The 95 A-Theses

theorpheus
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The 95 A-Theses

Hey all,

 I wanted to get your opinion on the "95 A-Theses".   It's a heavily satirical rewrite of Martin Luther's 95 Theses, but from an atheist perspective.  The satire is quite biting, but sharply thought through.  I look forward to your thoughts.


LosingStreak06
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Meh.

Meh.


zntneo
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I realize it's satire but i

I realize it's satire but i just couldn't get through all the strawmaning.


zntneo
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I realize it's satire but i

[Mod Edit:  Double Post]


theorpheus
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No Strawmanning! The

No Strawmanning! The Orpheus is right here, and unfortunately, like the straw man, he does not have the brain. Like-a the parents. He does not have the parents. Yes, the Orpheus is but an orphan.

I would appreciate passing your opinions along to my buddies at the site.


Rev_Devilin
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That was quite funny On

That was quite funny Smiling

On the first quick read, I find these objectionable, undoubtedly if I took the time to review each one carefully I could find more objectionable 


 36. Despite our posturing as hyper-evolved members of the human race, our philosophy shows an almost pathological avoidance of complexity and intricacy.  We maintain our veneer of intelligence by rebranding “unsophisticated reasoning ability” with the cooler sounding phrase, Occam’s razor.

  42. Mass atrocities committed by secular governments, such as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, cannot be used to smear secularism. 

44. Although evolution adequately explains humanity’s predisposition to dehumanize and destroy elements of its own population, it’s more convenient to blame war, conflict, and prejudice on religion.

  45. We shall not give credit to religions for their nearly universal core teachings condemning violence, because some people commit acts of violence in the name of religion.

  50. We claim religions that spread by violence do so because they are devoid of merit and cannot inspire enthusiasm otherwise.  We offer no explanation for what inspired these zealous proselytizers to fight and die for their beliefs in the first place.

  51. It’s unfair of religions to offer people eternal rewards or threaten their immortal soul in an effort to try to convert them.  Clever salesmanship has no place in negotiation.

 54. Public schools are attended and supported by people of all religious viewpoints: Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, atheist, et al.  Therefore, we must teach schools from a unilaterally atheist perspective.

  55. Corollary: In order to avoid offending us atheists, it is necessary and acceptable to offend people of all other faiths.

56. Atheism is so delicate a philosophy that it could be easily collapsed by, say, a schoolteacher uttering the phrase “Merry Christmas.”

57. Teaching religious beliefs to children is indoctrination.  Teaching secular beliefs to children is enlightened.

 58. Teaching falsehoods to youngsters will warp their minds forever.  After all, adolescents are never skeptical of authority

     61. Corollary: It is in our children’s best interest to force cash-strapped school districts to spend an exorbitant amount of money in legal fees to remove the trivial inclusion of the phrase “under God” in the pledge of allegiance.

 62. Based on our interpretation of what it means for the United States to be a secular state, we insist that government err on the side of hostility towards religion.

 63. Currency bearing the phrase “In God We Trust” is not just a nuisance, but an active obstacle to our disbelief.  It’s quite difficult to disbelieve in God when, every time we purchase a can of Dr. Pepper, the religiously-infused currency causes us to inadvertently speak in tongues and break into a gospel chorus.

 64. We’re irked by the fact that legislative representatives would draft and enact legislation that happens to resonate with their core personal values.
  65. We’re annoyed that voters would elect representatives to the government because they expect that their representative shares their values.
  66. These blatant nuisances and examples of representative government prove that America has become an autocratic theocracy.

 67. Over many centuries, theologians have created vast libraries of literature that probe the intricacies religious doubt and posit solutions to theological confusion.  When faced with the same issues, atheists spend a week churning out simplistic best-sellers.

68. Mathematics has evolved from ancient axioms, and is therefore a crowning cultural tradition.  Religion has evolved from ancient texts, and is therefore a vestigial relic of our savage origins.

  69. We must ignore the fact that religions’ holy texts are living documents, developed over centuries and reinterpreted over millennia, so that we may continue to paint religion as archaic and irrelevant.

70. We cannot, under any circumstances, presume that holy texts have endured throughout history because they contain some fundamental value which has allowed them to remain relevant over time, despite philosophical doubts, varying beliefs, shifting societal taboos, and advances in technology.

72. While nations crumble and traditions wane, religion has demonstrated an unparalleled ability to preserve literature, beliefs, and customs over great lifespans.  But this will surely be trumped by our doctrine of denial and pessimism.

 73. Atheism is a universally palatable system because we allow each individual to develop their own moral code.  After all, people would rather do something themselves than have somebody else do the hard work for them.

74. Having people develop their own morality is prudent, in light of the simple historical fact that human beings are overwhelmingly and innately good.

 75. In response to attacks by Christians, we atheists have concluded that it is morally acceptable to unleash our full vengeance upon them.

76. Corollary: So what if “an eye for an eye” isn’t the best moral code.  It’s unlikely that other atheists would derive anything significantly worse.

  77. Corollary: We clearly do not insist on the doctrine of forgiveness, despite the fact that it arguably has a rational basis.  This makes our moral code less developed than nearly every major religion.

  78. It’s distressing that the religious cite religion as the source of absolute morality.  This point is actually just jealousy on our part, as our philosophy of moral relativism doesn’t allow us the joy of having absolutes in our life.

79. Corollary: Well, yes we have an absolute disbelief in God, but have you ever tried to derive a moral code from a negative?  You don’t get very far.

80. Good deeds done by religious people may be done with the incentive of getting into heaven.  This means that religious people cannot do good deeds, only selfish deeds.
        81. Corollary: Only atheists can do good deeds.

  82. Our worldview romanticizes ancient Greece, deplores the Middle Ages, and believes the new millennium represents a scientific and philosophical midpoint between the Enlightenment to a Star Trek-style, utopian future.  We assume everybody else approaches life from our unrealistic worldview. 

  83. We reject the religious use of the apocalypse to stoke fear in populations.  We only allow scientifically-based apocalyptic fear-mongering, like the unlikely event of human extinction from nuclear holocaust, grey goo, or global warming 

90. Only 2% of the population identify as atheists.  Therefore, 98% of the world is retarded.

 91. Atheists are more advanced, possibly even more evolved, than any human beings who have ever lived.  This is as close as we can reckon why humanity has never produced a self-sustaining atheist movement before now.

 92. Corollary: Doubt, evidence, and reason are wholly modern inventions that simply did not exist before the development of the scientific method.


  93. Even politely rejecting God would be considered by many to be an extremely personal attack on their fundamental identity.  That’s why it’s so much more fun to raise the stakes and call the Bible a fairy tale, or equate God with ghosts and Santa Claus.

  94. The only way science has survived from antiquity is, well, religion.  Scientific knowledge was preserved by Christianity, proliferated throughout Islam, and revived into its present form.  Well, you’re not going to get any thank you from us.  Instead, we prefer to declare outright war on religion and try to survive the next two thousand years on our own.


  95. So in conclusion, we’ll see you all in hell!


 

 


Rev_Devilin
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LosingStreak06

LosingStreak06 wrote:
Meh.

 LosingStreak06 you have been converted into an atheist, well not just an atheist but the Allied Atheist Alliance, well done old bean Smiling

http://www.audienceoftwo.com/mag.php?art_id=750 

 

Wed, Sep 26 '07
02:42:04 PM Allied Atheist Alliance
The Rational Responders have rationally responded with a rational response. Along with the 95 prior arguments, they have this to add:

"Meh"

Consider this the first amendment of the new ATHEIST BILL OF RIGHTS! OUR RALLYING CRY SHALL FOREVER BE...

"Meh"

 


theorpheus
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Hey,  Real author awake

Hey,

 Real author awake and here to discuss.  I'm also discussing some over at http://www.richarddawkins.net/forum/viewforum.php?f=20

 I would like to emphasize to this board that, although this was written in a humorous tone, the article nevertheless expressed unique and unorthodox criticisms of militant atheism.  While you don't owe anything to me, I would be disappointed if the "rational response squad" decided not to respond to a well-reasoned, non-trollish list of critiques.  I think there's a strong case to be made for atheism in response to this list, and I hope somebody makes it.

Thanks, and cool to meet you all!


LosingStreak06
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Rev_Devilin

Rev_Devilin wrote:

LosingStreak06 wrote:
Meh.

LosingStreak06 you have been converted into an atheist, well not just an atheist but the Allied Atheist Alliance, well done old bean Smiling

http://www.audienceoftwo.com/mag.php?art_id=750

 

Wed, Sep 26 '07
02:42:04 PM Allied Atheist Alliance
The Rational Responders have rationally responded with a rational response. Along with the 95 prior arguments, they have this to add:

"Meh"

Consider this the first amendment of the new ATHEIST BILL OF RIGHTS! OUR RALLYING CRY SHALL FOREVER BE...

"Meh"

 

The fact that they can't distinguish between a theist and an atheist seems quite indicative of their cognitive functionality.


deludedgod
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Quote:

Quote:

36. Despite our posturing as hyper-evolved members of the human race, our philosophy shows an almost pathological avoidance of complexity and intricacy. We maintain our veneer of intelligence by rebranding “unsophisticated reasoning ability” with the cooler sounding phrase, Occam’s razor.

If this is the argument from design, which I suspect it is from “an avoidance of complexity and intricacy” it is refuted here:

“Appears Designed Is A Contradiction in Terms”: The Fundamentals of Biological Evolution

Quote:

42. Mass atrocities committed by secular governments, such as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, cannot be used to smear secularism.

The same reasons for criticizing Nazi Germany and the USSR can be found for criticizing the atrocities of religion. They are all based on irrational, insane dogma. Whether or not this dogma is theocratic or not is immaterial. Dogma is dogma is dogma. Religion is often criticized for commiting atrocities based on this dogma, so can many non-religious nations. After all, no one ever speaks about “the atrocities of Hinduism and Buddhism”, but we can so for Islam and Christianity because they are insane doctrines. Indeed, probably the most atrocious fascist police state of the Second World War was Japan, a theocratic junta whose whole society was bound by their religion (and after the fall of their empire, they became one of the most secular and succesful nations on Earth) . The atrocities of religion are not criticisms of religion per se, but rather fanatical irrational propaganda. The problem is that the nature of religion (or at least, some religions) makes them highly conduicive to atrocity. I would say the exact same thing about fascism and communism. Indeed, your point could be reduced to a reductio ad Hitlerum, or a reduction ad Stalinum. Take your pick.

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44. Although evolution adequately explains humanity’s predisposition to dehumanize and destroy elements of its own population, it’s more convenient to blame war, conflict, and prejudice on religion.

This is merely two sides of the same coin since human religion originates in the same brain centers as our social and moral functions. Indeed, many neuroscientists regard religion as having been intertwined with our African-Savannah era morality. However, all this shows is that it has an evolutionary advantage. Neuroscientists have shown (using VMPFC scans) that humans do have an innate sense of right and wrong which no amount of religious indoctrination may override. Also, evolutionary neuroscience also explains our social tendancy and our reciprocal altruism. Again, I refer you to the previous article.

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45. We shall not give credit to religions for their nearly universal core teachings condemning violence, because some people commit acts of violence in the name of religion.

