Atheists Get Angry At God

Michelangelo's image of God in the Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo's image of God in the Sistine Chapel

You have to laugh at the irony of this: atheists profess not to believe in God but frequently express anger at the entity they don’t believe in. Elizabeth Landau reports for CNN:

If you’re angry at your doctor, your boss, your relative or your spouse, you can probably sit down and have a productive conversation about it. God, on the other hand, is probably not available to chat.

And yet people get angry at God all the time, especially about everyday disappointments, finds a new set of studies in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

It’s not just religious folks, either. People unaffiliated with organized religion, atheists and agnostics also report anger toward God either in the past, or anger focused on a hypothetical image – that is, what they imagined God might be like – said lead study author Julie Exline, Case Western Reserve University psychologist.

In studies on college students, atheists and agnostics reported more anger at God during their lifetimes than believers. A separate study also found this pattern among bereaved individuals. This phenomenon is something Exline and colleagues will explore more in future research, which is open to more participants.

It seems that more religious people are less likely to feel angry at God and more likely to see his intentions as well-meaning, Exline’s research found.

And younger people tend to be angrier at God than older people, Exline said. She says some of the reasons she’s seen people the angriest at God include rejection from preferred colleges and sports injuries preventing high schoolers from competing…

[continues at CNN]

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  • Ivan

    Atheism has long ceased to be a sort of amused indifference to deities ala Hume by virtue of its popularization (thus ceasing also to select for intelligence). What modern-day “atheism” should properly be called is misotheism, which, quoting Wiki, is “the ‘hatred of God’.” It’s just a bunch of formerly-religious people running around, being mad at their former deity. Not ironic, just sad.

  • Ivan

    Atheism has long ceased to be a sort of amused indifference to deities ala Hume by virtue of its popularization (thus ceasing also to select for intelligence). What modern-day “atheism” should properly be called is misotheism, which, quoting Wiki, is “the ‘hatred of God’.” It’s just a bunch of formerly-religious people running around, being mad at their former deity. Not ironic, just sad.

    • hunter349

      I like how you group such a large group of people together and assume that all of them have broken with religion because of anger or some kind of petty upset with a deity. To also quote your wiki source
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism
      The population of Atheists can be as high as 33% (France) or 41% in (South Korea) who say they have no religion or desire for it.

      Rationally, the idea that you can become Atheist because of your hatred of God is diametrically opposed to the concept of Atheism. You can’t hate something that you don’t believe exists. I became an Atheist after several years of critical thought, study, and questioning. I slowly moved over that time from a believer to more agnostic and eventually realized my indifference had become true disbelief. My girlfriend on the other hand was raised in an Atheist household. She never believed and was not pressured to believe. Neither of us are Atheists because of some kind of hatred of a God.

      When you study mathematical history the discovery of the concept of Zero is marked as a major advancement in mans understanding of math. I imagine that explaining the number zero to throngs of people who completely don’t understand back then. Is similar to trying to explain Atheism to people who always want to distort it into a more manageable concept for themselves.

      • Ivan

        “I like how you group such a large group of people together and assume that all of them have broken with religion because of anger or some kind of petty upset with a deity”
        I qualified this “large group of people.” I don’t consider them authentic atheists, but rather nominal atheists.

        “Neither of us are Atheists because of some kind of hatred of a God. ”
        Did they teach the fallacy of the biased sample to you at Atheist Camp? Just kidding, I’m sure you didn’t just do the inverse of what you accused me of at the start of your response.

        “You can’t hate something that you don’t believe exists.”
        Have you even read the article you’re commenting on? If we’re to take your proposition at face value, then the implication is clear: the people described in the article do believe God exists and are thus not atheist, which ties in with my point about modern “atheism” being a gross misnomer.

        • hunter349

          “I qualified this “large group of people.” I don’t consider them authentic atheists, but rather nominal atheists.” I don’t disagree with you that there are plenty of people using the name “atheist” who are completely ignorant to what that means but that number is only a small fraction of the people who admit no belief in God. Your quote seems to suggest that there are relatively few real Atheists, that the new “modern” Atheist is a significantly large percentage and that these “modern” Atheists are largely so because of a fad of Atheism popular like a new dance style. I would suggest that the growing number of people willing to admit their Atheism is directly related to the acceptance of the community those people live in. The less someone feels there will be prejudice against their lack of belief the more they are likely to admit it.

          “Neither of us are Atheists because of some kind of hatred of a God. ”
          “Did they teach the fallacy of the biased sample to you at Atheist Camp? Just kidding, I’m sure you didn’t just do the inverse of what you accused me of at the start of your response. ”

          My example is an extremely small sample to base a larger inference on. But was not meant to describe ourselves as much as to describe more than one path to Atheism that do not involve an anger or hatred towards a deity.

          “Have you even read the article you’re commenting on?”
          My point being that just because an Atheist who was once a believer admits to a frustration or anger with their deity when they were a believer does not mean that anger was the reason for their Atheism. If I admitted to being angry at Santa for not bringing me a bike when I was 8, this does not mean that my anger at that time resulted in a decision to destroy Santa by simply refusing to believe in him. I would propose in this instance that someone who no longer believes in God is more likely to admit their frustrations with God at a time when they did believe than someone who still believes.
          Much in the same way that someone is more likely to admit their anger at an employer once they no longer believe that employer has the ability to effect their financial or employment future.

          I believe your premise to be correct that there are people who are mislabeled or mislabel themselves as Atheists when in reality they may not be being honest with themselves about their belief or lack of it. The people who are mislabeled though are largely confined to people who have not given much thought to their own beliefs and teenagers/twenty somethings who are confused about the manifestation of their beliefs, lack of beliefs, or preference for belief or not.

          • Ivan

            “I would suggest that the growing number of people willing to admit their Atheism is directly related to the acceptance of the community those people live in. The less someone feels there will be prejudice against their lack of belief the more they are likely to admit it.”

            You make it sound like atheism is still a big taboo. Outside of backwater communities and in modern civilization, this is simply not true. If you work in the arts and sciences, you are much more likely to be maligned for your belief rather than the lack thereof.

            “My point being that just because an Atheist who was once a believer admits to a frustration or anger with their deity when they were a believer does not mean that anger was the reason for their Atheism.”

            Your point is entirely valid, but so what? If you constantly experience hardship and blame God for your troubles, eventually the anger will lead to disillusionment. There are many atheists who arrived at their beliefs through reason, but you should heed the existence of those atheists who arrived at their beliefs through passion. They’re the ones who can do a lot of damage.

          • hunter349

            I agree on your point about people causing damage when they arrive at Atheism as a opposite to religion instead of a belief that there is no God.

            I don’t think your right though about Atheism not being taboo anymore. The arts and sciences may be more tolerant but not the majority of people. It’s political suicide to admit your Atheism while running for office, we have had outbursts of anger that children may be being taught by teachers who are privately Atheists.

            There are polls that have been done (in the U.S.A.) showing Atheists as one of the least accepted groups of people in the country. A study by the University of Michigan found that Atheists were the least trusted minority group in the country, even scoring a few points below convicted criminals.

          • Ivan

            “It’s political suicide to admit your Atheism while running for office, we have had outbursts of anger that children may be being taught by teachers who are privately Atheists.”

            It’s political suicide to go against the party line. Look at the historical record and you’ll find as many private atheists as you find private believers in political office. Machiavelli was quite frank about how rulers should relate to religion: not necessary, but can be helpful.

            “There are polls that have been done (in the U.S.A.) showing Atheists as one of the least accepted groups of people in the country. A study by the University of Michigan found that Atheists were the least trusted minority group in the country, even scoring a few points below convicted criminals.”

            I’ve heard of this. I’m not going to go into the reasons why I think this is the case, but I do wonder if the trust levels would be higher for an agnostic or a religiously liberal person, such as a Unitarian.

          • B1-66ER

            “You make it sound like atheism is still a big taboo. Outside of backwater communities and in modern civilization, this is simply not true.”
            I have lived my whole life in the Seattle area and even here with more non-believers then most places here in the States, as a kid I used to have to deal with gangs of kids trying and sometime succeeding in beating me up for not believing in gods. I dealt with friends whose parents told them I was going to be punished for eternity for my lack of belief and love for science and that they couldn’t play with me. I have also lost a job to “differences causing workplace disruption” without me ever being in people’s about religion. It was just an ex-coworker being friendly, inviting me to church and when I thanked them and politely refused, saying that “I’m an atheist and i don’t want you to feel I’m offending you by going but not really believing it” I was THE ENEMY at that job. Needless to say I was there for about a week after that dealing with all the hushed behind the back whispers and weird scared glances before I was told about my workplace “no-no”.
            Even for a place like the Seattle area with so many non-traditional and atheist folks, atheism can still be a big taboo here and can cost you a lot.

    • Haystack

      I assure you that many of us continue to be both amused and indifferent toward your non-existent god.

      • Ivan

        Interesting how nowhere in my comment did I state what I believe, yet you immediately jump to “your” God. Just proves my point, I guess. Keep tilting at those windmills, you belligerent (and yet indifferent) creature.

    • Aera

      So how do you explain people like myself then? I’v grown up with the privledge to believe what ever I choose, and chose to dismiss deities at a young age. Religion never affected my life, my moral values, my beliefe systems and I was never forced to reflect on how “god” affected my life because a deity never had. I hold no anger to the god of any specific religion because I don’t believe in a god. I do hold anger against religious fundamentalists when they hurt innocent people because of outdated beliefes, but don’t most average religious citizens feel that way too?

      I now study religion as a minor, not because of any need to be spiritual, but because I study anthropology and am interested in religious culture, it’s evolution throughout history, and it’s positive and negative effects on society. I go out of my way to understand the beliefe systems of theistic people and respect their various views. I by no means hate religion, but feel a strong sense of having to defend my dismissal of religious life, which is why I’m commenting now.

      The strangest part of all this is that this is the most common story of the people I know (minus the studies of course). I am not some strange exception and their isn’t some psychologicaly painful reason for athiests to be so. Most athiest friends I have encountered do not think about religion on a regular basis and it only seems to cause any reason for thought when accusations and stereotypes of athiests arrise. So no, to be athiest is not to be angry at religion, that is a very narrow stereotype of one of many lifestyles an athiest may arrise from.

    • Nokanjaijo

      Ivan, you have a complete misapprehension of both the change you’re talking about and its origin. Through rational discussion and reasoned discourse, many of us decided to take an angry, offensive stance towards the religious. The basic reason which I will state very simply here is that there are quite a few religious groups and institutions quite capable of acquiring great power and money who would do away with scientific progress.

      We had to fight back. We had to abandon our previous tactic of ceaselessly defending science and logic. We adopted the tactic of attacking them and the ridiculous premise upon which they base every attack on us.

      And, yes, we are angry. Not at God. It’s a detestable meme but our anger is for those who would stop the progress of mankind in service to this detestable meme. This is a meme, by the way, which has stopped the progress of mankind before.

      That’s what’s at stake. Scientific progress and the progress of our human society through rational, reasoned discourse are at stake. These things are being constantly and directly challenged by powerful, rich religious organizations.

      No.

      We are NOT amused. We are NOT indifferent. You are wrong to suggest we should be.

    • B1-66ER

      Ummm, actually I’ve never been religious or believed in any deities and I’m not mad at anybody’s imaginary friends. I’m just pissed at people who do horrible things then claim justification in the name of gods of religions. Apparently you have the delusion that deity belief is the default position, which it is not. Sorry dude, just because you have an imaginary friend doesn’t mean everyone else does.

  • justagirl

    point taken! …seriously, “someone” took my point. (lol)

  • justagirl

    point taken! …seriously, “someone” took my point. (lol)

  • justagirl

    point taken! …seriously, “someone” took my point. (lol)

    • thicket man

      Atheism/theism..etc!!

      I wonder whether these are all just semantic results of a rather linguistically linear and labelled outlook on life …one that has to label and tag everything within a certain linguistic category.It is amazing that we get our knickers all tied up over what amounts to semiotic squabbles.

      Identification with certain words has members of society salivating quicker than Pavlov’s dogs at the chance to defend their own categorically defined ideals within a certain given language terminology .
      (; terminus/end point) Concepts concerning the nature of the universe are just too big and lucid to be summed up with tags. These types of conversations should be about opening up , not closing down one’s viewpoints.

      I guess my point is akin to Mckenna’s urges to step away from the fishbowl of pure language into a more integrated experiential view point and enter a dialogue with one another or sharing format (think of art as a form of both expressing oneself and understanding others)

      I don’t think any atheist would deny that there are great mysteries in the world yet unsolved provoking wonder, nor do I think that any thoughtful believer would cut off the possibility of their Buddah/Jesus/whoever trying to communicate their graces through what non-believers see as “merely” the awesome breadth of nature. … What’s the difference though at the core human experiential level though?

      It is all too similar to the ” Is it a red chair/ No it’s a green chair that has been merely painted red.”argument.

      Pointless .

      Endless.

      Fruitless.

      Back to my drawings. Peace to all.

      • justagirl

        actually, i was toying around with majestic. he probably doesn’t know what i’m talking about anyway. i’m a bit of a “nimrod” around here as far as linguistics go.
        *point vanished*
        get back to your drawrings… and send me one if you have the time.
        piece out.

  • ken vallario

    yes, you can sit down and have a chat with God…it’s called prayer…i often have a better conversation with God than I get from my doctor….and usually less anger too…

    nonetheless, this is a very interesting article…and i agree with the former comments…

    i think any good intellectual reserves judgment on things too large for us to understand…whereas many of the ‘new atheists’ want a ‘final judgment’…and too many of us have had moments of transcendent intuition that we cannot fully explain by reason alone…

    i have often suspected when dealing with somebody who claims to be an atheist, that they are merely masking frustrations with God…now, this is my personal experience…so i am not saying this is always true…but in some cases, i think it is…i have personally seen a few people transition from atheism to a more spiritual life, and in both instances the results were very positive.

    we cannot dismiss the benefits of spirituality on purely rational grounds, since it is possible that it is very much part of our design, and therefore in accordance with some reality in nature…

  • ken vallario

    yes, you can sit down and have a chat with God…it’s called prayer…i often have a better conversation with God than I get from my doctor….and usually less anger too…

    nonetheless, this is a very interesting article…and i agree with the former comments…

    i think any good intellectual reserves judgment on things too large for us to understand…whereas many of the ‘new atheists’ want a ‘final judgment’…and too many of us have had moments of transcendent intuition that we cannot fully explain by reason alone…

    i have often suspected when dealing with somebody who claims to be an atheist, that they are merely masking frustrations with God…now, this is my personal experience…so i am not saying this is always true…but in some cases, i think it is…i have personally seen a few people transition from atheism to a more spiritual life, and in both instances the results were very positive.

    we cannot dismiss the benefits of spirituality on purely rational grounds, since it is possible that it is very much part of our design, and therefore in accordance with some reality in nature…

  • Anonymous

    Is the concept of Atheism really that hard to understand? If you are really an Atheist you would not be mad at God at all. Why? Because you don’t believe there is one. That would be like being angry at the Santa Claus because you got a flat tire or being angry a magic purple unicorn because your life didn’t turn out the way you wanted. This just reads like another misunderstood bash against Atheists.

    Did they think to study if people who no longer or never have believed in God were more likely to be honest when discussing the subject? It seems to me that someone still affirming the existence of God would be much less likely to admit they were angry with it.

  • hunter349

    Is the concept of Atheism really that hard to understand? If you are really an Atheist you would not be mad at God at all. Why? Because you don’t believe there is one. That would be like being angry at the Santa Claus because you got a flat tire or being angry a magic purple unicorn because your life didn’t turn out the way you wanted. This just reads like another misunderstood bash against Atheists.

    Did they think to study if people who no longer or never have believed in God were more likely to be honest when discussing the subject? It seems to me that someone still affirming the existence of God would be much less likely to admit they were angry with it.

  • Will

    This is bull. Atheists don’t waste time getting mad at at your imaginary friend/friends. They are just disgusted by the onslaught of terror and evil you perpetrate on the rest of us. Frankly, I’m more afraid of religious people than terrorists. Thats a joke because we all know most terrorists are deeply religious.:D

  • Will

    This is bull. Atheists don’t waste time getting mad at at your imaginary friend/friends. They are just disgusted by the onslaught of terror and evil you perpetrate on the rest of us. Frankly, I’m more afraid of religious people than terrorists. Thats a joke because we all know most terrorists are deeply religious.:D

  • Scrumpy

    As hunter said, it’s incredibly difficult to be mad at something you don’t believe exists. Will has also hit the nail on the head, it’s frustration at the ignorance and hatred that is associated with religion. I’m genuinely wary of theists as they seem to be able to delude themselves and others with ease, who knows what else they are willing to believe?

  • Scrumpy

    As hunter said, it’s incredibly difficult to be mad at something you don’t believe exists. Will has also hit the nail on the head, it’s frustration at the ignorance and hatred that is associated with religion. I’m genuinely wary of theists as they seem to be able to delude themselves and others with ease, who knows what else they are willing to believe?

  • Anonymous

    I like how you group such a large group of people together and assume that all of them have broken with religion because of anger or some kind of petty upset with a deity. To also quote your wiki source
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism
    The population of Atheists can be as high as 33% (France) or 41% in (South Korea) who say they have no religion or desire for it.

    Rationally, the idea that you can become Atheist because of your hatred of God is diametrically opposed to the concept of Atheism. You can’t hate something that you don’t believe exists. I became an Atheist after several years of critical thought, study, and questioning. I slowly moved over that time from a believer to more agnostic and eventually realized my indifference had become true disbelief. My girlfriend on the other hand was raised in an Atheist household. She never believed and was not pressured to believe. Neither of us are Atheists because of some kind of hatred of a God.

    When you study mathematical history the discovery of the concept of Zero is marked as a major advancement in mans understanding of math. I imagine that explaining the number zero to throngs of people who completely don’t understand back then. Is similar to trying to explain Atheism to people who always want to distort it into a more manageable concept for themselves.

  • Ivan

    “I like how you group such a large group of people together and assume that all of them have broken with religion because of anger or some kind of petty upset with a deity”
    I qualified this “large group of people.” I don’t consider them authentic atheists, but rather nominal atheists.

    “Neither of us are Atheists because of some kind of hatred of a God. ”
    Did they teach the fallacy of the biased sample to you at Atheist Camp? Just kidding, I’m sure you didn’t just do the inverse of what you accused me of at the start of your response.

    “You can’t hate something that you don’t believe exists.”
    Have you even read the article you’re commenting on? If we’re to take your proposition at face value, then the implication is clear: the people described in the article do believe God exists and are thus not atheist, which ties in with my point about modern “atheism” being a gross misnomer.

  • Siminatongue

    Complete rubbish. This article is written from inside a theistic box. As if there really were a god and atheists are just people that reject or are angry at some god. Undoubtedly they mean the Christian god since this is written in English. A person who believes in a god but rejects that god or is angry with their god is not an atheist but a theist with a hair across their ass, because something hasn’t gone their way recently. An atheist might be mad at the idea of a god, might find such an idea repulsive even, much the same way as I was angry and repulsed at the Child Catcher in the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as a child. But even as a child I was well aware that was only an actor playing a character and the Child Catcher did not really exist.

    So when you talk about people who are angry at god because they had a sports injury or were rejected from a preferred college, those aren’t atheists, those are disgruntled theists. The hatred is not a qualifier to being considered an atheist, it doesn’t make one an atheist.

    It is a common theistic mindset, misconception, that atheists hate god. If an atheist does hate god they are a very confused person. An atheist may hate the very idea of a god or hate people who believe in such a god and try to impress that upon you, usually forcefully, etc… But to actually hate a god, as in, god is not steering things in your favor and you are pissed because of it, is to believe that god exists and has a direct involvement in your affairs, hence you are not an atheist. Everyone thinks of god as a hypothetical image. So i’m not sure what they were trying to get around putting that in there. Some take that hypothetical image and give it credence = theist. Some do not = atheist. That is the qualifier to being considered an atheist not any supposed hatred.

    If the author has interpreted the study results and reported it accurately as written here, the only thing that it proves is that many people are very confused as to what an atheist actually is and identify as such when they are not.

  • Siminatongue

    Complete rubbish. This article is written from inside a theistic box. As if there really were a god and atheists are just people that reject or are angry at some god. Undoubtedly they mean the Christian god since this is written in English. A person who believes in a god but rejects that god or is angry with their god is not an atheist but a theist with a hair across their ass, because something hasn’t gone their way recently. An atheist might be mad at the idea of a god, might find such an idea repulsive even, much the same way as I was angry and repulsed at the Child Catcher in the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as a child. But even as a child I was well aware that was only an actor playing a character and the Child Catcher did not really exist.

    So when you talk about people who are angry at god because they had a sports injury or were rejected from a preferred college, those aren’t atheists, those are disgruntled theists. The hatred is not a qualifier to being considered an atheist, it doesn’t make one an atheist.

    It is a common theistic mindset, misconception, that atheists hate god. If an atheist does hate god they are a very confused person. An atheist may hate the very idea of a god or hate people who believe in such a god and try to impress that upon you, usually forcefully, etc… But to actually hate a god, as in, god is not steering things in your favor and you are pissed because of it, is to believe that god exists and has a direct involvement in your affairs, hence you are not an atheist. Everyone thinks of god as a hypothetical image. So i’m not sure what they were trying to get around putting that in there. Some take that hypothetical image and give it credence = theist. Some do not = atheist. That is the qualifier to being considered an atheist not any supposed hatred.

    If the author has interpreted the study results and reported it accurately as written here, the only thing that it proves is that many people are very confused as to what an atheist actually is and identify as such when they are not.

    • ken vallario

      why is the burden of proof on theists…what proof do the atheists have that no outside force is affecting human history? in other words, i am not a dogmatic person…i am simply a different kind of skeptic. and i am skeptical of atheists for the following reason.

      any form of outside intelligence affecting human life could be seen, admittedly a stretch in language, but any outside intelligence could be understood to be a ‘god’ of sorts, as it would so confuse our rational minds, and appear miraculous…even on the small scale.

      and given that we know the universe to be infinitely complex and vast, and possibly filled or void of life…nobody yet knows…i cannot yet fully dismiss the idea that there are gods, angels, demons, etc. and that history is an imperfect record of possibly relevant events. now, like most of you i tend toward the basic presumption that most people are ignorant, and brutish and use superstition as a crutch…so, there…

      however, one cannot fully accept a ‘position’ of atheism without at least wondering about the emotional background..as atheism, like all worldviews, does infringe upon the openness of a truly scientific perspective, one able to accept evidence of phenomena, even when it does not match our notions of fact.

      religion or science…doesn’t matter, we can blame violence and oppression on anything…a scapegoat is a scapegoat…there simply happen to be very brutish human beings among us…religion is a practice, just like science, just like philosophy, just like art…and all of these methods compliment each other.

      theists often want atheists to submit to the same rational process of critique…this is why you won’t see religious people getting all hot and bothered by agnostics…since agnosticism, in the end, is what we all really are…and atheism, like religious extremism is a ‘position’ in a relative universe…

      • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

        Not to delve into a conspiracy, but more as a thought experiment:
        is it possible that the gods and the heavens have always been a hidden symbol (in plain view) for an upper echelon of human society to guarantee absolute control in a top-down power structure. Is it possible to know whether when you go deep down into your soul for answers, are you just undergoing deep complentation, or are you communing with a god? Could you tell the difference? who would tell you the difference? an authority figure (priest, pope… president)?

      • quartz99

        “Do not needlessly multiply entities”. I suggest you look up Occam’s Razor.

        There might — just might! — be an entire colony of little blue and purple aliens living inside my computer screen running around arranging pixels every time I type a letter. You can’t see them because they don’t want you to, so you can’t just open the screen to look. I refuse to stop believing in them, no matter how many times you open the screen and explain to me exactly how the letters are capable of showing up without the aliens. I just know in my heart, they must be there. Same proposition as most gods. If I posit it to be so, the burden of proving their existence falls on me, not the other way around. Anything else is beyond irrational.

        Atheism is not an active disbelief in a god. It’s the absence of any evidence for gods making the concept of a god irrelevant.

        • ken vallario

          Occam’s Razor is only appropriate in very acute, precisely defined discussions. we are dealing with very complex ideas, phenomena that cover vast areas of human experience….and ‘God’ is an idea that we cannot necessarily use the razor against, since you might interpret that word to mean a singular omnipotent being…i don’t necessarily think that God needs to be omnipotent…in fact, i believe many memes act in ways that we consider Gods, since they are ideas we adhere to, without a full understanding. Occam’s Razor falls under this category…it implies something about the nature of the universe that might not be true. the universe might not be explained by the simplest explanation. if you lived in pre-history, the simplest explanation as to the shape of the world would have been flat…it’s a flat world…well, only those who were able to imagine something differently, by utilizing doubt of what was readily available would, because of that doubt explore facts..they would seem to be a fool…
          here too, in the realm of spirit…those who believe the universe is flat…that it is without intelligent forms outside our own, are incapable of that kind of wide-ranging skepticism i am advocating for. of course, i believe there is no direct evidence of God I would point to…but i find it curious that any animal would evolve into a God-consciousness…i am simply stating that atheism is an intellectual risk, that i don’t feel is worth the cost. it places too much stock on human reason…and afterall, human reason has developed within this monkey brain…so not only am i not ready to argue absolutely for the existence of God in any form, i am not ready to argue for the absolute supremacy of reason…and it is because of this that I claim you have made a God of reason.

          • quartz99

            No, Occam’s Razor is applicable pretty much across the board. Occam’s Razor has nothing to do with simplicity, though it’s often summarized that way. Simplistic solutions are rarely accurate. After all, I’d hardly call any theory in quantum mechanics “simple”. Rather, it says, as I did above, do not needlessly multiply entities (agents or causes). We can explain gravity just fine without any supernatural intervention. We can explain why two objects cannot pass through each other just fine without angels and demons and gods. We can explain how a new human life happens without resorting to monotheism. None of these things are simple. But if you want to bring a new causative agent into the mix as an explanation, the burden of proof is on you to explain _why_ we must include it as an additional agent. So far, the only explanation put forward by theists is their “gut feeling” and works of fiction written by other men without concrete evidence. These are not sufficient to leap the hurdle of “needless” in “needless multiplication”.

          • ken vallario

            you are wrong to say we can ‘explain’ gravity…no physicist would agree with you…all we can do at present with most of these phenomena is ‘describe’ them. we are really at a loss for most of these phenomena when it comes to actual causality, which is the narrow realm that i believe Occam’s Razor applies to. actual causality is a very hard entity to quantify when it comes to gravity, life, the solidity of objects, history, and any of the variety of subjects where a multiplicity of known variables is so vast, and we can always assume there are unknown variables too. so, i think Occam’s Razor has become a crutch for people who want a simpler universe…and perhaps they are right, but the science has not caught up to the theories yet. i am not adding God as an entity to explain anything causally…i am simply saying that outside intervention is not impossible, and because of this, those wishing to reduce our understanding of the universe down into material ought to be able to prove their materialism with the same rigor as those who claim God wrote the 10 commandments, and on both counts i am agnostic…however, i never shut my mind to the possibility that i might experience something miraculous one day…and as well, i prepare myself for the possibility that this moment of consciousness might be a pleasurable accident of a mechanistic world.

          • Tuna Ghost

            We can explain gravity just fine without any supernatural intervention.

            We can’t, actually. All we can do is describe its effects. Physics as yet does not have an “explanation” for gravity.

          • JH

            But we work quit a bit on that explanation though… And so far we haven’t been forced to invoke the magic man did it approach :-)

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NS7MLVSCJ26VK5NSGYXKMU7TNA Rufus Dill

        Even if someone accepts the idea that some kind of diety shaped reality that is still lightyears away from the God being the God you seem to want it to be the Judeao-Christian version. If there ever was a creator there is just as much or more reason to believe it was one like those imagined by H. P. Lovecraft, or those written about by the Sumerians after all they wrote about God first and the Hebrews borrowed their ideas to create their own God, or the Gnostic version (the way the Catholics suppressed their texts at the Council of Nicea, one can certainly say that they contained some information about God that the Churchmen of their day were very much against all the laymen knowing about) than to think it was Yahweh.

      • Simiantongue

        “why is the burden of proof on theists”

        Because they are making the claim. I mean, you don’t expect every theist to have an entourage that are required to disprove everything they could possible imagine and if it is not disproved, it must be true. People have better things to do with their time.

        “what proof do the atheists have that no outside force is affecting human history?”

        See quartz99 response to you. It’s very strange to assume something does exist, merely because there is no evidence for or against it. As a matter of fact it is actually likely that if there is no evidence for or against something that may be for a very good reason, because It doesn’t really exist.

        “any form of outside intelligence affecting human life could be seen, admittedly a stretch in language, but any outside intelligence could be understood to be a ‘god’ of sorts, as it would so confuse our rational minds, and appear miraculous…even on the small scale.”

        So god is an abstract intelligence, outside of something, affecting human life? Let me take a moment to point out how this “outside intelligence” has been continually sequestering itself. In the early days of humanity it was outside of our communities, perhaps in a dark mysterious wood that only shamans were allowed to enter. When we ventured there and found none, these intelligences inhabited far off places like mountaintops. When we ventured to the mountaintops and found none, they were surely in the heavens. When we ventured there and turned our telescopes to the heavens and found none, they retreated outside of existence as we know it, BUT! Though they are outside existence, they still exist. Hmm… that takes some psychological compartmentalization, but still sounds far off doesn’t it? You’ll have to forgive me when I say that the latest explanation of existing outside of existence sounds like more of the same, we can know what is unknowable, vacuous crap people have been selling for millenia.

        Every form of intelligence we know of requires some sort of physical structure. Please astound us with your new hypothesis of how intelligence is possible without it. This should be interesting. While you’re at it how about an explanation of what “outside” is? really it’s a nice trick to say that it’s a stretch in language. But what exactly are you getting at? How do you know there is an intelligence without physical structure? How is it “outside”. These terms can mean anything

        “however, one cannot fully accept a ‘position’ of atheism without at least wondering about the emotional background..”

        We have a divergence of opinion there. I don’t think atheist is a position. I hate to bring up the old canard but not collecting stamps isn’t a hobby either. Just because you have some belief that I do not share does not automatically make me at odds with or in some “position”. At least, I don’t wake up every day saying I don’t believe in Wotan, Poseidon or Jesus. I’d hate to say that because I don’t take Vishnu as part of reality that I have a “position”. Stating it in such a way that an atheist has a “position” sounds more like aggressive posturing to me. Setting up an Us VS Them sort of mindset. Which is what theists tend to do. Sociological ingrouping and the like, you are either one of us or against us crap. The theistic mindset is never more content than when it is imagining itself as persecuted.

        “as atheism, like all worldviews, does infringe upon the openness of a truly scientific perspective, one able to accept evidence of phenomena, even when it does not match our notions of fact.”

        You’ll have to explain how that works, atheism infringing upon the openness of scientific perspective? Atheists are usually, not always, skeptical. I can’t abide the term “new atheist” but if there is one defining factor in describing the “new atheist” as opposed to an “old atheist” is the fact that the new atheist actually has objective proof that most of what theists claim about the nature of the universe is complete garbage because of the use of science. There actually is a close relationship between science and atheism, much the same as theism and religion. In atheism and science there is no dogma, they adjust their views according to observation. Theism and religion are the denial of observation so that belief can be preserved.

