More evidence to show that atheism is good for society!

kellym78
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More evidence to show that atheism is good for society!

http://www.gadling.com/2007/08/23/least-religious-countries/

 

Quote:

Least Religious Countries 

Posted Aug 23rd 2007 12:15PM by Iva Skoch

When you travel to Europe, don't be surprised to find that many Europeans don't believe in God. I have even witnessed some alcohol-infused conversations between Americans and Europeans that almost ended in fistfights over His/Her existence. When you travel to the following countries, you might want to pick a less controversial topic of conversation ... umm, maybe George W?

Here are the Top 10 least religious countries in the world:

1. Sweden (up to 85% non-believer, atheist, agnostic)
2. Vietnam
3. Denmark
4. Norway
5. Japan
6. Czech Republic
7. Finland
8. France
9. South Korea
10. Estonia (up to 49% non-believer, atheist, agnostic)

The one that surprised me was Israel, ranking 19th, with up to 37% claiming to be non-believer, atheist, agnostic. Compare that with the United States, ranking 44th, with 3-9% non-believers, atheists, agnostics. (I think I have met them all on the streets of New York City, too.)

The survey concluded that "high levels of organic atheism are strongly correlated with high levels of societal health, such as low homicide rates, low poverty rates, low infant mortality rates, and low illiteracy rates, as well as high levels of educational attainment, per capita income, and gender equality. Most nations characterized by high degrees of individual and societal security have the highest rates of organic atheism, and conversely, nations characterized by low degrees of individual and societal security have the lowest rates of organic atheism. In some societies, particularly Europe, atheism is growing. However, throughout much of the world -- particularly nations with high birth rates -- atheism is barely discernable."

Oh, the sweet satisfaction of being vindicated. *grins evilly*

 

Unfortunately, the link to the study has been taken down as it has been published as a chapter in the Cambridge Companion to Atheism


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Hello Kelly, Quote: Oh, the

Hello Kelly,

Quote:
Oh, the sweet satisfaction of being vindicated. *grins evilly*


Vindicated how, exactly? The title of this post, "More evidence to show that atheism is good for society" is rather fallacious, in that it commits a non sequitur by insinuating that societal health is the result of atheism, when in fact this may not be true at all; some of these countries that you boast as shining proof of atheism's benefits for society actually have some of the highest per capita suicide rates in the world. One could just as easily conclude from the statistical correlation between atheism and suicide rates that atheism is in fact not good for society. The conclusion? The ease with which statistics can be manipulated should lead to caution in using them as proof for anything.

Interestingly, the study you cite clearly states that atheism is "barely discernible" throughout much of the world, especially in regions with the highest birth rates--so again, how, exactly, are you "vindicated"?

The Saint


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The_Saint wrote: Hello

The_Saint wrote:
Hello Kelly,

Quote:
Oh, the sweet satisfaction of being vindicated. *grins evilly*


Vindicated how, exactly? The title of this post, "More evidence to show that atheism is good for society" is rather fallacious, in that it commits a non sequitur by insinuating that societal health is the result of atheism, when in fact this may not be true at all; some of these countries that you boast as shining proof of atheism's benefits for society actually have some of the highest per capita suicide rates in the world. One could just as easily conclude from the statistical correlation between atheism and suicide rates that atheism is in fact not good for society. The conclusion? The ease with which statistics can be manipulated should lead to caution in using them as proof for anything.

Interestingly, the study you cite clearly states that atheism is "barely discernible" throughout much of the world, especially in regions with the highest birth rates--so again, how, exactly, are you "vindicated"?

The Saint

Could you please provide me with the statistics for your claim of suicide rates? 

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Kelly, Because the

Kelly,

Because the Scandinavian countries are all mentioned, do you know of any notable authors/orators?  

Miracles don't exist. "Miracle" is a word given to a preposterous event that a theist considers dogmatically advantageous. Def. - Ecclesiastical sensationalism.


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Actually, the reverse is

 If I wanted to be really technical, I could state that there is a strong positive correlation between atheism and societal health, but I wanted to fit it in the headline.

The fact that "atheism is barely discernible" in countries with the highest birth rates is the problem. Read the other article I posted or even buy the book and read that chapter to see that my interpretation of it is accurate and then fess up to being so blinded by your religion that you can't even analyze data objectively.

The vindication comes from the oft-presented accusation (of atheism being harmful for society and THEIR religion being wonderful) from theists with verbal diarrhea, such as yourself, being entirely debunked scientifically. So, sorry. You lose.

 

edit: As far as suicide goes, the data show that while there is globally a statistically higher suicide rate in less religious countries, the five countries that tipped the scales are all Eastern European countries with a lot of other social problems. It also shows that the positive factors in more atheistic countries outweigh that ONE negative correlation. Good job cherry-picking.


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kellym78 wrote: Actually,

kellym78 wrote:
Actually, the reverse is true, per the same data that was mentioned. If I wanted to be really technical, I could state that there is a strong positive correlation between atheism and societal health, but I wanted to fit it in the headline. The fact that "atheism is barely discernible" in countries with the highest birth rates is the problem. Read the other article I posted or even buy the book and read that chapter to see that my interpretation of it is accurate and then fess up to being so blinded by your religion that you can't even analyze data objectively. The vindication comes from the oft-presented accusation (of atheism being harmful for society and THEIR religion being wonderful) from theists with verbal diarrhea, such as yourself, being entirely debunked scientifically. So, sorry. You lose.
Where I see the fallacy is not as Saint puts it, but the very fact that Atheism doesn't promote good or evil. These concepts don't exists within an Atheist worldview and neither are they something that should be realized. So, I fail to see you, as an Atheist, finding any rational reason to claim that any country is doing good or bad at all.I am also reluctant to take these statistics as you show them since Atheists have before shown that they don't ever tell the whole story. For instance, the statistics regarding IQ correlating with religiousity were proven to be false on account that the places with the lowest IQ scores, while being the most religious, was more due to per capita income than anything else.

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The_Saint wrote: Hello

The_Saint wrote:
Hello Kelly,

Quote:
Oh, the sweet satisfaction of being vindicated. *grins evilly*


Vindicated how, exactly? The title of this post, "More evidence to show that atheism is good for society" is rather fallacious, in that it commits a non sequitur by insinuating that societal health is the result of atheism, when in fact this may not be true at all; some of these countries that you boast as shining proof of atheism's benefits for society actually have some of the highest per capita suicide rates in the world. One could just as easily conclude from the statistical correlation between atheism and suicide rates that atheism is in fact not good for society. The conclusion? The ease with which statistics can be manipulated should lead to caution in using them as proof for anything.

Interestingly, the study you cite clearly states that atheism is "barely discernible" throughout much of the world, especially in regions with the highest birth rates--so again, how, exactly, are you "vindicated"?

The Saint

Vindicated in the way that if you look at it with some thought, the US is 3-9% athiest, non-believer, agnostic, ect.. and look at all the shit that is caused in this country. Then look at the top countries on that list, i noticed that Norway and Sweden are both in the top 5. What do they do. Nothing! They live their nice little lives. No war, no pissing off random countries so that they take down a couple towers with plains (that america isn't smart enough to keep protected). So you tell me. Don't those figures compared to the social economics of the countries make some sense that non-believer percentage = lower violence?? Answer me that dude.

a·the·ist [ey-thee-ist] –noun a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.


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Nobody said anything about a

Nobody said anything about a country doing "good or bad", as you put it. (BTW - one cannot do "good". Grammar, anybody?) The study went like this: the more secular a country, the more indicators of societal health were present. The more religious a country, the more indicators of societal ills were present. You can choose to not accept the data--it will just prove the point that you are irrational, illogical, and delusional when EVIDENCE that defies your personal beliefs is presented. Or, you could actually do some research and find that it is in fact correct.


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In my opinion there are

In my opinion there are three societal influences that foster Atheism.  1. Education.  With more education there is less religiosity.  2. Societial ills.  In times of misery people tend to turn towards religion as people with cases of learned helplessness turn to outside sources such a deity to relieve suffering.  3.  Higher per capita wealth.  When people can afford the necessities and luxuries they have less of a need for religion.  May it be any connection that religions often ask people to forsake material possessions and comforts?  Nobody who has it well off decides to turn to religion because everything is so great, it comes for a perception that something is lacking in their life.

 There are more influences from things like media, government enforced religion, etc. but I think those three are probably the top influences.  In the countries cited many are strongly socialist countries that value education and such things as free health care.  Countries like Vietnam and Korea have gone through cultural revolutions since they've distanced themselves from traditional Eastern culture to embrace Western culture.


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kellym78 wrote: Nobody said

kellym78 wrote:
Nobody said anything about a country doing "good or bad", as you put it. (BTW - one cannot do "good". Grammar, anybody?) The study went like this: the more secular a country, the more indicators of societal health were present. The more religious a country, the more indicators of societal ills were present. You can choose to not accept the data--it will just prove the point that you are irrational, illogical, and delusional when EVIDENCE that defies your personal beliefs is presented. Or, you could actually do some research and find that it is in fact correct.

