The Dog Delusion

The Dog Delusion

Update: I created a variation: dog Is Not Great.

(via)

  • claidheamh mor

    Funny and cute!

    I’ll bypass the theology part, as a dog-hating who used to like dogs, until exposed to too many worthless dog-owners.

    Letting them bark.

    I plan to make signs for the piles of shit lying around, saying, “This dog has two assholes: its own, and its owner”.

  • Sunny Ng

    Kitty shouldn’t be reading a pirated copy.

  • http://mylifeintheblender.wordpress.com lauradee24

    haha! where can I get a copy?

  • D Lusional

    But cats actually see dogs. Or do they?

  • MaJo

    So funny!!!!
    jojojojojo buenísima!!

  • pam

    It’s time the government does something about dogs…

  • Devysciple

    At least we now know Richard’s _real_ agenda ;-)

    Always thought there was something cheesy around this whole “God”-thingy…

    • http://wmute.livejournal.com/ wintermute

      Necessity, or the claim that something must be such and cannot be otherwise. There is no logical argument to say that God/gods/whatever could not exist.

      Has anyone, anywhere ever made the claim that it’s impossible for gods to exist? I’ve certainly never heard anyone claim that.

      All swans we have seen are white, therefore there are not white swans. Black swan pops up, and boom–you cannot derive an absolute/universal statement from empirical evidence alone

      There is no evidence that there is not an invisible, intangible dragon in my garage; but such evidence might occur in the future, therefore it is unreasonable to believe that there is no dragon in my garage; is that right?

      Evidence, or, “future” evidence to support a purely physicalist/materialist/Atheist worldview:

      But, wait! You were just arguing that evidence for a currently unbelieved entity might crop up in the future; now you’re saying that we can’t rely on the possibility of future evidence in deciding what we believe?

      If someone could answer these claims, then I’ll become an Atheist again in any manner of social context. Until then, I think the gulf between skepticism/inquiry and Atheism is far greater than that between Atheism and religion (two parts of the same whole, perhaps?).

      Why should we care what label you choose to attach to yourself? But it’s worth pointing out that you say elsewhere that you are not a theist; this means that you are an a-theist, just as something that is not edible is in-edible, regardless of how much of a philosophical disagreement it might have with its misunderstanding of that term.

    • http://billpost.blogspot.com/ Bill

      “There is no logical argument to say that God/gods/whatever could not exist.”

      Ah yes – the academic strawman. Jesse starts from the premise that atheists takes the position that “gods could not exist.” Then beats up “atheists” for taking that indefensible position.

      This atheist doesn’t take that position, nor do most that I have met. The argument fails because of faulty assumptions.

      Perhaps the argument works with a very small subset of non-believers, but I suspect you won’t find many of them here.

    • d00d

      God, please go away. You’re posting and cross posting the same shit on different blogs, you’re pretentious and self-referential, marginally coherent at times, and you’re link mining stuff that no one cares about. And practically even admittedly trolling.

      You’re obviously quite fond of yourself. Which sickens everyone else.

  • Veronika

    Isn’t that book actually by Richard Dogkins?

  • Jared

    Huh? Richard Dawkins wrote the The God Delusion. I looked up “Dog Delusion” on Amazon and didn’t find anything.

  • Jon

    Like Jared said, this book isn’t real. Look up “Richard Dawgins” on Google. He’s a noted atheist and scientist. Also, cats can’t read – but it’s a cute picture anyway.

  • godhatesprotesters

    ha!

  • venus

    I love this photo! The cat looks really amazing reading a book, he is so cute…

  • d00d

    Get ready for Republicat’s Dog related legislation.

  • ericbroze
    • http://wmute.livejournal.com/ wintermute

      Huh?

      “Has anyone, anywhere ever made the claim that it’s impossible for gods to exist? I’ve certainly never heard anyone claim that.”

      =

      Not Atheist

      An atheist is someone who does not believe that god exists. It is not necessarily someone who refuses to even consider the possibility that gods might exist.

      I notice that you don’t actually refute the claim that no-one actually claims that gods are impossible. You just claim that all the self-identified atheists are Not Real True Atheists by you idiosyncratic definition that no-one else uses. Not terribly useful.

      Dragon analogy

      =

      Hyperbole.

      No, analogy. Reductio ab absurdam.

      Rely? For what? Your teleological beliefs about science and some Enlightenment notion about the notion of progress?

      Have you ever tried actually reading what I wrote, instead of what you think you can argue against? Have I mentioned anything about progress?

      Best of all possible worlds, eh? Ever read Candide?

      Yes, but not for a few years. So far, you’ve accused me of being a nihilist and a panglossian. But, no. I don’t believe we live in the best of all possible worlds. In fact, I think the fact that this is self-evidently true is a strike against an omnipresent, omnipotent, omnibenevolent deity. I’m with Epicurus on that one.

      Ever notice how hastily Atheists incline toward evidence that will support their view, knowing full well, as you have just admitted, that it does not exist yet?

      Actually, as I’ve been repeatedly admitting, atheists incline towards the lack of evidence. The lack of evidence does exist. The lack of evidence may cease existing in the future, at which point I’ll re-analyse my beliefs. Again, try reading what I actually wrote, instead of what you want me to have written.

      Good to know. Guess we can start prosecuting gun owners whose guns are future evidence of murders. Because if guns are designed to kill, then by your standards, we can presuppose the action and tie it with the reponsibility of the owner.

      This is the opposite of what I’m arguing. Though I wouldn’t be opposed to stricter gun-control laws.

      The correct analogy is that if there is no evidence that someone has committed a murder, we believe that they have not committed a murder, even though such evidence may be gathered in the future.

  • http://calvinlawson.wordpress.com calvinlawson

    Original attribution actually belongs to b3ta:
    http://www.b3ta.com/board/9221096

    Dog is Not Great is funnier, though!

    • Jesse

      Maaaannn…you’re asking some very big questions in a lot of different fields.

      1) How do query if God exists, if we do not first establish what we mean by “God”? Whose “God”? What attributes does he/she/it have? Can we even form linguistic statements about “God”? Do such linguistic statements even have a meaning outside the ideologies which dispense them as governing rules for ulterior purposes? Frankly, as any logic/philosophy prof will say at the beginning of their course, their is no way to logically articulate God’s existence or non-existence. You can go blue arguing different sectarian variations as to the nature of such a God for the sake of argument, but then you can only argue–ad infinitum–against various sects contradictory beliefs about how what that God’s behavior would be like.

      Then there’s the “pathetic fallacy” (not a derisive term): it’s questionable whether or not we can know anything without anthropocentrizing it in some way. We name our dogs, we name arbitrary geographical features which exist only temporally (ie, they erode away), we see faces on Mars, and we mark up a virtual/non-existent binary code with evidence of our beliefs, as if having them proves their existence.

      You see the unresolvable, Balkanized situation this skepticism leads to. I think its important to note that such a situation does not immunize a person or society from the effects of absolutist ideologies: it engenders them.

      2) Fish is addressing issues of pragmatism and philosophy of the mind: the irreducible nature of immaterial thoughts (can’t go diggin’ around in someone’s brain and find their memories, and so forth) and virtual human institutions (Popper’s “multiple world’s” hypothesis, ie, pluralism). Altruism and spontaneous moral intuition is always the counterargument to physicalist ethics, but then, in order to criticize them, you have to quantify (ie, reduce) morality and altruism. It’s a back and forth thing. If anybody has a viable solution to the current ethical split, well, Nobel baby! I like your “maybe they’re both” analogy; kinda like the wave/particle debate in physics.

      Frankly, I think that 1) the insufficient evidence/provability of either a purely Theist or Atheist worldview and 2) the dichotomy in ethics and the irreducible nature of morality—these things obscure that in spite of proving either, the world goes on. Something else sustains us, despite the failings of purely descriptive and contingent philosophical positions. As yet, we have no physical “Theory of Everything.” I don’t mean that in a supernatural sense, I just take the realist view that the world is a uniform construction. Whether or not physicalists/materialists finally get their mythical evidence obscures the fact that the world is what it is apart from how we define it (hypostatisation). If a truly Atheist view is proven, what will anyone have done for the sake of so much hot-air? Life goes on; all those memories and things are still there. The real issue is time; not just how it is constructed by institutions, but in terms of a real, but unobservable mechanism. Religions, a la Heidegger, involve metaphors for time—not about a static, Newtonian, Rational universe. Subjecting them to criticism within such a context is a contradiction of what they are. What is time? What is its directionality, ie, its irreversibility? And why do chaotic, entropic physical systems (not even including biological ones) actually tend toward self-organization? These are actually observable phenomena–I’m not tacitly imposing the ‘ole intelligent design card.

  • http://www.weirdbiz.com Johnny

    I really enjoyed this comment by Jon: “Also, cats can’t read.”

  • http://www.mehk.org Tanveer Maqbool

    The DOG is really not great.

    And this delusion is right.

  • Frengers

    what i don’t get it why would the cat be reading a book? i thought it was the ‘god’ delusion. its spelled wrong, they moved the d and g around and whoever made that must be deluded because thats just not possible try and prove it. i thought dawkins just wrote science fiction creationism is way more real be saved not the cat because they serve us by the way they dont have our moral high ground because the eye is such complex bacterial flagellum that clots the blood because ray comfort didnt read the dog delusion what is there a cat delusion too i bet darwin never happened its a scam ken ham

  • realestateprism

    funny..’the dog delusion’..what a hilarious title..

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  • http://435mhz.wordpress.com jdublyuh

    Daniel – you forgot to change your Biblical name when you ‘hung up the religious crutches’ you were supporting yourself with! Don’t you feel clearer? After all, it IS a polarity existence we create with here and it’s so much easier to walk the middle! Come on over to my mind, really open up!

  • llabesab [a racist bastard]

    Only in America!!

    We have a “First Pet” with an impeccable Pedigree, and a “MUTT” (His words, not mine), for a President.

    We know more about the birth of a dog than of our president.

    We know more about the lineage of a dog than of our President.

    Only in America. OOPS! That should be “..Only in The United Socialist States of America.”

  • http://lettershometoyou.wordpress.com/ ian in hamburg

    @johnny,

    If you have faith in the ability of cats to read, then for you, they can read.

    • http://billpost.blogspot.com/ Bill

      You and John C. should get together and go bowling.

    • http://calvinlawson.wordpress.com calvinlawson

      “The problem with religion (including Christianity) is that it’s easier than following Jesus.”

      Yes, I know what you mean. When I was still a “follower of Christ” I set out on a quest to find the “actual Jesus” so that I could follow him without all the religious garbage getting in the way

      Imagine my consternation when I slowly realized that Christians were responsible for EVERYTHING I knew about Jesus. His divinity, his ministry, his commandments, it all came to us from GENTILE converts, via Pauline Christianity, via Catholicism.

      If you don’t accept the authority of the PHYSICAL Christian church, Jesus disappears, like Casper the Friendly Ghost. Now I’m a firm agnostic, and you can’t prove I’m wrong, lol. ;)

      References:
      “A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus: The Roots of the Problem and the Person, Vol. 1″ by John P. Meier

      “Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary” by Marcus Borg.

  • isnessie

    I’m reading this at the moment. Well, not the Dog Delusion, the other one. Also an ex-christian venturing into life without the delusion.

  • disenomiami

    Great Picture!, he is barely read half of the book, and what a face!

  • http://crentinho.wordpress.com/ maxaug

    Ill use this image in an article about atheists behaviour.

  • toddyenglish

    As a cat lover this post really made my day…LOL

  • radenharya

    umm, I’m new in Christian, can you tell me the real thing to do as a Jesus Followers?

  • ektachrome

    The cat (kitten) needs to be in a litter box, reading Dawkins.

    I know when I think of Dawkins, I have to poop.

  • stevebrisendine

    Hm. Let’s see where I fit into your “real Jesus Follower” definitions.

    1) I accept that a good chunk of the Bible is figurative. It’s not intended to be a science book. Never was.

    2) If I had to state my beliefs, I’d let the Nicene Creed say it more eloquently than I could. On other points, I accept that not every “real Jesus Follower” believes exactly as I do.

    3) I pray for things both tangible and intangible. If the tangible things don’t happen, I have to trust that there’s a reason why. When they do — and they have — I remember to say “Thank you.”

    4) I see no conflict between free will on our part and omnipotence on God’s, and that’s not for a lack of examining the topic. I also see no conflict between science and the, for lack of a better word, supernatural. (The people who see a conflict, I believe, do so because their concept of God is too small.) I have to wonder where this technology is that could verify the appearance of God, though.

    5) I think the idea of a 6,000-year-old universe is impossible on its face. There’s too much evidence for a far greater age (a position a large number of Christians hold, by the way, but I think it might put a dent in your stereotype to acknowledge that.) I don’t believe the universe sprang up without a First Cause, though. Where there is an object, there was a process set in motion to cause that object to come into existence.

    6) I think most, if not all, Christian t-shirts and bumper stickers are smug, showy and antithetical to the faith they’re supposed to be advancing. God is not my co-pilot and Jesus is not my homeboy. Then there’s the issue of, “Why did this person wearing the ’3 Nails + 1 Cross = 4Given’ shirt just spend fifteen minutes tearing down someone who’s not in the room?”

    7) Love my Newsboys, love my King Crimson. Love my Rainmakers, love U2. (Never much of one for Bill Gaither, though. Just a preference.)

    8) The fact that we even exist is scientific evidence for a God who thought up the laws of physics, genetics and thermodynamics.

    9) (Bonus response) I believe that oversimplification of an opposing belief only makes the oversimplifier look silly. I wouldn’t want it done to my beliefs, so I shouldn’t do it to others’ beliefs, nonbelief, disbelief or unbelief.

    What, would you say, does that make me?

  • http://streamsandforests.wordpress.com Jenny

    Shouldn’t the author be “Richard Pawkins”?

  • nievebonita

    Am thoroughly enjoying reading all your posts.. :)
    Have a good day!

    • Jesse

      H.K.:

      “There are even now deep questions about the origins of the universe that we don’t have answers to now though it is possible we may be able to answer some of them in the future.”

      That’s teleology.

      “But the inability of science to provide answers to these questions does not prove that religious faith, tradition, or an ancient holy text has the ability to answer them.”

      That’s a false dilemma and a misconstruction of religion.

      Bertran Russell’s analogy attempts to use empirical induction to derive essential, necessary truth.

      White swan fallacy.

      Have fun with science as an end in itself! (But, your still gonna die. It’s worth thinking about.)

  • Jesse

    The Atheist Delusion:

    Daily blog posts deriding the beliefs of people of faith, without ever admitting your own…

    http://gnomerroamer.wordpress.com/2009/02/24/ii-diet-atheism-new-atheism-bullet-pointed/

  • Peter

    So, it’s wrong to talk to my dog because he doesn’t even exist?