        “and atheism, like religious extremism is a ‘position’ in a relative universe… ”

        Ah no, I disagree completely. The sliding scale of atheism-agnosticism-theism is complete bunk thought up by some theist. As a matter of fact atheism is nothing like the other two. It is not some extreme position. It is just not taking your unsubstantiated beliefs about the nature of the universe at face value. Nothing more. If not believing everything someone else has to say is considered and extreme position then I don’t think there is much room for converation here.

        • ken vallario

          wow, for someone who doesn’t see room for a conversation, you have a lot to say…lol…
          and i love your discussion about the insidiousness of ingrouping and then go onto generalizing the theists…
          i would simply point to the following idea.
          the very idea of god, the fact that a set of primates somehow came up with the idea of a ‘creator’…that idea is itself so profound to me, that it operates as a sort of evidence for something about the universe.
          unlike yourself i cannot speculate fully on this very complex phenomena, i cannot simplify it to a kind of fear-based mechanism, even though i admit it is possible.
          however, possibility does not equate to probability.
          as you go on and on about the necessity of physical structure, you dismiss what we know about quantum particles that can affect one another at distances, breaking the speed of light…this is a mystery that scientists have yet to understand, and yet they accept it as fact.
          science is a dogma, it is based upon a set of principles…and it is a dogma i find very useful…however, like alchemy, it has its limits…and we are not robots…at least not yet.
          just because science has yet to find proof of our spiritual nature does not mean that it does not exist…science, of necessity, must isolate repeatable events…and some things might be unique in this universe…we just don’t know…the strength of spirituality in the human consciousness is a form of evidence, it is a fact…and atheism does not lead one to a deep understanding of what this means about the universe.
          you might be right, there might be no other intelligence out there…but, we cannot fully explain the intuition of ‘other’ with the evidence we currently have…so until that time, until the day neurological science discovers the complete law of religious belief, atheists will have to suffer from the same uncertainty that the theists grapple with, or find themselves frustrated and angry…

          • Siminatongue

            “wow, for someone who doesn’t see room for a conversation, you have a lot to say…lol…”

            More accurately I would say I have little time for such foolishness. I see theists purpose in making an Us vs Them dichotomy by saying atheism is an extreme viewpoint also. It is to frame the conversation as if atheism were much like theism, which is complete rubbish. Atheism is nothing like theism. They are not even the diametrically opposed viewpoints that theists try and make them seem, much to their advantage, as it gives theism some sort of credibility as a viable viewpoint. Sorry your viewpoint is only viable if you provide an objective proof of your claim, if you cannot then there is no reason why anyone should believe that Vishnu is a reality. Or whatever “outside intelligence” you are referring to.

            For every little piece of foolishness you can imagine there is going to be some people out there that do not believe what you are saying. We’ll call them skeptical. The doesn’t mean that because your idea is not accepted as true by these skeptics, that they have an opposite position from yours. Very simply the theist tries to say they have an “idea” and whoever doesn’t believe in that idea holds an “anti-idea” or “a-idea”. Which is frame flipping reality. I’m not “A” anything, atheist or otherwise. Gods are your idea, it’s not something I hold to. By stating I am by proxy “A” something you are simply being a shithead. Which, I night point out, was the whole point in the first place in making the word atheist and framing things in just that way. Orwellian machinations didn’t begin with Orwell, he simply popularized the techniques.

            There is an alligator in a Louisiana bayou who controls everything. Don’t believe me? Well you are just an A-alligatorist, trying to subvert a peaceful way of life. I’m just trying to spread peace and love with my chordate perspective and you are opposed to that. Theists do much the same. Very deceitful, especially to themselves. It’s all very calculating and silly primate behavior. Which brings us to…

            “the very idea of god, the fact that a set of primates somehow came up with the idea of a ‘creator’…that idea is itself so profound to me, that it operates as a sort of evidence for something about the universe.”

            There is nothing profound about human psychology really. It’s a little more complex than animal agreed, in some of us just barely. The very fact that the idea of an ultimate authoritarian figure develops in primates shows just how provincial and stunted some humans can be. It has in the past given many Human primates an advantage of control over some others, I won’t get into the evolutionary advantage this gives some primates. Suffice to say this authoritarian figure is white, it’s almost certainly male, with a beard and a wizened look, if this authoritarian “idea” is in a western culture. Or has very distinct familiar features in another. Not to mention that this “idea” has dictates of behavior and practice that exactly match the culture and are most likely to the advantage of some controlling primates in question. Funny that.

            But lets leave aside all those trivial and provincial characteristics of primate psychology that can be easily cooked up that seem so profound to you. What if you are referring to some amorphous intelligence unknowable to human understanding. If it is unknowable and beyond our understanding, why do you claim to be able to know or understand anything about it? How do you claim that it is aware of Humans on any level? How do you know it interferes or even interacts with Humans?

            I haven’t even left your first paragraph yet. It actually just gets worse from here.

            “as you go on and on about the necessity of physical structure, you dismiss what we know about quantum particles that can affect one another at distances, breaking the speed of light…this is a mystery that scientists have yet to understand, and yet they accept it as fact.”

            Yes physical structure is a necessity, quantum particles are part of physical structure. We will almost certainly have a better understanding of these things some day. There is much we still don’t understand about it. Whatever the answer is, in the past whatever the answers have always been, It’s never been “god did it”, It’s never been magic. You can come up with an infinity of things that we do not know, then say “science can’t explain that”, but neither does a god hypothesis and the god hypothesis as profound as it is to you has never explained anything about the nature of the universe we live in. As a matter of fact at least science will lead us one day to the possibility of understanding exactly what is going on. Even if we may never get there, at least there is the possibility.

          • ken vallario

            for somebody who has ‘little time for such foolishness’ you sure are spending some time engaging in it.
            why not admit to yourself that you find these issues interesting, as it is obvious you have put a lot of thought into it.
            when you call people like me ‘shitheads’, i would say you reflect poorly your a-viewpoint.
            much of what you claimed in your response was stated as fact.
            there is a strong linguistic difference between making declarative claims and constructing an argument.
            i never claimed that God exists. i merely claimed that denying the possibility of complexity that can act as a form of intelligence is not yet possible. and the new athiests want us to take a leap of faith i am not willing to take. so, if that makes me a shithead, then i guess that’s what i am.
            you said you would not ‘get into’ the evolutionary advantage certain magical beliefs have given to human beings, but any darwinist would, of necessity have to ‘get into’ this, and wonder what it means about our development. why is this ‘idea’ such a tenacious meme. this is what fascinates me, it is not foolishness, it is a primary aspect of human history, so to discard it reveals a kind of unwillingness to accept humanity, as it is. and many of your comments reveal a very misanthropic tendency.
            your claims about the nature of sub-atomic phenomena as being ultimately physical is simply incorrect. there are very respected theoreticians who would claim that much of what happens in that realm cannot in any way relate to what we think of as physical. however, your theory is just a belief, it is not a fact, and a true skeptic would not go about claiming to know the ultimate nature of reality, that is what makes you more dogmatic than you seem to think you are.

            we are an intelligent creature that has every intention to leave our planet and spread our technology to other planets. there is no reason that this very thing could not have happened countless times….and it is within the realm of possibility to think that this planet has been affected by outside forces. and so, i am simply saying that outside intervention, in no way contradicts science. the only contradiction of science is the claim of certainty.

            as far as the ‘race’ of God, i could give a shit about that….tribal people used to think god was a monkey or a coyote…your fixation on the Michelangelo God does not have to be my fixation…i am talking about the idea of divinity, and my belief that we ought not make grand decisions about history or reality without a deeper understanding.

            give into your fascination with that white God, and make peace with Him…and find out why he makes you so angry as to call a complete stranger a shithead, and to think of your fellow human beings as a bunch of regressive monkeys…

          • Simiantongue

            “when you call people like me ‘shitheads’, i would say you reflect poorly your a-viewpoint.”

            I didn’t call you a shithead. I said if you do such then you are a shithead. It is then up to you to include yourself in that demographic or not.

            “much of what you claimed in your response was stated as fact.”

            You dance around the subject like a whirling dervish. Barely touching on anything solid before bounding off into areas of little substance.

            “i never claimed that God exists. i merely claimed that denying the possibility of complexity that can act as a form of intelligence is not yet possible.”

            Doublespeak, clearly. You are not claiming that god exists but you claim that there could be a form of complex intelligence that can act as god. Rhetorical hodge podge.

            “and the new athiests want us to take a leap of faith i am not willing to take. so, if that makes me a shithead, then i guess that’s what i am.”

            No there is no leap of faith required by new atheists. You are either completely ignorant or being disingenuous. Merely trying to equate atheists to some sort of extremism like theists. The faith you refer to would necessitate some sort of belief not non-belief. There is an infinity of things that we don’t believe in and people are not extremists about any of them including the many gods. Non-belief is not an extremist position it is the default position until we know better. I think your point in being disingenuous in this case is merely to make the nonexistent case that an atheist requires some sort of “faith” as a theist does. This is an empty rhetorical point trying to say that atheism is no better than theism. Actually a strategy that attempts to “cut down to size” the atheist position. If I were a theist reading this I would find your strategy somewhat insulting. That strategy reveals that you do see theism as the “weaker” position. And in fact by using such an argument you blatantly recognize there are fundamental differences between atheism and theism, differences that are not diametrically opposed or equal. But still you make the flaccid attempt to make the argument anyway, even though the argument itself proclaims that you know differently. I can’t begin to describe how incredibly disingenuous that is.

            Also the “shithead” reference had nothing whatsoever to do with that point. You stated new qualifications for being considered a shithead, I never said anything along the lines that if you didn’t take a leap of faith you are a shithead. Again it is that “persecution” complex the theistic mindset needs. You are frame flipping this, as if I had stated that if you have your own personal beliefs that I think you are a shithead. When clearly that is not what I said. I can see now that intellectual honesty is to much to ask in a straightforward conversation here. I’ve had these conversations before and If I’m not mistaken you will just continue to tie knots in the conversation. The purpose is so that in being preoccupied trying to untie some of these knots, at least some of what you say passes unchecked.

            “you said you would not ‘get into’ the evolutionary advantage certain magical beliefs have given to human beings, but any darwinist would,”

            No in fact we don’t have to get into that. Sociology, psychology and anthropology are very complex subjects. There are reams of books and sites dedicated to the subject. Or if one is so inclined go watch Dan Dennetts’ TED talk about the subject. It’s certainly not something a “darwinist” would have to explain, if they don’t then god must have done it all.

            Lets clear up a bit of misconception here too. I am not a “Darwinist” no more than I am a “Newtonian” or an “Einstienite” just because I happen to think that Einstein’s work on gravity is the most comprehensive to date. There is no authoritarian “belief” in such things as evolution, as there is in the theistic mindset. I don’t believe in evolution. I accept that it is a workable theory, a tool which has produced verifiable, reproducible and useful results. If there is a better theory, or if evolution is proved untenable it would be out with yesterdays trash. There is no “belief” or “faith” required, especially in the theistic sense of those words. Equating the two as equal opposite perspectives is like saying that using physics to predict the decay of radioactive isotopes is equal to believing you can divine the future with tealeaves. Even saying they are diametrically opposed but both equally valid perspectives is ridiculous. Dodging the conversation by saying things like “You don’t know people can’t divine the future with tealeaves for sure” or in your case “You don’t know that there is no god/s for sure” makes the conversation a waste of my time. But then we have come full circle in the conversation. Where you first ask “what proof do the atheists have that no outside force is affecting human history?” Which was answered by many people including myself. That seems to be where these conversations go when I have them with someone like yourself, in circles never ending. You could answer the same question a hundred times and you’d still come back to it in order to have it answered with different words.

            I hope you recognize one day just how you talk in circles. Cryptically and carefully wording so that the exact premise of what you are talking about is never exactly clear.

            “this is what fascinates me, it is not foolishness, it is a primary aspect of human history, so to discard it reveals a kind of unwillingness to accept humanity, as it is.”

            I never said that was foolishness. Just where, I might inquire, am I unwilling to accept humanity as it is? Whatever that means? Theism was our first guess as to what the nature of the universe was, even before philosophy, before science. You think perhaps I don’t know that or accept that? I realize what an influence our first guesses about the nature of the universe were on humanities history, that is no reason to think they were right. I do not accept those guesses as true. Obviously you feel that they had at least some of it right then. Which is fine. By all means continue to rely on those hypothesis from a people who’s crowning achievement was the wheelbarrow. I happen to think we have come up with some answers, though not absolutely true in the mathematical definition of true, they are as close as we have been able to come and they seem to have shown some promise as evidenced by Humanities progress.Does that mean we disregard the past? Do we ignore the lessons of the past? Absolutely not.

            “as far as the ‘race’ of God, i could give a shit about that….”

            Congratulations, because within the demographic of the theistic you are in a liberal minority. Hats off to you for getting past that anyhow.

            “tribal people used to think god was a monkey or a coyote…your fixation on the Michelangelo God does not have to be my fixation…”?

            It is not my fixation but the fixation of the majority of theists still. I did not say that it was yours either. I said we could, in your case, look past the provincial and trivial aspects of a theistic god ideal to the amorphous intelligent entity you referred to. But you seemed to have ignored that. I think you are again looking to change what is said to make it seem as if you are being persecuted or brow beat in some way. Whatever, if that is your pleasure, I won’t deny it to you.

            “we are an intelligent creature that has every intention to leave our planet and spread our technology to other planets. there is no reason that this very thing could not have happened countless times….and it is within the realm of possibility to think that this planet has been affected by outside forces.”

            I doubt very much that you have been referring to some super intelligent race of aliens. From all your previous posts every indication is that you have been merely rehashing the word god into something less identifiable, something more amorphous, but which in fact is the same old theistic ideal of a god. And if that type of entity is a possibility. We have no reason to doubt there may be a Wicked Witch of the West either. By that standard anything is within the realm of possibility, if you do not require any objective reasoning to think it is possible. The problem here is that you keep saying “it’s possible and you have no proof it isn’t” we keep coming back to that same old circular reasoning that’s been answered time and again.

            “and so, i am simply saying that outside intervention, in no way contradicts science. the only contradiction of science is the claim of certainty.”

            Well actually it does contradict science. Science is a tool you know not a belief as theism is, it does not give us any indication that there has been an outside intervention. So when you say there has been or may have been an intervention on the behalf of some amorphous intelligence, that is a contradiction. And ironically the only claim of certainty here is your claims about the nature of the universe. You continually drop references about atheists being certain and what not, but in actuality atheism in its essence can be summed up in one sentence “I don’t know and I’m comfortable with that until I do know”. Atheists saying they have no belief that there are gods is not the positive assertion of certainty that you are making it seem, well for the majority of atheists anyway. Again that is frame flipping. Any mental gymnastics by theists or those who state they “believe” or have “faith” or dances around with obfuscating word salad like “I am not saying god, I am saying some outside intelligence with complexity that is unexplainable and unknowable that may be godlike” THAT takes some large degree of certainty about the nature of the universe to say that. Theists and people such as yourself who claim they “believe” something are the ones making the assertive claims here, you are the one with some degree of certainty about something. Oh sure you may be fuzzy on the details, but make no mistake, the underlying structure that you hang all those fuzzy details on are some very certain assertions.

            “give into your fascination with that white God, and make peace with Him…and find out why he makes you so angry as to call a complete stranger a shithead, and to think of your fellow human beings as a bunch of regressive monkeys… ”

            I have about as much fascination and anger with your god as I do with any character from Lord of the Rings. I was terribly upset when the peaceful folk of the shire and the rest of Middle Earth were threatened. I have to say I found that story much better written and instructive than any holy text I’ve read since too. Any argument I’ve written here goes for the existence of Sauron as well. You are very thin skinned if you think this is angry. Again I never called you a shithead, it was up to you to include yourself in that demographic or not. You subsequently did by the by, not my doing though. Were not a bunch of regressive monkeys. We’re apes.

          • ken vallario

            you did say you have little time for such foolishness…you did say that…
            and yet your actions reveal a deep passion for these circles
            i agree with you that frame flipping is occurring, but these are perhaps irreconcilable differences…
            however, you have made claims about the existence of Sauron, and i take offense…
            that is a bit of a joke…
            i do happen to believe that there are aspects of the universe that science is incapable of investigating simply because these aspects fall into a realm one might call personality. that is a crude word, but people do experience rather profound things in this lifetime, that science cannot fully account for…even shitheads like me who love science, who honor it as a wonderful tool…even i am given to not discount that human history might be far more complex than a simple tale of evolution.
            i think, for the most part, you and i operate from the same kind of skeptical encounter with the world…i use what i call inclusive skepticism, where i do not really discount claims, or try not to unless i am can be certain.
            for instance, there are some people who believe our leaders are lizard people…i laugh just typing it…
            but hell, there are days when i hope the lizard people know what they are doing, cause it sure doesn’t seem like they do.
            i suppose i choose to be more comfortable with the possibilities of great surprise, because i hope to be surprised in this lifetime…
            and maybe, just maybe, more exclusive skeptics, find the world fine as it is and don’t need yearn for such hope…and maybe they find the whole magical aspect annoying, and i get that…
            but as you said with the knots…the universe might be tied up in knots…there are a large group of scientists who believe that is the case…and the cosmos is a manifestation of super-strings, and those strings are exchanging information….in much the same way as our brains are a collection of neurons, exchanging electrical data…then why couldn’t the universe itself be conscious…and why couldn’t we have tapped into that emergent property…
            i am not trying to manipulate you, or convert you…i am simply engaging in a debate you show an obvious interest in. and i love talking about these positions, so there you go…all on the table….
            when i read about a person like Eratosthenes, who first measured the circumference of the earth, a couple of hundred years before our lord and savior (joke) walked the earth…i think to myself that scientific genius has been with us for a very long time..and also, that these people had an entirely different relationship with the planet…and with the stars, and with their bodies…these are a lot of variables…and given such an altered state of consciousness, i wonder…that is all, i wonder if i am right to look back on history as if it were a textbook, and not a story rich with unknown forces. and you are right to criticize this…but you cannot claim that i am wrong….in the same way that you can criticize Newton for pursuing the alchemical change of metals into gold…what he was doing was impossible at the time, but given enough energy it is possible…and perhaps it is impossible for us to prove the universe is conscious, but it may be possible to perceive it…and one day, it might be possible, given enough data, or energy, to verify it…
            consider the frame flipped again…i just keep identifying myself as a shithead, what is wrong with me?

          • B1-66ER

            Why is the idea of a creator so profound? Even early humans knew that they came from their parents and that they came from their parents, but what was the first? “Obviously” a universal parent figure is going to be the explanation of people who don’t possess better data.

        • JH

          I dare say, well put!

      • cura

        “why is the burden of proof on theists” – because if you take an elementary philosophy class you would understand that the burden of proof is always on the person who is the believer, not the person who disblieves. It is impossible to prove that something does not exist, it is a logical falacy to expect someone to be able to.

        For example: It is rational thinking that unicorns do not exist, because there has never been any evidence of their existance. If I wanted you to believe in unicorns it is fair that I would have to come up with some sort of evidence of their existance in order for you to believe me. If no evidence presented, it is fair for you to continue to disbelieve.

        Also, please don’t retaliate with a question of faith. I don’t believe it is necessary as I have lived life happily without it. You have the right to choose faith, but then please to not ask such questions as the one I just answered.

      • B1-66ER

        The burden of proof is on theists since you are making a claim (that a deity exists). I simply don’t believe the claim, since it’s nearly impossible to prove a negative (prove that unicorns or fairies don’t exist). As such, I will accept positions with enough evidence to show a reasonable probability of likelihood but I will not accept claims which do not have enough evidence to show that it is a likely probability. So how does being an atheist (not believing there is any evidence for deities) stop me from having a truly scientific perspective (only accepting claims with sufficient evidence or higher probability)?
        I think you mistake atheism, which is having no belief in gods, with believing that gods do not exist. One is a lack of belief and the other is belief in somethings nonexistence. They are in fact very different.

  • Ambroise

    I am an atheist, and I am not mad at “God”. However, the people who claim to be his followers have the tendency to anger me.

  • Ambroise

    I am an atheist, and I am not mad at “God”. However, the people who claim to be his followers have the tendency to anger me.

    • gondolfin

      “I used to be an atheist, until I realized I had nothing to shout during blowjobs.”

      Robert Anton Wilson

    • Garathorn

      I’m a Christian pastor and I agree, “the people who claim to be his followers have the tendancy to anger me.”

  • ken vallario

    why is the burden of proof on theists…what proof do the atheists have that no outside force is affecting human history? in other words, i am not a dogmatic person…i am simply a different kind of skeptic. and i am skeptical of atheists for the following reason.

    any form of outside intelligence affecting human life could be seen, admittedly a stretch in language, but any outside intelligence could be understood to be a ‘god’ of sorts, as it would so confuse our rational minds, and appear miraculous…even on the small scale.

    and given that we know the universe to be infinitely complex and vast, and possibly filled or void of life…nobody yet knows…i cannot yet fully dismiss the idea that there are gods, angels, demons, etc. and that history is an imperfect record of possibly relevant events. now, like most of you i tend toward the basic presumption that most people are ignorant, and brutish and use superstition as a crutch…so, there…

    however, one cannot fully accept a ‘position’ of atheism without at least wondering about the emotional background..as atheism, like all worldviews, does infringe upon the openness of a truly scientific perspective, one able to accept evidence of phenomena, even when it does not match our notions of fact.

    religion or science…doesn’t matter, we can blame violence and oppression on anything…a scapegoat is a scapegoat…there simply happen to be very brutish human beings among us…religion is a practice, just like science, just like philosophy, just like art…and all of these methods compliment each other.

    theists often want atheists to submit to the same rational process of critique…this is why you won’t see religious people getting all hot and bothered by agnostics…since agnosticism, in the end, is what we all really are…and atheism, like religious extremism is a ‘position’ in a relative universe…

  • Anonymous

    I had a friend who called hinself an atheist, while at the same time cursing and otherwise execrating God, with heartfelt bitterness, for not existing. I could not sort that one out.

  • chinagreenelvis

    A new study suggests that people who write articles about atheists don’t understand sarcasm and/or ironic speech.

  • robertpinkerton

    I had a friend who called hinself an atheist, while at the same time cursing and otherwise execrating God, with heartfelt bitterness, for not existing. I could not sort that one out.

  • chinagreenelvis

    A new study suggests that people who write articles about atheists don’t understand sarcasm and/or ironic speech.

    • Nyxynox

      And atheists (and other fundamentalists) don’t understand poetry and metaphor…

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NS7MLVSCJ26VK5NSGYXKMU7TNA Rufus Dill

        Then why have the best poets of the last 200 years The Romantics, Baudelaire, Jim Morrison, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, had no belief in the Christian God.

        • Tuna Ghost

          The fact that you think Jim Morrison is one of the best poets of the last 200 years invalidates anything else you may claim.

          • Iamian

            Troll.

          • Tuna Ghost

            What? Because I pointed out how truly talented a writer Jim Morrison is not? Its common knowledge, guy. The vast majority of his poetry is pretty terrible. He often gets a pass because he’s effing Jim Morrison, but that doesn’t change the fact that his poetry is shit.

          • Hempdude

            To you its shit.

          • Tuna Ghost

            It’s critically recognized as shit, actually. Despite what some believe, poetry is not a “it’s as good or bad as you feel it is” kinda art. I love the Doors as much as the next man, but bad poetry is bad poetry.

          • Jack Numan

            There is no objective opinion about any art or art form that is “right.” It’s all subjective. We can all make arguments for why we like what we like. I happen to agree more with Hempdude, but that doesn’t have to make Morrison a great poet to anyone else. Your idea that there is a final say about anything in art is a little like a believer-in-God’s opinion about religion.

          • Wil

            I see. I’m going to go practice medicine now based on my subjective opinion of the way the human body works. Better yet, I’ll go and practice physics and cosmology based on my subjective opinion of the way reality works. . . Oh, wait, that’s what religionists do, isn’t it?

            Art criticism is hard. Good, rigorous art criticism is damn near impossible, and takes a lot of study and a great deal of wit, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible or valueless. Frankly, I think what you’re doing is just what you’re accusing him of. You’re dismissing a whole field of endeavour as pointless, whether you want to see it or not. Personally, I’m so sick of the hatred of art criticism I see these days, i could barf. I’m even more sick of the lazy view that good art can be made well by anyone, without any real effort put into craft, and that as such, ‘art belongs to us all’. Yes, it does, but most of it is crap. That said, Jim Morrison’s poetry is largely worthless crud. It’s like Ayn Rand; she’s good philosophy if you’ve never read any and don’t know anything about philosophy. . .

          • Tuna Ghost

            Indeed, well put.

          • Tuna Ghost

            So there are no “bad” films, or poorly-written novles? Bollocks. You know as well as I do that there are. Society as a whole recognizes this. Enjoyment can come from them, just like enjoyment can come from eating bad food with your friends. But the fact is, there are structure and form to the arts, especially poetry, and these things are not as subjective as you would have us believe. The idea of art as completely subjective was discredited by smarter people than either of us long, long ago.

          • Garathorn

            Hehehehehehe….!

          • Hempdude

            Will i get a reply in the mail.Or Email.

          • Hempdude

            what did I tell you about reading gods thought?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/William-Jeffrey-Miller/1191457654 William Jeffrey Miller

            Morrison? Bigga Please!

          • http://slrman.wordpress.com/ James Smith

            You have expressed an opinion and presented it as fact. Are you a theist? That is suspiciously the way they often operate.

        • Nyxynox

          Christians do not hold a monopoly on god. Fundamentalism, whether that is under the guise of Christianity, Islam, Atheism, etc is a lack of imagination. To distill human existence to literal fact (perceived or proven) misses the poetry and mystery of life…

          • cura

            How can disbelief be fundamentalism? Athiesm is a outdated term to begin with because all it is describing is a lack of something, confusing most thiestic being into viewing us as a group who must have shared values, which is simply not true. Even so, with no set of shared beliefes or ideals how is it possible to have a strict adherence to those things?

            There is no organized group, and without any organization, doctorines, or set beliefe system, there cannot be fundamentalism. There may be a group of people who share the idea that religion is somehow bad, but those people should have a label seperate from “athiest” since athiesm is a definition only of lack in beliefe and entails no more. Trying to label anyone or anything based on lack of attributes is obviously backward. Just because you know the things a person dislikes, does not mean you grasp the things they do, in the same way you cannot know what a person believes simply because you know what they do not.

          • Nyxynox

            YES! exactly my point (your last few sentences). Granted not all “atheists” think the same way and for some the term “atheist” is a bit of a misnomer. However the type of atheist I was referring to is the type that writes books like “The End of Faith” or “The God Delusion”. The ones that say that without a doubt that ONLY the tangible and measurable exist and anything else is just delusion and superstition. Such strict adherence to such thinking is fundamentalism. Or as Robert Anton Wilson called them “Fundamental Materialists”.

            Reductionists tend to have faith in science so much that they are SURE that anything we don’t know right now WILL be discovered by science some time in the future. And anything that doesn’t fit within the already known universe (read measurable and tangible) is not true, right out – end of discussion. Anyone who wants to know or understand anything outside of the known universe or doesn’t accept the powers that be’s explanation of the universe is silly, stupid, or delusional.

            That sounds like fundamentalism to me.

          • http://slrman.wordpress.com/ James Smith

            What is fundamentalism is the insistence that anything you don’t understand must be supernatural.

            For someone that clearly knows next to nothing about atheism, you seem very sure that your pronouncements are facts.

          • Nyxynox

            From Meriam Webster: Fundamentalism: a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles.

            Thank you for proving my point! :)

          • http://slrman.wordpress.com/ James Smith

            You had a point? Was it that anything you believe MUST be true, no matter what the facts are? Or was it that you are silly, stupid, and delusional? I certainly can find no fault with that.

          • Nyxynox

            Namaste..

          • B1-66ER

            ZOMG!!!1!eleven!! Nyxynox most likely doesn’t believe in unicorns, fairies, leprechauns, or trolls (hopefully, unless s/he’s batshit), so s/he is a FUNDAMENTALIST since at no time does s/he accept that they could exist!
            ZOMG THERE’S FUNDAMENTALISTS EVERYWHERE!!!! NOWHERE IS SAFE FROM THEIR STRICT AND LITERAL ADHERENCE TO THE PRINCIPLE OF MYTHS BEING MYTHS!!!!

          • jd

            This is referred to as the “slippery slope fallacy”-the idea that if you believe in God then tooth fairies are soon to follow. This is an attempt to take a reasonable belief system and place it in the same mix as obvious absurdities. Everyone knows the mythical origins of goblins and Santa Claus or whatever, and these are literary constructs of man, but anthropologically speaking, its not so evident where man’s belief in that primal consciousness arose from. This is a primal, deep-seated suspicion in most every man and geographical region of the planet which later expressed itself into various religions like Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, etc. Now I admit, as a believer, that so much of man’s interpretation of that primal consciousness is wrong and we’ll find contradictions amongst religions, but that in no way detracts from the original cause of religion-the suspicion that there has to be a mind behind the universe’s and especially, life’s complexity and the mind of man. Why shouldn’t there be a larger mind rather then the smaller mind presented by man?

            In summation, this is why mankind takes their religions so seriously. They premise their faith on that primordial assumption of mind and primal consciousness which goes well beyond the silly parallels of goblins and tooth fairies.  

          • B1-66ER

            Actually, even Richard Dawkins, who wrote that “fundamentalist” book The God Delusion, stated in the book that out of 1 to 7, 1 being complete faith with no doubt that some kind of deity exists and 7 being the opposite, he was a 6 or 61/2, which means he freely admits that he may be wrong and he doesn’t know everything. What a “fundamentalist” he is, admitting his own ignorance of all the answers to the questions we have about the universe.
            I wonder if you ever read the book before you claimed that it stated anything “without a doubt”? Because if you had read it you would have known that.
            And no, people like myself don’t have faith in science, we have evidence. Science works, therefore it remains useful as a way to investigate the universe. No faith involved, just a great track record!

          • http://slrman.wordpress.com/ James Smith

            How can there be a monopoly on what does not exist? By your “logic” I claim a monopoly on anti-gravity belts. See my blog post on that very subject at: http://slrman.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/80/

            Human existence is being distilled into literal fact. Think about the progress made with genotypes and everything else. It’s true that science does not know everything and likely never will. That does not automatically mean anything we do not yet understand is supernatural. I also have a blog post about that:
            http://slrman.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/84/

            Tell us, exactly how do facts diminish int poetry and mystery of life? That’s one of those things that sounds good, but actually doesn’t mean a thing.

          • Nyxynox

            Tell me… When looking for a mate, do you work up a survey with scientifically designed questions that once completed by any prospective mate, you can enter into statistical software that will come up with most statistically significant match AND then propose partnership. Or do you go with how you feel? There are indeed “things” in this universe that cannot be proven or measured. We experience them everyday and at almost every moment. And because they are so common and commonly understood, we overlook them and take them for granted.

            There is no such thing as “supernatural” as nothing can exist outside of nature. I will not get into a debate with anyone as to whether or not god exists. It is a futile attempt to try to rationalize something that is not rational. Understanding god (or love, or beauty, or freedom or anything else that exists as concept and not tangible matter) requires relational thinking (hermeneutics). The ability to see the sunset as something more then just light refracting through various gasses in our atmosphere, for instance. In other words, to see and know god you must be able to imagine into it and be vulnerable enough to let it in.

