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View Poll Results: You are a...
firm believer 168 28.77%
Deist 18 3.08%
Theist 23 3.94%
Agnostic 120 20.55%
Atheist 255 43.66%
Voters: 584. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-22-2009, 07:47 AM   #811
b0uncer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merijnv View Post
My parents have raised me as an atheist because they know how the scientific method works and have explained that to their children. One has to think for himself and be responsible for his own actions, not trying to "feel guidance" from a god, not following orders from a priest, not just blindly following tradition.
There are a few misconceptions in that text, in my opinion. First of all, science can't be pulled into the "to believe/be religious or not to" fight; it's not The Truth, and it can't give definite answers to anything. It is a way to analyze observed things and guess what should be observed, but it's still just an explanation of one kind, and not the truth. Actually it's one of the principles of any scientific thing: everything can and should be questioned, and any theory (note: "theory", not "truth") is just the best explanation at that time. Therefore, as the saying goes, science cannot make statements about religious things, because they are profoundly different by nature. The same applies the other way around: religions or beliefs cannot say anything about science, if it's wrong or right, because they don't work scientifically (if they did, they wouldn't be about believing).

Secondly, if you think "one has to think for himself and be responsible for his own actions, not trying to "feel guidance" from a god, not following orders from a priest, not just blindly following tradition", that's your point of view. There is no way you could tell if it's the ultimate truth that everybody should follow, and thus you shouldn't say it's wrong or bad to feel guidance from a god (how could you prove that?)

Quote:
not following orders from a priest, not just blindly following tradition
To me this seems to imply that you think all the religious people go to church/equivalent, listen to a priest/equivalent, then follow her/his orders blindly. That's as wrong as saying that atheists are not religious because they didn't find the right door; religion and beliefs are somewhere deeper than on-ground buildings or habits. Some people just feel good about going into common places and doing whatever they do; yet they are just as religious even if they didn't go into those places (they don't stop being religious when they step out of the church). Some people even go to churches because they like the atmosphere, even if they aren't religious at all.. And in the end everybody follows a tradition, even atheists -- you probably sleep at night even though in modern world you could do that at daytime (in a dark room) and be awake at night (thanks to electrical lighting), you probably wear pants even though you were born naked and you probably obey the usual rules (don't steal, kill, rape, ...) even though nobody is forcing you to. And all that you do blindly, without questioning any of it.

Too many "atheists" seem to have lost their externality to religious things: if they don't believe in those things, why do they fight about them? And if they have arguments for the "there is no god" -like statements, why don't they ever work except inside their own heads? Why do they even spend time talking about religious people, if they don't believe in any of it? No offence here, I'm just pondering the real reasons behind the "active atheists"..

What are you supposed to do then if you don't know which class (like an atheist, a believer, ...) you fit in, or if you fit into multiple classes? Create a new religion of your own, or a new semi/atheism of your own?

Last edited by b0uncer; 02-22-2009 at 07:57 AM.
 
Old 02-22-2009, 09:07 AM   #812
ErV
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One problem:
Quote:
Originally Posted by b0uncer View Post
obey the usual rules (don't steal, kill, rape, ...) even though nobody is forcing you to.
The truth is that you ARE forced to follow rules. If you break those rules (even though "nobody" is forcing you to follow them), you'll have price to pay. Price vary for different rules - from losing "respect" of not very important people to imprisonment and even death.

Most people understand that (regardless of beliefs) and don't break rules because of consequences. At least, they don't normally break rules with highest price to pay.

Of course, some rules can be bypassed, or used to your advantage and in sane society most insignificant rules can be ignored, but it still isn't "no one forces you to follow rules" situation.

Last edited by ErV; 02-22-2009 at 12:11 PM.
 
Old 02-22-2009, 10:25 AM   #813
merijnv
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b0uncer View Post
science can't be pulled into the "to believe/be religious or not to" fight; it's not The Truth, and it can't give definite answers to anything.
The point I wanted to make was about ``neglecting'' parents because they didn't raise me as a catholic, protestant, muslim, or whatever way. They told me to think, not to believe.
 
