Atheist Arrogance?

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Zeh Don:
"I believe in everything until it's disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it's in your mind. Who's to say that dreams and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now?" - John Lennon.

John Lennon was a chronic LSD user -- I have no doubt he did see fairies, dragons, and mythical beings, and to him they were probably real indeed. This isn't saying much on whether those things are objectively real. I think I know where this is headed...

Zeh Don:
Skeptical thinking - that is, assuming everything is false until it is proven - is not the default position for every one, nor should it be. We need competing schools of thought in order to ensure we're not being narrow minded and defeatist. Believing everyone must think the same has the potential for a slippery slope
forming, depending on how radical you are in that belief.

...And here it is (i.e., 'all subjective realities are equal!') Well, not really.

If skeptical thought is not for you that's fine. However where we differ is whether all modes of thought are equal -- and of course they simply are not, because they do not all have equal explanatory power or meaningful application.

To take your example, "god did it" is not an acceptable explanation for the cure for cancer, since that does little to help us understand how it happened or how to replicate it for others. I'll go an extra step and say it's border line intellectual irresponsibility, since it declines to try to understand why.

I've always thought of it a form of intellectual laziness...

I'll leave you with this and post more later, must go.

Cheers,
Aes

Zeh Don:

Seanchaidh:
There is plenty of evidence that a cure for cancer will be found... whatever point you were trying to make, this example bleeds it of any strength. There are not only the advances made in cancer research itself, but also a continuing pattern of advancements in medicine; cures happen, and there is no particular reason to believe that cancer will be an exception to this trend.

Unfortunately, you're now entering the realm of faith, which if I am not mistaken,

It's called inductive reasoning. The difference is, there are plenty of reasons to suppose that a cure for cancer will happen. That isn't to say that it necessarily will, only that it probably will. There is a strong argument that it will. One is justified-- empirically-- in believing that it will. Not that it must happen, but that it will happen. We can make this prediction with some confidence, especially given that we've specified no limit on the time in which it must occur. The balance of the evidence leads one to affirm rather than deny. The belief would lack certainty or rigor, but that is not to say that there is no evidence for it. Now there is some evidence against: there is some evidence that humanity could destroy itself or in another way become extinct before such a cure would ever happen. The idea that humanity just won't destroy itself because leaders are always rational enough to avoid mutually assured destruction-- there is faith; at any given time, to be sure, it is unlikely that leaders will choose to engage in a two-sided nuclear conflict-- but there is plenty of evidence that humans can be willing to take extreme risks or put spite above self-preservation. The idea that a civilization-ending asteroid could not possibly hit the earth in the next few decades-- that is a matter of faith until we actually take measures against such an occurrence. It could; we don't know if it will or when it might, but it could. There have been large impact events before and we simply don't know exactly where every asteroid is headed. It seems extremely unlikely that it would, but events of extreme unlikelihood happen all the time.

One is rightly skeptical of the use of "must" (or "cannot possibly") when it is plain that we cannot be certain what will happen. And yet it is perfectly reasonable to say that something "will" (or "won't") happen even without certainty. Do you see the difference there? Your example simply does not work for the point that you are trying to make. When we make predictions, they are justified based on prior evidence. Since the future is inherently uncertain, we tend to avoid using words that imply certainty about what will happen. But we still make justifiable predictions. It is not a matter of 'faith' that there will be an increase of amusing things posted on the internet on the next April 1st: it is a pattern, though it is quite possible that it wouldn't be true in any given year.

The definition of delusion itself prior to creation of the psychiatric practice mirrors the definition that I provided - hence it's use in the psychiatric field in the first place, instead of a entirely new term coined to refer to that particular mental illness.

Since you seem to want to run to the dictionary... "A false belief or opinion." "Psychiatry. a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact: a paranoid delusion."

Even that psychiatric definition seems applicable. Not good. :/

A commonly misunderstood position. "Normality" actually has no meaning within the field of psychiatry, as it is understood that every mind - every living human being - suffers from a least one mental disorder.

"Atypical" has a meaning within psychiatry, and just because "suffers from at least one mental disorder" may be something "understood" of every mind (given what you've already said I'm not going to take your word for it) that does not mean that psychiatry would acknowledge that there is one mental disorder that most people have. See the difference?

Tacit evidence, however, is what these same people refer to, and which you do not.

I'm skeptical that you are using that word correctly.

To recap, you've attempted to stipulate that belief in God is a "delusion" that is ignored due to the number of people who have it

Nope. I've chastised you for treating Dawkins' and Aesmodan's statements entirely uncharitably-- as if they are meant to be psychiatric diagnoses. I've criticized your example of thinking cancer will be cured for being insufficient to make your point. I've criticized your reliance on psychiatry in a matter of philosophy as presumptuous: psychiatry relies on value judgments and constructs definitions of disorders normatively and with strong social biases. It isn't exactly surprising that psychiatrists once treated homosexuality as a disorder, but have since changed their view in response to changing norms in rich countries.

Now I'm chastising you for constructing a series of events in your mind that never actually happened, but treating them as if they did. Your argumentative style leaves much to be desired. You attack before understanding what is meant.

Zeh Don:

"I believe in everything until it's disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it's in your mind. Who's to say that dreams and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now?" - John Lennon.

Skeptical thinking - that is, assuming everything is false until it is proven - is not the default position for every one, nor should it be. We need competing schools of thought in order to ensure we're not being narrow minded and defeatist. Believing everyone must think the same has the potential for a slippery slope forming, depending on how radical you are in that belief.

Lennon lied. Did he believe he was going to implode from saying those words? Apparently not! Did he think all children would fall over dead because he said that? Seems not! He doesn't believe in everything until it is disproved. I doubt you could find anyone who does because of the sheer amount of contradictions that would call for and how erratic such a person would act.

And assuming things are false until shown otherwise is the least arbitrary and most logical way to go about it. The opposite contradicts itself immediately. To let some things go by and not others becomes arbitrary. That path has shown the most consistency.

Zeh Don:
The men responsible for the fundamentals didn't have any evidence, proof or factual information to back up a single thing they thought. They just rolled up there sleeves and had it because, frankly, why not? Funnily enough, they were spot on correct more often than not. This occurred because people, somewhere, had to actually start. And they did so without knowledge, or evidence. It is not illogical to do so, nor to act so.

I agree, as this was the case... around 3000 BCE, when we lacked basic knowledge and a sense of scientific evidence as you depict above.

It would be illogical to do this now, as it would ignore those 3000 years of experience, development, and intellectual advancement. If you're comfortable doing that, that's fine, but I'm really not.

In a nutshell, I believe it all comes down to that very point: myth/religion is a 3000 year old model of thought (I'm being facetious here, this is easy number to use), and is perhaps man's first real attempt to explain his surroundings, lacking the knowledge and ability to first conceive of and then implement empirical thought, then disciplined frameworks for constructing hypotheses, such as the scientific method (i.e., lacking the taken-for-granted foundation we have to build upon).

Not only are you not taking it for granted, you're willfully chucking it all away -- and that's bizarre...

Zeh Don:
This is because "logic" is worthless in the practical world, because logic is not a physical concept, nor an absolute guarded by the fundamental laws of the universe. It is merely useful for testing the validity of statements using known information. Being a slave to logic prevents the experimentation necessary to refining logic.

--

Zeh Don:
Empirical evidence is the least convincing form of evidence, because it is presented via third parties. However, as a result of this, it is the easiest form of reproduce-able evidence we have.

I think I'll need to chew on those a while...