          • http://slrman.wordpress.com/ James Smith

            You are totally ridiculous. Each time you post, you become more outrageous and stray further from the point. Don’t expect any response. I only like to deal with rational people. That leaves you out, way out.

          • nyxynox

            One last attempt for a teaching moment. In none of my posts here have I used a pejorative, claimed that someone’s opinion was stupid (or the like), nor have I posted something that could be taken as mean-spirited. I have politely disagreed with people and have followed up with my own thoughts, ideas and experiences.

            You, sir, have nothing but dismissed and defamed anyone on here that doesn’t hold your way of thinking. That is irrational and juvenile.

            Good day…

          • http://slrman.wordpress.com/ James Smith

            You arrogant POS. “Teaching moment”? Who do you think you are? The oracle of the world? YOu have demonstrated nothing resembling intelligence or compassion.

            You accuse me of what you have been doing yourself. Your mistake is to judge everyone else by your own failings. You want juvenile? Try this, “Go fuck yourself you shithead!” That’s been your attitude. You like it when it’s coming back at you? It’s the best you deserve, so get used to it.

          • JD

            James Smith is into “scientism” Nyxynox. This is a metaphysical belief system not based on science. The reductionist materialist isn’t going to understand what you are saying. In fact, it is foolishness to that personality type as his posts have revealed. I’d gather that Smith is into the likes of Daniel Dennett who surmises we are robots with no real choices or autonomy. But think of this, how can such an irrational conglommeration of molecules ever be depended upon to come up with anything rational? How can Mr. Smith ever come to a reliable determination as to the existence of God based on his own arguments that suppose we have only been randomly cobbled together in an irrational way? And if he insists that this rationality comes from a rational universe, then what evidence can he give us that proves this to be true? What are the processes that brought about this rationality and especially how did its origins come about?  Describing mechanism in no way illuminates direction or purpose or agency. Smith has his head under the hood of a car and arrogantly declares. “Why, there is no need for a maker of this device. Anybody with any smarts can see how this thing works”. That is what I mean by mistaking mechanism with agency. Of course, James Smith will think this is stupid too, but I think it immeasurably stupid to think the universe has, on its own, somehow found a way to create beings reflective of its own rational nature and whom can look in upon itself objectively. Talk about metaphysical! Whew! Einstein once said that the only incomprehensible thing about the universe is its incomprehensibility. Smith thinks he’s the quintessential model of intellect. Truth is, he needs to go a little deeper. But he won’t and not because he rejects what he perceives as unintelligent, but because he wants no accountability to a mind that is greater then his. This is at the root of most rejection of God; our egos and need for independence. The atheistic choice is no less rooted in emotions than the faithful choice. 

          • JD

            I agree on your logical point that facts shouldn’t diminish mystery both subjectively and objectively; every advance opens up a whole new can of worms of new mysteris. Every answer presents with new questions. And even the things we think are resolved are only harnessed, like electricity, but we don’t really know what electricity is and neither has a graviton been discovered but we see it’s influence on the collective population so we accept it as real despite what some physicists are now saying about gravity being an illusion.

            But James, where I disagree with you is where you say there can be no monopoly on anything that doesn’t exist. Exist in what shape or form? Consciousness exists and so does love but I have never seen these two hard problems presented in a vial and spun by a cetrifuge-have you? Given the mystery of life, it is patently absurd to boldly declare that God doesn’t exist. Even Max Planck says that in all his experience as a physicist, “There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter”.
            Not everything can be put into a bottle. Don’t you find it suspect that anyone would believe that molecules, like classic billiard balls, ran into each other by chance alone to initiate the building blocks of life which eventually led to more complicated molecular arrangements against an entropic universe leading to an infinitely complex cell which further led to more complex arrangements in response to environmental challenges which led to single celled organisms to say, “Hey fellas, let’s get together to create a blastocyst”, which, by direction of some billions of letters in a DNA molecule suffused with information not provided by a brain or nervous system creates all tissues and organs of this infinitely complex human organism which has this sense of “I” despite the fact its many cells are replaced many times over in a lifetime and as a result of highly improbable mutations all multiplied by one another until the likelihood that any of this could have ever come about through such a nigh infinite array of improbabilities? I used to be an athiest but I ran out of faith.

          • Jordan

            I’m so glad you said it.

        • http://www.facebook.com/winterisoverrated Fabian_Ramos

          of course Bob Dylan believed in God:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqvvOD4bdRs

        • David Frost

          I’m not much for your tastes in music or poetic lyrics and philosophical views behind those for that matter.

          If your into that kind of music then thats fine, but that is a completely subjective argument. Me personally, I’ll take the early punk movement or the philosophies of early industrial music any day over all this hippie flower child stuff. That and I would have to argue that theist classical composers like J.S. Bach, Mozart, and Vivaldi were much deeper thinkers than Jim Morrison.

          For a people that call yourselves “freethinkers,” you sure do overly concern yourselves with the lives and opinions of others as well as things like popular culture and “celebrity” etc.

          • JH

            Thats because believers simply concern themselves in matters which affects nonbelievers. sexual rights, science, education and so forth. Some of the fundamentals for a working modern society. It’s not religion that makes it possible to live a modern life. Science, however, does provide that possibility. That is why it is important to fight the fight about rational thinking and thought. Religion is a virus, and its poisonous and extremely dangerous.

          • Nyxynox

            I don’t agree with you in your “simple” scapegoating of religion. I don’t think religion is the problem, it is literalism. Science has some input on the modern life but it is really community that allows one to live a life, modern or not. We cannot live without interaction with others of shared understanding. And our current attempt to do so has yielded an epidemic of depression and anxiety. Religion is born of the need to congregate with people of like mind, to share this human existence and support one another (fellowship), and try as a group understand what cannot be fully understood (beliefs).

            Where this becomes a problem is in scapegoating. By saying “They” are the problem because of xyz and we are better then them because we don’t do xyz creates an unnecessary animosity and allows the accuser to not notice their own flaws or shadow. By taking our beliefs literally (I am including atheists here) we make scapegoating easier because we are creating an arbitrary divide of beliefs. It is not one or the other… it is all.

          • JH

            You have some sensible point in your argument. Science will not exists without a community (or at least not on any higher level), that is true. And there seems to be some kind of evolutionary thing with religious thought, I can not recollect that I have seen any anthropological study where a people has been without some notion of religious nature (mind you, I am not anthropologist). I can even agree with you that I have no problems with people who has a private religion which they pursue for their own entertainment, that is their business.

            That said, I still would like to say that religion has a very high tendency to bring out the ‘literalism’ which you talk about. And that is usually not a good thing. And when said people try to impose their belief systems on the commonly organised community we get a problem. I live, and contribute to the communal systems, and if these systems gets tailored to s specific belief system I will, in one way or another, sooner or later, end up in the loosing corner. Thats why I see its as an important thing to keep state and religion separated, and why it is even more important that public schools and other common institution’s are organised around best practice and scientific principles (which has a proven track record of coming as close to objective truth as we can) rather than base the organisation of them on sacred scripts from ancient times.

          • Teller

            “Religion is a virus, and its poisonous and extremely dangerous.”
            An idea is more viral, more contagious and dangerous. Ideas are behind religion. Imperfect thinking leads to greater imperfect movements materializing in society. Without hope in something greater than imperfection, what could you possible have hope in, as the forces of this universe degrade everything with time. Aside from philosophically approaching hope in something, while science is important, it cannot replace hope. You can argue that you don’t need religion to have hope, but technology cannot save us from the second law of thermodynamics.
            “And when said people try to impose their belief systems on the commonly organised (organized) community we get a problem. “
            I’m a Christian and agree with you. Time and time again I try to get Christians to see the point that we cannot impose what we believe on others and politicians today are not valid Christians. “Render what belongs to Caesar to Caesar,” this world is not the ‘kingdom of heaven’ and America is no promised land. Jesus and I agree with you, “keep state and religion separated.”

          • JH

            I am not sure that I am following your reasoning. From a cosmological standpoint the universe will have either of two endings; Indefinite expansion, or, an implosion to a singularity.

            In the first scenario the universe will, indeed, end up cold and barren, mostly consisting of iron. In the second, we will end in a soup of elementary particles. In both cases, the universe as such, is indifferent to the species inhabitating it.

            In this context the term ‘hope’ is meaningless. Hope is simply a human definition for a human feeling. So lets turn to the definition of the word hope.

            If I would go in to a tobacconist and by a lottery ticket I would, against the odds, hope for a win. Hope in this context would be that I would earn money in a situation designed to make me loose money. If I where mortally ill in, say, cancer, I would likewise have the hope that someone, somewhere, would have a cure for my illness. Hope in this fashion is a good trait in a species, it will help individuals to survive, thrive and propagate and it is therefore no wonder that the feeling of hope is primal to the human species. But from cosmological perspective, the notion is quite simply meaningless. The universe as such does not care for, or even know, that you exists.

            As an individual you are born. You live your life, and your die. The technological limit seems to be 120 years, which makes sense given the survival of the species. There is no afterlife, there is no ‘pre’ life. You are, quite simply, made of matter momentarily combining to become you. To paraphrase Dawkins ‘some people find this disturbing. I find the reality thrilling.’. As an individual your mainstay will be your children and it is in the process of propagation that the species evolve. You, as an individual, has served your purpose for the species. for us as individuals this might change over time. We now have the know-how and technology to be on the brink of a breakthrough in handling the ageing process. Something that most probably would raise a few interesting sociological questions in the not so far away future.

            In many theological contexts the word ‘hope’ refers to eternal life, afterlife, heaven and hell and so forth. Apart from the fact that there is no evidence for such concepts, it is also debatable whether or not this would be a good thing to hope for to begin with. The dazzling prospect of the 100 virgins for a done deed in the area of martyrdom might not be the best way promote your religious beliefs among the living.

            In short I have no trouble with having hope. I hope that I will find a way to defeat poverty, illness and other misfortunes, but no. I have no ‘hope’ in the sense that I would like to live forever in an afterlife, that will not happen, not for you, me or anyone else regardless of deity worshipping. As for imperfections I prefer the scientific method which takes into account the fact that man is fallible. It does this by the open peer review process, a process that has proven its worth time and time again. A process that is responsible for virtually everything you take for granted in your daily life.

            And it is here I can agree with you, therefore it is extremely important to separate church and state. The state must be run in communal form with best practice and critical secular thinking as guiding stars. Here we can shake hands.

          • Teller

            Well, to me, if “we will end in a soup of elementary particles,” then this sounds a lot like ‘hell’ to me. I don’t read the bible literally btw, I read it for value in living a better life. Just as a preface, I’m not trying to convince you of anything, I’m trying to bounce my thoughts off someone else here. If in fact the second law of thermodynamics is true, (and by most of what I’ve read and observed it looks to be very convincing) then how can you explain it’s self-organizing? Life organizes itself. Be it first from non-material particles building up on sea vents at the bottom of the ocean to create a cell or microbes floating around in space, that in itself sounds rather miraculous to me, or by some metaphysical-explanation of transfiguration of man from dust into life, however it happened, it seems that the intrinsic properties or qualities of the universe are working against itself. Life is organizing and the universe is falling apart slowly, but surely. Not a single non-believer, author, video has yet to explain any logically explanation of why life exist. I’m opened minded to all kinds of reason, evidence-in-support-of someone’s ideas, but I simple can’t believe that there isn’t something greater to life, more importantly, to us as human beings, than just this. Furthermore, though I profess to be a Christian, I do not believe in the magical. I want to adhere to reason and examine real events in history that correlate or parallel events in the bible. With that said, there are experiences I’ve had in life which prevent me from reasoning that there isn’t ‘something more’ going on. My sister and I have seen the same exact ‘ghost’ in a room at night once when we were children. The pale-white translucent figure looked like my sister, and I called out to her and she vanished, my sister saw it as well. It never moved, it wasn’t something spectacular, just odd and was confirmed to not be a just in ‘my head.’ There are many other experiences in my life, not just dealing with paranormal or unexplainable sights. I’ve smoked Salvia in late college and experienced extreme time-compression that does not fit with an explanation that consciousness/awareness is only a biological mechanism. Aside from that, there are other areas of experience that just won’t fit with this idea that ‘there can be nothing beyond material reality.’ I’m just curious as to how people rationalize this away. Believe me when I say I want to know the truth about life. With everything I’ve experienced, learned, observed, I choose to believe that “creator the creator” seeks. I don’t wish to debate how that creator made all this mess, which is mostly what is it, however it’s a beautiful chaos which I appreciate.

          • B1-66ER

            Our minds can process an amazing amount of information in very short times because of the chemicals affecting our brains, thus our minds, which is why time in dreams seems so much longer then it really is. Just because a chemical or chemicals were affecting how your mind perceived reality does not mean you were actually seeing the rules of reality breaking.
            All any theists seem to do is add an extra level of complexity (deities) to the origin to the universe and life without being able to answer the questions it raises. Your “god of the gaps” thinking does not mean there are not non-supernatural explanations for those phenomenon, just that we might not have discovered them yet.

          • JH

            I was not brought up with the notion of heaven, hell and gods. I got acquainted with these myths as an adult, and out of my own curiosity. Hell is usually depicted to be an undesirable place to be in. And looking around the world I can see many of those, in favelas in south America, in the slum of Nairobi, in the drug induced daemon haunted existence of a high that back fired, or as it looks, being an altar boy in a catholic parish.

            Religion being man made, hell has been defined in different form depending on the particular flavour of mythology you happen to subscribe to. The mainstay and reason from religious point of view is to create a place of fear, planted in your mind. This is part of the control mechanism when you define social behaviours which are desirable and undesirable. The undesirable leading you to the fearful place.

            If you happened to be a old norse subscriber, hell was a cold barren place while heaven where place with women, beer and fighting. If you happened to be a abrahamic god subscriber (christian/allah/jehova) hell would be something similar to a volcanic eruption. Heaven on the other hand is not that well defined leaving a lot of interesting headroom for your fantasy to play with.

            Either or, to map this myth on the end of the universe is quite another task, and neither you nor me will be around to see it happen. If the universe ends in a soup of elementary particles has no practical meaning for us as individuals. We will be long gone, dead and buried and our atoms recycled. We as persons wont exits to witness the end. So to fear it would simply be a waste of time. Neither does it have any importance for our daily life as such. But the cosmological question is interesting in it self and digging in to it could give us a lot of insight in the natural world that surrounds us and hence be of a lot of practical value for us. It is therefore we do extensive research on the matter in CERN with the LHC.

            The laws of thermodynamics are deceptively easy to understand, and yes they are as validated by observation as any science. That does not mean that they are not continuously misused and misunderstood in for instance creationists circles. There is no direct relation between entropy and the atoms and molecules we consist of. You must remember that the earth is not closed system, it has an continuous energy input from the sun which gives us the momentum needed to be able to drive the self organisation process (which where discovered by Alan Turing back in the 50:ts, as a side note). since Alans days much has happened and our knowledge has deepened considerably over time. There are plenty of resources on the net on the subject, and yes they are scientificly valid (with simulations and experiments and practical applications emerging). Sure we have still much to learn but then again we have only done research in this very fascinating subject for 50 years (which is all things considered next to nothing). I can recommend thunderf00t on youtube for s starting point (although he can be a bit hung up on the venomfangx guy which is quite simply mentally ill). Another good introductory source would be cdk who has a few things to say about self organisation and some cool simulations as well). read up on abiogenesis and chaos theory. Life is not so unlikely as on would think given the natural laws that govern the chemistry involved. They ‘why’ though is simply put the wrong question. The universe does not particularly care about you, if the dinosaurs was not wiped out the odds are that the intelligent species asking these questions would have had a tail and three toes… If intelligence would have been developed at all that is. So *why* you, or me, exists is not really interesting for any other party than yourself. And the universe doesn’t really care.

            In regards of the bible being a ‘good book’. Well to be frank I read it, and the qouran, and bhagdavita. And I do not buy it. There is nothing in the bible which you wouldn’t expect from the culture of its time. Not even the ten commandments can be considered specially morally inept. The first ones are simply there to ensure the propagation of the religion itself (and establish the image of a pretty unpleasant and envious god at that). The rest is common sense. You seems to belong to the ‘pick and choose’ category of religious persons, which is OK by me, but you should know that according to the same bible that mentality ensures you a pretty low place in Dantes inferno. After all, god is infallible, and the bible is his true word. All of it.

            Another problem with the god hypothesis is the fact that god itself needs an creator, and that creator needs a creator and so forth. The hypothesis is therefore totally useless in order to gain any useful knowledge about our universe, actually it worse than useless as by invoking the magic man you short circuit the reasoning process and take the escape route out of the problem (think along the lines ‘and then something magical happen’) being analysed. And that can not be a viable way to expand your knowledge.

            I will not even start the discussion about your ghost experience. but short answer; it was in your head, and to make it short, yes salvia has interesting mental effects.

          • Jordan

            First of all, there’s no way you could determine that there’s only two ways the universe could go. That’s black and white. The gray area… that’s where you’re missing the whole concept of hope. I noticed you also used to word hope, in place of ‘wish.’ Hope, to me, means faith. To have hope, means to have faith… for the better. Hope is also not a feeling. The same way one doesn’t feel faith, but knows it. I think it’s more of a state of being. The same way love is not a feeling. Everyone experiences hope and love differently. This cannot be debated. It is different for everyone. Period. You also say that if you get cancer, you would hope for a cure. This shocked me. I think if I had cancer, I would certainly be content with living through it, not a cure for all of mankind’s cancer as a result of me, oh-so-special me, having cancer. Let’s get real. I don’t know though. I suppose if you believed that was possible, then it could be possible. So, I definitely wouldn’t shut the door on it. It seems as though your whole speech up there just is building a brick wall of anti-faith around yourself. You also have nothing to base your opinion of there being no pre-life or afterlife. Considering you’re alive now, like us all, you know no more than the rest of us. Some people choose to believe different things about an afterlife, this is not limited to 100 virgins or whatever other stories you have heard or read. Who are you to say they are wrong? It is their belief. Not yours. As anti-religious as you seem to be, you seem to have packaged yourself up nicely in just another conformist box of disbelief. Now, to you, it seems as though you have no other options for ‘hope’ because all these afterlife scenarios are a little too far-fetched for you, which is why there are many of us who don’t take things literally. You seem to have educated yourself _just enough_ to argue the opposite of what certain religious groups believe. We all don’t fit in boxes like that. It’s not religion’s fault you have no other options. Open your eyes. Humans run on faith. It is what keeps us alive. Not just our hearts and our brains. Everything you feel, hear, smell, taste, see is all based upon that you have faith that it is there to begin with. You have faith and you don’t even know it.

          • JH

            “First of all, there’s no way you could determine that there’s only two ways the universe could go. That’s black and white. The gray area… that’s where you’re missing the whole concept of hope.”

            Well, no one can 100% certain of anything. However with present knowledge and supporting evidence we can be as certain as is humanly possible (i.e. more certain than buying a lottery ticket hoping for the highest price) that these are the end scenarios we are facing.

            “I noticed you also used to word hope, in place of ‘wish.’ Hope, to me, means faith. To have hope, means to have faith… for the better.”

            No. Hope and faith are to distinct and differing concepts. faith is based on non evidence non reasoning. Hope can be backed by a probability.

            “Hope is also not a feeling. The same way one doesn’t feel faith, but knows it.”

            Both are, to an extent feelings. Hope can be calculated with odds, faith is nonsensical hope (i.e. can not be backed by known evidence). Both are feelings.

            “I think it’s more of a state of being.”

            No it isn’t.

            “The same way love is not a feeling.”

            Love is very much a feeling.

            “Everyone experiences hope and love differently. This cannot be debated. It is different for everyone. Period.”

            Well, there is a certain truth that the feeling varies between individuals. But, yes it can be debated.

            “You also say that if you get cancer, you would hope for a cure. This shocked me. I think if I had cancer, I would certainly be content with living through it, not a cure for all of mankind’s cancer as a result of me, oh-so-special me, having cancer. Let’s get real.”

            whats wrong with having hope in this case? I Have hope that I or my Doctor missed that new development in an obscure laboratory on the other side of the world and that I would stumble on it? That is a hope of probabilities.

            “I don’t know though. I suppose if you believed that was possible, then it could be possible. So, I definitely wouldn’t shut the door on it.”

            Well, you would not shut the door to the high win in the lottery either…

            “It seems as though your whole speech up there just is building a brick wall of anti-faith around yourself. You also have nothing to base your opinion of there being no pre-life or afterlife.”

            Well. I have. No evidence ever supported the notion of after and pre life. None. Zilch. Nada. zero. Well I can not come up with more… On the other hand I can not 100% guarantee it, But no, i would find it delusional to believe in it.

            “Considering you’re alive now, like us all, you know no more than the rest of us. Some people choose to believe different things about an afterlife, this is not limited to 100 virgins or whatever other stories you have heard or read. Who are you to say they are wrong?”

            Well, there is a next to 0 possibility they are right. But in a choice between a lottery ticket and a a possible after life i would choose the lottery ticket. The odds are, way, way, waaaaay better…

            “It is their belief. Not yours.”

            True enough. as long as they keep their illusion to themselves.

            “As anti-religious as you seem to be, you seem to have packaged yourself up nicely in just another conformist box of disbelief. Now, to you, it seems as though you have no other options for ‘hope’ because all these afterlife scenarios are a little too far-fetched for you, which is why there are many of us who don’t take things literally.”

            well they are extremely fat fetched. No i havent boxed my self up. I just trust reality a bit more.

            “You seem to have educated yourself _just enough_ to argue the opposite of what certain religious groups believe. We all don’t fit in boxes like that. It’s not religion’s fault you have no other options.”

            Actually, as you are living in reality as well, you have exactly the same options as I have. no more. No less.

            “Open your eyes. Humans run on faith.”

            No. They dont.
            “It is what keeps us alive.”

            No it doesnt.

            “Not just our hearts and our brains. Everything you feel, hear, smell, taste, see is all based upon that you have faith that it is there to begin with. You have faith and you don’t even know it.”

            No. It is based on sensory input. what _you_ attribute to it is another matter entirely. You can choose to build a myth around or you can interpret it in terms of reality. The choice is yours.

          • Nyxynox

            Again, I disagree with your scapegoating of religion… Religion does not have “a very high tendency to bring out” literalism – shame does. The inability to say “I don’t know” and to remain vulnerable in that not knowing. That can be applied to anyone regardless of belief or lack there of. My original point in the whole thread was that even atheists fall into the trap of literalism and as evidenced by the new “militant atheists” they are becoming the very thing they are railing against – fundamentalists (read: literalism).

            Granted I am all for separation of church and state, in terms of law making, etc. But the State is made up of people, voters, politicians, etc and those individuals have belief systems and religions that contribute to their existence as human. These systems are not entertainment, as you so dismissively stated. They are an important and profound part of someone’s life (or at least it is in my life). To say that a citizen, or politician cannot bring that to the table when discussing State (or life) matters equally dismissive and divisive. Then, those who are religious or spiritual become the scapegoated. We need discourse at all levels of society that can include every aspect of the human story, not just the ones that you or I feel the most comfortable with.

          • JH

            I cant say that I am scapegoating religion. I am more concluding facts in the matter. Religion are man made, and based on viral ideas. Shame, and control of sex, is usually intricate parts of any successful religion. The reasons for that are simple; sex is a very powerful drive in humans (most normal persons has sex ad will have it regardless of the current official group norm), and public shame is a very powerful emotion as well, few are those that enjoys being, figuratively speaking, naked in the society they live in. Humans species belong to the social animals and there it is important to fit in whatever norms is currently defining the group. It’s no wonder why religion usually is obsessive in these matters, it gives great control for the ones handling the levers. If you, for instance can create a norm where, lets say, masturbation, would be ‘shameful’ it would create a lot of handles on most people which in turn can be used to gain a level of control. Its really just basic psychology, and not very imaginative one at that.

            When it comes to the matter of saying ‘I don’t know’, I think that you will find most scientifically minded persons to be very open minded. There are plenty of things we do not know, this said, the same people usually see this as a great opportunity to learn something new and valuable. Or as Feynman put it; Scientist are not afraid of not knowing things. They find it thrilling. Which leads me to the passage of ‘fundamentalist atheism’. I do not see that happening. For one thing, a critical thinker must always be able to admit error. I know this to be hard personally, but never the less this is important because you develop in the process of accepting new facts and revising old theories, or if need be found new one, accordingly. Being wrong from time to time is fundamentally good. Over time it leads to better and improved understanding. This said. I have to accept the evidence at hand. Evolution for instance (which for some reason seems to be hard to accept for religious people) is not in debate among scientist, it is as stable, solid and proven as any other theory (gravity, light, electromagnetism, relativity and so forth). It yields expected result when put to test and nature at large behaves according to the theory. So it is valid in all scientific sense. Here, I would say, that religion has a lot to learn from the atheist groups. Religion in contrast is usually faith based. You have to have faith to see. And faith creates dogma, and dogma lead to literalism which is not a good thing for society at large.

            This is why I still, at the risk of repeating myself, feels it to be important that state and religion is separate in every aspect. This ideal, as you point out, might not be possible to implements but the US of A has actually had a very good short at it with their division of power and a first constitution that is inherently secular. This is a tradition US should keep, not strive to remove. By ensuring a mix of people with a mix of world views as diverse as possible the hope is to create a mean value which at least is in the vicinity of making sense (OK, I admit, I simplify the issue a bit, but this is, after all, a discussion board)…And yes, I still feel that if you would like to pursue your particular faith for your own entertainment, so be it. But do not get political about it. Leave it out from schools and other publicly funded organisations. If not, we will soon find our way on the slippery slope do a fundamentalist country. And that, my friends, is not a good thing.

          • nyxynox

            First, let define how I am using the word “shame.” Shame is a belief that there is something wrong with you, that you are defective in some way.

            Also, let me step out of the conversation a bit to explain my point of view. My religion is not based on faith or a ancient sacred text but personal experience, nor does it hold a dogma (I don’t believe that my way holds the only answer to whatever question or that my way is the best way), my religion does not reject any part of science but holds it as equally valid as any esoteric knowledge and my religion has no problem with any type of sex among consenting adults. So when I hear “Religion is the problem” or “Religious people are delusional” I am stunned and offended. And I feel compelled to inject into the “us/them” discussion the possibility of a middle way. I have no interest in changing anyone’s opinion about life, the universe, and everything.

            The first amendment and it’s freedom of religion clause states that congress cannot make a law establishing a state religion nor can it make laws based upon one religion’s ideals. I agree with that wholeheartedly! But to say that we, in the public domain, cannot discuss religion or have that be a part of national discussion on any issue, is like saying: We can have this discussion but you cannot bring up anything you learned in college (in class or out of class). My religion is an integral part of who I am, just like my time in college was integral to my development as a human being. I cannot just leave that at home.

            Where the discussion becomes a problem is when someone (a believer or not) states that their way is the best way and the only way – the dogmatism you talk about.

            Scientists are indeed open minded and are willing to admit they don’t know everything. However, the fundamentalist atheists I am talking about are the ones that call people like me delusional or stupid or silly because I don’t hold the same worldview they do and lump me and others who think like I do (there are a lot of us) into the same box as the Westburo Baptist church (for example). Dawkins, Harris, Huchiens, as well as some people who post on Disinfo, are doing that.

            My whole point is that it isn’t all black and white, there is some gray here. But we will never know that unless we are willing to share and discuss everything.

          • B1-66ER

            “My religion is not based on faith or a ancient sacred text but personal experience”. If you’re don’t have universally observable evidence for your religious beliefs, then its faith. It may not be faith in something someone else said, but it is faith nonetheless.
            That said, if you think that those “new atheists” which you mentioned have ever stated that they have 100% that they are right shows you have never read their works. What they will say however is that the probability of any of the thousands of deities humans have either made up or discovered actually existing is very low and to believe in any of them without any evidence, besides ancient dogma or anecdotal revelation which don’t count as evidence, is just as stupid and delusional as believing in ANYTHING without proper evidence.

          • Jordan

            My question is simply, why do you care so much? To prove yourself “right” in some way? To prove somebody “wrong?” Are you trying to “save” people? You know that’s what the Christians try to do… You don’t like them, do you? If you don’t agree. That’s OK. You can say so. Calm down. Hint: Using personal experience makes it ‘easier’ to prove any kind of point you have, for experience is unique to us all and cannot be argued.

          • JH

            You, as well as frost (I debated earlier) seems to be the variant of pick and choose). That makes sense as the bible (which I assume is your base) is riddled with contradictions, envy, hate and immoralities (and I have a pretty high ceiling). Picking and choosing though you can find your way through (but in the process the notion of an infallible god get demolished.

            I do not think that Dawkins, Harris and Christopher could be called ‘militant’. They don’t throw bombs or drive planes through buildings. They are, however, vocal about their choice in life, and they do not feel the least ashamed of it. I like their style. They will ask your questions and invoke your thought processes. Many people doesn’t like that, they prefer the little bubble they have built with their magic man holding them in the hand. Like me they use questions to when ever possible force you to really *think* about the matters. If you have a guy that say he beliefs in the bible and that it is his moral compass it is fair to ask him if he thinks it is ok to kill children by throwing them at rocks, keep slaves and concubines and sacrifice your son on mountain tops.

            It is also a fair question why the catholic church insists on spreading venereal disease in under developed countries by hindering such a thing as condom usage, or why the pop is not questioned, by police, and processed as any other criminal for his role in covering up the catholic priesthoods misconduct on boys in their care.

            I do not feel it is unfair to question religious organisations that want to influence your society either. And no I do not feel these organisations worthy of any form of special respect at all just because they claim to be religious. Ted Haggard (along with all other televangelist) are, plain and simple, con artist cheating people of their money. They are not worthy of any respect for their deeds. Phelps wasn’t a good man either. And the list just goes on. All of them with the common base; they get a way with it because they can call themselves ‘pastor’, reverend and claim some sort of connection with a supreme being. That is not worthy of respect either.

            So in short, I would not call them fundamentalists. They forces you out of your comfort zone and to start to think about things. And that is a good thing. If you feel comfortable in your faith you shouldn’t be worried, neither would they worry about you. Yes you live the illusion. But then again it is your life, and as long as you do not start a school where to indoctrinate children, they wont mind, neither would I.

            Live a good life!

          • nyxynox

            Thank you for you responses.

            Yes, Dawkins, et al. do force me out of my comfort zone and that is a good thing. It helps me clarify my perspective and question my beliefs, as is our conversation on this board. That is the benefit of civil debate.

            You have assumed wrong that my base is the bible. I am not Christian, I am pagan and my worldview is more akin to an indigenous peoples perspective than a western or eastern religious perspective. However, I have read the bible and you are right it is full of contradictions etc. as all mythology is. Now, when I use the term “mythology” I am not referring to falsehood rather the Joseph Campbell’s understanding of myth – that myth is a story of the human condition. We, as humans are full of contradictions, etc.

            Also, when I use the term “militant”, I am taking a phrase from Dawkins’ 2006 TED Talk where he refers to himself and his fellow outspoken atheists as such.

            I don’t deny that religion has done some horrible things in the name of their understanding of god. But I don’t blame religion, I blame the people. Power corrupts – religious or secular.

            We need to stop dividing ourselves into Us and Them. And anything I have posted here, I would say to a Fundi Christian. We need to start finding ways of bridging the gaps we have made not making them wider.

            I do live a good life and say thanks everyday. Good conversing with you.

          • JH

            “Yes, Dawkins, et al. do force me out of my comfort zone and that is a good thing. It helps me clarify my perspective and question my beliefs, as is our conversation on this board. That is the benefit of civil debate.”