Religions have a universal condemnation of violence? Perhaps some of the Eastern philosophical traditions have such a streak, but no such luck in the Occident. The monotheistic faiths are universally violent and the only reason that they have lost their taste for amputation is the reduction of their authority by secularization. Indeed, this is evidenced by the fact that in parts of the world where there is no secular constraint, and religion still acts as it did at the time of its origin, it is a violent affair eye-deep in red barbarity. I am talking about the blood-soaked Quran and its arbiters: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, Oman, the UAE, and Afghanistan.

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50. We claim religions that spread by violence do so because they are devoid of merit and cannot inspire enthusiasm otherwise. We offer no explanation for what inspired these zealous proselytizers to fight and die for their beliefs in the first place.

This is not the claim we make, rather that violence is intrinsic to monotheistic religion. Religion is just like fascism, by which I mean that just like fascism it is a social construct which is little more than a means to power, ie the politics of opportunism. If violence is the best way for a government to gain power, and religion is the best way to inspire violence...then break out with Bible, sword and axe and hunt down some pagans!

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51. It’s unfair of religions to offer people eternal rewards or threaten their immortal soul in an effort to try to convert them. Clever salesmanship has no place in negotiation.

I think what you mean is that lying has no place in negotiation.

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54. Public schools are attended and supported by people of all religious viewpoints: Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, atheist, et al. Therefore, we must teach schools from a unilaterally atheist perspective.

I know what this is. This is a reference to “Intelligent Design” and the “wedge tactic” for reopening science classes to “God”. The idea of teaching anything else from an “atheist perspective” is meaningless. Do schools teach “history” or “mathematics” from an atheist perspective? That means nothing. This must be a reference to science classes, which shows the author knows nothing about the scientific method, which is naturalistic. “God” has no place whatsoever in science class. Perhaps in a religious studies class. Not a science class.

I recommend you read this. It has good information about the scientific method:

The Notion of Scientific or Indeed any Empirical Proof of God is Absurd

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55. Corollary: In order to avoid offending us atheists, it is necessary and acceptable to offend people of all other faiths.

I don’t care about being offended. I realize that in a debate people are going to exchange things that offend each other. I have been offended many times. I don’t care. Likewise, I do not really give a fuck when I offend people of faith. Deal with it. If liberty means anything, it means protecting the rights of people to tell you what you do not want to hear. I disagree with you. I’ll still protect your right to say it.

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56. Atheism is so delicate a philosophy that it could be easily collapsed by, say, a schoolteacher uttering the phrase “Merry Christmas.”

What?

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57. Teaching religious beliefs to children is indoctrination. Teaching secular beliefs to children is enlightened.

What does the phrase “secular beliefs” mean? Please do not say something ridiculous like “evolution” because that is scientific theory.

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61. Corollary: It is in our children’s best interest to force cash-strapped school districts to spend an exorbitant amount of money in legal fees to remove the trivial inclusion of the phrase “under God” in the pledge of allegiance.

Not American, can’t comment. But if this is indeed the case, I side with you. It is immaterial.

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62. Based on our interpretation of what it means for the United States to be a secular state, we insist that government err on the side of hostility towards religion.

Again, not American, cannot comment, but I think what most atheist in the US are concerned about is that the vast majority of government officials are devoutly Christian. For example, George W Bush is often advised by Ted Haggard and Jerry Falwell on his foreign policy in the Middle East. Think about it. These lunatics are not the sort you want telling a chimpanzee what he should do regarding the deployment of nuclear weaponry, especially when they celebrate the destruction of the world anyway.

I think the other concern is that it is almost impossible for a non-religious official to get elected. In a sample of so many well educated officials such as senate leaders or house representatives, it is statistically absurd that only two would be atheistic. But even if it were not the case, it is utterly undeniable that the admission of non-belief is an almost immediate killer to any political campaign. This is frightening. In a political race in America, it is guaranteed that an actor who reads the Bible will defeat a rocket scientist who does not. Does this not frighten you?

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63. Currency bearing the phrase “In God We Trust” is not just a nuisance, but an active obstacle to our disbelief. It’s quite difficult to disbelieve in God when, every time we purchase a can of Dr. Pepper, the religiously-infused currency causes us to inadvertently speak in tongues and break into a gospel chorus.

Not American, cannot comment. Don’t really care about the money thing. Never saw why such fuss was made. Although I wouldn’t really like it if money said “Under Allah” would you?

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67. Over many centuries, theologians have created vast libraries of literature that probe the intricacies religious doubt and posit solutions to theological confusion. When faced with the same issues, atheists spend a week churning out simplistic best-sellers.

I cannot comment on this because I do not bother studying ancient myth. I am a scientist, so when faced with a suggestion like “God exists” which is an empirical claim about the universe, I will wish to know how such a claim can be tested. However, many of the atheist books I have read do not deal with “theological confusion”. Indeed, I do not care about the “problem of evil” or “the Euthypro” dilemma. It is analogous to arguing about Death Star mechanics. Instead, I care about whether there is evidence for God, and that is where my field of endeavour crushes that of the theologian, since I am in a much better position to answer Design and First Cause (which are arguments regarding biology and cosmology respectively) than any theologian ever will be.

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68. Mathematics has evolved from ancient axioms, and is therefore a crowning cultural tradition. Religion has evolved from ancient texts, and is therefore a vestigial relic of our savage origins.

I think mathematical axioms are a “crowning cultural heritage” because they are necessary tautological truths which we gleaned through rationality, not because they are ancient. Likewise, I do not put any more stock in an ancient book of fables like the Bible than a modern one such a Urantia book. That it is “ancient” is immaterial.

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69. We must ignore the fact that religions’ holy texts are living documents, developed over centuries and reinterpreted over millennia, so that we may continue to paint religion as archaic and irrelevant.

Actually, religion is archaic and irrelevant because there is no evidence for their claims, so it is immaterial how much interpreting of text is done until evidence is presented, just as I may study in “the Hermeneutics (interpretation of text) of Harry Potter”. There would be no difference, except in number of believers, which is ad populum. Religion is irrelevant because it is a social construct whose value (at least for monotheism) usually rests in the fact that it is a tool for control and keeping stability by means of keeping the population ignorant and docile. In other words, it is the “opiate of the masses”, as Marx said. Now, this is evident if we examine the bulk of European societies up to the Enlightenment era.

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70. We cannot, under any circumstances, presume that holy texts have endured throughout history because they contain some fundamental value which has allowed them to remain relevant over time, despite philosophical doubts, varying beliefs, shifting societal taboos, and advances in technology.

This is an argumentum ad antiquitatem fallacy and an ignoratio elenchi. Imagine, if I had been a physicist reviewing Einstein’s 1905 paper on Relativistic Kinematics, which crushed Newtonian mechanics, and I said to him: “But Newton’s mechanics have worked for 350 years!”

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72. While nations crumble and traditions wane, religion has demonstrated an unparalleled ability to preserve literature, beliefs, and customs over great lifespans. But this will surely be trumped by our doctrine of denial and pessimism.

Firstly, how precisely is atheism inherently pessimistic? Please do not say “because we do not believe in magic”. Secondly, the dominant religion merely represents shifting trends of empire. When the Greek and Roman empires fell, so too did their religions. The Roman empire was split apart by Christianity, which remained the dominant religion in Europe until 1945, after which a massive wave of secularization castrated it, and still remains dominant in the US. The uniting of the Arabian Gulf means that Islam has been dominant for 1400 years. Vast, incalculable numbers of religions have been crushed and forgotten by invading armies. Indeed, one of the greatest atrocities of the conquistadors in Peru was that they destroyed all the Inca libraries of knowledge, and forced conversion to Christendom. The handful of religions that survive the shifting sands of antiquity is a tiny fraction of those which once were abound but were raped by conquering faiths.

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73. Atheism is a universally palatable system because we allow each individual to develop their own moral code. After all, people would rather do something themselves than have somebody else do the hard work for them.

This is contradictory since if someone else develops a moral code and you follow it without thought of your own morality then it is not really a moral code, rather you are simply obeying like an unusually stupid sheep. You’ve made an ad vericandum fallacy. This is in no way any sort of grounds for holding any sort of religious doctrine to give any morality whatsoever. Indeed, having studied neuroscience, I would regard religion as a useless vestigial organ, left over from evolution, which plays absolute havoc with modern society unless forcibly watered down so people aren’t killing each other over which book they prefer. It is precisely analogous to the human appendix. It has no use. There is an evolutionary origin to the centers of the brain which seem to give us religion, but these have no value in modern society.

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74. Having people develop their own morality is prudent, in light of the simple historical fact that human beings are overwhelmingly and innately good.

But I could simply say the same thing about humans getting their morality from unusually violent books. Being that these books were written by other men, you’ve made a self-refutation. Also, regardless of what religion someone is brainwashed with, there are intrinsic codes which cannot be overridden. Indeed, if these worthless books were actually “giving” us morality, there would be no such thing as Hermeneutics! This is why I highly recommend the following two articles:

The self refuting nature of "Hermeneutics"

christians must steal from secular morality

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75. In response to attacks by Christians, we atheists have concluded that it is morally acceptable to unleash our full vengeance upon them.

What does “full vengeance” mean. If by “full vengeance” you mean argumentatively attempting to rip their silly beliefs in half, then sure, I will unleash argumentative attack on any belief I consider silly.

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77. Corollary: We clearly do not insist on the doctrine of forgiveness, despite the fact that it arguably has a rational basis. This makes our moral code less developed than nearly every major religion.

This is a False generalization fallacy. There are probably atheists who are unforgiving. And probably an equal number of Christians, Muslims, Jews, who are unforgiving towards each other, and Hindus and Muslims unforgiving towards each other. Also, you cannot really call atheism a “doctrine”, even to call it a “philosophy” is quite extravagant. All atheism is is: “I do not believe in God”. To derive any necessary “doctrines” from this one sentence is a non sequitur. So it is a non sequitur to use the phrase “a universal moral code for atheists”. Actually, this corollary contradicts #73 and #74.

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78. It’s distressing that the religious cite religion as the source of absolute morality. This point is actually just jealousy on our part, as our philosophy of moral relativism doesn’t allow us the joy of having absolutes in our life.

How is having absolutes a joyful pursuit?

Quote:

79. Corollary: Well, yes we have an absolute disbelief in God, but have you ever tried to derive a moral code from a negative? You don’t get very far.

An “absolute disbelief in God”? This sounds like an ad ignoratium, and it sounds like you misunderstand the two atheist positions. Which is why I recommend this to you:

The Argument From Ignorance and its uses and abuses

I am glad you have a vague inkling of something (which, btw, contradicts #77). All “atheism” means is “I do not believe in God”. So, wherever atheists derive their ethical and moral foundations, it is not from “not believing in God”, as this would be a non sequitur. Just like most Christians do not derive their moral codes from their holy books or they would be in prison for stoning their children. I highly recommend this article to you:

christians must steal from secular morality

About Kohlberg’s stages of moral reasoning.

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80. Good deeds done by religious people may be done with the incentive of getting into heaven. This means that religious people cannot do good deeds, only selfish deeds.
81. Corollary: Only atheists can do good deeds.

Strawman. Never claimed the latter. I have only claimed the former in response to religios people who insist that I should act immorally since I do not believe I will be punished by a magical sky fairy after I die.

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82. Our worldview romanticizes ancient Greece, deplores the Middle Ages, and believes the new millennium represents a scientific and philosophical midpoint between the Enlightenment to a Star Trek-style, utopian future. We assume everybody else approaches life from our unrealistic worldview.

