Pages

Jump to bottom

28 comments

1 team_fukit  Sun, Dec 15, 2013 2:19:07pm

It really irks me when people try to say William Lane Craig is an intellectual

2 JustMark  Sun, Dec 15, 2013 2:25:30pm

It’s true, because I believe it’s true… um, ok.

3 cat-tikvah  Sun, Dec 15, 2013 2:31:34pm

Uh, what about us non-atheists who just don’t believe in Jesus? Oh, wait…because BIBLE!

4 cat-tikvah  Sun, Dec 15, 2013 2:34:10pm

I tend to agree with Vincent Bugliosi’s conclusion in his book Divinity of Doubt, where he looks for objective proof — essentially, it comes down to “I don’t know, and you don’t either”.

5 philosophus invidius  Sun, Dec 15, 2013 4:01:24pm

“A Christmas Gift for Atheists”? I’m not sure that they understand the concept of gift giving.

6 SpikeDad  Sun, Dec 15, 2013 4:06:51pm

Bugliosi’s conclusion is horseshit. Because he doesn’t know the case is closed? You want a deity, you provide the proof or even the tinyist bit of evidence. The case for a deity is not 50/50. The evidence against it is overwhelming, the evidence for is non-existent.

The reason why human’s believe in gods is being well defined by science. It’s a result of an overactive pattern matching system which has developed due to evolutionary pressures. Humans that perceive danger in patterns survived. This causes humans to see patterns in lots of situations where it doesn’t exist. This is called intentionality.

So, no evidence of deity but plenty of evidence that deity believe is a byproduct of an evolutionary process.

I repeat, Bugliosi’s conclusion is horseshit.

7 StephenMeansMe  Sun, Dec 15, 2013 4:25:55pm

I’m sure there are plenty of Christians who also believe Christmas as it’s practiced here in the U.S. is a “sham,” considering how much of it isn’t really Christian at all. Case in point: the decidedly not-majority-Christian Japanese celebrate Christmas more or less the same way (lights, gift giving, etc.).

8 CuriousLurker  Sun, Dec 15, 2013 5:50:48pm

I think this guy’s argument is absurd.

Religion is about faith, which by its very definition doesn’t require empirical proof as a prerequisite for belief.

Atheism, coming form the opposite end of the spectrum, invariably cites scientific evidence as proof that no deity exists.

To try to use one to prove/disprove the other is pure folly, IMO.

Let’s say my favorite color is cobalt blue. I can assert that it’s the most beautiful color in existence and no other can possibly come close to approaching its magnificence. This is categorically true in my mind, in my (internal) world.

Can I scientifically prove that it’s objectively the Most Sublime Color™? No, of course not. I can make a case for why I think it’s the best. I can try to convince you that it is by dressing up my reasons using science. I can even provide people who agree with me & will swear under oath that we’re telling the truth, but that constitutes neither objectivity nor empirical proof, does it?

Likewise, the lack of scientific evidence showing that cobalt blue is the Most Sublime Color™, or the fact that scientists might be able to provide an evolutionary basis for why humans have a preference for the color blue, isn’t going to change my feelings about it one whit.

Now, someone might say the above is a false analogy since the existence of the hue we call cobalt blue isn’t in dispute, but to that I would ask—are you sure? Isn’t the perception of color dependent our human biology? Does cobalt blue, as we perceive it, exist for other creatures? There are wavelengths of light that we’ve designated “blue”, but are they really blue? What does “blue” even mean if taken out of the context of our (subjective) human experience…?

Gah, okay, now I’m getting all tangled up in my own thoughts. Why does science always seem to raise more questions than it answers?? //

Anyway, my point is/was that I’m never going to try to convince atheist that God exists. You don’t believe? *shrugs* Fine, no skin off my back. Don’t get up in my face snarling about Bronze Age fairy tales & the opium of the masses, and I won’t get in yours and start screaming at you about being a kafir and trying to metaphorically shove my Qur’an down your throat.