            How very true. And that is a core principal in science as well, we might do pen fighting but ultimately we do not go out and kill one another over an idea that ha been overturned.

            “You have assumed wrong that my base is the bible. I am not Christian, I am pagan and my worldview is more akin to an indigenous peoples perspective than a western or eastern religious perspective.”

            Interesting. I was just judging from probability, not from what you actually wrote. Paganism is somethign I have very little knowledge about.

            “However, I have read the bible and you are right it is full of contradictions etc. as all mythology is. Now, when I use the term “mythology” I am not referring to falsehood rather the Joseph Campbell’s understanding of myth – that myth is a story of the human condition. We, as humans are full of contradictions, etc.”

            I am not familiar with that definition of myth. I will read up on the subject, it sounds like an interesting concept!

            “Also, when I use the term “militant”, I am taking a phrase from Dawkins’ 2006 TED Talk where he refers to himself and his fellow outspoken atheists as such.”

            I have seen it as well. If I recall correctly he used the term militant tin the sense that he is open about his point of view, something which by many religious people seems to be equated with being militant and offensive.

            “I don’t deny that religion has done some horrible things in the name of their understanding of god. But I don’t blame religion, I blame the people. Power corrupts – religious or secular.”

            well, religion being man made, it is just a tool to control large umber of people. You are quite right in your assertion that absolute power (or just plain power) corrupts. Atheist are not better in this regard. However religion tends to disregard the that fact while atheist sis aware and on guard for it. he net result is that religion *will* end up being used for ‘bad’ deeds, sooner or later. Especially when it clashes with another mythology (i.e. Christianity against Muslim, or for that matter the third variant, jewish faith system). As there is no room for interpretation (in the traiditoal sense, the old testament is quite rigid when it comes to its view on other mythologies) the clash is inevitable as long as the scripture of choice is used as a base for your actions.

            In this sense I feel that atheism has a better approach, we have no dogma or religious truths to consider (no ‘holy land’ to defend). Therefore we have less things to worry about and more freedom f movement to reach compromises.

            “We need to stop dividing ourselves into Us and Them. And anything I have posted here, I would say to a Fundi Christian. We need to start finding ways of bridging the gaps we have made not making them wider.”

            I am with you there brother… :-) That does not mean i will goto church and believe in ghosts any time soon.

            “I do live a good life and say thanks everyday. Good conversing with you.”

            Likewise!

          • David Frost

            Not necessarily, I’m a bit of a literalist, but I don’t shoot up abortion doctors, vote republican, harass gay people, etc.

            It’s more along the lines of there are good and bad people…bad people just try hard to justify all that hate with scripture. They don’t really, they just twist stuff around to fit their twisted world view.

            I’m also a bit of a loner and I am involved with a lot of things that takes a huge degree of individuality. Truth is there are highly conformist people that want to beat people over the head with it anytime someone marches to the beat of their own drum regardless of whether you are in church or out of church. Thats a fact of life which sucks but thats always going to be the case.

          • nyxynox

            Whenever you divide people up into “good” and “bad” you are scapegoating. We all have “light and dark”, “good and bad”, etc within us, as part of our personality. No one is completely “pure.” Those who “shoot up abortion doctors…” they are scapegoating just as anyone who lumps all religious people into zealot box.

          • David Frost

            That I agree with, I was talking about people like Fred Phelps that most anyone thinks is awful person. So not quite so much an authentic “evil incarnate” just bad in a way that brings a great deal of disgust in most peoples eyes and therefore a good analogy.

          • nyxynox

            I think Fred Phelps is a sad man. So much time and energy used on making other people’s misery more miserable. He is a walking trauma. I think he “doth protest too much”. He is most likely a very closeted homosexual that hates that part of him so much, so he projects it onto others.

          • David Frost

            Definitely. He also looks like the old guy from poltergeist :)

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C5AKM2QTHZAE267QH6T4N2TYLM Psychedelic

            When Phelps dies, I’ll bet we start hearing about some freaky stuff, like molestation and incest, and you will hear me saying “See, I was right!”

          • B1-66ER

            So you are one with Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Caligula and/or any of the other innumerable evil tyrants that have lived throughout human history or do you stand apart from them. Sorry dude, sometimes we have to take a stand and call a spade a spade.

          • David Frost

            It’s when I read stuff like that that I am convinced that some people would love to have thought police and thought crimes on the book.

          • JH

            Ahum, well, at least I have no such desires whatsoever. I prefer that you can think for yourself. I am very much a liberal in that sense.

          • David Frost

            I’m a liberal too, that doesn’t mean I have to change my religious views to what is “trendy” in liberal circles. But it’s good we both agree on thinking for ones self

          • David Frost

            Choosing science as a moral code and life philosophy is much like people who fall in love with inanimate objects, like love dolls. Thats a good analogy too…think about it, objects do a lot of great things and enrich life a lot, but loving it like a person or at least a living thing is a bit ridiculous. Same is true of science. Don’t get me wrong I love science, thats the bulk of my college courses I’ve taken, the books on my bookshelf, and I my dreams growing up were in that area. It still makes no sense to me why anyone would toss out every philosophy that comes from faith.

          • JH

            This is actually nonsensical. Why would it be better to base your life on an arbitrarily constructed illusion, where most of it where developed for goat herders in the bronze age? Would that be a ‘better’ solution? And in that case, in what way? Its just a question. Life, as I see it, is not inanimate (you seems to have another mindset ), and life belongs to reality, and reality is the primary input of ideas to handle our lives. Would it therefore be wrong of me to love my wife and children? so, in short, no. I do not buy you analogy. In regards of the philosophy it depends on what type of deity you happen to worship and what philosophy you happen to follow, there I have no input so I cant really say if it makes sense to throw it out. Note that I just made the assumption, from supposed geographic location, that you belong to one of the three major monotheistic religions. probably some flavour of christianity if I would guess.

          • David Frost

            If you look at it that way it will never make sense to you.

            Basically I take issue with materialism and instead favor intrinsic value with a belief in a dualistic reality of material and a more ethereal realm as well. Instead of cultural relativism which is synonymous with conforming you behavior to what is pervasive in society, I essentially model my behavior after timeless lifestyle choices that is actually quite reasonable when you really compare it with secular culture and behavior.

            So the basic question is why can’t you live your life and I’ll live mine the way I see fit? Because when you really look at it human beings do awful things regardless of whether they are Christian or atheist. Human nature has a bad element to it. Secularizing the world won’t make the world a better place. So when looking at it from that perspective atheists have no reason to try and convert anyone else to atheism. I find this rational argument doesn’t win atheists any converts either, it just serves as highly inflammatory rhetoric that is deeply annoying being that Christians and probably other faiths as well have these discussions on a regular basis and still continue to believe. Why? Because both sides have evidence that they use as proof.

          • B1-66ER

            Evidence for religion? Ummm then there would be no need for faith. People only have faith in things when they have no actual evidence to back up those beliefs.

          • David Frost

            Well I was talking about things like the idea that a single cell organisms spontaneously formed from simple proteins. A cell is actually remarkably complex and that doesn’t make a lot of sense as far as why protein would randomly form something as complex as a single cell organism. To someone like me I look at that as pointing toward a designer.

            Then you have the a lot of deeply prophetic statements in the Bible that explain the way certain things are incredibly well. Things like the constant unrest in the middle east, unending world poverty, people doing terrible things, etc.

          • B1-66ER

            So because you can’t explain something, that automatically points to a cosmic being who’s creation or existence you can’t explain? Simple god of the gaps reasoning and that just points to personal ignorance.

          • B1-66ER

            So because a book made “prophesies” that any schmuck could tell you (there are jerks in the world, when people have massive wealth others will be poor, in an area with with natural resources human power structures will fight over it) you think it somehow has an inside connection to some cosmic being? That just shows you have never read any other religious books because they ALL make obvious observations that the adherents use as “proof” that their personal book is “THE TRUTH”. The few “prophesies” of the Babble that have come to pass are just as easily made. The rest of them people just forgot about because they were bullshit. Remember Hal Lindsey? Yeah, I didn’t think so…

          • David Frost

            I’ve have lived life hard and seen a lot of things you aren’t supposed to see…it makes more sense to me than the next thing.

          • that1guy

            point one, and a lot of atheists won’t agree with this either, Atheism and non-theism do not equal scientific materialism.

            point 2. “So the basic question is why can’t you live your life and I’ll live mine the way I see fit”
            Because religious people actively legislate that I live the way they live, and that the world should be legally defined as they define it. Once a majority of church groups form voting blocks are are socially liberal, advance the separation of church and state, and promote materialistic reason as the best way to address policy concerns, then maybe then I’ll be OK with adopting a live and let live attitude. But how likely is that really?

          • David Frost

            The first point I’m scratching my head over because atheism is actively maintaining that god doesn’t exist or anything supernatural or transcendental for that matter. Atheism IS what was formally referred to as philosophical materialism. So if your an atheist you think anything beyond “when you die nothing happens” is false. If that doesn’t explain how you feel then you fit some other description. It’s actually quite a boring a cynical way to life ones life.

            Second point sounds to me more like you dislike the GOP and believe that by attacking us then you can get at them. Here are a few thoughts on that;

            1) that is a massive generalization/stereotyping and there are quite a few theists and atheists on both sides of the political spectrum, you just don’t hear a lot about leftest theists or right winged atheists because they aren’t very attractive to peoples attention

            2) the way the constitution is written it actually says two things, one, there will be no state church (in other words there is no “Church Of America”), and two, you can freely practice whatever you believe in. If a person wants to be highly vocal about it that is completely legally acceptable and so is it if a political figure bases ethical decisions around what they understand to be right from their faith.

            3) I’m I liberal too, and I admit most right wing thought leaves me scratching me head pretty hard, but you can’t “force” people to change their political views, especially not from denying them free expression of faith (a very basic civil right btw).

            4) the Bible isn’t as influential on right wing thought as most people would think, right wing thought has more to do with the US’ stances during the cold war than Christianity at it’s most Biblically pure form. It has actually been said “Jesus was a liberal” which isn’t entirely true, but he seamed more in step with that than with the GOP.

          • that1guy

            Second point 1st,

            ur1.I recognize that there are a number of right wing and left wing theists and atheists alike. Atheists have Objectivism and Communism, Theists have Islamo-fascism and Liberation Theology. I get that it’s a spectrum, but it’s a little ingenuous to claim that the record is equal as far as the negative political impacts of atheists vs. theists goes. A number of wedge issues in the US are defined by religious views and kept in the spotlight by religiously motivated activism. Also, we’re not just talking about the US and we’re not just talking about the past 20 years.

            ur2. While the constitution is a document I would love to see upheld to the letter indefinitely, it is not the be-all and end-all source of my political opinions. I think that separation of church and state, beyond that which the Constitution has been interpreted to demand, is in order. No tax breaks, no funding for overtly religious purposes(charity and non-profit work would be fine in my book tho), no proselytizing in public schools, courts of law, or legislative bodies. I would draw the line before limiting the political speech of churches or limiting political contributions from religious groups. That would be a dangerous incursion on individuals’ rights to free speech and peaceable assembly in my book.

            ur3. I have no intent to “force”(who were you quoting?) anyone to do anything. As a person with a strong
            libertarian bent, the idea of forcing someone to silence their views, religious or otherwise, especially through legislative action, is morally repugnant. Disallowing the state to sponsor certain views over others, based on religious sympathies, is different than forcing ideology on people. I believe in the objectivity of a true marketplace of ideas, and I believe that given an even playing field people would make more decisions based on reason and foreseeable material effects than on manipulated emotional reaction. This is not to say that there aren’t reasonable religious people out ther already(clearly, you are one), there just aren’t enough of them, and I think this would change if we stopped subsidizing certain religious beliefs. My refusal to “live and let live” is a refusal to remain silent in the face of ideological favoritism, not a promise to disenfranchise people who believe in a god I don’t believe in. You grossly mischaracterized my original argument, but I don’t think you did so intentionally, so, whatever.

            ur4. I’ll give you partial credit for this one. The right’s views on a number of issues are more influenced by skewed historical perspective than purely religious thought, although there certainly is some demographic overlap there that can’t be denied. The left has similar problems in my opinion. That said, religions, as social movements, exist as they are practiced, not as their texts are interpreted in the best light. So, for example, if Christians take a verse form the old testament out of context(Leviticus 18:22) and use it to justify the continued oppression of a segment of society, it doesn’t matter if the code they follow is later nullified in that text (Hebrews 8:8-12) in the view of some unpopular religious scholar somewhere. Sure, from certain perspectives Jesus was a radical activist, unopposed to civil disobedience right down to the “turning of the other cheek” being a veiled insult against anyone who tried to strike you (look it up), but this not how he has been revered and honored. If religions use a text as a weapon, that makes that religion violent and the peaceful message of the text irrelevant.

            OK, thanks for bearing with me. Now, on the first point, literally every resource I check defines Atheism as “non-belief in God or deities.” Check Wikipedia (as dubious a source as it is) for a more in depth discussion of this definition if you think Websters and the Oxford English dictionaries are simplifying the concept for brevity’s sake. It should be clear after a moment’s thought that you’ve conflated two distinct ideologies, scientific materialism and atheism, and while this is understandable, it is still not entirely accurate.
            A number of Atheists, especially those that are vocal against religious assaults on science, adhere to a materialist mindset, but this does not define the term Atheist. There are any number of irrational and non-scientific ways to view the world that don’t require belief in deities of any sort.

          • David Frost

            1) I do agree with you as far as there being more right winged theists and more left winged atheists. On the theist side, my side, I think thats actually terribly sad.

            2) Technically, the reason for the tax exempt status is because churches function for the good of the community, not only for charity and working to improve social issues but also as guidance and community with the only source of income being tithes. As far as the whole religion in public thing, thats a detailed issue, for the most part, regardless of whether or not you believe in god, Christianity is a part of the cultural fabric in the US. If you don’t believe how is that any different from not believing in Batman or Santa? I don’t think I was ever an atheist or agnostic but I went though I time when I didn’t care and really didn’t want to go to church, during that time I never got upset at people who chose to have faith.

            3) I am not much for libertarian politics, but a lot of my best friends are, I’m a democrat thats a straight edge and vegan and extremely anti-materialistic in philosophy. I also play experimental music and do a lot of marginal art. I guess because of all that “the marketplace of ideas” is an analogy I never liked that much, I like looking at is as “learn every last detail of everything you can, in every subject you can, then have the freedom to think or agree however you will.” The problem I keep seeing with secularists is that there isn’t a definite stopping point, different people have different views, and some take it to a level that is exactly like something of an atheist “inquisition.” I look at that and really worry and at times the overall tone of the debate gets like that. There are reasonable theists out there, the more reasonable ones are usually the more quiet and civil ones. The “nut jobs” are the ones that get the most attention. I do think certain things deserve to be pointed out. Like for example when Pat Robertson said that the blizzard that we just had happed to “keep people from doing something gay,” I thought that was absolutely ridiculous and made him the butt of my jokes for the whole week. Me I think that although everything happens for a reason, it has different reasons for different people, I had lots of R&R during that time which helped a lot.

            4) Absolutely!

            As far as the last part…I was reading a discussion and someone in that discussion said “you can be an atheist and believe in ghosts and UFO’s” A belief in UFO’s I can see, but not ghosts. I can see certain things like maybe belief that magnets help health issues or that maybe astrology works, but not anything that takes on a supernatural aspect. So thats what comes to mind when I say that.

          • JH

            No. There has never been any evidence for theistic approach. That is the core problem. Evidence, however, is the core for science. There you a have large difference.

          • Hempdude

            Are you paying attention to whats happeneing today?How do you know the artist that you site are theists or that the goddanm church got ahold of history books again?Please illuminate yourself.

          • Tuna Ghost

            Bach wrote an enormous collection of work for the Church. What do you think “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desire” is about? And Vivaldi was an actual priest, so maybe a little education wouldn’t kill you, eh?

          • Hempdude

            Like I said,you’re not paying attention.Im suprised you’re even aware of this website.We dont believe in much here in case you didnt notice.History has a funny,if thats even the correct word,way of comming out on the side of greed and cruelty.Like ancient Rome.Do you believe all those artists painted for the Vatican becuase they had a choice?Grow up.

          • Tuna Ghost

            We dont believe in much here in case you didnt notice.

            I hope you stick around, kid. You crack me up.

            At any rate, your understanding of history is a bit uniformed, I’m afraid. Bach and Vivaldi forced to write music for the church against their will? Vivaldi, whose most famous works do not have Christian themes? I’m starting to think you’re not actually familiar at all with these men or their works.

          • Hempdude

            The United States Constitution doe not say “Believe in our dillusions about gods or starve to death”I wonder what happened to all those homeless people in New york City? Getting an earful of “praise the lord”brainwashing no doubt.And what was the names of all those NYC mayors?

          • David Frost

            I don’t smoke weed Hempdude :)

            sXe and proud

          • B1-66ER

            That doesn’t mean you couldn’t use the hemp plant for any of the other 25,000 uses that don’t involve getting high.

          • David Frost

            True…I just disagree with the idea that it leads to some sort on higher consciousness, but it does have some great practical uses.

          • B1-66ER

            I would have to agree with you an that one. The only thing that leads to “higher consciousness” is ourselves, whether we are high or not. The only things that drugs can do however, is to take you out of your normal perspective for a while and allow you to see the world through a different lens, which can be a healthy thing for people. The only problem is when people are high so much that it becomes their perspective. In that sense I think occasional use of psychedelics can be good to help people see the world from a different perspective, but I understand the personal decisions to not use them.

          • David Frost

            Exactly, Way back in the day when people lived in villages and had medicine men that guided people through the altered state of mind to learn something in the process, it made some sense, but recreational use doesn’t produce the same results.

          • that1guy

            Meh, lets not be too hard on the druggies. There are a lot of unenlightened assholes walking around tripping on yoga practices they’ve taken up out of context as well.
            What you take from drug or non-drug experiences depends on how you’ve learned to approach life, not what exact chemicals your neurons are bathed in or where they came from.

            “The dullard sees no eros in fine champagne; the sorcerer can fall intoxicated on a glass of water.”

          • Ohuknow

            Fasting, fighting, and roller coasters work as well. You don’t need to add chemicals to your brain to manipulate your brain chemistry.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UDC2N7OXOUWQIEQUGFLRRC27UQ cameron

            My only concern with the lives of others is how their possibly delusional thinking might have detrimental impacts on other people. Two words to at least show where my thinking comes from: Sarah Palin.

          • B1-66ER

            My only concern with what other people believe is only in relation to the possibly detrimental impact that their possibly delusional thinking has on other people. Two words is all I need for an example of where my position on this comes from: Sarah Palin.

        • Scardog02

          bob dylan is a christian

        • JD

          I’m confused Rufus; is this the argument from authority? We are supposed to believe that atheism is the correct metaphysical position because famous poets typically fell into that camp? If you want to go that way, I suppose I could say that everyone should have faith because the father of quantum physics, Max Planck, believed in a God, Oxford mathematics professor John Lennox believed in a God and so does leading edge biologist Francis Collins. Robert Lanza, whom US News World Report likened to the new “Einstein” due to his cutting edge genetic engineering, believes that consciousness is primal to the universe. I have to say that in the brains department, Planck trumps a Beetle any day of the week. Nevertheless, we ought to reach our own conclusions. Science deals with mechanisms of the natural world around us and for this reason I don’t think religious tenets should be introduced into the public classroom, but not because these profound questions are inferior to science, but because it’s akin to teaching philosophy in an automotive workshop; something in this picture just doesn’t fit. The acceptance of God on both an intellectual level and any revelatory experience is something that the atheist cannot relate to and not always because they’re too smart to fall into that trap. There are great intellectual arguments for the exoistence of God and physics provides for us many evidences for that faith if not proof.

          “For those that believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who don’t believe, no explanation is possible.”
          - The Bishop of Lourdes
          “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176)”.
          -Alexander Vilenkin / Professor of Physics and Director of the Institute of Cosmology at Tufts University
             

  • Anonymous

    “I used to be an atheist, until I realized I had nothing to shout during blowjobs.”

    Robert Anton Wilson

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    Not to delve into a conspiracy, but more as a thought experiment:
    is it possible that the gods and the heavens have always been a hidden symbol (in plain view) for an upper echelon of human society to guarantee absolute control in a top-down power structure. Is it possible to know whether when you go deep down into your soul for answers, are you just undergoing deep complentation, or are you communing with a god? Could you tell the difference? who would tell you the difference? an authority figure (priest, pope… president)?

  • E.B. Wolf

    CNN= Diet Fox?

  • E.B. Wolf

    CNN= Diet Fox?

  • Anonymous

    “I qualified this “large group of people.” I don’t consider them authentic atheists, but rather nominal atheists.” I don’t disagree with you that there are plenty of people using the name “atheist” who are completely ignorant to what that means but that number is only a small fraction of the people who admit no belief in God. Your quote seems to suggest that there are relatively few real Atheists, that the new “modern” Atheist is a significantly large percentage and that these “modern” Atheists are largely so because of a fad of Atheism popular like a new dance style. I would suggest that the growing number of people willing to admit their Atheism is directly related to the acceptance of the community those people live in. The less someone feels there will be prejudice against their lack of belief the more they are likely to admit it.

    “Neither of us are Atheists because of some kind of hatred of a God. ”
    “Did they teach the fallacy of the biased sample to you at Atheist Camp? Just kidding, I’m sure you didn’t just do the inverse of what you accused me of at the start of your response. ”

    My example is an extremely small sample to base a larger inference on. But was not meant to describe ourselves as much as to describe more than one path to Atheism that do not involve an anger or hatred towards a deity.

    “Have you even read the article you’re commenting on?”
    My point being that just because an Atheist who was once a believer admits to a frustration or anger with their deity when they were a believer does not mean that anger was the reason for their Atheism. If I admitted to being angry at Santa for not bringing me a bike when I was 8, this does not mean that my anger at that time resulted in a decision to destroy Santa by simply refusing to believe in him. I would propose in this instance that someone who no longer believes in God is more likely to admit their frustrations with God at a time when they did believe than someone who still believes.
    Much in the same way that someone is more likely to admit their anger at an employer once they no longer believe that employer has the ability to effect their financial or employment future.

    I believe your premise to be correct that there are people who are mislabeled or mislabel themselves as Atheists when in reality they may not be being honest with themselves about their belief or lack of it. The people who are mislabeled though are largely confined to people who have not given much thought to their own beliefs and teenagers/twenty somethings who are confused about the manifestation of their beliefs, lack of beliefs, or preference for belief or not.

  • Nyxynox

    And atheists (and other fundamentalists) don’t understand poetry and metaphor…

  • Anonymous

    “Do not needlessly multiply entities”. I suggest you look up Occam’s Razor.

    There might — just might! — be an entire colony of little blue and purple aliens living inside my computer screen running around arranging pixels every time I type a letter. You can’t see them because they don’t want you to, so you can’t just open the screen to look. I refuse to stop believing in them, no matter how many times you open the screen and explain to me exactly how the letters are capable of showing up without the aliens. I just know in my heart, they must be there. Same proposition as most gods. If I posit it to be so, the burden of proving their existence falls on me, not the other way around. Anything else is beyond irrational.

    Atheism is not an active disbelief in a god. It’s the absence of any evidence for gods making the concept of a god irrelevant.

  • ken vallario

    Occam’s Razor is only appropriate in very acute, precisely defined discussions. we are dealing with very complex ideas, phenomena that cover vast areas of human experience….and ‘God’ is an idea that we cannot necessarily use the razor against, since you might interpret that word to mean a singular omnipotent being…i don’t necessarily think that God needs to be omnipotent…in fact, i believe many memes act in ways that we consider Gods, since they are ideas we adhere to, without a full understanding. Occam’s Razor falls under this category…it implies something about the nature of the universe that might not be true. the universe might not be explained by the simplest explanation. if you lived in pre-history, the simplest explanation as to the shape of the world would have been flat…it’s a flat world…well, only those who were able to imagine something differently, by utilizing doubt of what was readily available would, because of that doubt explore facts..they would seem to be a fool…
    here too, in the realm of spirit…those who believe the universe is flat…that it is without intelligent forms outside our own, are incapable of that kind of wide-ranging skepticism i am advocating for. of course, i believe there is no direct evidence of God I would point to…but i find it curious that any animal would evolve into a God-consciousness…i am simply stating that atheism is an intellectual risk, that i don’t feel is worth the cost. it places too much stock on human reason…and afterall, human reason has developed within this monkey brain…so not only am i not ready to argue absolutely for the existence of God in any form, i am not ready to argue for the absolute supremacy of reason…and it is because of this that I claim you have made a God of reason.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Oddly…I know of no one calling themselves an atheist who would qualify for any of this. Not one. When we were thirteen, maybe it was “GOD…WHYYYYYY! YOU DICK!” but by 21 it was “You people are morons…I refuse to share your delusions.”

    The anger is at the behavior of men and women…who claim to speak for a god…while venting their personal grudges and biases as if those were holy writ. There is no anger at God…because there is no God…although the real irony is that such ignorance could be perpetuated via CNN and nodded at with a vague air of seriousness. Using word games in a study to capture the obvious anger one might feel at God before becoming an atheist and then portraying it as a hypocritical example of rage at what you claim not to believe in…well media fail is fail, but God-fail is epic fail.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Oddly…I know of no one calling themselves an atheist who would qualify for any of this. Not one. When we were thirteen, maybe it was “GOD…WHYYYYYY! YOU DICK!” but by 21 it was “You people are morons…I refuse to share your delusions.”

    The anger is at the behavior of men and women…who claim to speak for a god…while venting their personal grudges and biases as if those were holy writ. There is no anger at God…because there is no God…although the real irony is that such ignorance could be perpetuated via CNN and nodded at with a vague air of seriousness. Using word games in a study to capture the obvious anger one might feel at God before becoming an atheist and then portraying it as a hypocritical example of rage at what you claim not to believe in…well media fail is fail, but God-fail is epic fail.

  • Alturn

    Should be no problem with atheists getting angry with ‘God’, whatever that is. Tibetan Buddhists look at things better, anyway. They just say there’s ‘that which not can be said’. As for God – it’s easier to see it as an abbreviation for Greatness of divinity. And the need for true, loving, pure divinity – not the judgemental, angry smiting concoction that drives many out of religion – is something that even most atheists would welcome.

    “Isms, ideologies and beliefs are essential stages in the life of every human being. I was
    astonished when Maitreya told us that they represented the “second nature” of our lives, that evolution can only take place through them, and is in fact controlled by them, said Maitreya’s associate. I had always thought that they were obstructions on the path of salvation. Maitreya told us that we should not tell people to abandon their beliefs and philosophies or trust and faith in them, he continued. Human beings are motivated by isms such as love, faith, trust, and patriotism. It is important for their survival in second nature — in the world in which they live. The spark inside them has, one day, to be free from that nature and its illusions.”
    - World Teacher Maitreya through an associate as reported to the media by Share International

  • Alturn

    Should be no problem with atheists getting angry with ‘God’, whatever that is. Tibetan Buddhists look at things better, anyway. They just say there’s ‘that which not can be said’. As for God – it’s easier to see it as an abbreviation for Greatness of divinity. And the need for true, loving, pure divinity – not the judgemental, angry smiting concoction that drives many out of religion – is something that even most atheists would welcome.

    “Isms, ideologies and beliefs are essential stages in the life of every human being. I was
    astonished when Maitreya told us that they represented the “second nature” of our lives, that evolution can only take place through them, and is in fact controlled by them, said Maitreya’s associate. I had always thought that they were obstructions on the path of salvation. Maitreya told us that we should not tell people to abandon their beliefs and philosophies or trust and faith in them, he continued. Human beings are motivated by isms such as love, faith, trust, and patriotism. It is important for their survival in second nature — in the world in which they live. The spark inside them has, one day, to be free from that nature and its illusions.”
    - World Teacher Maitreya through an associate as reported to the media by Share International

  • Ivan

    “I would suggest that the growing number of people willing to admit their Atheism is directly related to the acceptance of the community those people live in. The less someone feels there will be prejudice against their lack of belief the more they are likely to admit it.”

    You make it sound like atheism is still a big taboo. Outside of backwater communities and in modern civilization, this is simply not true. If you work in the arts and sciences, you are much more likely to be maligned for your belief rather than the lack thereof.

    “My point being that just because an Atheist who was once a believer admits to a frustration or anger with their deity when they were a believer does not mean that anger was the reason for their Atheism.”

    Your point is entirely valid, but so what? If you constantly experience hardship and blame God for your troubles, eventually the anger will lead to disillusionment. There are many atheists who arrived at their beliefs through reason, but you should heed the existence of those atheists who arrived at their beliefs through passion. They’re the ones who can do a lot of damage.

  • Ivan

    “I would suggest that the growing number of people willing to admit their Atheism is directly related to the acceptance of the community those people live in. The less someone feels there will be prejudice against their lack of belief the more they are likely to admit it.”

    You make it sound like atheism is still a big taboo. Outside of backwater communities and in modern civilization, this is simply not true. If you work in the arts and sciences, you are much more likely to be maligned for your belief rather than the lack thereof.

    “My point being that just because an Atheist who was once a believer admits to a frustration or anger with their deity when they were a believer does not mean that anger was the reason for their Atheism.”

    Your point is entirely valid, but so what? If you constantly experience hardship and blame God for your troubles, eventually the anger will lead to disillusionment. There are many atheists who arrived at their beliefs through reason, but you should heed the existence of those atheists who arrived at their beliefs through passion. They’re the ones who can do a lot of damage.

  • Anonymous

    I agree on your point about people causing damage when they arrive at Atheism as a opposite to religion instead of a belief that there is no God.

    I don’t think your right though about Atheism not being taboo anymore. The arts and sciences may be more tolerant but not the majority of people. It’s political suicide to admit your Atheism while running for office, we have had outbursts of anger that children may be being taught by teachers who are privately Atheists.

    There are polls that have been done (in the U.S.A.) showing Atheists as one of the least accepted groups of people in the country. A study by the University of Michigan found that Atheists were the least trusted minority group in the country, even scoring a few points below convicted criminals.

  • Ivan

    “It’s political suicide to admit your Atheism while running for office, we have had outbursts of anger that children may be being taught by teachers who are privately Atheists.”

    It’s political suicide to go against the party line. Look at the historical record and you’ll find as many private atheists as you find private believers in political office. Machiavelli was quite frank about how rulers should relate to religion: not necessary, but can be helpful.

    “There are polls that have been done (in the U.S.A.) showing Atheists as one of the least accepted groups of people in the country. A study by the University of Michigan found that Atheists were the least trusted minority group in the country, even scoring a few points below convicted criminals.”

    I’ve heard of this. I’m not going to go into the reasons why I think this is the case, but I do wonder if the trust levels would be higher for an agnostic or a religiously liberal person, such as a Unitarian.