 Yes, because insulting someone are the marks of a dignified intellectual and nit picking gramatical errors in light of the fact that it was simply a common used statement in society shows the genius eminating from your vast learning in the world.

 When I said "do good" I meant not an action coming from the society itself, but the status of that society. For example, when a doctor says "You're doing better" after you've been sick. 

 Further, secular nations can be very religious. The United States is a very secular country with many people there that are religious. There are still many religious values there because naturally, the country is mainly religious, unless you want to vouch for taking away the system of government we have in place where people represent the majority of citizens in higher forms of government (Senate etc.). Secularlism can also become religious in light of the atrocious evidence of last century.

 But that's besides the point seeing as you missed my point entirely. Your entire remark in the title about how "atheism is good for society" is simply fallacious. That's all. 

 And yes, I will choose to not accept the data because I remain skeptical and I don't like taking things at face value that affirm my worldview (such as yourself). And I will do some research to find out what the facts and the interpretations are in this matter. So until then, I'll take my 'irrational, illogical, deluded" self to school in hopes that my subhumanity won't get in the way of me earning an education.

 

Be back soon and have a nice day. 

 

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Here's suicide rate

Here's suicide rate data:

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

Only one overlap in the top 10, which is Japan. Japan has been an honor-based society for thousands of years, and a good portion of their suicide rate is due to people killing themselves after being behaving dishonorably in some way. Not a year goes by where you don't hear about some high-profile business executive killing himself after a corporate scandal is uncovered.

It's a common misconception that suicide rates in Scandinavia are unusually high. Sure, of the 100 countries listed, the Scandinavian ones are all in the top 50 (so is the United States). You could blame it on alcoholism due to long, dark winters. But believing in God wouldn't make the sun shine longer, would it? The U.S. and Norway have the same suicide rate at about 11 per 100,000 inhabitants. Sweden, Iceland and Denmark are marginally higher at around 13. Compare with Russia at 34. Finland is definitely high at 20 per 100,000, but Finland has always been caught in kind of a crappy place economically between prosperous Scandiavia and not-very-prosperous Eastern Europe.

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kellym78 wrote: If I wanted

kellym78 wrote:
If I wanted to be really technical, I could state that there is a strong positive correlation between atheism and societal health, but I wanted to fit it in the headline.


Ah, so you were intentionally misleading. Gotcha.

Quote:
The fact that "atheism is barely discernible" in countries with the highest birth rates is the problem.


I'm not sure I understand what the "problem" is yet. You seem to be arguing that the problem is that the more babies that a country has, the less educated and socially healthy it is, thus it is less likely to embrace atheism. It's interesting to note here that these highly secularized countries also have some of the lowest birthrates in the world--some well below the replacement level--while countries with traditional religious values have 2-3 times the fertility rates of secular countries. I guess as a "theist with verbal diarrhea", I can rest easy in the knowledge that in a few generations, atheists will evolve themselves right out of existence.

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Hi all, here's a more

Hi all, here's a more complete ranking, in case you're interested:

http://www.adherents.com/largecom/com_atheist.html

 

Spain (where I live) is only 27th Sad but that does remind me to make a distinction which is important. A large majority of Spaniards self-identify as Catholic, but a large proportion don't care much about following church doctrine. For instance 60% approve of Gay marriage (which is legal here). So when you look at that figure keep in mind that for every non-believer, there's an indifferent believer, whose belief in god(s) doesn't influence their behaviour or opinions. Non-belief is the ideal of course, but indifferent belief is certainly an improvement over the Religious Right.


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The_Saint wrote: Vindicated

The_Saint wrote:

Vindicated how, exactly? The title of this post, "More evidence to show that atheism is good for society" is rather fallacious, in that it commits a non sequitur by insinuating that societal health is the result of atheism, when in fact this may not be true at all; some of these countries that you boast as shining proof of atheism's benefits for society actually have some of the highest per capita suicide rates in the world. One could just as easily conclude from the statistical correlation between atheism and suicide rates that atheism is in fact not good for society. The conclusion? The ease with which statistics can be manipulated should lead to caution in using them as proof for anything.

Interestingly, the study you cite clearly states that atheism is "barely discernible" throughout much of the world, especially in regions with the highest birth rates--so again, how, exactly, are you "vindicated"?

The Saint

Nice try, Saint. The fact is that higher social indicators correlate with lower levels of religiousity, as this study and other studies show. You can bleat about causality all you like, but it is simply not possible that this powerful correlation is a cooincidence. The only remaining question is whether people drop religion then start living well, or whether they start living well then drop religion. Either way, it's high time we all dropped religion.

The vindication part comes because of all the bullshit theists like you have spread around about the need for religion in society. A glance at any ranked list of social indicators next to a ranked list of religiosity puts paid to that lie. 

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Sadistic Stalker wrote:

Sadistic Stalker wrote:
Don't those figures compared to the social economics of the countries make some sense that non-believer percentage = lower violence?? Answer me that dude.


The answer is no. The claim that the percentage of non-believers per capita = lower violence is faulty reasoning, because it falsely assumes that religious belief is corollary to violent behavior. Switzerland's religious demographics are fairly analogous to the United States (80% Christian, 9% atheist), is the wealthiest nation in the Europe (its GDP is higher than the US ), and yet its crime rate is one of the lowest in the world. If social health and violence were corollary with religious belief, then Switzerland should have the same amount of violent crime per capita as the United States, but it doesn't.

(Side Note: Switzerland maintains a civilian militia, which requires every home to have at least one functional automatic assault rifle. As a result, Switzerland has the highest private citizen ownership of automatic assault weapons in the world, yet its violent crime by firearm rate is nearly non-existent.)

The Saint


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Scribe wrote: Where I see

Scribe wrote:
Where I see the fallacy is not as Saint puts it, but the very fact that Atheism doesn't promote good or evil. These concepts don't exists within an Atheist worldview and neither are they something that should be realized.

This is bullshit. An atheist is perfectly capable of having strong views on what constitutes good and evil and most do. Further, atheists usually have real, rational justifications for their moral positions instead of fake morality derived from the "whatever God says" school of pseudo-thought.. 

Scribe wrote:

So, I fail to see you, as an Atheist, finding any rational reason to claim that any country is doing good or bad at all.

Wow. For a theist who supposedly is so steeped in moral philosophy it is rather amusing that you can't tell a simple value judgement from a moral position. We are saying that these countries are "good" in the sense that they are doing better on specific social indicators. No one has offered any opinion as to their moral status, which would be nonsensical anyway as a country can't have such a thing.

Scribe wrote:

I am also reluctant to take these statistics as you show them since Atheists have before shown that they don't ever tell the whole story.

Ever? An atheist has NEVER told the whole story? Ever? Wow. That sucks.

Scribe wrote:

For instance, the statistics regarding IQ correlating with religiousity were proven to be false on account that the places with the lowest IQ scores, while being the most religious, was more due to per capita income than anything else.

LOL are you really this stupid? Now all you're doing is pointing out that religiousity makes countries poor! Which also makes them stupid! 

 

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The_Saint wrote: The

The_Saint wrote:


The answer is no. The claim that the percentage of non-believers per capita = lower violence is faulty reasoning, because it falsely assumes that religious belief is corollary to violent behavior.

It suggests that religious belief and violent behavior are strongly correlated. This does not prove that religious belief causes violent behavior, it simply provides us with a strong indicator that this might very well be the case

Quote:
 

Switzerland's religious demographics are fairly analogous to the United States (80% Christian, 9% atheist), is the wealthiest nation in the Europe (its GDP is higher than the US ), and yet its crime rate is one of the lowest in the world. If social health and violence were corollary with religious belief, then Switzerland should have the same amount of violent crime per capita as the United States, but it doesn't.

No, that would only be true if it had been argued that violence always results from religious belief. In other words, that religious belief invariably leads to violence. Correlation is a statistical method of inference that allows for variation. The main point here is that statistically, an atheist society is not necessarily an unhealthy/violent society and that, statistically, a christian society is not necessarily a healthy/non-violent society. 

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


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This proves nothing. All

This proves nothing. All this shows is that atheists can lead good lives. That's it. There is no indication that Atheists must lead good lives.

 

Sweden also has meatballs. Does eating meatballs contribute to society?

Japan drinks tea. Will drinking tea lead to a better society?

 

Atheist go ape bananas whenever Theists say a bad society is Atheist.

They respond "But they're not bad because they're Atheist!" 

 

The same logic applies here. They're atheist and good. They are not good because they're atheist, they're good because they're good people. 

 

Atheists hate it when Theists cherry pick stats, so why do the same? 