Zeh Don:
Most of the world's theist or spiritual population - some 89% of the world - claim to have experienced something in their life that leads them to believe in a higher power. To ignore their own tacit evidence requires them to live more by the opinions and thoughts of others, than by their own life experiences. If this is what you think others should do, could the same not be required of you? Of course not, and it shouldn't be. It's ridiculous. Yet, this is what the atheistic population generally fall back to - some variation of "We're smart enough to think for all of us".

Not to split hairs, but this is a loaded statement (even ignoring your random figure of 89%).

People have faith for all kinds of non-experiential, cultural/traditional/societal/emotional etc. reasons -- not because they have necessarily had an epiphany. That point's not as important as avoiding an argumentum ad populum (i.e., since lots of people believe in the tooth fairy, that somehow belief in the tooth fairy has some validity).

Oh, and I don't know of a single Atheist that says they should do your personal thinking for you/on your behalf... (let's not wander off topic into straw man liberty issues).

The real problem is that some people still stick to that 3000+ year old myth-model (which is outdated, irrelevant, and inferior to pretty much anything this side of Socrates), and then such people insist on grounds of equality that it's just as valid an approach as the next man's.

It's this that is really up for debate -- we're not debating your right to choose your own model, we're (at least in my mind) having a no-contest discussion as to whether they can be objectively equal.

And they just can't -- for all the reasons Seanchaidh and I have inventoried.

Zeh Don:
Unforuntately, that's really an atheist problem when attempting to label theism, deism or spiritualism as a "delusion". You ran off topic a little there, though it's forgivable as - frankly - it's hard not to do so. The issue is: atheists are attempting to over-ride a requirement in order to use a word that implies something that hasn't actually occurred. So, a delusion requires that a position be proved, and that the "delusion" is belief in the opposite of what is proven. This is a carefully constructed definition used by psychologists in detailing the behaviour of a subject. Delusions usually indicate serious psychological issues, or even potentially medical issues with the brain itself. Atheists are attempting to override the initial requirement - that a position be proved - by stating that "one cannot prove a negative" and thus can not be required to. This is an attempt to use logical philosophy to override a field of science - using the "double negative" to do so - for the purposes of implying that "it is proven that God does not exist", and thus that belief in God is a delusion. If this requirement were over-turned as such, than a belief in anything can be said to be a delusion by anyone holding the opposite belief. Do you believe that a cure for cancer can be found? That's a delusion, because you can't prove it - thus the double negative over-rides, and it must be assumed that a cure for cancer will never be found. This is, of course, idiocy.

...And this is a lot of double-speak to avoid the simple fact that you can't provide any positive proof for your positive assertion that a god exists.

Edit: just to make us all think a little more, I'll leave this link here on the matter of finding a cure to cancer. It's on Dichloroacetic acid.

Cheers,
-Aes

Aesmodan:

People have faith for all kinds of non-experiential, cultural/traditional/societal/emotional etc. reasons -- not because they have necessarily had an epiphany. That point's not as important as avoiding an argumentum ad populum (i.e., since lots of people believe in the tooth fairy, that somehow belief in the tooth fairy has some validity).

This is all true-- Below, I'm not aiming to contest what you've posted, only to add to it.

A further point of differentiation is in the nature of the claim. A theist's claim to have experienced something divine is circumstantial evidence: it relies on so many assumptions (primarily, that the theist has interpreted what he 'experienced' accurately).

Circumstantial evidence, unless it can be supported with something uncircumstantial, is very, very weak evidence. Nobody is saying these theists are lying; but until there is some reason to believe they have interpreted their experiences accurately, their claims are as valid as the claim of a liar.

These people who claim to have experienced something divine have, for the most part, simply had a very strong emotional response to an idea. They experience awe, and call it proof, when in truth there is no uncircumstantial reason to believe their awe is any different from my own awe at astrophysics.

((Note to Aes: I'm responding to you instead of Zeh Don, here, primarily because he's had a whole lotta replies above, already. I just want to support what you say with two cents of my own, rather than weigh into the existing argument in my own right)).

Saw this from the Reason Project today, and thought it was quite fitting in terms of arrogance. Cuz seriously guys, we know it's true because it's in the Bible and why would the Bible lie?

image

Aesmodan:

Zeh Don:
"I believe in everything until it's disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it's in your mind. Who's to say that dreams and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now?" - John Lennon.

John Lennon was a chronic LSD user -- I have no doubt he did see fairies, dragons, and mythical beings, and to him they were probably real indeed. This isn't saying much on whether those things are objectively real. I think I know where this is headed...

To be fair, I don't think he (Lennon) meant they physically exist.
I think he meant that they exist as concepts and ideas in our minds, and can live out their lives in the stories that we tell. I think he's saying that our imagination is real as well. After all, if our imagination wasn't real we wouldn't be able to imagine things.

Or, looking at it again, perhaps he's advocating a subjectivist stance. The world is after all, to any one given person, only made up of what they're sensing and experiencing and if they hallucinate, dream, or in other ways experience something that isn't there, this is all in a sense real, as it is just as much a vivid and true part of their world as anything else they experience from day to day.
The problem here is that it's sort of twisting the meaning of the word real. I believe objectivists and subjectivists could agree to the above statement if only they could agree that they're using the word "real" in different senses.

In any case, the point is that regardless of the potential philosophical truth in the subjectivst stance, this is nothing to base any important interactions on.
If you need to determine what's true independently of the personal experiences of the people involved, for example in a court of law, the objectivist notion of the word "real" should be the one in effect, because when we're dealing with issues like this we're assuming the existence of one "true reality" outside of our bodies that everyone's experiencing (everyone's experiencing the same reality, albeit from slightly different angles).
i.e. If we've decided to deal with interpersonal matters, such as conversion, we've automatically decided to deal with the objectivist notion of existing.

So when someone's trying to convince me that a god exists, I'm assuming they're trying to convince me that this god exists in an objectivist sense. The god is something that exists outside of our minds, in the (objectively)"real" world. The god exists independently of the existence of humans, although it may be very nearly tied to them.

I think the problem is that those people who try to propose a subjectivist notion of a god to "objective reality oriented" people aren't being very clear in explaining what exactly they consider their god to be. If they were more straightforward in telling the convertee that they think of their god as something that exists because they imagine it, I think there could be a good deal less disagreement.

@Zeh Don

Unfortunately, you're now entering the realm of faith, which if I am not mistaken, is bit of a misnomer in the realm of hard science.
You believe that the past successes with entirely different illnesses serve as a sign of what will come to pass for all illnesses, a generalisation that Doctors would blush to hear. The only illness that has been effectively cured is Small Pox, and even then vigilance must be maintained with vaccinations to ensure it stays that way.

We don't vaccinate against smallpox anymore... Haven't done so for decades, because the risks of the vaccination now outweigh the risks of contracting a practically eradicated disease. To my understanding, only in the USA and in Russia are any smallpox viruses remaining for study in high-security laboratories.

As for curing cancer... Well, there isn't one cure because cancer isn't one ailment. But I'd consider the advances (like the ~90% cure-rates for children with acute lymphocytic leukemia these days) certainly impressive. People will need to keep researching different cancers for many, many years to come but will we find better ways of curing them? Certainly, at least for some of them. Others will be more difficult, but it's not like we haven't had success with curing some cancers.

mokes310:
Saw this from the Reason Project today, and thought it was quite fitting in terms of arrogance. Cuz seriously guys, we know it's true because it's in the Bible and why would the Bible lie?

Most people of faith aren't "Bible-thumpers". I'd argue that much of the time when the Bible is brought up, it's efforts like this, reasoned or petty, attacking its weaknesses and sometimes attaching them to followers as some sort of effort to give people cause to reject it.

There's also something to be said for the number of translations, copies and editing done over the centuries that purple monkey dishwasher.