  • Haystack

    I assure you that many of us continue to be both amused and indifferent toward your non-existent god.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NS7MLVSCJ26VK5NSGYXKMU7TNA Rufus Dill

    Since there is no God, then it is impossible to be angry at God. But his followers certainly deserve a lot of heat.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NS7MLVSCJ26VK5NSGYXKMU7TNA Rufus Dill

    Since there is no God, then it is impossible to be angry at God. But his followers certainly deserve a lot of heat.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NS7MLVSCJ26VK5NSGYXKMU7TNA Rufus Dill

    Then why have the best poets of the last 200 years The Romantics, Baudelaire, Jim Morrison, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, had no belief in the Christian God.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NS7MLVSCJ26VK5NSGYXKMU7TNA Rufus Dill

    Even if someone accepts the idea that some kind of diety shaped reality that is still lightyears away from the God being the God you seem to want it to be the Judeao-Christian version. If there ever was a creator there is just as much or more reason to believe it was one like those imagined by H. P. Lovecraft, or those written about by the Sumerians after all they wrote about God first and the Hebrews borrowed their ideas to create their own God, or the Gnostic version (the way the Catholics suppressed their texts at the Council of Nicea, one can certainly say that they contained some information about God that the Churchmen of their day were very much against all the laymen knowing about) than to think it was Yahweh.

  • Tuna Ghost

    The fact that you think Jim Morrison is one of the best poets of the last 200 years invalidates anything else you may claim.

  • Tuna Ghost

    I think we could all benefit from a closer look at what the article is actually saying:

    In studies on college students, atheists and agnostics reported more anger at God during their lifetimes than believers. A separate study also found this pattern among bereaved individuals.

    I generally understand college students to be pretty fucking dumb (actually, anyone in their late teens and early twenties for that matter) and find that they usually don’t know what they’re talking about, but moving that aside we should hammer out a couple points:

    a. Being an atheist doesn’t exempt you having ever been angry at God. It does not good to claim “no atheist would ever report having been angry at God, atheists don’t believe in God”, because that isn’t true. Whether God is real like Bill Clinton is real or real like Santa is real is immaterial for anyone who at any point thought of God (or Santa, I guess) as being like another person hanging around. The article mentions that the anger directed toward God very closely resembled the sort of anger we direct at other people, so this should come as no surprise.

    b. The article points out many reasons one would or would not report being angry with God, and I think we can all think of several reasons why someone with deeply (or even kind-of-deeply) held religious beliefs would not report having been angry with God, even though the truth of the matter may have been otherwise.

    Personally, I can’t imagine why a religiously inclined person wouldn’t admit to being angry with God at some point. The word “Israel” means “struggles with God”, so I shouldn’t think it’d be very blasphemous. Being angry with God is not an uncommon theme throughout Jewish history and literature, so there you go.

    • that1guy

      total aside

      “I generally understand college students to be pretty fucking dumb (actually, anyone in their late teens and early twenties for that matter)”

      The neocortex does not fully develop until your mid-twenties for most folks, meaning emotional responses are harder to temper with strategic thinking.

  • Tuna Ghost

    I think we could all benefit from a closer look at what the article is actually saying:

    In studies on college students, atheists and agnostics reported more anger at God during their lifetimes than believers. A separate study also found this pattern among bereaved individuals.

    I generally understand college students to be pretty fucking dumb (actually, anyone in their late teens and early twenties for that matter) and find that they usually don’t know what they’re talking about, but moving that aside we should hammer out a couple points:

    a. Being an atheist doesn’t exempt you having ever been angry at God. It does not good to claim “no atheist would ever report having been angry at God, atheists don’t believe in God”, because that isn’t true. Whether God is real like Bill Clinton is real or real like Santa is real is immaterial for anyone who at any point thought of God (or Santa, I guess) as being like another person hanging around. The article mentions that the anger directed toward God very closely resembled the sort of anger we direct at other people, so this should come as no surprise.

    b. The article points out many reasons one would or would not report being angry with God, and I think we can all think of several reasons why someone with deeply (or even kind-of-deeply) held religious beliefs would not report having been angry with God, even though the truth of the matter may have been otherwise.

    Personally, I can’t imagine why a religiously inclined person wouldn’t admit to being angry with God at some point. The word “Israel” means “struggles with God”, so I shouldn’t think it’d be very blasphemous. Being angry with God is not an uncommon theme throughout Jewish history and literature, so there you go.

  • Tuna Ghost

    I think we could all benefit from a closer look at what the article is actually saying:

    In studies on college students, atheists and agnostics reported more anger at God during their lifetimes than believers. A separate study also found this pattern among bereaved individuals.

    I generally understand college students to be pretty fucking dumb (actually, anyone in their late teens and early twenties for that matter) and find that they usually don’t know what they’re talking about, but moving that aside we should hammer out a couple points:

    a. Being an atheist doesn’t exempt you having ever been angry at God. It does not good to claim “no atheist would ever report having been angry at God, atheists don’t believe in God”, because that isn’t true. Whether God is real like Bill Clinton is real or real like Santa is real is immaterial for anyone who at any point thought of God (or Santa, I guess) as being like another person hanging around. The article mentions that the anger directed toward God very closely resembled the sort of anger we direct at other people, so this should come as no surprise.

    b. The article points out many reasons one would or would not report being angry with God, and I think we can all think of several reasons why someone with deeply (or even kind-of-deeply) held religious beliefs would not report having been angry with God, even though the truth of the matter may have been otherwise.

    Personally, I can’t imagine why a religiously inclined person wouldn’t admit to being angry with God at some point. The word “Israel” means “struggles with God”, so I shouldn’t think it’d be very blasphemous. Being angry with God is not an uncommon theme throughout Jewish history and literature, so there you go.

  • Tuna Ghost

    The comments in the study about bereaved individuals offers a good clue, I think. Someone with a lot of anger toward God for unfairly taking someone finds no answer they can hear, decides it’s because there is no one there to answer their objections. Makes sense, no? One can (and has, judging by the comments here) argue that the fact that there is no God means one can’t be angry at him, but I don’t think that’s true. I’ve been angry at Santa before, and I wouldn’t go so far as to claim “I was angry at the idea of Santa”. The anger took the form of the sort of anger we have for other physical people, so I think the language used is correct. I mean, people obviously thought so as well, because they reported having been angry with God despite not believing in him.

    That sort of anger just doesn’t disappear when you decide that God (or Santa) doesn’t exist, and you’re left with an anger directed toward something that you know isn’t there. So on the one hand, you’re honestly claiming that you don’t believe in God, but at the same time you’re holding a deep anger toward God. A contradiction, sure, but that doesn’t mean it we can’t do it. Like Whitman said, “Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. I am vast, I contain multitudes”.

  • Tuna Ghost

    The comments in the study about bereaved individuals offers a good clue, I think. Someone with a lot of anger toward God for unfairly taking someone finds no answer they can hear, decides it’s because there is no one there to answer their objections. Makes sense, no? One can (and has, judging by the comments here) argue that the fact that there is no God means one can’t be angry at him, but I don’t think that’s true. I’ve been angry at Santa before, and I wouldn’t go so far as to claim “I was angry at the idea of Santa”. The anger took the form of the sort of anger we have for other physical people, so I think the language used is correct. I mean, people obviously thought so as well, because they reported having been angry with God despite not believing in him.

    That sort of anger just doesn’t disappear when you decide that God (or Santa) doesn’t exist, and you’re left with an anger directed toward something that you know isn’t there. So on the one hand, you’re honestly claiming that you don’t believe in God, but at the same time you’re holding a deep anger toward God. A contradiction, sure, but that doesn’t mean it we can’t do it. Like Whitman said, “Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. I am vast, I contain multitudes”.

  • Ivan

    Interesting how nowhere in my comment did I state what I believe, yet you immediately jump to “your” God. Just proves my point, I guess. Keep tilting at those windmills, you belligerent (and yet indifferent) creature.

  • Simiantongue

    “why is the burden of proof on theists”

    Because they are making the claim. I mean, you don’t expect every theist to have an entourage that are required to disprove everything they could possible imagine and if it is not disproved, it must be true. People have better things to do with their time.

    “what proof do the atheists have that no outside force is affecting human history?”

    See quartz99 response to you. It’s very strange to assume something does exist, merely because there is no evidence for or against it. As a matter of fact it is actually likely that if there is no evidence for or against something that may be for a very good reason, because It doesn’t really exist.

    “any form of outside intelligence affecting human life could be seen, admittedly a stretch in language, but any outside intelligence could be understood to be a ‘god’ of sorts, as it would so confuse our rational minds, and appear miraculous…even on the small scale.”

    So god is an abstract intelligence, outside of something, affecting human life? Let me take a moment to point out how this “outside intelligence” has been continually sequestering itself. In the early days of humanity it was outside of our communities, perhaps in a dark mysterious wood that only shamans were allowed to enter. When we ventured there and found none, these intelligences inhabited far off places like mountaintops. When we ventured to the mountaintops and found none, they were surely in the heavens. When we ventured there and turned our telescopes to the heavens and found none, they retreated outside of existence as we know it, BUT! Though they are outside existence, they still exist. Hmm… that takes some psychological compartmentalization, but still sounds far off doesn’t it? You’ll have to forgive me when I say that the latest explanation of existing outside of existence sounds like more of the same, we can know what is unknowable, vacuous crap people have been selling for millenia.

    Every form of intelligence we know of requires some sort of physical structure. Please astound us with your new hypothesis of how intelligence is possible without it. This should be interesting. While you’re at it how about an explanation of what “outside” is? really it’s a nice trick to say that it’s a stretch in language. But what exactly are you getting at? How do you know there is an intelligence without physical structure? How is it “outside”. These terms can mean anything

    “however, one cannot fully accept a ‘position’ of atheism without at least wondering about the emotional background..”

    We have a divergence of opinion there. I don’t think atheist is a position. I hate to bring up the old canard but not collecting stamps isn’t a hobby either. Just because you have some belief that I do not share does not automatically make me at odds with or in some “position”. At least, I don’t wake up every day saying I don’t believe in Wotan, Poseidon or Jesus. I’d hate to say that because I don’t take Vishnu as part of reality that I have a “position”. Stating it in such a way that an atheist has a “position” sounds more like aggressive posturing to me. Setting up an Us VS Them sort of mindset. Which is what theists tend to do. Sociological ingrouping and the like, you are either one of us or against us crap. The theistic mindset is never more content than when it is imagining itself as persecuted.

    “as atheism, like all worldviews, does infringe upon the openness of a truly scientific perspective, one able to accept evidence of phenomena, even when it does not match our notions of fact.”

    You’ll have to explain how that works, atheism infringing upon the openness of scientific perspective? Atheists are usually, not always, skeptical. I can’t abide the term “new atheist” but if there is one defining factor in describing the “new atheist” as opposed to an “old atheist” is the fact that the new atheist actually has objective proof that most of what theists claim about the nature of the universe is complete garbage because of the use of science. There actually is a close relationship between science and atheism, much the same as theism and religion. In atheism and science there is no dogma, they adjust their views according to observation. Theism and religion are the denial of observation so that belief can be preserved.

    “and atheism, like religious extremism is a ‘position’ in a relative universe… ”

    Ah no, I disagree completely. The sliding scale of atheism-agnosticism-theism is complete bunk thought up by some theist. As a matter of fact atheism is nothing like the other two. It is not some extreme position. It is just not taking your unsubstantiated beliefs about the nature of the universe at face value. Nothing more. If not believing everything someone else has to say is considered and extreme position then I don’t think there is much room for converation here.

  • Gregory

    Oh yeah. Well, this is what you get when you have a philosophical position that you found in your Xmas Cracker along with the plastic whistle and the paper crown. Atheists really don’t understand what they’re saying when they deny the existence of anything other than natural phenomena because that is trying to disprove the existence of consciousness, which is what we actually are, not this crude matter. They are fixated on the major gods of major “religions,” that are relatively new in the history of humanity, most frequently Xianity, but they really don’t take the time to contemplate what it really means for there to be nothing other than just physical matter, because that means our mind/consciousness is just a biological/neurological side-effect and has no more value than moss growing on a tree, and such an idea leaches all meaning from existence and so there is zero point to life. The atheists own fervor and earnestness in their position speaks to how important it is for them to try and understand life, but they are trying to shoot the trees but don’t realize you can’t shoot the forest.

    Atheism is like a landscaper trying to deny the existence of grass or a weatherman trying to deny the existence of clouds or Willie Nelson trying to deny the existence of wacky weed(tm) or Pixar trying to deny the existence of computer animation.

    Fiat lux

    • quartz99

      On the contrary, atheists often see that as giving far greater significance to life because we know we have to make the most of the short short short time we have. We’re not willing to put off our happiness trying to be “good enough” to get into the next world/life/heaven. Go out and live. Love the people in your life. Love your life. It’s all you got. When it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

    • that1guy

      Ok. New rule.
      If we have to judge religion by it’s best least dogmatic elements, eg open-minded spirituality, than the open-minded spiritualists need to judge Atheism by its best elements and stop trying to pigeon-hole our beliefs in to a strictly materialist framework.
      Also, on a single point, even from within a materialist framework, which I don’t think its healthy to strictly adhere to, it is possible to account for consciousness as a material phenomena, and there are branches of scientific inquiry and philosophy devoted to doing so. Sum, ergo cogito: cogito, ergo sum

      • Tuna Ghost

        Ok. New rule.
        If we have to judge religion by it’s best least dogmatic elements, eg open-minded spirituality, than the open-minded spiritualists need to judge Atheism by its best elements and stop trying to pigeon-hole our beliefs in to a strictly materialist framework.

        Wait, you mean have an actual discussion? But then where will I go to call people “retarded”?

        Regarding your second point, Dan Dennetts Consciousness Explained is a great book on that very subject, but I still find it lacking in explaining the oh-so-convincing experience of I-ness. I have my own theory cobbled together from various metaphysical theories and Dennett and Hofstader, but it involves a 4-d supersolid and banana named Paul so no one takes me seriously.

  • Gregory

    Oh yeah. Well, this is what you get when you have a philosophical position that you found in your Xmas Cracker along with the plastic whistle and the paper crown. Atheists really don’t understand what they’re saying when they deny the existence of anything other than natural phenomena because that is trying to disprove the existence of consciousness, which is what we actually are, not this crude matter. They are fixated on the major gods of major “religions,” that are relatively new in the history of humanity, most frequently Xianity, but they really don’t take the time to contemplate what it really means for there to be nothing other than just physical matter, because that means our mind/consciousness is just a biological/neurological side-effect and has no more value than moss growing on a tree, and such an idea leaches all meaning from existence and so there is zero point to life. The atheists own fervor and earnestness in their position speaks to how important it is for them to try and understand life, but they are trying to shoot the trees but don’t realize you can’t shoot the forest.

    Atheism is like a landscaper trying to deny the existence of grass or a weatherman trying to deny the existence of clouds or Willie Nelson trying to deny the existence of wacky weed(tm) or Pixar trying to deny the existence of computer animation.

    Fiat lux

  • thicket man

    Atheism/theism..etc!!

    I wonder whether these are all just semantic results of a rather linguistically linear and labelled outlook on life …one that has to label and tag everything within a certain linguistic category.It is amazing that we get our knickers all tied up over what amounts to semiotic squabbles.

    Identification with certain words has members of society salivating quicker than Pavlov’s dogs at the chance to defend their own categorically defined ideals within a certain given language terminology .
    (; terminus/end point) Concepts concerning the nature of the universe are just too big and lucid to be summed up with tags. These types of conversations should be about opening up , not closing down one’s viewpoints.

    I guess my point is akin to Mckenna’s urges to step away from the fishbowl of pure language into a more integrated experiential view point and enter a dialogue with one another or sharing format (think of art as a form of both expressing oneself and understanding others)

    I don’t think any atheist would deny that there are great mysteries in the world yet unsolved provoking wonder, nor do I think that any thoughtful believer would cut off the possibility of their Buddah/Jesus/whoever trying to communicate their graces through what non-believers see as “merely” the awesome breadth of nature. … What’s the difference though at the core human experiential level though?

    It is all too similar to the ” Is it a red chair/ No it’s a green chair that has been merely painted red.”argument.

    Pointless .

    Endless.

    Fruitless.

    Back to my drawings. Peace to all.

  • Zedge

    I think; what the theists take for anger at there silly gods is nothing more than our anger with theists who believe that this planet is a temporary pit-stop on the way to some big reward. This planet, everything on it and everything else in the universe is of no consequence and was put here for our exclusive use. Why should they care what happens to the earth they think they are the “chosen ones” and the earth is like some hotel room that they can trash and leave the maid to clean up. Their “job” in life is to prepare for the “afterlife” but, when the “rapture” never comes their own children will pay the price (sorry, we broke the TV, there are no clean towels and your out of toilet paper). We are angry at you theist who continually start wars and then blame atheist! We are angry that you have insinuated your foolish beliefs into every nook and granny of everyday life! We are angry because your ilk have always sought to control others through force, intimidation and terror! We are angry because you have spread like a disease in our governments and seek to enforce your brand of morality through the power the law. We are sick and tired of you stupid [Insert derogatory remark here] theists getting in the way of progress, killing each other and destroying our planet in the name of [insert your god here] …so yeah we are angry we are getting more and more angry as time goes on. I believe the theist want us to be angry with their gods but, we are angry with the delusional thinking not the delusion. How could we hold your make believe friends accountable for your actions? Why would we? YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE!

    • Hempdude

      Nice.

  • Zedge

    I think; what the theists take for anger at there silly gods is nothing more than our anger with theists who believe that this planet is a temporary pit-stop on the way to some big reward. This planet, everything on it and everything else in the universe is of no consequence and was put here for our exclusive use. Why should they care what happens to the earth they think they are the “chosen ones” and the earth is like some hotel room that they can trash and leave the maid to clean up. Their “job” in life is to prepare for the “afterlife” but, when the “rapture” never comes their own children will pay the price (sorry, we broke the TV, there are no clean towels and your out of toilet paper). We are angry at you theist who continually start wars and then blame atheist! We are angry that you have insinuated your foolish beliefs into every nook and granny of everyday life! We are angry because your ilk have always sought to control others through force, intimidation and terror! We are angry because you have spread like a disease in our governments and seek to enforce your brand of morality through the power the law. We are sick and tired of you stupid [Insert derogatory remark here] theists getting in the way of progress, killing each other and destroying our planet in the name of [insert your god here] …so yeah we are angry we are getting more and more angry as time goes on. I believe the theist want us to be angry with their gods but, we are angry with the delusional thinking not the delusion. How could we hold your make believe friends accountable for your actions? Why would we? YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE!

  • justagirl

    actually, i was toying around with majestic. he probably doesn’t know what i’m talking about anyway. i’m a bit of a “nimrod” around here as far as linguistics go.
    *point vanished*
    get back to your drawrings… and send me one if you have the time.
    piece out.

  • Anonymous

    Occam’s Razor has nothing to do with simplicity, though it’s often summarized that way. Simplistic solutions are rarely accurate. After all, I’d hardly call any theory in quantum mechanics “simple”. Rather, it says, as I did above, do not needlessly multiply entities (agents or causes). We can explain gravity just fine without any supernatural intervention. We can explain why two objects cannot pass through each other just fine without angels and demons and gods. We can explain how a new human life happens without resorting to monotheism. None of these things are simple. But if you want to bring a new causative agent into the mix as an explanation, the burden of proof is on you to explain _why_ we must include it as an additional agent. So far, the only explanation put forward by theists is their “gut feeling” and works of fiction written by other men without concrete evidence. These are not sufficient to leap the hurdle of “needless” in “needless multiplication”.

    Here, I did your googling for you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor

  • Anonymous

    On the contrary, atheists often see that as giving far greater significance to life because we know we have to make the most of the short short short time we have. We’re not willing to put off our happiness trying to be “good enough” to get into the next world/life/heaven. Go out and live. Love the people in your life. Love your life. It’s all you got. When it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

  • Nyxynox

    Christians do not hold a monopoly on god. Fundamentalism, whether that is under the guise of Christianity, Islam, Atheism, etc is a lack of imagination. To distill human existence to literal fact (perceived or proven) misses the poetry and mystery of life…

  • ken vallario

    you are wrong to say we can ‘explain’ gravity…no physicist would agree with you…all we can do at present with most of these phenomena is ‘describe’ them. we are really at a loss for most of these phenomena when it comes to actual causality, which is the narrow realm that i believe Occam’s Razor applies to. actual causality is a very hard entity to quantify when it comes to gravity, life, the solidity of objects, history, and any of the variety of subjects where a multiplicity of known variables is so vast, and we can always assume there are unknown variables too. so, i think Occam’s Razor has become a crutch for people who want a simpler universe…and perhaps they are right, but the science has not caught up to the theories yet. i am not adding God as an entity to explain anything causally…i am simply saying that outside intervention is not impossible, and because of this, those wishing to reduce our understanding of the universe down into material ought to be able to prove their materialism with the same rigor as those who claim God wrote the 10 commandments, and on both counts i am agnostic…however, i never shut my mind to the possibility that i might experience something miraculous one day…and as well, i prepare myself for the possibility that this moment of consciousness might be a pleasurable accident of a mechanistic world.

  • ken vallario

    wow, for someone who doesn’t see room for a conversation, you have a lot to say…lol…
    and i love your discussion about the insidiousness of ingrouping and then go onto generalizing the theists…
    i would simply point to the following idea.
    the very idea of god, the fact that a set of primates somehow came up with the idea of a ‘creator’…that idea is itself so profound to me, that it operates as a sort of evidence for something about the universe.
    unlike yourself i cannot speculate fully on this very complex phenomena, i cannot simplify it to a kind of fear-based mechanism, even though i admit it is possible.
    however, possibility does not equate to probability.
    as you go on and on about the necessity of physical structure, you dismiss what we know about quantum particles that can affect one another at distances, breaking the speed of light…this is a mystery that scientists have yet to understand, and yet they accept it as fact.
    science is a dogma, it is based upon a set of principles…and it is a dogma i find very useful…however, like alchemy, it has its limits…and we are not robots…at least not yet.
    just because science has yet to find proof of our spiritual nature does not mean that it does not exist…science, of necessity, must isolate repeatable events…and some things might be unique in this universe…we just don’t know…the strength of spirituality in the human consciousness is a form of evidence, it is a fact…and atheism does not lead one to a deep understanding of what this means about the universe.
    you might be right, there might be no other intelligence out there…but, we cannot fully explain the intuition of ‘other’ with the evidence we currently have…so until that time, until the day neurological science discovers the complete law of religious belief, atheists will have to suffer from the same uncertainty that the theists grapple with, or find themselves frustrated and angry…

  • that1guy

    Time to bore you all again.
    1. Anger at God “during their lifetimes,” not during their lifetimes as atheists is to be expected for people who at one point lost faith.
    One of the hardest paradoxes to resolve regarding belief in an omnipotent and all-loving single deity is that, given all of the horrible things that do and will happen in the world, God can’t really be both all-loving and all-powerful.
    Faced with this realization, during times of crisis and reflection, either you retain faith and trust in Him and your conception of deity bends to fit human suffering into the framework of what a compassionate God would allow, by thinking it serves a greater purpose(like with Job) or that some people deserve the shit heaped on them for some arcane and petty reason or another(like the the people of Haiti according to Pat Robertson). Or you lose your trust and faith, and you get angry at this deity for being such a massive dick, and then start to wonder how likely it is that deity takes such a singular form. These Atheists probably just didn’t bother replacing that lost faith with anything else, at least not anything else theistic.
    2. We should remember that most atheists (as well as religious and agnostic folks) are socialized to understand experiences or conceptions the ineffable, sublime, and unconscious alike as knowledge of a deity. Therefore, it’s not surprising that they put their emotional readings of those experiences into a language that describes a relationship with deity, though, in rational terms, they don’t believe that there is a concrete deity for them to have a relationship with.
    One of the harder things about realizing the shape that existence takes is realizing how much needless and arbitrary suffering and struggle is involved in it. If you have a profound experience of this that leads to anger and disgust, and, for the purpose of deconstructing and exploring that experience, you label the force driving existence “God” instead of “fortune” “fate” “nature” or some other abstract placeholder, then it can reasonably sum up your opinion about that experience to say that you are angry at “God” for all that you wish would not happen but happens anyway for no good reason. Outside of that experience, you may still know in you heart and mind that there is likely no such being, that the word is analogous to a broad philosophical concept and its use in conversation does not in any way necessitate the reification of the cultural constructs it commonly references.
    So yes, an Atheist can be “angry at God” without truly believing in God, and while this requires a complicated understanding of the world, it doesn’t necessarily require a hypocritical one.
    That said, Hail Satan.

  • that1guy

    Time to bore you all again.
    1. Anger at God “during their lifetimes,” not during their lifetimes as atheists is to be expected for people who at one point lost faith.
    One of the hardest paradoxes to resolve regarding belief in an omnipotent and all-loving single deity is that, given all of the horrible things that do and will happen in the world, God can’t really be both all-loving and all-powerful.
    Faced with this realization, during times of crisis and reflection, either you retain faith and trust in Him and your conception of deity bends to fit human suffering into the framework of what a compassionate God would allow, by thinking it serves a greater purpose(like with Job) or that some people deserve the shit heaped on them for some arcane and petty reason or another(like the the people of Haiti according to Pat Robertson). Or you lose your trust and faith, and you get angry at this deity for being such a massive dick, and then start to wonder how likely it is that deity takes such a singular form. These Atheists probably just didn’t bother replacing that lost faith with anything else, at least not anything else theistic.
    2. We should remember that most atheists (as well as religious and agnostic folks) are socialized to understand experiences or conceptions the ineffable, sublime, and unconscious alike as knowledge of a deity. Therefore, it’s not surprising that they put their emotional readings of those experiences into a language that describes a relationship with deity, though, in rational terms, they don’t believe that there is a concrete deity for them to have a relationship with.
    One of the harder things about realizing the shape that existence takes is realizing how much needless and arbitrary suffering and struggle is involved in it. If you have a profound experience of this that leads to anger and disgust, and, for the purpose of deconstructing and exploring that experience, you label the force driving existence “God” instead of “fortune” “fate” “nature” or some other abstract placeholder, then it can reasonably sum up your opinion about that experience to say that you are angry at “God” for all that you wish would not happen but happens anyway for no good reason. Outside of that experience, you may still know in you heart and mind that there is likely no such being, that the word is analogous to a broad philosophical concept and its use in conversation does not in any way necessitate the reification of the cultural constructs it commonly references.
    So yes, an Atheist can be “angry at God” without truly believing in God, and while this requires a complicated understanding of the world, it doesn’t necessarily require a hypocritical one.
    That said, Hail Satan.

  • that1guy

    Ok. New rule.
    If we have to judge religion by it’s best least dogmatic elements, eg open-minded spirituality, than the open-minded spiritualists need to judge Atheism by its best elements and stop trying to pigeon-hole our beliefs in to a strictly materialist framework.
    Also, on a single point, even from within a materialist framework, which I don’t think its healthy to strictly adhere to, it is possible to account for consciousness as a material phenomena, and there are branches of scientific inquiry and philosophy devoted to doing so. Sum, ergo cogito: cogito, ergo sum

  • that1guy

    total aside

    “I generally understand college students to be pretty fucking dumb (actually, anyone in their late teens and early twenties for that matter)”

    The neocortex does not fully develop until your mid-twenties for most folks, meaning emotional responses are harder to temper with strategic thinking.

  • Jordan

    Funny, they were almost onto something here. They fail to mention this is primarily a Western culture phenomenon and its correlation to Christianity. From personal experience, which cannot be argued with (but I’m sure some will), I too identified as first, atheist, then later, agnostic… atheist as a younger teen and agnostic in my later teens… does age really have anything to do with it? I don’t know. I do know I was much more impulsive, like most teens are and could not think beyond what directly affected me, personally. Also, my identification as atheist was a rejection, on my part, of Christianity (having been scathed by it as most of us are at least at some point in our lives). By that virtue, I guess I really just identified as anti-Jesus or anti-Christian. Later, when I began to identify as Agnostic, I knew deep down there was some outside ‘force,’ however, I was not comfortable with identifying this as “God.” God, to me, was still affiliated with Jesus and with religion, in general. Now, I am very comfortable to say I do believe in God, don’t really care if anybody else does or not, and the way I personally see God now is a type of force in the universe, a universal spirit, or a law of nature… not a man in the sky who seeks to punish us all. For that, there is karma, which is its own law. If it works, work it… whatever floats your boat.. and so on..

  • Jordan

    Funny, they were almost onto something here. They fail to mention this is primarily a Western culture phenomenon and its correlation to Christianity. From personal experience, which cannot be argued with (but I’m sure some will), I too identified as first, atheist, then later, agnostic… atheist as a younger teen and agnostic in my later teens… does age really have anything to do with it? I don’t know. I do know I was much more impulsive, like most teens are and could not think beyond what directly affected me, personally. Also, my identification as atheist was a rejection, on my part, of Christianity (having been scathed by it as most of us are at least at some point in our lives). By that virtue, I guess I really just identified as anti-Jesus or anti-Christian. Later, when I began to identify as Agnostic, I knew deep down there was some outside ‘force,’ however, I was not comfortable with identifying this as “God.” God, to me, was still affiliated with Jesus and with religion, in general. Now, I am very comfortable to say I do believe in God, don’t really care if anybody else does or not, and the way I personally see God now is a type of force in the universe, a universal spirit, or a law of nature… not a man in the sky who seeks to punish us all. For that, there is karma, which is its own law. If it works, work it… whatever floats your boat.. and so on..

  • Tuna Ghost

    Ok. New rule.
    If we have to judge religion by it’s best least dogmatic elements, eg open-minded spirituality, than the open-minded spiritualists need to judge Atheism by its best elements and stop trying to pigeon-hole our beliefs in to a strictly materialist framework.

    Wait, you mean have an actual discussion? But then where will I go to call people “retarded”?

    Regarding your second point, Dan Dennetts Consciousness Explained is a great book on that very subject, but I still find it lacking in explaining the oh-so-convincing experience of I-ness. I have my own theory cobbled together from various metaphysical theories and Dennett and Hofstader, but it involves a 4-d supersolid and banana named Paul so no one takes me seriously.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Santos-Fabian-Ramos/554995370 Fabian_Ramos

    of course Bob Dylan believed in God:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqvvOD4bdRs

  • Paul

    It should be obvious that there is no god of peace, if there is a god or gods at all.

  • Paul

    It should be obvious that there is no god of peace, if there is a god or gods at all.

  • Tuna Ghost

    We can explain gravity just fine without any supernatural intervention.

    We can’t, actually. All we can do is describe its effects. Physics as yet does not have an “explanation” for gravity.

  • David Frost

    I’m not much for your tastes in music or poetic lyrics and philosophical views behind those for that matter.

    If your into that kind of music then thats fine, but that is a completely subjective argument. Me personally, I’ll take the early punk movement or the philosophies of early industrial music any day over all this hippie flower child stuff. That and I would have to argue that theist classical composers like J.S. Bach, Mozart, and Vivaldi were much deeper thinkers than Jim Morrison.

    For a people that call yourselves “freethinkers,” you sure do overly concern yourselves with the lives and opinions of others as well as things like popular culture and “celebrity” etc.

  • Ljc1506

    God…in the words of Janet Jackson “what have you done for me lately?”

  • Ljc1506

    God…in the words of Janet Jackson “what have you done for me lately?”

