July 23, 2011

"Why don't atheists just move on? Okay, there's no God. Do something else!"

"Why do you have to congregate over being an atheist?"



I talk to "Skepchick" Rebecca Watson, whose story of getting hit on in an elevator at an atheist convention went viral on the internet. The short clip above is me setting up the story. Click continue to the whole discussion.

ADDED: Here's the description of the elevator incident and the discussion that follows:

268 comments:

1 – 200 of 268   Newer›   Newest»
AllenS said...

Why don't atheists just move on?

Because they can't. They think that they have a religious duty to convince everyone else to believe what they do.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

@AllenS

"Because they can't. They think that they have a religious duty to convince everyone else to believe what they do."

Yes. The sign of 'progressivism'.

Or, put more simply, the utter lack of humility - and a death grip on vacuousness.

These are the people that trample their way to Washington.

wv - pilleter

Ha! RX for Obamacare

Patrick said...

Thanks for posting that, I'll have to give it a listen. Just looking at it, however, I'm, uh..skeptical that she was hit on.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

Atheists congregate together in an exercise of mutual soothing and reassurance - because, really, I believe they doubt that we live in some randomly-ordered world.

They just won't admit it.

And, I wouldn't hit on the fake red-haired chick. Too weird.

Where do you find these people???

Freeman Hunt said...

I've heard religious people posit the idea that that's God working on such people by keeping them engaged with the idea of religion. Could be, could be.

I will now exit to dodge the rotten fruit I see flying from the back.

MarkW said...

Most do move on -- the vast majority of non-religious people wouldn't be caught dead at an atheist convention.

Paco Wové said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MarkG said...

Walker represents a typical atheist like Jim Bakker represents a typical Christian.

Paco Wové said...

Goddamn typos.

What MarkW said; I suspect that most of us atheist types don't give a flying f. what other people believe, as long as they keep their metaphorical elbows out of our face.

Why certain subsets of all (non)belief systems go in for this evangelical groupthink crap... I just don't know. Maybe a trained sociologist could tell us.

Henry said...

Why don't atheists just move on?

Because then they wouldn't be atheists. They would be agnostics. Or apatheists.

There is a long strain of rationalist thinking that sees superstition as the primary source for evil and folly in human civilization. Witchcraft trials. Sweat lodge deaths. Voltaire. Crack Emcee.

Atheism attacks religion because atheism is an active program. Religion promotes the irrational. Atheism seeks to counter it.

My own skepticism aligns more with the South Park guys than Crack's. Religion is goofy nonsense. It also can help people find some virtue and courage in their bilious souls. Or their mixed-up brain chemistry as it were.

rhhardin said...

Practice safe exposition: always use a conundrum.

MarkG said...

I mean Watson, not Walker(?) I think you got a tag wrong.

Shouting Thomas said...

Talk about people who need to find something to do with their time!

What enables this girl (and she is living like a dumb kid) to waste her time this way? Family money? Grant money?

Another wasted life courtesy of some stupid humanities department is some college.

Lucius said...

Can I just confess I was watching the Michelle Goldberg AA-inflicted tearful meltdown from '09 last night for entertainment purposes?

And NOW honeytrap Becca's dyed her hair red, to add to her big and flouncy allures, and Ann's going to interrogate?

Why do I ever bother with porn?

Shouting Thomas said...

Althouse, why are you so damned indulgent of spoiled brats?

In most ways, you are a reasonable woman.

When it comes to spoiled bratdom, it appears you're willing to endure anything.

Give us a break.

Do you really think this spoiled brat trash deserves airing?

Oligonicella said...

It's always amusing to simply replace atheist/believer in any argument. Still works exactly as planned, just different target (eg: "Why don't believers just move on? Okay, there's a God. Do something else!"

Morons criticizing morons for the same behaviors they exhibit.

Shouting Thomas said...

This post proves it, Althouse.

You've got too much money and too much time on your hands.

You flailing around looking for something to fill up your time. You've just spent 30 minutes talking to this nitwit. And, you even recorded this nonsense.

What would really do you some good, Althouse, is to be broke. You're just diddling yourself.

And, now, I've got something real and worthwhile to do.

Rescue squad duty.

Maybe you ought to volunteer or something, Althouse.

Henry said...

I like the train of thought elaborated by MarkW, Paco Wove and Oligonicella.

The real difference isn't between atheism and religion, it's between individualism and "evangelical groupthink crap" as Paco put it.

Bob Ellison said...

Way off topic: Professor, I have the very same glassware you have! In three sizes. The tiny ones are what we use for wine, which would appall (sp?) that Zagat blogger. They hold about 2.5 ounces, so the bottle lasts longer, and they sit nicely on almost any surface without breaking.

wv: equitund. Fat like a horse?

Rick Caird said...

I argue atheism is a loosely organized religion. They have a dogma and a faith. Just as a religious person cannot prove there is a God, an atheist cannot prove there is not a God. Hence, atheism is faith based.

It seems to really stir up an atheist to learn they are a faith based religion.

Triangle Man said...

From the comments at the link we learn that "hitting on" a woman is wrong because men are rapists and those who aren't should behave as if any woman they encounter views them as a rapist?

Ann Althouse said...

"I mean Watson, not Walker(?) I think you got a tag wrong."

Sorry. I need to be constantly vigilant about the auto-complete (which is helpful except when it's not).

Ann Althouse said...

"It's always amusing to simply replace atheist/believer in any argument. Still works exactly as planned, just different target (eg: "Why don't believers just move on? Okay, there's a God. Do something else!""

If you think there is a God, you can only move on if you've decided he doesn't need worshipping or want special statements or acts from you and if you're sure he doesn't have the power and the inclination to dole out rewards and punishments in this world and the next.

In which case, it hardly matters whether you are an atheist or a theist. What is this God who doesn't matter?

Ann Althouse said...

I propose a religion: There is a God who doesn't want to be believed in.

What should people who believe in this religion do?

(Hey, I'm following rh's advice.)

Big Mike said...

Atheists congregate together in an exercise of mutual soothing and reassurance - because, really, I believe they doubt that we live in some randomly-ordered world.

@Don't Tread, make that some atheists act that way because ... Well, frankly, as an atheist myself I don't understand it. I am an atheist because, looking at the mathematics of it all, the universe doesn't make any sense to me if there really is a God (yeah, I noticed that I capitalized the word) that concerns Itself with individuals at a personal level. Randomness, contingency, all these things do make sense mathematically speaking. Why do we have five fingers? When Acanthostega crawled out of the sea back in the Devonian it had 8 digits on each foot. A proper God would have had us descend from Acanthostega instead of some five-fingered tetrapod, so that we could have worked in base 16 all along, instead of having to translate base 10 to octal or hexadecimal.

@Rick, maybe for some folks, but not for most of us.

somefeller said...

The whole kerfuffle over Rebecca Watson's article and the commentary that followed it did something I didn't think was possible - it made me feel sympathetic (at least for a minute or two) to Richard Dawkins.

Ann Althouse said...

"Way off topic: Professor, I have the very same glassware you have! In three sizes. The tiny ones are what we use for wine, which would appall (sp?) that Zagat blogger. They hold about 2.5 ounces, so the bottle lasts longer, and they sit nicely on almost any surface without breaking."

They are bizarrely resistant to breakage. I've dropped them in the sink and they don't break.

You can buy them at Design Within Reach.

pst314 said...

Shouting Thomas diddles himself by posting posting obnoxious comments on blogs.

Triangle Man said...

Why wouldn't atheists want to get together with others with similar views? If you were talking about a sociopaths convention, the you would have a point.

Oligonicella said...

Rick Caird --

"I argue atheism is a loosely organized religion. They have a dogma and a faith. Just as a religious person cannot prove there is a God, an atheist cannot prove there is not a God. Hence, atheism is faith based."

The lack of belief in something means no more than a lack of belief. I do not believe in unicorns or fairies. I find no urge whatsoever to attempt to disprove their existence because I have other things to do.

Same goes for God/gods/demons/angles/etc.

"It seems to really stir up an atheist to learn they are a faith based religion."

If by 'stir up' you mean respond, it's because your arguments aren't very sound and it's only akin to responding to some other topic I do not agree with. Holding a different view is not being stirred up.

But, to address your misconception about faith and atheism, I will tell you how I view it. I can't, you see, speak for all other atheists as it appears you're attempting to do for all other believers.

I hold my faith in things I have experienced to be true and actual. I have yet to see anything that would convince me to believe in pretty much 100% of the supernatural. There are vague areas concerning magnetism and gravity I might be open to discuss.

But not gods, demons, fairies and ghosts. You need to bring some evidence to the table to even have the discussion, otherwise it's simply two conflicting views or, frequently, a degeneration into one side besmirching the morals of the other.

That gets tiresome.

Now, if you think that my requiring your having some actual evidence instead of just a belief is dogma. We have different definitions of the word.

rhhardin said...

I'd distinguish atheists who account for religion as stupidity and atheists who account for religion as poetry.

The latter don't move on because it asks for insights.

somefeller said...

I propose a religion: There is a God who doesn't want to be believed in.

Or who shouldn't be worshipped? Misotheism is a response to the problem of evil that many atheists try to answer by saying there is no God, and it's even scarier. God exists. And he's out to get you!

rhhardin said...

The lack of belief in something means no more than a lack of belief.

"575. When I sat down on this chair, of course I believed it would bear me. I had no thought of its possibly collapsing."

- Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations.

Belief isn't what its part of speech leads you to picture.

It's rather a token in an account, like intention. Accounts have rules, and some things are accepted and some things aren't.

It's not, in particular, a matter of a belief being there in any present.

In a way, belief is always lacking.

rhhardin said...

Mein Gott, er hat drei Ecken,
Drei Ecken hat mein Gott,
Und hätt er nicht drei Ecken,
So wär es nicht mein Gott.

Curious George said...

I find atheists in two camps, and my dear sister and her husband each represent a side. My sister is the "move on" sort. She is respectful of others beliefs.