  • Peter

    What a delusion! And I thought my (personal) dog was real.

  • Nick

    You argue that God does not exist.

    Yet, you cannot prove that he does not exist.

    You are neither all-knowing, nor are you omnipresent.

    If you were, you would be like God.

    You have to admit that God could exist in a place you are not (you are not omnipresent and cannot be everywhere at once)

    Also, you have to admit that He could exist outside of your limited sphere of knowledge (you are not all-knowing)

    So, you cannot prove, “God does not exist” for He could exist outside of your limited sphere of knowledge, and outside of your limited sphere of presence.

    Also, you cannot prove the existence of evil.

    You agree there are no absolutes?

    If there are no absolutes…there are no standards to measure what we call good and evil.

    My standard is different than yours. What I call evil, you may call good. What I call good, you may call evil.

    And, if I am doing my good (your evil), and you don’t like it…what are you going to do? Encroach on my freedom to do as I please? Are you going to tell me what to do, and how to live?

    Better not.

    If you try to stop me from doing my good (your evil) you are guilty of forcing your views on me, and trying to convert me to your way of thinking.

    And then you become just like every other religion out there, trying to force others to their way of thinking.

    Nice going. You have become the very thing you despise.

  • Jesse

    Dialectic of Enlightenment, folks. Atheism may be a response to religion, but it fails something tough when it is forced to articulate a coherent philosophical view (that does not gain extra credit by shifting the burden to Theists, or calling them names). Philosophy (ie, skepticism) has very little to do with Atheism, nor does it necessitate it.

    http://blevkog.wordpress.com/2009/02/26/why-atheism-is-not-a-religion/

    (read the comments)

  • w3t0n1

    Hey very good ..:.

  • Nick

    “Atheism is not a “response to religion.” It is the default stance, and doesn’t necessitate any kind of philosophy.”

    Umm…look at your dictionary:

    Merriam-Webster: Atheism, the theory or belief that God does not exist. From the Greek atheos – a (without) + theos (god)

    So, your statement is wrong. Atheism is by nature a kind of philosophy.

    Or you use a different dictionary.

    Maybe you are re-defining the word Atheist in your own worldview.

    That is your right (your good)

    Just don’t force that view on others!

  • anontanan

    It’s the biggest joker of the world! but I like the cat that reading the book. hahaha :)

  • llabesab

    God does exist. He now resides in Washington D.C, Pennsylvania Avenue. How do I know He’s God?

    God has no Birth Certificate, neither does “HE.”
    God speaks and the heavens tremble. “HE” speaks, and the
    DOW tumbles.

  • Jesse

    Wintermute–

    Dance, dance, dance,
    We like to dance…

  • ericbroze

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. As none of the religions can provide proof, their claims are unfounded and not worthy of belief.

  • pen2sword

    1) You know, even I could make atheists look stupid by talking to the dumb ones, putting all their answers together and making it seem like they’re all idiotic, childish, and don’t know what the heck they’re talking about.

    2) Even if evolution is true, that doesn’t mean that God didn’t have a hand in it. I mean, do you think it’s just ‘natural’ for things to evolve so perfectly, even the tiniest things like leaves?

    3) Why do you assume that Christians/Catholics are all like the ones you talk to/hear about/ see on TV? (refer to #1)

    That’s all.

    • http://billpost.blogspot.com/ Bill

      “Are you really that desensitized?”

      What the hell does this even mean?

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Why are all the crazy people coming out for this topic?

    The birthers, the people who think this is a real book instead of a joke, the fundamentalists, etc…

    I want to pull my hair out at some of these comments!

  • deemoe12345

    Sooo Cute!

  • Jesse

    Can I be a trolly ass and ask folks to re-direct their claims to answer those in a related blog post? I mean just one or two interested parties is all it’d take. I don’t have the time to respond immediately, so a comprehensive sharing of the usual ad hominems is best…j/k.

    http://gnomerroamer.wordpress.com/2009/02/26/iii-diet-atheism-discourse-and-the-rhetorical-strategems-of-new-atheism/

  • Sock

    Man, you new wave of Godbotters are frustrating as hell.

    I’ve read these threads, and you guys just keep saying the same thing, and just don’t get that you aren’t getting it.

    The only thing that ALL atheists have in common is that we don’t believe in God.

    The specifics and conditions pertaining to that belief are different for every single atheist. The majority are conditional atheists, willing to fall down and worship if given reason (actual evidence, and not legends and myths).

    Now, you can repeat the same ignorance you’ve been repeating again in response to me if you want, but that wont get us anywhere. You don’t have it all figured out, sorry, and until you accept that you’ll never get anywhere in this mind numbing thread.

    • http://calvinlawson.wordpress.com calvinlawson

      “I know it might seem offensive to be identified as such, but the concept is a very useful tool for analyzing Atheism and Theism alike, among many other cultural binaries.”

      Ah, I see why you did not acknowledge my statement about being an agnostic instead of an atheist. False dichotomies all around, lol!

  • Nick

    “Man, you new wave of Godbotters are frustrating as hell.”

    Why should they frustrate you? Does it matter?

    Let them believe what they want. They won’t change you.

    “The only thing that ALL atheists have in common is that we don’t believe in God.”

    What is that supposed to mean? Believe? In God(s)? Does that signify he exists, but you don’t acknowledge him?

    Or that he does no exist…and you could care less?

  • Jesse

    Oh, man that’s funny. That’s actually on my list of “new” fallacies and rhetorical strategies:

    pose a false dilemma between religion and Atheism, and assume that anyone who contradicts you is a Theist.

    Classic. Take a philosophy course.

  • Jesse

    Dernit…supposed to be ‘”new” *Atheist* fallacies’. Can’t tell I rushed that one!

  • whatchamacalit

    Looks like the cat has pretty much decided to ignore the obvious that dogs do exist, or at least that it is likely they do. Maybe he has just never been exposed to a dog and so therefore is making sweeping generalizations.

  • Jesse

    Next strategem:

    Play the victim when exposed.

    This is seriously almost word for word from something I already wrote.

    It’s not insulting to question one’s credentials when they vindicate the question. The books informing and composing “new” Atheism/Atheists are pseudo-philosophy; ie, another philosophy of truthiness. Formal philosophy is completely different than its common connotation as vague axioms. So-called “new” Atheists pretend to speak from a position of prominence which does not exist. Calling them on it is hardly some kind of attack.

  • http://quiquedeniro.wordpress.com quiquedeniro

    Very Happy.. The title is How kill the dog By Tarantino… Jeje

  • Jim Spencer

    This is a Hot Community Post? C’mon WordPress

  • Jesse

    @ Teleprompter

    I would characterize the problems of Atheism as such:

    1) Necessity, or the claim that something must be such and cannot be otherwise. There is no logical argument to say that God/gods/whatever could not exist. You can throw empirical evidence at it, but that commits the white swan fallacy: All swans we have seen are white, therefore there are not white swans. Black swan pops up, and boom–you cannot derive an absolute/universal statement from empirical evidence alone. Most Atheist *believe* they can make the necessary statement that God does not and could not exist, but in most cases only because they do not understand the logical strength of necessity.

    2) Evidence, or, “future” evidence to support a purely physicalist/materialist/Atheist worldview:

    http://fish.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/06/17/atheism-and-evidence/

    3) The cultural context of “new” Atheism: subject to argument, but using Adorno’s work (or merely some of its ideas), Fredric Jameson’s work, Zizec, and many others, the argument can be made that “new” Atheism is completely distinct from any coherent Atheist philosophy (save Daniel C. Dennett, perhaps), that the cultural conditions which create it take an overwhelming precedent over any Atheist/humanist project (ie, Atheism as a means to an end, merely a political/social lever), that it assumes a telos of science (in spite of Merleau-Ponty’s points about the limits of scientific reduction, the “bad-faith” concept of the existentialists (deriding religion, funny or not = bad faith), Popper’s arguments for indeterminism and the open universe, Ilya Progogine’s arguments for indeterminism, Quantum Mechanics, pragmatism…).

    If someone could answer these claims, then I’ll become an Atheist again in any manner of social context. Until then, I think the gulf between skepticism/inquiry and Atheism is far greater than that between Atheism and religion (two parts of the same whole, perhaps?).

  • Jesse

    “Has anyone, anywhere ever made the claim that it’s impossible for gods to exist? I’ve certainly never heard anyone claim that.”

    =

    Not Atheist.

    Dragon analogy

    =

    Hyperbole.

    “…now you’re saying that we can’t rely on the possibility of future evidence in deciding what we believe?”

    Rely? For what? Your teleological beliefs about science and some Enlightenment notion about the notion of progress? Best of all possible worlds, eh? Ever read Candide? Ever notice how hastily Atheists incline toward evidence that will support their view, knowing full well, as you have just admitted, that it does not exist yet? Good to know. Guess we can start prosecuting gun owners whose guns are future evidence of murders. Because if guns are designed to kill, then by your standards, we can presuppose the action and tie it with the reponsibility of the owner.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Jesse,

    Thanks for expanding upon your claims and giving some specific reasons for your assertions.

    I will attempt to respond to your claims.

    1) Necessity: “the claim that something must be such and cannot be otherwise.” “There is no logical argument to say that God/gods/whatever could not exist.”

    I think it is important that we avoid talking past each other, so let’s establish what we’re trying to determine. Are you trying to establish anything? Or are you just refuting a claim that no gods or god exists?

    Let’s deal with the different types of gods. First, we have to differentiate between an interventionist god and a non-interventionist god or gods.

    Certainly it would almost entirely impossible to prove that a non-interventionist god did not exist.

    However, there is, at least for me, a strong difference between “a god” and the “God” to which most people refer in casual conversation.

    I perceive the term “God” as an interventionist concept of a deity. Of course, this popular conception is probably influenced by cultural factors, previous religious traditions, etc.

    Am I am an atheist to both the interventionist god(s) and the non-interventionist gods? Am I a strong atheist or a weak atheist?

    I feel that something is being lost in this exchange already.

    There do appear to be logical arguments to demonstrate that certain concepts of a certain kind of god or gods should not exist.

    For me, I analyze the situation god by god and problem by problem. What is the best explanation?

    I consider myself to be an honest seeker.

    We have a multitude of religions and a multitude of “god” concepts. Even within specific religions such as Christianity, there is still a multitude of “god” concepts. The Orthodox “god”, the Calvinist “god”, the Catholic “god”, the Episcopalian “god”, the Mormon “god”…what is “god”?

    Is “god” a good descriptor? Is it practical? Is it useful?

    Is there anything in the world that only corresponds to a supernatural explanation?

    I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that based on the slew of gods which have fallen out of favor, that religion has often been a cultural and social and psychological construct — not a divine essence. And all the evidence I can find confirms for me that many people’s current religious beliefs are as human a construct as any religious perception of the ancients.

    Sure, I can’t disprove that there isn’t a god or gods, especially of the non-interventionist variety. But can I determine that the current conceptions of god(s) are human constructs? There are plenty of logical arguments which can demonstrate this.

    That is why I am an atheist toward all of the gods (of which we are aware now, and which we have been aware in the past.)

    The signs on the buses should say, there probably are no gods. There’s probably no Zeus, no Thor, no Yahweh, no Allah, no Krishna, no Shiva or no “Great Spirit”.

    There’s probably no soul, either.

    2) Evidence: your article says that “moral intuitions are not reducible to physical processes”.

    Of course, if you believe that moral intuitions are either physical processes OR supernatural, then sure, you have a good point.

    But what if you’ve presented us with a false dichotomy?

    What if moral intuitions are social constructs as well as physical processes? What if morality is irreducible to physical processes because it is a complex, evolving system largely outside of the specific physical processes of individuals, but changing within the larger contexts of tribes, societies, and other social groups?

    I am still not convinced that altruism cannot be accounted for without a supernatural explanation.

    Also, the article asserts that Dawkins and Harris have a faith in the scientific method which parallels religious belief patterns of blind faith.

    There are at least two important differences, Jesse:

    1. Religious believers have faith in specific conclusions, not in the method. The predominant method of the religious believer to attain conclusions is revelation, yet revelation brings wildly different conclusions. Of course, the scientific method can also bring wildly different conclusions, and that is a fair criticism.

    However, that brings us to #2:

    2. Science is willing to update itself when new evidence brings itself to bear against old notions.

    Religion is not. Religion does not even have an effective method to accomplish this transformational change.

    Does revelation establish for the type of verification which is the hallmark of science?

    Ask Joseph Smith what the other Christians thought about his Mormon ideas. Ask Guru Nanak what many of the Hindus and Muslims thought about his Sikh ideas. Ask Martin Luther what the Roman Catholic church thought about his ideas for a Reformation.

    Innovation is not welcomed in religion, largely because the major method of religion, revelation, is a poor indicator of whether something is verified. It is not really objective, nor does it try to be.

    Maybe Harris and Dawkins do put too much faith in the scientific method, but the scientific method is much better at verification and is much better at finding things out about the world than religious methods.

    What method would you use, and why?

    Also, the writer of the article implies that he “does not find the argument of natural selection” plausible. What does he mean by that statement?

    Did you know that scientists have to re-engineer the flu vaccine every year? It’s true, but the different strains of the flu *evolve*. That’s also why you have bacteria that are increasingly resistant to certain types of drugs.

    And as the article addresses, it’s nice that there are traditions of reasoning in Jewish and Christian faith traditions. Really, that’s a good thing, but it’s not always evident in the actions of believers.

    The article further asserts that “any form of thought is an inextricable mix of both; faith and reasons come together in an indissoluble package.”

    This is not entirely accurate. There is a false definition of faith: the type of faith based on the accuracy of a process and the accuracy of conclusions is conflated with the blind faith which requires no evidence nor seeks any evidence.

    There is more than one viable definition of the word “faith”, and the author of this article abuses and confuses the readers badly.

    3) I’m not arguing for or against “new” atheism because I’m not even sure what you’re talking about, but hopefully if you’ve read my response up to this point and taken it seriously with an open mind, you’ll begin to see some of what I am saying.

    I hope this helps you. I hope we can keep this discussion going.

  • Mr. Jones

    If aliens are watching our planet, they will think that dogs are a superior species because humans follow them around picking up their poop!

  • http://themasterstable.wordpress.com Clark Bunch

    The problem with religion (including Christianity) is that it’s easier than following Jesus.

    The picture is hilarious, I’ll probably use it (with credit given where credit is due). Imagine me linking Unreasonable Faith. We live in interesting times.

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  • http://hkyson.wordpress.com hkyson

    Science and Religion

    Science is different from religion. It does not pretend that it knows everything. There are even now deep questions about the origins of the universe that we don’t have answers to now though it is possible we may be able to answer some of them in the future.