  • Satan8118

    I did 13 years in a catholic school and after enduring all those years of preached hypocrisy I quickly drifted from the whole god /religion debacle. Later in life I realized that it wasn’t the idea of god (or whatever name you want give a supreme being or collective consciousness) that bothered me it was all the dumbass religions attaching themselves to the concept in order to keep society ordered the way they want it to be. In my opinion it’s not god that atheists hate it’s organized religion. In parting heres some humorous quotes from Bill Hicks.
    “If the FBI’s motivating factor for busting down the Koresh compound was child abuse, how come we never see Bradley tanks smashing into Catholic churches?”
    “Christianity has a built-in defense system: anything that questions a belief, no matter how logical the argument is, is the work of Satan by the very fact that it makes you question a belief. It’s a very interesting defense mechanism and the only way to get by it — and believe me, I was raised Southern Baptist — is to take massive amounts of mushrooms, sit in a field, and just go, “Show me.””
    I think I’ve learned exactly how the fall of man occured in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, and Adam said one day, “Wow, Eve, here we are, at one with nature, at one with God, we’ll never age, we’ll never die, and all our dreams come true the instant that we have them.” And Eve said, “Yeah… it’s just not enough is it?””
    “People ask me what I think about that woman priest thing. What, a woman priest? Women priests. Great, great. Now there’s priests of both sexes I don’t listen to.”
    Pieces
    Satan8118

  • Satan8118

    I did 13 years in a catholic school and after enduring all those years of preached hypocrisy I quickly drifted from the whole god /religion debacle. Later in life I realized that it wasn’t the idea of god (or whatever name you want give a supreme being or collective consciousness) that bothered me it was all the dumbass religions attaching themselves to the concept in order to keep society ordered the way they want it to be. In my opinion it’s not god that atheists hate it’s organized religion. In parting heres some humorous quotes from Bill Hicks.
    “If the FBI’s motivating factor for busting down the Koresh compound was child abuse, how come we never see Bradley tanks smashing into Catholic churches?”
    “Christianity has a built-in defense system: anything that questions a belief, no matter how logical the argument is, is the work of Satan by the very fact that it makes you question a belief. It’s a very interesting defense mechanism and the only way to get by it — and believe me, I was raised Southern Baptist — is to take massive amounts of mushrooms, sit in a field, and just go, “Show me.””
    I think I’ve learned exactly how the fall of man occured in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, and Adam said one day, “Wow, Eve, here we are, at one with nature, at one with God, we’ll never age, we’ll never die, and all our dreams come true the instant that we have them.” And Eve said, “Yeah… it’s just not enough is it?””
    “People ask me what I think about that woman priest thing. What, a woman priest? Women priests. Great, great. Now there’s priests of both sexes I don’t listen to.”
    Pieces
    Satan8118

  • Siminatongue

    “wow, for someone who doesn’t see room for a conversation, you have a lot to say…lol…”

    More accurately I would say I have little time for such foolishness. I see theists purpose in making an Us vs Them dichotomy by saying atheism is an extreme viewpoint also. It is to frame the conversation as if atheism were much like theism, which is complete rubbish. Atheism is nothing like theism. They are not even the diametrically opposed viewpoints that theists try and make them seem, much to their advantage, as it gives theism some sort of credibility as a viable viewpoint. Sorry your viewpoint is only viable if you provide an objective proof of your claim, if you cannot then there is no reason why anyone should believe that Vishnu is a reality. Or whatever “outside intelligence” you are referring to.

    For every little piece of foolishness you can imagine there is going to be some people out there that do not believe what you are saying. We’ll call them skeptical. The doesn’t mean that because your idea is not accepted as true by these skeptics, that they have an opposite position from yours. Very simply the theist tries to say they have an “idea” and whoever doesn’t believe in that idea holds an “anti-idea” or “a-idea”. Which is frame flipping reality. I’m not “A” anything, atheist or otherwise. Gods are your idea, it’s not something I hold to. By stating I am by proxy “A” something you are simply being a shithead. Which, I night point out, was the whole point in the first place in making the word atheist and framing things in just that way. Orwellian machinations didn’t begin with Orwell, he simply popularized the techniques.

    There is an alligator in a Louisiana bayou who controls everything. Don’t believe me? Well you are just an A-alligatorist, trying to subvert a peaceful way of life. I’m just trying to spread peace and love with my chordate perspective and you are opposed to that. Theists do much the same. Very deceitful, especially to themselves. It’s all very calculating and silly primate behavior. Which brings us to…

    “the very idea of god, the fact that a set of primates somehow came up with the idea of a ‘creator’…that idea is itself so profound to me, that it operates as a sort of evidence for something about the universe.”

    There is nothing profound about human psychology really. It’s a little more complex than animal agreed, in some of us just barely. The very fact that the idea of an ultimate authoritarian figure develops in primates shows just how provincial and stunted some humans can be. It has in the past given many Human primates an advantage of control over some others, I won’t get into the evolutionary advantage this gives some primates. Suffice to say this authoritarian figure is white, it’s almost certainly male, with a beard and a wizened look, if this authoritarian “idea” is in a western culture. Or has very distinct familiar features in another. Not to mention that this “idea” has dictates of behavior and practice that exactly match the culture and are most likely to the advantage of some controlling primates in question. Funny that.

    But lets leave aside all those trivial and provincial characteristics of primate psychology that can be easily cooked up that seem so profound to you. What if you are referring to some amorphous intelligence unknowable to human understanding. If it is unknowable and beyond our understanding, why do you claim to be able to know or understand anything about it? How do you claim that it is aware of Humans on any level? How do you know it interferes or even interacts with Humans?

    I haven’t even left your first paragraph yet. It actually just gets worse from here.

    “as you go on and on about the necessity of physical structure, you dismiss what we know about quantum particles that can affect one another at distances, breaking the speed of light…this is a mystery that scientists have yet to understand, and yet they accept it as fact.”

    Yes physical structure is a necessity, quantum particles are part of physical structure. We will almost certainly have a better understanding of these things some day. There is much we still don’t understand about it. Whatever the answer is, in the past whatever the answers have always been, It’s never been “god did it”, It’s never been magic. You can come up with an infinity of things that we do not know, then say “science can’t explain that”, but neither does a god hypothesis and the god hypothesis as profound as it is to you has never explained anything about the nature of the universe we live in. As a matter of fact at least science will lead us one day to the possibility of understanding exactly what is going on. Even if we may never get there, at least there is the possibility.

  • Viperzka

    I just took the survey and it was quiet interesting. What is not mentioned in this article is that the survey asks about *past* anger at god. The vast majority of atheists were raised in a religious household. Because of this those atheists believed in god at some point in their lives. Therefore those atheists could easily have had anger at god when they still believed he existed. For my answers I said that I had felt emotions toward god in the past (the survey asks you to choose one large and negative life event) but today feel no anger towards a god that I don’t believe in. Additionally, those that become extremely angry with god are far more likely to become atheists than those who do not become angry with god. The other half of the answer is given by the article, those who put absolute faith in god are far less likely to become atheists.
    One can use a simple thought experiment to see how this works. Let us assume that 100 people answer the test, and 50% are atheists. 5 atheists rate anger at god as 10 while 45 atheists rate anger at god as 5. On the other side 5 theists rate anger at god as 0 while 45 theists rate anger at god as 5. Out of the 100 people only 5 absolutely hated god, and only 5 absolutely loved him. When we crunch the numbers we see that mean for atheist anger is 5.5, while the mean for theist anger is 4.5. Therefore, even though only 10% of the atheists converted due to anger with god, or were ever more angry at god than any theist is, they appear to be more angry on average.
    It’s simple statistics people. Until the study is released with much more data any speculation has no grounding in fact.

  • Viperzka

    I just took the survey and it was quiet interesting. What is not mentioned in this article is that the survey asks about *past* anger at god. The vast majority of atheists were raised in a religious household. Because of this those atheists believed in god at some point in their lives. Therefore those atheists could easily have had anger at god when they still believed he existed. For my answers I said that I had felt emotions toward god in the past (the survey asks you to choose one large and negative life event) but today feel no anger towards a god that I don’t believe in. Additionally, those that become extremely angry with god are far more likely to become atheists than those who do not become angry with god. The other half of the answer is given by the article, those who put absolute faith in god are far less likely to become atheists.
    One can use a simple thought experiment to see how this works. Let us assume that 100 people answer the test, and 50% are atheists. 5 atheists rate anger at god as 10 while 45 atheists rate anger at god as 5. On the other side 5 theists rate anger at god as 0 while 45 theists rate anger at god as 5. Out of the 100 people only 5 absolutely hated god, and only 5 absolutely loved him. When we crunch the numbers we see that mean for atheist anger is 5.5, while the mean for theist anger is 4.5. Therefore, even though only 10% of the atheists converted due to anger with god, or were ever more angry at god than any theist is, they appear to be more angry on average.
    It’s simple statistics people. Until the study is released with much more data any speculation has no grounding in fact.

  • Mtbounds

    The real Atheists are the ones who don’t give a fuck. Shouting “GOD DOESN’T EXIST” or “GOD EXISTS” will never change anyone’s mind. Better to just let people do their own thing.

  • Mtbounds

    The real Atheists are the ones who don’t give a fuck. Shouting “GOD DOESN’T EXIST” or “GOD EXISTS” will never change anyone’s mind. Better to just let people do their own thing.

  • ken vallario

    for somebody who has ‘little time for such foolishness’ you sure are spending some time engaging in it.
    why not admit to yourself that you find these issues interesting, as it is obvious you have put a lot of thought into it.
    when you call people like me ‘shitheads’, i would say you reflect poorly your a-viewpoint.
    much of what you claimed in your response was stated as fact.
    there is a strong linguistic difference between making declarative claims and constructing an argument.
    i never claimed that God exists. i merely claimed that denying the possibility of complexity that can act as a form of intelligence is not yet possible. and the new athiests want us to take a leap of faith i am not willing to take. so, if that makes me a shithead, then i guess that’s what i am.
    you said you would not ‘get into’ the evolutionary advantage certain magical beliefs have given to human beings, but any darwinist would, of necessity have to ‘get into’ this, and wonder what it means about our development. why is this ‘idea’ such a tenacious meme. this is what fascinates me, it is not foolishness, it is a primary aspect of human history, so to discard it reveals a kind of unwillingness to accept humanity, as it is. and many of your comments reveal a very misanthropic tendency.
    your claims about the nature of sub-atomic phenomena as being ultimately physical is simply incorrect. there are very respected theoreticians who would claim that much of what happens in that realm cannot in any way relate to what we think of as physical. however, your theory is just a belief, it is not a fact, and a true skeptic would not go about claiming to know the ultimate nature of reality, that is what makes you more dogmatic than you seem to think you are.

    we are an intelligent creature that has every intention to leave our planet and spread our technology to other planets. there is no reason that this very thing could not have happened countless times….and it is within the realm of possibility to think that this planet has been affected by outside forces. and so, i am simply saying that outside intervention, in no way contradicts science. the only contradiction of science is the claim of certainty.

    as far as the ‘race’ of God, i could give a shit about that….tribal people used to think god was a monkey or a coyote…your fixation on the Michelangelo God does not have to be my fixation…i am talking about the idea of divinity, and my belief that we ought not make grand decisions about history or reality without a deeper understanding.

    give into your fascination with that white God, and make peace with Him…and find out why he makes you so angry as to call a complete stranger a shithead, and to think of your fellow human beings as a bunch of regressive monkeys…

  • Anonymous

    Meh, we’re all human. We can’t help but anthropomorphise everything (even if we can’t spell it).

  • heimp

    Meh, we’re all human. We can’t help but anthropomorphise everything (even if we can’t spell it).

  • Anonymous

    Yes, I’m pretty much angry at the idea of a god based on a dichotomic judeochristian interpretation of platonic philosophy, which is the kind of god people are taught to believe in Western societies.

    So… tell me something I didn’t know already.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, I’m pretty much angry at the idea of a god based on a dichotomic judeochristian interpretation of platonic philosophy, which is the kind of god people are taught to believe in Western societies.

    So… tell me something I didn’t know already.

  • JH

    well, no wonder. if your surrounded by mad hatters who likes invisible non tangible beings to rule their, and by implication, other peoples life, I would get frustrated from time to time as well. Thankfully I live in a land where atheism is norm.

  • JH

    well, no wonder. if your surrounded by mad hatters who likes invisible non tangible beings to rule their, and by implication, other peoples life, I would get frustrated from time to time as well. Thankfully I live in a land where atheism is norm.

  • JH

    Thats because believers simply concern themselves in matters which affects nonbelievers. sexual rights, science, education and so forth. Some of the fundamentals for a working modern society. It’s not religion that makes it possible to life a modern life. Science, however, does provide that possibility. That is why it is important to fight the fight about rational thinking and thought. Religion is a virus, and its poisonous and extremely dangerous.

  • cura

    How can disbelief be fundamentalism? Athiesm is a outdated term to begin with because all it is describing is a lack of something, confusing most thiestic being into viewing us as a group who must have shared values, which is simply not true. Even so, with no set of shared beliefes or ideals how is it possible to have a strict adherence to those things?

    There is no organized group, and without any organization, doctorines, or set beliefe system, there cannot be fundamentalism. There may be a group of people who share the idea that religion is somehow bad, but those people should have a label seperate from “athiest” since athiesm is a definition only of lack in beliefe and entails no more. Trying to label anyone or anything based on lack of attributes is obviously backward. Just because you know the things a person dislikes, does not mean you grasp the things they do, in the same way you cannot know what a person believes simply because you know what they do not.

  • Aera

    So how do you explain people like myself then? I’v grown up with the privledge to believe what ever I choose, and chose to dismiss deities at a young age. Religion never affected my life, my moral values, my beliefe systems and I was never forced to reflect on how “god” affected my life because a deity never had. I hold no anger to the god of any specific religion because I don’t believe in a god. I do hold anger against religious fundamentalists when they hurt innocent people because of outdated beliefes, but don’t most average religious citizens feel that way too?

    I now study religion as a minor, not because of any need to be spiritual, but because I study anthropology and am interested in religious culture, it’s evolution throughout history, and it’s positive and negative effects on society. I go out of my way to understand the beliefe systems of theistic people and respect their various views. I by no means hate religion, but feel a strong sense of having to defend my dismissal of religious life, which is why I’m commenting now.

    The strangest part of all this is that this is the most common story of the people I know (minus the studies of course). I am not some strange exception and their isn’t some psychologicaly painful reason for athiests to be so. Most athiest friends I have encountered do not think about religion on a regular basis and it only seems to cause any reason for thought when accusations and stereotypes of athiests arrise. So no, to be athiest is not to be angry at religion, that is a very narrow stereotype of one of many lifestyles an athiest may arrise from.

  • cura

    “why is the burden of proof on theists” – because if you take an elementary philosophy class you would understand that the burden of proof is always on the person who is the believer, not the person who disblieves. It is impossible to prove that something does not exist, it is a logical falacy to expect someone to be able to.

    For example: It is rational thinking that unicorns do not exist, because there has never been any evidence of their existance. If I wanted you to believe in unicorns it is fair that I would have to come up with some sort of evidence of their existance in order for you to believe me. If no evidence presented, it is fair for you to continue to disbelieve.

    Also, please don’t retaliate with a question of faith. I don’t believe it is necessary as I have lived life happily without it. You have the right to choose faith, but then please to not ask such questions as the one I just answered.

  • Iamian

    Troll.

  • Simiantongue

    “when you call people like me ‘shitheads’, i would say you reflect poorly your a-viewpoint.”

    I didn’t call you a shithead. I said if you do such then you are a shithead. It is then up to you to include yourself in that demographic or not.

    “much of what you claimed in your response was stated as fact.”

    You dance around the subject like a whirling dervish. Barely touching on anything solid before bounding off into areas of little substance.

    “i never claimed that God exists. i merely claimed that denying the possibility of complexity that can act as a form of intelligence is not yet possible.”

    Doublespeak, clearly. You are not claiming that god exists but you claim that there could be a form of complex intelligence that can act as god. Rhetorical hodge podge.

    “and the new athiests want us to take a leap of faith i am not willing to take. so, if that makes me a shithead, then i guess that’s what i am.”

    No there is no leap of faith required by new atheists. You are either completely ignorant or being disingenuous. Merely trying to equate atheists to some sort of extremism like theists. The faith you refer to would necessitate some sort of belief not non-belief. There is an infinity of things that we don’t believe in and people are not extremists about any of them including the many gods. Non-belief is not an extremist position it is the default position until we know better. I think your point in being disingenuous in this case is merely to make the nonexistent case that an atheist requires some sort of “faith” as a theist does. This is an empty rhetorical point trying to say that atheism is no better than theism. Actually a strategy that attempts to “cut down to size” the atheist position. If I were a theist reading this I would find your strategy somewhat insulting. That strategy reveals that you do see theism as the “weaker” position. And in fact by using such an argument you blatantly recognize there are fundamental differences between atheism and theism, differences that are not diametrically opposed or equal. But still you make the flaccid attempt to make the argument anyway, even though the argument itself proclaims that you know differently. I can’t begin to describe how incredibly disingenuous that is.

    Also the “shithead” reference had nothing whatsoever to do with that point. You stated new qualifications for being considered a shithead, I never said anything along the lines that if you didn’t take a leap of faith you are a shithead. Again it is that “persecution” complex the theistic mindset needs. You are frame flipping this, as if I had stated that if you have your own personal beliefs that I think you are a shithead. When clearly that is not what I said. I can see now that intellectual honesty is to much to ask in a straightforward conversation here. I’ve had these conversations before and If I’m not mistaken you will just continue to tie knots in the conversation. The purpose is so that in being preoccupied trying to untie some of these knots, at least some of what you say passes unchecked.

    “you said you would not ‘get into’ the evolutionary advantage certain magical beliefs have given to human beings, but any darwinist would,”

    No in fact we don’t have to get into that. Sociology, psychology and anthropology are very complex subjects. There are reams of books and sites dedicated to the subject. Or if one is so inclined go watch Dan Dennetts’ TED talk about the subject. It’s certainly not something a “darwinist” would have to explain, if they don’t then god must have done it all.

    Lets clear up a bit of misconception here too. I am not a “Darwinist” no more than I am a “Newtonian” or an “Einstienite” just because I happen to think that Einstein’s work on gravity is the most comprehensive to date. There is no authoritarian “belief” in such things as evolution, as there is in the theistic mindset. I don’t believe in evolution. I accept that it is a workable theory, a tool which has produced verifiable, reproducible and useful results. If there is a better theory, or if evolution is proved untenable it would be out with yesterdays trash. There is no “belief” or “faith” required, especially in the theistic sense of those words. Equating the two as equal opposite perspectives is like saying that using physics to predict the decay of radioactive isotopes is equal to believing you can divine the future with tealeaves. Even saying they are diametrically opposed but both equally valid perspectives is ridiculous. Dodging the conversation by saying things like “You don’t know people can’t divine the future with tealeaves for sure” or in your case “You don’t know that there is no god/s for sure” makes the conversation a waste of my time. But then we have come full circle in the conversation. Where you first ask “what proof do the atheists have that no outside force is affecting human history?” Which was answered by many people including myself. That seems to be where these conversations go when I have them with someone like yourself, in circles never ending. You could answer the same question a hundred times and you’d still come back to it in order to have it answered with different words.

    I hope you recognize one day just how you talk in circles. Cryptically and carefully wording so that the exact premise of what you are talking about is never exactly clear.

    “this is what fascinates me, it is not foolishness, it is a primary aspect of human history, so to discard it reveals a kind of unwillingness to accept humanity, as it is.”

    I never said that was foolishness. Just where, I might inquire, am I unwilling to accept humanity as it is? Whatever that means? Theism was our first guess as to what the nature of the universe was, even before philosophy, before science. You think perhaps I don’t know that or accept that? I realize what an influence our first guesses about the nature of the universe were on humanities history, that is no reason to think they were right. I do not accept those guesses as true. Obviously you feel that they had at least some of it right then. Which is fine. By all means continue to rely on those hypothesis from a people who’s crowning achievement was the wheelbarrow. I happen to think we have come up with some answers, though not absolutely true in the mathematical definition of true, they are as close as we have been able to come and they seem to have shown some promise as evidenced by Humanities progress.Does that mean we disregard the past? Do we ignore the lessons of the past? Absolutely not.

    “as far as the ‘race’ of God, i could give a shit about that….”

    Congratulations, because within the demographic of the theistic you are in a liberal minority. Hats off to you for getting past that anyhow.

    “tribal people used to think god was a monkey or a coyote…your fixation on the Michelangelo God does not have to be my fixation…”?

    It is not my fixation but the fixation of the majority of theists still. I did not say that it was yours either. I said we could, in your case, look past the provincial and trivial aspects of a theistic god ideal to the amorphous intelligent entity you referred to. But you seemed to have ignored that. I think you are again looking to change what is said to make it seem as if you are being persecuted or brow beat in some way. Whatever, if that is your pleasure, I won’t deny it to you.

    “we are an intelligent creature that has every intention to leave our planet and spread our technology to other planets. there is no reason that this very thing could not have happened countless times….and it is within the realm of possibility to think that this planet has been affected by outside forces.”

    I doubt very much that you have been referring to some super intelligent race of aliens. From all your previous posts every indication is that you have been merely rehashing the word god into something less identifiable, something more amorphous, but which in fact is the same old theistic ideal of a god. And if that type of entity is a possibility. We have no reason to doubt there may be a Wicked Witch of the West either. By that standard anything is within the realm of possibility, if you do not require any objective reasoning to think it is possible. The problem here is that you keep saying “it’s possible and you have no proof it isn’t” we keep coming back to that same old circular reasoning that’s been answered time and again.

    “and so, i am simply saying that outside intervention, in no way contradicts science. the only contradiction of science is the claim of certainty.”

    Well actually it does contradict science. Science is a tool you know not a belief as theism is, it does not give us any indication that there has been an outside intervention. So when you say there has been or may have been an intervention on the behalf of some amorphous intelligence, that is a contradiction. And ironically the only claim of certainty here is your claims about the nature of the universe. You continually drop references about atheists being certain and what not, but in actuality atheism in its essence can be summed up in one sentence “I don’t know and I’m comfortable with that until I do know”. Atheists saying they have no belief that there are gods is not the positive assertion of certainty that you are making it seem, well for the majority of atheists anyway. Again that is frame flipping. Any mental gymnastics by theists or those who state they “believe” or have “faith” or dances around with obfuscating word salad like “I am not saying god, I am saying some outside intelligence with complexity that is unexplainable and unknowable that may be godlike” THAT takes some large degree of certainty about the nature of the universe to say that. Theists and people such as yourself who claim they “believe” something are the ones making the assertive claims here, you are the one with some degree of certainty about something. Oh sure you may be fuzzy on the details, but make no mistake, the underlying structure that you hang all those fuzzy details on are some very certain assertions.

    “give into your fascination with that white God, and make peace with Him…and find out why he makes you so angry as to call a complete stranger a shithead, and to think of your fellow human beings as a bunch of regressive monkeys… ”

    I have about as much fascination and anger with your god as I do with any character from Lord of the Rings. I was terribly upset when the peaceful folk of the shire and the rest of Middle Earth were threatened. I have to say I found that story much better written and instructive than any holy text I’ve read since too. Any argument I’ve written here goes for the existence of Sauron as well. You are very thin skinned if you think this is angry. Again I never called you a shithead, it was up to you to include yourself in that demographic or not. You subsequently did by the by, not my doing though. Were not a bunch of regressive monkeys. We’re apes.

  • ken vallario

    you did say you have little time for such foolishness…you did say that…
    and yet your actions reveal a deep passion for these circles
    i agree with you that frame flipping is occurring, but these are perhaps irreconcilable differences…
    however, you have made claims about the existence of Sauron, and i take offense…
    that is a bit of a joke…
    i do happen to believe that there are aspects of the universe that science is incapable of investigating simply because these aspects fall into a realm one might call personality. that is a crude word, but people do experience rather profound things in this lifetime, that science cannot fully account for…even shitheads like me who love science, who honor it as a wonderful tool…even i am given to not discount that human history might be far more complex than a simple tale of evolution.
    i think, for the most part, you and i operate from the same kind of skeptical encounter with the world…i use what i call inclusive skepticism, where i do not really discount claims, or try not to unless i am can be certain.
    for instance, there are some people who believe our leaders are lizard people…i laugh just typing it…
    but hell, there are days when i hope the lizard people know what they are doing, cause it sure doesn’t seem like they do.
    i suppose i choose to be more comfortable with the possibilities of great surprise, because i hope to be surprised in this lifetime…
    and maybe, just maybe, more exclusive skeptics, find the world fine as it is and don’t need yearn for such hope…and maybe they find the whole magical aspect annoying, and i get that…
    but as you said with the knots…the universe might be tied up in knots…there are a large group of scientists who believe that is the case…and the cosmos is a manifestation of super-strings, and those strings are exchanging information….in much the same way as our brains are a collection of neurons, exchanging electrical data…then why couldn’t the universe itself be conscious…and why couldn’t we have tapped into that emergent property…
    i am not trying to manipulate you, or convert you…i am simply engaging in a debate you show an obvious interest in. and i love talking about these positions, so there you go…all on the table….
    when i read about a person like Eratosthenes, who first measured the circumference of the earth, a couple of hundred years before our lord and savior (joke) walked the earth…i think to myself that scientific genius has been with us for a very long time..and also, that these people had an entirely different relationship with the planet…and with the stars, and with their bodies…these are a lot of variables…and given such an altered state of consciousness, i wonder…that is all, i wonder if i am right to look back on history as if it were a textbook, and not a story rich with unknown forces. and you are right to criticize this…but you cannot claim that i am wrong….in the same way that you can criticize Newton for pursuing the alchemical change of metals into gold…what he was doing was impossible at the time, but given enough energy it is possible…and perhaps it is impossible for us to prove the universe is conscious, but it may be possible to perceive it…and one day, it might be possible, given enough data, or energy, to verify it…
    consider the frame flipped again…i just keep identifying myself as a shithead, what is wrong with me?

  • Joe

    Saying Atheism is a religion is like saying not collecting stamps is a hobby.

  • Joe

    Saying Atheism is a religion is like saying not collecting stamps is a hobby.

  • Joe

    Read the bible. It’s fictitious god is a MONSTER.

    • Tuna Ghost

      well thanks for playing. I’m sure you didn’t include any actual information because you are so busy doing something else, something far more important, so we appreciate you taking the time to reply here.

  • Joe

    Read the bible. It’s fictitious god is a MONSTER.

  • Nyxynox

    YES! exactly my point (your last few sentences). Granted not all “atheists” think the same way and for some the term “atheist” is a bit of a misnomer. However the type of atheist I was referring to is the type that writes books like “The End of Faith” or “The God Delusion”. The ones that say that without a doubt that ONLY the tangible and measurable exist and anything else is just delusion and superstition. Such strict adherence to such thinking is fundamentalism. Or as Robert Anton Wilson called them “Fundamental Materialists”.

    Reductionists tend to have faith in science so much that they are SURE that anything we don’t know right now WILL be discovered by science some time in the future. And anything that doesn’t fit within the already known universe (read measurable and tangible) is not true, right out – end of discussion. Anyone who wants to know or understand anything outside of the known universe or doesn’t accept the powers that be’s explanation of the universe is silly, stupid, or delusional.

    That sounds like fundamentalism to me.

  • Nyxynox

    I don’t agree with you in your “simple” scapegoating of religion. I don’t think religion is the problem, it is literalism. Science has some input on the modern life but it is really community that allows one to live a life, modern or not. We cannot live without interaction with others of shared understanding. And our current attempt to do so has yielded an epidemic of depression and anxiety. Religion is born of the need to congregate with people of like mind, to share this human existence and support one another (fellowship), and try as a group understand what cannot be fully understood (beliefs).

    Where this becomes a problem is in scapegoating. By saying “They” are the problem because of xyz and we are better then them because we don’t do xyz creates an unnecessary animosity and allows the accuser to not notice their own flaws or shadow. By taking our beliefs literally (I am including atheists here) we make scapegoating easier because we are creating an arbitrary divide of beliefs. It is not one or the other… it is all.

  • Garathorn

    Hehehehehehe….!

  • Garathorn

    I’m a Christian pastor and I agree, “the people who claim to be his followers have the tendancy to anger me.”

  • Hempdude

    Will i get a reply in the mail.Or Email.

  • Hempdude

    Are you paying attention to whats happeneing today?How do you know the artist that you site are theists or that the goddanm church got ahold of history books again?Please illuminate yourself.

  • Hempdude

    what did I tell you about reading gods thought?

  • Tuna Ghost

    What? Because I pointed out how truly talented a writer Jim Morrison is not? Its common knowledge, guy. The vast majority of his poetry is pretty terrible. He often gets a pass because he’s effing Jim Morrison, but that doesn’t change the fact that his poetry is shit.

  • Tuna Ghost

    Bach wrote an enormous collection of work for the Church. What do you think “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desire” is about? And Vivaldi was an actual priest, so maybe a little education wouldn’t kill you, eh?

  • Tuna Ghost

    well thanks for playing. I’m sure you didn’t include any actual information because you are so busy doing something else, something far more important, so we appreciate you taking the time to reply here.

  • JH

    You have some sensible point in your argument. Science will not exists without a community (or at least not on any higher level), that is true. And there seems to be some kind of evolutionary thing with religious thought, I can not recollect that I have seen any anthropological study where a people has been without some notion of religious nature (mind you, I am not anthropologist). I can even agree with you that I have no problems with people who has a private religion which they pursue for their own entertainment, that is their business.

    That said, I still would like to say that religion has a very high tendency to bring out the ‘literalism’ which you talk about. And that is usually not a good thing. And when said people try to impose their belief systems on the commonly organised community we get a problem. I live, and contribute to the communal systems, and if these systems gets tailored to s specific belief system I will, in one way or another, sooner or later, end up in the loosing corner. Thats why I see its as an important thing to keep state and religion separated, and why it is even more important that public schools and other common institution’s are organised around best practice and scientific principles (which has a proven track record of coming as close to objective truth as we can) rather than base the organisation of them on sacred scripts from ancient times.

  • Hempdude

    Like I said,you’re not paying attention.Im suprised you’re even aware of this website.We dont believe in much here in case you didnt notice.History has a funny,if thats even the correct word,way of comming out on the side of greed and cruelty.Like ancient Rome.Do you believe all those artists painted for the Vatican becuase they had a choice?Grow up.

  • Hempdude

    Nice.

  • mxyzptlk

    Angry at god or angry at the social phenomena that gets tagged “god” and causes a steady pain in the atheist ass?

    Someone other than the original poster may have already asked that, but I wasn’t up to weeding through the theological debate in the thread. I’m too busy grinding my teeth at a non-existent egregore.

  • mxyzptlk

    Angry at god or angry at the social phenomena that gets tagged “god” and causes a steady pain in the atheist ass?

    Someone other than the original poster may have already asked that, but I wasn’t up to weeding through the theological debate in the thread. I’m too busy grinding my teeth at a non-existent egregore.

  • Hempdude

    The United States Constitution doe not say “Believe in our dillusions about gods or starve to death”I wonder what happened to all those homeless people in New york City? Getting an earful of “praise the lord”brainwashing no doubt.And what was the names of all those NYC mayors?

  • Hempdude

    To you its shit.

  • denimesasx

    The survey showed that atheists are angry against God. It’s interesting because it suggests that there is a degree of recognition of the existence of God, even among those who deny its existence.

    london escorts

    • that1guy

      It shows they “have been” angry at god. As in, have been, at some point in their lives, maybe right before they wised up? Learn how to read.

  • Anonymous

    The survey showed that atheists are angry against God. It’s interesting because it suggests that there is a degree of recognition of the existence of God, even among those who deny its existence.

    london escorts

  • Whitewm

    You just ruined my faith in you with the” Atheists get angry at god” banner. at first I thought you were kidding, being ironic. A real atheist Cant be angry w/ god. It’s like …you being really pissed at Santa. So here you get on the band wagon of dissing reasoning people that are brave enough to say they dont believe in the events and characters in a story book written by (w/ countless revisions) bronze age
    middle eastern jews.(UNVERIFIED or supported by any other historical source)
    YOU NO LONGER HAVE CREDIBILITY AS AN UNBIASED/NEUTRAL INFORMATION SOURCE.