What?

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83. We reject the religious use of the apocalypse to stoke fear in populations. We only allow scientifically-based apocalyptic fear-mongering, like the unlikely event of human extinction from nuclear holocaust, grey goo, or global warming

Perhaps because there is an inkling of truth in the latter, and none in the former.

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90. Only 2% of the population identify as atheists. Therefore, 98% of the world is retarded.

This is both a strawman and statistically false. I have never claimed this. The dichotomy is using American statistics, which you have managed, for some hitherto unexplained reason, to graft onto world statistics

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91. Atheists are more advanced, possibly even more evolved, than any human beings who have ever lived. This is as close as we can reckon why humanity has never produced a self-sustaining atheist movement before now.

This is ridiculous. I have never ever heard anyone say that. Not even Dawkins.

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92. Corollary: Doubt, evidence, and reason are wholly modern inventions that simply did not exist before the development of the scientific method.

Who have you heard claim this? Judging by your last 40-odd points, You two:

Must be well acquainted.

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93. Even politely rejecting God would be considered by many to be an extremely personal attack on their fundamental identity. That’s why it’s so much more fun to raise the stakes and call the Bible a fairy tale, or equate God with ghosts and Santa Claus.

Yeah, I’ll offend people. If they cannot take that, well, that is their problem. You’re in a debate, you should prepare to be offended. If you are not, you have no place here.

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94. The only way science has survived from antiquity is, well, religion. Scientific knowledge was preserved by Christianity, proliferated throughout Islam, and revived into its present form. Well, you’re not going to get any thank you from us. Instead, we prefer to declare outright war on religion and try to survive the next two thousand years on our own.

This is simply untrue. Scientific knowledge was not “preserved” by Christianity, it was almost destroyed by it during the Dark ages. It was rekindled during the Enlightenment. Islam rekindled it during the Renaissance, but ironically, that was because Islam was more secular back then than it is now! After that, it sunk into the sludge of devout fundamentalism, and ancient scientific knowledge was destroyed by the Wahhabis. The genuine scientific method (which was not invented by Bacon or Al-Ghazali), was born during the Enlightenment, and only because the yolk of religion had been cast off and secular knowledge could pursue unchecked. That is why al the necessary concepts of modern science were developed at that time: Materialism, naturalism, mechanism etc. The foundation of the modern scientific method is secular. And even if it were not, you are making a genetic fallacy. What you are saying is analogous to the following:

A: I’m going to wear a ring to symbolize marriage

B: Oh, don’t do that! Don’t you know rings of that sort used to symbolize enslavement in ancient Egypt!

Also what does “we’ll try and survive on our own the next 2000 years” mean? Science has no declared outright war on religion, it is actually the opposite that has been the case! Witness the rise of “creationism” and “intelligent design” and the rest of the ridiculous anti-science movement. Science is simply a tool for discovering empirical facts. Religion does not test its silly claims and therefore has no right to make Knowledge claims about the empericial world. When they do attempt to explain empirical phenomenon, they are stepping on the toes of science. That is science’s job. Religion has no right whatsoever to attempt to explain empirical phenomenon.

Quote:

95. So in conclusion, we’ll see you all in hell!

I’ll shake your hand when I see you there

Wait...

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Books about atheism


theorpheus
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Thank you for taking the

Thank you for taking the time to reply to me. My responses follow below:

Quote:

Quote:

36. Despite our posturing as hyper-evolved members of the human race, our philosophy shows an almost pathological avoidance of complexity and intricacy. We maintain our veneer of intelligence by rebranding “unsophisticated reasoning ability” with the cooler sounding phrase, Occam’s razor.

 

If this is the argument from design, which I suspect it is from “an avoidance of complexity and intricacy” it is refuted here:

“Appears Designed Is A Contradiction in Terms”: The Fundamentals of Biological Evolution

Unfortunately you misunderstand me. Just so you have some context to work in, you'll never find me supporting creationism. I'm somewhere on the atheist/agnostic/non-religious spectrum, just unsure specifically where I lie and trying to reason and feel my way to a solution.

Nonetheless, what a terrible talking point for me to have to start defending, as it is a personal attack. But I will nonetheless stick my neck out and say it, and that is that atheism, or at least the militant atheism espoused by Messrs. Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens, is intellectually lazy. I hope to be proven wrong on this point.

 

Quote:

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42. Mass atrocities committed by secular governments, such as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, cannot be used to smear secularism.

 

The same reasons for criticizing Nazi Germany and the USSR can be found for criticizing the atrocities of religion. They are all based on irrational, insane dogma. Whether or not this dogma is theocratic or not is immaterial. Dogma is dogma is dogma. Religion is often criticized for commiting atrocities based on this dogma, so can many non-religious nations. After all, no one ever speaks about “the atrocities of Hinduism and Buddhism”, but we can so for Islam and Christianity because they are insane doctrines. Indeed, probably the most atrocious fascist police state of the Second World War was Japan, a theocratic junta whose whole society was bound by their religion (and after the fall of their empire, they became one of the most secular and succesful nations on Earth) . The atrocities of religion are not criticisms of religion per se, but rather fanatical irrational propaganda. The problem is that the nature of religion (or at least, some religions) makes them highly conduicive to atrocity. I would say the exact same thing about fascism and communism. Indeed, your point could be reduced to a reductio ad Hitlerum, or a reduction ad Stalinum. Take your pick.

Please keep in English, as I quite fondly admit I'm not an intellectual heavyweight. My issue is with inconsistency in people's arguments. Anybody who argues against religion on the basis that bad things have been done by religious governments also needs to acknowledge bad things done by secular governments. Sam Harris's attempt to address this in his book was, in my opinion, clumsy.

You believe, as do I, that blind orthodoxy to dogma is the root problem. The only point I will dispute you on is when you imply that it's only adherence to "irrational, insane, dogma". I posit that overly zealous adherence to "rational, sane, dogma" can be just as dangerous. This is the crux of my concern with militant atheism. Just because a dogma has a rational basis, this does not render it immune to repeating the mistakes so often made by fundamentalist religions.

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44. Although evolution adequately explains humanity’s predisposition to dehumanize and destroy elements of its own population, it’s more convenient to blame war, conflict, and prejudice on religion.

 

This is merely two sides of the same coin since human religion originates in the same brain centers as our social and moral functions. Indeed, many neuroscientists regard religion as having been intertwined with our African-Savannah era morality. However, all this shows is that it has an evolutionary advantage. Neuroscientists have shown (using VMPFC scans) that humans do have an innate sense of right and wrong which no amount of religious indoctrination may override. Also, evolutionary neuroscience also explains our social tendancy and our reciprocal altruism. Again, I refer you to the previous article.

I'm not sure if your response addresses my original concern. I'll rephrase my original concern for you, and then try to address what you say.

In the same manner that I don't feel "religion" should be scapegoated when orthodoxy to dogma is to blame, I also don't feel "religion" should be blamed for war, conflict, and the like. Societies have always had an inherent tendency to identify differences in other populations or within their society, and then move to destroy these populations. Right now, for example, now people have successfully demonized terrorists, immigrants, and gays. I argue that this tendency is a part of our evolution. The fact that we see so many religious wars is because religion is a very easy way to draw out these differences.

As far as I can tell, your argument simply reinforces my premises. I agree that our social and moral functions are evolutionarily determined. And while, in the recesses of our brain, social organization, religiousness, and morality are deeply intertwined, you yourself point out that they remain distinct, as no amount of religious indoctrination can override certain moral instincts. If I misinterpret your point, please let me know and elaborate.

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45. We shall not give credit to religions for their nearly universal core teachings condemning violence, because some people commit acts of violence in the name of religion.

 

Religions have a universal condemnation of violence? Perhaps some of the Eastern philosophical traditions have such a streak, but no such luck in the Occident. The monotheistic faiths are universally violent and the only reason that they have lost their taste for amputation is the reduction of their authority by secularization. Indeed, this is evidenced by the fact that in parts of the world where there is no secular constraint, and religion still acts as it did at the time of its origin, it is a violent affair eye-deep in red barbarity. I am talking about the blood-soaked Quran and its arbiters: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, Oman, the UAE, and Afghanistan.

Certainly the Quakers and the Amish sprung from the Occident with a heavy emphasis on nonviolence. Possibly I'm just naive or optimistic, but I do believe that the central teachings of nearly all the religions (excepting, of course, the teachings of Anton LaVey) include some version of the so-called "golden rule". Christianity hsa the Sermon on the Mount, manifests itself in the "turn the other cheek". I'm not well enough acquainted with the Qu'ran to speak to it, but a short Wikipedia search (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethic_of_reciprocity#Islam) was able to at least confirm for me that, at bare minimum, the Qu'ran includes the building blocks of nonviolent philosophy.

I ask that we not confuse the core teachings of religion with the organizations that have put these into practice. To my end, I still maintain that most religions have encapsulated the building blocks of a nonviolent philosophy into their central texts, and I think they deserve credit for this. Similarly, many passages of the Bible are indeed quite bloody, but I nonetheless interpret its most central teaching to be one of peace.

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50. We claim religions that spread by violence do so because they are devoid of merit and cannot inspire enthusiasm otherwise. We offer no explanation for what inspired these zealous proselytizers to fight and die for their beliefs in the first place.

 

This is not the claim we make, rather that violence is intrinsic to monotheistic religion. Religion is just like fascism, by which I mean that just like fascism it is a social construct which is little more than a means to power, ie the politics of opportunism. If violence is the best way for a government to gain power, and religion is the best way to inspire violence...then break out with Bible, sword and axe and hunt down some pagans!

As I stated above, I believe that violence an intrinsic human byproduct of our evolution. Religion is a convenient tool that can be used to justify this violence.

Since you don't make the claim (as some have) that violent proselytization dilutes the validity of religion, we can consider this point settled.

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51. It’s unfair of religions to offer people eternal rewards or threaten their immortal soul in an effort to try to convert them. Clever salesmanship has no place in negotiation.

 

I think what you mean is that lying has no place in negotiation.

You've clearly never negotiated.

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54. Public schools are attended and supported by people of all religious viewpoints: Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, atheist, et al. Therefore, we must teach schools from a unilaterally atheist perspective.

 

I know what this is. This is a reference to “Intelligent Design” and the “wedge tactic” for reopening science classes to “God”. The idea of teaching anything else from an “atheist perspective” is meaningless. Do schools teach “history” or “mathematics” from an atheist perspective? That means nothing. This must be a reference to science classes, which shows the author knows nothing about the scientific method, which is naturalistic. “God” has no place whatsoever in science class. Perhaps in a religious studies class. Not a science class.

I recommend you read this. It has good information about the scientific method:

The Notion of Scientific or Indeed any Empirical Proof of God is Absurd

Thanks for the refresher on the scientific method, but it's unnecessary, as I was a physics major in college, (specifically, double major in physics and religion). I align myself with you, that we should keep God out of school walls (on a basis of Constitutionality) and prioritize the teaching facts over myth where they intersect. However, the way our side has approached this debate has left me repulsed.