The other sort is her husband, who finds it more important to not only let you know his lack of belief, but wants to make sure you know just how stupid you are. He does this both actively, and passive...his Facebook page states "I don't believe in Santa Claus either" for "Religious Views".

Oligonicella said...

Althouse -

You then need to define what 'move on' means to you for an atheist. Using your framework for a believer, it's not applicable to a non-believer. There is not external agent.

Oligonicella said...

no external

Erik said...

The most aggressive atheists usually have a bone to pick with religion: some sort of wrong they felt was done to them or someone they know. It's primarily about grievance. They blame religion for one thing or another, and their opposition takes on the form of a crusade. It's not that a crusade (despite the word's connotation) is inherently religious, it's just inherently human. But yes, it does start to feel a bit like a religion of their own when they behave this way.

Though once religious, I find myself to be more an agnostic now. I don't particularly care what others believe, and have no desire to purge religion of of believers. Maybe this is because I've known many, many highly intelligent and rational religious believers. Maybe it's because in general religion doesn't make people any more irrational than any of the crazy pseudo-science, hippy-dippy bullshit one finds among progressives. There are a myriad of bad ideas people adopt out there in the world. Religion only occasionally becomes one of them.

DADvocate said...

Everyone wants to be "right" about religion. Not really. Most just quietly move on with their lives and want to be left alone.

Atheists that go to conventions fill the space in the non-believing spectrum that evangelists do in the believing spectrum. They actively go out, seek converts and try to impose their beliefs on others.

The evangelistic atheists I've known are every bit at self-righteous, and more condescending than anyone of the believing world I've known.

Looking at Rebecca Watson again, I'm reminded of "Beer, getting ugly girls laid for 5,000 years." She was bragging about being hit on in the elevator, not complaining.

Big Mike said...

@Oligonicella, as a mathematician I have to believe in angles. They are critical to trigonometry.

Now angels, on the other hand ...

MarkG said...

"I propose a religion: There is a God who doesn't want to be believed in."

How about a religion where God is secure enough in himself he doesn't need to be 'worshiped," and isn't insulted if we don't believe.

Your dog and cat thinks you're a god. You can make food and drink appear at will, and you control lightness and climate (inside). Do you need to be praised and worshiped by them?

I think the need to worship God comes from human arrogance. We're so important that God needs our acknowledgement and praise to feel good about himself.

Henry said...

Triangle Man wrote: If you were talking about a sociopaths convention, the you would have a point.

Or the Diogenes club.

ricpic said...

Didn't mothers use to instruct their semi-attractive daughters on how to handle getting hit on so they could navigate the perilous away from home world and not make a federal case out of the inevitable aggressive behavior out there?

Oligonicella said...

Big Mike -

It will be nice once grammar checkers are as good as spell checkers.

Even funnier note: I write. My stories don't go into great detail, but set scene. I hate when the ed points out most people don't eat out of bowels.

Well, no. I like it, it's just embarrassing.

Henry said...

How about a religion where God is busy. Stop bugging me and go play.

The Crack Emcee said...

MarkW,

The vast majority of non-religious people wouldn't be caught dead at an atheist convention.

Ain't that the truth.

ricpic said...

Hey, we're not all chickenlittles, rh, how about the courtesy of a translation?

Oligonicella said...

Or a dimension where the denizens despise their God or gods for screwing things up. Or for having left them? Or screwing up, then dodging town.

The Crack Emcee said...

Henry,

My own skepticism aligns more with the South Park guys than Crack's.

On South Park, nobody regularly dies but Kenny.

Now, please, answer me:

Why would you say something so fucking stupid, in order to try and sound smart?

Big Mike said...

@Oligonicella, I do a lot of technical writing, and I have decided that I am the world's worst proofreader of my own output. I don't rely on spell checker, but I still can't find all my spelling and grammatical errors even after taking Moss Hart's advice to let the document sit for a while and read it later.

Big Mike said...

@Mark, I have seriously bad news for you -- dogs do worship us.

Cats, on the other hand, know better.

Oligonicella said...

Big Mike --

Yes. That's why I sing praises for my pal and editor. I even make sure he's credited.

Big Mike said...

@DADvocate, your last two paragraphs are dead on the money. I have often described myself as a "non-proselytizing" atheist. I don't feel any personal need to ram my beliefs down others' throats, and I do not see the point of turning to enablers in the ACLU to get creches torn down at Christmas. I really don't understand people who do -- they must be a lower form of life.

And your last paragraph? Let's just say I'm glad I had swallowed my coffee before I read it.

MarkG said...

@Mark, I have seriously bad news for you -- dogs do worship us.

That is true. I'll go to church tomorrow and worship God if he shows up to give me a biscuit and a belly rub.

Walter S. said...

Let's get back to the important stuff. At what point in the video can we see the glassware? Which of the several items at "Design Within Reach" is it? How does it compare to the glassware that Althouse recommended at Amazon last Christmas?

The Crack Emcee said...

I won't listen to it because, like ST, I agree that Ann isn't qualified for an interview of this type - all this talk of Watson's atheism and not one word about her being a NewAger which is the most obvious indicator she'd be in the particular incident she was.

To have so much talking, but no one knows what to ask, is intellectual highway robbery.

Peter said...

Ann,

This was, in my opinion, one of your best discussions on Bloggingheads -- a fine mix of interview, skepticism, prodding, gentle encouragement, and respectful confrontation on your part. Very nice.

I particularly liked how well to expressed the "external arrogance" of many in the atheist movement -- an arrogance that is built, it seems, into the skeptics' "I did it MYSELF" enterprise. (This, as opposed to the hidden or sublimated arrogance of the religious community.) Really well done.

Regarding the God who shouldn't' be worshiped, I'm reminded of something Jim Holt wrote in Slate. Perhaps, he wrote, given our experience of the world, we are dealing with a Creator who is "100 percent malevolent but only 80 percent effective." Does that fit your bill?

The Crack Emcee said...

Rick Caird,

It seems to really stir up an atheist to learn they are a faith based religion.

No, it stirs you up to say stupid shit, daring people to stop you, while knowing there are laws against that sort of thing.

In other words, you're a stupid coward.

madAsHell said...

whose story of getting hit on in an elevator

Yeah...nothin' flips my switch like candy apple red hair, a pink sweater, and an overbite.

HT said...

I'm lukewarm on the item up for discussion (elevator incident), but it sure seems to me that you are talking down to this person.

madAsHell said...

Wait....a convention of atheists??

They get together to talk about what???

The Crack Emcee said...

DADvocate,

Looking at Rebecca Watson again, I'm reminded of "Beer, getting ugly girls laid for 5,000 years." She was bragging about being hit on in the elevator, not complaining.

Always the critic,....

Paul Zrimsek said...

Wow, Rebecca Watson is even pinker than Ann always used to be.

Lucius said...

Just watched the whole thing: quite amiable; Ann in terrificly ingratiating, ever-sharp form, very pleasant but probably very consciously digging for the things she wants to get at.

Watson seems, on the whole, a well-grounded person. Not a dazzling intellectual, but reasonable, not esp. aggrieved-sounding.

One big tell, though: the Amanda Marcotte reference. It was dismaying to hear Rebecca's blithe dismissal of Ann's (very well-contained) contempt.

In essence, our skepchick seemed to think reason and logic are encompassed by "science", and for Ann to imply Amandapotamus might be a fallacious dimwit (my characterization) could only be a matter of relativistic opinion.

Or has Skepchick not picked up on the fact that Marcotte is nothing but a ball of fallacies and neurosis? Bad sign . . .

The Crack Emcee said...

Without watching this, I imagine Ann and Watson are two versions of the same woman:

Feminist.

Fake-smart.

Atheistic NewAgers.

Sheltered, etc.

Lucius said...

@Crack Emcee: for what it's worth, they do give Oprah, homeopathy, and even (to a degree) Whole Foods a vigorous ribbing.

I thought, at times, Ann was sending out coded messages for The Macho Response. Sorta like the French Resistance looking across the Channel, putting out signs.

garage mahal said...

I saw Watson look like she wanted to stretch. That can only mean one thing. Yep, she's a New Ager. And that pink hair? Come ON!

rhhardin said...

Men make jokes without really thinking about them

Men have a sense of humor.

MarkG said...

Atheists do have (at least) one good point: How religion can inhibit the development of a society. There are a lot of good examples, past and present (Iran). That's the point of some atheist activism. There's a political component.

X said...

I saw a car at the store last week festooned with over 20 atheist anti-christian stickers. testify brother!

The Crack Emcee said...

garage mahal,

I saw Watson look like she wanted to stretch. That can only mean one thing. Yep, she's a New Ager. And that pink hair? Come ON!

Garage, NewAge is a dumb belief system, and the fact you're too stupid to understand it's parameters is all I've ever needed to know about your level of "intelligence," if one could call it that.

American Politico looks like a genius compared to you.

Ann Althouse said...

"I won't listen to it because, like ST, I agree that Ann isn't qualified for an interview of this type - all this talk of Watson's atheism and not one word about her being a NewAger which is the most obvious indicator she'd be in the particular incident she was."

How, without listening to it, do you know all that? What if you are wrong? This certitude of yours is the same mentality you purport to criticize in others. In fact, we do talk about homeopathy and, as you can see from the titles, Oprah. But you're wedded to your beliefs, ironically.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I have no problem with atheists lack of belief in God, as long as they leave the beliefs of others alone.

Same goes for the religious believers who want to proselytize (sp?) and hound others into believing the way that they do.

If you are an atheist and don't believe in God, why would you care if someone else who does wants to say a prayer? If the prayer is useless to your mind, just think of England or something while it is going on.

I'm fairly agnostic. I may not believe everything that I was taught as a child growing up Catholic (in fact I got into a lot of trouble in catechism class questioning the three in one aspect of the trinity), however, I can't say that there isn't a God. Might as well hedge my bets and act like there is and go forth and sin no more :-)

As to science vs religion, there are many concepts in science that were once thought fantastically impossible that are now facts and accepted belief. Atoms, electrons, quarks etc.

