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Thread: Atheism Thread

  1. #341
    Cute and Fluffy Happy Maudlin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skylarker View Post
    When normal typeface just doesn't cut it, go for the BOLD. Everyone is sure to stop what they are are doing and pay attention to your views!

    I was trying out a new font. Had no idea that it was going to be BOLD. Sorry about the obnoxiousness.

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  2. #342
    not a sycofemme realitybites's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Maudlin View Post

    I was trying out a new font. Had no idea that it was going to be BOLD. Sorry about the obnoxiousness.
    Well, we knew you weren't an idiot by the quality of your writing. Of course, Skylarker might not agree with the content. But who cares what he thinks, right? Haha. I hope he doesn't read this. Oh who am I kidding? He lords over this thread like a mother lording over her kid on a playground.


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  4. #344
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  5. #345
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    Quote Originally Posted by realitybites View Post
    First off, I just want to say that your post was very thoughtful and intelligent. You clearly have a very strong grasp of the history of atheism as well as the current landscape. I would just like to take issue with a few points. Atheism got a second wind due to the Four Horsemen and their books and media onslaught which was largely made possible due to the political and cultural climate at the time. People were angry and fearful of religious fundamentalism--Islamism, in particular. This was the catalyst that launched "New Atheism." The term came about much in the same way that the term grunge came about. And like the atheists of today who reject the term New Atheism, the artists labeled as "grunge" such as Pearl Jam and Nirvana hated that term and never embraced it. When other people try to put labels on a group, often that group does not embrace them as their own--unless it is of course to their advantage. The Seattle based rockers had nothing to gain by adopting the grunge label. It was mainly used as a marketing ploy by the fashion and music industries to drum up sales of CDS and flannel shirts. If the new atheists could sell thousands of more books and thus reach a greater audience by adopting the New Atheism label, they would have. But it wasn't to their benefit, as the term was used pejoratively by religionists and the conservative media. But, the term is here to stay. I just don't care to use it and don't consider myself to be a New Atheist. I was an atheist long before those guys came onto the scene. So much of my early inspiration came from philosophers such as Sartre and Camus. Today I find the branch of philosophy to be sorely lacking great atheist thinkers. Perhaps the exception being Daniel Dennett. Physicists and neuroscientists, plus Dawkins, seem to be holding the cards at the moment.
    Its interesting that you compared the "new atheism" label with grunge. I find that any recently emerged intellectual movement tends to distance itself from its labels. It's the same thing you'll find in music, where certain artists disown or reject the labels assigned to them. Stereolab swore up and down that they weren't Marxists, though allusive references to Marxism popped up in their themes. That being said, I kind of bemoan the fact that some are misconstruing the term anti-theism with atheism, new or old. The two terms take on very different connotations and have different calls to action.

    Quote Originally Posted by realitybites View Post
    Of course, there are a few well known atheists who have adopted the New Atheism term. And then there are those atheists who don't even call themselves atheists--preferring the term agnostic, such as the late Carl Sagan--who you mentioned--and Neil Degrasse Tysson-- both astrophysicists. But not all scientists refuse to call themselves atheists. Lawrence Krauss is a very outspoken anti-theist as is Dawkins.

    You claim the climate is not more hospitable towards atheists these days. Well, the Salem witch trials and the Crusades come to mind. But ya, tolerance is still a long ways away--especially in the US's rural south and non-western nations--particularly the Middle East.

    Please continue the discussion. Your insight and input is much appreciated.
    Yeah, Krauss seems to be an anti-theist from what I know of him. Krauss also stated that philosophy is to be surpassed by science, a moot argument if there ever was one. Science can influence people in different ways. I didn't mean to say that one view is supremely scientific than the other, sorry if it came off that way. There are evolutionary biologists that believe in God, when I was a Christian I believed that it was possible for God and evolution to coincide. On atheism being more accepted, yes we are off in the right direction. But its ridiculous how covert the discrimination is and how overt forms still exist. A Mormon can be elected president quicker than an atheist can, regardless of their qualifications for that position. People are estranged from their family members and childhood friends because of it. There are a lot of irreligious people out there, people who have little tolerance for the bigotry espoused by religious fanatics and people who believe in God but don't wish to confine it in an anthropomorphized sapient being who "tallies the fall of every sparrow." Religious fanatics--they are the ones in the true minority. They are the ones people rush to accommodate, to protect their right to bitch, to preserve their already fragile moral fabric. I have a mother who is deeply religious and religious or not the psychological fragility of people who can't think for themselves but wish to control others, remains the same in every instance. It is akin to the Manichean (belief in pure good and evil) world view that inspired Sartre himself to criticize it, when it was representative in the anti-Semite. These are people who view things in black and white, who have absolutely no tolerance for ambiguity, doubt or subsequent research. They are unreasonable and cannot be convinced otherwise. If there is anything that I have disagreed with before, but readily see the consequences of now is the claim that religious belief is like mental illness. And I'm not talking about passive religious affiliation, I'm talking about the charismatic, fanatic devotion of any religious movement from the self-flagellating monastic orders of the Catholic Church, to the modern-day jihadists, to the seemingly harmless Christians who are "on fire" for Christ. It is creepy how this body-denying aspect of monotheistic religions unwittingly encourage self-mutilation and masochistic allegiance to an all-powerful "master". Equally creepy is how this is being taught to children.