    Y
    You no longer have credibility as a neutral fact reporting source.

  • Whitewm

    You just ruined my faith in you with the” Atheists get angry at god” banner. at first I thought you were kidding, being ironic. A real atheist Cant be angry w/ god. It’s like …you being really pissed at Santa. So here you get on the band wagon of dissing reasoning people that are brave enough to say they dont believe in the events and characters in a story book written by (w/ countless revisions) bronze age
    middle eastern jews.(UNVERIFIED or supported by any other historical source)
    YOU NO LONGER HAVE CREDIBILITY AS AN UNBIASED/NEUTRAL INFORMATION SOURCE.

    Y
    You no longer have credibility as a neutral fact reporting source.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/William-Jeffrey-Miller/1191457654 William Jeffrey Miller

    Morrison? Bigga Please!

  • Herro

    New survey shows people who don’t believe in Leprechauns are angrier at them than people who do believe in Leprechauns.

    Yes totally makes sense.

  • Herro

    New survey shows people who don’t believe in Leprechauns are angrier at them than people who do believe in Leprechauns.

    Yes totally makes sense.

  • Teller

    “Religion is a virus, and its poisonous and extremely dangerous.”
    An idea is more viral, more contagious and dangerous. Ideas are behind religion. Imperfect thinking leads to greater imperfect movements materializing in society. Without hope in something greater than imperfection, what could you possible have hope in, as the forces of this universe degrade everything with time. Aside from philosophically approaching hope in something, while science is important, it cannot replace hope. You can argue that you don’t need religion to have hope, but technology cannot save us from the second law of thermodynamics.
    “And when said people try to impose their belief systems on the commonly organised (organized) community we get a problem. “
    I’m a Christian and agree with you. Time and time again I try to get Christians to see the point that we cannot impose what we believe on others and politicians today are not valid Christians. “Render what belongs to Caesar to Caesar,” this world is not the ‘kingdom of heaven’ and America is no promised land. Jesus and I agree with you, “keep state and religion separated.”

  • Scardog02

    bob dylan is a christian

  • Anonymous

    Angy at god? How ridiculous. How can you be angry at something that does not exist? Are environmentalists angry at Paul Bunyan for cutting down so many trees?

    What atheists are angry about is the far too privileged position of religion. They pay no taxes, are permitted to rant and rave while being supported by tax money while atheists are told to shut up.

    Theists force their sick beliefs into laws for everyone and demand respect for the greatest scam ever working upon the gullible. Yes, we are often angry about those things, but angry at god? That’s another example of the misdirection through lies so typical of theists.

  • http://slrman.wordpress.com/ James Smith

    Angy at god? How ridiculous. How can you be angry at something that does not exist? Are environmentalists angry at Paul Bunyan for cutting down so many trees?

    What atheists are angry about is the far too privileged position of religion. They pay no taxes, are permitted to rant and rave while being supported by tax money while atheists are told to shut up.

    Theists force their sick beliefs into laws for everyone and demand respect for the greatest scam ever working upon the gullible. Yes, we are often angry about those things, but angry at god? That’s another example of the misdirection through lies so typical of theists.

  • Anonymous

    You have expressed an opinion and presented it as fact. Are you a theist? That is suspiciously the way they often operate.

  • Nokanjaijo

    Ivan, you have a complete misapprehension of both the change you’re talking about and its origin. Through rational discussion and reasoned discourse, many of us decided to take an angry, offensive stance towards the religious. The basic reason which I will state very simply here is that there are quite a few religious groups and institutions quite capable of acquiring great power and money who would do away with scientific progress.

    We had to fight back. We had to abandon our previous tactic of ceaselessly defending science and logic. We adopted the tactic of attacking them and the ridiculous premise upon which they base every attack on us.

    And, yes, we are angry. Not at God. It’s a detestable meme but our anger is for those who would stop the progress of mankind in service to this detestable meme. This is a meme, by the way, which has stopped the progress of mankind before.

    That’s what’s at stake. Scientific progress and the progress of our human society through rational, reasoned discourse are at stake. These things are being constantly and directly challenged by powerful, rich religious organizations.

    No.

    We are NOT amused. We are NOT indifferent. You are wrong to suggest we should be.

  • Anonymous

    How can there be a monopoly on what does not exist? By your “logic” I claim a monopoly on anti-gravity belts. See my blog post on that very subject at: http://slrman.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/80/

    Human existence is being distilled into literal fact. Think about the progress made with genotypes and everything else. It’s true that science does not know everything and likely never will. That does not automatically mean anything we do not yet understand is supernatural. I also have a blog post about that:
    http://slrman.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/84/

    Tell us, exactly how do facts diminish int poetry and mystery of life? That’s one of those things that sounds good, but actually doesn’t mean a thing.

  • Anonymous

    What is fundamentalism is the insistence that anything you don’t understand must be supernatural.

    For someone that clearly knows next to nothing about atheism, you seem very sure that your pronouncements are facts.

  • JH

    I am not sure that I am following your reasoning. From a cosmological standpoint the universe will have either of two endings; Indefinite expansion, or, an implosion to a singularity.

    In the first scenario the universe will, indeed, end up cold and barren, mostly consisting of iron. In the second, we will end in a soup of elementary particles. In both cases, the universe as such, is indifferent to the species inhabitating it.

    In this context the term ‘hope’ is meaningless. Hope is simply a human definition for a human feeling. So lets turn to the definition of the word hope.

    If I would go in to a tobacconist and by a lottery ticket I would, against the odds, hope for a win. Hope in this context would be that I would earn money in a situation designed to make me loose money. If I where mortally ill in, say, cancer, I would likewise have the hope that someone, somewhere, would have a cure for my illness. Hope in this fashion is a good trait in a species, it will help individuals to survive, thrive and propagate and it is therefore no wonder that the feeling of hope is primal to the human species. But from cosmological perspective, the notion is quite simply meaningless. The universe as such does not care for, or even know, that you exists.

    As an individual you are born. You live your life, and your die. The technological limit seems to be 120 years, which makes sense given the survival of the species. There is no afterlife, there is no ‘pre’ life. You are, quite simply, made of matter momentarily combining to become you. To paraphrase Dawkins ‘some people find this disturbing. I find the reality thrilling.’. As an individual your mainstay will be your children and it is in the process of propagation that the species evolve. You, as an individual, has served your purpose for the species. for us as individuals this might change over time. We now have the know-how and technology to be on the brink of a breakthrough in handling the ageing process. Something that most probably would raise a few interesting sociological questions in the not so far away future.

    In many theological contexts the word ‘hope’ refers to eternal life, afterlife, heaven and hell and so forth. Apart from the fact that there is no evidence for such concepts, it is also debatable whether or not this would be a good thing to hope for to begin with. The dazzling prospect of the 100 virgins for a done deed in the area of martyrdom might not be the best way promote your religious beliefs among the living.

    In short I have no trouble with having hope. I hope that I will find a way to defeat poverty, illness and other misfortunes, but no. I have no ‘hope’ in the sense that I would like to live forever in an afterlife, that will not happen, not for you, me or anyone else regardless of deity worshipping. As for imperfections I prefer the scientific method which takes into account the fact that man is fallible. It does this by the open peer review process, a process that has proven its worth time and time again. A process that is responsible for virtually everything you take for granted in your daily life.

    And it is here I can agree with you, therefore it is extremely important to separate church and state. The state must be run in communal form with best practice and critical secular thinking as guiding stars. Here we can shake hands.

  • Nyxynox

    Again, I disagree with your scapegoating of religion… Religion does not have “a very high tendency to bring out” literalism – shame does. The inability to say “I don’t know” and to remain vulnerable in that not knowing. That can be applied to anyone regardless of belief or lack there of. My original point in the whole thread was that even atheists fall into the trap of literalism and as evidenced by the new “militant atheists” they are becoming the very thing they are railing against – fundamentalists (read: literalism).

    Granted I am all for separation of church and state, in terms of law making, etc. But the State is made up of people, voters, politicians, etc and those individuals have belief systems and religions that contribute to their existence as human. These systems are not entertainment, as you so dismissively stated. They are an important and profound part of someone’s life (or at least it is in my life). To say that a citizen, or politician cannot bring that to the table when discussing State (or life) matters equally dismissive and divisive. Then, those who are religious or spiritual become the scapegoated. We need discourse at all levels of society that can include every aspect of the human story, not just the ones that you or I feel the most comfortable with.

  • Nyxynox

    From Meriam Webster: Fundamentalism: a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles.

    Thank you for proving my point! :)

  • Anonymous

    You had a point? Was it that anything you believe MUST be true, no matter what the facts are? Or was it that you are silly, stupid, and delusional? I certainly can find no fault with that.

  • Nyxynox

    Tell me… When looking for a mate, do you work up a survey with scientifically designed questions that once completed by any prospective mate, you can enter into statistical software that will come up with most statistically significant match AND then propose partnership. Or do you go with how you feel? There are indeed “things” in this universe that cannot be proven or measured. We experience them everyday and at almost every moment. And because they are so common and commonly understood, we overlook them and take them for granted.

    There is no such thing as “supernatural” as nothing can exist outside of nature. I will not get into a debate with anyone as to whether or not god exists. It is a futile attempt to try to rationalize something that is not rational. Understanding god (or love, or beauty, or freedom or anything else that exists as concept and not tangible matter) requires relational thinking (hermeneutics). The ability to see the sunset as something more then just light refracting through various gasses in our atmosphere, for instance. In other words, to see and know god you must be able to imagine into it and be vulnerable enough to let it in.

  • Nyxynox

    Namaste..

  • Anonymous

    You are totally ridiculous. Each time you post, you become more outrageous and stray further from the point. Don’t expect any response. I only like to deal with rational people. That leaves you out, way out.

  • Anonymous

    One last attempt for a teaching moment. In none of my posts here have I used a pejorative, claimed that someone’s opinion was stupid (or the like), nor have I posted something that could be taken as mean-spirited. I have politely disagreed with people and have followed up with my own thoughts, ideas and experiences.

    You, sir, have nothing but dismissed and defamed anyone on here that doesn’t hold your way of thinking. That is irrational and juvenile.

    Good day…

  • Anonymous

    You arrogant POS. “Teaching moment”? Who do you think you are? The oracle of the world? YOu have demonstrated nothing resembling intelligence or compassion.

    You accuse me of what you have been doing yourself. Your mistake is to judge everyone else by your own failings. You want juvenile? Try this, “Go fuck yourself you shithead!” That’s been your attitude. You like it when it’s coming back at you? It’s the best you deserve, so get used to it.

  • David Frost

    It’s when I read stuff like that that I am convinced that some people would love to have thought police and thought crimes on the book.

  • David Frost

    Choosing science as a moral code and life philosophy is much like people who fall in love with inanimate objects, like love dolls. Thats a good analogy too…think about it, objects do a lot of great things and enrich life a lot, but loving it like a person or at least a living thing is a bit ridiculous. Same is true of science. Don’t get me wrong I love science, thats the bulk of my college courses I’ve taken, the books on my bookshelf, and I my dreams growing up were in that area. It still makes no sense to me why anyone would toss out every philosophy that comes from faith.

  • David Frost

    Not necessarily, I’m a bit of a literalist, but I don’t shoot up abortion doctors, vote republican, harass gay people, etc.

    It’s more along the lines of there are good and bad people…bad people just try hard to justify all that hate with scripture. They don’t really, they just twist stuff around to fit their twisted world view.

    I’m also a bit of a loner and I am involved with a lot of things that takes a huge degree of individuality. Truth is there are highly conformist people that want to beat people over the head with it anytime someone marches to the beat of their own drum regardless of whether you are in church or out of church. Thats a fact of life which sucks but thats always going to be the case.

  • David Frost

    I don’t smoke weed Hempdude :)

    sXe and proud

  • JH

    Ahum, well, at least I have no such desires whatsoever. I prefer that you can think for yourself. I am very much a liberal in that sense.

  • JH

    I cant say that I am scapegoating religion. I am more concluding facts in the matter. Religion are man made, and based on viral ideas. Shame, and control of sex, is usually intricate parts of any successful religion. The reasons for that are simple; sex is a very powerful drive in humans (most normal persons has sex ad will have it regardless of the current official group norm), and public shame is a very powerful emotion as well, few are those that enjoys being, figuratively speaking, naked in the society they live in. Humans species belong to the social animals and there it is important to fit in whatever norms is currently defining the group. It’s no wonder why religion usually is obsessive in these matters, it gives great control for the ones handling the levers. If you, for instance can create a norm where, lets say, masturbation, would be ‘shameful’ it would create a lot of handles on most people which in turn can be used to gain a level of control. Its really just basic psychology, and not very imaginative one at that.

    When it comes to the matter of saying ‘I don’t know’, I think that you will find most scientifically minded persons to be very open minded. There are plenty of things we do not know, this said, the same people usually see this as a great opportunity to learn something new and valuable. Or as Feynman put it; Scientist are not afraid of not knowing things. They find it thrilling. Which leads me to the passage of ‘fundamentalist atheism’. I do not see that happening. For one thing, a critical thinker must always be able to admit error. I know this to be hard personally, but never the less this is important because you develop in the process of accepting new facts and revising old theories, or if need be found new one, accordingly. Being wrong from time to time is fundamentally good. Over time it leads to better and improved understanding. This said. I have to accept the evidence at hand. Evolution for instance (which for some reason seems to be hard to accept for religious people) is not in debate among scientist, it is as stable, solid and proven as any other theory (gravity, light, electromagnetism, relativity and so forth). It yields expected result when put to test and nature at large behaves according to the theory. So it is valid in all scientific sense. Here, I would say, that religion has a lot to learn from the atheist groups. Religion in contrast is usually faith based. You have to have faith to see. And faith creates dogma, and dogma lead to literalism which is not a good thing for society at large.

    This is why I still, at the risk of repeating myself, feels it to be important that state and religion is separate in every aspect. This ideal, as you point out, might not be possible to implements but the US of A has actually had a very good short at it with their division of power and a first constitution that is inherently secular. This is a tradition US should keep, not strive to remove. By ensuring a mix of people with a mix of world views as diverse as possible the hope is to create a mean value which at least is in the vicinity of making sense (OK, I admit, I simplify the issue a bit, but this is, after all, a discussion board)…And yes, I still feel that if you would like to pursue your particular faith for your own entertainment, so be it. But do not get political about it. Leave it out from schools and other publicly funded organisations. If not, we will soon find our way on the slippery slope do a fundamentalist country. And that, my friends, is not a good thing.

  • JH

    This is actually nonsensical. Why would it be better to base your life on an arbitrarily constructed illusion, where most of it where developed for goat herders in the bronze age? Would that be a ‘better’ solution? And in that case, in what way? Its just a question. Life, as I see it, is not inanimate (you seems to have another mindset ), and life belongs to reality, and reality is the primary input of ideas to handle our lives. Would it therefore be wrong of me to love my wife and children? so, in short, no. I do not buy you analogy. In regards of the philosophy it depends on what type of deity you happen to worship and what philosophy you happen to follow, there I have no input so I cant really say if it makes sense to throw it out. Note that I just made the assumption, from supposed geographic location, that you belong to one of the three major monotheistic religions. probably some flavour of christianity if I would guess.

  • JH

    But we work quit a bit on that explanation though… And so far we haven’t been forced to invoke the magic man did it approach :-)

  • JH

    I dare say, well put!

  • Anonymous

    Whenever you divide people up into “good” and “bad” you are scapegoating. We all have “light and dark”, “good and bad”, etc within us, as part of our personality. No one is completely “pure.” Those who “shoot up abortion doctors…” they are scapegoating just as anyone who lumps all religious people into zealot box.

  • Anonymous

    First, let define how I am using the word “shame.” Shame is a belief that there is something wrong with you, that you are defective in some way.

    Also, let me step out of the conversation a bit to explain my point of view. My religion is not based on faith or a ancient sacred text but personal experience, nor does it hold a dogma (I don’t believe that my way holds the only answer to whatever question or that my way is the best way), my religion does not reject any part of science but holds it as equally valid as any esoteric knowledge and my religion has no problem with any type of sex among consenting adults. So when I hear “Religion is the problem” or “Religious people are delusional” I am stunned and offended. And I feel compelled to inject into the “us/them” discussion the possibility of a middle way. I have no interest in changing anyone’s opinion about life, the universe, and everything.

    The first amendment and it’s freedom of religion clause states that congress cannot make a law establishing a state religion nor can it make laws based upon one religion’s ideals. I agree with that wholeheartedly! But to say that we, in the public domain, cannot discuss religion or have that be a part of national discussion on any issue, is like saying: We can have this discussion but you cannot bring up anything you learned in college (in class or out of class). My religion is an integral part of who I am, just like my time in college was integral to my development as a human being. I cannot just leave that at home.

    Where the discussion becomes a problem is when someone (a believer or not) states that their way is the best way and the only way – the dogmatism you talk about.

    Scientists are indeed open minded and are willing to admit they don’t know everything. However, the fundamentalist atheists I am talking about are the ones that call people like me delusional or stupid or silly because I don’t hold the same worldview they do and lump me and others who think like I do (there are a lot of us) into the same box as the Westburo Baptist church (for example). Dawkins, Harris, Huchiens, as well as some people who post on Disinfo, are doing that.

    My whole point is that it isn’t all black and white, there is some gray here. But we will never know that unless we are willing to share and discuss everything.

  • Teller

    Well, to me, if “we will end in a soup of elementary particles,” then this sounds a lot like ‘hell’ to me. I don’t read the bible literally btw, I read it for value in living a better life. Just as a preface, I’m not trying to convince you of anything, I’m trying to bounce my thoughts off someone else here. If in fact the second law of thermodynamics is true, (and by most of what I’ve read and observed it looks to be very convincing) then how can you explain it’s self-organizing? Life organizes itself. Be it first from non-material particles building up on sea vents at the bottom of the ocean to create a cell or microbes floating around in space, that in itself sounds rather miraculous to me, or by some metaphysical-explanation of transfiguration of man from dust into life, however it happened, it seems that the intrinsic properties or qualities of the universe are working against itself. Life is organizing and the universe is falling apart slowly, but surely. Not a single non-believer, author, video has yet to explain any logically explanation of why life exist. I’m opened minded to all kinds of reason, evidence-in-support-of someone’s ideas, but I simple can’t believe that there isn’t something greater to life, more importantly, to us as human beings, than just this. Furthermore, though I profess to be a Christian, I do not believe in the magical. I want to adhere to reason and examine real events in history that correlate or parallel events in the bible. With that said, there are experiences I’ve had in life which prevent me from reasoning that there isn’t ‘something more’ going on. My sister and I have seen the same exact ‘ghost’ in a room at night once when we were children. The pale-white translucent figure looked like my sister, and I called out to her and she vanished, my sister saw it as well. It never moved, it wasn’t something spectacular, just odd and was confirmed to not be a just in ‘my head.’ There are many other experiences in my life, not just dealing with paranormal or unexplainable sights. I’ve smoked Salvia in late college and experienced extreme time-compression that does not fit with an explanation that consciousness/awareness is only a biological mechanism. Aside from that, there are other areas of experience that just won’t fit with this idea that ‘there can be nothing beyond material reality.’ I’m just curious as to how people rationalize this away. Believe me when I say I want to know the truth about life. With everything I’ve experienced, learned, observed, I choose to believe that “creator the creator” seeks. I don’t wish to debate how that creator made all this mess, which is mostly what is it, however it’s a beautiful chaos which I appreciate.

  • David Frost

    If you look at it that way it will never make sense to you.

    Basically I take issue with materialism and instead favor intrinsic value with a belief in a dualistic reality of material and a more ethereal realm as well. Instead of cultural relativism which is synonymous with conforming you behavior to what is pervasive in society, I essentially model my behavior after timeless lifestyle choices that is actually quite reasonable when you really compare it with secular culture and behavior.

    So the basic question is why can’t you live your life and I’ll live mine the way I see fit? Because when you really look at it human beings do awful things regardless of whether they are Christian or atheist. Human nature has a bad element to it. Secularizing the world won’t make the world a better place. So when looking at it from that perspective atheists have no reason to try and convert anyone else to atheism. I find this rational argument doesn’t win atheists any converts either, it just serves as highly inflammatory rhetoric that is deeply annoying being that Christians and probably other faiths as well have these discussions on a regular basis and still continue to believe. Why? Because both sides have evidence that they use as proof.

  • David Frost

    I’m a liberal too, that doesn’t mean I have to change my religious views to what is “trendy” in liberal circles. But it’s good we both agree on thinking for ones self

  • David Frost

    That I agree with, I was talking about people like Fred Phelps that most anyone thinks is awful person. So not quite so much an authentic “evil incarnate” just bad in a way that brings a great deal of disgust in most peoples eyes and therefore a good analogy.

  • B1-66ER

    Actually, even Richard Dawkins, who wrote that “fundamentalist” book The God Delusion, stated in the book that out of 1 to 7, 1 being complete faith with no doubt that some kind of deity exists and 7 being the opposite, he was a 6 or 61/2, which means he freely admits that he may be wrong and he doesn’t know everything. What a “fundamentalist” he is, admitting his own ignorance of all the answers to the questions we have about the universe.
    I wonder if you ever read the book before you claimed that it stated anything “without a doubt”? Because if you had read it you would have known that.
    And no, people like myself don’t have faith in science, we have evidence. Science works, therefore it remains useful as a way to investigate the universe. No faith involved, just a great track record!

  • B1-66ER

    ZOMG!!!1!eleven!! Nyxynox most likely doesn’t believe in unicorns, fairies, leprechauns, or trolls (hopefully, unless s/he’s batshit), so s/he is a FUNDAMENTALIST since at no time does s/he accept that they could exist!
    ZOMG THERE’S FUNDAMENTALISTS EVERYWHERE!!!! NOWHERE IS SAFE FROM THEIR STRICT AND LITERAL ADHERENCE TO THE PRINCIPLE OF MYTHS BEING MYTHS!!!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UDC2N7OXOUWQIEQUGFLRRC27UQ cameron

    My only concern with the lives of others is how their possibly delusional thinking might have detrimental impacts on other people. Two words to at least show where my thinking comes from: Sarah Palin.

  • B1-66ER

    My only concern with what other people believe is only in relation to the possibly detrimental impact that their possibly delusional thinking has on other people. Two words is all I need for an example of where my position on this comes from: Sarah Palin.

  • B1-66ER

    So you are one with Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Caligula and/or any of the other innumerable evil tyrants that have lived throughout human history or do you stand apart from them. Sorry dude, sometimes we have to take a stand and call a spade a spade.

  • B1-66ER

    “My religion is not based on faith or a ancient sacred text but personal experience”. If you’re don’t have universally observable evidence for your religious beliefs, then its faith. It may not be faith in something someone else said, but it is faith nonetheless.
    That said, if you think that those “new atheists” which you mentioned have ever stated that they have 100% that they are right shows you have never read their works. What they will say however is that the probability of any of the thousands of deities humans have either made up or discovered actually existing is very low and to believe in any of them without any evidence, besides ancient dogma or anecdotal revelation which don’t count as evidence, is just as stupid and delusional as believing in ANYTHING without proper evidence.

  • B1-66ER

    Our minds can process an amazing amount of information in very short times because of the chemicals affecting our brains, thus our minds, which is why time in dreams seems so much longer then it really is. Just because a chemical or chemicals were affecting how your mind perceived reality does not mean you were actually seeing the rules of reality breaking.
    All any theists seem to do is add an extra level of complexity (deities) to the origin to the universe and life without being able to answer the questions it raises. Your “god of the gaps” thinking does not mean there are not non-supernatural explanations for those phenomenon, just that we might not have discovered them yet.

  • B1-66ER

    Evidence for religion? Ummm then there would be no need for faith. People only have faith in things when they have no actual evidence to back up those beliefs.

  • B1-66ER

    Evidence for religion? Ummm then there would be no need for faith. People only have faith in things when they have no actual evidence to back up those beliefs.

  • B1-66ER

    That doesn’t mean you couldn’t use the hemp plant for any of the other 25,000 uses that don’t involve getting high.

  • B1-66ER

    That doesn’t mean you couldn’t use the hemp plant for any of the other 25,000 uses that don’t involve getting high.

  • B1-66ER

    Ummm, actually I’ve never been religious or believed in any deities and I’m not mad at anybody’s imaginary friends. I’m just pissed at people who do horrible things then claim justification in the name of gods of religions. Apparently you have the delusion that deity belief is the default position, which it is not. Sorry dude, just because you have an imaginary friend doesn’t mean everyone else does.

  • Andrew

    If there is a God of some sort, and there very well may be, I think the chances that It subscribes to any of our moral or ethical codes, judging from the way the universe works, is zero.

  • Andrew

    If there is a God of some sort, and there very well may be, I think the chances that It subscribes to any of our moral or ethical codes, judging from the way the universe works, is zero.

  • B1-66ER

    “You make it sound like atheism is still a big taboo. Outside of backwater communities and in modern civilization, this is simply not true.”
    I have lived my whole life in the Seattle area and even here with more non-believers then most places here in the States, as a kid I used to have to deal with gangs of kids trying and sometime succeeding in beating me up for not believing in gods. I dealt with friends whose parents told them I was going to be punished for eternity for my lack of belief and love for science and that they couldn’t play with me. I have also lost a job to “differences causing workplace disruption” without me ever being in people’s about religion. It was just an ex-coworker being friendly, inviting me to church and when I thanked them and politely refused, saying that “I’m an atheist and i don’t want you to feel I’m offending you by going but not really believing it” I was THE ENEMY at that job. Needless to say I was there for about a week after that dealing with all the hushed behind the back whispers and weird scared glances before I was told about my workplace “no-no”.
    Even for a place like the Seattle area with so many non-traditional and atheist folks, atheism can still be a big taboo here and can cost you a lot.

  • B1-66ER

    The burden of proof is on theists since you are making a claim (that a deity exists). I simply don’t believe the claim, since it’s nearly impossible to prove a negative (prove that unicorns or fairies don’t exist). As such, I will accept positions with enough evidence to show a reasonable probability of likelihood but I will not accept claims which do not have enough evidence to show that it is a likely probability. So how does being an atheist (not believing there is any evidence for deities) stop me from having a truly scientific perspective (only accepting claims with sufficient evidence or higher probability)?
    I think you mistake atheism, which is having no belief in gods, with believing that gods do not exist. One is a lack of belief and the other is belief in somethings nonexistence. They are in fact very different.

  • B1-66ER

    Why is the idea of a creator so profound? Even early humans knew that they came from their parents and that they came from their parents, but what was the first? “Obviously” a universal parent figure is going to be the explanation of people who don’t possess better data.

  • that1guy

    It shows they “have been” angry at god. As in, have been, at some point in their lives, maybe right before they wised up? Learn how to read.

  • that1guy

    point one, and a lot of atheists won’t agree with this either, Atheism and non-theism do not equal scientific materialism.

    point 2. “So the basic question is why can’t you live your life and I’ll live mine the way I see fit”
    Because religious people actively legislate that I live the way they live, and that the world should be legally defined as they define it. Once a majority of church groups form voting blocks are are socially liberal, advance the separation of church and state, and promote materialistic reason as the best way to address policy concerns, then maybe then I’ll be OK with adopting a live and let live attitude. But how likely is that really?

  • Anonymous

    I think Fred Phelps is a sad man. So much time and energy used on making other people’s misery more miserable. He is a walking trauma. I think he “doth protest too much”. He is most likely a very closeted homosexual that hates that part of him so much, so he projects it onto others.

  • David Frost

    Definitely. He also looks like the old guy from poltergeist :)

  • JH

    I was not brought up with the notion of heaven, hell and gods. I got acquainted with these myths as an adult, and out of my own curiosity. Hell is usually depicted to be an undesirable place to be in. And looking around the world I can see many of those, in favelas in south America, in the slum of Nairobi, in the drug induced daemon haunted existence of a high that back fired, or as it looks, being an altar boy in a catholic parish.

    Religion being man made, hell has been defined in different form depending on the particular flavour of mythology you happen to subscribe to. The mainstay and reason from religious point of view is to create a place of fear, planted in your mind. This is part of the control mechanism when you define social behaviours which are desirable and undesirable. The undesirable leading you to the fearful place.

    If you happened to be a old norse subscriber, hell was a cold barren place while heaven where place with women, beer and fighting. If you happened to be a abrahamic god subscriber (christian/allah/jehova) hell would be something similar to a volcanic eruption. Heaven on the other hand is not that well defined leaving a lot of interesting headroom for your fantasy to play with.

    Either or, to map this myth on the end of the universe is quite another task, and neither you nor me will be around to see it happen. If the universe ends in a soup of elementary particles has no practical meaning for us as individuals. We will be long gone, dead and buried and our atoms recycled. We as persons wont exits to witness the end. So to fear it would simply be a waste of time. Neither does it have any importance for our daily life as such. But the cosmological question is interesting in it self and digging in to it could give us a lot of insight in the natural world that surrounds us and hence be of a lot of practical value for us. It is therefore we do extensive research on the matter in CERN with the LHC.

    The laws of thermodynamics are deceptively easy to understand, and yes they are as validated by observation as any science. That does not mean that they are not continuously misused and misunderstood in for instance creationists circles. There is no direct relation between entropy and the atoms and molecules we consist of. You must remember that the earth is not closed system, it has an continuous energy input from the sun which gives us the momentum needed to be able to drive the self organisation process (which where discovered by Alan Turing back in the 50:ts, as a side note). since Alans days much has happened and our knowledge has deepened considerably over time. There are plenty of resources on the net on the subject, and yes they are scientificly valid (with simulations and experiments and practical applications emerging). Sure we have still much to learn but then again we have only done research in this very fascinating subject for 50 years (which is all things considered next to nothing). I can recommend thunderf00t on youtube for s starting point (although he can be a bit hung up on the venomfangx guy which is quite simply mentally ill). Another good introductory source would be cdk who has a few things to say about self organisation and some cool simulations as well). read up on abiogenesis and chaos theory. Life is not so unlikely as on would think given the natural laws that govern the chemistry involved. They ‘why’ though is simply put the wrong question. The universe does not particularly care about you, if the dinosaurs was not wiped out the odds are that the intelligent species asking these questions would have had a tail and three toes… If intelligence would have been developed at all that is. So *why* you, or me, exists is not really interesting for any other party than yourself. And the universe doesn’t really care.

    In regards of the bible being a ‘good book’. Well to be frank I read it, and the qouran, and bhagdavita. And I do not buy it. There is nothing in the bible which you wouldn’t expect from the culture of its time. Not even the ten commandments can be considered specially morally inept. The first ones are simply there to ensure the propagation of the religion itself (and establish the image of a pretty unpleasant and envious god at that). The rest is common sense. You seems to belong to the ‘pick and choose’ category of religious persons, which is OK by me, but you should know that according to the same bible that mentality ensures you a pretty low place in Dantes inferno. After all, god is infallible, and the bible is his true word. All of it.

    Another problem with the god hypothesis is the fact that god itself needs an creator, and that creator needs a creator and so forth. The hypothesis is therefore totally useless in order to gain any useful knowledge about our universe, actually it worse than useless as by invoking the magic man you short circuit the reasoning process and take the escape route out of the problem (think along the lines ‘and then something magical happen’) being analysed. And that can not be a viable way to expand your knowledge.