But in essence, this is criticism that attempts to convert people of contradicting views and change the way they view their beliefs. That irony isn't lost, nor is the hilarious fact that so much of science is not understood by the vast majority of the population that will blindly accept it. Further, if spontaneously asked, an overwhelming amount of people couldn't explain much of anything without big books of science to tell them how the world works. That's not reasoning anything of science is untrue, it's just worth a chuckle. It's the blind arguing against the blind.

AgedGrunt:
But in essence, this is criticism that attempts to convert people of contradicting views and change the way they view their beliefs. That irony isn't lost, nor is the hilarious fact that so much of science is not understood by the vast majority of the population that will blindly accept it. Further, if spontaneously asked, an overwhelming amount of people couldn't explain much of anything without big books of science to tell them how the world works. That's not reasoning anything of science is untrue, it's just worth a chuckle. It's the blind arguing against the blind.

See this is interesting. I understand this isnt an attack against science. But to put it bluntly science is just... infinitely larger than the bible.

Id go as far to say its not unreasonable to imagine a man who memorised the entire bible (a parallel to explaining something without a large book to assist them). However our spans are not large enough to master all parts of science. I consider myself pretty scientifically literate. While biology is truly my specialization the best i can offer in the other fields is a secondary school education and a passing interest in my spare time. Even if i did want to be able to memorise and explain all of the current understood science i dont think i physically could. Theres just too much raw information for a person to absorb about well... everything.

Its theoretically possible to understand all science and remember everything, just impossible in practical terms since we include things like the migratory patterns of the african coconut swallow. In contrast to that memorising the bible would be a cake walk.

It seems to me that people take some sort of advantage in the fact that their entire world explanation can be summarised and memorised in a single book while most people dont know most of science. Id argue thats more of a comment of sheer size than of people being purposefully ignorant of anything. If you dont know youre bible thats slightly more embarassing than not knowing all your science. Id argue that its not on equal ground. People dont know their bible because they dont bother to properly read it. People dont know their science because the human form is physically incapable of absorbing that level of information and explanation in a meaningful way. Id say the latter is a way better excuse.

BiscuitTrouser:
It seems to me that people take some sort of advantage in the fact that their entire world explanation can be summarised and memorised in a single book while most people dont know most of science. Id argue thats more of a comment of sheer size than of people being purposefully ignorant of anything. If you dont know youre bible thats slightly more embarassing than not knowing all your science. Id argue that its not on equal ground. People dont know their bible because they dont bother to properly read it. People dont know their science because the human form is physically incapable of absorbing that level of information and explanation in a meaningful way. Id say the latter is a way better excuse.

Well you don't need to know science at a graduate level. A heck of a lot of people that would go on to post that infograph on their social media of choice probably couldn't explain why the sky is blue. That's the point I was making.

Which, in my opinion, goes back to a very valid point over this constant dissection of the Bible by secular people: shouldn't you be off curing cancer or something? Is this obsession with trying to be right and smiting ancient scripture really necessary? We need space colonies, energy solutions, medical science breakthroughs and better ways to make use of resources around us. It's almost egotistical with how pointless these exercises are and how damaging it is for a society to constantly be at war with itself.

AgedGrunt:

BiscuitTrouser:
It seems to me that people take some sort of advantage in the fact that their entire world explanation can be summarised and memorised in a single book while most people dont know most of science. Id argue thats more of a comment of sheer size than of people being purposefully ignorant of anything. If you dont know youre bible thats slightly more embarassing than not knowing all your science. Id argue that its not on equal ground. People dont know their bible because they dont bother to properly read it. People dont know their science because the human form is physically incapable of absorbing that level of information and explanation in a meaningful way. Id say the latter is a way better excuse.

Well you don't need to know science at a graduate level. A heck of a lot of people that would go on to post that infograph on their social media of choice probably couldn't explain why the sky is blue. That's the point I was making.

Which, in my opinion, goes back to a very valid point over this constant dissection of the Bible by secular people: shouldn't you be off curing cancer or something? Is this obsession with trying to be right and smiting ancient scripture really necessary? We need space colonies, energy solutions, medical science breakthroughs and better ways to make use of resources around us. It's almost egotistical with how pointless these exercises are and how damaging it is for a society to constantly be at war with itself.

Your argument would hold water if we didn't have things like this going on all the time

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/528.384367-Louisiana-Voucher-Program-Leads-to-Crazy-Creationist-Classes

Aesmodan:
...I think I know where this is headed ... And here it is (i.e., 'all subjective realities are equal!') ... However where we differ is whether all modes of thought are equal -- and of course they simply are not, because they do not all have equal explanatory power or meaningful application.

Explanatory power is virtually impossible to quantify, and the judgement of such again resides with the individual to whom the evidence is being presented. Again, it's the impossibility of stating that one method of thought is superior to another - it's subjectively based on your, well, your chosen method of thought.
If you were to create certain characteristics whose adherence to better empowers a method of thought, than they might be judged and weight according adherence to those characteristics. Unfortunately, what is taking place is that those of one method are claiming that those of another method are wrong based on the nature of their subscribed method of thought. "Our school says your school is wrong because it doesn't adhere to our school" is the short and skinny of it.
In order to objectively state this, you'd have to adequately argue that one method is superior under any and all context, in all situations and for all things that could possibly be presented. I think we can both agree that's fundamentally impossible?

Aesmodan:
To take your example, "god did it" is not an acceptable explanation for the cure for cancer... I'll go an extra step and say it's border line intellectual irresponsibility, since it declines to try to understand why.

I feel your making an assumption here that isn't entirely fair. You're arguing that those who say "God did it" must always cancel out any investigation of the matter, which is simply false given the documented history of the major branches of science - mathematics, engineering and physics in particular.
While "God did it" may suffice for some people, and be the end of their thoughts on the matter, I feel I need to point out that if someone believes in God, than they must believe that curiosity is a God given "talent", if I can use that word. So, while certainly true for some, it is not true for all. Hence the presence of Scientists who are also Religious.

Seanchaidh:
It's called inductive reasoning. The difference is, there are plenty of reasons to suppose that a cure for cancer will happen... Your example simply does not work for the point that you are trying to make. When we make predictions, they are justified based on prior evidence... It is not a matter of 'faith' that there will be an increase of amusing things posted on the internet on the next April 1st: it is a pattern, though it is quite possible that it wouldn't be true in any given year.

I think perhaps I didn't explain myself properly. I've snipped out some parts there, but not to ignoring them, so I hope the quoted passage still conveys what it is you attempted to convey? I'll amend if necessary.

In any case, I think a dis-service is being made to what inductive reasoning itself actually is. While it has the label of reason, fundamentally it is merely the understanding of how faith is informed thought events both known and experienced. Though we have a different name for it, it doesn't alter that fact that faith is employed - that is, belief without evidence.
Faith has taken on a rather... fantastical meaning, however it is not restricted to the subjects of the immaterial or supernatural. Evidence of past events are, at best, a guide for estimation - educated guessing, as it's referred to. You believe that something will happen based on what you know. However, you don't know - you have faith. Faith in God is informed through intuition - fact of the day: intuitive reasoning and thinking is often the predominant method in the religious.
You're free to disagree with this, as I know you will, however as I mentioned, people weight and judge differently, and apply more weight to certain aspects. For some, the empirical evidence weighs the heaviest. For others, their "gut feeling" overrides it. For a good many, the move between the two based on the situation at hand.

Seanchaidh:
"A false belief or opinion." "Psychiatry. a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact: a paranoid delusion."