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The_Saint wrote: Sadistic

The_Saint wrote:
Sadistic Stalker wrote:
Don't those figures compared to the social economics of the countries make some sense that non-believer percentage = lower violence?? Answer me that dude.


The answer is no. The claim that the percentage of non-believers per capita = lower violence is faulty reasoning, because it falsely assumes that religious belief is corollary to violent behavior.

No, it draws from the oberved corollories between religiousity and violence in societies. 

The_Saint wrote:

Switzerland's religious demographics are fairly analogous to the United States (80% Christian, 9% atheist), is the wealthiest nation in the Europe (its GDP is higher than the US ), and yet its crime rate is one of the lowest in the world. If social health and violence were corollary with religious belief, then Switzerland should have the same amount of violent crime per capita as the United States, but it doesn't.

According to Wiki 48% of Swiss identify as one of the main religions, 39% have some vague theistic belief, 9% are atheist and 4% agnostic. You have lumped the 39% in with the 48 who are actually members of churches. This is clearly invalid and paints an inaccurate picture of religiousity in Switzerland. Certainly the Swiss numbers are FAR different from the US where 82% report membership in one of the defined religions. A country where 39% of the population identifies as having some belief in a higher power is MUCH less religious than a country where the same number claim membership in a specific church.

The_Saint wrote:

(Side Note: Switzerland maintains a civilian militia, which requires every home to have at least one functional automatic assault rifle. As a result, Switzerland has the highest private citizen ownership of automatic assault weapons in the world, yet its violent crime by firearm rate is nearly non-existent.)

The Saint

OK, let's talk about Switzerland's gun culture. Switzerland reports about 300 gun deaths per year in a population of 7.5 million. That's about 4 per 100,000. The US rate is 30. Why? If anything, guns are MORE prevalent in Swiss culture than in the US.

Again we see a country that is more peaceful than the US despite similar levels of affluence, education and gun ownership. The only big difference? The Swiss are not NEARLY as religious.

Let's face it, there are probably multiple reasons why Switzerland is more peaceful than the US. But the religion correlation is valid there, just as it is everywhere else. So at the very least, religiousity is ONE of the factors, maybe even the main factor. 

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Tilberian wrote: But the

Tilberian wrote:

But the religion correlation is valid there, just as it is everywhere else. So at the very least, religiousity is ONE of the factors, maybe even the main factor.

 

Do I have to mention Canada again?

Why aren't Canadians violent? societily ill?

 

 


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Cpt_pineapple wrote: This

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

This proves nothing. All this shows is that atheists can lead good lives. That's it. There is no indication that Atheists must lead good lives.

 

Sweden also has meatballs. Does eating meatballs contribute to society?

Japan drinks tea. Will drinking tea lead to a better society?

 

Atheist go ape bananas whenever Theists say a bad society is Atheist.

They respond "But they're not bad because they're Atheist!" 

 

The same logic applies here. They're atheist and good. They are not good because they're atheist, they're good because they're good people. 

 

Atheists hate it when Theists cherry pick stats, so why do the same? 


You could be on to something with your meatball/tea theory. I'd like to explore that in depth in the future. You also mention bananas and cherries... have you skipped lunch today by any chance, Pineapple?
I agree that stats aren't a reliable way to figure out complex social dynamics. The argument here, I'd say, deals more with rationalism than atheism (indeed, atheistic cultures can be irrational in a non-theistic way, as with the Maoists). That's not explicitely in the stats, but it's implied by the order of a successful society that they're not sacrificing each other or kissing their chairman's feet. If we use the term "rational," is it hard to imagine that a rational society -- in the no weird reasoning sense, not some awful Randian or social-Darwinist sense -- that takes a realistic view of social issues would do better than one that tries to contort itself around failed dogmas? I'm being general, not trying to set up a straw-man here; I apologize if that ends up being the case.


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Cpt_pineapple

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Tilberian wrote:

But the religion correlation is valid there, just as it is everywhere else. So at the very least, religiousity is ONE of the factors, maybe even the main factor.

 

Do I have to mention Canada again?

Why aren't Canadians violent? societily ill?

 

 


How is the religious climate in Canada (I know it's not a monolith, but you know what I mean). Parts of the US that are the most pious tend to be the most conflicted and hypocritical. Even here in So. California, you'll find that many of the most decadent people you run into don't use materialistic ideas to justify their lifestyles; there is a new agey, eastern, or other religious "offset" that provides them an imagined balance for their actions. What we do as atheists, in contrast, we're responsible for; we can't get forgiveness but from the aggrieved party.


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Cpt_pineapple

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Tilberian wrote:

But the religion correlation is valid there, just as it is everywhere else. So at the very least, religiousity is ONE of the factors, maybe even the main factor.

Do I have to mention Canada again?

Why aren't Canadians violent? societily ill?

Poutine.

Or maybe the fact that Canadians are very much live-and-let-live people. Can you see yourself caring if your prime minister had an affair?

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magilum wrote:

magilum wrote:

You could be on to something with your meatball/tea theory. I'd like to explore that in depth in the future. You also mention bananas and cherries... have you skipped lunch today by any chance, Pineapple?
No, but meatballs do sound good right about now.
Quote:

I agree that stats aren't a reliable way to figure out complex social dynamics. The argument here, I'd say, deals more with rationalism than atheism (indeed, atheistic cultures can be irrational in a non-theistic way, as with the Maoists). That's not explicitely in the stats, but it's implied by the order of a successful society that they're not sacrificing each other or kissing their chairman's feet. If we use the term "rational," is it hard to imagine that a rational society -- in the no weird reasoning sense, not some awful Randian or social-Darwinist sense -- that takes a realistic view of social issues would do better than one that tries to contort itself around failed dogmas? I'm being general, not trying to set up a straw-man here; I apologize if that ends up being the case.

 

 

I never denied that atheists nations can succeed.

I agree that a rational society leads to better progress. However, the only thing Theists are 'irrational' about is their belief in God. They can still be rational in the stuff that matters such as political parties, voting, making laws etc.....

 

The main problem I brought up is that on the board people keep saying atheism doesn't entail anything, it is simply a lack of belief in God. That is why I think the topic title is somewhat misleading. It's not atheism that leads to a good society, good people lead to a good society.

 

 

 

Quote:

How is the religious climate in Canada (I know it's not a monolith, but you know what I mean.).

 

 

About 17% hold no religious belief.

 

Those are stats from 2002.

 

It could be different now, but Canada wasn't immoral or anything in 2002 or the years prior.

 

I also heard that 5% are atheist, but could not find a source to back it up.

 

The only reason I bring it up is because of comments like in this topic. That religion runs inversely proportional to societal health.

 


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shikko

shikko wrote:
Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Tilberian wrote:

But the religion correlation is valid there, just as it is everywhere else. So at the very least, religiousity is ONE of the factors, maybe even the main factor.

Do I have to mention Canada again?

Why aren't Canadians violent? societily ill?

Poutine.

 

No, it's the Igloos

 

 

Quote:

Or maybe the fact that Canadians are very much live-and-let-live people. Can you see yourself caring if your prime minister had an affair?

 

Bingo. It's good people that make a good society.  


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Tilberian wrote:   This

Tilberian wrote:

 

This is bullshit. An atheist is perfectly capable of having strong views on what constitutes good and evil and most do. Further, atheists usually have real, rational justifications for their moral positions instead of fake morality derived from the "whatever God says" school of pseudo-thought..

 

This should be interesting.

 

No, you don't. An Atheist has no grounds for believing in abstract counter concepts (good vs. evil). Issues of value must be viewed in a pragmatic way, which is still very arbitrary. I would say 'non-consistent' atheists have a view of good and evil, but claiming subjective values erases all distinctions.

 This 'fake' morality you assume is only on par with your belief that there is no God. I would say, without God, morality doesn't exists because it becomes, essentially, preference based. You have no objective standard from which to derrive your morals so therefore you really have none at all. 

 

That's not to say that you are immoral. By my perspective you may be very moral, but your worldview doesn't allow that sort of objectivity. 


Tilberian wrote:
Wow. For a theist who supposedly is so steeped in moral philosophy it is rather amusing that you can't tell a simple value judgement from a moral position. We are saying that these countries are "good" in the sense that they are doing better on specific social indicators. No one has offered any opinion as to their moral status, which would be nonsensical anyway as a country can't have such a thing.

 

Depending on what you mean by 'value' here (intrinsic of pragmatic?), moral positions are value judgements. It may not even be relevant what type of value we're talking about because morals and value may always be connected. I would even go as far to say that any sort of value judgement is associated with the moral. To say that something is 'good' necessitates that that something is worth doing or having on some objective level and not simply because people 'want' that. For instance, some people may find it morally wrong that these countries have more sexual equality (just making a general example here and not pointing fingers) and therefore this is 'not good'. An Atheist has no rational reason other than their preference to whatever culture they are associated with (programmed, persay) to say that this is 'good' or 'bad' based on concessions and consistency of their own worldview.

