I'm tired of the "Atheism Causes X" strawman

Hambydammit
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I'm tired of the "Atheism Causes X" strawman

I’d like to highlight the fallacy/strawman that’s annoying me the most right now.

Theist: “You atheists are wrong for saying that atheism causes people to be good people.”  (Or, causes societies to be less dysfunctional, or causes people to go to jail less, or whatever&hellipEye-wink

Let me say this clearly and unequivocably.  ATHEISM DOESN’T CAUSE ANYTHING. I don’t claim that atheism makes me a better person, or that it cures depression or causes rational thinking or anything else.

Atheism is not a philosophy.  It is not a moral code.  Philosophically speaking, atheism is a giant hole waiting to be filled.  That is, anyone who rejects the claim that there is a God has to come up with alternate explanations for the things God is reported to be responsible for — or leave questions unanswered for lack of a good explanation.   To say that one is an atheist is only to say that they have rejected one explanation for something.  It says absolutely nothing whatsoever about what they have accepted, or indeed, if they have accepted any explanation at all.

Having established this, we must now realize that ATHEISM IS AN EFFECT, NOT A CAUSE. Unless a person is quite philosophically naive, he does not just arbitrarily decide that there is no god.  Instead, he reaches that decision based on a pre-existing worldview.  The most common worldview that leads to atheism  is naturalism.  Nihilism can also lead to atheism.  (I must add the disclaimer that I think nihilism is a failed worldview that doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.  Nevertheless, it can and does logically lead to atheism in many cases.  Sometimes bad logic yields true conclusions.)  There are certainly other worldviews that can lead one to atheism.  The broad point is that atheism is the result, not the cause.

Why, then, are there statistical correlations between less societal dysfunction, crime, divorce, etc, and atheism?   If atheism doesn’t cause it, what does?  Put simply, by rejecting theism, atheists are more or less forced into a results-driven conception of reality.   Theism — the belief that there is an inscrutable God at the bottom of the chain of causation — defies falsification from results.  Since this god can pretty much do whatever he wants and defy logic or evidence on a whim, theists are free to follow their own belief system regardless of its correlation to observable reality.

Since atheism, by definition, is the rejection of intelligent meddling with the nature of reality, atheists are quite limited in the number of ways they can defy reality checks.  What could they appeal to?  I suppose there are a few atheists who believe really wacky things.  Perhaps they believe that our reality is an illusion and that we are all part of an alien experiment.  For the most part, though, most sane atheists simply don’t have any viable worldviews available to them that defy reality checks.

Atheists then, are quite diverse in their worldviews, political views, and beliefs about reality.  The one thing they have in common, though, is that there’s no God dictating things that defy reason but must be done anyway.  If they’re going to defy reason, they have to justify it in some other way.  Since there simply aren’t very many non-theist worldviews that argue against reason… well… most atheists, regardless of their particular philosophy, are driven by reason, and therefore, results.  They look for the best way to run a society, get married and stay married (or, avoid getting married when it's a bad idea), prevent pregnancy and disease transmission, and reduce crime in society.   Since they don’t have preachers and holy books telling them it’s against God’s will to do things this way or that way, they tend to base their decisions on what reason tells them will work the best, and what really does work best when the rubber meets the road.

Lest I invoke another strawman, I’m not suggesting that atheists are always more rational than theists, or that atheism causes people to be more rational.  Remember — atheism doesn’t CAUSE anything.  Atheism is the result of a worldview.  It is an effect.  Rather than focusing on “atheism,” the statistics should focus on reason/results driven worldviews as opposed to rigid non-reason/results worldviews.  Since theism is the overwhelmingly dominant non-results driven worldview, and virtually all the results driven worldviews coincidentally lead logically and naturally to atheism, it can appear to an untrained observer that atheism is the cause.  It is not.  It is just a coincidental side effect.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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theTwelve
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Hambydammit wrote: Rather

Hambydammit wrote:
 Rather than focusing on “atheism,” the statistics should focus on reason/results driven worldviews as opposed to rigid non-reason/results worldviews.  Since theism is the overwhelmingly dominant non-results driven worldview, and virtually all the results driven worldviews coincidentally lead logically and naturally to atheism, it can appear to an untrained observer that atheism is the cause.  It is not.  It is just a coincidental side effect.

Can you tell me one secular worldview, that's reason/result driven? More so than any theistic worldview?

And are you confusing cause verse correlation? Is it that atheism serves as a catalyst "reason/result driven worldviews", or a result of the "results of a reason/result driven worldview (try to say that shit five times). Is it atheism that led Denmark to where Denmark is at now, or is it where Denmark is at now that led to atheism?

Speaking of Denmark, it's not a nation of individuals hostile to Christianity, or their Christian heritage, people contribute 10% of their income to the state church, with little qualms about it, and seem quite proud of their christian heritage and culture.

Their sense of reasoning didn't grow out of an opposition to theistic thinking, but rather as an organic part of it. Their reasoning wasn't hampered by their theism, for which they had to free themselves off from, to think as they do now. This is a nation that grew up with a state sponsored religion, without any real hostility towards it at all. In fact their reasoning when they were a dominantly theistic nation wasn't any worse or better (relatively speaking), now that they are dominantly a non-religious society. 