Why do those who are atheists and scientific think that the existence of God or even fairies is impossible?

Ann Althouse said...

"Does that fit your bill?"

No. Why would you think that? The God I proposed could be completely benevolent.

Carol_Herman said...

Pastafarian! All you need to do is put a colander on your head. It's the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

And, yes. There are people who believe in the flat earth. And, aliens. And, circuses.

While over in Norway they think MASONS are Christians! Shows ya, what doesn't show up in history books. (Where the Masons were a response to the destruction of the Knights Templar. Back when the Catholic Church had two Popes. And, the won in France controlled Europe.)

Even though the date is known. October, 1307. Or 1309. Some of the Knights Templar escaped. And, joined England's Richard II. From there you get to the Masons.

NOT CHRISTIAN! Or, you'd have to say the "first break-away" ... well before Luther.

The God Of The Bible is a very severe fellow. There are lots of people who share faiths these days who don't go back to those ancient rituals ... where a woman ... if she had sex before marriage ... would be stoned to death.

CHOICE. It's more than either/or.

And, politics? It's not a religious experience at all. Even when you throw money in the pot for this ... it's YOUR money. God doesn't give receipts.

Oligonicella said...

Althouse, could you clarify, please? 'Cause from the quote right up left of here in the text box, it reads like move on is equivalent to shut up.

traditionalguy said...

Atheists see that there is a great harvest of souls which they are seeking to reach quickly.

Since about 1900 Religion has failed men in large part by agreeing that it is a myth.

So the door is wide open for Atheist preachers to win converts.

But the idea that science is going to free men form bondage to deception has proved to be false.

Science has been used to deceive people and argue from claims to authority as its method far more than traditional ever did.

The 1st Amendment's prohibition of a Federal establishment of a religion should also prohibit a Federal establishment of a religion of science.

Peter said...

Ann,

Given your discussion with Rebecca about inciting skepticism and self-criticism (and non-back-patting) within one's own community, I wonder how you think about dealing with sexism within your group of regular and irregular commenters?

Take, for example, at least 8 different writers in the above comments alone.

You are quick to expose and unravel gender-biases language and attitudes in the NYT (and thank you for that). But how about here at the ALT?

AllenS said...

The Crack Emcee said...
American Politico looks like a genius compared to you.

That was a big kick to the nuts.

The Crack Emcee said...

Lucius,

@Crack Emcee: for what it's worth, they do give Oprah, homeopathy, and even (to a degree) Whole Foods a vigorous ribbing.

I love South Park. I'm just saying I know the difference between life and a fucking cartoon. My dead friends haven't returned in the next episode.

I thought, at times, Ann was sending out coded messages for The Macho Response. Sorta like the French Resistance looking across the Channel, putting out signs.

Did Ann, even once, bring up Watson's NewAge beliefs? There are tons of NewAgers posing as atheists out there, or people trying to mix-and-match. It's very frustrating, because it proves how little anybody understands of either topic.

AllenS said...

The problem is when atheism becomes nothing more than a New Age religion.

WV: oleos

The Crack Emcee said...

Ann Althouse,

How, without listening to it, do you know all that? What if you are wrong? This certitude of yours is the same mentality you purport to criticize in others. In fact, we do talk about homeopathy and, as you can see from the titles, Oprah. But you're wedded to your beliefs, ironically.

I will put $100.00 down, right now, if you even once mentioned Rebecca Watson's a Newager anywhere in that piece.

That's the interview I'm saying was, both, was worth having and that didn't occur.

Homeopathy and Oprah - in a discussion with the Skepchick - is low-hanging fruit. Let me guess;

You really stumped her with those two, right?

traditionalguy said...

The Professor's postulate of the god who does not want to be believed in has been proclaimed for 45 years.

It seems that the William Blake disciples are now certain that god suddenly decided men should live independent of him, so he committed suicide.

That's a really nice god, right. God is dead and we are all that is left.

We inherit all that there is. Have a nice life, and enjoy eating drinking and making merry.

If you never need saving and being set free, forget about it.

AllenS said...

Some of you people are going to hell.

Peter said...

Hi Ann,

I wrote: "Does that fit your bill? [Refering to a God who is 100% eveil but only 80% efective]"

You replied: "No. Why would you think that? The God I proposed could be completely benevolent."


Of course the God you propose *could* be completely benevolent. I was just imagining a similar God who isn't -- and yet doesn't care about or desire believers (as you propose).

Perhaps this is a version of Gloucester's Creator from KING LEAR: "As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods, — They kill us for their sport."

In other words, my suggestion wasn't a challenge, only an option.

P.S. I wonder if imagining alternate gods is easier -- and more fun -- for atheists, in part because the stakes are so low.

P.P.S. Disclosure: a lifetime atheist wrote the above line. Is it an example of the arrogance of which you spoke?

garage mahal said...

Garage, NewAge is a dumb belief system, and the fact you're too stupid to understand it's parameters is all I've ever needed to know about your level of "intelligence," if one could call it that.

I don't see New Ageism in my pancakes like you do. How do you make it through the day? I went to your link, and man, that is whacked out shit bro. As usual.

Oligonicella said...

DBQ --

Do you have questions I could answer? I would be happy to have a discussion.

But:
"As to science vs religion, there are many concepts in science that were once thought fantastically impossible that are now facts and accepted belief. Atoms, electrons, quarks etc."

That end is actually backwards. They were beliefs based on math and other related evidence, then proven as fact. We have direct evidence, it's no longer necessary to believe in them in any sense other than I have access to that knowledge.

Fen said...

I think the biggest weakness of atheism is their tendancy to displace their spiritual appetite/energy into something mundane. No, they don't beleive in God or Santa Claus, but they do believe in things like AGW and Obama. With the same intensity of an evangelical.

And because they have little experience with organized religion, they tend to make mistakes based on ignorance and inexperience.

ricpic said...

OT - Never thought I'd do this but I'm going out to see Woody Allen's Midnight In Paris today. It got great reviews. We shall see. Will report in if it truly is as fab as the reviewers claim it to be. Since even atheists have to worship something Allen apparently (according to the reviewers) worships Paris in the 20's.

Fen said...

Some of you people are going to hell.

Ha. Some of them are already there.

AllenS said...

Fen is going to heaven.

The Crack Emcee said...

I'm working on a piece about NewAge now (started it last night) that should show how superficial this interview is, when it comes to a knowledge of NewAge and reality. I'll give you a hint now, though:

Remember Ann's post on Rebekah Brooks' hair, and I said I'd, too, pondered it and how she could be so vain?

A man like me pondering a woman's hair may not seem normal, but I know my NewAge indicators, and I'm rarely wrong.

But that's nothing:

I'm also going to explain the Gabrielle Gifferds shooting,...

Carol_Herman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rhhardin said...

Objectification is what gives unattractive women a chance.

Men are willing to overlook looks.

edutcher said...

Some atheists are like the Lefties who plaster political bumper stickers all over their VW bus; it's not enough they feel that way, the world has to be hammered into submission with their beliefs.

There are also atheists who love to spoil everybody else's party.

Both need conferences and stuff.

Aurelian said...

I don't care what other people believe. I am Christian and don't try to force people to see my religion. I try, however short i may fall to live my religion in this world. Christians beat you over the head with Christianity are hardly Christian (in my view). Also, atheists (like Amy Alkon) who make it their lives work to disprove or mock the religion are worthless too. Shut the fuck up already!

somefeller said...
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The Crack Emcee said...

AllenS,

LOL!

garage mahal,

I don't see New Ageism in my pancakes like you do.

No, you've got an entire blog's worth of folks telling you you're an idiot douchebag - daily - and you don't see that, either.

Understanding/comprehending/whatever, is beyond your abilities.

How do you make it through the day? I went to your link, and man, that is whacked out shit bro. As usual.

That's why I study it, numbnuts. It's the #1 belief system in the world and nobody understands it - not even the believers - what can be more fascinating?

Wait - I'm actually asking Garage Mahal a question.

Yeah, I may need help after all,..

rhhardin said...

Humans divide into male and female ("Two great sexes animate the world" - Paradise Lost)

Wm. Kerrigan:

We are men and women. It almost always matters which we are. Men and women are aggressive. Their regard for each other is clouded by grudges, suspicions, fears, needs, desires, and narcississtic postures. There's no scrubbing them out. The best you can hope for is domestication, as in football, rock, humor, happy marriage, and a good prose style. Jokes trade on offensiveness; PC is not a funny dialect. The unconscious is a joker, a sexist and aggressive creature. Our sexuality has always been scandalous.

Lucius said...

@Crack Emcee: I don't doubt Rebecca's still a card-carrying "Progressive", and not given enough to skeptical consideration of her activist and feminist peers, but--

The confessional linked to is of a former fan of homeopathy, not a current believer.

garage mahal said...

That's why I study it, numbnuts. It's the #1 belief system in the world and nobody understands it - not even the believers - what can be more fascinating?

You never demonstrated how Watson is a New Ager. Is it in the clips?

Oligonicella said...

Peter --

"P.S. I wonder if imagining alternate gods is easier -- and more fun -- for atheists, in part because the stakes are so low."

Since mankind has created gods in just as many descriptions as writers, I'd say no.


"P.P.S. Disclosure: a lifetime atheist wrote the above line. Is it an example of the arrogance of which you spoke?"

And a lifetime atheist disagrees with him. But yes, that statement was arrogant and a tad ignorant.

If he thought it was easy, he didn't give any of the detail that a culture would.

It's trite to come up with some nubile gang or troop of thugs and write about them dicking with humans. It's a whole other thing to give them a history and make that part and parcel to the culture's history; events, morals, everything.

The Crack Emcee said...