I have to ask: did you read the definitions you've quoted, or just grab them and paste without actually digging into them?
A false belief is a belief we know to be false - it would have to be known in order to qualify. Do we know that God does not exist? No, we don't, and so belief in the existence of God is not applicable for the label of "false belief".
The second definition again has some problems - namely, "resistant to reason" and "confrontation with actual fact". The first is subjective, however I'll grant you "agreed reason" would be applied. As I mentioned in my previous post, near 89% of the world identify as religious, so the "agreed reason" would need to support what the majority of people would agree to, otherwise you're allowing the minority to rule the majority.
Confrontation with actual fact falls down instantly - God's non-existence is not a fact.

Seanchaidh:
I'm skeptical that you are using that word correctly.

Perhaps I am, though I'm know sure which word would replace it. In my post, Tacit evidence is merely evidence which is acquired via experience or intuition. If there is a word better than tacit to describe evidence which is difficult if not impossible to accurately reproduce due to it's nature, I'll have to apologise for not knowing it.

Seanchaidh:
Nope. I've chastised you for treating Dawkins' and Aesmodan's statements entirely uncharitably-- as if they are meant to be psychiatric diagnoses.

Unfortunately, the only way to use the word today in it's correct form is as a psychiatric diagnoses. Dawkins in particular uses it to describe the cognitive powers and mental state of the Religious in his book, The God Delusion. That's not only his inferred meaning - inferred if one understands the use of the term "delusional" - it's also his stated position.

Seanchaidh:
I've criticized your example of thinking cancer will be cured for being insufficient to make your point.

Indeed you did. You didn't sufficiently address the issue, either. As I stated above, any belief and, by extension, statement that is made without evidence of that exact belief must require a degree of faith by it's very nature.

Seanchaidh:
I've criticized your reliance on psychiatry...

Actually, I stepped into psychology to explain why it doesn't apply to a belief if God - which contradicts Dawkins position and statements that the religious are "delusional".

Seanchaidh:
It isn't exactly surprising that psychiatrists once treated homosexuality as a disorder, but have since changed their view in response to changing norms in rich countries.

Technically speaking, it does qualify for the term "disorder". As does artistic creativity - especially in new or unproven mediums. The point is that some "disorders" do not require "treatment".

Aesmodan:
...It would be illogical to do this now...

A point often made by by atheists. The issue with this thinking is that it establishes atheism as a hypocritical belief. Atheist requires that these illogical experiments, discoveries and actions be taken in order to establish the methods of thought, knowledge bases and general understanding in order to actually exist.
In turn, the Atheist belief structure then prevents them from occurring due to it's nature.

Aesmodan:
...myth/religion is a 3000 year old model of thought...

To be fair, it's significantly older than that. And atheism as we would identify it is actually a little older than 3,000 years, so if we're discrediting methods of thought due to their age...

Aesmodan:
...(even ignoring your random figure of 89%)...

Actually, this is well documented and is freely available on various sites. A simple Google search should yield it. I believe the exact figure is a fairly round 88.8%, though I can't sustain that.

Aesmodan:
...People have faith for all kinds of non-experiential, cultural/traditional/societal/emotional etc. reasons -- not because they have necessarily had an epiphany...

That's true, however once again I feel you're being unfair. Virtually all of those reasons - though, I believe we can agree that "brainwashing" is responsible for a good many religious people, which I feel you left out - fall back onto their personal experiences. It is not about seeing a burning bush, or the dead rise, or hearing the voice of God. It's usually the more intimate experiences that influence a person's religious beliefs. Ask any religious person what convinced them of God's belief, and they'll have a story of an experience that defines their belief. I'll step out in faith and say that the vast majority would.

Aesmodan:
...(i.e., since lots of people believe in the tooth fairy, that somehow belief in the tooth fairy has some validity).

A common position, that doesn't alter the fact that, generally speaking, this applies to virtually everything we "know".

Aesmodan:
...I don't know of a single Atheist that says they should do your personal thinking for you/on your behalf...

That's precisely what you're saying when you tell people that "skeptical thinking" must always be employed, or that the theist's elected method of thought is incorrect and that atheist's elected method of thought is superior.

Aesmodan:
...we're (at least in my mind) having a no-contest discussion as to whether they can be objectively equal.

None can be considered objectively equal because none can be said to be inferior or superior. The subjective nature of thought itself prevents anything resembling equality. No one is unbiased. No one is fair. The problem is you're attempting to argue that objectivity in personal thought is superior to subjectivity - when it's occurrence is an impossibility.

Aesmodan:
...And this is a lot of double-speak to avoid the simple fact that you can't provide any positive proof for your positive assertion that a god exists.

As I've said a few times now, my statement that God exists is a statement informed from tacit evidence - though, refer to the above, I may be using the wrong word there(?).
The regression here is: the person making the claim must provide evidence for the claim. From my point of view, the evidence is clear because I experienced it. Because I cannot supply that evidence to you, does this prevent me from holding that belief? Of course not. And it shouldn't.
In order to retain objectivity - as much as it can be held - the inverse of this must also apply. If you believe that God does not exist - that is to say, Atheism: the belief that God or Gods do not exist - rather than merely rest on the "there is no proof of God", then you're required to provide evidence to support it.
You'll of course fall back to "one cannot prove a negative", and rightly so, and thus claim that because the evidence cannot be provided, than you're not required to provide it. Which then create an interesting situation: we're both incapable of providing the evidence to support our belief.

AgedGrunt:

Well you don't need to know science at a graduate level. A heck of a lot of people that would go on to post that infograph on their social media of choice probably couldn't explain why the sky is blue. That's the point I was making.

Which, in my opinion, goes back to a very valid point over this constant dissection of the Bible by secular people: shouldn't you be off curing cancer or something? Is this obsession with trying to be right and smiting ancient scripture really necessary? We need space colonies, energy solutions, medical science breakthroughs and better ways to make use of resources around us. It's almost egotistical with how pointless these exercises are and how damaging it is for a society to constantly be at war with itself.

I study for my biomedical science degree when i need to. And when i need to relax i indulge in something that interests me. So do you. It isnt my responsibility to drop ALL things in my life except work and refuse to partake in things that are an interesting use of my time. As it is the best i can do to achieve these things is study. And i do. But i need sleep and rest time as well. And thankfully im balanced enough to be able to do both these things at once.

To be frank thats a pretty shitty point. "HOW COME YOU DO THINGS THAT ARNT INVENTING SOMETIMES?!" doesnt hold any water at all because it takes a lifetime of dedicated work to achieve something like curing cancer and 5 minutes of my spare time to debate the bible online. One doesnt prevent me from doing the other at all in the least.

I mean hell by your logic isnt it egotistical to ever appreciate or make art or monuments? Should we melt down the statue of liberty for copper wire? Refuse to make conversation that isnt work related? Im allowed to enjoy things outside of my work.

The same argument could be used to tell me to wear adult diapers. "Shouldnt you be off curing cancer or something? Why are you taking time to go to the bathroom to take a dump!". Its totally rediculous and assumes im either "obsessed" or do nothing else. This is false. And id go as far to say its false for most people. A passing interest in debating the bible isnt an obsession. Nor does it prevent me from making and working toward those things you want. Im not sure why its not YOUR job to help as well and only mine so im not allowed to enjoy 5 minutes writing a post without being told about my moral responsibility to cure cancer but whatever.

Kaulen Fuhs:
Your argument would hold water if we didn't have things like this going on all the time

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/528.384367-Louisiana-Voucher-Program-Leads-to-Crazy-Creationist-Classes

Define "all the time". It's not all the time nor widespread. It's misleading and it would be wrong imply that religion is out to dominate and replace science in classrooms. Where it happens it should be called out, but it's the exception not the rule.

BiscuitTrouser:
/snip

You're taking what I said far too extremely and honestly weren't fair in your analogies. There are people dedicated and active in critical discourse, devaluing and even litigating when time, energy and resources could be better spent elsewhere. But it's so much more than that. Just recently there was a guest on MSNBC who said that religions were created by men, for men for the purpose of oppressing women. This is a major American news network.