Historically the brand of atheism found in abundance here, which seeks as a mission to eradicate religion, that promotes ideas such as "in reason I trust", passionate advocacy for disbelief, and the notion of theism as sort of intellectual cancer, have revealed a very monstrous side of history. Those who proclaim "imagine no religion" haven't given us Denmark, but the Jacobians and the French Revolution. That's a historical fact.

If atheism is so reason/result driven can you provide an instance of a single mass movement which promoted themes similar to "imagine no religion", the supremacy of "science" and "reasoning" as campaign slogans, that actually achieved a desirable result, rather than a heinous one?

If atheism was so reason/result driven, the rational response squad would have abandoned a filthy sinking ship a long time ago.

 

 

 

 

 


Hambydammit
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 Quote:Can you tell me one

 

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Can you tell me one secular worldview, that's reason/result driven?

Naturalism.

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More so than any theistic worldview?

I have not surveyed every theistic worldview that has ever existed, so I refuse to commit to an "all" statement in this case.  However, I am not familiar with a single theistic worldview now or in history that is as reason/result driven as naturalism.

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And are you confusing cause verse correlation?

For fuck's sake.  That's what this is about.

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Is it that atheism serves as a catalyst "reason/result driven worldviews", or a result of the "results of a reason/result driven worldview (try to say that shit five times). Is it atheism that led Denmark to where Denmark is at now, or is it where Denmark is at now that led to atheism?

Did you even read my post?

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Speaking of Denmark, it's not a nation of individuals hostile to Christianity, or their Christian heritage, people contribute 10% of their income to the state church, with little qualms about it, and seem quite proud of their christian heritage and culture.

Seriously... are we talking about the same post?  I think maybe you just read the headline.  But... then if you read the headline, you ought not be asking these questions.   Did you mean to respond to an entirely different article?

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Their sense of reasoning didn't grow out of an opposition to theistic thinking, but rather as an organic part of it. Their reasoning wasn't hampered by their theism, for which they had to free themselves off from, to think as they do now. This is a nation that grew up with a state sponsored religion, without any real hostility towards it at all. In fact their reasoning when they were a dominantly theistic nation wasn't any worse or better (relatively speaking), now that they are dominantly a non-religious society.

Ok... I think maybe I see what you're getting at.  You're suggesting that Denmark, by virtue of becoming a pretty reason-driven state while having a state-sponsored religion, disproves my assertion that atheism doesn't cause anything.

You're very confused, I think.

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Historically the brand of atheism found in abundance here, which seeks as a mission to eradicate religion, that promotes ideas such as "in reason I trust", passionate advocacy for disbelief, and the notion of theism as sort of intellectual cancer, have revealed a very monstrous side of history. Those who proclaim "imagine no religion" haven't given us Denmark, but the Jacobians and the French Revolution. That's a historical fact.

Now I'm sure of it.  You have no idea what I wrote.

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If atheism is so reason/result driven can you provide an instance of a single mass movement which promoted themes similar to "imagine no religion", the supremacy of "science" and "reasoning" as campaign slogans, that actually achieved a desirable result, rather than a heinous one?

You missed something in the first paragraph or two.  Let me help you out, ok?

ATHEISM DOESN’T CAUSE ANYTHING. 

And this:

ATHEISM IS AN EFFECT, NOT A CAUSE.

Oh, and there's one other thing you missed:

Hambydammit wrote:
Atheism is not a philosophy.  It is not a moral code.  Philosophically speaking, atheism is a giant hole waiting to be filled.  That is, anyone who rejects the claim that there is a God has to come up with alternate explanations for the things God is reported to be responsible for — or leave questions unanswered for lack of a good explanation.   To say that one is an atheist is only to say that they have rejected one explanation for something.  It says absolutely nothing whatsoever about what they have accepted, or indeed, if they have accepted any explanation at all.

For fuck's sake, dude.  Wrap your brain around this.  Everything you are talking about suggests that atheism is a FOUNDATION or a PHILOSOPHY or a WORLDVIEW, which is precisely what I'm arguing against.

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If atheism was so reason/result driven, the rational response squad would have abandoned a filthy sinking ship a long time ago.

I'm quite enjoying this discussion.  If you're not, jump ship.  Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

 

 

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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theTwelve
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Let's make this simple for

Let's make this simple for you:

Hambydammit wrote:
Since theism is the overwhelmingly dominant non-results driven worldview, and virtually all the results driven worldviews coincidentally lead logically and naturally to atheist

You claimed, that all results/reason driven worldviews lead logically and naturally to atheism. My contention is that it doesn't. It's not a reason/result driven worldview that leads to atheism, but the results of a reason/result driven worldview. The result here, being mainly prosperity, and less reliance on community. Atheism arises out of the luxury of having such a society. Sort of like how new ageism catches on with celebrities. 

It's not reason/result driven worldviews that lead to atheism, but rather material comfort and the luxury of independent living that leads to atheism. You might have just as well claimed the reason/result driven worldviews lead to the purchase of designer hand bags. 

I can't think of single modern atheist thinker, besides perhaps John Gray, who has any even semi profound incite about the world around us. In fact their analysis of human life, is rather dopey, and I'd wager I read and listen to more of their rubbish than most people here do. 