Lucius,

@Crack Emcee: I don't doubt Rebecca's still a card-carrying "Progressive", and not given enough to skeptical consideration of her activist and feminist peers, but--

The confessional linked to is of a former fan of homeopathy, not a current believer.


Dude, feminism - which is at the base of Watson's current predicament - is goddess culture formalized. This is why I said Ann is the wrong person to interview Watson:

Ann doesn't know what threads to pull.

I say Watson is/was/and - without serious intervention - always will be a NewAger. (I say the same thing about Ann.) You see the "progressive" overlay - just as Ann thinks I should focus on something else about her - but I stay focused on the person.

Trying to deceive the rest of us, about who we are, is about as NewAge as it gets.

Methadras said...

There is no such thing as a real and true atheist. A real atheist has no concept of what a deity is much less understands that one even exists. That is an atheist, which is basically babies and possibly small children. Even children of 'atheists' know what a deity is because they are told that they don't exist. So in order for to become an 'atheist' they in essence have to come to know the existence of a deity, then summarily reject that deity, then deny they exist.

A modern 'atheist' is merely a God denier if not an outright God hater. That's fine, but just admit it.

SBVOR said...

I am a lifelong agnostic.

But, I find militant atheists FAR more annoying than anybody else along the religious spectrum. Militant atheists are among the most intolerant people on the planet.

P.S.) The First Amendment provides for freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.

rhhardin said...

I've never, outside of a seminar called by Human Resources, heard men bring up how we need to talk about sexism.

I say that as one who was banned from mandatory Human Resources seminars.

William said...

She died her hair conundrum red. She is someone who wishes to be noticed and, simultaneously, wishes to take umbrage at being noticed. You can't handle the elementary, my dear Watson.....I think her spiritual beliefs are of a piece with her hair color. Her dye of militant atheism is taken more to irritate Christians than to express the true color of her beliefs.......I'm an agnostic. One of the arguments for the existence of God is that I don't believe in him, and I've been proven wrong on just about everything......People seek out the spiritual nutrients that they need. Perhaps Scientology has helped John Travolta and Tom Cruise become enduring movie stars. Seek and ye shall find.....I was reading a history of the Rothschild's. They became the wealthiest bankers in Europe at a time when they did not believe in or practice double entry bookkeeping. There are truths and there are techniques.

Lucius said...

One thing that intrigues me here: Ann playfully circles around the idea that conferences are about (in so many words) getting laid.

And Rebecca, if I'm not mistaken, concedes that she's met multiple boyfriends ('partners'?) that way.

So I wonder if Ann was (very gently) trying to goad Rebecca to admit to, or display, a bit of sexual vanity that mitigates the oprobrium heaped on her faceless elevator suitor? --in essence, to confess she despised and ridiculed the man, not because she felt threatened, but because his lame game was an insult?

It seems clear, in any event, Rebecca is not an anti-sex scold.

gutless said...

So very not hit on. Yikes!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Oligonecella

I'm not about to get into a debate with you about how many atoms can dance on the head of a pin or how you can or cannot prove the existence of God, angels or unicorns.

If you want to believe in non belief, that is your right. Just as it is the right of others to have belief in unicorns or God.

However, as a person myself with a scientific mind and being a very strong INTJ personality, I have a larger problem with your scientific dismissal of the hypothesis of God or an underlying intelligence in the universe.

Scientific method would indicate that you would not discredit the hypothesis as false until you have proof of the falsity of the hypothesis. Since you cannot prove either the existence of God/Intelligence or the absence of the same, a true scientist would continue to hold the hypothesis as an open question.

To dismiss the hypothesis without the proper process, indicates that your non belief is based on faith in the non existence and not scientific proof.

traditionalguy said...

Crack...You see very well that there is a myriad of substitutes for Judeo-Christian belief which are an even worse set of deceptive myths.

But tell me why do men and women seek that explanation for the pain of meaninglessness? They are seeking very destructive means, such as Marxism and nature worship.

Perhaps it is what we are created to do...worship God.

I agree with you that giving everyone a lobotomy using junk cults' pseudo science is destructive.

But why not support traditional Christianity as the antidote to that need to worship a god?

traditionalguy said...
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Fen said...

Fen is going to heaven.

Ah no. At best, my duty is similar to that of Screwtape.

Fen said...

And I turned Jesus away - in Somolia. One of the few things that keeps me awake at nights. A story for another day.

rhhardin said...

The attempted Althouse seminar wasn't helping her. She's a my side versus the idiots women.

Grudges definitely hold a woman's interest.

Althouse was suggesting something larger can also hold a woman's interest.

Say creating places; or unresolved complexity.

But Watson prefers the grudge. It takes less effort.

But who am I to say. As a former boss once instructed me, "Well, don't talk to women."

Paco Wové said...

"But why not support traditional Christianity as the antidote to that need to worship a god?"

What do you mean by 'support'? You mean Crack should lie and say he's a believer when he's not?

ricpic said...

William admits to being wrong on almost everything...but charmingly so.

Charm, Carol, charm. Make an effort.

ricpic said...

It should keep you awake that you can't be bothered to spell Somalia correctly.

rhhardin said...

Call it cuntism to attract male interest.

SBVOR said...

Look...
This elevator guy might have been:

1) A rapist looking for a victim.

2) A sleazebag looking for a one night stand.

3) A clueless moron who could not understand the creepiness of inviting a woman he just met to his hotel room (after cornering her alone in a elevator).

Thing is...
We'll never know. The only thing we do know is that the guy behaved badly. That happens everyday everywhere -- always has, always will. Move on!

Fen said...

ripic: It should keep you awake that you can't be bothered to spell Somalia correctly

Actually, thats your ignorance. I spell it Somolia because thats how it appeared on all the outdated maps and country-briefs we used in country.

You spell it Somalia because thats how the media spelled it.

Same with their cities - Kismayo or Kismayu or Quismayu.

Quaestor said...

Most do move on -- the vast majority of non-religious people wouldn't be caught dead at an atheist convention.

I blame Richard Dawkins for this. By floating the notion that atheists should counter the elect, the saved, the chosen and the other self-applied labels religious people use to distinguish themselves from other religious people atheist should proclaim themselves the brights, as if atheism is some kind of accomplishment. Consequently we have seen a sudden uptick in the number and visibility of atheist who take pride in that label, as if they've joined an elite -- an elite without a discipline and without a grueling and expensive initiation. Elite status on the cheap.

Atheism today is something like flying saucer contactee phenomena of the 1950s. Among the UFO believers if you wanted status and respect you do something like announcing that you've been commissioned by the Venusian High Council as their delegate to Planet Three. And viola! now your heretofore aimless speeches and pedestrian scribbles have meaning and portent and must have an audience, ergo the flying saucer convention. The same is true with this sudden crop of vocal and demonstrative atheists. A world-renown geneticist has proclaimed them bright, therefore the must have valuable and provocative things to say. Most people are utterly bored with their endless re-plowing of the same infertile field, which amounts to nothing more insightful than "How can you idiots believe in an invisible boss in the sky?" and a further ten thousand variations on the theme. So they gather in groups and spew the ten thousand variations at each other at some weekend retreat at an otherwise undistinguished Marriot.

The irony is that after all the speeches and lectures, after all the CDs, DVDs, and MP3s have been vended, after all cash has changed hands most of the convention attendees weren't atheists when they arrived and remain non-atheists have they've gone. Rather than non-believers most of these self-proclaimed atheists are just garden variety seekers who've found a way to worship their own intellects. Sixty years ago they'd have been saucer contactees. Fifty years ago they'd have been beatniks or hippies. Twenty years ago they'd have been wiccans or UFO abductees, or both. Same mentality just a new kind of corps d'elite.

Don't let my disparagement of organised atheism fool you. There are plenty of real atheists out there. Some are members of your church or synagogue, some just stay home quietly on Sundays. Some will get very demonstrative if religious folks try to get their doctrines taught in public schools, others will be just too bewildered by religiosity to act. Atheism, real atheism, isn't an ideology any more that autism is an ideology. It's not an organizing principle, because that's what religion is. And it's nothing to hold a convention about because it's literally a nothing, it's an absence, not a presence. You might as well found an organization of people who can't wiggle their ears, and then hold of a convention of said non-wigglers where you sit around counting the minutes until the uninvited celebrity guests fail to show up.

Atheism is probably a different kind of mentality from the human norm, not better or worse, just different. If you're a religious person I imagine that prayers, hymns and sermons move you in a profound way which you find fulfilling and pleasurable, enough that you return to the same building weekly to get another dose, and you pay handsomely for the privilege -- up to 10% of net income in some cases -- ergo it must be valuable. To this atheist what you hold as valuable is incomprehensible to me, from my perspective it's like going to fine restaurant to eat the napkins.

Richard Dawkins says he's an atheist, and who am I to question his sincerity, but I wish he'd shut up. He's made atheism fashionable, which is so perverse that I find myself at loss for words to express my disgust.

rhhardin said...

Dawkins is evolutionary biology?

I was about to say that Watson's grudge was against evolution more than anything.

Evolution would seem to support a lot of complexity in the matter.

Why would men be interested in women for no reason; how it would be a lot easier to evolve a male brain obsessed with women's genitals than to evolve really interesting women's genitals; and how that might look like objectification to a feminist.

Elvin Bishop I fooled around and fell in love, would be the evolutionary complication.

Of course evolution also evolved the grudge.

Maybe that's a narcissistic purification of quest sending, which is the way a man is tested, and something he can be rewarded for, if it's not directed at men in general but a specific man.

Henry said...

@Crack Emcee -- I'm referring to Trey and Stone's take on Mormons via their new musical, not the cartoon. The cartoon is just an identifier.

Your obsession with new age idiocy is not where we part ways. I deeply respect your pushback against stupid ideas. Where we part ways is your use of New Age as a proxy for human depravity. Human beings are naturally credulous and naturally self-justifying even in deeply awful causes. Highly rational minds can embark on murder sprees. I give you: The French Revolution.