Old 02-22-2009, 10:51 AM   #814
merijnv
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b0uncer View Post
Why do they even spend time talking about religious people, if they don't believe in any of it? No offence here, I'm just pondering the real reasons behind the "active atheists"..
Why explain reasons for atheism? There is no reason in belief or superstition. Belief or superstition is inherently irrational and therefore makes people do irrational things, like sending airplanes into high buildings, defending genocide.

There is no scientific theory that makes you to do that. Yet there is theory how people come that far.
 
Old 02-22-2009, 12:24 PM   #815
Quakeboy02
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merijnv View Post
How dare you insult my parents like that! How dare you! My parents have raised me as an atheist because they know how the scientific method works and have explained that to their children. One has to think for himself and be responsible for his own actions, not trying to "feel guidance" from a god, not following orders from a priest, not just blindly following tradition.
Your statement renders my upbringing and therefore my parents as "neglectful" which is a pure insult, to my parents as well as to humanism in principle.
Point taken, merijnv. I didn't meant to imply that you either figured it out on your own or that your parents didn't care. I am glad to hear that there are parents, other than myself, that are passing on critical thinking rather than blind belief. Maybe at some time in the future, the subclass "Atheist Children" can be added to that of "Muslim Children" and "Christian Children". Maybe their religious "beliefs" will even be respected, rather than the current situation where they are considered fair game for re-education and derision. Who am I kidding?: Christianity has never played well with religious tolerance.
 
Old 02-22-2009, 12:26 PM   #816
XavierP
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To put it simply, not having a belief in a deity is looked upon as something very strange. I don't believe that I can fly unaided, but I am never asked to defend that position. And yet, being asked to provide proof that there isn't an invisible deity that never seems to do anything seems normal.

The fallacy is that atheists believe that there is no god. It is the opposite, we do not believe that there is a god.

The burden of proof is on the believer - you and centuries of people have posited this deity, if you want me to believe like you provide me with cast iron proof - and that's it, simple eh?
 
Old 02-22-2009, 03:57 PM   #817
merijnv
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quakeboy02 View Post
Maybe at some time in the future, the subclass "Atheist Children" can be added to that of "Muslim Children" and "Christian Children". Maybe their religious "beliefs" will even be respected, rather than the current situation where they are considered fair game for re-education and derision.
Here in Europe, christianity is nowhere near as big an issue as in the US. I guess that the large majority of Europe is factually agnostic, though many conform to catholic, protestant or islamic traditions.
 
Old 02-22-2009, 06:00 PM   #818
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merijnv View Post
How dare you insult my parents like that! How dare you! My parents have raised me as an atheist because they know how the scientific method works and have explained that to their children. One has to think for himself and be responsible for his own actions, not trying to "feel guidance" from a god, not following orders from a priest, not just blindly following tradition.
Your statement renders my upbringing and therefore my parents as "neglectful" which is a pure insult, to my parents as well as to humanism in principle.
Many (most) who call themselves atheists point to science as the basis for their conviction that there is no creator, and by so doing they demonstrate their lack of understanding of science.

To date, science has found no reason to postulate the existence of a creator. But "finding no reason to" is a far, far cry from "disproving the existence of".

Also, science has its limits and there are things - many things - that science has not come to grips with, or at best has only the faintest of glimmerings about. Example: life. What is life? We think we know it when we see it, and we have some empirical definitions of what it is, said definitions being only descriptive, but we have no good idea about what causes life. We have some interesting speculations, and that is all.

And thought. What is thought? Saying it is an electromagnetic phenomenon that arises out of complexity merely begs the issue, and there is some intriguing data that suggests that this may not be true, or at best may be only partly true.

The point is really a simple one and one that can't be refuted. Science has nothing at all to say about a creator of the universe. Science does not know, and at this point does not care, whether the universe was created by an act of an intelligence or not. So far, science has managed to remove a god from most everyday phenomena that it has encountered, but there are many more phenomena to be explained, and until all are explained in an internally consistent, testable, and accurate fashion, then we cannot say that science excludes a creator.

