is typically described in detail. (ie: sent his avatar to this world to convince us to believe in him so that he can integrate believers into his otherworldly afterlife and punish those who don't believe, or what have you)

    Certainly Deists and Saganists and Pantheists and Unitarians have gotten into arguments with Atheists, but they are probably not particularly controversial because, typically, Atheists really are opened to the idea of things we don't understand or comprehend and awe with the universe as a whole.

    skyknyt on
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    MikeManMikeMan Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    Occam's razor. Demons and gods and supernatural explanations create logical problems, whereas naturalistic explanations operate without creating any such problems. That alone is enough to discount almost every definition of god and demonic possession.
    Occam's razor only works if we have complete information, I'm afraid. Or at least better information. Unfortunately, the real rational position on "Is there a cosmic being out there, beyond our comprehension?" Is "We have no fucking idea" Frankly, I think waaaay too many people are afraid of saying they have no clue. There is no shame in not knowing.
    Why are you assuming the question of deities even deserves a response?

    MikeMan on
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    DmanDman Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    Occam's razor. Demons and gods and supernatural explanations create logical problems, whereas naturalistic explanations operate without creating any such problems. That alone is enough to discount almost every definition of god and demonic possession.
    Occam's razor only works if we have complete information, I'm afraid. Or at least better information. Unfortunately, the real rational position on "Is there a cosmic being out there, beyond our comprehension?" Is "We have no fucking evidence to indicate such a being exists" Frankly, I think waaaay too many people are afraid of saying they have no clue. There is no shame in not knowing.

    I think its fair to say that arguing that the child may have been possessed by a demon is the same as arguing that there may be a god. In either case we have no evidence, so until you provide some we can't allow people to murder babies or use religion as a defense for any other act (like discriminating against gays :|).

    Dman on
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    QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Daedalus wrote: »
    Quoth wrote: »
    Occam was a deist, FYI. And demons and gods do not necessarily create logical problems. The fact that science cannot account for them may only mean that our current science is insufficient.

    Science can't account for what now? You need to show evidence of the effects of some "demon" before you can show that science needs to account for it.

    Fair enough. Too bad that couple beat the girl to death before she could be studied.

    Although I could posit that certain mental illnesses could be demonic possession, as people back in the day used to believe. We now "know" they aren't but what if we're wrong?

    Quoth on
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    QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    MikeMan wrote: »
    Quoth wrote: »
    Occam was a deist, FYI. And demons and gods do not necessarily create logical problems. The fact that science cannot account for them may only mean that our current science is insufficient.
    We have in Quoth a prime example of why the terms "atheist" or "agnostic" are merely negative. Obviously people, as we see here, can call themselves "agnostic" without having actually thought through matters to any significant degree.

    I'm sorry, what are you getting at here, because I'm not following you. Is this some kind of personal attack?

    Quoth on
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    SarksusSarksus ATTACK AND DETHRONE GODRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    MikeMan wrote: »
    Quoth wrote: »
    Occam was a deist, FYI. And demons and gods do not necessarily create logical problems. The fact that science cannot account for them may only mean that our current science is insufficient.
    We have in Quoth a prime example of why the terms "atheist" or "agnostic" are merely negative. Obviously people, as we see here, can call themselves "agnostic" without having actually though through matters to any significant degree.

    Agnosticism is kind of like libertarianism in that it's the first thing teenagers latch onto when they want to be different. They often arrive at agnosticism after only having read a paragraph from the Wikipedia page and declaring they are the most rational people in the world for their moderate viewpoints. But agnosticism totally misses the point. Instead of answering yes or no to the question of whether or not you believe in God they side-step the question and give you a canned response, but the joke's on them because even agnostics who don't think there is sufficient evidence to say one way or another technically do not believe in a God anyway, so they're atheists too!

    Edit: Quoth, agnostics are not well-liked by atheists in some cases because often times agnostics are so just because they want to remain non-confrontational or appear reasonable to both sides of the debate. There are a lot of problems with agnosticism that a lot of agnostics appear obvious to.

    Edit2: To be more clear, MikeMan is saying that you have not spend a sufficient amount of time thinking about this topic and so your opinions are malformed as a result.

    Sarksus on
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