Atheists only: Answer this question about smoking and atheism.

Sapient
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Atheists only: Answer this question about smoking and atheism.

If an atheist smokes cigarettes...

Does that mean the atheist is not loving life to the fullest?

Does it contradict the notion that they believe they only have one life to live?

Does it contradict the notion that we cherish every moment?

Is it something else altogether?

Do you even cherish your life? Do you even try to live life to the fullest?

I have my own opinions here, however I think this thread could illustrate to our audience how we view the world. It could show them how logic works, how philosophy works. This thread is featured in here, and this is the only halfway decent argument she had. So feel free to let her know what you think about this, she'll probably see it... talk slowly.

This thread is in the freethinkers forum. We don't allow theists to post in this particular forum, as it's our escape from a world with the logically challenged. Theists, feel free to read on, and create a thread in atheist vs theist about it.

- Brian Sapient


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Chase
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Quote:

Quote:
I'm not a fan of the psychology fad that separates addictions from people. No matter how addicted I may be to something, I'm still responsible for my actions and choices.

 

Unfortunately we have to look at how everyone is different, and due to the chemistry changing evidence:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061128140728.htm

http://richarddawkins.net/article,380,Smoking-changes-brain-chemistry,Radiological-Society-of-North-America

We have to make that judgement call no matter what we like or not. 

 

Belief needs questioning and criticism, not respect.


Snerd
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I think when my tax check

I think when my tax check comes, I'll buy a few cigars. I know they're not safer than cigarettes. They're expensive, too. But I've heard they taste so much better than cigarettes. They smell a lot nicer. My uncle is a non-smoker, but he enjoys a nice cigar every now and then.

Frank Zappa (an atheist and avid smoker) said that tobacco should be just as big a part of the dining experience as wine. Some fine restaurants actually offer cigars after the meal.

Since North Carolina is very dependent on tobacco for our economy, it's quite common to see smoking sections in restaurants. They're typically on the far side of the building and the exposure to second hand smoke there is so minimal that you probably stand just as good a chance of getting cancer from standing behind a car for the same amount of time.

I really don't mind second hand smoke as long as someone doesn't blow it right in my face. The owner of the comic shop I frequent smokes rather heavily. He says he used to smoke as many as 3 packs a day. I think he's cut it down to one and a half. I'll sit in the shop for a few hours and talk with him.

I guess I'm just desensitized to smoking. I know a lot of smokers. The only thing that really bothers me about people that smoke is that my school allowed people to smoke on campus regardless of their age. I don't think 9th graders should have free reign on tobacco. The school didn't necessarily condone it, but they turned a blind eye to it. If a teacher saw an underage student smoking, it was rarely reported. The few times I smoked, I smoked in front of a teacher. He poked his head out of the door and said "You're gonna be a nicotine junkie." I laughed because he knew that was my first time with cigarettes.


SilkyShrew
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I'm not going to read this

I'm not going to read this whole thread because I'm still lacking in time, though I did stop by to say 'hi' - however, the thread interested me enough that I thought I would make a few points.

 Firstly, asking these questions are non-sequitors. The act of smoking actually doesn't have much to do with what the questions suggest.


I shall elaborate:

Sapient wrote:
If an atheist smokes cigarettes... Does that mean the atheist is not loving life to the fullest?

Though it is true that cigarettes do harm to people's health, that doesn't mean that people doing harm to their health are actually not loving life. Would you say that a person who eats a fatty hamburger is not loving life? or a person who participates in high-risk sporting activities like boxing is not loving life to the fullest? If an individual drinks alcohol at a bar and gets drunk, are they not living life to the fullest? The reality is, loving life has little, if anything to do with smoking cigarettes.

 

Quote:
Does it contradict the notion that they believe they only have one life to live?

Of course not.

Quote:
Does it contradict the notion that we cherish every moment?

I don't know that every atheist cherishes every moment - however, how would this matter? cherishing each moment doesn't have anything to do with an addiction or unhealthy habit. In fact, this question could be posed in the opposite direction, given that many smokers claim to 'enjoy' their cigarrettes. 

Quote:
Is it something else altogether?

It is an unhealthy habit; an addiction.

Quote:
Do you even cherish your life?

Yes. Though, I don't smoke.

Quote:
Do you even try to live life to the fullest?

 Who decides what living "life to the fullest" is?