I don't know of a single living atheist thinker whose' worldview isn't rather dopey, and revoltingly shallow. Who are you going to professes doesn't hold one? Dawkins? Harris? Dennet? Reading you signature quote, it sure isn't you. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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theTwelve wrote:Let's make

theTwelve wrote:

Let's make this simple for you:

Hambydammit wrote:
Since theism is the overwhelmingly dominant non-results driven worldview, and virtually all the results driven worldviews coincidentally lead logically and naturally to atheist

You claimed, that all results/reason driven worldviews lead logically and naturally to atheism. My contention is that it doesn't. It's not a reason/result driven worldview that leads to atheism, but the results of a reason/result driven worldview. The result here, being mainly prosperity, and less reliance on community. Atheism arises out of the luxury of having such a society. Sort of like how new ageism catches on with celebrities. 

It's not reason/result driven worldviews that lead to atheism, but rather material comfort and the luxury of independent living that leads to atheism. You might have just as well claimed the reason/result driven worldviews lead to the purchase of designer hand bags.

That's ridiculous.  Would you have me believe there were no atheists five hundred years ago?  One thousand?  Two thousand?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


Hambydammit
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 Clearly, you have a

 Clearly, you have a problem with reading comprehension.

You said:

Quote:
You claimed, that all results/reason driven worldviews lead logically and naturally to atheism.

Emphasis mine.

I wrote:

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For the most part, though, most sane atheists simply don’t have any viable worldviews available to them that defy reality checks.

and

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Since there simply aren’t very many non-theist worldviews that argue against reason…

and

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Since theism is the overwhelmingly dominant non-results driven worldview, and virtually all the results driven worldviews coincidentally lead logically and naturally to atheism,

I mean, shit, dude.  Basic reading comprehension.  Try it.  (In the interest of clarity, I will be willing to change the word "virtually" in the last quote to "nearly" to give it a little more wiggle room.)

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 It's not a reason/result driven worldview that leads to atheism, but the results of a reason/result driven worldview

Do you even read what you write?

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The result here, being mainly prosperity, and less reliance on community. Atheism arises out of the luxury of having such a society. Sort of like how new ageism catches on with celebrities.

You are very confused.  You haven't said one thing in two posts that has anything at all to do with my post.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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theTwelve
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Thomathy wrote:That's

Thomathy wrote:
That's ridiculous.  Would you have me believe there were no atheists five hundred years ago?  One thousand?  Two thousand? 

I'd say no. You'd be hard pressed to find a single individual who didn't believe in a spiritual dimension to life, or a life containing the characterizes that are given to Gods, such us men being created of purpose. They didn't have much of an alternative lens to view the world in.

If the most pertinent questions you have about life, are suffering, hope, community, love in the midst of despair, you'll find a high propensity of religiosity (regardless of intellectual stripe). If the questions are of little concern to you, mean little in relation to your everyday life, non-religiosity serves you just fine. And there are certain conditions of our lives, that make some questions more important than others. Atheism finds its way predominately in a certain form of given living, superior reasoning has little to do with it. 

There's a reason as to why George Watts painting "Hope", has a more profound effect on me than you. And it's not because your critical thinking skills are superior to mine. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Thomathy
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theTwelve wrote:Thomathy

theTwelve wrote:

Thomathy wrote:
That's ridiculous.  Would you have me believe there were no atheists five hundred years ago?  One thousand?  Two thousand? 

I'd say no. You'd be hard pressed to find a single individual who didn't believe in a spiritual dimension to life, or a life containing the characterizes that are given to Gods, such us men being created of purpose. They didn't have much of an alternative lens to view the world in.

I'd like to borrow your time machine.

Quote:
If the most pertinent questions you have about life, are suffering, hope, community, love in the midst of despair, you'll find a high propensity of religiosity (regardless of intellectual stripe). If the questions are of little concern to you, mean little in relation to your everyday life, non-religiosity serves you just fine.
What does religiosity have to do with believing in god?  I know the two are highly correlated, but one is not necessary for the other.

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And there are certain conditions of our lives, that make some questions more important than others. Atheism finds its way predominately in a certain form of given living, superior reasoning has little to do with it.
You will need to support this claim somehow.

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There's a reason as to why George Watts painting "Hope", has a more profound effect on me than you. And it's not because your critical thinking skills are superior to mine.
Are you a theist?

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


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Quote:I’m not

Quote:

I’m not suggesting that atheists are always more rational than theists

 

 

Yeah, you kinda are.

 

 

but anyway

 

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If they’re going to defy reason, they have to justify it in some other way.

 

Which is rather easy for people to do.

 

 

Oh and another thing why doesn't every naturally driven world view lead naturally to atheism? From what you've said every one should.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


theTwelve
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Thomathy wrote:I'd like to

Thomathy wrote:

I'd like to borrow your time machine.

You don't need a time machine, we have plenty of writings from the pre-modern world, if you would like to point to one written by  an individual who  is more than likely an atheist such as yourself, you let me know. 

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What does religiosity have to do with believing in god?  I know the two are highly correlated, but one is not necessary for the other.