    But the inability of science to provide answers to these questions does not prove that religious faith, tradition, or an ancient holy text has the ability to answer them. Science cannot prove that God does not exist, but this in no way establishes that God exists. There are millions of things whose lack of existence cannot be established.

    The philosopher Bertrand Russell had an analogy. Imagine that there is a teapot in orbit around the sun. It is impossible to prove that the teapot does not exist because it is too small to be detected by our telescopes. Nobody but a crazy person would say, “Well, I’m prepared to believe in the teapot because I cannot establish that it doesn’t exist.” This means that maybe we have to be technically agnostics, but really we are all atheists about teapots with orbits around the sun.

    But now let us suppose that everybody in our society including our teachers and the sages of our tribes all had faith in a teapot that orbits the sun. Let us also suppose that stories of the teapot have come down to us for many generations as one of the traditions of our own society and there are ancient holy texts about the teapot. In this case people would say that a person who did not believe in the teapot is eccentric or mad.

    There are infinite numbers of things like celestial teapots whose lack of existence we are unable to establish. There are fairies, for example, and there are unicorns and goblins. We cannot prove that any of these creatures of the imagination do not exist in reality. But we don’t believe they exist, just as we don’t believe that the gods of the Scandinavians, for example, have any true existence.

    We are all atheists about almost all of the gods created by societies in the past. Some of us, however, take the ultimate step of believing that the god of the Jews and the Christians, like the gods of the Greeks and the Egyptians, also do not exist.

    The following is a version of this message in Interlingua. If you want to find out more about interlingua, go to my blog, “Interlingua multilingue.”

    Le scientia es differente del religion. Illo non pretende que illo sape toto. Il ha etiam nunc questiones profunde sur le origines del universo al quales nos nunc non ha responsas ben que il es possible que nos potera responder a alicunes de illos in le futuro.

    Ma le incapacitate del scientia de provider responsas a iste questiones non proba que le fide religiose, le tradition, o un texto sancte e ancian pote responder a illos. Le scientia non pote probar que Deo non existe, ma isto non establi de ulle maniera que Deo existe. Il ha milliones de cosas cuje existentia non pote esser establite.

    Le philosopho Bertrand Russell habeva un analogia. Imagina que il ha un theiera in orbita circum le sol. Il es impossibile probar que le theiera non existe proque illo es troppo parve pro esser detegite per nostre telescopios. Nemo excepte un folle dicerea, “Multo ben, io es preparate a creder in le theiera proque io non pote establir que illo non existe.” Isto significa que forsan nos debe esser technicamente agnosticos, ma vermente nos es omnes atheistas sur theieras con orbitas circum le sol.

    Ma que nos nunc suppone que omnes in nostre societate includente nostre professores e le sagios de nostre tribos habeva fide in un theiera que orbita le sol. Que nos anque suppone que historias del theiera ha venite usque nos trans multe generationes como un del traditiones de nostre proprie societate e que il ha textos sancte ancian sur le theiera. In iste caso le gente dicerea que un persona qui non credeva in le theiera es eccentric o folle.

    Il ha numeros infinite de cosas como theieras celestial cuje manco de existentia nos non pote establir. Il ha fees, pro exemplo, e il ha unicornios e gnomos. Nos non pote probar que iste creaturas del imagination non existe in le realitate. Ma nos non crede que illos existe exactamente como nos non crede que le deos del Scandinavos, pro exemplo, ha ulle existentia ver.

    Nos es omnes atheistas sur quasi omne le deos create per societates in le passato. Alicunes de nos tamen prende le ultime passo de creder que le deo del judaeos e del christianos, como le deos del grecos e le egyptianos, anque non existe.

    Harleigh Kyson Jr.

  • claidheamh mor

    jesse:
    (But, your still gonna die. It’s worth thinking about.)

    Another illusion shattered!

    Duh!

    You’re saying that to push your own agenda.

  • Jesse

    This is like shootin’ fish in a barrel; ‘cept the fish jump right in your lap, no bait of nothing:

    “The Rhetorical Strategems of “New” Atheism”:

    “1) Presume you are only debating an American fundamentalist Christian audience; if they are not, characterize them as such.

    2) Make no appeals to the wider democratic and philosophical context in which you have to answer for your claims, because you haven’t considered that whatsoever. [2/28: one excellent example of this and probably the rest of these points; moreso the comments than anything]

    3) March out the usual straw men and tired anti-religious demagoguery to take the focus off the inherent flaws of your position; focus on shifting the burden to Christians like a big brother who won’t do his chores, or a child abusing defenseless animals.”

    http://gnomerroamer.wordpress.com/2009/02/26/iii-diet-atheism-discourse-and-the-rhetorical-strategems-of-new-atheism/

    Come on, guys, I know there’s skeptics out there–you don’t see the meaning in these patterns?

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  • Jesse

    Because they wouldn’t have anything to do with you or because your views are exceptional? Only people with very little experience in philosophy have such an image of it.

  • http://hkyson.wordpress.com hkyson

    Jesse: You said to me the following things:

    ……………

    H.K.:

    “There are even now deep questions about the origins of the universe that we don’t have answers to now though it is possible we may be able to answer some of them in the future.”

    That’s teleology.

    “But the inability of science to provide answers to these questions does not prove that religious faith, tradition, or an ancient holy text has the ability to answer them.”

    That’s a false dilemma and a misconstruction of religion.

    Bertrand Russell’s analogy attempts to use empirical induction to derive essential, necessary truth.

    White swan fallacy.

    Have fun with science as an end in itself! (But, your still gonna die. It’s worth thinking about.)

    …………….

    I have some further comments:

    You said that it is teleology to maintain that though we don’t have knowledge of many things relating to the universe, we may find out about them later on.

    Yes, of course, this is goal-seeking activity. But what do you mean by saying that it is goal-seeking activity? This seems to be an utterly trivial statement like saying that water flows downhill.

    The inability of science to answer certain questions does not mean that religion can answer them. This is not a false dilemma. It merely says that religion may or may not be able to answer them. I think, however, that religion will most likely never be able to answer them because religious writings are largely artifacts of irrational human imaginations (often psychotic ones!) and are largely based on vacuous reifications. (In other words, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost do not exist at all–the way the gods of now dead religions do not exist except as printed words in the books describing these religious fossils.)

    Many people–especially philosophers and theologians–forget that just because you can coin new words you are not necessarily creating new realities. Just because I can say that there are green-cheese factories on the far side of the moon that were built by aliens from the Andromeda Galaxy does not mean that these things actually exist, though it is possible to observe the moon closely enough to definitively establish that they don’t. Unfortunately, it is impossible to verify or falsify the existence of God. This makes the entire concept his/her/its possible existence utterly meaningless.

    I don’t know what you mean by the “white swan fallacy.” Bertrand Russell merely constructed a very useful analogy of the teapot orbiting the sun to say that though we can’t prove that the teapot does not exist because our telescopes are not powerful enough to detect such a teapot, this does not mean that we should conclude that it may exist or it may not exist. It means that it would be completely irrational to conclude that it has any kind of existence at all because it is obviously a construct of human imagination the way theological ideas are.

    By the way, a lot of the ideas of philosophy are nothing more than vacuous reifications, such as Hegel’s “Absolute” and that mysterious place in the universe that holds Plato’s forms of the quintessential nature of everything. A lot of philosophical ideas are completely lacking in what John Dewey liked to call “cash value.”

    One other thing: I am seventy years old and will die fairly soon. I know that once I am brain dead I will not have the means even of knowing whether I am dead or alive. Nothing of my personality will exist. And while I am afraid of possibly dying painfully, I am not at all afraid of being dead. I won’t feel anything and won’t even be aware that I am dead. And before all that long no one on this planet will be aware that I am dead. And really, I don’t give a damn!

    Harleigh

  • http://hkyson.wordpress.com hkyson

    Regarding our Judeo-Christian culture:

    While many Christians deny this, we as a species have been on this planet for about 100,000 maybe 200,000 years. Judeo-Christianity has been around for only 2,000 years or so.

    Now I ask you: How did we manage to survive all those tens of thousands of years without the services of people like Moses and Christ?

    All these people, most likely, invented innumerable thousands of religions, most of them carried down by oral tradition until their tribes died off or were merged with other tribes. And while there is some archeological evidence that these religions existed (in pictures on ancient pottery, for example), there is no way of knowing about any of them in detail.

    Now note this: Moses is most likely a mythological figure who had no historical existence. Archeological evidence strongly indicates that the Exodus never took place.

    The historical existence of Christ is testified to only in the New Testament and perhaps by one or two other ancient writers outside of these ancient texts, making his very existence itself at least questionable.

    How on earth did our ancestors manage to survive without the benefit of being “saved” by the death of Christ for “original sin”? (These very concepts, I am convinced, are utterly incoherent!)

    Harleigh Kyson Jr.

  • http://calvinlawson.wordpress.com calvinlawson

    Harleigh and LRA, appreciating your posts, thanks! I must admit to barely tolerating philosophy in its various forms, but I appreciate your input.

    I am fascinated by mathematics and cognition, though; so I have to pay at least a little attention.

    Regarding Quine, one of my favorite books is “Godel Escher Bach”, by Douglas Hofstadter. In it he using “Quining” to represent self-reproducing code. Through quines Godel’s incompleteness theorem has is expressed:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quine's_paradox

    ““Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation” yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation.”

    While this may seen like navel gazing, this was one of the many reasons I realized that not only didn’t the Bible contain the final and absolute truth, it’s simply COULDN’T, as a fundamental aspect of nature.

    While this doesn’t mean that meaningful statements aren’t possible, it does mean that every statement is limited, and that every system of sufficient complexity is capable of producing falsehoods.

    I see a lot of theists use this to brow-beat their opposition into admitting that they might be wrong, only to then triumphantly proclaim the absolute nature of their own theistic worldview.

    The ol’ bait and switch, if you will.

  • http://hkyson.wordpress.com hkyson

    I just looked up the white swan fallacy. Since most swans are white, it is natural to assume that all swans are white until you discover a black one.

    Everyone who has studied just a little bit knows that inductive reasoning is only probabilistic and that Galileo’s laws of mechanics, to take one example, are merely probabilities.

    Some probabilities, however, approach certainty. Instead of being 0.1, they are 0.9999999999999999…. It is because of such high probabilities that we have been able to explore the surface of Mars and Titan.

    Theological constructs and the arguments supporting them, since they are strictly language based and are built on highly abstract vocabularies and what are most likely vacuous reifications whose probabilities of existence are as low as 0.0000000…1, can be pretty safely discarded as utter bullshit.

    Harleigh Kyson Jr.

  • http://ketch22.wordpress.com ketch22

    Someday…. that dog is going to jump up and bite you in the butt.

  • http://hkyson.wordpress.com hkyson

    Some notes on language and religion:

    Language evolved in our remote past, and no one knows exactly when or exactly how, or whether it evolved only once or at different times in our history. It is also possible that Neanderthal Man and even Homo erectus spoke some form of language, though there is no way of verifying this one way or the other.

    Language gave us survival advantages as we evolved because it enabled us to cooperate more effectively in hunting and food gathering and in organizing war parties to fight off other tribes of people who wanted to steal our food.

    Language works best in the kinds of concrete contexts like the ones I have just listed. It is much less useful in more abstract contexts, where it is possible to say things like “Scrupulous fairness is the essence of all systems of justice.” Statements like these come close to being empty manipulations of syntax, such as “Indentulous snarf is the bickle of all braxitations of exprimatiousness.”

    It has been said by some linguists that we do not speak languages. They are independent and largely closed systems and really speak themselves through us (they are not completely closed, otherwise Latin would never have produced the Romance languages).

    The largely autonomous nature of language becomes very obvious in the two examples of vague sentences that I constructed above. It seems that Wittgenstein was aware of this independent nature of language but for some reason abandoned it late in his career.

    When language first emerged, people did not have much technological control over their surroundings. No one likes to feel powerless, of course, and inventing religions was an obvious way for us to feel more powerful as we confronted an indifferent and often hostile environment.

    Religions also became a very useful way for smart people to control a culture to get people to do what they wanted them to do and to make themselves wealthy in the process, as a history of the Roman Catholic church so starkly reveals. It still is, as anyone watching TV evangelists can readily see.

    Western Europeans are acutely aware of the suffering religious competition caused them throughout their history, and that is why they are abandoning it in larger and larger numbers. Unfortunately, in the United States, many of our original colonists were religious fanatics, and we have been much less affected by the French Enlightenment (there is no conflict between evolutionists and creationists in Europe, for example).

    Because human existence is much more precarious in the Third World than it is in the first, religion has a greater grip on third-world cultures. We can look forward to the massive emregence of a large variety of religions if we are stupid enough to bomb ourselves back into the stone age with a new world war.

    Harleigh Kyson Jr.

  • http://hkyson.wordpress.com hkyson

    After posting my comments on language and religion, I came across another example of the kind of marginally meaningful sentences that are so dear to philosophers: “Monogeneity would always be a mystification in the history of culture.” This one was written by Derrida.

    Noam Chomsky once characterized “Grammatology” as being nothing but gibberish. I wonder whether Derrida returned the compliment in an evaluation of “Syntactic Structures.”

    Harleigh Kyson Jr.

  • http://hkyson.wordpress.com hkyson

    I would recommend that every high-school senior or college freshman read the English historian Paul Johnson’s book “Intellectuals.” It will give them a very healthy skepticism about the humanities and social sciences. I especially enjoyed his biographical sketches of Sartre and Freud.

    Even those of you who have already been through the academic mill should enjoy reading it, though I expect that if you do you will be sorry that you had not read it in high school or in your freshman year.

    Harleigh Kyson Jr.

  • http://hkyson.wordpress.com hkyson

    Francis Fukuyama, an American public intellectual, wrote a book titled “The End of History” shortly after the Soviet Union fell apart. He believed that the world would settle into a eternally happy and prosperous period of globalization after the Cold War under the benign leadership of the United States. I am sure that now, after 9/11, he wishes that he had never written and published this book.

    I am not sure whether Paul Johnson is still alive, but I have the feeling that he would be inclined to include Fukuyama in a future edition of “Intellectuals.”

    Harleigh Kyson Jr.

  • http://hkyson.wordpress.com hkyson

    One possibly final note: Robin Fox, in his book “Encounter with Anthropology,” said “All cultures are massive con jobs.”

    Harleigh Kyson Jr.

  • http://hkyson.wordpress.com hkyson

    Here is a website giving a biographical sketch and listing some of his books: [http://www.robinfoxbooks.com/pages/biography.htm].