9 People For The Ethical Treatment Of Sarah Palin  Sun, Dec 15, 2013 6:34:14pm

I’m an Atheist and I love Christmas! I never associated it much with Jesus anyways.
I know that these days, that may sound bad, because the Fundamentalists have convinced themselves and many others that we have all always been creationist fundies.
When I was growing up, most Christians I knew were Main line. They never talked about their religion, it was personal, and they certainly did not believe in Creationism.
They were good people, and no less moral than the loud mouth born again cult that has risen in recent years. And when it came to Christmas, you know what most of them thought about? Santa, family, presents, fellow man, and celebration!

I don’t have any issues with any ones religious beliefs, but most of these people have a problem with mine.

10 CuriousLurker  Sun, Dec 15, 2013 6:38:46pm

re: #9 People For The Ethical Treatment Of Sarah Palin

Same here. When I was growing up our Christmas was largely secular and creationism was relegated to Sunday School (something we only attended briefly).

11 StephenMeansMe  Sun, Dec 15, 2013 8:18:47pm

re: #8 CuriousLurker

Atheism, coming form the opposite end of the spectrum, invariably cites scientific evidence as proof that no deity exists.

Only if the atheist wants to sound like an asshat. ^_^ “No deities exist” is a huge claim, probably unprovable.

That’s why I try to just react to religious claims (like “creationism should be taught in schools” and “atheists can’t really say that rape and murder are immoral”—-actual quote from William Lane Craig), not get in people’s faces as soon as they say “I’m a [religious person].”

12 cat-tikvah  Sun, Dec 15, 2013 8:29:08pm

“Anyway, my point is/was that I’m never going to try to convince atheist that God exists. You don’t believe? *shrugs* Fine, no skin off my back. Don’t get up in my face snarling about Bronze Age fairy tales & the opium of the masses, and I won’t get in yours and start screaming at you about being a kafir and trying to metaphorically shove my Qur’an down your throat.”

CL, thank you for your post. You were far more eloquent, articulate, and kind than I wanted to be after being sneered at and demeaned.

Seeing as there is no single definitive human vision of divinity, or the Divine, and seeing as theocracy is a form of government to be avoided, there is surely room for people with differing beliefs, including non-belief, to manage to get along.

13 CuriousLurker  Sun, Dec 15, 2013 9:48:35pm

re: #11 StephenMeansMe

Only if the atheist wants to sound like an asshat. ^_^ “No deities exist” is a >huge claim, probably unprovable.

Yeah, I probably should’ve been more accurate and said something along the lines of, “Atheism … invariably cites the lack of scientific evidence to support the existence of a deity.”

I stay away from the “atheists can’t prove God doesn’t exist” because it’ll just turn into an argument about burden of proof, Russell’s teapot, Occam’s razor, etc.

I can’t prove the existence of God. I don’t need to—it’s belief. By the same token, atheists cannot prove that the world would be better off without belief in a deity—they can assert it, they can infer it based on deductive reasoning, they can believe it, but AFAIK they cannot provide empirical evidence for it.

This is doubly true if, as someone said up-thread, there is scientific evidence that belief in a deity is a byproduct of the evolutionary process—that would mean we ‘re biologically hard-wired for it, therefore there’s no time in history we can point to and say categorically, “There was no deity belief in society X in the year X, and they were clearly much better off for it.”

So I’m back to where I started: No amount of believing on my part is going to make atheism go away, just as no amount of rational argument on atheists’ part is going to make religious belief go away—at least not in the lifetime of anyone reading this blog right now—so we need to learn to coexist peacefully.

14 cinesimon  Mon, Dec 16, 2013 4:43:55am

re: #6 SpikeDad

In other words, you haven’t bothered to read his book before declaring that he’s full of horse shit.
Classy.

15 cinesimon  Mon, Dec 16, 2013 4:48:22am

re: #13 CuriousLurker

I wonder if you intentionally try not to understand the concern most atheists have about religion and religious rules in the public square, or if you just haven’t thought about it?
Snarling in your face?
Fucking hell. Yeah that’s really the issue.