 Your value/moral judgements are about as justified as my taste in ice cream.

Tilberian wrote:

Ever? An atheist has NEVER told the whole story? Ever? Wow. That sucks.

 I apologize. I didn't intend to make a dicto simpliciter there. I should have been more careful and said "some". My apologies. I don't really think that way. 


Tilberian wrote:
LOL are you really this stupid? Now all you're doing is pointing out that religiousity makes countries poor! Which also makes them stupid!

 

I never stated any such thing. You simply put words in my mouth. I stated that the per capita income is more associated with lower IQ scores. The obvious reason is because people cannot afford or grant good education in a country that is poorer. The reason poor individuals may be more religious is because religion gives them a sense of hope and prosperity in light of their suffering. Not only that, but poorer countries typically recieve more aid, finacially and psychologically than richer countries. 

 Not to be rude here, but if the more 'secular' (assuming atheistic) countries tried a little harder to help other people in other less fortunate countries then there might not be as many religious people over there doing the jobs of taking care of the needy and suffering.

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Scribe wrote: Where I see

Scribe wrote:
Where I see the fallacy is not as Saint puts it, but the very fact that Atheism doesn't promote good or evil. These concepts don't exists within an Atheist worldview and neither are they something that should be realized. So, I fail to see you, as an Atheist, finding any rational reason to claim that any country is doing good or bad at all.I am also reluctant to take these statistics as you show them since Atheists have before shown that they don't ever tell the whole story. For instance, the statistics regarding IQ correlating with religiousity were proven to be false on account that the places with the lowest IQ scores, while being the most religious, was more due to per capita income than anything else.

First of all, it is a fallacy to claim that all atheists don't tell the whole story because a few didn't tell the whole story. In regard to the study you mentioned, income is related to education. hmmmmm???

Second- This study is purely correlational, which means there is just a relationship. There is no cause and effect here. However, I would like to see further studies on this that clarifies some questions. I think Scribe is correct in his good and bad analysis. I would hypothesize that it is nothing about good or bad or atheism that is causing the differences. I think the difference is that public policies and decisions are being made based upon evidence, logic and reason. By doing this we create a better society. Both religious believers and atheists believe they are doing good. The difference is that theists use their religious morality to make policy and decisions that can be harmful. They use their belief systems to drive society instead of looking at the evidence and science. HIV/Condoms and abstinence is a perfect example. Theists beliefs drive the policy of abstinence only, which we know from evidence and reason is ridiculous. By using reason you find out that using condoms reduces the spread of HIV in individuals who are already going to have sex and who know about it even if they don't hear it in health class. 

 

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Cpt_pineapple wrote:
magilum wrote:

You could be on to something with your meatball/tea theory. I'd like to explore that in depth in the future. You also mention bananas and cherries... have you skipped lunch today by any chance, Pineapple?
No, but meatballs do sound good right about now.
Quote:

I agree that stats aren't a reliable way to figure out complex social dynamics. The argument here, I'd say, deals more with rationalism than atheism (indeed, atheistic cultures can be irrational in a non-theistic way, as with the Maoists). That's not explicitely in the stats, but it's implied by the order of a successful society that they're not sacrificing each other or kissing their chairman's feet. If we use the term "rational," is it hard to imagine that a rational society -- in the no weird reasoning sense, not some awful Randian or social-Darwinist sense -- that takes a realistic view of social issues would do better than one that tries to contort itself around failed dogmas? I'm being general, not trying to set up a straw-man here; I apologize if that ends up being the case.

 

 

I never denied that atheists nations can succeed.

I agree that a rational society leads to better progress. However, the only thing Theists are 'irrational' about is their belief in God. They can still be rational in the stuff that matters such as political parties, voting, making laws etc.....

 

The main problem I brought up is that on the board people keep saying atheism doesn't entail anything, it is simply a lack of belief in God. That is why I think the topic title is somewhat misleading. It's not atheism that leads to a good society, good people lead to a good society.

 

 

 

Quote:

How is the religious climate in Canada (I know it's not a monolith, but you know what I mean.).

 

 

About 17% hold no religious belief.

 

Those are stats from 2002.

 

It could be different now, but Canada wasn't immoral or anything in 2002 or the years prior.

 

I also heard that 5% are atheist, but could not find a source to back it up.

 

The only reason I bring it up is because of comments like in this topic. That religion runs inversely proportional to societal health.

 


I agree that mainstream theists aren't necessarily irrational about things other than their unsubstantiated beliefs -- HOWEVER, that person would be an idealized moderate, who chooses the benefits of secularism over the doctrines of his/her own faith. But that's just the nominally religious, who behave essentially like atheists, aside from the lip-service they pay their deity. But if you look at issues in the US like embryonic stem cell research, teaching of evolutionary theory, and gay marriage: what legitimate, non-religious reasons could there be for a controversy to exist here? We know there are mainstream "religious people" who don't much care about their religions in practice, but there are also very religious people who care a great deal about doctrine, and it does influence their decisions and priorities; and by extension it affects us.
Let's draw a distinction that the current stats may or may not accomodate: those that call themselves religious in the second it takes to answer a poll question, and those that think scripture has something to say about modern society, politics, education, science, or anything actual. When you run into people who take their religion seriously, that's where you come across the dynamic of abstinence as sex education, intersecting with the nation's highest teenage birth rates.


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RationalSchema

RationalSchema wrote:
Scribe wrote:
Where I see the fallacy is not as Saint puts it, but the very fact that Atheism doesn't promote good or evil. These concepts don't exists within an Atheist worldview and neither are they something that should be realized. So, I fail to see you, as an Atheist, finding any rational reason to claim that any country is doing good or bad at all.I am also reluctant to take these statistics as you show them since Atheists have before shown that they don't ever tell the whole story. For instance, the statistics regarding IQ correlating with religiousity were proven to be false on account that the places with the lowest IQ scores, while being the most religious, was more due to per capita income than anything else.
First of all, it is a fallacy to claim that all atheists don't tell the whole story because a few didn't tell the whole story. In regard to the study you mentioned, income is related to education. hmmmmm???Second- This study is purely correlational, which means there is just a relationship. There is no cause and effect here. However, I would like to see further studies on this that clarifies some questions. I think Scribe is correct in his good and bad analysis. I would hypothesize that it is nothing about good or bad or atheism that is causing the differences. I think the difference is that public policies and decisions are being made based upon evidence, logic and reason. By doing this we create a better society. Both religious believers and atheists believe they are doing good. The difference is that theists use their religious morality to make policy and decisions that can be harmful. They use their belief systems to drive society instead of looking at the evidence and science. HIV/Condoms and abstinence is a perfect example. Theists beliefs drive the policy of abstinence only, which we know from evidence and reason is ridiculous. By using reason you find out that using condoms reduces the spread of HIV in individuals who are already going to have sex and who know about it even if they don't hear it in health class.  
In response to the first part, that is why I apologized for the comment in a previous reply. I didn't mean to imply "all atheists". Please excuse me on that and trust that I don't really think that way.

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Cpt_pineapple

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Tilberian wrote:

But the religion correlation is valid there, just as it is everywhere else. So at the very least, religiousity is ONE of the factors, maybe even the main factor.

 

Do I have to mention Canada again?

Why aren't Canadians violent? societily ill? 

Easy. Because we aren't batshit religious like Americans. 

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Cpt_pineapple wrote: This

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

This proves nothing. All this shows is that atheists can lead good lives. That's it. There is no indication that Atheists must lead good lives.

 

Sweden also has meatballs. Does eating meatballs contribute to society?

Japan drinks tea. Will drinking tea lead to a better society?

 

Atheist go ape bananas whenever Theists say a bad society is Atheist.

They respond "But they're not bad because they're Atheist!"

 

The same logic applies here. They're atheist and good. They are not good because they're atheist, they're good because they're good people.

 

Atheists hate it when Theists cherry pick stats, so why do the same?

There's no cherry picking going on. The correlation is obvious and strong. Less religious societies have higher social indicators than more religious societies. It's true across the board. 

Of course there's no guarantee that an atheist society will be a good one and history has a very few examples of bad atheist societies. But we know, for sure, that religious societies will be, on average, worse. Always. 

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Scribe wrote: This should

Scribe wrote:

This should be interesting.

 

No, you don't. An Atheist has no grounds for believing in abstract counter concepts (good vs. evil). Issues of value must be viewed in a pragmatic way, which is still very arbitrary. I would say 'non-consistent' atheists have a view of good and evil, but claiming subjective values erases all distinctions.

This 'fake' morality you assume is only on par with your belief that there is no God. I would say, without God, morality doesn't exists because it becomes, essentially, preference based. You have no objective standard from which to derrive your morals so therefore you really have none at all.