Of course you point to the bodies. But so can those who declare that Christianity is murderous, or colonialism is murderous, or individualism is murderous. Funny how all this superstition, evil, and death manages to spread itself all around the world and all through history, New Age or not.

Someone who practices mediation or Yoga because it gives them some personal peace is no threat to anyone. In fact, as practices of personal discipline such things arguably help many people be happier and perhaps even better adjusted.

It is the "evangelical groupthink crap" that is worrisome and that is a far more elemental human condition than its expression in vegetarianism or alternative medicine.

The Crack Emcee said...

Methadras,

A modern 'atheist' is merely a God denier if not an outright God hater. That's fine, but just admit it.

Every word you said is bullshit. I know what a deity is, but have never believed. The circumstances of my birth prevented it, making me a born skeptic/atheist. I think what you're saying is true for most "atheists," like Watson, but we real ones are out there, too. I diss the rest of these posers regularly.

SBVOR,

I find militant atheists FAR more annoying than anybody else along the religious spectrum. Militant atheists are among the most intolerant people on the planet.

This can be true.

William,

She died her hair conundrum red. She is someone who wishes to be noticed and, simultaneously, wishes to take umbrage at being noticed. You can't handle the elementary, my dear Watson.....I think her spiritual beliefs are of a piece with her hair color. Her dye of militant atheism is taken more to irritate Christians than to express the true color of her beliefs.......

You're getting it. It's the same thing I was saying about Rebekah Brooks:

You've got to know what to look for. NewAgers exist because most people don't understand the symbols that NewAge feeds on. They're all around us, moving them, but completely hidden ("occult") to the rest.

Lucius,

I wonder if Ann was (very gently) trying to goad Rebecca to admit to, or display, a bit of sexual vanity that mitigates the oprobrium heaped on her faceless elevator suitor? --in essence, to confess she despised and ridiculed the man, not because she felt threatened, but because his lame game was an insult?

I don't know what Ann was up to (haven't watched it) but I'm sure there's truth there in regards to Watson. Like DADvocate said, Watson was bragging.

traditionalguy,

Tell me why do men and women seek that explanation for the pain of meaninglessness? They are seeking very destructive means, such as Marxism and nature worship.

They cannot conceive existence - reality itself. They can't "walk the walk" as I do. I don't need to worship anything, or pray to anyone. When I die, I will know I am no more or less than the trillions (or more) of ants, flies, etc., out there and the experience is nothing new, unusual, or special.

That idea alone - that we are "but grains of sand" (Christianity, there, kids) - is too much for the ego-gratification-desiring losers in the NewAge to handle.

They're "special."

Christopher said...

Someone brought up Iran as an example of progress being hindered by religion, but I could just as easily bring up atheistic nations such as the USSR, North Korea, or Cuba.

Completely opposite ends of the religious belief spectrum but all incredibly poor and backward.

Henry said...

...Parker and Stone's...

Oligonicella said...

DBQ --

You could have simply said no and not launched into a tirade besmirching my intent.

somefeller said...

Fen says: And I turned Jesus away - in Somolia.

At the risk of sounding like one of the proselytizers everyone dislikes, you may have turned Jesus away one past night, but Jesus won't turn away from you. The door is always open.

Sue D'Nhym said...

They think that they have a religious duty to convince everyone else to believe what they do.

I managed to have a debate with a co-worker at a bar just a few days ago on this subject. It was fun at first, but it was clear after a while that, despite his initial claims that he just liked to debate and values 'free thinking', that in reality he is seething with hatred towards religion and values free thinking as long as it is the same as his on the subject.

It was very easy to push his buttons, despite the fact that I am most accurately described as an agnostic.

Jim S. said...

The lack of belief in something means no more than a lack of belief.

I find your lack of belief disturbing.

Henry said...

Fen wrote (10:15 am): I think the biggest weakness of atheism is their tendancy to displace their spiritual appetite/energy into something mundane. No, they don't beleive in God or Santa Claus, but they do believe in things like AGW and Obama. With the same intensity of an evangelical.

Well said. The issue is about human nature, not a particular expression of human nature.

Fen said...

They cannot conceive existence - reality itself. They can't "walk the walk" as I do. I don't need to worship anything, or pray to anyone.


"I'm a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won't deny any of what you said. But there's one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things - trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a playworld which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play-world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia." - Puddleglum

Gabriel Hanna said...

It's awesome when people OUTSIDE a group try to define who is, or who is not, a genuine member.

Atheists are the proverbial herd of cats. There is a vocal minority of them who are on some kind of secularizing crusade, true. But most atheists are surly curmdugeons of liberatarianish bent, and not joiners.

This is what Rebecca Watson is all about. The old school of the atheist/skeptic movement (eg James Randi) was curmdugeonly, relatively apolitical, and insufficiently feminist and activist. People like Rebecca Watson have been working to change that, and they are just as intolerant to "accomodationist" athiests/skeptics as they are to religious people.

The Crack Emcee said...

rhhardin,

"Well, don't talk to women."

And, if that's not possible (and it ain't) go with The Macho Response.

Paco Wové,

What do you mean by 'support'? You mean Crack should lie and say he's a believer when he's not?

Dude, it's a closed loop:

Once you're in it, all roads lead back to believing in something. People leave NewAge by finding Jesus and vice-versa. It's all a part of the whole.

SBVOR,

The only thing we do know is that the guy behaved badly. That happens everyday everywhere -- always has, always will. Move on!

We don't know anything of the kind. All we know is Watson over-reacted, and behaved badly herself.

The desire to blame the man, without evidence, is feminism.

Quaestor,

There are plenty of real atheists out there. Some are members of your church or synagogue, some just stay home quietly on Sundays.

I was the guy who stayed home. Didn't have a beef - nothin' - I really didn't care. Then all hell broke loose and so did I.

BTW - I once met an atheist Rabbi. Which, considering the Holocaust, shouldn't surprise anyone.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

DBQ --

You could have simply said no and not launched into a tirade besmirching my intent.


But then I would not be true to my INTJ personality.

:-)

However, as a scientist, explain to me how you can dismiss the hypothesis that there may or may not be a controlling intelligence or plan to the Universe (aka God) and have leapt to the conclusion that there is not a "God", when you cannot scientifically prove either the existence or non existence of such.

If you are true to scientific theory you would accept that the hypothesis is unproven.

Or in plain speak. Just say, I don't know.

The "I don't know" position is the one that I adhere to, because.....I don't know. Of course, there is one sure fire way to find out, however I don't hope to prove the hypothesis that way for at least 25 more years.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@DBQ:as a scientist, explain to me how you can dismiss the hypothesis that there may or may not be a controlling intelligence or plan to the Universe (aka God) and have leapt to the conclusion that there is not a "God", when you cannot scientifically prove either the existence or non existence of such.

Replace God with "invisible, incorporeal pink unicorn". The answer is the same. We don't assume things that have no evidence for or against. Scientifically, we ignore them.

When the day comes that a natural phenomenon can ONLY be explained by unambiguous evidence of the hand of God, then and only then will a belief in God be opne to scientific inquiry.

Oligonicella said...

Jim S --

The author of that piece cannot read minds. Unfortunate, but true. Any conclusions he draws from his interpretations of the words another uses are burrowing for nuance. Easily done, as few words have one meaning.

Gabriel Hanna said...

In plain speak, DBQ, just say honestly that you don't know that invisible, incorporeal pink unicorns are secretly running the Federal Reserve. You can't prove they don't exist--just honestly say you don't know. Don't be domgatic.

See how stupid this is? I can insert ANYTHING into your argument--but for some reason there is a "god exception" that religious people get to make without any justification.

There may be reasons to believe in God, but they are so for not scientific reasons.

rhhardin said...

The smoothest move for a women hit on by an unwanted suitor in the elevator is to send him on a quest for, say, eye of newt and toe of frog.

Though that may mark you as high-maintenance.

Also you'd have to vary it (wool of bat, tongue of dog) lest some suitor come prepared next time.

rhhardin said...

Angels are messengers.

The Crack Emcee said...

Henry,

Your obsession with new age idiocy is not where we part ways. I deeply respect your pushback against stupid ideas. Where we part ways is your use of New Age as a proxy for human depravity,...Someone who practices mediation or Yoga because it gives them some personal peace is no threat to anyone.

Bullshit again. Don't take this wrong, please, but your understanding of spirituality is superficial. I won't try to disprove what you say, point-by-point, but I will give you this and this and remind you that even the big brains among us are ignorant to how it all works - especially how it all fits together. Ask anyone here about the Catholic church and many, if not most, can quote you chapter and verse on it - how it's set up, what the beliefs are, even what the apostates think - but ask about NewAge and their knowledge will be spotty at best.

Those of us who are serious about it - whether from being in it or affected by it - we can tell you everything. And it's evil.

Oligonicella said...

DBQ --

In the sense of a scientific hypothesis "God did it" is not a hypothesis. If you would provide it in a form that satisfies Webster's Unabridged:

hypothesis -
1. a proposition, or set of propositions, set forth as an explanation for the occurrence of some specified group of phenomena, either asserted merely as a provisional conjecture to guide investigation (working hypothesis) or accepted as highly probable in the light of established facts.

that would be very much appreciated. Otherwise, how to I discuss "God did it"? That as a logical argument is no better than "A big battery somewhere".

Quaestor said...

Jim S. wrote:
I find your lack of belief disturbing

I read your posting at the link, and frankly you don't know what your talking about.

How shall I put this? Your brain can do something mine can't, that is your brain allows you to have a real yet transcendent experience by interacting with something that is not demonstratively real or transcendent. Your brain allows you (compels you, perhaps) to have the so-called religious experience. Mine doesn't. And since it seems to function very well without it I see no reason to fret about, or for you to be disturbed by my lack of belief in invisible beings.