Well, i don't know how the term religiosity is to be applied without a belief in "god" or something god-like. 

religious |riˈlijəs|

adjectivebelieving in and worshiping a superhuman controlling power or powers, esp. a personal God or gods .

• (of a belief or practice) forming part of someone's thought about or worship of adivine being he has strong religious convictions.

• of or relating to the worship of or a doctrine concerning a divine being or beingsreligious music.

 

Quote:
You will need to support this claim somehow.

If you were to look at countries with high levels of atheism, besides those countries which had state enforced atheism, it's when the citizens of these nation becomes less reliant on communities, and become fairly self sufficient allowing for a greater degree of individualism, atheism gains popular currency. If we were to look through the writings of religious individuals, and atheist, you'd find their writings mainly dealing with different issues and concerns. You'd be hard pressed to find atheist writings on hope, suffering, community, forgiveness, and the like, compared to believers. 

And this is more apparent in contemplation. If i were to ask atheist here why African slaves, sing song lyrics such as this: "Over my head, I hear music in the air; there must be a God somewhere".  I'd wager they'll be rather dumbfound by that, about what does it mean for them to hear music? And what does hearing this music, have to do with God? How do they relate?

I'm also an individual who reads, and is exposed  to quite  bit of the thoughts and views of atheist, I listen to a number of "free-thought" podcasts, and atheist podcast, follow many of atheist thinkers, reading their works, listening to their lectures. And I'd wager for more so than most people here do. And its not difficult to notice how I differ from them, and it's not in our intellectual capacity, but rather in the questions that really matter to us.



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Quote:You don't need a time

Quote:
You don't need a time machine, we have plenty of writings from the pre-modern world, if you would like to point to one written by  an individual who  is more than likely an atheist such as yourself, you let me know.
Well, what would you consider pre-modern?

I don't play games defining words from different dictionary resources.  Religiosity is not a strong arguing point, I was only questioning its necessity in being a theist and whether it's not true that an atheist can be religious.  I believe it's not necessary in being a theist and there is testimony from atheists that they are religious.  I wouldn't want to force you to commit a no true scotsman, so we can drop it.


 

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If you were to look at countries with high levels of atheism, besides those countries which had state enforced atheism, it's when the citizens of these nation becomes less reliant on communities, and become fairly self sufficient allowing for a greater degree of individualism, atheism gains popular currency.
Let's pretend that this is true.  Is there something wrong about individualism if that's how people choose to act? 

Anyhow, I can't help but believe that you've pulled that from your ass.  There happens to be a great amount of community feeling in rather atheistic populations.  I find it difficult to believe that you honestly think that in those secular, atheistic Western states somehow people are less reliant on their communities.  I mean, they have a high degree of socialism.  Even Canada does and it's hardly more atheistic than the States.  What it actually looks like is that the more atheistic a population is there is more of a tendency toward a particular kind of community bond.  Perhaps it's an unfamiliar sort to you, not being based around worship at the temple.

Quote:
If we were to look through the writings of religious individuals, and atheist, you'd find their writings mainly dealing with different issues and concerns. You'd be hard pressed to find atheist writings on hope, suffering, community, forgiveness, and the like, compared to believers.
Hope is not something only theists or the religious can have.  Forgiveness for what?  I don't know what you mean by suffering.  Community is not only something theists or the religious care about.  It seems as though you're merely making these examples up to support your claims.

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And this is more apparent in contemplation. If i were to ask atheist here why African slaves, sing song lyrics such as this: "Over my head, I hear music in the air; there must be a God somewhere".  I'd wager they'll be rather dumbfound by that, about what does it mean for them to hear music? And what does hearing this music, have to do with God? How do they relate?
The question does not dumbfound me.  My answer would merely be different than yours.  You're claiming some special ability of theists to be better able to understand the concept.  I don't care for such fallacies.

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I'm also an individual who reads, and is exposed  to quite  bit of the thoughts and views of atheist, I listen to a number of "free-thought" podcasts, and atheist podcast, follow many of atheist thinkers, reading their works, listening to their lectures. And I'd wager for more so than most people here do. And its not difficult to notice how I differ from them, and it's not in our intellectual capacity, but rather in the questions that really matter to us.
Perhaps.  What questions do matter to you?  I'm concerned with life and happiness, of my own, those around me and the world at large.  The questions that matter to me are those that ask how can we do better and in what way can I help.  My questions have to do with this world, the one I know exists.  I can't imagine that your questions differ terribly.  Perhaps they also include how you can get into heaven and other such questions.

Are you a theist?

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


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Thomathy wrote:The question

Thomathy wrote:

The question does not dumbfound me.  My answer would merely be different than yours.  You're claiming some special ability of theists to be better able to understand the concept.  I don't care for such fallacies.

If our answers differ it won't be because you're a atheist, and I'm not. My answer to the question, is not one that claims there is god either. But Im rather curious, I really would like to hear your answer to the questions: 

"what does it mean for them to hear music? And what does hearing this music, have to do with God? How do they relate?"


Hambydammit
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 Quote:I’m not

 

Quote:
I’m not suggesting that atheists are always more rational than theists

 

 

 

 

Yeah, you kinda are.