My biggest issue is that people arguing for a secular public school district need to acknowledge that they are engaging in a war based on values. We want science taught accurately because, when empirical observation conflicts with myth, we value empirical observation. A number of people out there, however, would value the myth. To us, evolution is true because it's based on observable fact. To others, it's true that the world is 6,000 years old because their truth is dictated by a book. In asking for our truth to be taught we are, like it or not, thrusting ourselves into the middle of a values debate. It's a scary place to be, and I don't think our side has acknowledged this nor acted accordingly.

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55. Corollary: In order to avoid offending us atheists, it is necessary and acceptable to offend people of all other faiths.

 

I don’t care about being offended. I realize that in a debate people are going to exchange things that offend each other. I have been offended many times. I don’t care. Likewise, I do not really give a fuck when I offend people of faith. Deal with it. If liberty means anything, it means protecting the rights of people to tell you what you do not want to hear. I disagree with you. I’ll still protect your right to say it.

I mean offense here in the sense that you would probably be offended (justly so) if school districts started to teach that the world was 6,000 years old. I know that secularists take offense to this from the response to the Kansas Board of Education a few years back. Secularists get offended when God enters school, so secularists are fighting to make other people more offended than they have to be. Like I said earlier, this is a values debate, and that's how values debates are waged.

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56. Atheism is so delicate a philosophy that it could be easily collapsed by, say, a schoolteacher uttering the phrase “Merry Christmas.”

 

What?

Here I'm just playing with the War on Christmas crap. I've never actually met anybody who actually got offended by the phrase, yet gasbag bloviator Bill O'Reilly manages annually to find a lawsuit on the issue, so somebody out there thinks so. I think we both agree that us secularists need to pick our battles.

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57. Teaching religious beliefs to children is indoctrination. Teaching secular beliefs to children is enlightened.

 

What does the phrase “secular beliefs” mean? Please do not say something ridiculous like “evolution” because that is scientific theory.

As stated above, we value the fact that things we observe are true. Although it seems self-evident, that is in and of itself a value judgement.

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61. Corollary: It is in our children’s best interest to force cash-strapped school districts to spend an exorbitant amount of money in legal fees to remove the trivial inclusion of the phrase “under God” in the pledge of allegiance.

 

Not American, can’t comment. But if this is indeed the case, I side with you. It is immaterial.

I shouldn't rely so much on Wikipedia, but it's too convenient: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Newdow

Again, pick our battles. I spoke the pledge of allegiance every day as a kid, yet it didn't stop me from actively questioning and rejecting my religious upbringing as a teen.

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62. Based on our interpretation of what it means for the United States to be a secular state, we insist that government err on the side of hostility towards religion.

 

Again, not American, cannot comment, but I think what most atheist in the US are concerned about is that the vast majority of government officials are devoutly Christian. For example, George W Bush is often advised by Ted Haggard and Jerry Falwell on his foreign policy in the Middle East. Think about it. These lunatics are not the sort you want telling a chimpanzee what he should do regarding the deployment of nuclear weaponry, especially when they celebrate the destruction of the world anyway.

This refers to this American pattern of "culture wars", in which a few very silly arguments get more attention than they deserve. Secular organizations will spend so many resources battling stupid things, like displays of courthouses on public grounds, that they actively ignore real breaches of church and state. Let's ignore the crap symbolic issues, not worry too much about the "slippery slope" between church and state and theocracy, and start working on real issues. Once the secular groups decide to start fighting tax-exempt status for churches that actively politic, I'll stop rolling my eyes. Until then, it's a bunch of sound and fury signifying nothing.

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I think the other concern is that it is almost impossible for a non-religious official to get elected. In a sample of so many well educated officials such as senate leaders or house representatives, it is statistically absurd that only two would be atheistic. But even if it were not the case, it is utterly undeniable that the admission of non-belief is an almost immediate killer to any political campaign. This is frightening. In a political race in America, it is guaranteed that an actor who reads the Bible will defeat a rocket scientist who does not. Does this not frighten you?

My approach to my non-religiousness is one of reality. Sure, it would be nice if it was the case that atheistic people could get elected. But realistically speaking, that's not the case and it may never be the case. Whining about the status quo is awfully futile. We have to play the hand we've been dealt, and that involves recognizing and accepting that we are heavily in the minority.

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63. Currency bearing the phrase “In God We Trust” is not just a nuisance, but an active obstacle to our disbelief. It’s quite difficult to disbelieve in God when, every time we purchase a can of Dr. Pepper, the religiously-infused currency causes us to inadvertently speak in tongues and break into a gospel chorus.

 

Not American, cannot comment. Don’t really care about the money thing. Never saw why such fuss was made. Although I wouldn’t really like it if money said “Under Allah” would you?

With you on the first half. At some point I remember hearing the rumor that our currency has Masonic symbols on it. I never bothered to sit and read it. I think the Christians would mind it "Under Allah", but it's the same thing to me.

 

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67. Over many centuries, theologians have created vast libraries of literature that probe the intricacies religious doubt and posit solutions to theological confusion. When faced with the same issues, atheists spend a week churning out simplistic best-sellers.

 

I cannot comment on this because I do not bother studying ancient myth. I am a scientist, so when faced with a suggestion like “God exists” which is an empirical claim about the universe, I will wish to know how such a claim can be tested. However, many of the atheist books I have read do not deal with “theological confusion”. Indeed, I do not care about the “problem of evil” or “the Euthypro” dilemma. It is analogous to arguing about Death Star mechanics. Instead, I care about whether there is evidence for God, and that is where my field of endeavour crushes that of the theologian, since I am in a much better position to answer Design and First Cause (which are arguments regarding biology and cosmology respectively) than any theologian ever will be.

Careful, a lot of people do like to draw Death Star schematics in their free time.

I personally love studying ancient myth. I'm not convinced by any of it, but the body of religious literature is utterly fascinating. It's almost guaranteed to be, as it's a discussion that has unfolded over several millennia. I find reading it downright stimulating. It's the same with mathematics and science. The peaks and valleys of scientific understanding is beautiful to read. Compared with these, however, the body of atheist literature to be hackneyed and stale. The latest best-sellers by Messrs. Harris and Dawkins (haven't read Hitchens) are notably putrid. I'd like to read atheist books that stop rehashing the same tired arguments and actually elevate the discourse a little bit. Maybe then atheist literature can become as rich and full as the other disciplines.

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68. Mathematics has evolved from ancient axioms, and is therefore a crowning cultural tradition. Religion has evolved from ancient texts, and is therefore a vestigial relic of our savage origins.

 

I think mathematical axioms are a “crowning cultural heritage” because they are necessary tautological truths which we gleaned through rationality, not because they are ancient. Likewise, I do not put any more stock in an ancient book of fables like the Bible than a modern one such a Urantia book. That it is “ancient” is immaterial.

It's difficult for me to remove the time factor from the impressive achievement of mathematics. Because the five basic axioms of geometry have been in place for over two thousand years, it's given the greatest minds of the last two thousand years the ability to focus their work on something, and thereby produce a system that lasts over multiple generations. If I sat in my apartment and rationally deduced a few axioms, and wrote a book on it, it might be cool. If two thousand years later it had become ingrained into university studies and our culture, it would be a crowning cultural achievement

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69. We must ignore the fact that religions’ holy texts are living documents, developed over centuries and reinterpreted over millennia, so that we may continue to paint religion as archaic and irrelevant.

 

Actually, religion is archaic and irrelevant because there is no evidence for their claims, so it is immaterial how much interpreting of text is done until evidence is presented, just as I may study in “the Hermeneutics (interpretation of text) of Harry Potter”. There would be no difference, except in number of believers, which is ad populum. Religion is irrelevant because it is a social construct whose value (at least for monotheism) usually rests in the fact that it is a tool for control and keeping stability by means of keeping the population ignorant and docile. In other words, it is the “opiate of the masses”, as Marx said. Now, this is evident if we examine the bulk of European societies up to the Enlightenment era.

I'd argue that the evidence for no God is as flimsy as the evidence for God.

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70. We cannot, under any circumstances, presume that holy texts have endured throughout history because they contain some fundamental value which has allowed them to remain relevant over time, despite philosophical doubts, varying beliefs, shifting societal taboos, and advances in technology.

 

This is an argumentum ad antiquitatem fallacy and an ignoratio elenchi. Imagine, if I had been a physicist reviewing Einstein’s 1905 paper on Relativistic Kinematics, which crushed Newtonian mechanics, and I said to him: “But Newton’s mechanics have worked for 350 years!”

Don't speak French. My point is that religions, like science, endure for as long as they remain relevant. Religions that are no longer relevant, for whatever reason, disappear. If I started a religion, and its central tenet was you must eat your children, the religion would not be sustainable. There's some inherent property in Buddhism and Islam that renders it sustainable and allows it endure.

I don't think it's right to compare religion strictly to science, as they are two different beasts. I nonetheless see parallels between Einstein's reenvisioning of the universe, which kept the core principles of science while dramatically changing its interpretation, and the Protestant Reformation, which kept the Bible and lost the church.

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72. While nations crumble and traditions wane, religion has demonstrated an unparalleled ability to preserve literature, beliefs, and customs over great lifespans. But this will surely be trumped by our doctrine of denial and pessimism.

 

Firstly, how precisely is atheism inherently pessimistic? Please do not say “because we do not believe in magic”. Secondly, the dominant religion merely represents shifting trends of empire. When the Greek and Roman empires fell, so too did their religions. The Roman empire was split apart by Christianity, which remained the dominant religion in Europe until 1945, after which a massive wave of secularization castrated it, and still remains dominant in the US. The uniting of the Arabian Gulf means that Islam has been dominant for 1400 years. Vast, incalculable numbers of religions have been crushed and forgotten by invading armies. Indeed, one of the greatest atrocities of the conquistadors in Peru was that they destroyed all the Inca libraries of knowledge, and forced conversion to Christendom. The handful of religions that survive the shifting sands of antiquity is a tiny fraction of those which once were abound but were raped by conquering faiths.

To the first point, you say yourself below "All atheism is is: “I do not believe in God”". It has yet to establish agreed upon core philosophies beyond a negative, a disbelief. There's an overwhelming tendency to believe in secularism and science, and I don't deny that there have been attempts to create positivistic atheistic movements, but for now atheists still must be defined in relation to theists.

On the second point, it's true that, in the long run, the free market of religion is a crapshoot, as is the free market of business or nations. If you had to deliver a letter to somebody 1,000 years in the future, though, where would you rationally turn? I wouldn't leave it in any nations hands, for the map will almost certainly look different by then. I might consider leaving it in a university, but those seem too tied to the fates of nation-states. My best hope might be to pass it down family lines, but family lines branch in weird directions and have a tendency to dry up if they pick the wrong branch. I think the best bet would be to build a Christian or Buddhist temple, establish an order within the temple, and give the letter a very solemn place of honor. My point here is that, taking a long term view of things, religion has accomplished some pretty cool stuff: http://blog.longnow.org/2007/05/12/ise-is-rebuilt-for-the-101st-time/#comments


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73. Atheism is a universally palatable system because we allow each individual to develop their own moral code. After all, people would rather do something themselves than have somebody else do the hard work for them.

 

This is contradictory since if someone else develops a moral code and you follow it without thought of your own morality then it is not really a moral code, rather you are simply obeying like an unusually stupid sheep. You’ve made an ad vericandum fallacy. This is in no way any sort of grounds for holding any sort of religious doctrine to give any morality whatsoever. Indeed, having studied neuroscience, I would regard religion as a useless vestigial organ, left over from evolution, which plays absolute havoc with modern society unless forcibly watered down so people aren’t killing each other over which book they prefer. It is precisely analogous to the human appendix. It has no use. There is an evolutionary origin to the centers of the brain which seem to give us religion, but these have no value in modern society.