    Here is a list of his books copied from this site:

    Kinship and Marriage
    The Imperial Animal
    Encounter with Anthropology
    The Tory Islanders
    The Red Lamp of Incest
    The Search for Society
    Reproduction and Succession
    The Challenge of Anthropology
    Conjectures and Confrontations
    The Passionate Mind

    You will notice that “Unauthorized Version: Truth and Fiction in the Bible” is not listed here.

    I don’t know whether this is a complete list or not. I will continue searching further. If I find anything out, I’ll upload another post later on.

    I invite you to do the same.

    Regards,

    Harleigh Kyson Jr.

  • http://hkyson.wordpress.com hkyson

    “Unauthorized Version: Truth and Fiction in the Bible” was written by a Robin Lane Fox, born in 1946.

    The Robin Fox who wrote “Encounter with Anthropology” was born in 1934.

    While I can’t be completely sure that these sources I casually picked up on the Internet are accurate, I am about 90% sure that we are dealing with two different people here.

    Regards,

    Harleigh

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  • http://hkyson.wordpress.com hkyson

    Here’s something I found elsewhere on the Internet about the sale of indulgences, an old con which Pope RATzinger has decided to revive. It may be useful for starting another thread.

    Harleigh Kyson Jr.

    ………………………………………..

    Buy your way to Heaven! The Catholic Church brings back indulgences

    By Jason Cochran

    These days, you can get a deal on anything. Even salvation! Pope Benedict has announced that his faithful can once again pay the Catholic Church to ease their way through Purgatory and into the Gates of Heaven.

    Never mind that Martin Luther fired up the Reformation because of them: Plenary Indulgences are back.

    The New York Times reports that even though the church officially broke with the age-old practice — you do something good, and the Church will help absolve you — in 1960, the Pope has quietly reintroduced it. The Catholic Church had technically banned the practice of selling indulgences as long ago as 1567.

    As the Times points out, a monetary donation wouldn’t go amiss toward earning an indulgence. It writes, “charitable contributions, combined with other acts, can help you earn one.” You can even buy indulgences this way for loved ones who are already dead, greasing their way to Heaven by doing something for the Church here on Earth.

    Why would the Catholic Church agree to this reversal? It wouldn’t be the harsh economy, would it, or the church’s fading influence? Not at all, says a Brooklyn bishop. “Because there is sin in the world,” he told the newspaper.

    Reformation? What Reformation?

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    It’s a joke. A meme.

  • d00d

    Your tinfoil hat needs adjusting.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    What do you want to know about Obama’s birth that isn’t in the public record?

    Do you believe the State of Hawaii is lying when they say they have his original birth certificate on record? Is the birth announcement in the Honolulu Advertiser of 13th August 1961 part of an implausibly far-sighted fiction? Are all the people who have examined the original of the Certificate of Life Birth he released (not the low-resolution scan that was released to the Internet) lying about it seeming to be valid?

    Not that I ever understood the point of trying to claim that Obama was born in Kenya; in other years it might have made sense, but McCain was born in Panama, and no-one ever suggested that not being born in the US was any impediment for him

  • http://calvinlawson.wordpress.com calvinlawson

    omg…god and country, capitalism and white people! This is the state of conservatism in our country; with Rush frakin’ Limbaugh as the posterchild.

    Guess who is most responsible for our crippling national debt? Republican presidents, that’s who!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_debt_by_U.S._presidential_terms

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    You forgot a word, let me fix it for you:

    “llabesab [a stupid racist bastard]”

    There, all better.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    Sure! Lucky for you, we can help.

    Real Jesus Followers:

    1) Ask for evidence about what doctrines in Christianity to believe. Otherwise, you just accept what anyone tells you. For instance, the virgin birth is a cute story, but is there evidence? No. So throw that one out the window.

    2) Read the Bible with an open mind, taking into consideration that most Christians disagree about the doctrinal ramifications for most passages. Why do you think there are so many churches?

    Okay, who am I kidding. You pick a church, then conform to their doctrines. Everyone else who disagrees with your church’s interpretation goes to hell. That makes it easy and fun.

    3) Make your prayers spiritual. You’ll quickly realize praying for real things doesn’t work, unless they don’t requite supernatural intervention. The prayers must be things that are subjective or can happen on their own.

    4) Learn to deal with massive amounts of cognitive dissonance. That is, you have to believe that everything is up to you, but still think that God does everything. You have to believe in scientific medicine, but think God heals people. You have to believe God revealed himself on a regular basis to superstitious sheep herders, and decided to stop as soon as any technology was around that would verify it.

    5) Ignore all and any evidence for evolution. Since the Bible says the earth was created 6,000 years ago in 6 days, then evolution can’t be true. So the evidence is all false. This also puts you in a rebel position which reinforces you must be right.

    6) Wear Christian t-shirts and plaster their car with religious bumper stickers. This makes Jesus very happy.

    7) Break all their secular music CDs and only listen to Ray Boltz — er, no, he’s come out of the closet — so only listen to Michael W Smith. I think he’s still a heterosexual.

    8) Claim there is scientific evidence for God, but never say what it is.

    I’m sure others around here can help out on some more tips on being a real Jesus Follower. We’re passionate about that around here.

  • everythingreviewed

    I can disprove God. He made platypi, as nothing so random would just evolve (yes, I read h2g2). So, by saying he IS real by accident, he isn’t. No faith means no existence. Bye bye God.

  • d00d

    9) Vote on the same handful of hot-button, moral wedge issues every election. Or God will lift his protective hand on your country, causing natural and man-made catastrophes. And the secularists will win in the war on Christmas.

  • http://www.thelonelytrader.wordpress.com The Lonely Trader

    Ah, brilliant. This, in effect, is my manifesto. Thank you for this.

  • nick

    “you are what you eat.” Because you got food poisoning once, you know only eat junk food? If you were truly put to “the final test”, I am sorry. Blaspheme Jesus ok, blaspheme the Holy Spirit–damnation. (in other words be true to your temple (within)). specifics posted: 1.) Logic and faith are opposite sides of the brain. Prove love, absolute zero, heaven? ha! Stick with physical one pencil and one pencil makes two. Tell it to the judge. 2.) Twins who do everything together find points of discussion. It is what makes us human. How can i “logically” expect to agree on simple things such as diet when I eat hamburgers, and others eat crickets? Magnify that to infinite complexities of all encompassing ramifications of faith and the ‘pride’ factor. Religion is a great evil that causes wars. Try the DNA of faith, it won’t match the closest person you know. We all like blue? Okay, for a club. What, we think differently? then we faith differently…etc. 3.) I don’t waste my time visiting someone who dislikes me. Why should i? If I am NC wolfpack fan, why would I go to a tarheel pep rally? (This aspect of truth and logic is a fragile bridge between the two). 4.) G-d is still hear, but if you are blind, then you cannot see. Dissonance? Straight on. It takes wielders, engineers, computer scientists, etc, etc to build a space ship. I could not make a plastic cup or butcher a cow for steak, but it happens. It takes a bunch of people thinking different things to make things work, not one. (The mind of Christ still is out there for future happenings) Can we predict the summer yes, can we plan out the work week? If we all thought the same, how dull. It takes everyone in the food chain to survive…even the bacteria that processes shit for plants. 5.) Evolution and faith coincide. It didn’t say that Adam had arms or legs…but formed in the image. Maybe Eve split from the amoeba’s rib. Maybe if there are microscopic rules below quarks and the macro environment of black holes and kepler belts, that G-d started as spiritual faith to be on the separate side of the brain as intelligence. It seems to me, often wisdom and intelligence are in contrast. Besides, every time we “discover” a continent and native americans are there doesn’t mean the truth is changed. …along those lines…if G-d needs to backdate some paperwork to make aliens appear (discovered), then He will to keep his glory. And it would follow the historical cycle of enslavement of the Hebrews, or the nomadic chosen of the star travelers. G-d created us, not we created Him. We keep the partnership to truth. Let the dung beetles take care of micromanagement of nature. On time…it is finite. Infinite and finite do exist together, but separate. “In the beginning…” there was the big bang. Instead of collapsing, there was an explosion. Day 1. Day two…define the specifics…time perimeters and physical stuff that man understand from the infinite of it all. Maybe day one was 100 billion years. Day two was 10 billion years. Day six was “as a 1000 years.” G-d was the only one there. Day 7…he rested. So maybe we are still on day 7. Maybe we are on day 8, 9, or 1000. Time is a man-made concept. We all die. 6.) Faith is not an election. G-d is not running for congress. The inner self, temple of the spirit, is what is important. Not all are preachers. Not all parts of the body are ears…how would we see? Besides, G-d doesn’t need our help. He was doing fine before he created us. 7.) Because music is an extension of the author’s reality we perceive (and G-d’s thought makes reality), I cannot…okay, I can…G-d has many names, many tags, many labels. He made it all. You want to express evil music? It exists. I like some of it too. …accounting to writings…again i am not simply a spirit without a temple yet…there were 3 archangels. The math? If G-d allows a little blasphemy to my tower of babel? Two parts good (Old Mike and Gab), one part Satan. hardship is there. Satan is there. Two to one odds on the good guys. 8.) Evidence? Ha! Prove I have a car. Prove i type english. Prove what the definition of is, is. I know what works. I have lived a chapter in my life called Job. I did not die and did not fair as well in this test. But I am human. ………..I do like debate and do not take discussion personal. If you can keep “the work in the office space”, I would love to discuss as I believe we will sharpen each other, agree on some things, disagree on others, and it won’t be dull. Of course if you not hardened, I would rather you keep to the things you believe and not weaken beyond you ability. Bless you Saul to Paul, back to Saul… Pen pal?

  • d00d

    “Where there is an object, there was a process set in motion to cause that object to come into existence. “

    Except where God is concerned. He has always existed, right?

    “8) The fact that we even exist is scientific evidence for a God who thought up the laws of physics, genetics and thermodynamics.”

    None of these things need magical, supernatural forces to exist. This is similar to the God of the Gaps fallacy. You can’t personally comprehend something, so God must have done it.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    I’d tend to say it makes you a nice guy who has some unfortunate delusions about gods.

    Welcome.

    And I doubly agree with you about #6.

  • d00d

    Isn’t the point of this blog to admit his beliefs? And can a faith stand on its own merits if it can’t take criticism?

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    Please tell me where I have comparable beliefs that a man is god, was born of a virgin, and resurrected from the dead.

  • Occam Shave

    I am also in agreement with stevebrisendine and d00d.

    Christians’ insistence on their beliefs as truth, instead of as beliefs (something you choose to accept as real), is a huge mass of delusions.

    No amount of circular reasoning, unverified premises, grunting, straining, and repeating to yourself and others that you *know* this will make it real.

    And virgin birth? How unreal can you get?

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    Wow.

  • d00d

    Atheism is not a “response to religion.” It is the default stance, and doesn’t necessitate any kind of philosophy.

  • Occam Shave

    You’re flat wrong, and are providing no enlightenment.

  • stevebrisendine

    I suppose I should have said “preternatural”, rather than “supernatural”. It’s an aspect of nature we don’t yet understand. Is it magic when we design and build a hand-held laser pointer? Not at all — but it would seem so to an ancient with no knowledge of the technology of our day.

    The design of the universe is in keeping with the laws of science, absolutely. The question is whether one believes that it happened by chance or is the product of a self-sufficient, self-sustaining intelligence.

    I would suggest, as greater minds than mine have done, that a creative intelligence is revealed in the design, just as our intelligence reveals itself in the things we create. Scientific understanding is, therefore, to be pursued not with an agenda of “proving the Bible,” but with the goal of understanding how things work. As we understand more, my belief is that that understanding won’t explain away God.

    And on the eternal existence front, it’s both hard and not hard to comprehend. If there is an all-powerful being (my belief being that there is), that being would not be constrained by anything — including time. What we perceive as eternity past and eternity future would be a constant now.

  • http://calvinlawson.wordpress.com calvinlawson

    Nick: “Yet, you cannot prove that he does not exist. You are neither all-knowing, nor are you omnipresent.”

    Calvin: I hope you understand that proof about things is available to us without omnipotence and omnipresents. If you don’t understand this then it’s useless to attempt to reason with you, since you have no respect for reason itself.

    But regardless of that, things that are not based in physical fact cannot be “proven” one way or another. IE: you can make TONS of wild untestable claims that can never be proven right or wrong….it’s easy!

    God is the ultimate untestable claim, because he’s magic.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    You argue that God does not exist.

    No, we argue that we don’t believe that god exists. It’s a subtle distinction, but one which negates most of your argument.

    Yet, you cannot prove that he does not exist.

    You are neither all-knowing, nor are you omnipresent.

    If you were, you would be like God.

    You have to admit that God could exist in a place you are not (you are not omnipresent and cannot be everywhere at once)

    Also, you have to admit that He could exist outside of your limited sphere of knowledge (you are not all-knowing)

    So, you cannot prove, “God does not exist” for He could exist outside of your limited sphere of knowledge, and outside of your limited sphere of presence.

    No, we can’t prove that god doesn’t exist any more than you can prove that god exists, or that he wants you to worship in the way that you do. Absent all evidence either way, the null hypothesis is that no such entity exists.

    For that matter, can you prove that Zeus doesn’t exist? If not, does that stop you from believing that Zeus doesn’t exist? Why not?

    You have to admit that God could exist in a place you are not (you are not omnipresent and cannot be everywhere at once)

    I can only prove that god doesn’t exist where I am? Well, wouldn’t that prove that god is not omnipresent? If god doesn’t exist here and now, what use is it to say that he might exist somewhere else, where we can’t see him?

    My standard is different than yours. What I call evil, you may call good. What I call good, you may call evil.

    And, if I am doing my good (your evil), and you don’t like it…what are you going to do? Encroach on my freedom to do as I please? Are you going to tell me what to do, and how to live?

    Better not.

    If you try to stop me from doing my good (your evil) you are guilty of forcing your views on me, and trying to convert me to your way of thinking.

    So, we cannot tell murderers that they’re not allowed to murder, because that would be forcing our value system on them? If your religious beliefs cause you to cause harm to others, then you should obviously be punished as the law demands. But, short of that, you should be free to hold whatever crazy beliefs you want, and no-one here is going to tell you otherwise.

  • Occam Shave

    Nick

    You argue that God does not exist.

    Yet, you cannot prove that he does not exist.

    Haven’t heard that old saw before – more than a few dozen times.

    “A-theism” means without theism. Choosing not to believe in something unverifiable gets twisted, by you, to needing to prove God doesn’t exist.

    Very muddled thinking.

    Are you going to tell me what to do, and how to live?

    Better not.

    That is actually precisely what Christians are trying to do; anything from forcing abortion to be illegal (forced birth) to forcing prayer in schools, to forcing biology textbooks to include theology.

    Next, you will justify those actions, with more of your unverified beliefs, and it is still not merely telling, but forcing on people, how to live.