    That is why I have discrepancy toward these division created by some of the new proponents for atheism. A banding together of all irreligious types needs to culminate in order to outnumber the religious influence that permeates our legislation and culture. I would love nothing more than to see religion annexed out of our core culture and discarded.

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    Last edited by Happy Maudlin; November 6, 2012 at 06:00 PM.

  6. #346
    Senior Member Skylarker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Atheism Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by realitybites View Post
    Well, we knew you weren't an idiot by the quality of your writing. Of course, Skylarker might not agree with the content. But who cares what he thinks, right? Haha. I hope he doesn't read this. Oh who am I kidding? He lords over this thread like a mother lording over her kid on a playground.

    I didn't read anything she wrote; I almost never read anything anyone writes in this thread, or most others. Multi-paragraph mini essays on the existence of God are about as exciting to me as reruns of Cagney and Lacey.

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  7. #347
    not a sycofemme realitybites's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skylarker View Post
    I didn't read anything she wrote; I almost never read anything anyone writes in this thread, or most others. Multi-paragraph mini essays on the existence of God are about as exciting to me as reruns of Cagney and Lacey.
    I don't blame you. I can see how it is all very boring to those without an interest in the subject. It would be like me reading posts at a baseball forum.

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  8. #348
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    Default Re: Atheism Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Skylarker View Post
    When normal typeface just doesn't cut it, go for the BOLD. Everyone is sure to stop what they are are doing and pay attention to your views!
    When you don't care for the content of the post, ridicule its typefont. Class.

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  9. #349
    not a sycofemme realitybites's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Maudlin View Post

    Yeah, Krauss seems to be an anti-theist from what I know of him. Krauss also stated that philosophy is to be surpassed by science, a moot argument if there ever was one.
    I have to say I agree with him on this. I think philosophy may one day join the ranks of the humanities as an art--like literature and poetry and leave the fact finding to the other disciplines which base their methods of inquiry on the scientific method. All branches of science and mathematics started out as philosophy--think Socrates. Now sociology, psychology, logic, politics, astronomy etc. are their own disciplines. I think the field of neuroscience is going to ultimately produce the answers we seek regarding moral development. This is already happening. Are you familiar with Sam Harris' books The Moral Landscape and Free Will?

    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Maudlin View Post
    Science can influence people in different ways. I didn't mean to say that one view is supremely scientific than the other, sorry if it came off that way. There are evolutionary biologists that believe in God, when I was a Christian I believed that it was possible for God and evolution to coincide.
    Most evolutionary biologists who maintain belief in a god after they are educated into the sciences, do so because they were indoctrinated into the church at an early age. It is very difficult to shed this skin, as you know. And something is keeping them from letting go of the illusion. Perhaps they are not all that uncomfortable with the apparent cognitive dissonance they are surely experiencing. Or their belief is tied to strong bonds to their communities and families. Belief has its rewards. If it didn't, there wouldn't be so many people drinking the Kool-Aid.


    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Maudlin View Post
    On atheism being more accepted, yes we are off in the right direction. But its ridiculous how covert the discrimination is and how overt forms still exist. A Mormon can be elected president quicker than an atheist can, regardless of their qualifications for that position. People are estranged from their family members and childhood friends because of it. There are a lot of irreligious people out there, people who have little tolerance for the bigotry espoused by religious fanatics and people who believe in God but don't wish to confine it in an anthropomorphized sapient being who "tallies the fall of every sparrow." Religious fanatics--they are the ones in the true minority. They are the ones people rush to accommodate, to protect their right to bitch, to preserve their already fragile moral fabric. I have a mother who is deeply religious and religious or not the psychological fragility of people who can't think for themselves but wish to control others, remains the same in every instance. It is akin to the Manichean (belief in pure good and evil) world view that inspired Sartre himself to criticize it, when it was representative in the anti-Semite. These are people who view things in black and white, who have absolutely no tolerance for ambiguity, doubt or subsequent research. They are unreasonable and cannot be convinced otherwise. If there is anything that I have disagreed with before, but readily see the consequences of now is the claim that religious belief is like mental illness.

    I don't think belief, in itself, is mental illness. But blind faith, zealotry, speaking in tongues, fundamentalism, aestheticism, monasticism, can all lead to mental illness... or perhaps mental illness leads people to these beliefs/ways of life. Which came first... right?



    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Maudlin View Post
    And I'm not talking about passive religious affiliation, I'm talking about the charismatic, fanatic devotion of any religious movement from the self-flagellating monastic orders of the Catholic Church, to the modern-day jihadists, to the seemingly harmless Christians who are "on fire" for Christ. It is creepy how this body-denying aspect of monotheistic religions unwittingly encourage self-mutilation and masochistic allegiance to an all-powerful "master". Equally creepy is how this is being taught to children.
    Couldn't agree with you more. Like Dawkins says, it's child abuse.