You stray from the point here. My point is that, like it or not, most people are sheep. They're content to be sheep. It's easy to say, "You don't need God to give you your moral code, just figure it out for yourself." Practically, that's not going to work for most people.

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74. Having people develop their own morality is prudent, in light of the simple historical fact that human beings are overwhelmingly and innately good.

But I could simply say the same thing about humans getting their morality from unusually violent books. Being that these books were written by other men, you’ve made a self-refutation. Also, regardless of what religion someone is brainwashed with, there are intrinsic codes which cannot be overridden. Indeed, if these worthless books were actually “giving” us morality, there would be no such thing as Hermeneutics! This is why I highly recommend the following two articles:

The self refuting nature of "Hermeneutics"

christians must steal from secular morality

I agree that this here has the potential to open a giant can of worms, something I don't really care to go down right now while I still have so many other points to get to. In short, I think that morality is best derived from an open exchange of ideas from many different cultures and times. My point on this one, and I acknowledge that it's overly simplistic, is that while it's easy to tell Mother Theresa, "You don't need God, derive your own moral code", it's disastrous to say the same thing to Hitler. If you want to cut religion's leash on people, be really careful.

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75. In response to attacks by Christians, we atheists have concluded that it is morally acceptable to unleash our full vengeance upon them.

 

What does “full vengeance” mean. If by “full vengeance” you mean argumentatively attempting to rip their silly beliefs in half, then sure, I will unleash argumentative attack on any belief I consider silly.

I do feel a little silly about attacking militant atheists, because in the grand scheme of things atheists don't have their finger on the nuclear bomb. I find the prominent atheists, Mr. Dawkins, Mr. Harris, and Mr. Hitchens, to be rude and condescending. The responses I've distilled are:

(1) Religion started it.

(2) Religion is too (archaic, wrong, dangerous, ______) to deserve kind treatment.

(3) Everybody else is acting like Ann Coulter, so atheists should too.

To that, I would argue that somebody, I don't care if they're Christian, Spaghettian, or atheist, needs to turn the other cheek, because cycles of vengeance inherently escalate. Identifying more with the atheist community than the Christian community, I call on atheists to play the martyr.

 

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77. Corollary: We clearly do not insist on the doctrine of forgiveness, despite the fact that it arguably has a rational basis. This makes our moral code less developed than nearly every major religion.

 

This is a False generalization fallacy. There are probably atheists who are unforgiving. And probably an equal number of Christians, Muslims, Jews, who are unforgiving towards each other, and Hindus and Muslims unforgiving towards each other. Also, you cannot really call atheism a “doctrine”, even to call it a “philosophy” is quite extravagant. All atheism is is: “I do not believe in God”. To derive any necessary “doctrines” from this one sentence is a non sequitur. So it is a non sequitur to use the phrase “a universal moral code for atheists”. Actually, this corollary contradicts #73 and #74.

See above. I feel that the Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens response to religion speaks volumes about the moral principles they follow. They're clearly not leading by example, and it tarnishes their crusade. "Our" refers not to all atheists, but the three aforementioned people and militant atheists in their like.

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78. It’s distressing that the religious cite religion as the source of absolute morality. This point is actually just jealousy on our part, as our philosophy of moral relativism doesn’t allow us the joy of having absolutes in our life.

 

How is having absolutes a joyful pursuit?

Everybody likes absolutes. Math has axioms. You need to start with something to derive something else. When you're challenged, you need something to fall back on. Religion makes it easy. Atheism, saying you have to figure it out yourself, is hard. That's why atheists cling to science as gospel.

 

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79. Corollary: Well, yes we have an absolute disbelief in God, but have you ever tried to derive a moral code from a negative? You don’t get very far.

 

An “absolute disbelief in God”? This sounds like an ad ignoratium, and it sounds like you misunderstand the two atheist positions. Which is why I recommend this to you:

The Argument From Ignorance and its uses and abuses

I am glad you have a vague inkling of something (which, btw, contradicts #77). All “atheism” means is “I do not believe in God”. So, wherever atheists derive their ethical and moral foundations, it is not from “not believing in God”, as this would be a non sequitur. Just like most Christians do not derive their moral codes from their holy books or they would be in prison for stoning their children. I highly recommend this article to you:

christians must steal from secular morality

About Kohlberg’s stages of moral reasoning.

All I'm saying here is what you said below. Atheism is just a simple statement, "I disbelieve, or lack belief, in God." With that as your axiom, derive whatever you like, but it won't take you far. It's barely a philosophy. It's a beginning.

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80. Good deeds done by religious people may be done with the incentive of getting into heaven. This means that religious people cannot do good deeds, only selfish deeds.
81. Corollary: Only atheists can do good deeds.

 

Strawman. Never claimed the latter. I have only claimed the former in response to religios people who insist that I should act immorally since I do not believe I will be punished by a magical sky fairy after I die.

I see the latter as the logical conclusion of the former. If religious people can only, by necessity, act selfishly, then atheists are the only ones who can act selflessly.

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82. Our worldview romanticizes ancient Greece, deplores the Middle Ages, and believes the new millennium represents a scientific and philosophical midpoint between the Enlightenment to a Star Trek-style, utopian future. We assume everybody else approaches life from our unrealistic worldview.

 

What?

Oh, I hope we can go into depth on this one. Atheist arguments reveal loads about their worldview. Certain times are good (enlightenment, scientific advance, ancient Greece), and certain times are bad (Middle Ages). The weird thing is that atheists seem obsessed with this idea that science is a journey, like there's a narrative with an obvious progression, and that the rest of humanity will change along with it. The best historical parallel is the concept of "Manifest Destiny".

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83. We reject the religious use of the apocalypse to stoke fear in populations. We only allow scientifically-based apocalyptic fear-mongering, like the unlikely event of human extinction from nuclear holocaust, grey goo, or global warming

 

Perhaps because there is an inkling of truth in the latter, and none in the former.

A lot of people will die with nuclear holocaust, a lot of bad things will happen with global warming. The odds of human extinction from either of those? Slim to nil. They're bad, but somehow get overly hyped as end of world doomsday scenarios.

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90. Only 2% of the population identify as atheists. Therefore, 98% of the world is retarded.

 

This is both a strawman and statistically false. I have never claimed this. The dichotomy is using American statistics, which you have managed, for some hitherto unexplained reason, to graft onto world statistics

I don't know what a strawman argument is, and I won't vouch for the statistics. My point is that the atheists I've met are unreasonably obsessed with intelligence, though. The folks over on the Richard Dawkins message board are quibbling over spelling, and though your friend "LosingStreak06" is actually a theist, (sorry he/she got confused as an atheist), he/she immediately went to: "The fact that they can't distinguish between a theist and an atheist seems quite indicative of their cognitive functionality." Just to get it right out of the way, I'm not smart. All I ask is that you not cast me aside just for that simple fact.

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91. Atheists are more advanced, possibly even more evolved, than any human beings who have ever lived. This is as close as we can reckon why humanity has never produced a self-sustaining atheist movement before now.

 

This is ridiculous. I have never ever heard anyone say that. Not even Dawkins.

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It's hyperbole. However, Sam Harris does talk about the need for humanity to evolve away from religion, so it's not as hyperbolic as I wish.

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92. Corollary: Doubt, evidence, and reason are wholly modern inventions that simply did not exist before the development of the scientific method.

 

Who have you heard claim this? Judging by your last 40-odd points, You two:

Must be well acquainted.

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I couldn't argue against you because I never knew you existed. My article synthesized common arguments among atheists.

I'll need to dive into the Harris book, where I culled this from, for the exact passages. In it, however, he writes as if "seeing is believing" is some kind of novel talisman reserved for non-believers.

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93. Even politely rejecting God would be considered by many to be an extremely personal attack on their fundamental identity. That’s why it’s so much more fun to raise the stakes and call the Bible a fairy tale, or equate God with ghosts and Santa Claus.

 

Yeah, I’ll offend people. If they cannot take that, well, that is their problem. You’re in a debate, you should prepare to be offended. If you are not, you have no place here.

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I just think, given that atheists/agnostics/non-religious people are in the minority, we should temper our words a little bit. The religious people out there could easily crush us, if they so chose. We're at their mercy.

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94. The only way science has survived from antiquity is, well, religion. Scientific knowledge was preserved by Christianity, proliferated throughout Islam, and revived into its present form. Well, you’re not going to get any thank you from us. Instead, we prefer to declare outright war on religion and try to survive the next two thousand years on our own.

 

This is simply untrue. Scientific knowledge was not “preserved” by Christianity, it was almost destroyed by it during the Dark ages. It was rekindled during the Enlightenment. Islam rekindled it during the Renaissance, but ironically, that was because Islam was more secular back then than it is now! After that, it sunk into the sludge of devout fundamentalism, and ancient scientific knowledge was destroyed by the Wahhabis. The genuine scientific method (which was not invented by Bacon or Al-Ghazali), was born during the Enlightenment, and only because the yolk of religion had been cast off and secular knowledge could pursue unchecked. That is why al the necessary concepts of modern science were developed at that time: Materialism, naturalism, mechanism etc. The foundation of the modern scientific method is secular. And even if it were not, you are making a genetic fallacy. What you are saying is analogous to the following:

A: I’m going to wear a ring to symbolize marriage

B: Oh, don’t do that! Don’t you know rings of that sort used to symbolize enslavement in ancient Egypt!

Also what does “we’ll try and survive on our own the next 2000 years” mean? Science has no declared outright war on religion, it is actually the opposite that has been the case! Witness the rise of “creationism” and “intelligent design” and the rest of the ridiculous anti-science movement. Science is simply a tool for discovering empirical facts. Religion does not test its silly claims and therefore has no right to make Knowledge claims about the empericial world. When they do attempt to explain empirical phenomenon, they are stepping on the toes of science. That is science’s job. Religion has no right whatsoever to attempt to explain empirical phenomenon.

</quote>

If you were a betting man, which would you place your money on:

1. 2000 years from now, science exists and religion is obsolete.

2. 2000 years from now, science hsa been forgotten and religion is still around.

I think it's most likely that both will be around, but of those options I have to stick with 2. I'm just saying, ideals are great, but reality is what we have to live with. Religion is probably not going anywhere anytime soon, so science would be smart to cozy up to it. Or, you can get drawn into a fight with them. Good luck.

 

<quote>

Quote:

95. So in conclusion, we’ll see you all in hell!

 

I’ll shake your hand when I see you there

Wait...

</quote>

Ha... Smiling


Again, thanks for taking the time to address. I hope I was able to clarify my points, so that we can make sure we're saying what we think we're saying. I'm encouraged by your willingness to discuss this with me, but I'm finding myself unswayed. If anything, the emergence of militant atheism and the knee-jerk condemnation of religion has pushed me away from being able to consider myself an atheist. I still keep an open mind, however.