16 Stoatly  Mon, Dec 16, 2013 5:30:31am

re: #13 CuriousLurker

atheists cannot prove that the world would be better off without belief in a deity—they can assert it, they can infer it based on deductive reasoning, they can believe it, but AFAIK they cannot provide empirical evidence for it.

Maybe I’m inferring something you don’t intend - but it sounds like you’re saying all atheists hold that all the troubles of the world come from religious belief and that is why they are atheist (a sort of mirror to believing that all the worlds ills can be countered by faith in religion X).

I can only speak from my own perspective - there is no church of atheism, no holy book (the Origin of Species does not disprove God) and no priesthood (I have asked on many occasions for examples of “militant atheists” the list usually starts and ends with Richard Dawkins, many others do exist, of course, like Ayn Rand, but oddly never get listed)

I would describe myself as agnostic, since I’m not arrogant enough to think I know that there can be no Higher Power, or recognise it if I saw it’s workings (and the little I know of science suggests the limits of our present knowledge)

But I would also describe myself as “atheist” in that I cannot believe in any of the existing Gods regardless of the benefits of their existence - it’s not that I don’t want them to exist (Jesus seems a nice enough chap, and eternal life seems better than the alternative) it’s that they don’t seem to fit how the world actually works (either human nature or physical reality) plus they seem strangely arbitrary - different sects of the same religion can hold exactly opposing views on a subject and use the same piece of scripture in justification.

I’m not neutral on the damage religion does (and also will admit it gives comfort to many) My family has a Catholic background on one side and there are too many family stories of control (and frankly, mental abuse) within he all-consuming nature of a system that presumes the right to dictate every aspect of your life.
I saw parallels when a Muslim friend had a short crisis of faith some years back - she couldn’t have just stopped believing as a personal matter, it would have meant cutting herself off from her family and wider community. Her religion is something she didn’t choose and can only escape (if she wishes) at a huge cost.

But…

Those parallels are not unique to religion - I’ve read too much of how political groups can behave the same way.
People invest so much of themselves in an idea that the no longer see it as separate from themselves: the “Tankies” who supported the USSR even as the rest of the Left started to wise up, or the cultists who gathered round Ayn Rand


The bloody wars of the 20th Century were neither caused, nor prevented by religion; despite many (most?) of the combatants being believers it was nationalism they were fighting for.

So I don’t believe an end to religion would be an end to human suffering - and it isn’t why I’m not “a person of faith”

17 Pie-onist Overlord  Mon, Dec 16, 2013 6:08:51am

If you know someone is an Atheist and you want to get them a Christmas gift, get them something that they will enjoy, NOT SOME CONVERSION PROPAGANDA CRAP.

Amazon gift certificate is always appropriate.

18 BusyMonster  Mon, Dec 16, 2013 6:19:01am

re: #11 StephenMeansMe

Only if the atheist wants to sound like an asshat. ^_^ “No deities exist” is a >huge claim, probably unprovable.

No, actually it’s the default claim. Deities are invented out of thin air and the premises of their existence are massively fucking absurd. It’s a very easy claim for me to make that every supernatural being posited by human beings is fiction, especially since everyone’s fiction collides with each other.

So when an atheist says “there’s no such thing as God” what I mean is, your Bible is clearly a work of human invention, and the stories it tells are fiction. Unless you’d like to also simultaneously defend all of Greek, Norse, Roman, Hindu, and every other mythology it’s your claim that makes you sound like an asshat. Nothing resembling a human deity exists anywhere except in our heads, and that’s not a startling claim it’s the truth.

19 SidewaysQuark  Mon, Dec 16, 2013 7:43:12am

Another load of dreck from FoxNews boosting one of several default Bronze Age Fairy Tales with hopelessly flawed reasoning.

20 RealityBasedSteve  Mon, Dec 16, 2013 9:30:01am

PZ Myers over at Pharyngula has a great piece on this. I swear that he has far more patience than I could ever muster.

RBS

21 KiTA  Mon, Dec 16, 2013 10:46:44am

Meanwhile, only 102 days till Friday, March 28th, the actual birth of the mythological “Jesus” character.

22 StephenMeansMe  Mon, Dec 16, 2013 11:38:49am

re: #18 BusyMonster

No, actually it’s the default claim.