 

That's not to say that you are immoral. By my perspective you may be very moral, but your worldview doesn't allow that sort of objectivity.


Depending on what you mean by 'value' here (intrinsic of pragmatic?), moral positions are value judgements. It may not even be relevant what type of value we're talking about because morals and value may always be connected. I would even go as far to say that any sort of value judgement is associated with the moral. To say that something is 'good' necessitates that that something is worth doing or having on some objective level and not simply because people 'want' that. For instance, some people may find it morally wrong that these countries have more sexual equality (just making a general example here and not pointing fingers) and therefore this is 'not good'. An Atheist has no rational reason other than their preference to whatever culture they are associated with (programmed, persay) to say that this is 'good' or 'bad' based on concessions and consistency of their own worldview.

Your value/moral judgements are about as justified as my taste in ice cream.

 

I never stated any such thing. You simply put words in my mouth. I stated that the per capita income is more associated with lower IQ scores. The obvious reason is because people cannot afford or grant good education in a country that is poorer. The reason poor individuals may be more religious is because religion gives them a sense of hope and prosperity in light of their suffering. Not only that, but poorer countries typically recieve more aid, finacially and psychologically than richer countries.

Not to be rude here, but if the more 'secular' (assuming atheistic) countries tried a little harder to help other people in other less fortunate countries then there might not be as many religious people over there doing the jobs of taking care of the needy and suffering.

 

This is Tag right?

http://www.rationalresponders.com/ontological_and_epistemological_blunders_tag

Sounds made up...
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Magus wrote:   This is Tag

I'll examine the article in full and get back to you when I'm done.

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Magus wrote:   This is

Yes indeed he used tag in a very subtle fashion. He is saying without a god (transendent being) you have no "objective" (i think he means absolute but i'm not going to read into it any) means for determing morality. I am not a philospher so i can't really explain moral philoosphy without a god, it is possible but i am just at the point where i can't explain it.


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Scribe wrote: This should

Scribe wrote:
This should be interesting.

 

No, you don't. An Atheist has no grounds for believing in abstract counter concepts (good vs. evil). Issues of value must be viewed in a pragmatic way, which is still very arbitrary. I would say 'non-consistent' atheists have a view of good and evil, but claiming subjective values erases all distinctions.

 

If religions were all invented by humans, the reverse can safely be assumed. The motive to create prohibitions on things like theft and murder existed prior to religious doctrine being drafted. If this was not the case, and humans were indeed kept in check by written dogma and its metaphysical threats (as opposed to written law and its physical threats), the prisons should be brimming with atheists. We should be utterly unable to contain our wickedness in the absence of divine law.

 

The irony is that atheists are forced to acknowledge the real effects of actions. We aren't against gay marriage, for instance, because no crime is being committed from a rational standpoint. No one is being victimized. It takes religion to arbitrarily condemn something like that. As an atheist, one isn't afforded an "out" for their actions. I can't harm someone, apologize to a ghostly arbiter, and expect to be forgiven. It's between myself and the aggrieved. You get from reality exactly what you put into it: no power-ups or extra lives.

 

Scribe wrote:
This 'fake' morality you assume is only on par with your belief that there is no God. I would say, without God, morality doesn't exists because it becomes, essentially, preference based. You have no objective standard from which to derrive your morals so therefore you really have none at all.

 

That assumes a tabula rasa -- that each person is a blank slate without any consistent biological imperatives at all. Most of us are as helpless but to feel empathy, and compulsively seek social order, as a piglet looking for a mother's teat. Your morals presume to be from an external source who decided arbitrarily what to condemn and what to praise. They're not, of course -- if a more credible interpretation of the bible came out saying the only way to be "saved" was to kill all the infidels, I doubt you'd go shopping for a broadsword. Neither can we deny our moral compulsions because they're not written down somewhere.

 

Scribe wrote:
That's not to say that you are immoral. By my perspective you may be very moral, but your worldview doesn't allow that sort of objectivity.

 

Atheism isn't a world view, it's a label we're stuck with to differentiate ourselves from the magic-believing majority. Perhaps metaphysical naturalism or secular humanism are more meaty labels, but I don't find them necessary. We are humans, following human motives -- and once we tried to legitimate our innate moral urges by ascribing them to an invented authority figure.


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zntneo wrote: Magus

zntneo wrote:

Yes indeed he used tag in a very subtle fashion. He is saying without a god (transendent being) you have no "objective" (i think he means absolute but i'm not going to read into it any) means for determing morality. I am not a philospher so i can't really explain moral philoosphy without a god, it is possible but i am just at the point where i can't explain it.

 

After reading the article I have to say that this "TAG" assertion is pretty off and that Todangsts article is littered with philsophical errors.

 Perhaps I'll make a seperate post about the article, but I'll try to address some of it here and why it is not Todangsts conception of "TAG".

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Scribe wrote: No, you

Scribe wrote:

No, you don't. An Atheist has no grounds for believing in abstract counter concepts (good vs. evil). Issues of value must be viewed in a pragmatic way, which is still very arbitrary. I would say 'non-consistent' atheists have a view of good and evil, but claiming subjective values erases all distinctions.

All theists add to the the concept of good and evil is the idea that these concepts somehow exist in some transcendental space independent of the human mind. Since there's no evidence for this, there's no reason why anyone should believe it. So I go back to my point: the atheist's concept of good and evil, subjective as it may be, is just as strong and better grounded than the theist's.

Scribe wrote:

This 'fake' morality you assume is only on par with your belief that there is no God. I would say, without God, morality doesn't exists because it becomes, essentially, preference based. You have no objective standard from which to derrive your morals so therefore you really have none at all.

There are many possible objective standards that the atheist can apply that all have the benefit of being grounded in real things instead of imaginary fairy tales. I personally feel that our shared innate social behaviour forms an excellent basis for morality. It is certainly objective, it transcends any individual person's preferences and it actually informs actions.

Scribe wrote:

That's not to say that you are immoral. By my perspective you may be very moral, but your worldview doesn't allow that sort of objectivity.

As I said, the only thing your worldview allows that mine doesn't is reference to supernatural things that don't exist. If that makes you feel your system of morality is superior, great, but I beg to differ.

Scribe wrote:

Depending on what you mean by 'value' here (intrinsic of pragmatic?), moral positions are value judgements. It may not even be relevant what type of value we're talking about because morals and value may always be connected. I would even go as far to say that any sort of value judgement is associated with the moral. To say that something is 'good' necessitates that that something is worth doing or having on some objective level and not simply because people 'want' that. For instance, some people may find it morally wrong that these countries have more sexual equality (just making a general example here and not pointing fingers) and therefore this is 'not good'. An Atheist has no rational reason other than their preference to whatever culture they are associated with (programmed, persay) to say that this is 'good' or 'bad' based on concessions and consistency of their own worldview.

Your value/moral judgements are about as justified as my taste in ice cream.

The social indicators are for things like infant mortality, violence, poverty etc. Now do you really want to pursue this line of argument? How do you think we should be judging societies? Wait, let me guess...number of churches, right?

Scribe wrote:

I apologize. I didn't intend to make a dicto simpliciter there. I should have been more careful and said "some". My apologies. I don't really think that way.

Apology accepted. 

Scribe wrote:

Tilberian wrote:
LOL are you really this stupid? Now all you're doing is pointing out that religiousity makes countries poor! Which also makes them stupid!

I never stated any such thing. You simply put words in my mouth.

You certainly did say this. See below.

Scribe wrote:

I stated that the per capita income is more associated with lower IQ scores. The obvious reason is because people cannot afford or grant good education in a country that is poorer. The reason poor individuals may be more religious is because religion gives them a sense of hope and prosperity in light of their suffering. Not only that, but poorer countries typically recieve more aid, finacially and psychologically than richer countries.

So religious countries are poorer. And stupider. Always. You just said it again.

Your chain of reasoning begs the question. If people really do become religious because they are poor and not the other way around, then what we should see through history is religious countries righting their economies and finding their way out of poverty. But we never see that, even when religious countries are blessed with wealth windfalls, like the Arab nations. Sure, some people get rich, but the country as a whole remains impoverished and saddled with atrocious social indicators.

On the other hand, when countries undergo social and cultural movements that undermine religion or cause a schism in the existing religious order, we see great progress. Look at the American economy in the last century. Look at Western Europe following the Reformation. Look at the Soviet Union and China. All places that threw off their religious yoke and experienced great surges in development with associated gains for the populace. 

Scribe wrote:

Not to be rude here, but if the more 'secular' (assuming atheistic) countries tried a little harder to help other people in other less fortunate countries then there might not be as many religious people over there doing the jobs of taking care of the needy and suffering.

Yes, by all means let's look at the wonderful record of religious countries on foreign aid! First, there's the granddaddy of them all, the US. Obviously, the US is the largest per capita foreign aid donor in the world, right?  