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theorpheus wrote: I don't

theorpheus wrote:
I don't know what a strawman argument is, and I won't vouch for the statistics. My point is that the atheists I've met are unreasonably obsessed with intelligence, though. The folks over on the Richard Dawkins message board are quibbling over spelling, and though your friend "LosingStreak06" is actually a theist, (sorry he/she got confused as an atheist), he/she immediately went to: "The fact that they can't distinguish between a theist and an atheist seems quite indicative of their cognitive functionality." Just to get it right out of the way, I'm not smart. All I ask is that you not cast me aside just for that simple fact.

I'll respond to this, as it (somewhat) pertains to me.

First of all, I doubt many people on this site would consider me to be a "friend" of the Rational Responders. If anything, my role here is (involuntarily) antagonistic in nature.

Secondly, I can understand your sentiments about atheists being obsessed with intelligence. But that's because in the world of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. Intelligence is power in our world. Intelligence frees the individual from having to submit to the will of others, it frees the individual from the (perceived) bondage of archaic and absurd ideas, and it gives the individual the power to fight back against these wills and ideas. From what I've seen about the people on this website, a lot of them were severely abused by religion. Intelligence, however, gives them the weapons they feel they need to fight back.

Thirdly, if you aren't smart, then get involved in arguments that are over your head. It's comperable to going to an NFL tryout and saying "I'm completely unathletic, out of shape, and I'm also legally blind. All I ask is that you not cast me aside for that simple fact." Yeah, I'm being harsh, I know. I treat poor intellectualists who try to argue the same way I treat poor poets who attempt poetry.


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LosingStreak06

LosingStreak06 wrote:

theorpheus wrote:
I don't know what a strawman argument is, and I won't vouch for the statistics. My point is that the atheists I've met are unreasonably obsessed with intelligence, though. The folks over on the Richard Dawkins message board are quibbling over spelling, and though your friend "LosingStreak06" is actually a theist, (sorry he/she got confused as an atheist), he/she immediately went to: "The fact that they can't distinguish between a theist and an atheist seems quite indicative of their cognitive functionality." Just to get it right out of the way, I'm not smart. All I ask is that you not cast me aside just for that simple fact.

I'll respond to this, as it (somewhat) pertains to me.

First of all, I doubt many people on this site would consider me to be a "friend" of the Rational Responders. If anything, my role here is (involuntarily) antagonistic in nature.

Secondly, I can understand your sentiments about atheists being obsessed with intelligence. But that's because in the world of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. Intelligence is power in our world. Intelligence frees the individual from having to submit to the will of others, it frees the individual from the (perceived) bondage of archaic and absurd ideas, and it gives the individual the power to fight back against these wills and ideas. From what I've seen about the people on this website, a lot of them were severely abused by religion. Intelligence, however, gives them the weapons they feel they need to fight back.

Thirdly, if you aren't smart, then get involved in arguments that are over your head. It's comperable to going to an NFL tryout and saying "I'm completely unathletic, out of shape, and I'm also legally blind. All I ask is that you not cast me aside for that simple fact." Yeah, I'm being harsh, I know. I treat poor intellectualists who try to argue the same way I treat poor poets who attempt poetry.

Sheesh, give the guy a break, will you.  I'd rather someone admit ignorance than feign knowledge. 

This is my advice to you.  If you don't want to get lost in some of the conversations on here, look things up that you don't know.  Do a little research.  If you don't know what a strawman argument is, look it up.  Just remember there is also a lot of crap on the internet and you need to learn to sift through it.

If god takes life he's an indian giver


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pariahjane wrote: Sheesh,

pariahjane wrote:

Sheesh, give the guy a break, will you. I'd rather someone admit ignorance than feign knowledge.

Admitting fault doesn't excuse continued efforts of the person at fault. If I admit that I am too weak to lift a large rock, then it would be within reason for someone to tell me not to bother trying to lift the rock until I have made myself stronger. 


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Second and more careful

Second and more careful read, I'll run through this one at a time if that's ok


1 Personal disbelief in God is insufficient.  We will never obtain happiness until we can safely believe that NOBODY believes in God.


firstly, I think you will find, atheists are quite happy in you believing whatever you want to believe, up until the point where your belief system impacts upon their lives

ie why should the devout worshipers of the spaghetti monster, (1) pay no tax (2) get financial assistance for the great spaghetti monster devotional palace (3) indoctrinate children at a government/citizen finance school about the great spaghetti monster's love for them (4) received special holidays the great spaghetti monster day / and so on and so forth, until virtually every part of your life is affected by the devout worshipers of the spaghetti monster,

This is the objection, not an individual's belief, but a collective belief,  ? can you see the difference

 


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LosingStreak06

LosingStreak06 wrote:
pariahjane wrote:

Sheesh, give the guy a break, will you. I'd rather someone admit ignorance than feign knowledge.

Admitting fault doesn't excuse continued efforts of the person at fault. If I admit that I am too weak to lift a large rock, then it would be within reason for someone to tell me not to bother trying to lift the rock until I have made myself stronger. 

I think learning about a subject is a bit different than lifting a heavy rock.  Of course a lot of people aren't going to master a lot of subjects, but if a person actually studies something and they are of average intelligence, I see no reason why they can't keep up.

I think people use 'I'm not smart' when they should be saying 'I'm just lazy'. 

If god takes life he's an indian giver


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Gladly, though if we want

Gladly, though if we want to keep them to one at a time, let's try not to exceed the scope of each a-thesis, but to focus on the specific argument.

I love the idea of being an atheist and hiding out in a foxhole.  I have no objections to this.  It's basically what I do, (though I haven't settled on a label.)  My objection is to the militant atheism Dawkins and co. have advocated.  I feel they have crossed into proselytization, and that's too far.

I don't have objections to policing the boundaries between church and state, provided they are violations that provide measurable harm (churches intervening in elections is a big one for me, spaghetti financial assistance would count too) and not trifling nuisances (special holidays, pledge of allegiance).

As for having religion affect every part of your life, I have to say atheists need to suck it up.  This is a religious world, a fact that shows no sign of dissipating.  Atheists need to accept this reality and learn to peacefully coexist with theists.  Part of this is accepting the limitation that we're a strong minority.  My solution was to go to go where the theists ain't: liberal arts school, then New York.  I don't necessarily recommend either. Smile


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theorpheus wrote: As for

theorpheus wrote:

As for having religion affect every part of your life, I have to say atheists need to suck it up. 

I absolutely do not have to accept this.  Why on earth should I?  There are people out there who want to take away my right to have an abortion because it goes against their belief.  That's ridiculous!  The reason that homosexual couples don't get the same benefits that heterosexual couples get is because of people's religious beliefs.  I refuse to accept that.

 

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Quote: There are people out

Quote:
There are people out there who want to take away my right to have an abortion because it goes against their belief.

Accepting does not mean surrender.  It means understanding the battlefield.  If secularists spend their time attacking religious people, then as soon as secularists weigh in on important issues like abortion and gay rights, theists will already have tuned out.  Far more effective, I would think, to make friends with theists so that we're pitching our case to friends and not enemies.


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Quote: I'll respond to

Quote:
I'll respond to this, as it (somewhat) pertains to me.

Don't worry, I'm not going to stick around for good, and I won't stray from this thread, so I'm easy to shut out.

I am pleased to hear that you have also noticed that atheists are obsessed with intelligence.  This is reassuring to me, as it provides some corroborating evidence to that particular a-thesis.  Whatever other claims can be hurled at me, the fact that I have at least a single scrap of evidence to my name demonstrates that my claims are not entirely unfounded, irrelevant, or out of touch.


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theorpheus wrote:

theorpheus wrote:

 

I love the idea of being an atheist and hiding out in a foxhole. I have no objections to this. It's basically what I do, (though I haven't settled on a label.) My objection is to the militant atheism Dawkins and co. have advocated. I feel they have crossed into proselytization, and that's too far.

You believe one should respond to a loss of personal freedom and liberty with apathy ?

theorpheus wrote:

I don't have objections to policing the boundaries between church and state, provided they are violations that provide measurable harm (churches intervening in elections is a big one for me, spaghetti financial assistance would count too) and not trifling nuisances (special holidays, pledge of allegiance).

And a million and one other ways religion impacts upon your liberties, of course one would need to define trifling nuisances, ? would pledging allegiance to the spaghetti monster on a daily basis affect your day-to-day existence ? personally I would find it annoying and hypocritical why should I pledge allegiance to the spaghetti monster ? why should I be made to make a hypocrite of myself, and then there's the issue of the devout ragout monster believers, whom find themselves deeply offended by the idea of the spaghetti monster

theorpheus wrote:

As for having religion affect every part of your life, I have to say atheists need to suck it up. This is a religious world, a fact that shows no sign of dissipating. Atheists need to accept this reality and learn to peacefully coexist with theists.

If you consider America to be the entire world then you maybe correct, otherwise religion is dying, large parts of the world have no or little organized deity belief system, China Japan and so on, in Europe religion is definitely on its way out

theorpheus wrote:

Part of this is accepting the limitation that we're a strong minority. My solution was to go to go where the theists ain't: liberal arts school, then New York. I don't necessarily recommend either. Smile

Again apathy, freedom and liberty are not achieved or sustained through the pursuit of apathy, quite the opposite


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Quote: Again apathy,

Quote:
Again apathy, freedom and liberty are not achieved or sustained through the pursuit of apathy, quite the opposite

I don't believe anything in my statement implied atheists should be apathetic.  Now that I Wikipedia'ed "straw man", I can throw that right back at you.  Rather than think of a "straw man" as a fallacy that can choke off conversation, I'll take it as an opportunity to clarify my position.

I stated outright that certain intrusions should be opposed and must be opposed.  Given that we are in the strong minority, we also have to recognize that our resources are limited, and we will need to choose to fight the most important ones.  Our policy should be "good fences make good neighbors", we fight at our boundaries and live quietly otherwise.

Proselytization I feel uncomfortable with.  We want to be left alone, so let's leave them alone.  Trying to actively convert them is just the opposite. 

If religion really is dying, as you say, why not just let it fizzle out on its own?  In my experience, approaching somebody as the enemy and arguing against their beliefs is just about certain to have the opposite effect (like my presence is doing, no doubt).

So in my mind, it comes down to not apathy vs. action.  I feel that militant atheists are insisting on an overly hostile approach.  I feel that atheists should take a more balanced approach.


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Quote:

Quote:

Nonetheless, what a terrible talking point for me to have to start defending, as it is a personal attack. But I will nonetheless stick my neck out and say it, and that is that atheism, or at least the militant atheism espoused by Messrs. Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens, is intellectually lazy. I hope to be proven wrong on this point.

Well, it depends what you mean by “intellectually lazy”. I was surprised, for example to see Richard Dawkins talking about philosophy and Biblical mythology, since he has no idea. He should stay out of that which he is clearly not versed in.

On the other hand, Dawkins is an excellent position to crush the argument from Design, since he is a biologist. Likewise, Harris is in an excellent position to explain why we have religion, since he is a neuroscientist.

Quote:

Please keep in English, as I quite fondly admit I'm not an intellectual heavyweight

Those two sentences at the end? They mean reduction to Hitler and reduction to Stalin. They are variants of the reduction to the absurd fallacy. It is like saying:

A: I’m growing to grow a moustache

B: Don’t!!! Don’t you know that both Hitler and Stalin sported moustaches?

Quote:

I posit that overly zealous adherence to "rational, sane, dogma" can be just as dangerous.