Chase
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Chase wrote: Quote: The

Chase wrote:

Quote:
The fact that one is addicted to a substance does not mean that he/she is not making a choice to continue using the substance to which he/she is addicted. Breaking an addiction is difficult, and most people do not enjoy withdrawal symptoms from any substance, but that doesn't preclude a conscious choice to continue using a substance.

So then we must ask how much of the speaker is the addiction, and how much is the person?

Quote:

Actually, the brain restructures its response to nicotine after a certain period of use to cause the pleasure centers of the brain to be stimulated by nicotine moreso than in those who don't or rarely smoke. This is the general mechanism behind any addiction.

I didn't know that, but it makes sense. Things like this kind of make smoking seem dishonest to me. Again it brings for the question how much of the speaker is the addiction, and how much is the person.

 

Quote:
Other than that, smoking may be pleasurable in other ways--personally, it's the physical act of smoking that I enjoy. Others enjoy the stimulant effects. I don't think that anybody "forces" themselves to start smoking. Either you enjoy it or you don't. So, you continue or you don't.

 

I didn't put that statement forth as some kind of arguementative judgement on smokers, i was just curious because when i started smoking, thats how it happened.

Quote:
Personally, I support the legalization of drugs for multiple reasons. But as to your point, do we let people drink coffee because they enjoy it? Caffeine is highly addictive. How many coffee drinkers don't want to stop drinking coffee just to stave off withdrawal symptoms? Caffeine has negative side effects and long term consequences as well.

That is a good point, however there is nothing more than increased blood pressure risk involved with too much caffene. With ciggarettes there is direct evidence linking it to lung cancer. As for the legalization of drugs? I have mixed opinions, and thats a totally different discussion.

 

Quote:
It is clearly rational to do that which gives you pleasure as long as that doesn't involve harming another individual. Why do you have sex? I bet you've done it just because it is pleasurable and not solely for the purposes of procreation.

In the end in the western world it does come down to personal choice, and due to the abilities and freedoms that i personally have, i realize that at this moment in time, i can't have my cake and eat it too. If you wish to shorten your life and limit your chances to do things physically, that essentially is your choice.

Quote:

Nobody here who smokes thinks that it's good for you. We aren't engaging in wishful thinking--we are choosing to do something that we know is damaging despite that fact because we enjoy the activity. Lots of activities are potentially dangerous, and yet people do them.

There is a difference between: "Known cause for terrible suffering and death" and potential danger.

Quote:
As far as the "responsible reality" comment, I don't even know what that means. Reality is neither responsible nor irresponsible. It's not my job to make other people's choices for them or be the bastion of "responsibility".

I meant to say "thinking." I think i was distracted at the end of this post and didn't read it over heh. That being said your statement is a little hypocritical considering your profession of "rationally responding to irrational thinking etc." You raise yourself up as a bastion of rational thinking.

To be honest your post seems to bring across a message of "it's my life i'll do what i choose just because i have the right to. So what i was asking is "Even though we have the "right" to willfully put poison into our bodies and let them manipulate our internal chemistry to further the "pleasure;" knowing the consequences why would you be willing to shorten your life and your ability to live on this world for a 10 dollar high, when there is so much to learn about the world? Wouldn't your rational and intellectual drive to become greater push you beyond the need for a cheap physical gratification at the cost of your own life?

Of course it is your own choice, and feel free to excercise that, but you shouldn't really get angry or upset when people question the validity of your rational and "fullfilling" stance on intellectual clarity and quality of life through atheism when you openly embrace compromising your life for a cheap high.

I think one of the best quotes on this issue that sums up my thoughts on smoking would be this:

"We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.

Moralists and theologians place great weight upon the moment of conception, seeing it as the instant at which the soul comes into existence. If, like me, you are unmoved by such talk, you still must regard a particular instant, nine months before your birth, as the most decisive event in your personal fortunes. It is the moment at which your consciousness suddenly became trillions of times more foreseeable than it was a split second before. To be sure, the embryonic you that came into existence still had plenty of hurdles to leap. Most conceptuses end in early abortion before their mother even knew they were there, and we are all lucky not to have done so. Also, there is more to personal identity than genes, as identical twins (who separate after the moment of fertilization) show us. Nevertheless, the instant at which a particular spermatozoon penetrated a particular egg was, in your private hindsight, a moment of dizzying singularity. It was then that the odds against your becoming a person dropped from astronomical to single figures."