    I will not even start the discussion about your ghost experience. but short answer; it was in your head, and to make it short, yes salvia has interesting mental effects.

  • David Frost

    The first point I’m scratching my head over because atheism is actively maintaining that god doesn’t exist or anything supernatural or transcendental for that matter. Atheism IS what was formally referred to as philosophical materialism. So if your an atheist you think anything beyond “when you die nothing happens” is false. If that doesn’t explain how you feel then you fit some other description. It’s actually quite a boring a cynical way to life ones life.

    Second point sounds to me more like you dislike the GOP and believe that by attacking us then you can get at them. Here are a few thoughts on that;

    1) that is a massive generalization/stereotyping and there are quite a few theists and atheists on both sides of the political spectrum, you just don’t hear a lot about leftest theists or right winged atheists because they aren’t very attractive to peoples attention

    2) the way the constitution is written it actually says two things, one, there will be no state church (in other words there is no “Church Of America”), and two, you can freely practice whatever you believe in. If a person wants to be highly vocal about it that is completely legally acceptable and so is it if a political figure bases ethical decisions around what they understand to be right from their faith.

    3) I’m I liberal too, and I admit most right wing thought leaves me scratching me head pretty hard, but you can’t “force” people to change their political views, especially not from denying them free expression of faith (a very basic civil right btw).

    4) the Bible isn’t as influential on right wing thought as most people would think, right wing thought has more to do with the US’ stances during the cold war than Christianity at it’s most Biblically pure form. It has actually been said “Jesus was a liberal” which isn’t entirely true, but he seamed more in step with that than with the GOP.

  • JH

    You, as well as frost (I debated earlier) seems to be the variant of pick and choose). That makes sense as the bible (which I assume is your base) is riddled with contradictions, envy, hate and immoralities (and I have a pretty high ceiling). Picking and choosing though you can find your way through (but in the process the notion of an infallible god get demolished.

    I do not think that Dawkins, Harris and Christopher could be called ‘militant’. They don’t throw bombs or drive planes through buildings. They are, however, vocal about their choice in life, and they do not feel the least ashamed of it. I like their style. They will ask your questions and invoke your thought processes. Many people doesn’t like that, they prefer the little bubble they have built with their magic man holding them in the hand. Like me they use questions to when ever possible force you to really *think* about the matters. If you have a guy that say he beliefs in the bible and that it is his moral compass it is fair to ask him if he thinks it is ok to kill children by throwing them at rocks, keep slaves and concubines and sacrifice your son on mountain tops.

    It is also a fair question why the catholic church insists on spreading venereal disease in under developed countries by hindering such a thing as condom usage, or why the pop is not questioned, by police, and processed as any other criminal for his role in covering up the catholic priesthoods misconduct on boys in their care.

    I do not feel it is unfair to question religious organisations that want to influence your society either. And no I do not feel these organisations worthy of any form of special respect at all just because they claim to be religious. Ted Haggard (along with all other televangelist) are, plain and simple, con artist cheating people of their money. They are not worthy of any respect for their deeds. Phelps wasn’t a good man either. And the list just goes on. All of them with the common base; they get a way with it because they can call themselves ‘pastor’, reverend and claim some sort of connection with a supreme being. That is not worthy of respect either.

    So in short, I would not call them fundamentalists. They forces you out of your comfort zone and to start to think about things. And that is a good thing. If you feel comfortable in your faith you shouldn’t be worried, neither would they worry about you. Yes you live the illusion. But then again it is your life, and as long as you do not start a school where to indoctrinate children, they wont mind, neither would I.

    Live a good life!

  • David Frost

    Well I was talking about things like the idea that a single cell organisms spontaneously formed from simple proteins. A cell is actually remarkably complex and that doesn’t make a lot of sense as far as why protein would randomly form something as complex as a single cell organism. To someone like me I look at that as pointing toward a designer.

    Then you have the a lot of deeply prophetic statements in the Bible that explain the way certain things are incredibly well. Things like the constant unrest in the middle east, unending world poverty, people doing terrible things, etc.

  • David Frost

    True…I just disagree with the idea that it leads to some sort on higher consciousness, but it does have some great practical uses.

  • JH

    No. There has never been any evidence for theistic approach. That is the core problem. Evidence, however, is the core for science. There you a have large difference.

  • that1guy

    Second point 1st,

    ur1.I recognize that there are a number of right wing and left wing theists and atheists alike. Atheists have Objectivism and Communism, Theists have Islamo-fascism and Liberation Theology. I get that it’s a spectrum, but it’s a little ingenuous to claim that the record is equal as far as the negative political impacts of atheists vs. theists goes. A number of wedge issues in the US are defined by religious views and kept in the spotlight by religiously motivated activism. Also, we’re not just talking about the US and we’re not just talking about the past 20 years.

    ur2. While the constitution is a document I would love to see upheld to the letter indefinitely, it is not the be-all and end-all source of my political opinions. I think that separation of church and state, beyond that which the Constitution has been interpreted to demand, is in order. No tax breaks, no funding for overtly religious purposes(charity and non-profit work would be fine in my book tho), no proselytizing in public schools, courts of law, or legislative bodies. I would draw the line before limiting the political speech of churches or limiting political contributions from religious groups. That would be a dangerous incursion on individuals’ rights to free speech and peaceable assembly in my book.

    ur3. I have no intent to “force”(who were you quoting?) anyone to do anything. As a person with a strong
    libertarian bent, the idea of forcing someone to silence their views, religious or otherwise, especially through legislative action, is morally repugnant. Disallowing the state to sponsor certain views over others, based on religious sympathies, is different than forcing ideology on people. I believe in the objectivity of a true marketplace of ideas, and I believe that given an even playing field people would make more decisions based on reason and foreseeable material effects than on manipulated emotional reaction. This is not to say that there aren’t reasonable religious people out ther already(clearly, you are one), there just aren’t enough of them, and I think this would change if we stopped subsidizing certain religious beliefs. My refusal to “live and let live” is a refusal to remain silent in the face of ideological favoritism, not a promise to disenfranchise people who believe in a god I don’t believe in. You grossly mischaracterized my original argument, but I don’t think you did so intentionally, so, whatever.

    ur4. I’ll give you partial credit for this one. The right’s views on a number of issues are more influenced by skewed historical perspective than purely religious thought, although there certainly is some demographic overlap there that can’t be denied. The left has similar problems in my opinion. That said, religions, as social movements, exist as they are practiced, not as their texts are interpreted in the best light. So, for example, if Christians take a verse form the old testament out of context(Leviticus 18:22) and use it to justify the continued oppression of a segment of society, it doesn’t matter if the code they follow is later nullified in that text (Hebrews 8:8-12) in the view of some unpopular religious scholar somewhere. Sure, from certain perspectives Jesus was a radical activist, unopposed to civil disobedience right down to the “turning of the other cheek” being a veiled insult against anyone who tried to strike you (look it up), but this not how he has been revered and honored. If religions use a text as a weapon, that makes that religion violent and the peaceful message of the text irrelevant.

    OK, thanks for bearing with me. Now, on the first point, literally every resource I check defines Atheism as “non-belief in God or deities.” Check Wikipedia (as dubious a source as it is) for a more in depth discussion of this definition if you think Websters and the Oxford English dictionaries are simplifying the concept for brevity’s sake. It should be clear after a moment’s thought that you’ve conflated two distinct ideologies, scientific materialism and atheism, and while this is understandable, it is still not entirely accurate.
    A number of Atheists, especially those that are vocal against religious assaults on science, adhere to a materialist mindset, but this does not define the term Atheist. There are any number of irrational and non-scientific ways to view the world that don’t require belief in deities of any sort.

  • B1-66ER

    So because you can’t explain something, that automatically points to a cosmic being who’s creation or existence you can’t explain? Simple god of the gaps reasoning and that just points to personal ignorance.

  • B1-66ER

    So because a book made “prophesies” that any schmuck could tell you (there are jerks in the world, when people have massive wealth others will be poor, in an area with with natural resources human power structures will fight over it) you think it somehow has an inside connection to some cosmic being? That just shows you have never read any other religious books because they ALL make obvious observations that the adherents use as “proof” that their personal book is “THE TRUTH”. The few “prophesies” of the Babble that have come to pass are just as easily made. The rest of them people just forgot about because they were bullshit. Remember Hal Lindsey? Yeah, I didn’t think so…

  • B1-66ER

    I would have to agree with you an that one. The only thing that leads to “higher consciousness” is ourselves, whether we are high or not. The only things that drugs can do however, is to take you out of your normal perspective for a while and allow you to see the world through a different lens, which can be a healthy thing for people. The only problem is when people are high so much that it becomes their perspective. In that sense I think occasional use of psychedelics can be good to help people see the world from a different perspective, but I understand the personal decisions to not use them.

  • David Frost

    1) I do agree with you as far as there being more right winged theists and more left winged atheists. On the theist side, my side, I think thats actually terribly sad.

    2) Technically, the reason for the tax exempt status is because churches function for the good of the community, not only for charity and working to improve social issues but also as guidance and community with the only source of income being tithes. As far as the whole religion in public thing, thats a detailed issue, for the most part, regardless of whether or not you believe in god, Christianity is a part of the cultural fabric in the US. If you don’t believe how is that any different from not believing in Batman or Santa? I don’t think I was ever an atheist or agnostic but I went though I time when I didn’t care and really didn’t want to go to church, during that time I never got upset at people who chose to have faith.

    3) I am not much for libertarian politics, but a lot of my best friends are, I’m a democrat thats a straight edge and vegan and extremely anti-materialistic in philosophy. I also play experimental music and do a lot of marginal art. I guess because of all that “the marketplace of ideas” is an analogy I never liked that much, I like looking at is as “learn every last detail of everything you can, in every subject you can, then have the freedom to think or agree however you will.” The problem I keep seeing with secularists is that there isn’t a definite stopping point, different people have different views, and some take it to a level that is exactly like something of an atheist “inquisition.” I look at that and really worry and at times the overall tone of the debate gets like that. There are reasonable theists out there, the more reasonable ones are usually the more quiet and civil ones. The “nut jobs” are the ones that get the most attention. I do think certain things deserve to be pointed out. Like for example when Pat Robertson said that the blizzard that we just had happed to “keep people from doing something gay,” I thought that was absolutely ridiculous and made him the butt of my jokes for the whole week. Me I think that although everything happens for a reason, it has different reasons for different people, I had lots of R&R during that time which helped a lot.

    4) Absolutely!

    As far as the last part…I was reading a discussion and someone in that discussion said “you can be an atheist and believe in ghosts and UFO’s” A belief in UFO’s I can see, but not ghosts. I can see certain things like maybe belief that magnets help health issues or that maybe astrology works, but not anything that takes on a supernatural aspect. So thats what comes to mind when I say that.

  • David Frost

    I’ve have lived life hard and seen a lot of things you aren’t supposed to see…it makes more sense to me than the next thing.

  • David Frost

    Exactly, Way back in the day when people lived in villages and had medicine men that guided people through the altered state of mind to learn something in the process, it made some sense, but recreational use doesn’t produce the same results.

  • Tuna Ghost

    It’s critically recognized as shit, actually. Despite what some believe, poetry is not a “it’s as good or bad as you feel it is” kinda art. I love the Doors as much as the next man, but bad poetry is bad poetry.

  • Tuna Ghost

    We dont believe in much here in case you didnt notice.

    I hope you stick around, kid. You crack me up.

    At any rate, your understanding of history is a bit uniformed, I’m afraid. Bach and Vivaldi forced to write music for the church against their will? Vivaldi, whose most famous works do not have Christian themes? I’m starting to think you’re not actually familiar at all with these men or their works.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C5AKM2QTHZAE267QH6T4N2TYLM Psychedelic

    When Phelps dies, I’ll bet we start hearing about some freaky stuff, like molestation and incest, and you will hear me saying “See, I was right!”

  • Ohuknow

    Fasting, fighting, and roller coasters work as well. You don’t need to add chemicals to your brain to manipulate your brain chemistry.

  • DeepCough

    Well, I never saw the point at getting angry at that which doesn’t even exist.

  • DeepCough

    Well, I never saw the point at getting angry at that which doesn’t even exist.

  • Jack Numan

    There is no objective opinion about any art or art form that is “right.” It’s all subjective. We can all make arguments for why we like what we like. I happen to agree more with Hempdude, but that doesn’t have to make Morrison a great poet to anyone else. Your idea that there is a final say about anything in art is a little like a believer-in-God’s opinion about religion.

  • Wil

    I see. I’m going to go practice medicine now based on my subjective opinion of the way the human body works. Better yet, I’ll go and practice physics and cosmology based on my subjective opinion of the way reality works. . . Oh, wait, that’s what religionists do, isn’t it?

    Art criticism is hard. Good, rigorous art criticism is damn near impossible, and takes a lot of study and a great deal of wit, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible or valueless. Frankly, I think what you’re doing is just what you’re accusing him of. You’re dismissing a whole field of endeavour as pointless, whether you want to see it or not. Personally, I’m so sick of the hatred of art criticism I see these days, i could barf. I’m even more sick of the lazy view that good art can be made well by anyone, without any real effort put into craft, and that as such, ‘art belongs to us all’. Yes, it does, but most of it is crap. That said, Jim Morrison’s poetry is largely worthless crud. It’s like Ayn Rand; she’s good philosophy if you’ve never read any and don’t know anything about philosophy. . .

  • Jordan

    I’m so glad you said it.

  • Jordan

    My question is simply, why do you care so much? To prove yourself “right” in some way? To prove somebody “wrong?” Are you trying to “save” people? You know that’s what the Christians try to do… You don’t like them, do you? If you don’t agree. That’s OK. You can say so. Calm down. Hint: Using personal experience makes it ‘easier’ to prove any kind of point you have, for experience is unique to us all and cannot be argued.

  • Jordan

    First of all, there’s no way you could determine that there’s only two ways the universe could go. That’s black and white. The gray area… that’s where you’re missing the whole concept of hope. I noticed you also used to word hope, in place of ‘wish.’ Hope, to me, means faith. To have hope, means to have faith… for the better. Hope is also not a feeling. The same way one doesn’t feel faith, but knows it. I think it’s more of a state of being. The same way love is not a feeling. Everyone experiences hope and love differently. This cannot be debated. It is different for everyone. Period. You also say that if you get cancer, you would hope for a cure. This shocked me. I think if I had cancer, I would certainly be content with living through it, not a cure for all of mankind’s cancer as a result of me, oh-so-special me, having cancer. Let’s get real. I don’t know though. I suppose if you believed that was possible, then it could be possible. So, I definitely wouldn’t shut the door on it. It seems as though your whole speech up there just is building a brick wall of anti-faith around yourself. You also have nothing to base your opinion of there being no pre-life or afterlife. Considering you’re alive now, like us all, you know no more than the rest of us. Some people choose to believe different things about an afterlife, this is not limited to 100 virgins or whatever other stories you have heard or read. Who are you to say they are wrong? It is their belief. Not yours. As anti-religious as you seem to be, you seem to have packaged yourself up nicely in just another conformist box of disbelief. Now, to you, it seems as though you have no other options for ‘hope’ because all these afterlife scenarios are a little too far-fetched for you, which is why there are many of us who don’t take things literally. You seem to have educated yourself _just enough_ to argue the opposite of what certain religious groups believe. We all don’t fit in boxes like that. It’s not religion’s fault you have no other options. Open your eyes. Humans run on faith. It is what keeps us alive. Not just our hearts and our brains. Everything you feel, hear, smell, taste, see is all based upon that you have faith that it is there to begin with. You have faith and you don’t even know it.

  • JH

    “First of all, there’s no way you could determine that there’s only two ways the universe could go. That’s black and white. The gray area… that’s where you’re missing the whole concept of hope.”

    Well, no one can 100% certain of anything. However with present knowledge and supporting evidence we can be as certain as is humanly possible (i.e. more certain than buying a lottery ticket hoping for the highest price) that these are the end scenarios we are facing.

    “I noticed you also used to word hope, in place of ‘wish.’ Hope, to me, means faith. To have hope, means to have faith… for the better.”

    No. Hope and faith are to distinct and differing concepts. faith is based on non evidence non reasoning. Hope can be backed by a probability.

    “Hope is also not a feeling. The same way one doesn’t feel faith, but knows it.”

    Both are, to an extent feelings. Hope can be calculated with odds, faith is nonsensical hope (i.e. can not be backed by known evidence). Both are feelings.

    “I think it’s more of a state of being.”

    No it isn’t.

    “The same way love is not a feeling.”

    Love is very much a feeling.

    “Everyone experiences hope and love differently. This cannot be debated. It is different for everyone. Period.”

    Well, there is a certain truth that the feeling varies between individuals. But, yes it can be debated.

    “You also say that if you get cancer, you would hope for a cure. This shocked me. I think if I had cancer, I would certainly be content with living through it, not a cure for all of mankind’s cancer as a result of me, oh-so-special me, having cancer. Let’s get real.”

    whats wrong with having hope in this case? I Have hope that I or my Doctor missed that new development in an obscure laboratory on the other side of the world and that I would stumble on it? That is a hope of probabilities.

    “I don’t know though. I suppose if you believed that was possible, then it could be possible. So, I definitely wouldn’t shut the door on it.”

    Well, you would not shut the door to the high win in the lottery either…

    “It seems as though your whole speech up there just is building a brick wall of anti-faith around yourself. You also have nothing to base your opinion of there being no pre-life or afterlife.”

    Well. I have. No evidence ever supported the notion of after and pre life. None. Zilch. Nada. zero. Well I can not come up with more… On the other hand I can not 100% guarantee it, But no, i would find it delusional to believe in it.

    “Considering you’re alive now, like us all, you know no more than the rest of us. Some people choose to believe different things about an afterlife, this is not limited to 100 virgins or whatever other stories you have heard or read. Who are you to say they are wrong?”

    Well, there is a next to 0 possibility they are right. But in a choice between a lottery ticket and a a possible after life i would choose the lottery ticket. The odds are, way, way, waaaaay better…

    “It is their belief. Not yours.”

    True enough. as long as they keep their illusion to themselves.

    “As anti-religious as you seem to be, you seem to have packaged yourself up nicely in just another conformist box of disbelief. Now, to you, it seems as though you have no other options for ‘hope’ because all these afterlife scenarios are a little too far-fetched for you, which is why there are many of us who don’t take things literally.”

    well they are extremely fat fetched. No i havent boxed my self up. I just trust reality a bit more.

    “You seem to have educated yourself _just enough_ to argue the opposite of what certain religious groups believe. We all don’t fit in boxes like that. It’s not religion’s fault you have no other options.”

    Actually, as you are living in reality as well, you have exactly the same options as I have. no more. No less.

    “Open your eyes. Humans run on faith.”

    No. They dont.
    “It is what keeps us alive.”

    No it doesnt.

    “Not just our hearts and our brains. Everything you feel, hear, smell, taste, see is all based upon that you have faith that it is there to begin with. You have faith and you don’t even know it.”

    No. It is based on sensory input. what _you_ attribute to it is another matter entirely. You can choose to build a myth around or you can interpret it in terms of reality. The choice is yours.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for you responses.

    Yes, Dawkins, et al. do force me out of my comfort zone and that is a good thing. It helps me clarify my perspective and question my beliefs, as is our conversation on this board. That is the benefit of civil debate.

    You have assumed wrong that my base is the bible. I am not Christian, I am pagan and my worldview is more akin to an indigenous peoples perspective than a western or eastern religious perspective. However, I have read the bible and you are right it is full of contradictions etc. as all mythology is. Now, when I use the term “mythology” I am not referring to falsehood rather the Joseph Campbell’s understanding of myth – that myth is a story of the human condition. We, as humans are full of contradictions, etc.

    Also, when I use the term “militant”, I am taking a phrase from Dawkins’ 2006 TED Talk where he refers to himself and his fellow outspoken atheists as such.

    I don’t deny that religion has done some horrible things in the name of their understanding of god. But I don’t blame religion, I blame the people. Power corrupts – religious or secular.

    We need to stop dividing ourselves into Us and Them. And anything I have posted here, I would say to a Fundi Christian. We need to start finding ways of bridging the gaps we have made not making them wider.

    I do live a good life and say thanks everyday. Good conversing with you.

  • that1guy

    Meh, lets not be too hard on the druggies. There are a lot of unenlightened assholes walking around tripping on yoga practices they’ve taken up out of context as well.
    What you take from drug or non-drug experiences depends on how you’ve learned to approach life, not what exact chemicals your neurons are bathed in or where they came from.

    “The dullard sees no eros in fine champagne; the sorcerer can fall intoxicated on a glass of water.”

  • Tuna Ghost

    So there are no “bad” films, or poorly-written novles? Bollocks. You know as well as I do that there are. Society as a whole recognizes this. Enjoyment can come from them, just like enjoyment can come from eating bad food with your friends. But the fact is, there are structure and form to the arts, especially poetry, and these things are not as subjective as you would have us believe. The idea of art as completely subjective was discredited by smarter people than either of us long, long ago.

  • Tuna Ghost

    Indeed, well put.

  • JH

    “Yes, Dawkins, et al. do force me out of my comfort zone and that is a good thing. It helps me clarify my perspective and question my beliefs, as is our conversation on this board. That is the benefit of civil debate.”

    How very true. And that is a core principal in science as well, we might do pen fighting but ultimately we do not go out and kill one another over an idea that ha been overturned.

    “You have assumed wrong that my base is the bible. I am not Christian, I am pagan and my worldview is more akin to an indigenous peoples perspective than a western or eastern religious perspective.”

    Interesting. I was just judging from probability, not from what you actually wrote. Paganism is somethign I have very little knowledge about.

    “However, I have read the bible and you are right it is full of contradictions etc. as all mythology is. Now, when I use the term “mythology” I am not referring to falsehood rather the Joseph Campbell’s understanding of myth – that myth is a story of the human condition. We, as humans are full of contradictions, etc.”

    I am not familiar with that definition of myth. I will read up on the subject, it sounds like an interesting concept!

    “Also, when I use the term “militant”, I am taking a phrase from Dawkins’ 2006 TED Talk where he refers to himself and his fellow outspoken atheists as such.”

    I have seen it as well. If I recall correctly he used the term militant tin the sense that he is open about his point of view, something which by many religious people seems to be equated with being militant and offensive.

    “I don’t deny that religion has done some horrible things in the name of their understanding of god. But I don’t blame religion, I blame the people. Power corrupts – religious or secular.”

    well, religion being man made, it is just a tool to control large umber of people. You are quite right in your assertion that absolute power (or just plain power) corrupts. Atheist are not better in this regard. However religion tends to disregard the that fact while atheist sis aware and on guard for it. he net result is that religion *will* end up being used for ‘bad’ deeds, sooner or later. Especially when it clashes with another mythology (i.e. Christianity against Muslim, or for that matter the third variant, jewish faith system). As there is no room for interpretation (in the traiditoal sense, the old testament is quite rigid when it comes to its view on other mythologies) the clash is inevitable as long as the scripture of choice is used as a base for your actions.

    In this sense I feel that atheism has a better approach, we have no dogma or religious truths to consider (no ‘holy land’ to defend). Therefore we have less things to worry about and more freedom f movement to reach compromises.

    “We need to stop dividing ourselves into Us and Them. And anything I have posted here, I would say to a Fundi Christian. We need to start finding ways of bridging the gaps we have made not making them wider.”

    I am with you there brother… :-) That does not mean i will goto church and believe in ghosts any time soon.

    “I do live a good life and say thanks everyday. Good conversing with you.”

    Likewise!

  • JD

    I’m confused Rufus; is this the argument from authority? We are supposed to believe that atheism is the correct metaphysical position because famous poets typically fell into that camp? If you want to go that way, I suppose I could say that everyone should have faith because the father of quantum physics, Max Planck, believed in a God, Oxford mathematics professor John Lennox believed in a God and so does leading edge biologist Francis Collins. Robert Lanza, whom US News World Report likened to the new “Einstein” due to his cutting edge genetic engineering, believes that consciousness is primal to the universe. I have to say that in the brains department, Planck trumps a Beetle any day of the week. Nevertheless, we ought to reach our own conclusions. Science deals with mechanisms of the natural world around us and for this reason I don’t think religious tenets should be introduced into the public classroom, but not because these profound questions are inferior to science, but because it’s akin to teaching philosophy in an automotive workshop; something in this picture just doesn’t fit. The acceptance of God on both an intellectual level and any revelatory experience is something that the atheist cannot relate to and not always because they’re too smart to fall into that trap. There are great intellectual arguments for the exoistence of God and physics provides for us many evidences for that faith if not proof.

    “For those that believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who don’t believe, no explanation is possible.”
    - The Bishop of Lourdes
    “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176)”.
    -Alexander Vilenkin / Professor of Physics and Director of the Institute of Cosmology at Tufts University
       

  • JD

    I agree on your logical point that facts shouldn’t diminish mystery both subjectively and objectively; every advance opens up a whole new can of worms of new mysteris. Every answer presents with new questions. And even the things we think are resolved are only harnessed, like electricity, but we don’t really know what electricity is and neither has a graviton been discovered but we see it’s influence on the collective population so we accept it as real despite what some physicists are now saying about gravity being an illusion.

    But James, where I disagree with you is where you say there can be no monopoly on anything that doesn’t exist. Exist in what shape or form? Consciousness exists and so does love but I have never seen these two hard problems presented in a vial and spun by a cetrifuge-have you? Given the mystery of life, it is patently absurd to boldly declare that God doesn’t exist. Even Max Planck says that in all his experience as a physicist, “There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter”.
    Not everything can be put into a bottle. Don’t you find it suspect that anyone would believe that molecules, like classic billiard balls, ran into each other by chance alone to initiate the building blocks of life which eventually led to more complicated molecular arrangements against an entropic universe leading to an infinitely complex cell which further led to more complex arrangements in response to environmental challenges which led to single celled organisms to say, “Hey fellas, let’s get together to create a blastocyst”, which, by direction of some billions of letters in a DNA molecule suffused with information not provided by a brain or nervous system creates all tissues and organs of this infinitely complex human organism which has this sense of “I” despite the fact its many cells are replaced many times over in a lifetime and as a result of highly improbable mutations all multiplied by one another until the likelihood that any of this could have ever come about through such a nigh infinite array of improbabilities? I used to be an athiest but I ran out of faith.

  • JD

    I agree on your logical point that facts shouldn’t diminish mystery both subjectively and objectively; every advance opens up a whole new can of worms of new mysteris. Every answer presents with new questions. And even the things we think are resolved are only harnessed, like electricity, but we don’t really know what electricity is and neither has a graviton been discovered but we see it’s influence on the collective population so we accept it as real despite what some physicists are now saying about gravity being an illusion.

    But James, where I disagree with you is where you say there can be no monopoly on anything that doesn’t exist. Exist in what shape or form? Consciousness exists and so does love but I have never seen these two hard problems presented in a vial and spun by a cetrifuge-have you? Given the mystery of life, it is patently absurd to boldly declare that God doesn’t exist. Even Max Planck says that in all his experience as a physicist, “There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter”.
    Not everything can be put into a bottle. Don’t you find it suspect that anyone would believe that molecules, like classic billiard balls, ran into each other by chance alone to initiate the building blocks of life which eventually led to more complicated molecular arrangements against an entropic universe leading to an infinitely complex cell which further led to more complex arrangements in response to environmental challenges which led to single celled organisms to say, “Hey fellas, let’s get together to create a blastocyst”, which, by direction of some billions of letters in a DNA molecule suffused with information not provided by a brain or nervous system creates all tissues and organs of this infinitely complex human organism which has this sense of “I” despite the fact its many cells are replaced many times over in a lifetime and as a result of highly improbable mutations all multiplied by one another until the likelihood that any of this could have ever come about through such a nigh infinite array of improbabilities? I used to be an athiest but I ran out of faith.

  • JD

    James Smith is into “scientism” Nyxynox. This is a metaphysical belief system not based on science. The reductionist materialist isn’t going to understand what you are saying. In fact, it is foolishness to that personality type as his posts have revealed. I’d gather that Smith is into the likes of Daniel Dennett who surmises we are robots with no real choices or autonomy. But think of this, how can such an irrational conglommeration of molecules ever be depended upon to come up with anything rational? How can Mr. Smith ever come to a reliable determination as to the existence of God based on his own arguments that suppose we have only been randomly cobbled together in an irrational way? And if he insists that this rationality comes from a rational universe, then what evidence can he give us that proves this to be true? What are the processes that brought about this rationality and especially how did its origins come about?  Describing mechanism in no way illuminates direction or purpose or agency. Smith has his head under the hood of a car and arrogantly declares. “Why, there is no need for a maker of this device. Anybody with any smarts can see how this thing works”. That is what I mean by mistaking mechanism with agency. Of course, James Smith will think this is stupid too, but I think it immeasurably stupid to think the universe has, on its own, somehow found a way to create beings reflective of its own rational nature and whom can look in upon itself objectively. Talk about metaphysical! Whew! Einstein once said that the only incomprehensible thing about the universe is its incomprehensibility. Smith thinks he’s the quintessential model of intellect. Truth is, he needs to go a little deeper. But he won’t and not because he rejects what he perceives as unintelligent, but because he wants no accountability to a mind that is greater then his. This is at the root of most rejection of God; our egos and need for independence. The atheistic choice is no less rooted in emotions than the faithful choice. 

  • Guyon Hayklan

    Utter drivel!

    If you can show me an Atheist angry at God, I’ll point out that they are not an Atheist. 

    This concept of Atheists being angry at God is something Theists spread around.

    It is true to say that Atheists sometimes get frustrated at Theists for their absurd beliefs, and perhaps this is why they interpret it as Anger at God.

  • Guyon Hayklan

    Utter drivel!

    If you can show me an Atheist angry at God, I’ll point out that they are not an Atheist. 

    This concept of Atheists being angry at God is something Theists spread around.

    It is true to say that Atheists sometimes get frustrated at Theists for their absurd beliefs, and perhaps this is why they interpret it as Anger at God.

  • jd

    This is referred to as the “slippery slope fallacy”-the idea that if you believe in God then tooth fairies are soon to follow. This is an attempt to take a reasonable belief system and place it in the same mix as obvious absurdities. Everyone knows the mythical origins of goblins and Santa Claus or whatever, and these are literary constructs of man, but anthropologically speaking, its not so evident where man’s belief in that primal consciousness arose from. This is a primal, deep-seated suspicion in most every man and geographical region of the planet which later expressed itself into various religions like Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, etc. Now I admit, as a believer, that so much of man’s interpretation of that primal consciousness is wrong and we’ll find contradictions amongst religions, but that in no way detracts from the original cause of religion-the suspicion that there has to be a mind behind the universe’s and especially, life’s complexity and the mind of man. Why shouldn’t there be a larger mind rather then the smaller mind presented by man?

    In summation, this is why mankind takes their religions so seriously. They premise their faith on that primordial assumption of mind and primal consciousness which goes well beyond the silly parallels of goblins and tooth fairies.  

  • Joe51du

    I am 64 years old and have been an atheist since I was in my teens. I have never been angry at god and would find the emotion to be ridiculous. I can’t get angry at that that does not exist.

  • Joe51du

    I am 64 years old and have been an atheist since I was in my teens. I have never been angry at god and would find the emotion to be ridiculous. I can’t get angry at that that does not exist.

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