The term “rational dogma” is contradictory. It is like saying “faith in logic” or “faith in science”.

Quote:

In the same manner that I don't feel "religion" should be scapegoated when orthodoxy to dogma is to blame, I also don't feel "religion" should be blamed for war, conflict, and the like. Societies have always had an inherent tendency to identify differences in other populations or within their society, and then move to destroy these populations.

I think the criticism of religion in this regard is that it is very easy to use it for the purpose of scapegoat, brainwashing, seizing and keeping control over the masses. It is a tool of government, the opiate of the masses. This, of course, is the same criticism that can be levelled at fascism. However, there are very few people alive today who worship fascism or communism, and the remaining communist nations look about ready to disintegrate (North Korea), or edge away from the doctrine (China and Vietnam)

*Edit. By “communism”, I am actually referring to hyperstatist dictatorship, the status of all so called “communist nations” that have ever existed. I am not referring to Marx’s fourth stage of Revolution and Practice.

Quote:

Right now, for example, now people have successfully demonized terrorists, immigrants, and gays. I argue that this tendency is a part of our evolution. The fact that we see so many religious wars is because religion is a very easy way to draw out these differences.

Yes, and my argument is that just like religion, it is a by-product of evolution which has no use in modern society.

Quote:

Certainly the Quakers and the Amish sprung from the Occident with a heavy emphasis on nonviolence.

I meant overall, in general. I did not mean that every group carried this tradition

Quote:

was able to at least confirm for me that, at bare minimum, the Qu'ran includes the building blocks of nonviolent philosophy.

Oh yes? Well, you I can pick and choose too:

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

Quote:

I ask that we not confuse the core teachings of religion with the organizations that have put these into practice. To my end, I still maintain that most religions have encapsulated the building blocks of a nonviolent philosophy into their central texts, and I think they deserve credit for this.

But this is contradictory to number 44! These tenets (such as ethical reciprocity) can be traced back to evolution.

 

I see now that you have managed to punch a large hole in your own argument. In 44 you said that the atrocity of religion should be attributable to evolution...but now you are saying that the tenets which are obviously a neurobiological result of evolution should be attributed to...religion. Do you see the ad hoc self-refutation you have made. You have caught your own argument in a catch-22. You cannot simultaneously hold this position in concordance with number 44. They refute each other. Ethical reciprocity is an evolutionary neurobiological imperative, so is societal altruism, etc. Your arguments refute each other.

 

Quote:

You've clearly never negotiated.

Are you arguing this in favour of religions? That the should continue lying to win converts?

Quote:

My biggest issue is that people arguing for a secular public school district need to acknowledge that they are engaging in a war based on values

Yes, and an immaterial one. Science is naturalistic, and is about tested theory and fact. God, having neither criterion (and an appeal to magic fallacy), has neither of these. Therefore, God has no place in a science classroom. End of Story. Perhaps it could be discussed as part of a Religious studies course on various myth, but do not expect to walk in a science class and learn about Hindu creation. You know why, because it is not science! I think this point is very, very unreasonable. Science contradicts the vast majority of religious beliefs, so when we are in a SCIENCE classroom, it is them that will have to deal with it.

Quote:

number of people out there, however, would value the myth

This is irrelevant to what we should teach in a SCIENCE class, with large emphasis on the word science. This is not a militant thing. Even the most passive atheist would absolutely agree that under no circumstances whatsoever are religious mythology to pervade science classrooms. Why? Because it is not science.

Quote:

It's a scary place to be, and I don't think our side has acknowledged this nor acted accordingly.

What relevance does this have to what we should teach in a science class?

Quote:

I mean offense here in the sense that you would probably be offended (justly so) if school districts started to teach that the world was 6,000 years old.

If people of faith are offended by what is taught in a science classroom, that is their problem. Science is a naturalistic pursuit. You know, just as well as I, that creationism has no place whatsoever at all in a science class. I see the last two points as meaningless...

Quote:

As stated above, we value the fact that things we observe are true. Although it seems self-evident, that is in and of itself a value judgement.

Again, I would clearly state that teaching empirical science has validity is not “indoctrination”, but teaching that religious myth has validity without evidence is indoctrination. The reason is that empirical science is tested. So it has a right to claim validity. There is no evidence for any religious proposition....so they do not have the right to claim validity. Indeed, the vile notion of “faith” is a rejection of the whole philosophical arm of epistemology! It is insulting.

Quote:

My approach to my non-religiousness is one of reality. Sure, it would be nice if it was the case that atheistic people could get elected.

I would be more frightened that most people are so bigoted that they refuse to vote regardless of qualification unless their religious convictions match or they are not from a certain minority? I can see why militant atheism exists...you are affirming its propositions! Our world is scarily religion, I am glad that some men have had the courage to stand up and say enough is enough with this idiotic nonsense!

Quote:

Whining about the status quo is awfully futile. We have to play the hand we've been dealt, and that involves recognizing and accepting that we are heavily in the minority.

This is precisely the reason militant atheism exists! Your dichotomy is whine or accept. Why? Why not fight for equal right to office? The right to office based on qualification is a fundamental right. I refuse to accept that any American (who live in a supposedly “free country”) should have to accept exemption from office based on their lack of religion. How can this not infuriate you?

Quote:

I'd like to read atheist books that stop rehashing the same tired arguments and actually elevate the discourse a little bit. Maybe then atheist literature can become as rich and full as the other disciplines.

Well, you could try books by Dawkins that were written under his field of endeavour, by which I mean The River out of Eden, The Selfish Gene etc. Or God, the Failed Hypothesis, or anything by Russell, (Why I am not a Christian) or (not that I am comparing ours to this) you could see what Todangst and I have collaborated to write:

Deluded God

Todangst


Being that we kept within our fields of endeavour

Quote:

It's difficult for me to remove the time factor from the impressive achievement of mathematics. Because the five basic axioms of geometry have been in place for over two thousand years, it's given the greatest minds of the last two thousand years the ability to focus their work on something, and thereby produce a system that lasts over multiple generations. If I sat in my apartment and rationally deduced a few axioms, and wrote a book on it, it might be cool. If two thousand years later it had become ingrained into university studies and our culture, it would be a crowning cultural achievement

Yes, but I said mathematics were a crowing cultural achievement because they represent the dawn of the Age of Reason. They were proven. All religion represents is that the longer in place a myth has been around, the more popular it will be, despite the fact that none have any evidence. There is no more validity to found in the Mormon Doctrine and Covenenant or the Urantia Book than in the Bible or Qur’an. The latter have just been around a little longer.

Quote:

I'd argue that the evidence for no God is as flimsy as the evidence for God.

And your argument would be making four fallacies of Shifting the Burden of Proof. You may wish to review this:

The Argument From Ignorance and its uses and abuses

Also, Todangst and I collaboratively took the time to prove that “God exists” is both an invalid premise and an invalid conclusion which cannot be derived from any a posteriori or a priori argument.

Quote:

Don't speak French.

Ad antiquetatem is an Argument from Antiquity. It is a fallacy which says something’s truth value is based on how old it is. Ignoratio Elenchi is an irrelevant conclusion. It is a conclusion which has no relevance to the premise.

Quote:

My point is that religions, like science, endure for as long as they remain relevant.

Don’t even bother comparing them. Scientific theories remain relevant until debunked. Science is a method by which theories are replaced by new theories, by evidence and by rationality and thinking. Religions remain “relevant” until a conquering army burns down the temple and rapes the nation. Religion keeps its tenets through irrational faith. Their propositions stick around for so long because they refuse to admit even the possibility of testing and debunking, and I hate them for it.

Quote:

There's some inherent property in Buddhism and Islam that renders it sustainable and allows it endure.

Yes. The geopolitics of the region have ensured that it has kept a dominant empire over Asia Minor. All religions begin as cult. Religions undergo a process of natural selection, whereby the most successful cults survive and reproduce. Religion is like a virus, because it has one and only one goal: To gain more followers. That is why the clash of the faith-heads will invariably leave a handful of surviving tribes out of a large pool (in this respect it is just like gene-level natural selection). Islam did not survive because of some intrinsic truth. It survived because the unification of the Arabian Gulf in 700AD meant they had a larger army than anyone else, and easily raped and crushed the surrounding tribal faiths, establishing dominance from Byzantine to Riyadh.

Quote:

It has yet to establish agreed upon core philosophies beyond a negative, a disbelief.

That is because the the idea of “core philosophy of atheism” is contradictory. All atheism is is one sentence:

I do not believe in God.

Now, there may be propositions which one might derive as very likely to be true if someone is an atheist, such as “naturalism is true”, and “evolution is scientific fact”, and “science is much better than religion”. However, you cannot as a matter of necessity deduce these things about anyone just because they do not believe in God, just as you could not deduce their political views for that reason.

Anyway, it is irrelevant. This has nothing to do with the OP claim of atheism being “pessimistic”.

Quote:

On the second point, it's true that, in the long run, the free market of religion is a crapshoot, as is the free market of business or nations. If you had to deliver a letter to somebody 1,000 years in the future, though, where would you rationally turn? I wouldn't leave it in any nations hands, for the map will almost certainly look different by then. I might consider leaving it in a university, but those seem too tied to the fates of nation-states. My best hope might be to pass it down family lines, but family lines branch in weird directions and have a tendency to dry up if they pick the wrong branch. I think the best bet would be to build a Christian or Buddhist temple, establish an order within the temple, and give the letter a very solemn place of honor. My point here is that, taking a long term view of things, religion has accomplished some pretty cool stuff

LOL. I would not put it in a Christian church. That seems ready to fall any time soon. This moment in time is the last moment anyone should be talking about the security of religion, not when almost all sociologists agree on the theory of secularization (the global, overall society-wide move away from religion).

You have lived in America far too long. Except for some backward parts of the Middle East where they enjoy decapitation, religion is dying. Where I live, it is essentially banned.

Quote:

You stray from the point here. My point is that, like it or not, most people are sheep. They're content to be sheep. It's easy to say, "You don't need God to give you your moral code, just figure it out for yourself." Practically, that's not going to work for most people.

And this is precisely what we are trying to fight! This is why I hate religion so much! It encourages people to be sheep. Does this not offend you as a sentient organism?

Quote:

think that morality is best derived from an open exchange of ideas from many different cultures and times.

Exactly! While religion says: I am ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, you are ABSOLUTELY WRONG, and if you refuse to accept me being ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, you will be tortured forever.

See the difference between you and them now?

Quote:

If you want to cut religion's leash on people, be really careful.

But this leash does not actually exist, religion does not provide any ethical foundations at all. If it did, there would be no such thing as Hermeneutics, which is why I simply re-recommend the two articles to you:

The self refuting nature of "Hermeneutics"

christians must steal from secular morality

Quote:

II find the prominent atheists, Mr. Dawkins, Mr. Harris, and Mr. Hitchens, to be rude and condescending.

I say better to be arrogant because you are intelligent, than to be arrogant for being ignorant (like religion). But nonetheless, I agree to some degree, but this is merely a reaction to the condescending arrogance of religion (ie believe us or go to hell, we'll treat you like a sheep and an idiot etc)

Quote:

See above. I feel that the Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens response to religion speaks volumes about the moral principles they follow.

This is still a false generalization fallacy

Quote:

Everybody likes absolutes. Math has axioms.