I'm suggesting that atheists' worldview is most often based on a more rational premise than theists'.

Quote:
Oh and another thing why doesn't every naturally driven world view lead naturally to atheism? From what you've said every one should.

Every natural worldview should lead to atheism, but some folks get a little off track between point A and point B.

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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:o

Does this mean Diagoras of Melos never existed?


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Hambydammit wrote:Every

Hambydammit wrote:

Every natural worldview should lead to atheism, but some folks get a little off track between point A and point B.

 

 

Why should it lead to atheism?

 

 

 

 

 


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ClockCat wrote:Does this

ClockCat wrote:

Does this mean Diagoras of Melos never existed?

All we know of Diagoras is that he rejected  traditional greek beliefs, but his own personal beliefs, and philosophy are unknown to us. He was given the label "atheist" as christians were given the label "atheist". He seems to have been a disciple of Democritus, who did believe in notions such as a soul, and the divine, and also seemed have rejected the greek gods as well.

Some of these thinkers, had more in common with a Spinoza, but you won't find a single atheist, in the sense that you and hamby are atheist. 

 

 

 


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:3

This just in-everyone always accepted whatever anyone else told them. No skeptics ever existed in history. Ever.

Theism is why we can't have nice things.


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:3

theTwelve wrote:
you won't find a single atheist, in the sense that you and hamby are atheist.

 

 

Quoted for future mockery.

 

oh, also

 

theTwelve wrote:
He was given the label "atheist" as christians were given the label "atheist"

Theism is why we can't have nice things.


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Thomathy
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Countdown to no true

Countdown to no true scotsman.


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:3

Also, it is blatantly obvious that everyone not worshiping Greek gods was a christian. Clearly. We don't need things like "facts" or "evidence" in the forms of their writings of open skepticism, or death sentences assigned to them for that very thing when we have gut feelings. right?

Theism is why we can't have nice things.


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 Epicurus was a deist and

 Epicurus was a deist and you put Sartre twice. Other than that, nice list. 

Conveniently, the time period agreed upon (albeit loosely) by Thomathy and TheTwelve was 500 years minimum. That would be just long enough as to predate the Scientific Revolution by about 50 years. Slick.

"Do not, as some ungracious pastors do, show me the steep and thorny way to heaven. Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine, himself the primrose path of dalliance treads. And recks not his own rede."


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ClockCat

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theTwelve wrote:Thomathy

theTwelve wrote:

Thomathy wrote:
That's ridiculous.  Would you have me believe there were no atheists five hundred years ago?  One thousand?  Two thousand? 

I'd say no.

And you'd be wrong. Epicurus and his students all the way up to the atheists who wanted Napoleon to overthrow the papacy when he had a chance in the late 18th century say different. Lots of atheists. For the 19th century and beyond, check Wikipedia's big list of atheists.

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 Quote:Why should it lead

 

Quote:
Why should it lead to atheism?

Because no coherent natural definition of god has ever been offered.

 

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:3

Apology for double posting one name and we can cut out the few arguables. I just jotted down a quick list of names I remembered. I'm sure there are lists of atheists in history you can find with a quick google search. (edit: or the big list proposed above)

 

Of course, they aren't "real" atheists maybe, if atheists are a brand new thing! Maybe they are secret christians too? I don't know. I'd sure like to be enlightened.

 

 

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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

 

Quote:
Why should it lead to atheism?

Because no coherent natural definition of god has ever been offered.



Someone's playing my song.


It's true. If only we could find a definition that would work, then we could say whether or not Satre was an atheist twice. I think he was surly, which might count him twice. If he pouted a lot and only wore black, then definitely.

 

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How far back have we dated

How far back have we dated the first "religious" items?  If humans have been around for a couple hundred thousand years, and we didn't start worshiping shit until fifty or sixty thousand years ago... that means there have been a lot of atheists.

I'm just sayin...

 

 [EDIT:  I ain't sayin' cause it's relevant.  The existence of historical atheists is completely irrelevant.  The OP is about the philosophical significance of atheism, not its place in history.]

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:3

well, since atheism predates theism...if you go that far back, yeah.


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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

 

Quote:
Why should it lead to atheism?

Because no coherent natural definition of god has ever been offered.

 

 

Actually it's quite easy to come up with a naturalist results driven worldview even with a super natural God belief, so a results driven world view doesn't necessarily lead to atheism.

 

 I think I know where you're going with this,which is why I asked.

 


 


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 Quote:Actually it's quite

 

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Actually it's quite easy to come up with a naturalist results driven worldview even with a super natural God belief, so a results driven world view doesn't necessarily lead to atheism.

Red herring, anyone?

Sure, if you invent a god that can't or doesn't fuck with nature, then naturalism works.  (But only if you don't allow the possibility of it fucking with nature if it could... but... how could you do that?)  Deists have known that for a long time.  So what?  There is one deist in the world per five hundred traditional theists.  (I just made that number up.  Sue me.)  The reason deism doesn't flourish is that it doesn't do anything.  A god who doesn't do anything... doesn't do anything... so... um...   