And if you want litigation: http://www.myfoxny.com/story/21865310/ohio-school-says-jesus-portrait-down

A portrait hanging in a school for sixty-six years is targeted for termination under threat of federal lawsuits. The brunt of a chapter of the ACLU would have come down on taxpayers (the publicly-funded school was sued) all because of a picture of a man.

My criticism isn't about the person poking their head in for "five minutes" to toss an opinion out, and thank you for trying to make this about you, but if true then you're not in the group of people who make this a constant issue and take it to harmful levels.

AgedGrunt:

You're taking what I said far too extremely and honestly weren't fair in your analogies. There are people dedicated and active in critical discourse, devaluing and even litigating when time, energy and resources could be better spent elsewhere. But it's so much more than that. Just recently there was a guest on MSNBC who said that religions were created by men, for men for the purpose of oppressing women. This is a major American news network.

And if you want litigation: http://www.myfoxny.com/story/21865310/ohio-school-says-jesus-portrait-down

A portrait hanging in a school for sixty-six years is targeted for termination under threat of federal lawsuits. The brunt of a chapter of the ACLU would have come down on taxpayers (the publicly-funded school was sued) all because of a picture of a man.

My criticism isn't about the person poking their head in for "five minutes" to toss an opinion out, and thank you for trying to make this about you, but if true then you're not in the group of people who make this a constant issue and take it to harmful levels.

In your post you said the following things:

"over this constant dissection of the Bible by secular people"

This is a group im part of. I am part of secular people. You didnt say "Some very vocal" or "Some people who do nothing else" you just "Secular people". If i said "Religious people just bash atheists and dont do anything valuable with their time" its not obvious i mean only the theologians who dedicate their lives to writing about atheism and religion. Its a pretty important distinction and not one i can be assumed to make. When you followed up with this:

"Is this obsession with trying to be right and smiting ancient scripture really necessary?"

Which, when i read it, assigned obsession to the previously mentioned large group. Thats why i become rather defensive. You DID write about me since you blanketed a group im in.

As for the oppressive religion comment, why is this a problem? Thats an opinion, one i dont agree with but its just an opinion? That doesnt indicate obsession or time wasting or anything and its allowed on national TV because it was a guest invited to specifically speak an opinion. You need to expand on that because i dont understand the reason for outrage. Someone who doesnt like religion was allowed to speak on TV? Why shouldnt that have happened?

Something i like to keep in mind is, if youve ever spent time looking at a meme picture or a lolcat you dont really get to tell people to focus on the important things. The interview is just someone talking about an opinion on TV and you seem to be upset because that opinion offends you and is reaching a wide audience at the same time. So? Thats free speech and as long as it wasnt dictated as fact i dont have a problem with it. I mean hell Dawkins managed to write a tonne of literature on evolution whilst still being critical of religion professionally (he made money off of it) so even those who DO dedicate large amounts of time to debating an issue can also get other productive things done.

However in regards to removing pictures and iconography i agree with you. Action is important. Words are not as long as the fact its an opinion is clear.

Zeh Don:

Aesmodan:
...I think I know where this is headed ... And here it is (i.e., 'all subjective realities are equal!') ... However where we differ is whether all modes of thought are equal -- and of course they simply are not, because they do not all have equal explanatory power or meaningful application.

Explanatory power is virtually impossible to quantify,

...Only to or for someone that is scientifically illiterate. But that's fine, because your position on that is:

Zeh Don:
Unfortunately, what is taking place is that those of one method are claiming that those of another method are wrong based on the nature of their subscribed method of thought. "Our school says your school is wrong because it doesn't adhere to our school" is the short and skinny of it.

Interestingly, everything you've said there was already answered by your next quote of me:

Aesmodan:
To take your example, "god did it" is not an acceptable explanation for the cure for cancer... I'll go an extra step and say it's border line intellectual irresponsibility, since it declines to try to understand why.

So I'll leave that there, and come back to it in a bit.

Zeh Don:
I feel your making an assumption here that isn't entirely fair. You're arguing that those who say "God did it" must always cancel out any investigation of the matter, which is simply false given the documented history of the major branches of science - mathematics, engineering and physics in particular.
While "God did it" may suffice for some people, and be the end of their thoughts on the matter, I feel I need to point out that if someone believes in God, than they must believe that curiosity is a God given "talent", if I can use that word. Hence the presence of Scientists who are also Religious.

I see your point here, but this isn't what mine was and I think you know that (for many religious folks, "god did it" is the end of the conversation, as you well know). But to your point, this is actually what I brought up when I first responded: 'should the science of religious scientists be trusted?'

I was stating "no", and I already stated why.

Zeh Don:
Faith in God is informed through intuition - fact of the day: intuitive reasoning and thinking is often the predominant method in the religious.

--

Zeh Don:
That's true, however once again I feel you're being unfair. Virtually all of those reasons - though, I believe we can agree that "brainwashing" is responsible for a good many religious people, which I feel you left out - fall back onto their personal experiences. It is not about seeing a burning bush, or the dead rise, or hearing the voice of God. It's usually the more intimate experiences that influence a person's religious beliefs. Ask any religious person what convinced them of God's belief, and they'll have a story of an experience that defines their belief. I'll step out in faith and say that the vast majority would.

But again, you have no "evidence" to suggest any such thing -- this is just your opinion and impression, nothing more (certainly not "facts" by any definition of that word).

Here we have another nutshell of the conversation: religious folks often mistake their subjective, evidence-less opinions as "fact" (when what you mean by "fact" is 'what is real to you'). This honestly isn't at issue, so what we disagree on is what a "fact" is, and what is objectively admissible as "evidence".

This is usually where such conversations lead, but I should reiterate that I have no qualms with your statement that "from [your] point of view, the evidence is clear because [you] experienced it." Again, fair enough.

Zeh Don:
A false belief is a belief we know to be false - it would have to be known in order to qualify. Do we know that God does not exist? No, we don't, and so belief in the existence of God is not applicable for the label of "false belief"...Confrontation with actual fact falls down instantly - God's non-existence is not a fact.

--

Zeh Don:

Seanchaidh:
I've criticized your example of thinking cancer will be cured for being insufficient to make your point.

Indeed you did. You didn't sufficiently address the issue, either. As I stated above, any belief and, by extension, statement that is made without evidence of that exact belief must require a degree of faith by it's very nature.

--

Zeh Don:

Aesmodan:
...(i.e., since lots of people believe in the tooth fairy, that somehow belief in the tooth fairy has some validity).

A common position, that doesn't alter the fact that, generally speaking, this applies to virtually everything we "know".

--

Zeh Don:
In order to objectively state this, you'd have to adequately argue that one method is superior under any and all context, in all situations and for all things that could possibly be presented. I think we can both agree that's fundamentally impossible?

Nope, we can't -- I'll attempt to explain why:

The scientific method is superior because it has 'greater explanatory power and more meaningful application'. You've asked in response how that can be, and that only indicates you're not familiar with what the scientific method entails.

Hypotheses are based on experimentation and empirical observation. If I drop an egg off the top of my house, I expect that it will fall to the Earth at a particular speed, taking a particular time to span that distance, and will splatter when it hits the ground. If I do this 10 times and observe the results, I can be reasonably certain what will happen the 11th time.

If I then tell my buddy Seanchaidh about my experiments and what the results were, he can recreate the experiment with identical conditions and then see whether the data I have supplied is similar to that he collects under the same circumstances. When we compare our data, he can see whether my data is anomalous, strange, indicating something interesting he didn't notice, or whether I'm a crackpot that was inventing data.