    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Maudlin View Post
    That is why I have discrepancy toward these division created by some of the new proponents for atheism. A banding together of all irreligious types needs to culminate in order to outnumber the religious influence that permeates our legislation and culture. I would love nothing more than to see religion annexed out of our core culture and discarded.
    Sounds like you are an anti-theist. Am I right? I am as well!

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  10. #350
    not a sycofemme realitybites's Avatar
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  11. #351
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    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Maudlin View Post
    I am familiar with the Moral Landscape (I've heard of it) not familiar with the second one. I may check them out. As it stands, I still disagree with Krauss' assertion that philosophy is somehow a remote discipline that's unable to answer its own questions. Philosophy is more about critical thought and contemplation, where as science is more based on empirical research and having those results quantified. I think I share the frustration that Krauss has with the unanswerable questions philosophy poses and with certain philosophers resistance toward accepting certain scientific realities, as if it would encroach upon the discipline's sole purpose. But as things progress it's evident that critical thinking and independent thought is often lacking among most people, so philosophy is sorely needed.
    I consider myself to be a critical thinker. But in all honestly, I achieved this from all avenues... my parents, English teachers, sociological theory classes, comparative religion texts, biological and physical science classes, the humanities, and of course my philosophy classes. But I had no formal training in logic... or critical thinking per se. And yet I am a skeptic and fact checker, at the core. So I don't think philosophy is the only area that teaches critical thinking skills. It starts at home and continues throughout life. I can tell by your word choice that you do have a strong philosophical background. Mine is more social theory, which of course started in the philosophy department, but now wants to disassociate from it as much as possible in order to be viewed as "science."



    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Maudlin View Post
    Belief in evolution doesn't preclude religious belief. Evolution is merely a theory, its purpose is descriptive and not morally prescriptive. Sure, the theistic conception of God doesn't fit in this scheme, but it would be appropriate to separate personal belief from scientific fact in this situation.
    Preaching to the choir on this one.


    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Maudlin View Post
    If a person rationally accepts evolution as a credible theory and still maintain faith in God, let them. People like that aren't the problem, they are more or less the semblance of the solution.
    Well, can't say I agree. My preference would be that nobody believes in any gods of any sort and that all persons partake in reality. Won't happen in my lifetime though. But a girl can dream, right.



    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Maudlin View Post
    Great, so it is agreed then that religious fanaticism and any of its proponents encourage psychological neuroses. Familiar with the phenomenon of hysteria? Or in some charismatic churches, it is benevolently hallowed as 'holy ghost' fire or the touch of God? I found an article on the controversial subject, it showed that some portions of the brain in born-again Christians atrophied after some time. While the study was far from conclusive, it infers what most critics of religion have been gesturing toward. The negative effects of religion are very real and as I realized, its not just fiery rhetoric or mere polemics.
    Yes, agreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Maudlin View Post
    It's adult-abuse also. Only religion (typified in certain doctrines of evangelical Christianity especially) can make a grown adult place sole dependence on a fantastical figure seriously (although I know some nay-sayers will contest that there are adults who still believe in Santa Claus) and defer to this figure for life-altering decisions: parental guidance into the 'eternal' realm. It's infantile and pernicious.
    Paternalism is at the core of this. People want someone else to think for them and take responsibility for the consequences. And so we have god to do both.



    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Maudlin View Post
    By all accounts I am not very concerned with labels. Sorry to be so sticky, but if I were to identify with any label it would be neatly summarized as a person in awe of the vastness of the universe and man's attempt to observe the adjoining phenomena. As a result, I am not really concerned with other people's dogma and am equally annoyed when they try to push it on me. I am critical of religion because it is symbolic of the worst attributes of mankind. I want religious influence to dissipate, along with the related impulse for literal thinking and intolerance toward difference. Religion places due emphasis on unity, but at the expense of the individual. It's a very tribal notion and one that has brought more harm than any of the proposed good religions claim to have brought to humanity. Religious faith, for me, is clearly outmoded.
    I don't mind labels. As long as I get to decide which ones to pin upon myself.

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  12. #352
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncleskinny View Post
    From the latest edition of Viz, that hotbed of theological debate:



    P.
    God bless the Viz letters page! Hilarious!

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  15. #355
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mozza220559 View Post
    God bless the Viz letters page! Hilarious!
    "I don't know why Heather Mills campaigns so vigorously against landmines. After all, she's only half as much at risk as the rest of us"

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    Quote Originally Posted by billy scissors View Post
    "I don't know why Heather Mills campaigns so vigorously against landmines. After all, she's only half as much at risk as the rest of us"
    Hahahaha, that's right! Make fun of the disabled!!! (this is the space where I was thinking off adding a smiley thingie but upon reviewing the ones available I felt like none of them really fit my current mood)

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  18. #358
    not a sycofemme realitybites's Avatar
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    The grammar is a little off. But the message is sound...


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