  • segriff

    Isn’t this a Christian website? You definetely should not cuss, anyways, it’s not cool.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    @claidheamh mor

    Is there a society I could join? I live with cats and regard them as an infestation. However, escaping my house to the outdoors is no relief, for I am confronted by precisely the same problem you cite.

    @segriff
    In your drive-by you managed to miss the entire purpose of this site. Congratulations, I think you’re up for some sort of “fewest clues” award.

    And if it weren’t for Christianity there’d be considerably fewer goddam cuss words, too!

  • Jesse

    Uh…nihilism what? What exactly is a “default stance”? I take it that’s an argument to try and evade having to clearly articulate your own philosophy, less it be subject to criticism.

  • http://calvinlawson.wordpress.com calvinlawson

    Nope, not a Christian website, and saying shit and asshole to refer to shit and assholes is not cussing, unless you’re a puritan.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com/ wintermute

    Actually, it’s fucking cool.

  • claidheamh mor

    Christian website?

    *snort*

    It’s not cussing to call you clueless.

    I’ll still fuckin’ cuss sometimes, though.

  • stevebrisendine

    I’m in agreement with d00d. A faith can’t stand on its own if it’s not rigorously examined, from without and within.

    The sad thing is that so many people are told not to ask the tough questions of themselves — instead, in Churchspeak, to “cultivate a childlike faith.” I don’t know about you, but every three-year-old I know is a fountain of questions — undiplomatic, tough questions that aren’t satisfied with pat answers.

    Shutting up and nodding, and then going out to parrot what you’ve been told without stopping to think, does nobody even the smallest bit of good.

  • d00d

    You want to get mired down in flowery, long-winded philosophical debate, then be my guest, but I’m not interested. A child is an atheist until indoctrinated into Christian beliefs (we are talking about the Christian God here, aren’t we?). Without Christianity and the Bible, there would be no God.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    No, it’s not anything like nihilism.

    Atheism is a default stance on a single topic and not a philosophy.

    Given the thousands of deities that humans have worshipped over the years, and given the fact that not one of them has ever had any convincing positive evidence presented for it (a few thousand years ago, any random thunderstorm would do for proof of the existence of a god, but nowadays most people base their proofs on internal emotional states and other non evidences), the obvious null hypothesis is that no such entity exists. Once evidence is presented for a specific deity, we can re-evaluate that, but until such time, why should we bother believing in gods?

    Atheism makes the claim that there are (probably) no gods. That is the sum total of it. This is not a philosophy or a religion that requires support; it stands alone based on the absence of evidence for such things.

  • cello

    There are Buddhists who are also atheists so atheism does not preclude having a philsophical approach to life. Like wintermute said, atheism only speaks to one facet of philosophy. If any given atheist chooses not to have articulated, to themselves or to you, an overarching philosophy, so what? Why would that bother you?

  • Peter

    Just one remark: atheism and nihilism are not the same thing.

  • stevebrisendine

    Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve voted for Democrats and against a ban on Sunday liquor sales. Do I have to hand in my Jesus Follower Card?

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    Is it also a “philosophy” to believe that unicorns don’t exist? Or to believe that there is no invisible, intangible dragon in my garage?

    Just because something is a belief does not make it a philosophy. Especially when it’s a belief that something unevidenced does not exist.

  • Jesse

    And you’re not interested because you know you don’t have any formal experience with philosophy, as with about 99% of “new” Atheists.

    I guess I, as they say, “NAILED IT!”:

    http://gnomerroamer.wordpress.com/2009/02/26/iii-diet-atheism-discourse-and-the-rhetorical-strategems-of-new-atheism/

    You, and probably most of the people on this blog will find their place in the bullet points.

  • d00d

    “Without Christianity and the Bible, there would be no God.”

    Not so. Islam claims a God (Allah) who is omnipresent and all-knowing.”

    That’s why I established the Christian God as the subject. Cording to many, they’re the same God, anyway.

  • d00d

    Drats, this commenting system is annoying me. Which is fine, because your discussion, Jesse, is getting pretentious and self-congratulatory. I’ve had enough.

  • Jesse

    Like I said, that’s a non-argument for lack of being capable or informed enough to take a philosophical position. The worst part is the straw man of religion as merely this prescriptive mechanism, of which Atheism is the worse example.

  • Nick

    it stands alone based on the absence of evidence for such things.

    According to your view, which is not all knowing. Since you are not all knowing, your statement is irrelevant.

    “Without Christianity and the Bible, there would be no God.”

    Not so. Islam claims a God (Allah) who is omnipresent and all-knowing.

    “You want to get mired down in flowery, long-winded philosophical debate, then be my guest, but I’m not interested.”

    You had better get interested. If you cannot articulate your standing, then you are no better than another religion dude going around shoving your thoughts into someone’ throat.

    Start thinking. Use the brain. And logically follow your conclusions to their end.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    No, I can take a philosophical position; it’s just not relevant to the question of atheism. Especially I was commenting in general terms, I don’t want to speak for other people whose philosophies might be very different from my own. Buddhists, humanists, ontological naturalists and rationalists are all atheists, and all have very different philosophies. I’m not going to arrogate myself to the position of being able to speak for them all.

    The fact that I don’t believe that any god exists is no more a philosophical position than the fact that I don’t believe that homoeopathy works.

  • Jesse

    You’re just trying to confuse belief and philosophy. Atheists make a truth functional, necessary statement “God does not exist, we can know it, and that it cannot be otherwise.” Whether or not you prefer to admit it, in any formal context that’s what Atheism claims. In terms of skepticism, at least faiths identify themselves as such, shift to accomodate/compensate for the shortfalls of faith, and don’t put on the same false pretenses of cultural atheism. You’re just being evasive so you don’t have to state your position, once again, lest it thereby be subject to criticism.

  • Nick

    “Just because something is a belief does not make it a philosophy.”

    You are claiming an absolute.

    Believe whatever you want about belief and philosophy. Just because you say “Just because something is a belief does not make it a philosophy” does not make it so.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    You’re just trying to confuse belief and philosophy.

    No, I’m trying to point out that they’re different things. Nick is the one who said that a belief is necessarily a philosophy.

    Atheists make a truth functional, necessary statement “God does not exist, we can know it, and that it cannot be otherwise.” Whether or not you prefer to admit it, in any formal context that’s what Atheism claims.

    Um, no. I think you mean “Gods doesn’t seem to exist. But if you can present some evidence, I’ll be more than happy to change my mind.”

    There are probably some small number of atheists who claim that gods cannot possibly exist, and they’ll never change their minds, but I’ve never met one. Even Dawkins claims that he’s open to evidence.

  • Occam Shave

    @jesse

    Wrong again!

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    Jesse:

    Declarations to avoid can be found here:
    http://unreasonablefaith.com/?s=hundreds+of+proofs

    I’d also skip the whole “Atheism is a religion too!” thing, and the “You can’t prove god doesn’t exist, so my position that he does is equally valid!” And the related crap.

    Ooops–too late for you, eh, Jesse?

    Your arguments are so old they’ve got whiskers. Go get something original, can you?

    You provide the definitive proof of the exisitence of the god your personal prejudices tell you exists, and I might convert.

    In fact, I suspect that most of the atheists on this blog would happily convert if any theist came up with a rational, testable, unfalsifiable, provable means to establish that a specific god existed.

    Heck, we might even chance Pascal’s wager if they could prove that some god existed.

    But they, and you, can’t.

  • Nick

    “If your religious beliefs cause you to cause harm to others, then you should obviously be punished as the law demands. But, short of that, you should be free to hold whatever crazy beliefs you want, and no-one here is going to tell you otherwise.”

    What law? Law defines absolutes. There are none.

    Why can’t I murder? Because you said so?

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    You are claiming an absolute.

    No, I’m saying that “X is not necessarily Y”. In some cases X Might be Y. In other cases, it might not. How is that an absolute?

    Believe whatever you want about belief and philosophy. Just because you say “Just because something is a belief does not make it a philosophy” does not make it so.

    This doesn’t make any sense. You are the one making the absolute claim that a belief is always a philosophy. I’m merely pointing out that just because you claim it’s so doesn’t mean that it’s really so.

  • Nick

    “A-theism” means without theism. Choosing not to believe in something unverifiable gets twisted, by you, to needing to prove God doesn’t exist.

    Apparently this is what you beleive. Fine. A lot of “atheists” openly declare that God does not exist.

    I was talking to them.

    If the shoe does not fit, don’t wear it.

    And believe whatever you want.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    Yes, you do, don’t you?

  • Jesse

    And now, the next number, where we equivocate between different types of Atheism. Arguing first from strong Atheism, then reverting to weak Atheism, then agnosticism, then to just, frankly, admitting to my first response:

    You don’t state your philosophical position, lest it be criticized.

    Criticizing others in spite of subjecting your own views to the same skepticism is nihilistic behavior, but only its teenager-y form.

    It’s funny how repetitive it is, that ‘ole Atheist two-step…

  • d00d

    Please provide your detailed philosophical beliefs behind to why you do or don’t think invisible pink unicorns exist. And no “dancing” please.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    And now, the next number, where we equivocate between different types of Atheism. Arguing first from strong Atheism, then reverting to weak Atheism

    What equivocation?

    I do not believe any gods exist. That makes me an atheist. If you care to attach more labels to me than that, then feel free.

    I believe that I might be wrong, and will change my mind if you can present compelling evidence. That makes me an agnostic atheist; the two positions are not antithetical.

    You don’t state your philosophical position, lest it be criticized.

    I don’t state my philosophical position because it’s not relevant. Why do you imagine it might be? Do you think I need some great philosophical reason to reject the existence of Mithras, or Zeus?

    Criticizing others in spite of subjecting your own views to the same skepticism is nihilistic behavior, but only its teenager-y form.

    Who have I criticised? Can you name someone?

    Plus, my behaviour are anything but nihilistic, and I am always happy to recieve honest criticism from people who know what they’re talking about. If you meet such a person, send them my way.

    It’s funny how repetitive it is, that ‘ole Atheist two-step…

    You keep making the same outmoded and wrong statements, and expect people to respond differently each time?

  • Jesse

    No, you’re arguments if they lack the courage to stand up for strong atheism, are based on the universal and teleological notions of scientific reduction, logical reduction, and instrumental reason; i.e., they are absolute and universal, but it is incumbent upon you not to admit them as such, for lack of evidence.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    [deleted by teleprompter's request]

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    No, you’re arguments if they lack the courage to stand up for strong atheism, are based on the universal and teleological notions of scientific reduction, logical reduction, and instrumental reason; i.e., they are absolute and universal, but it is incumbent upon you not to admit them as such, for lack of evidence.

    I freely admit (as I have several times already in this exchange) that the lack of evidence is exactly what my atheism rests upon. I really don’t understand what point you’re trying to make here.

    Feel free to present evidence for your particular god, and I may well change my mind.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Sorry, can I get rid of that comment?

    I didn’t mean to imply that Scientology has anything to do with Christianity. Arggh…if you could just ignore that one, thanks.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    God has no Birth Certificate, neither does “HE.”

    Yes, he does. The State of Hawaii has stated that they have the original birth certificate on file, and it’s genuine and says that he was born in Honolulu. Why do you think they are lying?

    God speaks and the heavens tremble. “HE” speaks, and the DOW tumbles.

    Amazing that he managed to cause this crash while he was a junior senator from Illinois, isn’t it? What, exactly, did he say to cause the crash?

  • Jesse

    Since I said that I’ve been having a brain fart trying to figure out what movie it’s from. A Sandler flick?

  • Jesse

    Does that necessitate Atheism, or preclude it as well? That’s my question.

  • Nick

    “You know, even I could make atheists look stupid by talking to the dumb ones, putting all their answers together and making it seem like they’re all idiotic, childish, and don’t know what the heck they’re talking about.”

    Nice way to talk about others. Hope your not a Christian

    “I mean, do you think it’s just ‘natural’ for things to evolve so perfectly, even the tiniest things like leaves?”

    You should say “even the tiniest things like quarks?”

    Why do you assume that Christians/Catholics are all like the ones you talk to/hear about/ see on TV?

    Are you different?

  • Sock

    What in the world makes you think this is perfect?

    What’re you comparing anything that you consider “perfect” to?

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Is Atheism an extraordinary claim? Well, it depends….

  • ericbroze

    Perhaps this it too difficult for theists to comprehend, given the stunting that religion does on young minds, but I’ll give it a go.

    We are all born Atheists.

    Without extraordinary proof, the claim of god(s) existence is unfounded.

    If this proof does not exist or cannot be provided, there is no logical reason to lend credence to it.

    Thus, back to Atheism.

    Basically, if you can provide 1 shred of tangible proof, there is an argument for god(s). Good luck in trying to find it, no one has found any yet.

    Additionally, Atheism is not a philosophy. It only is a acknowledgment that the theist argument lacks substance/is unconvincing.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    It’s on the front page of wordpress.com, so we’re getting some really smart people coming in.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    No, but you do have to turn in your Christian Fundamentalist card. It’s a step in the right direction! ;)

  • stevebrisendine

    I think “Fundamentalist” is another hijacked word, along with “Liberal” and “Conservative”.

    From where I sit, the fundamentals should be loving God and doing good to the people around you (yes, all of the people around you).

    I’m not there yet. I’m not even in the same time zone as there yet. So until I get myself sorted out, I’m afraid I’m going to have to postpone my plan to scream John 3:16 at all of you until you see things my way.

    If you insist, I’ll muster up a few mutters of “godless heathen” or something along those lines.

  • d00d

    I like the cut of your jib. One pony and a case of fine whiskey for you, sir.

  • stevebrisendine

    Thank you kindly, and a well-aged barrel of your favorite sips to you. My youngest daughter is horse-mad, and fine whiskey is always a good thing. (I never got the whole teetotaling thing, but that’s a subject for another day.)

  • Nick

    “Pose a false dilemma between religion and Atheism, and assume that anyone who contradicts you is a Theist.”

    Love it. And the fact is…many people jump right in. Never realizing it is a false dilemma to begin with.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    I don’t think telling people to “take a philosophy course” is helping you win friends & influence people.

    First, I’m sure many people here have taken a philosophy course or read the relevant books.

    Second, I doubt most people are going to take your insulting advice (accusing people they don’t know philosophy because they disagree with you).

    Third, even those of us who have taken philosophy courses make mistakes in logic and reason. And we’re quite happy to say so and take a statement back or revise it if it is shown to be unreasonable.

    So perhaps it is best to just point out the fallacy and why it is wrong. Then everyone can learn or disagree.

  • Sock

    If you play the devil’s advocate without any mention beforehand about what your own stance is, how am I supposed to know any difference between you and the random Joshua Christianson who shows up every now and then?