Wrong. The US consistently gives the LEAST foreign aid as a percentage of GDP of any industrialized nation.  Until 2001, Japan was giving more foreign aid IN ABSOLUTE DOLLARS than the US.

OK, the US is bad but the US is officially secular, right? So other religious countries must be kicking ass, right?  We'd expect to see several of them in the top 20 GDP adjusted givers, right? Maybe they'd make up half of the top 20, or even three quarters?

Oops.  Of the top 20 countries ranked for "commitment to development,"  the only one that could be construed as having levels of religiousity even approaching the US is Ireland.  The top 20 foreign aid givers are overwhelmingly Western European godless atheist secular humanistic hellbound sinners. Keep in mind that the numbers are by percentage of GDP, so Bangladesh could be #1 here if they just gave a higher percentage of the little bit of money they do have.

What's that? Religious countries can't afford foreign aid? Iran can't afford aid? Brazil? Saudia Arabia? India? Get real. 

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Scribe wrote: After

Scribe wrote:

After reading the article I have to say that this "TAG" assertion is pretty off and that Todangsts article is littered with philsophical errors.

Perhaps I'll make a seperate post about the article, but I'll try to address some of it here and why it is not Todangsts conception of "TAG".

I am begging you, BEGGING YOU, to go point out Todangst's "philosophical errors" to him. Just one condition: I get to watch. 

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Tilberian

Tilberian wrote:
Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Tilberian wrote:

But the religion correlation is valid there, just as it is everywhere else. So at the very least, religiousity is ONE of the factors, maybe even the main factor.

 

Do I have to mention Canada again?

Why aren't Canadians violent? societily ill? 

Easy. Because we aren't batshit religious like Americans. 

Ahem!  A majority of Americans. 

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Tilberian wrote: All

Tilberian wrote:
All theists add to the the concept of good and evil is the idea that these concepts somehow exist in some transcendental space independent of the human mind. Since there's no evidence for this, there's no reason why anyone should believe it. So I go back to my point: the atheist's concept of good and evil, subjective as it may be, is just as strong and better grounded than the theist's.

 

It's actually worse than that. By dividing "good" and "evil" from the perceptible world, you end up with bizarre rationalizations for how things that hurt no one are bad (gay marriage, embryonic stem cell research), and things that hurt thousands are good. I was shocked to hear from some very mainstream Christians that the people hurt in hurricane Katrina might have "had it coming." Only someone with a grossly contorted view of right and wrong could see a tragedy of epic proportions as some kind of justice.


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Cpt_pineapple wrote: The

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

The same logic applies here. They're atheist and good. They are not good because they're atheist, they're good because they're good people. 

OK, so let's ask the big question here - what do you theists think the consequences are for people in these countries who are non-believers? Are they going to hell? If their high levels of non-belief have apparently brought them prosperity and not punishment, what is the case for the existence of God?

Nobody I know was brainwashed into being an atheist.

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geirj wrote: OK, so let's

geirj wrote:

OK, so let's ask the big question here - what do you theists think the consequences are for people in these countries who are non-believers?

 

 Nothing.

 

 

Quote:
 

Are they going to hell?

 

Nope.

 

Quote:
 

If their high levels of non-belief have apparently brought them prosperity and not punishment, what is the case for the existence of God?

 

This has nothing to do with the existance of God. 


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Scribe wrote: No, you

Scribe wrote:

No, you don't. An Atheist has no grounds for believing in abstract counter concepts (good vs. evil). Issues of value must be viewed in a pragmatic way, which is still very arbitrary. I would say 'non-consistent' atheists have a view of good and evil, but claiming subjective values erases all distinctions.

This 'fake' morality you assume is only on par with your belief that there is no God. I would say, without God, morality doesn't exists because it becomes, essentially, preference based. You have no objective standard from which to derrive your morals so therefore you really have none at all.

That's not to say that you are immoral. By my perspective you may be very moral, but your worldview doesn't allow that sort of objectivity.

Belief in god does not provide an objective moral system.

The claim that the existence of god can provide an objective set of morals fails because the morals are still based on preference. In this case, it would be god's preference. The fact that it is the preference of a non-human entity doesn't change the fact that the morals are subjective.

What objective standards does god have for the moral systems theists claim he provides? If you cannot provide a coherent set of objective reasoning for god to impose his morals, then they are purely subjective. If you can provide such reasoning, than that morality would exist even without god.

As a side note, the original article (not the thread subject) spoke about the health of the societies. This is an objective measure, and you would need to argue against the increased health of those societies regardless of if you think a healthy society is "better."


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Tilberian wrote: According

Tilberian wrote:

According to Wiki 48% of Swiss identify as one of the main religions, 39% have some vague theistic belief, 9% are atheist and 4% agnostic. You have lumped the 39% in with the 48 who are actually members of churches. This is clearly invalid and paints an inaccurate picture of religiousity in Switzerland.


At best, the Wiki article you cite presents contradictory information, and is certainly not authoritative to make the bold assertion that the demographics I provided are inaccurate or invalid. Other statistic sites coroborrate my initial claim; according to the CIA World fact book, Switzerland is divided fairly evenly between Catholics (41.8%) and Protestants (40%), and about 8% other. This is also supported by the official Switzerland information website, which divides the religious demographics between Catholics (48%) and Protestants (44%). Nationmaster places the Catholic population of Switzerland at 41.8%, and the Protestant population at 35.3%.

Quote:
Certainly the Swiss numbers are FAR different from the US where 82% report membership in one of the defined religions. A country where 39% of the population identifies as having some belief in a higher power is MUCH less religious than a country where the same number claim membership in a specific church.


Based on what? A Wiki page that provides poorly contextualized data from a 2005 Eurobarometer opinion poll? Read the technical specs on the poll--it extrapolates its estimates based on only 1,000 interviews, with a fairly large margin of error. My stats were taken from official census data, which is a far more accurate assessment of demographics.

 

Quote:
Again we see a country that is more peaceful than the US despite similar levels of affluence, education and gun ownership. The only big difference? The Swiss are not NEARLY as religious.


And you're basing this assertion on what?

Quote:
Let's face it, there are probably multiple reasons why Switzerland is more peaceful than the US.


So now there are "probably multiple reasons"? Just one paragraph up you assert that it is solely because they are not "nearly as religious". Which is it?

Quote:
But the religion correlation is valid there, just as it is everywhere else. So at the very least, religiousity is ONE of the factors, maybe even the main factor.


"Maybe"? You don't know what the factors are--you merely assert that religiosity is the main factor without evidence to support it. Asserting that atheism is good for society based solely on a statistical correlation commits the questionable cause fallacy; whether religiosity and social health are correlary is immaterial to whether there is a causal relationship between religious belief and social health, which has not been established.

The Saint


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magilum wrote: It's

magilum wrote:

It's actually worse than that. By dividing "good" and "evil" from the perceptible world, you end up with bizarre rationalizations for how things that hurt no one are bad (gay marriage, embryonic stem cell research), and things that hurt thousands are good. I was shocked to hear from some very mainstream Christians that the people hurt in hurricane Katrina might have "had it coming." Only someone with a grossly contorted view of right and wrong could see a tragedy of epic proportions as some kind of justice.

Excellent point. 

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Nero wrote: Tilberian

Nero wrote:
Tilberian wrote:

Easy. Because we aren't batshit religious like Americans.

Ahem! A majority of Americans.

Oooo, yes. Sorry about that. 

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Let's see what we have

Let's see what we have here...

 

Tilberian wrote:

All theists add to the the concept of good and evil is the idea that these concepts somehow exist in some transcendental space independent of the human mind.

Being Dualists, that makes the most sense.

Tilberian wrote:
Since there's no evidence for this, there's no reason why anyone should believe it.

What do you mean 'no evidence'? First, how do you know there is 'no evidence' and what, might I ask, constitutes as 'evidence' for you?

Tilberian wrote:
So I go back to my point: the atheist's concept of good and evil, subjective as it may be, is just as strong and better grounded than the theist's.

 

Subjectivism rules out any distinctions whatsoever, so there is no 'concept of good and evil' in an Atheistic worldview. Your whole idea of 'just as strong and better grounded' is an absurd assertion to make because none of these criterion exists for you; they can't.

 

Tilberian wrote:

There are many possible objective standards that the atheist can apply that all have the benefit of being grounded in real things instead of imaginary fairy tales.

You just said that morality is subjective, so therefore you cannot also admit to it being objective. This is clearly contradictory.

Tilberian wrote:
I personally feel that our shared innate social behaviour forms an excellent basis for morality. It is certainly objective, it transcends any individual person's preferences and it actually informs actions.

But all you can do at the end of the day is 'feel' that way. Nothing more and nothing less.


Tilberian wrote:
As I said, the only thing your worldview allows that mine doesn't is reference to supernatural things that don't exist. If that makes you feel your system of morality is superior, great, but I beg to differ.