Er, the default is lack of belief (so if someone asked me “Do you believe in God?” I’d say “no”). Besides, you leave yourself open to corner cases: if a group of people worship a statue and call it a god, does the god not exist? If I claim to be God, do I not exist? etc. You have to take each claim as it comes… and then say “I don’t see why I should believe that” each time.

So when an atheist says “there’s no such thing as God” what I mean is, your Bible is clearly a work of human invention, and the stories it tells are fiction.

I hope that’s a rhetorical “your”…

But wait, I don’t see how “there’s no such thing as God” maps directly onto “your Bible is a work of human fiction”… the Bible could be 100% fiction (which even then is a huge generalization, there’s a lot that can’t be classified as fiction in the Bible) and yet a god could still exist. (I highly doubt it, but we can’t really really say it’s a 0% chance.)

23 Achilles Tang  Mon, Dec 16, 2013 11:49:36am

I always find it strange that these people say, in essence, that they themselves have no innate morality and they don’t kill and rape and so on only because they are threatened with eternity in hell if they do.

24 CuriousLurker  Mon, Dec 16, 2013 5:09:56pm

re: #16 Stoatly

Maybe I’m inferring something you don’t intend - but it sounds like you’re saying all atheists hold that all the troubles of the world come from religious belief and that is why they are atheist (a sort of mirror to believing that all the worlds ills can be countered by faith in religion X).

No, I wasn’t implying anything about all atheists. As someone who all too often gets lumped in with with terrorists & militants under the label of “Muslim”, I strive not to make the same mistake with others since human beings are capable of great latitude of individuality (as can be witnessed by reading the comments in this very thread, which range from civil & thoughtful to obnoxious & dismissive and points in between).

I was merely picking something I’ve heard some atheists say and using it as an example of a claim which—like a given believer’s assertion that God exists, that his/her religion is The One True Religion™, or Russell’s teapot orbiting the sun—can’t be scientifically proven.

As for the route someone took to arrive at becoming an atheist, I can only assume that the journeys are as varied & unique as the individual travelers.

FWIW, I agree with about 99% of the rest of what you wrote. It was good to get to know you a little better—you’re pretty quiet most of the time. ;)

25 Political Atheist  Mon, Dec 16, 2013 7:44:31pm

re: #13 CuriousLurker

Yeah, I probably should’ve been more accurate and said something along the lines of, “Atheism … invariably cites the lack of scientific evidence to support the existence of a deity.”

I stay away from the “atheists can’t prove God doesn’t exist” because it’ll just turn into an argument about burden of proof, Russell’s teapot, Occam’s razor, etc.

I can’t prove the existence of God. I don’t need to—it’s belief. By the same token, atheists cannot prove that the world would be better off without belief in a deity—they can assert it, they can infer it based on deductive reasoning, they can believe it, but AFAIK they cannot provide empirical evidence for it.

This is doubly true if, as someone said up-thread, there is scientific evidence that belief in a deity is a byproduct of the evolutionary process—that would mean we ‘re biologically hard-wired for it, therefore there’s no time in history we can point to and say categorically, “There was no deity belief in society X in the year X, and they were clearly much better off for it.”

So I’m back to where I started: No amount of believing on my part is going to make atheism go away, just as no amount of rational argument on atheists’ part is going to make religious belief go away—at least not in the lifetime of anyone reading this blog right now—so we need to learn to coexist peacefully.

THIS

26 Stoatly  Tue, Dec 17, 2013 5:16:59am

re: #24 CuriousLurker

No, I wasn’t implying anything about all atheists. As someone who all too often gets lumped in with with terrorists & militants under the label of “Muslim”, I strive not to make the same mistake with others

Totally accepted - but when you say:
(and I don’t use “but” in the Tyrion Lannister sense of negating everything just said)

Yeah, I probably should’ve been more accurate and said something along the lines of, “Atheism … invariably cites the lack of scientific evidence to support the existence of a deity.”