    Anyways, Nick, it frustrates me because I see it so many times. It happens again and again and again and again and again. It’s not so much the words or even the message, but it’s repetition. Saying the same thing over and over and over again, completely ignoring what other people have said. It’s close mindedness and it’s the death of any form of meaningful conversation.

    And…
    “What is that supposed to mean? Believe? In God(s)? Does that signify he exists, but you don’t acknowledge him?”

    It means exactly what I said. How could you possibly misconstrue or question something said so plainly? If I said the sky was blue, would you then ask me if that means that I don’t think the sky is red? Seriously. Don’t over complicate.

    If you really just don’t understand what that means, then let me say it another way.

    I don’t believe in God because to do otherwise wouldn’t be logical, given the lack of evidence supporting the existence of such a being. In my opinion, God is an imaginary friend for grown ups. I do not acknowledge him because it’s silly and pointless to acknowledge something that (probably) does not exist. I will acknowledge the effect that belief or disbelief in (a) God has on peoples lives, but that is the effect of the individual mind, and not a divine intervention. However, if there was ever a supernatural and divine moment that I witnessed, then I would change my point of view, and accept the fact that I was wrong about the existence of this being.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    Well, when turned on its head it seems to work for theists.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    @nick:
    The pharmacy called–they think they switched your dosage–it should be two pills every four hours, not the other way around.

  • LRA

    wow, nick. it took me a whole 2 seconds to scroll through your post. what a waste of 2 seconds!

  • http://pasje.livejournal.com Pascalle

    As we would say on certain forums…

    “wall of text crits you for 10k…
    You Die.”

  • Nick

    “It means exactly what I said. How could you possibly misconstrue or question something said so plainly? If I said the sky was blue, would you then ask me if that means that I don’t think the sky is red? Seriously. Don’t over complicate.”

    Ok ok…enough of devil’s advocate ;)

    “I don’t believe in God because to do otherwise wouldn’t be logical, given the lack of evidence supporting the existence of such a being. In my opinion, God is an imaginary friend for grown ups. I do not acknowledge him because it’s silly and pointless to acknowledge something that (probably) does not exist. I will acknowledge the effect that belief or disbelief in (a) God has on peoples lives, but that is the effect of the individual mind, and not a divine intervention. However, if there was ever a supernatural and divine moment that I witnessed, then I would change my point of view, and accept the fact that I was wrong about the existence of this being.”

    Finally. A clear and concise outlay of someone’s view. Thanks.

  • Jesse

    “If you play the devil’s advocate without any mention beforehand about what your own stance is…” The first sentence is the most important. In its scope, your only saying “how are we to know you’re not a fundy” (which has a scapegoat factor all its own). But the underlying mechanism is colonial reification/hypostatisation: take a definite side about what Being and ontology are, prior to evidence. Say it, and make it so. What? I’m uncertain as to whether or not most folks will understand the philosophical underpinnings there, but I’d suggest reading Heidegger some time. The statement is one of ideology, not philosophy.

  • Nick

    “take a definite side about what Being and ontology are, prior to evidence”

    Thank you. All too often we jump in the fray without defining what we are fraying about.

    Sometimes we don’t even define the fray.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    Essentially yes.–You’re not supposed to murder, because society (or rather a majority of society’s power-holders, including me) says so and will lock you up if you do.

    But there’s nothing saying you can’t murder, anymore than there’s anything saying I can’t.

    But I don’t because 1) I believe that one should avoid destroying what one cannot create, and 2) most times, the few people I’ve thought would be better off dead meet the appropriate end one way or another (It’s sloppy justice, but it tends to work).

    However, as you point out, there are no absolutes. I consider my selfish survival paramount, and will contest vigorously and to the limits of my strength and ability with anyone wishing to end it.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com/ wintermute

    What law? Law defines absolutes. There are none.

    There are no laws? Are you sure of that?

    Why can’t I murder? Because you said so?

    Because society says that you can’t. Because people don’t like being murdered.

  • Nick

    “However, as you point out, there are no absolutes.”

    Ooops! Guess we did not realize we were defining an absolute by pointing that out.

  • stevebrisendine

    Hey, if I’m deluded, I’m only deluded about one, not several!

    Thanks for the welcome, though. Seems like a lot of thoughtful people here.

  • Occam Shave

    We do end up talking to the dumb Christians that post, ramble and flame here – a lot of muddled, rambling, unsupported thinking – and still they keep coming.

    No one here has to “[put] all their answers together.

    They do that all on their own.

  • pen2sword

    Yes. I am different.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    “New atheism” is a bullshit meme. What does it even mean?

  • claidheamh mor

    It’s meaningless, and accompanies the other bullshit. Like saying “play the victim when exposed”, using the word “enlightenment” and other statements and about atheism that are nonsense, that is, they make no sense.

  • claidheamh mor

    “Daniel Florien

    I don’t think telling people to “take a philosophy course” is helping you win friends & influence people.

    It sure as hell isn’t. Repulsing them, yes.

    First, I’m sure many people here have taken a philosophy course or read the relevant books.

    Second, I doubt most people are going to take your insulting advice (accusing people they don’t know philosophy because they disagree with you).

    It is insulting, and yes, it IS stupid, and no, I have no intention of taking it. I’m probably not alone in that.

    Third, even those of us who have taken philosophy courses make mistakes in logic and reason. And we’re quite happy to say so and take a statement back or revise it if it is shown to be unreasonable.

    So perhaps it is best to just point out the fallacy and why it is wrong. Then everyone can learn or disagree.”

    Some reasoned facts, and without covert, disguised hostility, which i see far more on the Christian side, would be a refreshing change.

    The circular reasoning, hate, assumptions that your chosen *beliefs* are true, your assumptions that because you believe something and atheists don’t, that atheists are simply too stupid, are sure making me feel all that love and convincing me and turning me Christian.

  • Jesse

    No, don’t get me wrong. There are fully defensible Atheist/physicalist/materialist philosophical positions, and that’s the really ironic thing about people assuming I’m a theist for opposing their views. But those views are the emerging character of a purely cultural/socioeconomic Atheism that completely dispenses with Atheist ethics (existential, relativist, etc.) in favor of political or social gain. Most “new” Atheists outwardly describe/differentiate themselves as such, but it turns Atheism into a commodity of unimaginative and plagiaristic books, co-optive ideology, colonial rationalism, secular humanism, anti-religion catharsis… completely unlike legitimate Atheism. Irreconcilably, I contend.

  • cello

    Jesse is promoting his/her own blog. See her first link on the thread – it is a lengthy essay deriding neo-colonial white atheists. (LOL. Why do all highly educated humanities majors sound the same? They use the phrase white colonial power structure in just about anything they write.) I think Jesse mostly likes to feel smug, so it would be the case of pot, kettle, black at the very least.

  • Sock

    I second that.

  • Jesse

    What exactly am I promoting? I sincerely apologize for any piggy-backing, but Atheists have to answer for their own views, and I think most would find out that they cannot if they speak with any philosophy teacher/professor in their area. Do you see any ads on my blog? Am I on reddit or some other internet capitalism BS? No? Didn’t think so. And yes, most Atheists are exactly what I said, and if you’ll just go to my blog you can get a pretty strong argument of the fact…LOL.

    But honestly, regardless of the context in which it is debated, “new” Atheism is invalid and indefensible. It’s origins are not in a coherent philosophical position, but in religious demogoguery, social/economic structures, and an emerging book market of pseudo-philosophers like Hitchens, Dawkins, and Harris.

    I’ve said enough.

  • cello

    Okay, so new atheists are not true atheists. Just like Mormons are true Christians. LOL.

    There is a pop atheism currently in vogue that speaks to your point but I still have to laugh – it’s a sign that atheism has arrived when we now have one group of atheists telling another group of atheists that they aren’t doing it right.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Jesse, I think I can answer for my own views. I have had extensive discussions about my personal atheism on this blog many times, and I have laid out my views in detail once and again.

    I think I can defend my beliefs or lack of beliefs reasonably. What kind of arrogance is it for you to say I can’t without even allowing me the chance to do so?

    Once again, you’ve leapt to a conclusion which, at best, you are not yet capable of supporting.

    In that context, you have not said enough. You have not defined which “new” atheism is, what an “old” atheism would, the differences between them, why one is indefensible and why one isn’t, etc., etc.

    You’ve made some claims which you have largely left undefended and then you expected us to bow at the altar of your own finesse without a second thought.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    And yes, most Atheists are exactly what I said, and if you’ll just go to my blog you can get a pretty strong argument of the fact…

    Does that “pretty strong argument” include any actual atheists who claim that it is impossible for any god to exist, and that no evidence could ever convince them? Or does it just include you saying “because I saaaaid so”, just like here?

    If you have more convincing arguments than “I know what you believe better than you do, so there!”, then feel free to articulate them here.

  • LRA

    “pseudo-philosophers like Hitchens, Dawkins, and Harris”

    uhhh, I call Mr. True Scottsman on that one.

    So what is a true philosopher exactly?

  • http://calvinlawson.wordpress.com calvinlawson

    “So what is a true philosopher exactly?”

    Hmmm…I noticed he didn’t include Dennett on his list.

    What is being IMPLIED is that you cannot be a “true philosopher” and maintain that there is no evidence for God. Patently false.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Who made you the arbiter of which forms of atheism are or are not legitimate?

    Besides, what kind of atheism is there other than the kind which does not believe in a god or gods?

    I wasn’t aware of another kind, sir. Secular humanism is not atheism, nor are any of the other things you’ve listed specifically affiliated with atheism.

    You leap toward too many conclusions. That is the most positive thing I take away from your thoughts.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com/ wintermute

    You aren’t listening to a word anyone says here; why should we imagine that you’ll listen if we say the same things elsewhere?

  • Jesse

    I think a good point is that historically modern Atheism has risen out of a moral position–Nietzsche’s “death of God” concept, the “bad-faith” position of the Existentialists, and so on. What distinguishes “new” Atheism from these forms is that it is much further from any academic setting, and it does not originate in a moral/ethical position of any form, but more of an ideological/cultural one. Some claim to do so, but once again, only based on “future” evidence.

  • http://calvinlawson.wordpress.com calvinlawson

    “That’s teleology.”

    Calvin: No, it’s not. Physics, astronomy, and abiogenesis do NOT imply design and purpose, regardless of what the Discovery Institute might want us to think.

    “That’s a false dilemma and a misconstruction of religion.”

    That is hkyson’s point; to say “Science can’t answer anything, ergo religion can” is not only a false dilemma, it’s also begging the question. (actual meaning, not colloquial).

    And NO, this is NOT a misconstruction of religion, at least the fundamentalist religion I grew up in. This is VERY MUCH given as proof of God’s existence; my devout uncle said this very thing the other day…

    I told him he’s worshiping the “God of the gaps”:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_of_the_gaps

  • http://billpost.blogspot.com/ Bill

    “But, your still gonna die. It’s worth thinking about.”

    So what?

  • Jesse

    MMmmm…yeah, it is. God of the gaps? Gaps between what? Inevitability? Structure? Universal/essential laws? And once again, the presupposition of “future” evidence? Nice to meet ya, Hegel. You’re a credit that like most ex-theist Atheists, your universal/positivist mode of thinking hasn’t really been resolved, just rationalized and compensated for.

  • Jesse

    What is my agenda?

  • http://calvinlawson.wordpress.com calvinlawson

    Yes, I see this all the time; using fear of death to push the doctrines of this religion or another. after that they come after your morals, your intellect, and finally your pocketbook.

    Once I realized I was going to die whether or not I worried about it my whole life, I simply let it go. Everything has a beginning, a middle, and and end; including me. And I’m OK with that, now that I’ve faced it isntead of hiding behind wishful thinking.

  • http://calvinlawson.wordpress.com calvinlawson

    No, it’s not. Remember, not every Christian thinks the way you do, Martin Luther himself accepted Fideism:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fideism#Protestantism

    My rejection of Christianity had NOTHING to do with Hegel, it started with an acceptance of Arianism; plain and simple. No man is God; that’s blasphemy and a violation of the first of the 10 commndments. Trinitarianism doesn’t make it better, though it tends to obfuscate the issue.

    The Jews and the Muslims agree with me on this, lol; calling a man God is an unforgiveable sin in Islam. I believe Jesus would be on my side as well, considering there was likely a devout Jew underneath the hellenized facade built around him.

    And I’m not an atheist, although I’m sympathetic. The reason I’m not an atheist is that I refuse to give up the right to say things about God, even though I cannot possible “know” my statements are true.

    Like you, I have faith in my beliefs about God, and my beliefs stand in direct opposition to organized religion. It does not bother me that this “lowers” me to the level of theists…I’m comfortable with that.

    See you on the front lines, sir.

  • http://billpost.blogspot.com/ Bill

    “to take the focus off the inherent flaws of your position”

    OK – Please tell me the inherent flaws in my position.

  • Jesse

    Ah, 19th century man meets the 21st century–hilarity ensues. More at eleven. Are you really that desensitized? I know a way you can prove it.

  • Jesse

    And the Atheist-commentboard-Hydra: cut off one head, another takes its place. (Sorry, it’s in the comments above.)

  • http://calvinlawson.wordpress.com calvinlawson

    “OK – Please tell me the inherent flaws in my position.”

    Well that’s easy, Bill; the inherent flaw in our position is that we’re not Theists! Duh. ;)

    Notice how I said I wasn’t an atheist, but Jesse continued to refer to me as such. Good times….

    But he does have a point about assuming everyone is a fundamentalist. It was a complete shock to me as a young man, realizing that not every Christian believed in being “born again”, infallible/inerrant scripture and a literal 6,000 year old earth.

    I guess the root was that I’d been raised to believe that people who didn’t believe these things “weren’t actually Christians”.

    Now, as an adult, I’ve met MANY moderate and intelligent believers from ALL the major religions. Suddenly the fundamentalist straw-man didn’t work quite as well….

    But yes, there are PLENTY of fundamentalists out there, particularly protestant evangelicals, Muslims, and Zionists. And yes, many of them DO pose a direct threat to secular democracy. So maybe there IS still a use for our poor battered strawman, lol.

  • http://billpost.blogspot.com/ Bill

    Seriously – In clear lanuage please tell me the “inherent flaws in my position.” If you have already explained the flaws in my position above, feel free to cut and paste it here again. But I’m curious to hear about these inherent flaws. I’m interested.

  • Jesse

    You think death is no consequence? I’m not using this to push an ideology here, I just took your “so what?” remark to mean that you don’t regard death (and therefore life?) with any esteem or effect. And if the remark was bait for me to offer up some theological view (Heaven, hell, etc.), then you have just fulfilled 1) above: presume you are addressing only a Christian/evangelical context, and if they are not, characterize them as such. Ah binary cultural logic…

  • http://calvinlawson.wordpress.com calvinlawson

    Death != Life.
    Life==important,
    Death==not-important.