People like Richard Dawkins and his convention-going followers would say it's the mentality of the future, but there is no evidence to support that claim. (For shame, Professor Dawkins, and you call yourself a scientist!) Atheists likely co-existed with the religiously minded as far back as you care to look. Perhaps we were the cavemen who saw no point in crawling deeper into the cave just to paint some mammoths on the walls. Perhaps we're a hold-over from the Neanderthals, seeing as how they didn't leave any trace of religion. So much for being the mind of the future, eh?

The Crack Emcee said...

Christopher,

Someone brought up Iran as an example of progress being hindered by religion, but I could just as easily bring up atheistic nations such as the USSR, North Korea, or Cuba.

Completely opposite ends of the religious belief spectrum but all incredibly poor and backward.


And not one a true atheist nation. Lift up a rock and you find belief under every one of them, starting with Rasputin's role in Russia.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

In plain speak, DBQ, just say honestly that you don't know that invisible, incorporeal pink unicorns are secretly running the Federal Reserve. You can't prove they don't exist--just honestly say you don't know. Don't be domgatic.

You are right. I don't know and neither do you.

There may be ways to prove or disprove but until there is proof....we don't know.

Given the current fiscal policy of the Federal Reserve, I may tend to give the the unicorn theory more weight.

Peter said...

Hi Oligonicella:

I wrote: I wonder if imagining alternate gods is easier -- and more fun -- for atheists, in part because the stakes are so low."

You responded: Since mankind has created gods in just as many descriptions as writers, I'd say no.


Thanks for the reply, but you misunderstood my point -- which, perhaps, I simple expressed poorly.

I meant, is it easier for non-believers to imaging many alternate types of gods, as opposed to believers, who can often be so wedded to their own conception of God that they cannot imagine things possibly being different.

I was *not* saying that there haven't been many different conceptions of God over the millennia. I was suggesting -- note the conditional phrasing above -- that for a deep believer in God-Version-X, it may be more difficult to entertain the question, "But what if God is completely different from what you surmise?"

Case in point: the idea, for many, that "God is Love" or "God is Good" is simply part of what it means for God to be God. It's built into the term, like an unmarried bachelor.

I wonder, then, whether it is harder for such a believer -- with all the emotional and personal attachments placed upon God-beliefs -- to take their idea of "God" and dissect it, deconstruct it, and turn it inside out.

That is, is it harder for them -- as opposed to non-believers -- to routinely imagine a God who possesses a completely different set of characteristics?

Jim S. said...

In plain speak, DBQ, just say honestly that you don't know that invisible, incorporeal pink unicorns are secretly running the Federal Reserve.

I don't believe in invisible, incorporeal, pink unicorns because it is ad hoc or contrived. You admit as much in the rest of your comment. "I can insert ANYTHING into your argument." Of course you can insert any ad hoc claim into it. That's pretty much what "ad hoc" means. The more ad hoc or contrived something is, the more implausible and unlikely it is.

Is belief in God similarly ad hoc? Perhaps, but you have to give some reasons for thinking so. The idea that there's a ground of existence, a stopping-point to the chain of causality, does not strike me as contrived even if it is false. Moreover belief in God is a trans-cultural, trans-epoch phenomenon involving the vast majority of the human race. Again, this doesn't mean it's true, but you'll have to show how such a commonly-held belief is ad hoc in order for your unicorn argument to not be a false analogy.

Quaestor said...

The Crack Emcee wrote:
I was the guy who stayed home. Didn't have a beef - nothin' - I really didn't care. Then all hell broke loose and so did I.

I absolutely agree with your distaste with these "fashionable" atheist like Skeptigal. There's more than a hint of New Age bullshit tainting those "atheist" conventions. Real atheism is in the brain from the beginning (or more likely religion is there from the beginning and atheism is just its absence) and its nothing one is converted to, any more that one is converted to left handedness. Maybe it's hereditary. Maybe your ancestor and my ancestor were the guys standing outside the Parthenon wondering what all the pretty architecture was about.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"hypothesis -
1. a proposition, or set of propositions, set forth as an explanation for the occurrence of some specified group of phenomena, either asserted merely as a provisional conjecture to guide investigation (working hypothesis) or accepted as highly probable in the light of established facts."

that would be very much appreciated. Otherwise, how to I discuss "God did it"? That as a logical argument is no better than "A big battery somewhere".

Correct. How do you discuss the opposite that "God did not do it", with no proof of the absence of God.

I have no opinion one way or the other.

I just have problems with people who purport to be of scientific mind, leaping to conclusions base not on facts but upon their belief that "God did not do it".

Believing also without fact that "God did it" is the core of religious belief and people are entitled to their religion.

Believing without fact that "God did NOT do it", strikes me as a religious belief as well.....and you are entitled to believe that way.

Just don't try to fool yourself that you are not choosing a religious belief because you want to cloak it in (unproven) scientific theory.

Oligonicella said...

Peter --

Ah. Got it. Yes I did misunderstand.


"That is, is it harder for them -- as opposed to non-believers -- to routinely imagine a God who possesses a completely different set of characteristics?"

I really don't see why.

First I imagine a man. Then I remove reason and accountability.


wv: nochagsh - God name if I ever heard one.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@DBQ:

I just have problems with people who purport to be of scientific mind, leaping to conclusions base not on facts but upon their belief that "magic pink unicorns did not do it".

Believing also without fact that "magic pink unicorns did it" is the core of religious belief and people are entitled to their religion.

Jim S. said...

Your brain can do something mine can't, that is your brain allows you to have a real yet transcendent experience by interacting with something that is not demonstratively real or transcendent. Your brain allows you (compels you, perhaps) to have the so-called religious experience. Mine doesn't.

I'm not prone to religious experiences. I became a Christian in my mid-20s after spending two years trying to refute Christianity.

At any rate, if I really believed that I was incapable of having an experience that many other people have, the first thing that would occur to me is that they may be seeing something that I don't.

Gabriel Hanna said...

In order for "magic pink unicorns did it" to be scientifically valid, first there has to be some unambiguous evidence that such things exist and what their powers and capabilities are.

Without such evidence, magic pink unicorns should be left out of any scientific explanation.

Even DBQ would refuse to pay a mechanic who blamed his car problems on gremlins, and charged for prayers and excorcisms. But DBQ would not call his refusal to believe in automotive gremlins a "religion", because he has a double standard where his God is concerned. Once DBQ's God is in play, all definitions of science and reason must change to accomodate it.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Jim S:At any rate, if I really believed that I was incapable of having an experience that many other people have, the first thing that would occur to me is that they may be seeing something that I don't.

So you'd be one of the crowd admiring the Emperor's New Clothes? And every one of you would be thinking there is something wrong with him for not seeing them...

Bob Ellison said...

@Walter, I think we got our glassware at Target. I don't see them at designwithinreach.com.

@Crack, you certainly are prolific! Your words, insults, and links back to your blog seem generally bigger and more plentiful than your insights.

However, I do think there's something to this statement of yours: "The desire to blame the man, without evidence, is feminism." That seems a pretty accurate assessment of much modern feminism, though not the older kind. One might similarly say that "the desire to blame humans, without evidence, is environmentalism".

Paco Wové said...

I believe "Dust Bunny Queen" is female, by the way.

....

I was going to respond more to DBQ and Jim S., and realized that we have reached the point where theists and atheists are now talking past one another, so I think I'll just shut up. There are some profound axiomatic differences in how the two groups perceive existence, and talking about them just goes in circles.

Jim S. said...

"... the first thing that would occur to me ..." First is not second, third, or last. Meanwhile, can you give any reason for thinking that belief in God is ad hoc? Or a meaning of "lack a belief" that doesn't collapse into disbelief or agnosticism?

Chuck66 said...

Atheism is a religion. Part of their dogma is to get as many converts as possible, even by the use of force (such as lawsuits to end public prayers, 10 commandments monuments, etc).

Dust Bunny Queen said...

In order for "magic pink unicorns did it" to be scientifically valid, first there has to be some unambiguous evidence that such things exist and what their powers and capabilities are.

In order for "magic pink unicorns didn't do it" you have to prove that either such things exist and didn't do it.....or that such things don't exist at all.

If you can prove that there are no magic unicorns then your first theory, they didn't do it is correct because unicorns don't exist and therefore could not have any effect.

However, if you cannot prove the non existence of unicorns, then you have not yet the ability to definitively state that unicorns have no effect on reality.

To state that (non effectiveness of unicorns) with out proof that there are no unicorns, is based on your unfounded faith in the absence of unicorns.

Believe what you want, but don't try to cloak it in science and delude yourself that you have chosen a belief system that is just as much based on unfounded facts as a traditionally religious person.

Chuck66 said...

My religions (Christianity) basis (the Bible) has no unicorns in it, but does have a lot of historical figures. Moses, Ceaser, Jesus, others who actually existed.

Chef Mojo said...

Amusing thread.

Couple of points.

Acknowledging my atheism is about what I don't believe, not about what I do believe.

As such, I have no need to prove the non-existence of god(s). Nor do I feel the need to congregate with others like me, proselytize for an absence of belief, advocate against other religions or generally make an ass of myself in the "spiritual" world.

Atheists who feel the need to congregate to mutually affirm their "belief" are just as religious in their own way as the Opus Dei. They are atheists in name only, and they have a profound misunderstanding about the nature of belief and disbelief. "Atheists" of this type are simply another branch of New Age cultism wherein only the affirmation of others buttresses the "disbelief" they share from the doubt constantly banging on the door.

I have no doubt, therefore, I have no need of a support system.

These aren't difficult things to understand.

Another point is this: The assumption that atheists are leftists. I'm about as far from the left as I can be on most issues, and yet I'm an atheist. Go figure. I imagine there are plenty more like me out there.

But I really don't care.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Once DBQ's God is in play, all definitions of science and reason must change to accomodate it.

I don't have a God.

I have already said. I don't know, which is the honest answer.

You are not willing to be honest in that you do not know if there is or isn't a controlling intelligence. You choose to believe that there isn't in the absence of proof of the non existence of such a thing as "God".