- Richard Dawkins (excerpt from Chapter I, "The Anaesthetic of Familiarity,"
of his 1998 book Unweaving the Rainbow)

 

I do not hold anything against those who smoke, I just think it's irrational to give up some of your life for something so materialistic, and then to plug your ears and ram it under the guise of "freedom of choice" when there is a lot of information that points to smoking changing the chemistry of your body to accomadate the pleasurable high that it gives you, while at the same time slowly killing you.

 

...and now for the last point: "Smoking does no harm to anyone but myself, and that shoudl be the way people look at it."

That is just flat out wrong. What about the people who love and care for you? Right now my girlfriend smokes and it breaks my heart that she is addicted to this habit because if she lets it go on too long it will rob her of the chance to experience and live life and enjoy all of it. She is already at a stage where it's brutal coughing and spitting in the morning. She has decreased physical stamina, and has a problem focusing and thinking things through when those infamous "cravings" start.

Now you can justify it under freedom of choice etc, but there has to be a line drawn where there is a distinction made between freedom of choice, and being exploited for a dollar. There has to be a line drawn where you are actively choosing to kill yourself, and you are ruled by your addiction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bump 

Belief needs questioning and criticism, not respect.


heike6
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There is someone like me!

Iruka Naminori wrote:

Being around cigarette smoke or even residue from cigarette smoke makes me ill. Once, a friend who smoked sent me an afghan she had made. It was lovely, but I couldn't stand to be near it until it had been washed. Because cigarette smoke makes me feel ill, I am a fan of laws that prohibit smoking in public areas. When California passed its anti-smoking laws, I could actually go into restaurants again and enjoy myself.

Because smoking can cause others to feel ill, smokers should limit smoking to private times and areas. When smokers complain about not being able to smoke wherever they want, I tell them I would not be allowed to go around with aerosol bottle of carcinogens, randomly spraying them in other people's faces. Your right to smoke stops where my right to breathe begins.

That said, let me address the questions.

Sapient wrote:
If an atheist smokes cigarettes... Does that mean the atheist is not loving life to the fullest? Does it contradict the notion that they believe they only have one life to live? Does it contradict the notion that we cherish every moment? Is it something else altogether?

I view smokers as people who made a mistake that is very hard to undo. We all make mistakes and (I daresay) we all make mistakes that endanger our lives. I doubt there is anyone who can say he or she has lived his or her life in a completely safe and savory manner.

People do stupid shit all the time. They drive over the speed limit and take chances when they shouldn't. They eat foods they shouldn't or too much of a kind of food they shouldn't. They sabotage their lives in small ways. I doubt anyone could say, "I've lived a mistake-free life. I've never done anything to endanger my health. I've never wasted a single second of my life."

Some mistakes can be habit-forming or downright addicting, like smoking cigarettes or overeating. There are other mistakes that are more invisible and less addictive, but they are still mistakes.

Just because I don't want to breathe someone else's cigarette doesn't give me a right to judge those who have made the mistake of learning to smoke. I've observed that nicotine is a very tough addiction to beat and that it sometimes takes many, many tries to kick the habit. I do feel, however, that someone who is rational will do what they can to stop smoking. I'm doing what I can to stop the stupid mistakes I make. Luckily, the little ways I sabotage my life are less visible than smoking, so I don't have to deal with self-righteousness in that regard. Thank the god that doesn't exist for small favors! I never took up smoking. Smiling

 

I agree 100% with everything you said. It really sucks not being able to go places just because people are smoking there. Inhaling smoke sends me straight to the emergency room (which can really ruin a vacation, I'll tell you). Some people think I should live in a bubble so that they don't have to worry about where they smoke. Sometimes I wish I had one so I could breathe.

heike6
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Born_Atheist
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My two cents worth...

My two cents worth...

This Novemeber will be 21 years since I quit smoking. I mention this because I've seen smoking from both sides. I know how terribly hard it is to quit when you want to. I remember all too well always being mindful of those around me - whether they were smokers or not - being careful of where I'd blow the smoke, going outside when necessary, about whether there were children close by, whether people were eating nearby, where could I get rid of my cigarette butts, etc., etc. Even as a smoker I could myself become bothered by smoke, in some situations.