    Life: biological function.
    Death: cessation of biological function.

    Ah, the hopeless cognitive snarl that comes from believing the vast majority of our life begins after death. It doesn’t….knowing that NOW is all you have makes it that much sweeter.

    I for one don’t think I could stomach immortality, especially if it came at the cost of the eternal suffering of even one non-believer. The guilt would kill me, to collude with such an evil tormentor.

    And I woudn’t care if that tormentor claims he wasn’t evil, like Bush and Gitmo. I don’t need some god or church to tell me that torture is wrong; I accept it on faith.

  • http://billpost.blogspot.com/ Bill

    “You think death is no consequence? I’m not using this to push an ideology here, I just took your “so what?” remark to mean that you don’t regard death (and therefore life?) with any esteem or effect. And if the remark was bait for me to offer up some theological view (Heaven, hell, etc.), then you have just fulfilled 1) above: presume you are addressing only a Christian/evangelical context, and if they are not, characterize them as such. Ah binary cultural logic…”

    I think death is part of being alive, nothing more, nothing less. I’m not particularly looking forward to it, but given it’s inevitability It doesn’t make much sense to waste energy worrying about it.

    Clearly death has an effect – it is the end of life – but having that perspective doesn’t mean that I don’t hold life in esteem. In fact the opposite is true. Why would you assume that I don’t?

    I didn’t offer my comment to bait you, but to ask why you consider death to have a bearing on the issues being discussed. Nor do I assume you to be a fundamentalist. I would have nothing on which to base such an assumption.

    Are you going to tell me the inherent flaws in my position?

  • http://billpost.blogspot.com/ Bill

    “Are you going to tell me the inherent flaws in my position?”

    Alas – another person who fails to answer my questions.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    It’s amazing what people can know about you through reading a couple of blog posts — what insight Jesse must have to know I have “a psychological state arising from suppressed feelings of envy and hatred that cannot be acted upon, frequently resulting in some form of self-abasement.”

    Jesse, perhaps you missed a career in internet psychology?

  • Jesse

    Muslims and Zionists? Actually, Sufi Islam was a very influential force in skeptical philosophy, and “Zionism” (no offense, but that is a popular code word for “I hate jews”) ie, Judaism embraces philosophical discourse as a method internal to, and not separate from, their faith.

  • LRA

    what I want to know is–

    How did a post on a satirical, but cute picture of a kittie turn into all of this???

  • Jesse

    And there’s the thinly-veiled misquote for the straw man win: I did not say that, and “ressentiment” is a much broader concept than your two-second google.

    Check it out on Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy, or one of the other comprehensive philosophy sites (marxists.org, utm encycl., etc.) I know it might seem offensive to be identified as such, but the concept is a very useful tool for analyzing Atheism and Theism alike, among many other cultural binaries.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    Well, usually the answer would be “Christ followers,” but on this thread it actually seems to be mostly “Christ followers,” a Muslim, and Jesse, who heaps scorn on like a religious fundie but doesn’t seem to be one.

  • http://calvinlawson.wordpress.com calvinlawson

    “no offense, but that is a popular code word for “I hate jews”

    Zionist is a perfectly acceptable word:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zionist

    But I was wondering when the ad-hominems would start, lol!

    I was taught to not hate people, but to hate their actions. So yes, I hate the actions of Israel; they are an affront to all that is good. So is Hamas, but they fall under Islamic fundamentalism, so I’m covered there.

    Not a single jewish friend of mine condones the evil that we have seen recently. Many see hints of the holocaust in Israel’s actions. Never again!

  • d00d

    Self promotion?

  • Jesse

    So scorn is not daily anti-religious demogoguery which refuses to admit the failings of Atheism’s own views? Hilarious! Real Atheists would have a field day with the extent of your own “bad-faith” Dan. I articulate ideas, you conflate them with the person bearing them–reification and hypostatisation at their most reflexive. But keep blogging. Every new post, for years to come, is a furthering of my point. How humanist! How noble!

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    Now I remember why I stopped hanging around self-righteous philosophy majors during college.

  • http://billpost.blogspot.com/ Bill

    “the failings of Atheism’s own views”

    What are these failings?

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    @ Jesse:

    I will try to reply to you later, but for the time being:

    “Real” atheists?

    Care to make an appointment with Mr. True Scotsman, anyone?

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    Teleprompter:

    Jesse believes that a “real atheist” is someone who believes that gods cannot possibly exist, and would refuse to acknowledge any actual evidence.

    [S]he has failed to present any evidence that “real atheists” actually exist, so [s]he is simply arguing against a straw man. Quite boring, really.

  • Jesse

    Having gone over your posts, I apologize, and applaud your other points. I think you make an Existential theodicy (ie, God the sadist) which has good (non-theological) crticisms that might be worth checking out or of interest to your views. Just trying to atone for so much negativity…

  • http://calvinlawson.wordpress.com calvinlawson

    “Just trying to atone for so much negativity…”

    You’re a bigger man than you first appeared to be, as you are capable of admitting you were mistaken. I wish there were more Christians like you…heck, I wish there were more PEOPLE like you.

    As to the negativity, it’s wrong to think that either of us came to the conclusions we have without any vested emotional interest. So there is more negativity than is warranted, on MY side as well.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    You misunderstood — I enjoy philosophy and philosophizing. I just don’t enjoy self-righteous philosophy majors. I should know, I used to be one.

    Now you may not be one — I don’t know anything about you other than your comments on my blog — but you’re coming off that way.

    If you want to challenge ideas, then stop looking down on everyone here. If you want to be effective, I think you’ll need to show more respect and less scorn. You are, after all, a guest here.

    We all enjoy talking about ideas. The community here is very open-minded and intelligent. I think that if you take a few deep breaths, and start trying to make friends instead of enemies, we might all just get along and perhaps even get closer to truth.

  • LRA

    Jesse-

    You keep appealing to philosophy as if it isn’t a bunch of SPECULATION.

    The fact is that you can’t prove anything you’ve argued, you can only argue it.

    People here have repeatedly asked you for proof.

    PLEASE give it to them or else quit plugging your blog!

    BTW I have a degree in philosophy. I also have a master’s degree in science.. so I am aware of the strengths and weaknesses of both approaches.

    I also believe in God, but I can’t prove it and wouldn’t dare argue with the atheists here on that matter. I post here because I am staunchly anti-religion. Even if you could prove the existence of God (and there isn’t an argument out there than can), then this says nothing of the nature of God, nor of which God in the myriad of religions that this god happens to be.

  • http://billpost.blogspot.com/ Bill

    Well said – I have a sense that he may have something interesting to add, but the way it’s coming out makes it difficult to decipher.

  • Jesse

    “Self-righteous philosophy major” is an oxymoron. Your “open-minded community” has systematically made every one of my points for me. Just keep tryin…

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    Do you really think that kind of attitude is going to make people listen to what you have to say?

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Are you afraid of death or are you not? And if you aren’t, why does it matter that we are “desensitized” to it? Not to mention that your dichotomy between “fear of death” and “desensitization” is yet another false dichotomy you’ve thrown up.

    Your obfuscation is increasingly frustrating us as much as your attitude seems to be frustrating us, and neither of those things are related to your philosophy, but your manner.

    From the first time I interacted with you, I felt that we were doomed to talk past each other. So far, this has been the case between yourself and the other commenters.

    I feel frustration from being talked down to and being the object of scorn.

    I do not feel that the conversation, the discussion of concepts and ideas, is being advanced by your manner.

    Do you see what I’m trying to suggest?

  • ericbroze

    Jesse, much like religious dogma, has become tiresome and repetitive. Yawn.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    “Self-righteous philosophy major” is an oxymoron.

    Either you have an incredibly high opinion of philosophy students (to the point that you don’t think they’re mere humans, but gods amongst men), or you don’t know what the word “oxymoron” means. Ironically, I can’t think of a more self-righteous position than the former…

    Your “open-minded community” has systematically made every one of my points for me.

    If your point is that you have no reading comprehension skills, then yes. We did prove that for you.

    You’re welcome.

  • LRA

    And just to be clear, Jesse, I recently wrote a 15 page paper on Quine’s critique of analyticity- so I’m fully aware of the language games you’re playing here.

  • Jesse

    I know I keep grinding on passing comments (and yours showed an informed perspective, so thanks), but the statement that philosophy is a “bunch of speculation” does not at all reflect the experience of someone familiar with contemporary philosophy or its problems. The view itself fails 1) because you can’t say it without asserting it as a philosophical position, which leads to a contradiction 2) devaluing philosophy in an argument is an evident evasion of philosophical scrutiny.

    My “position” is essentially that of “postmodern” pragmatism, process philosophy, and just skepticism in general terms. As the comments here evince, when you chisel philosophy out of 99% of Atheists, you get only a small handful of people who survive the exercise. So what of the other 99%? The only recourse is to evaluate their views on a cultural (social, political, historical) and dialectical basis.

    Atheism and scientific progress have yielded a historically redundant process, and an important, and as yet unresolved divergence: 1) The world of academic ethics has reached a point where the Cartesian subject/dualism is a necessary agent for ethical systems to function or exist. 2) The realm of science/materialism continues to contradict that such a subject exists (ie, the mind is just evolutionary conditioning, cultural cognition, biochemical states, etc. In such a situation, is it best to form all-or-nothing oppositions, and take on reactionary/binary identities, when the other side is doing the same thing as part and whole of the same dialectical exchange?

    So the framework for evaluating “new” Atheism must take account for the dialectic from which it is not separate, but probably the best example. The certitudes it pretends to wield do not in fact exist, are merely the cultural reverse-mold of religious fundamentalism. They might even be worse in fact, because faiths account for their shortcomings and compensate (or attempt to do so). “New” Atheists, however, err toward a materialistic universalism which is just as dogmatic, intolerant, and rationalistic as their opponents, possibly even more so. Am I saying a person cannot legitimately be an Atheist? Absolutely not, but their historical situation compels them to formulate a more understanding ethics as to what being an Atheist entails, its social meaning, and what living in an Atheistic society could look like (if it’s even possible).

    So given these premises, one has to admit that for their abundant lack of philosophical experience, cultural “new” Atheism should be rejected as any kind of social or political apparatus:

    1) What does this apparatus do that prior such apparatuses could not achieve?

    Well, very little–the realm of social and political problems in our society lies in the legal system and in social contract. If you want equality, social justice, and those sorts of things, that is the proper function of something that democratically reaches mutual resolutions, not something which zealously prevents or abhors them.

    2) How does this apparatus appeal to Marxist/Post-Marxist, Feminist, or Colonial critiques of postmodern late capitalism?

    Very little. Most Atheists are totally unfamiliar with such views (the overwhelming maleness of Atheists helps prove this point).

    3) Does it address the cultural dialectics paralyzing society and democratic (ie, pluralistic) functions, or does it co-opt such discussions?

    It totally ignores them and proposes absolutist false dilemmas. Most “new” Atheist views are just an amalgam of pseudo-philosophical coffee table works by bourgeois, book-slinging capitalists like Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris whose ideas and ambitions are astoundingly unoriginal.

    Anyway, that is a loose, off-hand criteria that I think should be applied to Atheism (and not just Atheism, but all ideologies–blogging perhaps?).

    And again–where I’m coming from is a postmodern framework of thought, which means the rejection of modern “telos” (Hegel’s teleological notion of modernity applying instrumental reason to solve “all” the world’s problems; been a few hundred years, millions killed in wars and outright genocides, so its pretty hard to argue there aren’t other variables in play.) From a pragmatic position, all knowledge is local, contingent, and purely descriptive; which makes monolithic “facts” of science just as folkishly absurd as anything a religion might come up with. Am I saying science as an apparatus? No, I’m recognizing its limited, contingent, descriptive, and purely utilitarian nature (a la Merleau-Ponty) Religion and scientific laws begin to have a basis for comparison. Similarly, I think that the enlightenment dialectic that reaches its divergence between materialism and the Cartesian subject is itself a false dilemma; both views are based-on a static, objective universe. Or a better example is the rejection of Kant’s “thing-in-itself” as a knowable object. An investigation of contemporary physics and cosmology very quickly leads one away from determinism, static notions of time (even old general relativity tells us it is not a constant), the mythical position of observing phenomena without effecting their outcome, and the pseudo-religious teleological views of a positivist Newtonian universe. We’re in the clouds now aren’t we?

    We’re leaving the ontological universe of stable objects and timeless things–everything is in-time, in becoming, pluralistic. People receive honors for writing their dissertations on multiverse theory and bubble-cosmology–I mean weeeird, logic-bending sh**. Plus there’s this antimatter stuff and reverse energies which don’t exist in any existential sense, but exert an observable force on the micro/macroverse. Time to be an Atheist? Hell NO! Time to pick up the bong and enjoy the freakin ride!!!! Okay, so I don’t smoke, but obviously I probably don’t even need to! LOL. Just think about Descartes meditation on wax: its kind of where all this modernist bull-honkey started, because ole Descartey needed to stabilize identity in a world without it (and he was only able to do so in a circular, hermeneutic fashion). Or think about evolution: the mechanism is not genes, or selection, or what have you; it’s time. And what is that? A quantity? Sure, if you’re a nine-to-five slave like the rest of us. A particle? No. A potentiality? Some causal vector? No, because that leads to teleological ad infinitums. Can we even say what it is, without suspending the observable fact that it is not neutral or uniform? Time, time, time… What’s that Dawkins? Enjoy my life because there is no God?

    I’ll enjoy life because I know what he does not seem to know: there is no Dawkins.

  • LRA

    Bravo Harleigh! :)

  • LRA

    (of course it was Wittgenstein that talked of language games over and above Quine’s conceptual schemes/web of knowledge, but it is late…)

  • Jabster

    He has something to say? I must have missed that. So far all I’ve seen is vague waffle dressed up with some big words for simple concepts. That’s always a good idea in my opinion — if your subject isn’t actually that difficult invent lots of big words to make yourself feel clever.

  • LRA

    Calvin-

    I did my master’s thesis with Eric Kandel (Nobel prize winning neuroscientist). My academic interest has always been the mind (a philosophical term) or cognition (a scientific term). I wanted to understand both the philosophical and scientific thinking behind mind/cognition so that I could better understand the human condition as a whole. For example, are we just biomachines? Does having a mind mean that there is a phenomenology to us? Is it reducible, or does it supervene on our brains? Is there any reason to be a dualist when it comes to mind/brain?

    Someone I really enjoy reading (but don’t always agree with) is David Chalmers. Most of his papers are online, along with other well respected philosophers of mind, if you’re interested…

    http://consc.net/online

    If you’re interested in exploring consciousness as a scientific phenomena, you can start with learning about the brain. I recommend “principles of neuroscience” by Kandel, Jessell, and Schwartz.