I suppose I should invent a new word to mean "theists who subscribe to a theism that does something, as opposed to theists who just argue over the internet that there is the possibility of theism that doesn't contribute anything to anybody but is technically still theism and so destroys all the arguments of atheists who address theism the way it actually works in the real world."  You seem to be the only person in the world who cares about such a distinction, so I don't think I'm going to bother.

 

 

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ClockCat wrote: So...none

ClockCat wrote:

 

So...none of these people existed either?

Uhm, let's see what the original question was by Thomby: "Would you have me believe there were no atheists five hundred years ago?  One thousand?  Two thousand?"

So go back to your list, see how many people get removed now. And lets not forget deist don't count as atheist. 


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I'm going to read through

I'm going to read through the rest of the post later, but I just had to respond to a few things immediately:

 

Quote:
Speaking of Denmark, it's not a nation of individuals hostile to Christianity, or their Christian heritage, people contribute 10% of their income to the state church,

*Emphasis added*

!0% ??? It's 0,5 percent. I'm pretty sure I don't contribute ten percent of my income to the Danish military, certainly not the state Church. That would make the Church the single most powerful financial institution in the Country! That's a pretty wild number you got there. Denmark is a pretty wealthy nation: have you even thought of how powerful the Danish Church would be with that kind of money?

Quote:
(Danes pay Church tax) ...with little qualms about it, and seem quite proud of their christian heritage and culture.

I personally pay my Church tax with little qualms, as we have many very old, very beautiful Churches around the country, and I am glad to pay what amounts to a maintenance fee of these churches. The Danish state has a Ministry of Culture as well that subsidises art in all forms, and more of my tax goes there then to the Church. I am very glad to subsidise art, including historical architecture, stainglass windows, and historical mythology, which to me is an artform, just like literature.

 

But the Church tax, while the default, is not mandatory. You can opt out of the State Church, and thus avoid paying your Church Tax, something many of my friends of my own age has done. Most Danes still pay their Church tax, and are therefore registered as "Christian" (including myself) only because "most Danes" include people older than my generation (I'm 28). In my generation there are as many people not registered with the Church as there are people who are.

 

I am certainly not "proud" of my Christian heritage and culture. I have a very sentimental attachment to said heritage, simply because Christmas, and the various ocasions of the Church (wedings, babtisms and funerals) are long-held family traditions in MY family, and since I like my own family traditions, I "like" my own Christian heritage.

 

In so far as I share a familiar sentiment with other people who call themselves Christian (and I have yet to meet a Christian that I do share anything of the sort with) I like their Christian heritage as well, but the only people that I seem to share an outlook in the importance of family and tradition with, are my friends, none of whom share my family's Christian flavour of tradition.

 

I actually go to Church once a year, at Christmas Eve, and many of my friends have thought this really weird, and asked if I, or my family are actually... religious??? (It sounds like they are asking me if me and my family are from another planet. It's not offensive or scary to them, as much as it is just plain weird). To which I ofcourse have to reply that to my knowledge, noone in my family believes in a personal God, and while there are a few that I might be inclined to call vaguely deist, the rest are distinctly agnostic atheists.

 

And Danes are alot more diverse than you portray them. There are many people here who are strongly opposed to Religion, some only to organized Religion, some to superstition in any form.

 

Most are like me: they just get annoyed at people who go around throwing truth claims around as though they didn't just pull them out of thin air.

There are things that I hold to be true: I am distinctly aware that the ultimate justification for those things, I have pulled out of thin air. I do not deny that for a moment. I am intensely annoyed when other people won't admit to the same.

 

And while I still have the rest of the post to read, I get the impression that you are implying that since wealth, luxury and safety is what makes people atheist (something I am inclined to agree with you on), and that you also say that atheist arguments are shallow and dopey, are you saying that wealth, luxury and safety must neccesarily lead only to shallow thinking, while one can only be profound in ones conclusions if they are drawn on the the basis of suffering and desperation?

 

Because that is a very bold claim I think. In fact, it sounds to me like a claim you have pulled out of thin air. How do you justify that reasoning?

Well I was born an original sinner
I was spawned from original sin
And if I had a dollar bill for all the things I've done
There'd be a mountain of money piled up to my chin


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 Twelve, I'm beginning to

 Twelve, I'm beginning to think you have a very basic problem with non-sequitur.  Nothing you're talking about has any impact whatsoever on my OP.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Actually, I wasn't talking

Actually, I wasn't talking about Deism, and no, it's not a red herring, your argument is that a natural results driven view leads to atheism.

 

 

 

 


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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

 

Quote:
Actually it's quite easy to come up with a naturalist results driven worldview even with a super natural God belief, so a results driven world view doesn't necessarily lead to atheism.

Red herring, anyone?

 

Yeah, there's that difficulty with the supernatural again, what with it being the same as "non-existent". It would have to be clear what one was believing in at all, given that we have no way to describe the supernatural that isn't just using rules that only apply to the natural world. If the supernatural is simply the natural world that we're ignorant of, then having a belief that something specific is part of that great ignorance is fine (you could present that hypothesis) but given no reason to prompt that hypothesis, it's not perfectly clear why you would want a specific thing to be in the darkness that badly.

One could speculate, but it would probably be as fruitless as trying to guess what's in the darkness.