By what standard (being a Subjectivists) can you even differ to begin with?


Tilberian wrote:
The social indicators are for things like infant mortality, violence, poverty etc. Now do you really want to pursue this line of argument? How do you think we should be judging societies? Wait, let me guess...number of churches, right?

No. Perhaps you should stop assuming that somehow just because someone is a Theists that they can't think up to the same level of intellect as you. Your tone is very demeaning. I'm presenting an argument here that I feel is valid and all you've done thus far is talk to me as though I'm not capable of making a rational thought.

Tilberian wrote:
Apology accepted.

I would appreciate the same.


Tilberian wrote:
You certainly did say this. See below.

No I didn't, see below. I'll bold what I said:

Scribe wrote:

I stated that the per capita income is more associated with lower IQ scores. The obvious reason is because people cannot afford or grant good education in a country that is poorer. The reason poor individuals may be more religious is because religion gives them a sense of hope and prosperity in light of their suffering. Not only that, but poorer countries typically recieve more aid, finacially and psychologically than richer countries.

Tilberian wrote:
So religious countries are poorer. And stupider. Always. You just said it again.

Please point out where I said anything of the sort. I never said that "religion causes people to be poorer" or anything in that light. I never made any comment that religion is the cause of poverty. You asserted that. I said that poor people may be more religious; that's all.

Tilberian wrote:
Your chain of reasoning begs the question. If people really do become religious because they are poor and not the other way around, then what we should see through history is religious countries righting their economies and finding their way out of poverty.

How does it 'beg the question'? To accuse someone of 'begging the question' is to say that they are making a circular argument. And btw, we have seen religious countries 'righting their economies'. Before the rise of these atheistic secular states, it was the religious running the economies. One particular example is the rise of Islam. When 'the prophet' came on the scene he united the tribes and created an economic and millitary power not yet seen in that area for centuries. Other examples can be noticed in Europes Protestant ethic as well as the early United States. I honestly don't understand how you think so poorly of religious people as not even having any sort of accomplishments.

Tilberian wrote:
But we never see that, even when religious countries are blessed with wealth windfalls, like the Arab nations. Sure, some people get rich, but the country as a whole remains impoverished and saddled with atrocious social indicators.

We have seen that. You're just applying your anti-religious bias to all spheres of life. I suggests reading up on some history and religion and religious thinkers benefits to mankind.

Tilberian wrote:
On the other hand, when countries undergo social and cultural movements that undermine religion or cause a schism in the existing religious order, we see great progress.

Oh, such as the Red Terror, right? Stop one siding everything as though religion is the 'bad guy' and 'anti-religion' are the 'good guys'. It only shows how little you know on the subject.

Tilberian wrote:
Look at the American economy in the last century.

What about it? We went into a depression and then came out of it due to the sucess of WWII.

Tilberian wrote:
Look at Western Europe following the Reformation.

Guided by a religious hand, nonetheless. Further, before the Reformation, much of the education (in the form of an early university) was promoted by the Orthodox Churches. Great mathematicians and scientists came out of the Church as well as Muslim countries. The developement of nations was the primary responsibility of religious authorities in respect to their fellow man and the benefit of all humanity. Aside from the atrocities comitted by the religious at certain points in humanity, there is substantial evidence to show, within history, the benefits of religion on the economic and political health of nations. I really cannot understand your blind prejudice here.

Tilberian wrote:
Look at the Soviet Union and China. All places that threw off their religious yoke and experienced great surges in development with associated gains for the populace.

Also places in the last century that contributed to the 150,000,000 death count in their undermining of religion and genocide of religious followers. The "populace" was mainly religious. The 'gains' associated with them throwing off their 'yokes' was more resources for the few while millions were exterminated or starved to death.

Orwell's Animal Farm anyone?

Tilberian wrote:
Yes, by all means let's look at the wonderful record of religious countries on foreign aid! First, there's the granddaddy of them all, the US. Obviously, the US is the largest per capita foreign aid donor in the world, right?

Wrong. The US consistently gives the LEAST foreign aid as a percentage of GDP of any industrialized nation. Until 2001, Japan was giving more foreign aid IN ABSOLUTE DOLLARS than the US.

OK, the US is bad but the US is officially secular, right? So other religious countries must be kicking ass, right? We'd expect to see several of them in the top 20 GDP adjusted givers, right? Maybe they'd make up half of the top 20, or even three quarters?

Oops. Of the top 20 countries ranked for "commitment to development," the only one that could be construed as having levels of religiousity even approaching the US is Ireland. The top 20 foreign aid givers are overwhelmingly Western European godless atheist secular humanistic hellbound sinners. Keep in mind that the numbers are by percentage of GDP, so Bangladesh could be #1 here if they just gave a higher percentage of the little bit of money they do have.

What's that? Religious countries can't afford foreign aid? Iran can't afford aid? Brazil? Saudia Arabia? India? Get real.

 

Yes, let's observe the evidence.

First, I would just like to note that I never simply focussed on "Foreign Aid" coming from the State (nor did I focus on the U.S. alone over other countries), though this could be a factor in determining the level at which certain countries give (though of course I wasn't just focussing on government policy in my response). The article undermines your 'evidence' if you actually took the time to read it, as I have.

For instance:

 

ARTICLE wrote:
Evan Osbourne, writing for the Cato Institute, also questioning the effectiveness of foreign aid and noted the interests of a number of other donor countries, as well as the U.S., in their aid strategies in past years. For example:

  • The US has directed aid to regions where it has concerns related to its national security, e.g. Middle East, and in Cold War times in particular, Central America and the Caribbean;
  • Sweden has targetted aid to “progressive societies”;
  • France has sought to promote maintenance or preserve and spread of French culture, language, and influence, especially in West Africa, while disproportionately giving aid to those that have extensive commercial ties with France;
  • Japan has also heavily skewed aid towards those in East Asia with extensive commercial ties together with conditions of Japanese purchases;

 

The articles main focus is to show that these rich countries are more about their own gain than that of those in poverty. It also says such things as,"The European Union is linking aid to fighting terrorism as well, with European ministers warning countries that their relations with the economically powerful bloc will suffer if they fail to cooperate in the fight against terrorism. An EU official is quoted as saying, “aid and trade could be affected if the fight against terrorism was considered insufficient”, leading to accusations of “compromising the neutrality, impartiality and independence of humanitarian assistance”.

Also note:

Article wrote:

For the OECD countries to meet their obligations for aid to the poorer countries is not an economic problem. It is a political one. This can be seen in the context of other spending. For example,

  • The US recently increased its military budget by some $100 billion dollars alone
  • Europe subsidizes its agriculture to the tune of some $35-40 billion per year, even while it demands other nations to liberalize their markets to foreign competition.
  • The US also introduced a $190 billion dollar subsidy to its farms through the US Farm Bill, also criticized as a protectionist measure.
  • While aid amounts to around $50 to 55 billion per year, the poor countries pay some $200 billion to the rich each year.
  • There are many more (some mentioned below too).

 

 

The article goes on to say that about half of all the foreign aid given by all of the rich countries amounts to "phantom aid", or aid that is not directly associated with helping fight poverty, but rather instead is either lost or associated with investments. So whatever the other "real aid" 50% amounts to among the other countries is substantially low. Further, the 'real aid' that goes towards the poor (as pointed above) is argued to be more detrimental to poorer countries and more beneficial to the rich ones:

ARTICLE wrote:

Our compassion [at the 2002 G8 Summit talking of the desire to help Africa] may be well meant, but it is also hypocritical. The US, Europe and Japan spend $350 billion each year on agricultural subsidies (seven times as much as global aid to poor countries), and this money creates gluts that lower commodity prices and erode the living standard of the world’s poorest people.

And...

 

Article wrote:

To make things even worse, aid bureaucrats [from rich donor countries] have incentives to satisfy the rich countries doing the funding as well as (or instead of) the poor. One oversight in the quest to help the poor was the failure to study the incentives of its appointed helpers. The bureaucratic managers have the incentive to satisfy rich-country vanity with promises of transforming the Rest rather than simply helping poor individuals. Internal bureaucratic incentives also favor grand global schemes over getting the little guy what he wants.

 

 

So while I generally agree that these other, more secular countries give more foreign aid to less fortunate countries, I really don't see how using this article proves your point over my own, since the majority of the money goes to benefit the rich rather than the poor.

Foreign aid aside, I'm talking not only about the personal giving of it's members, but the religious vs. the non-religious in general (in regards to more 'secular countries&#39Eye-wink. There are more Churches (and other religious) helping people out there in the world without asking for anything in return and giving their own time and money than all of these places combined. And sure, bring up the Catholic Church helping people die of AIDs in Africa (or something else along those lines). Recent research has pointed in the opposite direction, showing that increase in condoms has not been the prevalent factor in reducing the AIDs epidemic in most AIDs infected countries, rather ideology has been the primary source of lower infections (people sleeping around less etc.). Here is one source for information:

http://www.pureloveclub.com/chastity/index.php?id=7&entryid=233

Consider it "christian bias" all you want, but I urge you to look at the information rather than mindlessly handwaving it to the side. I respect the sources you give me so much to read them so I expect the same in return.