Importantly, science is a self-correcting and self-policing profession. If something unusual happens in that 11th drop, that data is not ignored: instead it is scrutinized to determine why that experiment produced unusual data, and where necessary our laws are updated to account for the new observations. So calling it mere "faith" that the egg will splatter when it is dropped from my house an 11th time is more than quite unreasonable -- I would call that epistemological nihilism (not the first time I've heard this argument from religious folks, not the last, but it's really untenable and almost anti-intellectual).

Now suppose Sean and I are molecular biologists, and we're working on cancer. All the data on all the studies in all the world that have been done on cancer tells us we are close to being able to cure certain types of cancer indeed (did you bother looking at the link I supplied on this?) This statement, that we are close to a cure, is therefore unequivocally not faith: it is rather an observation of the known facts and all the advances and errors of prior experiments. It is knowledge of what works, what doesn't work, and therefore what could work and should be tried -- it is essentially an educated hypothesis based on knowledge of the empirical evidence of one's profession.

Now -- take faith, which has no mechanism for advancing itself, no ability to predict what will happen in the future, and provides no means of explaining why the universe is the way it is. You mention it's actually based on subjective reason, but really it involves ignoring reason, insofar as it advocates fantastic explanations for things where they aren't needed and where they fly in the face of common sense -- and which science can explain in mundane terms. A religious scientist needs to ignore his own observed experience: no credible geologist can claim the Earth is merely 6000 years old, and a religious scientist that would take this position, to reconcile his faith, is rightly dismissed as not credible.

Comparing the two modes of thought, it's not hard to see why they are not equal and never can be. Your statements quoted above as preface to these paragraphs outline that you don't comprehend how one can arrive at the position that dropping the egg the 11th time is unlikely to result in it growing into a camel on impact. Yet you insist that 1. I prove that can't happen, and 2. that because I won't waste my time in a classical logical fallacy of your construct, that our schools of thought are somehow on the same level. This is nonsense.

Perhaps this brief text will help you realize why it is not reasonable to expect anyone to prove why it won't turn into a camel (for that matter, why not a dragon? Nessie from the Loch?) The 20 experiments we conducted in the course of this dialogue have the predictive power to propose that in fact a camel is unlikely to ever appear.

I agree that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. But oodles of evidence accumulated over centuries is a pretty powerful predictor that suggests that spontaneous camelism is highly unlikely to be observed anytime soon.

It is this mode of reason that is applied to the case for god. Ain't no concrete or verifiable evidence, never has been any evidence, unlikely to be any evidence anytime soon. This is pretty telling...

Zeh Don:
As I mentioned in my previous post, near 89% of the world identify as religious, so the "agreed reason" would need to support what the majority of people would agree to, otherwise you're allowing the minority to rule the majority.

Just pointing out that you keep returning (at least twice in this last post) to the argument and assumption that there is some kind of inherent worth or value in the collective belief of the masses. There isn't.

A recent poll of people in the US indicated that 89% of people believe we've been visited by aliens at some point in our history. Would you put this statement on equal footing as the existence of god? (identical argument).

Zeh Don:
To be fair, it's significantly older than that. And atheism as we would identify it is actually a little older than 3,000 years, so if we're discrediting methods of thought due to their age...

Yup (you snipped the part where I called 3000 YBP 'a round and facetious number').

Zeh Don:
That's precisely what you're saying when you tell people that "skeptical thinking" must always be employed, or that the theist's elected method of thought is incorrect and that atheist's elected method of thought is superior.

(You should probably listen when people are telling you what they are saying, instead of trying to tell them what they are trying to say :)

I don't think you could produce a quote from anyone in this convo that said "skeptical thinking" must always be employed" -- in fact I've said several times that your frame of thought is your choice and your business, but that simply, not all frames of thought are equal indeed. (See, you quoted me to this effect below!)

Aesmodan:
...we're (at least in my mind) having a no-contest discussion as to whether they can be objectively equal.

Hmmm...

Zeh Don:
If you believe that God does not exist - that is to say, Atheism: the belief that God or Gods do not exist - rather than merely rest on the "there is no proof of God", then you're required to provide evidence to support it. You'll of course fall back to "one cannot prove a negative", and rightly so, and thus claim that because the evidence cannot be provided, than you're not required to provide it. Which then create an interesting situation: we're both incapable of providing the evidence to support our belief.

But I can point to my 20 experiments and 20 splattered eggs, and in return you point to... what exactly?

(A book that says the Earth was created before the Sun?)

Cheers,
-Aes

AgedGrunt:

Kaulen Fuhs:
Your argument would hold water if we didn't have things like this going on all the time

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/528.384367-Louisiana-Voucher-Program-Leads-to-Crazy-Creationist-Classes

Define "all the time". It's not all the time nor widespread. It's misleading and it would be wrong imply that religion is out to dominate and replace science in classrooms. Where it happens it should be called out, but it's the exception not the rule.

BiscuitTrouser:
/snip

You're taking what I said far too extremely and honestly weren't fair in your analogies. There are people dedicated and active in critical discourse, devaluing and even litigating when time, energy and resources could be better spent elsewhere. But it's so much more than that. Just recently there was a guest on MSNBC who said that religions were created by men, for men for the purpose of oppressing women. This is a major American news network.

And if you want litigation: http://www.myfoxny.com/story/21865310/ohio-school-says-jesus-portrait-down

A portrait hanging in a school for sixty-six years is targeted for termination under threat of federal lawsuits. The brunt of a chapter of the ACLU would have come down on taxpayers (the publicly-funded school was sued) all because of a picture of a man.

My criticism isn't about the person poking their head in for "five minutes" to toss an opinion out, and thank you for trying to make this about you, but if true then you're not in the group of people who make this a constant issue and take it to harmful levels.

When I say all the time, I mean constantly, not pervasive. We've had this kind of thing happening consistently for the last hundred years, even more so in the last fifty or so. Furthermore, I consider religious indocrination of children reason enough to speak out against it. If people weren't vocal about this issue, I myself might never have had the opportunity to question my beliefs and free myself from them.

Edit: Also should have mentioned; I don't care if people want to be moderately religious. Whatever, fine. But the fundamentalists are the ones with political clout and power to inflict change on the rest of us, and those are the people the "anti-religion" crowd was created for.

BiscuitTrouser:
This is a group im part of. I am part of secular people.

So it was implied in context that it was only a part of secular people that constantly engage in this activity on a critical, sometimes harmful basis. Wasn't intended to be about all secular people.

BiscuitTrouser:
As for the oppressive religion comment, why is this a problem? Thats an opinion, one i dont agree with but its just an opinion?

While it may be free speech, are you aware of what hate speech is? Decorum? Ethics? Sexism? Bigotry? We go through this constantly on the Escapist and people get banned for it. People can lose their jobs over slip-ups. It was broadcast into thousands of homes with no one on the program to even challenge her apparently expert analysis.

I find it a bit strange that an evidently blanket statement about secular people became so offensive, yet when it came to religion (and men) vilified on a national news network you're suddenly all about free speech and defending critical "opinion".

AgedGrunt:

While it may be free speech, are you aware of what hate speech is? Decorum? Ethics? Sexism? Bigotry? We go through this constantly on the Escapist and people get banned for it. People can lose their jobs over slip-ups. It was broadcast into thousands of homes with no one on the program to even challenge her apparently expert analysis.

I find it a bit strange that an evidently blanket statement about secular people became so offensive, yet when it came to religion (and men) vilified on a national news network you're suddenly all about free speech and defending critical "opinion".