I tend to bristle, a little, at the use of “invariably” and the unqualified use of “Atheism”

To me, personally, atheism is not a mirror to religion (or to a particular religion), nor is it a badge I put on to define myself before others - it is just my best guess at how the world actually is

What complicates this is that for some Atheism is a Faith - and behave as evangelically and closed-mindedly as any religious nut
They are probably who you notice most - and who are the first to engage you in argument, but don’t mistake volume with depth (Ok, I’m telling you what you already know, I’m sure you wince every time a “Muslims call for X” headline turns out to be just Anjem Choudary, again)

Part of the problem may be the difference between the UK and the US - the UK is very secular and I don’t feel the need to nail down the definition of “atheist” or “agnostic” or define myself, whereas US atheists seem more defensive and defined by the Christian majority as an oddity (yeh, broad brush I know)

I was baptised into the default “Faith” in the UK, the Church of England - more a “Faith lite” a very British compromise, no fire and brimstone, not a lot of God, frankly. Only the non-threatening bits are left - like Christmas (mostly pagan anyway). (CofE still goes on my visa applications to the middle-east) very different from the smothering brand of Catholicism my mother turned from (though even that has lightened up in recent years)


So back to “invariably”…
To me science gives insights into how the world is and often blows holes in religious dogma like heliocentrism - but it doesn’t answer the question of why there is something rather than nothing

And the little I know of the limits of logic glimpsed through Gödel and Turing’s ideas suggest we humans are going to have a hard time increasing our understanding further - I would not demand higher powers/beings/whatever cannot exist because we cannot explain them with our limited tools - tools that cannot yet tell what 90% of physical matter is made of with any certainty

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
-Bill the Quill

And so to close - I’ve waffled on too long anyway - I’ll give you the sum total of my philosophy learnt from 50 years study at the feet of Holy men Irish bars throughout the world:

1 Do unto others….
2 To thine own self be true
3 …grey is such a pity

27 CuriousLurker  Wed, Dec 18, 2013 9:16:38am

re: #26 Stoatly

I apologize for the slow response, sometimes life gets in the way.

What complicates this is that for some Atheism is a Faith - and behave as evangelically and closed-mindedly as any religious nut

Ah yes, those would be the ones I’ve come to think of as Westboro atheists.

They are probably who you notice most - and who are the first to engage you in argument, but don’t mistake volume with depth (Ok, I’m telling you what you already know, I’m sure you wince every time a “Muslims call for X” headline turns out to be just Anjem Choudary, again)

LOL, exactly. As with their Christian, Jewish, and Muslim counterparts, I’ve learned to simply refuse to interact with them. Thankfully, they seem to be in the minority.

Thanks for taking time to calmly explain what makes you bristle and what your philosophy is, as well as reminding me that not everyone is American or views religion/unbelief the way we do. You’ve given me several things to ponder. ;)

28 Stoatly  Thu, Dec 19, 2013 2:35:10am

re: #27 CuriousLurker

Ah yes, those would be the ones I’ve come to think of as Westboro atheists.

I may steal that line


Festivus Mubarak!


This page has been archived.
Comments are closed.

Jump to top

Create a PageThis is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.
Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.
Last updated: 2021-06-05 2:51 pm PDT
LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds Tweet

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!Register and sign in to a free LGF account before subscribing, and your ad-free access will be automatically enabled.

Donate with
PayPal
Cash.app Shop at amazon
as an LGF Associate!
Recent PagesClick to refresh
Naked Capitalism Takedown on Biden’s Speech(0) [Introductory material omitted.] (1) But before we begin, I want to provide an update on our fight against COVID-19 and announce new steps[1]. [1] One would have expected new steps to generate some coverage, or, more precisely, to be ...
Captain Magic
3 days, 18 hours ago
Views: 342 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 •
There Is No Such Thing as “Mild” CovidRead this thread. The good news down at the end is that full vaccination does help mitigate long Covid. Nevertheless, you don't want to get a "mild" case of Covid. PSA: COVID-19 isn’t “just a cold,” isn’t “a respiratory virus,” ...
No Malarkey!
1 week, 6 days ago
Views: 989 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 26 •