    Happy reading! :)

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Fear won’t work if you have no evidence. Please present yours.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    And that’s why I believe in dogs.

    But not god.

  • http://billpost.blogspot.com/ Bill

    Youv’e said a ton here – much of it very muddled, but you clearly have an excellent vocabulary.

    I would like to focus on what I think (and I’m still not entirely clear on this) is your main purpose for posting here. Criticism of “new” atheism as not well thought or lacking substance.

    You said of new atheism:

    “The certitudes it pretends to wield do not in fact exist, are merely the cultural reverse-mold of religious fundamentalism.”

    What are these certitudes? Are we again back to the idea that “real” atheists don’t think that gods can exist?

    What do you mean by “cultural reverse mold of religious fundamentalism?”

  • LRA

    Jesse-

    You said “1) The world of academic ethics has reached a point where the Cartesian subject/dualism is a necessary agent for ethical systems to function or exist.”

    That is completely not true!!! Man, I can’t believe you even think that. References please! There are many many articles in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on Ethics. Can you post one that asserts this position irrefutably?

    No! Because all philosophy IS is refutation and argument and, well, speculation!

    Post me some reading material supporting this claim, and I’ll post you some that refutes it.

    The field of philosophy of mind can’t agree on monism/dualism, what makes you think ethics can?

  • LRA

    Jesse-

    You said “My “position” is essentially that of “postmodern” pragmatism, process philosophy, and just skepticism in general terms.”

    Do you honestly think that there aren’t people of the opposite position to you? Do you believe that you are right in your position? Isn’t your position just one that you argue? Is there any PROOF for your position that doesn’t have questionable/contentious premises? Is there any EVIDENCE for your position?

    No! So, as I said, all you have is speculation.

  • Jesse

    Yeah, that was a heck of a board clog. Atheists have several issues to address before they can claim a valid of “supreme” philosophical position:

    (copy-paste)
    1) Necessity, or the claim that something must be such and cannot be otherwise. There is no logical argument to say that God/gods/whatever could not exist. You can throw empirical evidence at it, but again that commits the white swan fallacy: All swans we have seen are white, therefore there are not white swans. Black swan pops up, and boom–you cannot derive an absolute/universal statement from empirical evidence alone. Modern cosmology provides pretty good examples of the dangers of assuming a concrete, materialistic worldview. But the overall emphasis is necessity: there is no God, it cannot be otherwise (and assuming we can know it is such). If you cannot satisfy this standard, Atheism gets tossed out, and defaults to agnosticism or just skepticism.

    2) Evidence, or, “future” evidence of a purely physicalist/materialist/Atheist worldview:

    http://fish.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/06/17/atheism-and-evidence/

    3) The cultural context of “new” Atheism: subject to argument, but using Adorno’s work (or merely some of its ideas), Fredric Jameson’s work, Zizec, and many others, the argument can be made that “new” Atheism is completely distinct from any coherent Atheist philosophy (save Daniel C. Dennett, perhaps), that the cultural conditions which create it take an overwhelming precedent over any Atheist/humanist project (ie, Atheism as a means to an end, merely a political/social lever; also, ignoring the historical redundance of Atheism), that it assumes a telos of science (in spite of Merleau-Ponty’s points about the limits of scientific reduction, the “bad-faith” concept of the existentialists (deriding religion, funny or not = bad faith), Popper’s arguments for indeterminism and the open universe, Ilya Progogine’s arguments for indeterminism, Quantum Mechanics…).

    If someone could answer these claims, then I’ll become an Atheist again in any sort of social context. Until then, I think the gulf between skepticism/inquiry and Atheism is far greater than that between Atheism and religion (two parts of the same whole, perhaps?).

  • http://billpost.blogspot.com/ Bill

    “There is no logical argument to say that God/gods/whatever could not exist.”

    OK – so we are back to your position that “real atheists” believe gods could not exist. ie…the problem of proving a negative.

    I addressed this above, but basically you have redefined atheism to fit in to a very narrow category. If you are more comfortable calling me an agnostic because I admit that I cannot prove a negative, have at it. Personally I consider the term atheist more appropriate because I consider the probablity of god’s existence to be very low based on the available evidence.

    The “white swan fallacy” isn’t a fallacy at all. If all observable evidence indicates that only white swans exist it is perfectly reasonable to assume that only white swans exist. If new evidence changes the reasonableness of that assumption, it is reasonable to change that assumption as well. But the existence of evidence is key.

    Which brings us to evidence. Yes, evidence is a physical/materialist standard by which to measure the existence of things. That doesn’t make it bad. That makes it trustworthy and good. Failing to see you point here.

    As to your last point, I’m simply unfamiliar with the referenced work, and your arguments are not exactly coherent. Perhaps you could clarify?

  • http://calvinlawson.wordpress.com calvinlawson

    “If someone could answer these claims, then I’ll become an Atheist again in any sort of social context. ”

    Ah, you’re an ex-atheist, Jesse? That does explain some things, lol.

    Listen, it’s very easy. Atheists and agnostics do NOT SEE EVIDENCE OF GOD. Theists DO. It cannot get much simpler than that! When you were an atheist you didn’t see the evidence, but now you do, so you changed your mind. Fair enough!

    But you cannot put atheists and theists into little boxes and stick labels all over them, like you do in your blog. Yes, some atheists have poor reasoning abilities. But the vast majority of theists were raised that way! So there are lots of people who you might look down on as sheep.

    But don’t think this somehow invalidates the atheist worldview; it does not. There are VERY GOOD REASONS for being an atheist, the main being that the limitations of methodological materialism are REAL instead of perceived.

    Oh, and btw, if philosophy and science were put in a boxing ring, science would win hands down. The only reason philosophy is in the running at all is because it has an answer for EVERYTHING, and it claims itself to be fundamental to cognition. You know, kind of like religion…

  • http://billpost.blogspot.com/ Bill

    “You can do your own research and pick yourselves off the ropes, but I’d suggest you actually go talk to professors instead of just buying Barnes and Noble books that reaffirm pre-existing views. All this reactionary certainty is one of my primary points about Atheism as a pathos, and not the mythical logos it pretentiously claims to be.”

    1. Who the hell is “on the ropes.”

    2. Professors can be great resources, and I’ve spent a ton of time talking to them over the years, but developing your own thought is even better.

    3. Barnes and Nobles” books aren’t useful in examining ideas? How about Borders’? The libarary? Is there some list I can work off of on this?

    4. The “pre-existing ideas” accusation is particularly laughable given that many people here held one world view, examined it through a painful process, came to the conclusion they were wrong and adopted another.

    5. What “reactionary certainty?” Seriously, you come here and accuse us of holding a certain position (that gods can’t possibly exist); we tell you that isn’t our position (rather we believe that the evidence for the existence of gods in very weak); you insist that we actually do believe what you say or we aren’t “real” atheists; and somehow we have reactionary certainty?

    Having tried to have a intelligent and civil conversation with you here, and having spent a few minutes kicking around your blog, I’m starting to suspect that whatever your philosophical, religious or other views, you are a douche.

  • Jesse

    I sometimes joke I believe in dogs more than people–is that not the whitest thing you’ve ever heard?

  • d00d

    That was meant for Jesse, of course.

  • LRA

    Also, you said:

    “2) The realm of science/materialism continues to contradict that such a subject exists (ie, the mind is just evolutionary conditioning, cultural cognition, biochemical states, etc.”

    Again, SCIENCE does not make ANY assertions about the MIND- that is a philosophical concept.

    SCIENCE (which is NOT the same as materialism) makes assertions about CONSCIOUSNESS. Consciousness is OBSERVABLE and TESTABLE phenomena.

  • Jesse

    While I don’t at all agree with your continuous repudiations of philosophy, your two points (the monism/dualism problem, and the mind being more the sphere of philosophy) I totally agree with; I must have mis-stated that somehow, probably because I was just being general in that sketch. I doubt anyone here would be able to translate technical phenomenological jargon.

    Other than that, I’ve stated my case well enough to all of you. You can do your own research and pick yourselves off the ropes, but I’d suggest you actually go talk to professors instead of just buying Barnes and Noble books that reaffirm pre-existing views. All this reactionary certainty is one of my primary points about Atheism as a pathos, and not the mythical logos it pretentiously claims to be.

  • LRA

    I ask you for ONE simple link to the SEP to support your claim and you refuse….

    hmmmmmm……

    I call bullshit on you and your overblown posts.

  • LRA

    ps what in philosophy ISN’T contentious?

  • http://billpost.blogspot.com/ Bill

    “You can do your own research and pick yourselves off the ropes, but I’d suggest you actually go talk to professors instead of just buying Barnes and Noble books that reaffirm pre-existing views. All this reactionary certainty is one of my primary points about Atheism as a pathos, and not the mythical logos it pretentiously claims to be.”

    1. Who the hell is “on the ropes.”

    2. Professors can be great resources, and I’ve spent a ton of time talking to them over the years, but developing your own thought is even better.

    3. Barnes and Nobles” books aren’t useful in examining ideas? How about Borders’? The libarary? Is there some list I can work off of on this?

    4. The “pre-existing ideas” accusation is particularly laughable given that many people here held one world view, examined it through a painful process, came to the conclusion they were wrong and adopted another.

    5. What “reactionary certainty?” Seriously, you come here and accuse us of holding a certain position (that gods can’t possibly exist); we tell you that isn’t our position (rather we believe that the evidence for the existence of gods in very weak); you insist that we actually do believe what you say or we aren’t “real” atheists; and somehow we have reactionary certainty?

    Having tried to have a intelligent and civil conversation with you here, and having spent a few minutes kicking around your blog, I’m starting to suspect that whatever your philosophical, religious or other views, you are a douche.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    I doubt anyone here would be able to translate technical phenomenological jargon.

    Translation: “I are soooooooo smart! Moomy said so, so it must be true!”

  • ericbroze

    Not the funniest joke even told, Jesse. Perhaps you should keep that one to yourself.

    BTW – Great post and thread, Daniel.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Well, the joke certainly has a much lower BS quotient than you saying:

    “The world of academic ethics has reached a point where the Cartesian subject/dualism is a necessary agent for ethical systems to function or exist.”

    Which is patently untrue and demonstrably absurd via its lack of supporting evidence.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    is that not the whitest thing you’ve ever heard?

    Is there a non-racist way to interpret that?

  • LRA

    “why do chaotic, entropic physical systems (not even including biological ones) actually tend toward self-organization”

    ummm…. it’s called ENTROPY…

  • http://calvinlawson.wordpress.com calvinlawson

    lol…nice. And what the original poster does not realize is that chaotic systems violate local entropy ALL THE TIME. It’s actually one of the defining features feeback systems, like the weather.

    What on earth else would explain a hurricane, “God did it.”? Oh wait…I guess that IS the explanation being offered here, lol.

    If inquiring minds wish to know, YES; self-organization appears to be a fundamental principle of the universe.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autocatalytic_set

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorenz_attractor

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergence

  • LRA

    I know! Right!?! Did you see me call bs on him?

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Yes, that’s mostly why I said that, haha.

  • LRA

    Thanks! :)

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    You know what violates local entropy? A refrigerator.

    I guess God lives in the condenser.

  • Jesse

    *Throws up arms* Anti-intellectualism for the win!!!

    Give the comments a second read, and ask yourselves how far “Atheism” has gotten you on the road from American exceptionalism. Or just pile on…

  • Jabster

    Or maybe just carry on with the theme of I’m right and you’re wrong but don’t expect me to explain it as I’m better than you so honestly just trust me on this one — is this a correct description of your posts or are you actually going to post something meaningful?

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Am I the only one puzzled as to what exactly atheism has to do with American exceptionalism?

    Or am I missing something?

    No, it’s probably just more marginally coherent babble — largely unqualified, unsupported, and composed of abrupt non sequitors.

  • http://hkyson.wordpress.com hkyson

    Jesse,

    The United States has always aspired to build an empire. Empire building is always a very dirty business.

    John Adams, to start out, wanted to conquer all of North America. (One of the goals of the War of 1812 was to do this. We were unsuccessful this time around.)

    The first big step in American expansionism was the Louisiana Purchase. The next big step was Polk’s war against Mexico in the 1840s, which ripped off a huge chunk of their territory.

    We paused for awhile with the Civil War. Napoleon III, thinking that the North would lose, tried to establish a French colony in Mexico. He miscalculated.

    (The real meaning of the Monroe Doctrine, by the way is that European and Asian countries cannot interfere with the sovereignty of Latin American states. But WE can. Ha, ha, ha!)

    Our next big step came with the Spanish American War. After conquering Spain in the Philippines, we promised them freedom. We then double-crossed the filipinos in a nasty war that was a rehearsal for Vietnam. By the way, we also used waterboarding in that war. (We referred to it as the water cure. Of course, we did not recognize that we ourselves were the disease!)

    After World War II, however, we went hog wild in our imperialistic aims. The Cold War was basically a standoff between two competing empires, The U.S. and the Soviet Union. Gorbachev gave up partly because he decided that empire building was too costly.

    After World War II, we fucked over a lot of people–too many for me to list here. There are all sorts of good books about what we did. One nice one is titled “Rogue State.” I forget its author.

    The attack on us on 9/11 was blowback for our own crimes after the end of World War II. Why do you think Al Qaeda attacked us and not Canada?

    Noam Chomsky has said that if we were to apply to ourselves the same legal standards we applied to the Nazis in the Nuremberg trials, then all of our post-war presidents would have to be hanged.

    All empires go through two periods. The first is expansion. The second is contraction once the empire bites off more than it can chew. This started happening in the Roman Empire after Trajan.

    We are probably at the beginning of our own contraction phase. It remains to be seen whether the waning of American power will be orderly or whether it will be by implosion.

    Harleigh Kyson Jr.

  • http://calvinlawson.wordpress.com calvinlawson

    Oh yes, the proponents of the “New American Century” were all hardcord atheists. LOL…not.

    It’s kind of like what they used to do with Jews, “A minority population is responsible for our troubles…burn them!”

    America is a defacto Christian country, unlike Denmark, Sweden, or the Netherlands.

    On a completely unrelated note, Utah consumes more porn per capita than any other state. ;) Methinks intellectuals aren’t the only ones who have trouble sticking to their moral values.

  • LRA

    Harleigh-

    Thanks for your informative posts! I, for one, enjoyed learning something new today and also revisiting things I’ve already learned. I’m not sure Jesse can be taught anything. He already thinks he knows everything.

    :)

  • http://hkyson.wordpress.com hkyson

    Thanks!

  • http://calvinlawson.wordpress.com Calvin Lawson

    I wonder if that’s the same Robin Fox who wrote “Unauthorized Version: Truth and Fiction in the Bible”. That’s a great book…


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