You have every right to be offended by that opinion too! I was offended by what you said but its fine that you said it, this thread asked your opinion and you gave it then i gave mine, youre WELL within your rights to offend me. Just because im offended sometimes doesnt mean i dont value free speech and critical opinion because i know things that offend me have a right to exist to whatever audience that person can reach. Only when i decide my offence is super important is it an issue. And its not. Ill talk passionately when im offended. But at the end of the day it doesnt matter.

The TV station asked for that womans opinion and she gave it. In fact she was paid to i imagine for that interview. It was her job. So its not like running our mouth off at work since talking about that opinion WAS her job and it was asked for. If she was declared to be an expert thats an issue since id imagine it was false but if it was true its important to remain unbias in the news when presenting an opinion. And yeah the escapist doesnt allow total free speech. Its a consequence of total anonymity on the internet. Its not particularly consistent with real life but its what we have and we make do.

The second isnt a correct analogy. Saying "Religion was invented by someone looking to control women" to be frank isnt that much of a hateful opinion since youre not talking about people youre talking about the concept. If they said "All religious people are religious to control others and seek to control others" thats the same and youre allowed to feel offended by that too. As crazy as this may sound atheists dont believe religions are true. Ergo it MUST have been invented in our opinions for one of the following reasons:

Money from taxes and church earnings
Power over others
Hearing god when they actually didnt
Wanting to give others a moral code they support by lying to them

Or else we wouldnt be atheists. Thats the definition of believing a religion is false. I mean hell if youre christian you must think thor was created by someone for some reason from the above list or one i didnt mention. However the creation of a thing doesnt colour that thing entirely or the people following it so i dont think "Religion X was created to oppress people" is a blanket statement since the people who follow it now blatantly dont hold that view, its a statement only on the things creator and the intent with which it was created, not what it is used for today. Things have been created with malicious intent and become useful in the hands of peaceful people and visa versa. The people who founded America as a nation kept slaves and the pioneers moved to form an extremely religious exclusive society. That doesnt have anything to do with modern Americans though. Go figure.

Zeh Don:
In any case, I think a dis-service is being made to what inductive reasoning itself actually is. While it has the label of reason, fundamentally it is merely the understanding of how faith is informed thought events both known and experienced. Though we have a different name for it, it doesn't alter that fact that faith is employed - that is, belief without evidence.

Nope. Confidence is not the same thing as faith, and "evidence" is not equal to a sound and incontrovertible deductive proof. Induction is how we use evidence to come to conclusions. Just because these conclusions may not be certain does not mean they lack evidence. God, however, does lack evidence.

Zeh Don:

Seanchaidh:
"A false belief or opinion." "Psychiatry. a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact: a paranoid delusion."

I have to ask: did you read the definitions you've quoted, or just grab them and paste without actually digging into them?
A false belief is a belief we know to be false - it would have to be known in order to qualify. Do we know that God does not exist? No, we don't, and so belief in the existence of God is not applicable for the label of "false belief".
The second definition again has some problems - namely, "resistant to reason" and "confrontation with actual fact". The first is subjective, however I'll grant you "agreed reason" would be applied. As I mentioned in my previous post, near 89% of the world identify as religious, so the "agreed reason" would need to support what the majority of people would agree to, otherwise you're allowing the minority to rule the majority.
Confrontation with actual fact falls down instantly - God's non-existence is not a fact.

Facts don't change merely because we do not recognize them. Facts needn't be known. To be a fact requires correspondence with reality. So the non-existence of God is probably a fact. But that needn't matter: the belief is often highly resistant to reason-- and the operand being used is "or".

Similarly, a belief is false (or true) whether we know it or we don't know it. A belief we know to be false is a belief we know to be false: "false belief" is not simply shorthand for that longer phrase, it means something substantially different. A false belief is a belief that is not true-- it doesn't matter whether anyone recognizes that it is not true.

The phrase "otherwise you're allowing the minority to rule the majority" is puzzling. Is psychiatry about ruling people now? In any case, "we're not delusional, we all agree with each other and there are more of us!" is hardly the best case to be made... and I really don't see at all how such a case would address Dawkins' arguments. It is a pointless nit-pick that refutes nothing of the case he is making.

Zeh Don:

Seanchaidh:
I'm skeptical that you are using that word correctly.

Perhaps I am, though I'm know sure which word would replace it. In my post, Tacit evidence is merely evidence which is acquired via experience or intuition. If there is a word better than tacit to describe evidence which is difficult if not impossible to accurately reproduce due to it's nature, I'll have to apologise for not knowing it.

Empirical evidence is acquired by experience. Experiment is a form of experience. So tacit evidence, according to you, is... what? This "tacit evidence" seems to make even less sense with that explanation.

Zeh Don:

Seanchaidh:
Nope. I've chastised you for treating Dawkins' and Aesmodan's statements entirely uncharitably-- as if they are meant to be psychiatric diagnoses.

Unfortunately, the only way to use the word today in it's correct form is as a psychiatric diagnoses.

Says who?

I turned to religion to discover why the world is the way it is. I found the answer after several months of diligent study into teachings and prophecies and how they motivate current events. However, the answer is a future darker than anyone can imagine. Still worse, it is a future no one can avoid. I became extremely depressed and thought about suicide. I saved myself after coming to a realization. If there is a God, then to know anything about God is to know forbidden knowledge, and to know forbidden knowledge is to invite madness. The forbidden knowledge driving the world today is the belief of mere humans knowing what God wants for the world. I then removed the door to this and similar types of thinking from my mind. God, religion, theist, atheist, agnostic, and similar words have no meaning for me. Beyond telling my story, I simply do not perceive them.

I do not believe atheism and other counter groups are the answer to theism. For those counter groups were created in response to theism, and thus have connection to theism's forbidden knowledge. Madness will follow in their footsteps because of this connection. It can be seen already in movements like militant atheism.

I believe religion, like some technology, evolved too fast for the primitive parts of the human mind to keep pace, and the sync error is causing more harm than good. I do not know if humans will ever be ready for organized religion. I do not know if humans will ever be ready to know God on an exclusively individual relationship. I believe the most God can reasonably do for anyone is to be the quiet voice in the mind saying take care of yourself, do the best you can, and come what may, you are always in good hands. However, to know who or what is telling you these things is to know too much. Therefore, do not let worry dwell in your mind. Instead, make life a little better for you and those around you.

Jdb:
I turned to religion to discover why the world is the way it is. I found the answer after several months of diligent study into teachings and prophecies and how they motivate current events. However, the answer is a future darker than anyone can imagine. Still worse, it is a future no one can avoid. I became extremely depressed and thought about suicide. I saved myself after coming to a realization. If there is a God, then to know anything about God is to know forbidden knowledge, and to know forbidden knowledge is to invite madness. The forbidden knowledge driving the world today is the belief of mere humans knowing what God wants for the world. I then removed the door to this and similar types of thinking from my mind. God, religion, theist, atheist, agnostic, and similar words have no meaning for me. Beyond telling my story, I simply do not perceive them.

I do not believe atheism and other counter groups are the answer to theism. For those counter groups were created in response to theism, and thus have connection to theism's forbidden knowledge. Madness will follow in their footsteps because of this connection. It can be seen already in movements like militant atheism.

I believe religion, like some technology, evolved too fast for the primitive parts of the human mind to keep pace, and the sync error is causing more harm than good. I do not know if humans will ever be ready for organized religion. I do not know if humans will ever be ready to know God on an exclusively individual relationship. I believe the most God can reasonably do for anyone is to be the quiet voice in the mind saying take care of yourself, do the best you can, and come what may, you are always in good hands. However, to know who or what is telling you these things is to know too much. Therefore, do not let worry dwell in your mind. Instead, make life a little better for you and those around you.

Everybody run, it's zombie H.P. Lovecraft!