Atheism is a possible by-product of conceptual coherence. Looking at the ideas of gods and the supernatural in any specific light leads down a road filled with flailing incoherence and fiction, so it's possible to arrive at atheism by way of examination.

It's also possible to get there by being pissy with your parents for taking you to church, I suppose, so it's not like it's an exclusive club of logicians.

(But the really elite logicians have pin-cushion leather chairs, cardigans, and smoke pipes in their clubs, I've heard.)

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Cpt_pineapple

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Actually, I wasn't talking about Deism, and no, it's not a red herring, your argument is that a natural results driven view leads to atheism.

It's not really a stretch, though. What naturalism actually leads to is coherence, and atheism is basically a by-product. It's difficult to argue that the supernatural is a coherent concept, after all.

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HisWillness wrote:And you'd

HisWillness wrote:

And you'd be wrong. Epicurus and his students all the way up to the atheists who wanted Napoleon to overthrow the papacy when he had a chance in the late 18th century say different. Lots of atheists. For the 19th century and beyond, check Wikipedia's big list of atheists.

Really? You don't say. So the 18th and 19th century and beyond, where five hundred and more years ago?

 

 


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theTwelve wrote:Uhm, let's

theTwelve wrote:

Uhm, let's see what the original question was by Thomby: "Would you have me believe there were no atheists five hundred years ago?  One thousand?  Two thousand?"

So go back to your list, see how many people get removed now. And lets not forget deist don't count as atheist. 


"Thomby"?
Well, anyway ...
How about Marcus Aurelius? He's a good one. The Stoics in general, actually. Many were atheists. I suppose they don't count, though, as they often called nature a kind of spirit.
I suppose you also have a good point: we didn't start really bursting out into atheism until we started testing things carefully, and finding out that the god concept was nonsense.

It's amazing what a little Englightenment can do.

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 Quote:It's not really a

 

Quote:
It's not really a stretch, though. What naturalism actually leads to is coherence, and atheism is basically a by-product. It's difficult to argue that the supernatural is a coherent concept, after all.

It's almost like... that's what I said in the OP!

Heh... seriously, though...

It's very simple, Pineapple.  Naturalism will, in most cases, lead to rationalism -- that is, very few worldviews will begin with "all that exists is natural" and then proceed to someplace other than the belief that "that which exists conforms to the laws of nature" which is pretty much the same as saying "logic works."

That's your reality check.  Beginning with naturalism pretty much demands logic, which demands coherence, which rules out gods.  If you start with naturalism and end up somewhere else, a lot of people are going to point out your error, and you won't have God to bail you out. 

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

 

Quote:
It's not really a stretch, though. What naturalism actually leads to is coherence, and atheism is basically a by-product. It's difficult to argue that the supernatural is a coherent concept, after all.

It's almost like... that's what I said in the OP!


You know me: I can't just agree with you, I have to find a circuitous route towards agreeing with you. What's the fun in simply agreeing?

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HisWillness

HisWillness wrote:

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Actually, I wasn't talking about Deism, and no, it's not a red herring, your argument is that a natural results driven view leads to atheism.

It's not really a stretch, though. What naturalism actually leads to is coherence, and atheism is basically a by-product. It's difficult to argue that the supernatural is a coherent concept, after all.

 

I'm not saying it can't lead to atheism, I'm saying that it doesn't have to.

 

As shown by the millions of Christian that do it.

 

 

 

 


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Cpt_pineapple

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

HisWillness wrote:

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Actually, I wasn't talking about Deism, and no, it's not a red herring, your argument is that a natural results driven view leads to atheism.

It's not really a stretch, though. What naturalism actually leads to is coherence, and atheism is basically a by-product. It's difficult to argue that the supernatural is a coherent concept, after all.

 

I'm not saying it can't lead to atheism, I'm saying that it doesn't have to.

 

As shown by the millions of Christian that do it.

It certainly doesn't lead to Christianity.  What else could naturalism possible lead to?  There isn't a bloody coherent god concept, so in the absence of that there is ...

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


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Cpt_pineapple

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

HisWillness wrote:

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Actually, I wasn't talking about Deism, and no, it's not a red herring, your argument is that a natural results driven view leads to atheism.

It's not really a stretch, though. What naturalism actually leads to is coherence, and atheism is basically a by-product. It's difficult to argue that the supernatural is a coherent concept, after all.

I'm not saying it can't lead to atheism, I'm saying that it doesn't have to.

As shown by the millions of Christian that do it.

You'd have a hard time convincing me that Christians arrive at their beliefs through naturalistic thinking. That would be a new one.

No. Christians arrive at their beliefs by precedent; cultural precedent. There's no natural reason to believe in Christ rather than Thor.

If, however, you mean that people engage in cognitive dissonance, then I agree. That's self-evident.

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 Pineapple, you realize

 Pineapple, you realize that since you claimed it, I'm going to demand that you produce it, right?  Show me the naturalistic proof of the Christian god.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hambydammit wrote:

 Pineapple, you realize that since you claimed it, I'm going to demand that you produce it, right?  Show me the naturalistic proof of the Christian god.



Oh right. C'mon. Even asking for evidence of the involvment of ANY god in a naturalistic process is a non-starter. Specifically the Christian God? What do you want, a signature? Heavenly dental records?