Hence, anyone who lays claim to a scientific basis for their position must be agnostic on the topic of a creator.
 
Old 02-22-2009, 06:01 PM   #819
jiml8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merijnv View Post
The point I wanted to make was about ``neglecting'' parents because they didn't raise me as a catholic, protestant, muslim, or whatever way. They told me to think, not to believe.
And yet...you believe.

Go figure.
 
Old 02-22-2009, 06:04 PM   #820
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Quote:
The fallacy is that atheists believe that there is no god. It is the opposite, we do not believe that there is a god.
Logically identical.
 
Old 02-22-2009, 06:07 PM   #821
Quakeboy02
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jiml8 View Post
To date, science has found no reason to postulate the existence of a creator. But "finding no reason to" is a far, far cry from "disproving the existence of".
Sounds like the precursor to another pointless "god of the gaps" argument, to me.

Quote:
Also, science has its limits and there are things - many things - that science has not come to grips with, or at best has only the faintest of glimmerings about.
Yep, there it is.

Quote:
The point is really a simple one and one that can't be refuted. Science has nothing at all to say about a creator of the universe. Science does not know, and at this point does not care, whether the universe was created by an act of an intelligence or not.
You should be careful with this particular argument. It fails pretty quickly when it faces the uphill battle against the infinite regression problem.

Quote:
So far, science has managed to remove a god from most everyday phenomena that it has encountered
This is an interesting turn of phrase, Jim in that it presupposes that there was a god to remove in the first place.

Quote:
but there are many more phenomena to be explained, and until all are explained in an internally consistent, testable, and accurate fashion, then we cannot say that science excludes a creator.
There's that god of the gaps argument again.

Quote:
Hence, anyone who lays claim to a scientific basis for their position must be agnostic on the topic of a creator.
Followed by the inevitable insistence that agnosticism must be the default position.

Oh well.
 
Old 02-22-2009, 06:09 PM   #822
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merijnv View Post
Here in Europe, christianity is nowhere near as big an issue as in the US. I guess that the large majority of Europe is factually agnostic, though many conform to catholic, protestant or islamic traditions.
There has always been a very wide and deep strain of fundamentalist christianity in the United States. Its origins are with the first immigrants here, who mostly were fleeing Europe to be free to practice their own religion their own way.

Through much of this century, since the Scopes trial, the various flavors of christianity kept to themselves pretty much and tended to their own affairs. It is only in the last 25 years or so, with the growth of the so-called "secular progressive" movement that this culture war has really heated up.

The secular progressives took it upon themselves to try to remake society in the image they preferred, not by convincing people but by using judicial fiat.

This has led to what is properly called a christian counter-reformation movement in the US which is leading to all kinds of social problems.

The secular progressives poked a sleeping bear with a stick, and now are whining and screaming as it wakes up, rears up, and begins to tear them up.
 
Old 02-22-2009, 07:13 PM   #823
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http://www.squidoo.com/secular_progressive_test

Yay, according to the test, I am a progressive; but I am also religious (although pretty unorthodox) so I wonder whether the link between religious fundamentalism and the progressive movement is a strong as you are suggesting, jim. Unless the test was composed in such a way that it can gauge Americans only, of course.

Last edited by jay73; 02-22-2009 at 07:15 PM.
 
Old 02-22-2009, 07:40 PM   #824
brianL
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Yes, it does appear to be targetted at Americans.
 
Old 02-22-2009, 08:20 PM   #825
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jay73 View Post
http://www.squidoo.com/secular_progressive_test

Yay, according to the test, I am a progressive; but I am also religious (although pretty unorthodox) so I wonder whether the link between religious fundamentalism and the progressive movement is a strong as you are suggesting, jim. Unless the test was composed in such a way that it can gauge Americans only, of course.
The test seems to attempt to conflate religious conservatism with support for the war on terror and nationalism. However, as my results show (I scored +1) it is possible to be classified as a moderate by the test, in spite of having polar views on almost every question (I answered "C" only once).
 
  


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