No but seriously, I now read that three times and I'm still not sure I understand the post. Would you mind to elaborate on that dystopian future scenario a bit?

Quaxar:

Jdb:
I turned to religion to discover why the world is the way it is. I found the answer after several months of diligent study into teachings and prophecies and how they motivate current events. However, the answer is a future darker than anyone can imagine. Still worse, it is a future no one can avoid. I became extremely depressed and thought about suicide. I saved myself after coming to a realization. If there is a God, then to know anything about God is to know forbidden knowledge, and to know forbidden knowledge is to invite madness. The forbidden knowledge driving the world today is the belief of mere humans knowing what God wants for the world. I then removed the door to this and similar types of thinking from my mind. God, religion, theist, atheist, agnostic, and similar words have no meaning for me. Beyond telling my story, I simply do not perceive them.

I do not believe atheism and other counter groups are the answer to theism. For those counter groups were created in response to theism, and thus have connection to theism's forbidden knowledge. Madness will follow in their footsteps because of this connection. It can be seen already in movements like militant atheism.

I believe religion, like some technology, evolved too fast for the primitive parts of the human mind to keep pace, and the sync error is causing more harm than good. I do not know if humans will ever be ready for organized religion. I do not know if humans will ever be ready to know God on an exclusively individual relationship. I believe the most God can reasonably do for anyone is to be the quiet voice in the mind saying take care of yourself, do the best you can, and come what may, you are always in good hands. However, to know who or what is telling you these things is to know too much. Therefore, do not let worry dwell in your mind. Instead, make life a little better for you and those around you.

Everybody run, it's zombie H.P. Lovecraft!

No but seriously, I now read that three times and I'm still not sure I understand the post. Would you mind to elaborate on that dystopian future scenario a bit?

I don't think he can... Lest he invite the madness in. Maybe even thinking about that post was too much.

I am an atheist, even I can't stand some of the atheist out there, always trying to disprove or get into fight with other religious people.

Tom Waits' hat:
I am an atheist, even I can't stand some of the atheist out there, always trying to disprove or get into fight with other religious people.

'other religious people'. I'm going to guess you don't quite get what atheism is given that it itself is not a religion and the ones liable to argue are probably irreligious.

Outside of the internet (and everyone's an asshole on the internet, myself included)I've never really encountered any 'atheist arrogance'. I've never had an atheist come up to me and try to convert me or anything. I have, however, had Christians chastise and condemn me for being the "wrong kind" of christian.

Quaxar:

Everybody run, it's zombie H.P. Lovecraft!

No but seriously, I now read that three times and I'm still not sure I understand the post. Would you mind to elaborate on that dystopian future scenario a bit?

Basically, "More death for the death god!" Warhammer 40k fans use this phrase to amuse themselves when talking about Warhammer, but I assure you it's very real. It reached a critical mass less than one hundred years ago with the Bolshevik Revolution and the resulting ideological and political overhauls.

This dark future is another critical mass of "More death for the death god!" Only this time, its methods are much slower, more covert, and more deceptive, so that it might sustain to the point where it engulfs the entire world indefinitely, and the average person would be too ignorant or too distracted to care about what's really happening around them. In addition, anyone who would want to fight against this is easily labeled as the real enemy. In example, "Why would you react like this to such a small measure that's only here to protect you? Why do you want our enemies to infiltrate and destroy us? Why do you hate this civilization? Do you know who else hates this civilization? The enemy!"

Why am I arrogant? Because the idea of God disgusts me. I see symbols to god EVERYWHERE and it makes me MAD. You can't help but to feel your better than religious people. When you see a random guy talking to them self on the street, you think "ah, mental disorder". I almost think the same thing when I see or hear people pray. I could site other examples, but I'm arrogant because I'm pissed off.

mattttherman3:
Why am I arrogant? Because the idea of God disgusts me. I see symbols to god EVERYWHERE and it makes me MAD. You can't help but to feel your better than religious people. When you see a random guy talking to them self on the street, you think "ah, mental disorder". I almost think the same thing when I see or hear people pray. I could site other examples, but I'm arrogant because I'm pissed off.

Would it not make more since to explain why the idea of God is terrible to those you come across than to waste energy being angry?

A bit off topic. But as a pagan, I find that the Hebrew god has been very much over-hyped since the days of Constantine. I'll admit he got a good idea for uniting the people but things got very wrong somewhere. Especially since the Orthodox church was at least into the middle ages very much pacifist. If the papacy hadn't abused its power then we would never have gotten into this mess.

Turning a religion centered about helping the less fortunate in society and not doing harm into a political movement about "holy war" and hatred of anything foreign and different. It boggles my mind.

On topic: yeah atheists can be a bit arrogant and even hostile at times. But it isn't the atheists who wants to burn me on a stake, hound me for my fucked up body, or raise an angry mob for my preferences. Militant atheists doesn't exist unless they are also part of an extreme political movement as well. Militant abrahemites on the other hand, turns their religion into said extreme political movement when they see fit.

Shadowstar38:

mattttherman3:
Why am I arrogant? Because the idea of God disgusts me. I see symbols to god EVERYWHERE and it makes me MAD. You can't help but to feel your better than religious people. When you see a random guy talking to them self on the street, you think "ah, mental disorder". I almost think the same thing when I see or hear people pray. I could site other examples, but I'm arrogant because I'm pissed off.

Would it not make more since to explain why the idea of God is terrible to those you come across than to waste energy being angry?

The answer to that is to simply read the bible

mattttherman3:

Shadowstar38:

mattttherman3:
Why am I arrogant? Because the idea of God disgusts me. I see symbols to god EVERYWHERE and it makes me MAD. You can't help but to feel your better than religious people. When you see a random guy talking to them self on the street, you think "ah, mental disorder". I almost think the same thing when I see or hear people pray. I could site other examples, but I'm arrogant because I'm pissed off.

Would it not make more since to explain why the idea of God is terrible to those you come across than to waste energy being angry?

The answer to that is to simply read the bible

I'll have to agree. At least the philosophical parts of the enlightment have their origins in people actually reading the bible, comparing it to the words of the preachers and generally going "WTF?".

Uhm, american christians.. You are supposed to be humble, pacifist and support the oppressed. It's in that book of yours, try focus on what your prophet said ok? >.<

Angelowl:

mattttherman3:

Shadowstar38:

Would it not make more since to explain why the idea of God is terrible to those you come across than to waste energy being angry?

The answer to that is to simply read the bible

I'll have to agree. At least the philosophical parts of the enlightment have their origins in people actually reading the bible, comparing it to the words of the preachers and generally going "WTF?".

Uhm, american christians.. You are supposed to be humble, pacifist and support the oppressed. It's in that book of yours, try focus on what your prophet said ok? >.<

I was referring to the parts where god commits genocide, demands sacrifices, approves of rape and slavery.

mattttherman3:

Angelowl:

mattttherman3:
The answer to that is to simply read the bible

I'll have to agree. At least the philosophical parts of the enlightment have their origins in people actually reading the bible, comparing it to the words of the preachers and generally going "WTF?".

Uhm, american christians.. You are supposed to be humble, pacifist and support the oppressed. It's in that book of yours, try focus on what your prophet said ok? >.<

I was referring to the parts where god commits genocide, demands sacrifices, approves of rape and slavery.

And I complemented you, ain't I great? ;)

The reason I didn't write about that part is that it's pretty damn obvious, and that I'm from Sweden. Historically a lutheran country, talk about the old testament in a serious manner and people think you are nuts.

That part that fits a lot of the dieties of that era. Especially war gods, which Yaweh probably was from the beginning (still weak to iron chariots though). Trying to apply that to an all-powerful monotheistic deity that is supposedly all-benovelent as well... It quickly sprirals down to self-parody.

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