I'm willing to be shown by proof one way or the other. You evidently have your mind made up and adhere to your faith in the absence of God.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

She's right, it is not good etiquette for males to choose an elevator as a place to make passes at females. I suppose many rapists find it convenient to resort to rape only upon being turned down, and so requesting sex where rape feels easier is something rapists would tend to do. True, the guy obviously wasn't being a rapist, since he didn't actually rape, but it rather makes one wonder whether he was playing with the scenario, examining his feelings about raping, etc., in order to get it fixed in his mind how he would do such a thing if he ever decided to do it. It is an interesting example, illustrative of reprehensible etiquette and a good taking-off place for discussing rationally what makes good etiquette.

What bothers me is the extent to which Ms. Watson fails to refrain from using this as a general example emphasizing the wretchedness of bad etiquette, and in particular emphasizing the badness of not caring about females' fear feelings and of objectifying (whatever that means) females. Etiquette is very overrated and conflated. In particular, is there something noble about a male's caring greatly about a female's feelings about being scared? Of course not, quite the contrary. It is very useful for the general good that males be open to females about their feelings toward them. Sometimes a male will think that he has a good chance of getting sex from some female he wants sex with, and if he rather suggests that to her, well, yes, she will have good reason to be more scared than she was before, because, yes, males more tend to rape or forcibly sodomize females that they think they sexually want and over whom they feel they might can get some influence over. But if males were open about their sexual desires, females would more tend to know whom to be scared of. If it were normal for males to be open thus, females would actually feel safer because, more importantly, they'd actually be safer, and a female does the general safety of females a disservice by making such behavior seem reprehensible. (Not to mention she does an even greater disservice by making sexual relationships desired by both parties harder to initiate, especially in the more quick ways less likely to be associated with snobbishness and exclusive social circles.) Sure, a female isn't pleased by being made afraid by an undesirable male hitting on her, but that's quite the selfish consideration both for the female and the male to make; morally what she and the male should consider is the general effects on starting relationships (particularly in non-snobby ways) and on making females safer from males being more open and less hidden in their sexual desires.

And the whole objectivity business is just a cliche to me. Mostly a male properly cares for one female mate. OK. So how properly should he think of other females beyond just as associates or friends? Mostly, to the extent he wants another female, he wants to have sex with her. If Ms. Watson feels it is wrong for a male to have sex with more than one female, she should say that. Otherwise, she should realize that there is a place for male sexual relationships involving little caring and time on his part, unless she feels males being essentially polygamous, having many fractional wives, is a good thing. What does she mean by a male objectifying females? If she means males having sex without investing time and caring responsibility, then she should decide whether she feels whether males should be strictly monogamous or whether males should be allowed to be polygamous but that everything else should be considered wretched fornication.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Believing also without fact that "magic pink unicorns did it" is the core of religious belief and people are entitled to their religion.

Believing without fact that "magic pink unicorns did NOT do it" is the core of atheism (the religion of non belief) and people are entitled to their religion of the absence of unicorns.

You can have your religion too.

Robert Cook said...

"Why do those who are atheists and scientific think that the existence of God or even fairies is impossible?"

Who says they do?

Rather, there is no evidence to suggest or prove God or fairies exist. Moreover, we cannot apply the scientific method to try to prove--or disprove--the existence of God or fairies, so they must remain forever outside the realm of science. In short, it's not necessarily impossible they exist, but their existence or nonexistence is impossible to ascertain. They must forever inhabit the realm of myths and fairy tales...the projections of humankind's own imagination on the physical world.

I am an atheist, but I don't begrudge my friends and family members their religious beliefs...thos of them who have any.

However, I am appalled when I read news reports of Texas governer Rick Perry calling for prayer to prevent wildfires in their state or the Mayor of Harrisburg, PA declaring her intent to prayer and fast for three days to find a solution to their city's financial problems.

This is where religion becomes offensive, and even dangerous: where persons in positions of responsibility rely on their personal superstitions to wish for miraculous fixes for social problems that are not amenable to being fixed by prayer, problems that affect their constituents at large, who put the person in office to work for real world solutions to real world problems.

Oligonicella said...

Dust Bunny Queen --

Correct. How do you discuss the opposite that "God did not do it", with no proof of the absence of God.

Scientifically? You don't. Only a decent hypothesis requires any investigation.

"God did it" is simply an opinion, not a hypothesis. It's conversational. Since it is conversational, "No" is a sufficient response.

Chuck66 said...

Chief Mojo, I would argue that you are not an Atheist, but perhaps agnostic. My assertion is the Atheism is a religion with a dogma, rules, prothizing, etc.

Examples: Atheists in the armed forces are asking for their own chaplin. They don't want a Christian or Jewish chaplin.

Liturgy. Have you ever noticed when you talk to an Atheist, they all say the same thing? Usually about 10 minutes into the discusion, they reach the point in their church service where they say "and Christian symbols are really just pagen symbols that they adapted". And if they are doing the long-version Atheist scriptures, they will then list them.

Jim S. said...

Gabriel Hanna: Your emperor's new clothes argument is the second false analogy you've given. I'm still waiting for you to respond to the first one: how is the existence of God ad hoc like the existence of invisible pink unicorns?

Chef Mojo: To disbelieve something is to believe that it is false. If you really believe that God does not exist you have to take responsibility for it and work out the reasons for it. If you're saying you simply lack a belief in God, then I ask the definition of "lack a belief" that doesn't collapse into disbelief or agnosticism.

Chef Mojo said...

However, I am appalled when I read news reports of Texas governer Rick Perry calling for prayer to prevent wildfires in their state or the Mayor of Harrisburg, PA declaring her intent to prayer and fast for three days to find a solution to their city's financial problems.

This is where religion becomes offensive, and even dangerous: where persons in positions of responsibility rely on their personal superstitions to wish for miraculous fixes for social problems that are not amenable to being fixed by prayer, problems that affect their constituents at large, who put the person in office to work for real world solutions to real world problems.


Holy crap! Robert Cook and I are in agreement about something!

Must be the End Times...

rhhardin said...

According to Professor of Religion Paul F Schmidt, drug-induced religious experiences can b distinguished from real religious experiences by the absence of a hangover.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"God did it" is simply an opinion, not a hypothesis. It's conversational. Since it is conversational, "No" is a sufficient response."

Logically the opposite, God did not do it, is also a conversational opinion and not a scientific theory.

Since we can neither prove or disprove the existence of God at this time, both sets of beliefs are unfounded in fact.

If the belief in the existence of God is religious, so then is the belief in the non existence of God, since both are based not on fact but on blind beliefs.

If you do not believe in God or a controlling element in the universe, that is your right.

To try to use science as a shield for your 'religious' belief is disingenuous.

I don't believe either proposition, existence or non existence, because there is no proof either way. When there is I will make up my mind.

Christopher said...

"And not one a true atheist nation. Lift up a rock and you find belief under every one of them, starting with Rasputin's role in Russia."


Oh dear God; not this type of argument again. Pray tell, how they were not atheists? They clearly didn't believe in God or gods and they rejected all religious belief systems; that seems pretty much to be the only requirement as far as I can tell.

You do not get to pick and choose your ideological brethren based solely on whether they are convenient or not. Rasputin's only contribution to the USSR was in weakening the Romanovs.

"They aren't true atheists" is the equivalent of claiming they "aren't really communists" or "we just didn't spend enough". It's what true believers always do when they can't handle the fact that their belief system somehow failed them.

I get it. Free from the shackles of religious beliefs we were supposed to be able to enter a glorious age where decisions were based on reason and not superstition.

Instead these "rational" governments killed and impoverished more people in the name of their cause than any other ideology in the history of mankind.

It hurts, I know. As a Catholic I have to put up with the fact that my fellow Church members have not always been in the right. Such is life. But unless they actually left or were excommunicated I won't deny their Catholicism. Criticize and analyze? Yes. Deny? No.

So unless the Soviet leadership (as well as that of those other nations) suddenly found God, and just failed to mention it when they were destroying Churches and executing religious leaders you have to accept that they were atheists as well.

Robert Cook said...

Obviously, Dust Bunny Queen is impervious to rational argument or thought, so there is no point even attempting to engage her.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Obviously, Dust Bunny Queen is impervious to rational argument or thought, so there is no point even attempting to engage her.

Just because you are losing the debate is no reason to resort to insults.

Refute my arguments using logic and not emotion.

First you have to be able to "accurately" restate my position and not reframe it to be what you think I am saying but what I am actually saying. Can you?

Double dog dare you.

:-D

Rick67 said...

Hate to tell Rebecca this but she's rather cute.

Chef Mojo said...

@Jim S:

To disbelieve something is to believe that it is false.

Only if there is the assumption that the previously held belief had validity in the first place.

If you really believe that God does not exist you have to take responsibility for it and work out the reasons for it.

Why? Does my disbelief impact the lives of others in such a way that it becomes incumbent upon me to "take responsibility" for it, like a convicted criminal paying restitution? That's plain silly.

Now, on the other hand, if I believe in God, and I tell God to go fuck off and piss up a rope, then I guess I've got some 'splainin' to do.

Since I don't believe in god(s), your demand doesn't make a lick of sense.

If you're saying you simply lack a belief in God, then I ask the definition of "lack a belief" that doesn't collapse into disbelief or agnosticism.

Again, why do you ask? Why is it important to you to have me define "lack of belief?" Do you argue against my atheism in order to buttress your belief in God?

You find my lack of faith disturbing?

My assertion is that god doesn't exist. I have no need to prove or disprove that assertion because it isn't relevant to my life.

Jim S. said...

Chief Mojo: First, I apologize if I offended you. I get into philosopher mode and start analyzing without the requisite social graces.

"To disbelieve something is to believe that it is false."

Only if there is the assumption that the previously held belief had validity in the first place.


How in the world is this true?

"If you really believe that God does not exist you have to take responsibility for it and work out the reasons for it."