Now, on the flip side as a non-smoker, I can really empathize with smokers in all regards. I've heard many people say that 'Ex-smokers are the 'worst' - I suppose meaning as far as judging smokers. But I'm no one to judge, especially since I've been there.

I really think the whole ban on public smoking thing has gotten out of hand in many places. I'm glad to have it in restaraunts, work places, etc., but I think it's totally ridiculous in bars, clubs, pubs and certain other public places where people go for things like festivals, outdoor events, etc. As long as smokers can have areas that can be separate from, or outdoors from, non-smokers, I think completely banning it is going over board.

Hookay - now to answer the questions:

If an atheist smokes cigarettes...

Does that mean the atheist is not loving life to the fullest?

No, hardly. If an atheist (or anyone else) drives 'too fast', eats meat with fat on it, or drinks 'too much' soda, or spends 'too much' time in front of the television as opposed to reading books, does that mean s/he isn't living life to the fullest?

An important point, I think, is that 'living life to the fullest' is also defined by each individual person - whether that person be an atheist, theist, deist, panthiest, circus clown, etc. 'Living life to the fullest' won't have the same meaning to any two people.

Does it contradict the notion that they believe they only have one life to live?

No. That is such a far stretch it's off the map.

Does it contradict the notion that we cherish every moment?

It wouldn't make sense for anyone to assume that everyone of any 'group' of people cherishes every moment of life. It also wouldn't make sense to presume that any one person always, at every point in their life, has cherished every moment of their life. We just don't work that way.

Is it something else altogether?

It's called 'being human' and experiencing one aspect of life - that of smoking.

Do you even cherish your life? Do you even try to live life to the fullest?

I do, absolutely. And although I have always cherished my life the extent to which I have has varied at different points of my life. Naturally experiencing life has had a direct and significant correlation as to how much it means to me.

Of course I try to live a full, meaningful life - duh. My foggy, whirlwind days aren't because I'm not a theist, or because I used to smoke, or because I don't 'try'. I could only be explaining this to someone who isn't an atheist... lol.

 

 

 

Keep your theology off my biology.


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AbandonMyPeace

AbandonMyPeace wrote:
lucidfox13 wrote:

Which do you think is the better choice?

1) Public places are open to smokers and non smokers. If non smokers do not like the smoke, then tough luck.

2) Public places are not open to smoking. If smokers want to smoke, they'd have to go outise. Tough luck.

of smoke, I suppose I'll find someone who will take it instead.

 

 

 

As a smoker I willgladly go outside to enjoy my smoke if it is required that I do so. I dont smoke in my own home so I will respect that someone dont want me smoking inside there home or business. It was all fine and good when i could step outside and have a smoke. But now in Albuquerque New Mexico you are not allowed to smoke outside if its city property. Which quite frankly pisses me off. I got told to put out a smoke a couple weeks ago when I was out at the lake fishing by some security guard who let me know that I could be fined for smoking on that property. I think that law has gone to far. I think I should be able to enjoy my smoke outside.

Hi AMP, I live in ABQ., too. Smiling

Keep your theology off my biology.


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I don't think there is any

I don't think there is any connection between smoking and atheism. I don't smoke, but I don't smoke because it is disgusting, will kill me, is bad for my health, smells, and is a waste of money, not because I am an atheist.

I do subscribe to doing the most with you life. However, I would imagine a smoker saying they get enjoyment out of smoking, at least the smokers who don't want to quit. They would say this enjoyment is part of them living life to the fullest or it helps them live a more stress free life, even though it actually increases the stressors in ones life.

Overall, I don't smoke because it does not make sense to me to smoke, not because of a particular belief system. 

"Those who think they know don't know. Those that know they don't know, know."


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AbandonMyPeace

AbandonMyPeace wrote:

V1per41 wrote:
I would still probably say that smokin is dumber than believing in ID as the former costs more money

I dont even know what ID means for sure. 

ID = Intelligent Design 


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shelleymtjoy

shelleymtjoy wrote:
AbandonMyPeace wrote:

V1per41 wrote:
I would still probably say that smokin is dumber than believing in ID as the former costs more money

I dont even know what ID means for sure. 

ID = Intelligent Design 

Thanks. Wink Guess I should have known that.


AbandonMyPeace
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Born_Atheist wrote: Hi

Born_Atheist wrote:

Hi AMP, I live in ABQ., too. Smiling

Nice. Was starting to think I was the only atheist that existed in this town. Smile