 

Now to critique the TodAngst article.

 

 

 

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magilum wrote:Tilberian

magilum wrote:
Tilberian wrote:
All theists add to the the concept of good and evil is the idea that these concepts somehow exist in some transcendental space independent of the human mind. Since there's no evidence for this, there's no reason why anyone should believe it. So I go back to my point: the atheist's concept of good and evil, subjective as it may be, is just as strong and better grounded than the theist's.
 It's actually worse than that. By dividing "good" and "evil" from the perceptible world, you end up with bizarre rationalizations for how things that hurt no one are bad (gay marriage, embryonic stem cell research), and things that hurt thousands are good. I was shocked to hear from some very mainstream Christians that the people hurt in hurricane Katrina might have "had it coming." Only someone with a grossly contorted view of right and wrong could see a tragedy of epic proportions as some kind of justice.
 You've simply undermined your own view here by in fact using language that suggests a 'divide' between what is good and evil. The first most noticeable is in your application of 'worse' to that divide. You state that such a divide is 'wrong', but by doing so you undermine the very thing in which you are promoting. Right and Wrong do not exists in a Subjective worldview. So while it may be "wrong" to make such a divide between 'good' and 'evil' there is no reason for you to even believe this to begin with. 

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The_Saint wrote: My

The_Saint wrote:

My stats were taken from official census data, which is a far more accurate assessment of demographics.

No it isn't. Census questions ask about family religious affiliation. People are likely to respond to them by saying what church they were born into or baptised in. The opinion poll, unlike the census poll, was actually trying to get to what people's beliefs are and what their churchgoing habits are. That's how you separate religiosity out from simple church membership. The Swiss are simply not as religious or as involved in religious observance as Americans. Few people in the industrialized world are. 

The_Saint wrote:

Quote:
Again we see a country that is more peaceful than the US despite similar levels of affluence, education and gun ownership. The only big difference? The Swiss are not NEARLY as religious.


And you're basing this assertion on what?

On an understanding of polling and correct interpretation of the data. Also on other reading and my personal experiences in Switzerland. 

The_Saint wrote:

Quote:
Let's face it, there are probably multiple reasons why Switzerland is more peaceful than the US.


So now there are "probably multiple reasons"? Just one paragraph up you assert that it is solely because they are not "nearly as religious". Which is it?
 

I said the only big difference. If you can't read, go away.

The_Saint wrote:

Quote:
But the religion correlation is valid there, just as it is everywhere else. So at the very least, religiousity is ONE of the factors, maybe even the main factor.


"Maybe"? You don't know what the factors are--you merely assert that religiosity is the main factor without evidence to support it.

I've shown you the same kind of evidence that doctors have for saying cigarettes are bad for you. If that's not good enough for you, go ahead and light up.

The_Saint wrote:

Asserting that atheism is good for society based solely on a statistical correlation commits the questionable cause fallacy; whether religiosity and social health are correlary is immaterial to whether there is a causal relationship between religious belief and social health, which has not been established.

The Saint

Everyone knows that there too many uncontrolled factors here for anyone to produce the kind of proof you are demanding, so why demand it? The fact is there's a statistical corollory that is too powerful to ignore. You can't point to any other factor that predicts a country's poor performance on societal indicators, and don't say poverty because the US is in this group.

No one will ever prove causality, but it is certainly easy to make valid, plausible theories about why religion causes poor social order. Suppression of scientific education leading to delayed research and development. Displacement of moral responsiblity leading to increased impulsiveness and criminality. Sexual guilt and repression leading to marital breakdown and domestic problems. Warped childraising values leading to psychological and developmental problems. Entrenched, church-supported ruling classes widening the rich/poor gulf and stifling democracy. Church-supported oppression of women and minorities leading to civil unrest and unequal delivery of government services and health care. Faith-based wars leading to constant conflict and loss of generations of young men. Church-enforced birth control policies leading to unwanted pregnacies, overpopulation and disease outbreaks.

Frankly, it's amazing any society survives the phenomenon. 

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magilum wrote:   If

magilum wrote:

 

If religions were all invented by humans, the reverse can safely be assumed. The motive to create prohibitions on things like theft and murder existed prior to religious doctrine being drafted.

I have no problem with this and I agree with you (from a Christian perspective). This doesn't mean that such prohibitions are justified under a worldview that undermines the very necessity of choosing something 'good' over something 'bad'. 

magilum wrote:
If this was not the case, and humans were indeed kept in check by written dogma and its metaphysical threats (as opposed to written law and its physical threats), the prisons should be brimming with atheists. We should be utterly unable to contain our wickedness in the absence of divine law.

 Not necessarily true. Atheists simply do not have a reason for right and wrong other than their own preference to what is beneficial to their own lives or what they feel to be good. Being that most of written Law was written by those that believed in metaphysical laws, the motivation to not break the laws (by physical threats) would still be apparent, even for non-believers. Similarly, under my own theological views, there are reasons as to why people from all beliefs (and non-beliefs) follow certain moral practices, but practicality aside, this does not justify what they do.

 

 

magilum wrote:
The irony is that atheists are forced to acknowledge the real effects of actions. We aren't against gay marriage, for instance, because no crime is being committed from a rational standpoint.

A 'rational standpoint'? You mean, on the basis of your own beliefs.  

magilum wrote:
No one is being victimized. It takes religion to arbitrarily condemn something like that.

Actually no. It takes anyone to abritrarily condemn anything in your worldview.  

magilum wrote:
As an atheist, one isn't afforded an "out" for their actions. I can't harm someone, apologize to a ghostly arbiter, and expect to be forgiven. It's between myself and the aggrieved. You get from reality exactly what you put into it: no power-ups or extra lives.

It can go in the opposite direction as well, being that is only between your opinions and someone elses. Whomever wins the struggle simply wins the struggle. If you kill a man for a few dollars (not saying you would) and you don't get caught then that is that and nothing more. As a religious person, we aren't afforded many 'outs' either. In some theological circles, forgiveness is only an 'out' when someone genuinely tries to stop their actions. We don't (at least most of us) don't view God as some gumball machine. We see an "extra life", which either leads to something good or something bad. So justice remains till the very end. 

 


magilum wrote:
That assumes a tabula rasa -- that each person is a blank slate without any consistent biological imperatives at all. Most of us are as helpless but to feel empathy, and compulsively seek social order, as a piglet looking for a mother's teat. Your morals presume to be from an external source who decided arbitrarily what to condemn and what to praise. They're not, of course -- if a more credible interpretation of the bible came out saying the only way to be "saved" was to kill all the infidels, I doubt you'd go shopping for a broadsword. Neither can we deny our moral compulsions because they're not written down somewhere.

Assuming that the decision was abritrary from this external source. Under some theological sources, there was no other decisions to be made because such decisions came from the very essence of the Sources Character, rather than just some feeling that can change from right to left field in a second's time. The external source factor also comes into play when the source created us and determined what paths we should take. This of course, can be rebelled against, but that doesn't mean that the source doesn't exists and that we shouldn't follow it.

 Further, in light of your objection to the Divine Command Theory, I would propose that under a Subjectivists wordlview, even if I were to assume that God wanted me to kill infidels to get to Heaven, this isn't something you should even be complaing about to begin with, much less raising as a valid objection. Would I do it? Perhaps, yes, but that's only because if such a Creator existed it would appear that my internal instinct of 'right and wrong' would follow along with his own so I wouldn't even have a problem with it to begin with (neiher would many people and probably neither would you). But that's all hypothetical. 

 


migelum wrote:
Atheism isn't a world view, it's a label we're stuck with to differentiate ourselves from the magic-believing majority. Perhaps metaphysical naturalism or secular humanism are more meaty labels, but I don't find them necessary. We are humans, following human motives -- and once we tried to legitimate our innate moral urges by ascribing them to an invented authority figure.

 

And unfortunately, without that 'magical being' that we believe in, Morals do in fact ultimately fall to preference and there is no objective reason from which to act them out or to even think of them. So this 'delusion' that I have (as this site points out) and that many others have  may be the only thing really allowing us that privelege at all because without is there is no other place to go but denial of how shallow our view of morality really is...and ultimately, how irrelevant.

 

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Quote: Look at the Soviet

Quote:

Look at the Soviet Union and China. All places that threw off their religious yoke and experienced great surges in development with associated gains for the populace.

 

And neither of those nations forced atheism on the people by threat of torture/death......oh wait. 

 

You have it backwards.