Why? Does my disbelief impact the lives of others in such a way that it becomes incumbent upon me to "take responsibility" for it, like a convicted criminal paying restitution? That's plain silly.


I'm not talking about social or legal responsibility I'm talking about epistemic responsibility. You have an obligation to reason correctly and to draw conclusions in an appropriate manner.

"If you're saying you simply lack a belief in God, then I ask the definition of "lack a belief" that doesn't collapse into disbelief or agnosticism."

Again, why do you ask? Why is it important to you to have me define "lack of belief?" Do you argue against my atheism in order to buttress your belief in God?


I ask for several reasons, but perhaps the most important is that I think Christianity is (a) true and (b) important. At any rate, you left a comment saying you shouldn't have to have reasons for your belief that God doesn't exist. Surely you expect such a statement to warrant a response?

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Jim S:how is the existence of God ad hoc like the existence of invisible pink unicorns?


Where does God live? Is he material or immaterial? Has He any limitations on what He can do or cannot do? By what means does He do what He does? What evidence tells when God has or has not done something, as opposed to it happening "naturally" or the Devil doing it?

Until you outline some of these answers, "God" is as ad hoc as my unicorns.

A stone suddenly rolls downhill, it knocks a car off the road that is barrelling down on a two-year child. God, the Devil, or nature and on what evidence?


@DBQ: Not believing in God is religious and unscientific, not believing in magic pink unicorns is religious and unscientific, not believing in automotive gremlins is religious and unscientific. Well, at least you are being consistent--the words have "religion" and "science" have now had their definitions changed so that no science exists, merely competing religions.

Good luck getting the rest of the world to accept those definitions, and in getting anyone to take your science concern-trolling seriously.

Fen said...

Robert Cook: This is where religion becomes offensive, and even dangerous: where persons in positions of responsibility rely on their personal superstitions to wish for miraculous fixes for social problems that are not amenable to being fixed

Socialists rightfully consider Religion to be the Enemy. One wants man to supplicate himself to the State, the other to God.

Oligonicella said...

Dust Bunny Queen --

"Logically the opposite, God did not do it, is also a conversational opinion and not a scientific theory."

Yes. That's why we can't discuss it scientifically and you don't find it promoted as a scientific theory. It has no falsifiability.


If you keep abstracting the idea of immense power, you also have to keep moving its influence back in time or the attempts at description and cause wouldn't be so easily disproven.

You don't even have to do that all that often to wind up with something not really distinguishable from the Big Bang.

Christopher said...

Unless Perry or the Mayor of Harrisburg were doing nothing but praying, the complaint is pretty misleading outside of 1st amendment objections.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Christopher:Unless Perry or the Mayor of Harrisburg were doing nothing but praying, the complaint is pretty misleading outside of 1st amendment objections.

You got that right. I have no objection to calls for prayer in times of crisis--they do no harm, as long as they are not a substitute for action, and as long as I am not made to pray by force.

Are the Texas Rangers breaking down doors to make sure everyone prays? Have all the first responders been fired, and everything left to God? No, and no. The governor's call to prayer neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket.

And that's why I get called an "accomodationist" and other nasty names by some other atheists.

Peter said...

DBQ:

I think that you are forgetting at least one aspect of Oligonicella's initial post on belief and disbelief.

Olig conceded that one cannot provide evidence for the non-existence of God. (An impossibility.)

But she did say that, regardless, it would be "tiresome" and ultimately impossible to maintain some illusory open-mindedness about everything (1) for which there is no good evidence and (2) for which one cannot provide evidence of non-existence.

You say that the only answer to questions of God's existence and fairies' existence is "I don't know."

That seems to me a perfect example of such illusory open-mindedness. To say, "I don't know" about the existence of fairies is disingenuous at best.

And of course, with Occam's Razor completely dulled, your stuck with one lazy answer to all of these questions:

• Do Fairies exist? (I don't know)
• Do gnomes exist? (I don't know)
• Do angels exist? (I don't know)
• Is there an imperceptible elephant in my garage? (I don't know)
• Is Ann the reincarnation of Julius Ceasar? (I don't know)
• Is Ann the reincarnation of Marc Antony? (I don't know)
• Can my cat read my mind? (I don't know)
• Are there mystical homeopathic properties in tap water -- properties immeasurable by our modern science? (I don't know)
• Is there an teapot in orbit around the sun somewhere between Mars and Jupiter? (I don't know)
• Etc, ad inf.

It's not just that such answers are tiresome. It's that such answers are, for most of us, not true accounts of what we actually believe and how we actually act.

Tell me, do you honestly hold the existence of fairies to be an open question in your mind? Does the fact that you cannot disprove their existence -- again, an impossibility -- keep you from thinking and saying, in everyday life, "Of course they don't!"

It seems to me that is just how we live, most of the time. And a perfectly adequate and rational way of living when it comes to such questions.

And that fact hold even if one doesn't accept the idea -- as one should, I think -- that the burden of proof is and ought to be on the person MAKING the scientifically unfalsifiable claim.

Gabriel Hanna said...

Have all the first responders been fired, and everything left to God? No, and no.

Incidentally, this reinforces another point: God doesn't unambiguously act, and so very few religious people leave everything to God.

Those who do, go to prison for neglectfully killing their children. Exactly the sort of thing that CrackMC is always going on about, with good reason.

The Crack Emcee said...

I notice all the real atheists have left the conversation, now that it's gone into Sillyville.

I'll join them - laters!

Michael Haz said...

Atheists are people who do not understand the concept of risk management.

Jim S. said...

Where does God live? Is he material or immaterial? Has He any limitations on what He can do or cannot do? By what means does He do what He does? What evidence tells when God has or has not done something, as opposed to it happening "naturally" or the Devil doing it?

Until you outline some of these answers, "God" is as ad hoc as my unicorns.


I don't think you understand what ad hoc means. If theists were unable to answer any of these questions it would mean that theism lacked explanatory power or scope or internal coherence. These are different criteria than adhoc-ness. To be ad hoc is to be contrived. An ad hoc solution is one that is arbitrary or has no relevance beyond that what it purports to explain. Ad hoc explanations can be used to explain virtually anything. For example, Marxists often use economics in an ad hoc way, an "economics of the gaps," using it to fill all the gaps in their historical reconstructions. Of course, just because some economic explanations are ad hoc, it doesn't mean that all of them are.

Of course theists do have answers to your questions, they've been fairly well advertised, and I expect you know at least some of them.

Quaestor said...

Jim S. wrote:
To disbelieve something is to believe that it is false.

Here's where your thinking goes off the rails.

Jim S. said...

Just to be clear, adhoc-ness is one of several criteria involved in abduction or inference to the best explanation, the form of reasoning employed by virtually all of the sciences.

Jim S. said...

Here's where your thinking goes off the rails.

How so? I disbelieve physicalism, the claim that the physical universe exhausts reality. I therefore believe that physicalism is false, and it is presumably incumbent upon me to (epistemically) justify this belief.

Revenant said...

I'm an atheist. The majority of my friends are atheists too, coincidentally.

With the exception of the handful of Objectivists I knew back in college, I've never known anybody who has been to an atheist convention, atheist rally, atheist *lunch*, or atheist anything else. We never discuss religion unless there's something wacky in the news (like media-manufactured 'Rapture' thing last month) or somebody else brings it up.

So personally, my answer to the title question would be "uh... we did?".

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Yes. That's why we can't discuss it scientifically and you don't find it promoted as a scientific theory. It has no falsifiability.


EXACTLY! This is why, when people attempt to use science or math to dispute the existence of God/Intelligence, it strikes me as a false premise and disingenuous.

Since we can't prove or disprove the existence, there is no scientific basis for argument and you (generic you, not you directly) are arguing based on belief.

When your beliefs are not based on facts or not based on scientific discovery, your belief system is basically a religious one of faith in the unproven and unknown.

Atheists who argue against "God" by using science are refusing to acknowledge that their non-belief is just as much a religiosity as belief in God is religious.

As an agnostic, I just don't know and I admit it.

It doesn't bother me that other people are sure one way or the other about God. Just be honest about the origination of your belief system.

Christopher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christopher said...

Revenant,

To be fair you may not be a true atheist as apparently a lack of belief in God/gods is no longer the basis for such a label (if Crack is to be believed).

dbp said...

Althouse asked Ms. Watson what the elevator guy looked like and IIRC she said something like, early 50's and not big but bigger than her.

What do you want to bet that had the guy been young, attractive and dashing she would have gone off to "coffee" with him and we would be talking about something different now?

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Christopher:To be fair you may not be a true atheist as apparently a lack of belief in God/gods is no longer the basis for such a label (if Crack is to be believed).

Would you like me, or Revenant, to weigh in on whether you are or are not a "true Christian"?

Don't you think you know what you believe and what that makes you better than we do?

Gabriel Hanna said...

@DBQ:"Atheists who argue against "magic pink unicorns" by using science are refusing to acknowledge that their non-belief is just as much a religiosity as belief in magic pink unicorns is religious.

As an agnostic, I just don't know and I admit it.

Atheists who argue against automobile gremlins by using science are refusing to acknowledge that their non-belief is just as much a religiosity as belief in automobile gremlins is religious.

As an agnostic, I just don't know and I admit it.

Atheists who argue against witchcraft by using science are refusing to acknowledge that their non-belief is just as much a religiosity as belief in witchcraft is religious.

As an agnostic, I just don't know and I admit it."

Like I said earlier, good luck getting any other person to accept your new definitions of religion and science, and in getting anyone to take you concern trolling seriously.

Roux said...

Atheism is a religion. It's just the religion in not believing in God, of course it's mostly the Christian God that they rail against.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Roux:It's just the religion in not believing in God

just as refusing to buy something is the commerce of refusing to engage in commerce, and thus regulating inactivity is the right of Congress?

And not stealing is the thievery of honest men. Not eating is the gluttony of the starving. Not having money is the wealth of the poor. Not drinking is the alcholism of the temperate.

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