Ah! Now you are making a fallacy of conflation. In your last post, it was worded in such a way to sound that by “absolute” that you meant “moral absolute”. Now you are talking about epistemological absolutes. Everyone has those, regardless of religious conviction.

Quote:

Religion makes it easy

Which probably means it is untrue. Also, should it really be encouraged for people to do something because it is easy?

Quote:

Atheism, saying you have to figure it out yourself, is hard.

So? We are sentient organisms! We went to the moon! We cracked the fucking atom open! All of your statements “people are sheep”, “religion makes it easy”, are precisely the reasons that Steve Weinberg said:

Religion is an insult to human dignity

You are affirming his proposition with spectacular inadvertence

Quote:

hat's why atheists cling to science as gospel.

That is a contradictory statement since science by definition is a fluid continuum of knowledge.

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With that as your axiom

I suggest you consult a dictionary and find out what “axiom” actually means.

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It's barely a philosophy.

We never claimed it to be. It is just a statement. A single statement. But obviously it is not the only statement, negative or propositional, that someone could make about their beliefs. Atheists do not derive their principles from this one statement. They derive it from whatever other beliefs they have. This is why you have made a false dichotomy fallacy and an irrelevant conclusion. Atheism is not “barely a philosophy” it isn’t a philosophy. End of story.

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I see the latter as the logical conclusion of the former. If religious people can only, by necessity, act selfishly, then atheists are the only ones who can act selflessly.

That is an excellent example of a syllogistic fallacy and false dichotomy fallacy. I’ll have to remember that one.

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The weird thing is that atheists seem obsessed with this idea that science is a journey,

Science is a journey...that is sorta the definition of empirical knowledge.

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and that the rest of humanity will change along with it.

And...how is this an argument?

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A lot of people will die with nuclear holocaust, a lot of bad things will happen with global warming. The odds of human extinction from either of those? Slim to nil. They're bad, but somehow get overly hyped as end of world doomsday scenarios

True. But now compare the odds to those of Jesus coming back...

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My point is that the atheists I've met are unreasonably obsessed with intelligence, though.

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

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I'm not smart.

You are too modest

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It's hyperbole. However, Sam Harris does talk about the need for humanity to evolve away from religion, so it's not as hyperbolic as I wish.

Yes, but that is fallacy of conflation. You are taking the word “evolve” out of context. In the premise, the word “evolved” is used in such a way as to imply genetic evolution. Sam Harris is referring to cultural evolution, and I actually agree with him entirely. Religion is useless.

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I just think, given that atheists/agnostics/non-religious people are in the minority, we should temper our words a little bit. The religious people out there could easily crush us, if they so chose. We're at their mercy.

You have lived in the United States far, far too long.

First of all, they could not “crush” us, because secular government have insignificant institutions and clauses you may have heard of called: Freedom of speech, secular government,

Also, all your pessimism about “we are at the mercy of religions” and “we must keep our heads down”...can you not see this is why militant atheism exists?? Given that you are saying these things, I personally do not think you have any right to crititicize militant atheism. I am glad that some people have had the courage to stand up to the sheepleism of religion. I have had enough of religion. It is a social vestigial function. It has no use in modern society.

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I think it's most likely that both will be around, but of those options I have to stick with 2

I doubt it. Dude, you must live in MIssissipi or Texas or something, because of all the places I have lived (Japan, Hong Kong, China, Canada, Norway), people take it in turns to spit on religion. Where I live now, religion is basically nonexistent, and the govt. Cracks down heavily on fraud medicine etc. (like faith healing). Also, it may interest you to note that where I live, the Bible (due its extreme amount of violence, rape, homosexual sex, incest, bestiality etc.) received a sticker from the Obscene Publiction Office saying that it was not allowed to be sold to anyone under 18, which means it has the same classification as pornography.

This article may interest you:

Is The Evolutionary Advantage of Religion Coming To An End?

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Or, you can get drawn into a fight with them. Good luck.

Certainly. I refuse to believe that people are so pathetically ignorant that they would choose nonsense over facts and are not always sheep. I have a shred of respect for humanity.

 

Militant atheism is a reaction to the rise of fundamentalism. Dangerous, irrational insanity based on brainwashing, cultish dynamics, ridiculous beliefs, insults to science and progress, and violent reactions to challenges to their faith-heads. It is little more than a giant machine for gaining power for a few men who hold sway over masses of the ignorant. I hope these fraudulent schackles will be corroded off in rapid order.

They have nothing to lose but their chains...

 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Books about atheism


theorpheus
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Folks, I want to thank you

Folks,

I want to thank you all for the spirited discussion.  I have to be away at a wedding this weekend, and since I assume this post will have fallen away by the time I return, I wanted to get my parting words in now.  Unless, of course, you want the Orpheus to come back and reminisce about his Surrealist Pizza days.

First off, know that I'm happy to concede.  Since coming here, I've been slapped upside the head with more logical phallasies than a girl in an amateur bukkake.  Congrats, and I tip my hat to thee.

Second, for those of you who caught that this thing was more supposed to be humor than logic, I invite you to check out the other stuff on our website.  Myself and a few friends of mine update it occasionally with the world's most random assortment of projects, stories, and games.  You can always drop us an email if you have any questions.

Finally, I wanted to share a few closing thoughts on what I've learned in the process.  At first, I found myself a little dismayed that the Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens vitriol was not isolated among the three of them, and that so many people had drank the Kool-Aid.  I did come to the stunning realization, however, that this is good news for atheism, as the world's atheist community (/agnostic/non-religious) has reached critical mass to allow for the emergence of factions.  Our community is large enough to support two very different tents.  And so, united under irreligiousness, we've reached the point that we can think you guys are arrogant, self-important snatches, and you guys can think we're ignorant slackers, more invested in getting laid than pursuing philosophical inquiry.  But it doesn't matter, because we all hate fundamentalist religion more than we hate each other.

And so I ask you guys to allow us to live safely in our apathy, and continue to attack religion with all your might.  In exchange, if you all ever go too far overboard, look for idiotic, illogical atheist types like me to pop up from time to time and call you all snatches.

Amen.


Rev_Devilin
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  And then you decided to

  And then you decided to go, and I had barely got started I sill have 61 challenges to make, ho-well nevermind

Undoubtedly your enthusiasm to taunt us snatches will be missed,

In brief as you have decided to leave

Backstreet abortions /  the AIDS epidemic in Africa, and the pope reaffirming that condom use is a sin against god / honor killings / forced marriages / cruel and unusual punishment for petty crimes / children bleeding to death because of their parents religious belief / circumcision male and female / the list is almost endless

I like your idea of apathy, or some not too hard questions as not to offend, to deal with these issues

Although personally I'd like to pull the rug of organized religious belief out from all of it, as a start

Which undoubtedly makes me far to militant, in your eyes,  attacking the core reason behind so much death and misery is obviously not the way to go, skirting around the edges making tut tut noises quietly as not to offend would be a far better way to deal with these issues, or do nothing at all and hope it all goes away by itself would be more prudent, undoubtedly I can look forward to your return to taunt my unwise ill-considered ignorant stance, with your insightful lets not go too far " My objection is to the militant atheism " "I have to say atheists need to suck it up.  This is a religious world" "Atheists need to accept this reality and learn to peacefully coexist with theists""My solution was to go to go where the theists ain't: liberal arts school"


jmm
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"We promote

"We promote freethinking, as long as people arrive at the same conclusions we have reached."

 i know this thing is intended to be satirical, but this statement unintentionally hits the bull's eye.  


Strafio
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Rev_Devilin

Rev_Devilin wrote:

LosingStreak06 wrote:
Meh.

LosingStreak06 you have been converted into an atheist, well not just an atheist but the Allied Atheist Alliance, well done old bean Smiling

http://www.audienceoftwo.com/mag.php?art_id=750

 

Wed, Sep 26 '07
02:42:04 PM Allied Atheist Alliance
The Rational Responders have rationally responded with a rational response. Along with the 95 prior arguments, they have this to add:

"Meh"

Consider this the first amendment of the new ATHEIST BILL OF RIGHTS! OUR RALLYING CRY SHALL FOREVER BE...

"Meh"

 


Lol! I noticed that too.
In other news, is it me or did many of us miss the entire point of this post? LosingStreak, I'm particularly ashamed of you as you of all people should've known better than to take something so literally/logically!

It's humour and satire, and while it makes some points, arguing against them logically misses the entire point. When a piece of this sort make points, it makes them in a 'social perception' sort of way. This piece very accurately illustrates how atheists of 'our kind' come across to other people. Yeah, they exadurate the stereotypes, aren't 100% accurate, and use things that some atheists do to make a claim about all atheists. But the picture sums up the character of our sort of people.
This might not be how you intend to come across, but this is how 'militant atheists' come across to outsiders, whether you are intending it or not.


Cpt_pineapple
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My favs:  The legitimate

My favs:

 The legitimate representatives of mainstream religions are their most extremist factions.  Our debate must ignore the existence of moderate and liberal wings of religion.

 

We promote freethinking, as long as people arrive at the same conclusions we have reached.

 

 Since many people believe God dwells in the gaps of scientific knowledge, God will be disproven the day science explains everything.  After all, thorough scientific understanding of flight has caused people to stop praying when they hop on jet planes.

 

Christians who believe that persecution against Christians in rampant and widespread are nutty conspiracy theorists with a persecution complex.  After all, everybody knows it’s atheists who are widely being persecuted.

 

  1. Public schools are attended and supported by people of all religious viewpoints: Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, atheist, et al.  Therefore, we must teach schools from a unilaterally atheist perspective.
    1. Corollary: In order to avoid offending us atheists, it is necessary and acceptable to offend people of all other faiths.

 

 


Rev_Devilin
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Strafio wrote:

Strafio wrote:
Lol! I noticed that too. In other news, is it me or did many of us miss the entire point of this post?

http://www.audienceoftwo.com/mag.php?art_id=750

Player Stats

Proved Disproved
Challenged
Unchallenged
RichardDawkins.net

1 94
Rational Responders

34 61
Facebook: Atheist, Agnostic, and Non-Religious



95

 

The entire point of this post Smiling to see how many challenges were made, and to get a funny quote "Meh" personally I think LosingStreak06 as the Allied Atheist Alliance was the funniest part of this

I was surprised when theorpheus challenged deludedgod replies though,

My favorites


16. Since the scientific method has led to some pretty good results so far, we can conclude, inductively, that the scientific method is infallible.
17. Although most people believe in God, that cannot be taken as evidence for God’s existence. That is inductive reasoning, which is logically inadmissible.


20. Lemma 2: Whereas Kurt Gödel proved, by means of logic, that logic can never find an all-encompassing axiomatic system which is able to prove all logical truths,
21. Conclusion: Therefore reason suggests that “Pure Reason” is insufficient to describe the universe.
22. Corollary: Pure Reason is just being humble! Pure Reason’s claim to fallibility only helps to prove her omniscience.
23. Corollary: Pure Reason, in her glorious and boundless wisdom, requires a sacrifice! Let us slay the old Gods at the altar of science as an offering to the new almighty force of the cosmos.


Personally as a militant atheist ( although I'm not entirely sure I'm am atheist ) I say lets round these liberals up, stick them in a field and bomb the barsted's Smiling


Zombie
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Heh

I'm gonna print this out and give it to the non-catholic xtians I know and report on the results. Smiling

Morte alla tyrannus et dei