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 Quote:"I, the undersigned,

 

Quote:
"I, the undersigned, am responsible for the universe. Sorry about the last 100,000 years of child abuse, genocide and misogyny, guys. Love, Yaweh."

I've seen one of those things... except it said, "Keep using my name in vain.  I'll make the traffic jam worse.  -- GOD"

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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I think its unfair to say

I think its unfair to say naturalism inevitably leads to atheism. Just providing naturalistic deism or naturalistic pantheism as counterexamples makes this statement invalid.

Naturalism is also not a pre-requisite for atheism. You can be an atheist yet still believe in supernatural ghosts, or karma, or something of that nature.

But it is true that most atheists are naturalists. I am not sure how many naturalists are theists, but there are many scientists and other such rational people who believe staunchly in naturalism, but hold some place for deism or naturalistic pantheism.

 

I also think the statement that atheism  "causes nothing" is also false. Do you mean to say that nothing logically follows from atheism?

 

A very common and very false meme on these boards is this:

"P1. There is no god.

C. ???"

I could think of several statements that logically follow from P1.

P1. There is no god.

C. All who say there is a god are either mistaken or lying.

 

P1. There is no god.

C. We are not morally obligated to please or worship a deity, for none exists.

 

P1. There is no god.

C. Any action justified solely by the invocation of a deity is an unjustified action.

 

P1. There is no god.

C. Nothing in the universe is caused by a deity.

 

P1. There is no god.

C. Prayer doesn't work, or else is caused by something other than a deity.

 

etc. etc. etc. etc.

Many things follow from atheism. Entire moral frameworks are refuted by P1. Entire lines of reasoning are assumed to be false. Some real actions in the world are shown to be pointless.


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HisWillness wrote:You'd have

HisWillness wrote:

You'd have a hard time convincing me that Christians arrive at their beliefs through naturalistic thinking. That would be a new one.

No. Christians arrive at their beliefs by precedent; cultural precedent. There's no natural reason to believe in Christ rather than Thor.

If, however, you mean that people engage in cognitive dissonance, then I agree. That's self-evident.

 

 

All I'm saying is that a Christian can hold a naturlaistic view, I'm not saying anything leads to anything.

 

Look what I wrote

 

I wrote:

 

Actually it's quite easy to come up with a naturalist results driven worldview even with a super natural God belief

 

 

 

Here, I'll even do it now

 

"Hi, I'm Britney, I think [the Christian] God created us, loves us, plays a part in our lives, and gave us free will so that we can determine our own destiny and make the world a better place."

 

 

That was easy.

 

That involves a God, and that uses the result driven mode to better society.

 

 

 

I know where you're going with this, and when a prosperous Theist society is brought up I wonder if they'll be serving porridge for breakfast.

 

 

 

 

 


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 Quote:I think its unfair

 

Quote:
I think its unfair to say naturalism inevitably leads to atheism. Just providing naturalistic deism or naturalistic pantheism as counterexamples makes this statement invalid.

Why do people keep saying somebody's said this?

Quote:
But it is true that most atheists are naturalists.

THIS is what I said.

Quote:
I am not sure how many naturalists are theists, but there are many scientists and other such rational people who believe staunchly in naturalism, but hold some place for deism or naturalistic pantheism.

Then either:

1) They are not really naturalists

or, more likely,

2) They have not reconciled their God belief with their naturalism.  Isn't that how compartmentalization of cognitive dissonance works?  

If (1), then we're not talking about them.  If (2), then their God belief is not derived from naturalism.  It is held despite the person's belief in naturalism.

Quote:
I also think the statement that atheism  "causes nothing" is also false. Do you mean to say that nothing logically follows from atheism?

Yes.  I mean that atheism, in and of itself, does not have any logical consequences.

Quote:
P1. There is no god.

C. All who say there is a god are either mistaken or lying.

You forgot something:

1) There is no god.

2) X is a person who claims to be God.

C: X is not God.

You can't introduce new variables into a conclusion.  They must appear in the premises.  The fact that people claim to be god does not exist in the premise "There is no God."  Basic logic.

Quote:
P1. There is no god.

C. We are not morally obligated to please or worship a deity, for none exists.

1. There is no god.

2. X claims that because god exists, we are obligated to please or worship it.

C: We are not obligated to please or worship god.

See how it works?  Any conclusion that follows MUST introduce a new variable that is not present in the statement, "There is no God."

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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 Quote:I'm not saying it

 

Quote:
I'm not saying it can't lead to atheism, I'm saying that it doesn't have to.

Yes, it does. By definition it does.

A deity is supernatural. The moment you have posited your deity (violating Occam's Razor somewhere along the way, to be sure, as well as having no evidence), your worldview is no longer naturalistic. It includes a magical entity (your deity).

Quote:
Here, I'll even do it now

 

"Hi, I'm Britney, I think [the Christian] God created us, loves us, plays a part in our lives, and gave us free will so that we can determine our own destiny and make the world a better place."

...That's not a naturalistic world view. You posited a magical being 8 words in. 

It's a magical world view (just like your own, with your magical digital physics computer)

 

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940